Take a step back during Mission Hill Day
History springs to life Sunday at Father Lacombe Chapel
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 06:00 am
You don’t have to be from the 1800s to really appreciate old time fiddle music or homemade lemonade, and thank goodness. The Father Lacombe Chapel is all set up to tickle your fancy all the way back to the first days of St. Albert.
Mission Hill Day takes place Sunday. The annual event is a fun reminder of what life was like back more than 150 years ago. It has all the right elements of being a hidden gem except that it takes place on the highest point of this fair city.
“We celebrate the beginning of the mission and look back on everything that’s happened since 1861,” explained Jane Campbell, one of the historical interpreters on site.
She said that this is noticeably different than the chapel’s other events throughout the summer, like Taste of the Past which focuses on traditional food and beverages from the city’s early days.
“I really like that the people who come are usually genuinely interested about the history. Mission Hill Day really looks into the in-depth sides of what St. Albert used to be like.”
From noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow, anyone can stop by and enjoy the sights, the sounds and yes, the flavours of the past too, all for a donation to the site. Campbell said there would be something to please families and people of all ages.
“We have a Métis country fiddle band coming which we’re pretty pumped about. It’s going to be a combination of a fiddler, a guitarist, a pianist and I believe an accordionist as well. It’s going to be really great!”
To quench the thirsts of attendees, old-fashioned lemonade will be served, along with homemade ice cream.
She added that while there was more of a focus on crafts last year, this year’s event will feature aboriginal activities. To help that along, they have also invited one of the artists featured in the Musée Héritage Museum’s current exhibition called Transforming Traditions.
Holly Rae Yuzicapi, from the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation in Saskatchewan, uses unique materials in her art and craft works. She has been known to use porcupine quills and fish scales, but when the situation calls for it, she brings out the duct tape and the plastic cord to make bags, jewelry, and other items.
“Hopefully she might be doing some fish scale work but we told her just to surprise us because anything she did we really liked.”
There might also be historic photos on display but organizers were still working out the details on that.
There will be tours every hour. It’s the historic site’s last major event of the season.
The old building
The chapel was constructed in 1861 by Father Albert Lacombe and local Métis. It is still considered to be the province's oldest standing building despite having moved from its original location only metres away. Today the chapel has been restored to look much as it did in the early days.
The building marked the beginning of the St. Albert Mission, and was a focal point for the community.
The site is operated by Alberta Culture, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the Victoria Day long weekend in May to the Labour Day long weekend in September every year. The last day it’s open to the public this year is Monday, Sept. 3. Regular admission is by donation.
Visit www.culture.alberta.ca for more information on all of Alberta's historic sites and museums.