Heritage Dinner to remember the Bruin Inn
Annual event supports heritage projects
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 06:00 am
The Bruin Inn was once the centre of the city’s social scene. It’s been gone for about 13 years now but that isn’t stopping local organizers from celebrating the significant watering hole during an upcoming event.
Arts and Heritage St. Albert is set to host its third annual Heritage Dinner. Always designed to celebrate our flavourful history and culture, the event this time around is geared toward honouring the iconic establishment, once located at the northwest corner of Perron and St. Anne Streets.
“The Bruin Inn has been very important in the community for many years and for many generations,” said Ann Ramsden, the cultural organization’s executive director and former director of the Musée Héritage Museum.
The Bruin Inn was built in 1929 on the former site of the old St. Albert Hotel and didn’t take long to become a local hotspot. For many years, it was renowned for being the only tavern in the Edmonton area where men and women could drink together, all because of stringent liquor laws that forbade the practice in cities. St. Albert was still a town at the time and so the law stopped at the border. During the 1940s and ’50s, the place was so well attended that St. Albert’s population could double on a Saturday night for just this reason.
That was so long ago though. Many people these days still remember the night in 1984 that then Edmonton Oiler Mark Messier first brought the Stanley Cup to the Bruin Inn. Of course, he brought it back again and again within the next few years, thanks to the team’s fabled winning streak. That’s the compelling reason why the Heritage Dinner will also have a 1980s theme to it.
“That’s what a lot of people in the community remember,” Ramsden said. “The Heritage Dinner … is not just about heritage. We’re hoping that people come with their memories and chat and enjoy the evening.”
The business became the site of a string of nightclub businesses, including a country bar and the city’s only strip club, but none remained successful for very long. Local history enthusiasts tried to find a way to stave off the ravages of time but it was torn down in 2000. It was replaced with the Bruin Centre, a strip mall of sorts that retained the façade of the former inn.
The Heritage Dinner will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19 with cocktails starting at 6 p.m. A pub-style dinner, catered by Don’s Bistro, will follow. It will be held at the St. Albert Community Hall, 17 Perron Street.
Tickets are $100 and include food, drink and entertainment. Tables are available for six or eight people at $750. People can reserve their seats by calling the museum at 780-459-1528 or online at www.museeheritage.com.
Proceeds from the event will go toward both a celebration of the long gone landmark and also restoration projects organized by the Musée Héritage Museum.