Heritage Park’s Gasoline Alley celebrates 10th birthday
Officials at Calgary’s premier attraction for Western Canadian culture held a special celebration on Saturday to mark a milestone for its automotive exhibit.
This month, Heritage Park is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Gasoline Alley Museum as well as the Canadian Pacific Railway Station and associated exhibits.
Many Calgarians know the building for its wide variety of cars on display and the majority of those vehicles were donated by Ron Carey.
Carey helped Gasoline Alley get its start by donating 67 vehicles and a number of vintage gasoline pumps.
“When I was a kid, my uncle had a garage and I used to go out there and pump gas out of them big things. I could hardly even turn the handle to pump the gas up into them. I just thought that I’d like to have one or two of those. I had some antique cars and it just became a disease.”
The ‘one or two’ Carey wanted soon became a collection of hundreds of pumps and about 200 of them live at Gasoline Alley.
He says all of the cars in the building are his favourites in one way or another.
“They’re just beautiful pieces,” he says. “They’re really fortunate to have cars like that here.”
Alida Visbach, with Heritage Park, says the car collection in Gasoline Alley is nothing less than world-class.
“This building wouldn’t exist without Mr. Carey’s donation. These aren’t just regular cars and trucks; these are the trucks that built this nation, especially Western Canada. It’s quite unique and through this collection we can tell the story of settlement.”
More than a thousand people came out to Heritage Park to take advantage of the free admission and have a look around the building, but Visbach says there’s a lot to do on a regular basis at Heritage Park.
“There are a lot of activities that happen on a daily basis, not just for children but for adults too. We have workshops, we have very talented interpreters that know everything about these vehicles; how they were built, when they were built, who drove them and who can really weave the human element into all these artifacts.”
Carey says Heritage Park officials have done a great job taking care of the vehicles and is glad people keep on coming to see them.
“First off, I can’t believe it’s 10 years. If someone asked me, I would have thought it was only five or six years have passed because time goes by so quickly. You just lose track of it all. I love to see it. It looks just as good as the day we put it all in here.”
Gasoline Alley and the Heritage Town Square is open year-round to visitors while the rest of Heritage Park opens on May 18.
(With files from Jordan Kanygin)