Fort Steele Heritage Town: AWESOME!

We have been to some pretty amazing places on our Road Trip Adventure. Today's location is way up there on my list of AWESOME!

The origin of Fort Steele is closely linked to the discovery of gold nearby in the 1860s. As with many Gold Rush towns, it has its history of booms and busts. This place's past was so important (and interesting) that in 1961, the Canadian Government declared Fort Steele a historic park with a mandate “to preserve, present, and manage it for public benefit." And we are so glad!
We began our visit with something called the Daily Gossip Tour:
Imagine if every community had this! A wildly popular tongue-in-cheek walking tour of the town introduces you to Fort Steele’s colourful residents, helps you peek behind doors, and shows you all their foibles. It’s true, the line between historical and hysterical is sometimes blurred but you can count on a member of the Fort Steele Ladies Auxiliary to give you the goods, and the dirt, with a little ‘creative license’ of course!

When we stopped at the best known hotel in town, the Windsor (1893), characters from the town's past, greeted us. When Mr. Pugh wanted to tell about an incident at the hotel, he picked Steve from the audience to be one of the players. Mr. Steve did great. What a hoot.
Mrs. McBride was an exceptional guide and I want to say right now... what talent! Steve and I were impressed with each and every resident we met. Wow. Their incredible talent made the day truly magical. What a troupe of performers. Bravi to all. Whoever did the casting did a phenomenal job. So, I had to know more. This is what I found out about their audition:

  • Performers cast will be cast in a mainstage musical to be presented in the theatre, as well as street theatre scenes presented around the town to run throughout the summer season.
  • Stage Managers will be required to do some acting as part of street theatre scenes, but will not be required to sing or perform on stage.
  • Accompanists will be required to accompany the musical live in the theatre, accompany performers live around town in the street theatre daily and do some acting as part of the street theatre performances. You must be comfortable interacting with other performers and guests.
  • Contract begins May 28, 2017 and ends September 3, 2017.
  • Accommodation is provided for out of town performers.

So more about the park, over 60 heritage buildings have been restored and/or reconstructed since the site was designated a Provincial Heritage Site in 1961. Hidden treasures, telling visual stories of days gone by, were everywhere.
Animals were everywhere but I was taken with the Clydesdales. In 1970, a west coast Prison Farm closed and their herd of purebred Black Clydesdales was relocated to Fort Steele. Most of the Clydesdales here were born here, and some are descendants of that original herd.

Like all great historic parks, Fort Steele has a pretty wonderful museum. This article caught my eye. It is from May, 1971. The Queen, her husband Prince Phillip, and Princess Anne were visiting British Columbia as part of its centenary anniversary of joining Confederation (Canada Day). Their visit also took them to many stops throughout the province but Fort Steele was one of the first on their very busy itinerary. So cool.
Also in the museum was a temporary, and interesting, exhibit on Ice Age Mammals. Steve is getting chased by a beaver, who during the Ice Age, was really that big. Wow!
Some form of theater happened every 30 minutes or so. We were constantly entertained. Mr. Steve was so famous from his earlier performance, he was asked to play Brutus in Rome is Where the Part Is. How incredible to be on the stage at the Coventry Opera House (1897) where many famous people have taken bows before him.
I delighted in the Flirting with Fans presentation until it was disrupted by the arrival of the town's "Madame". Funny stuff! 

After strolling the boardwalks for hours, it seemed as if we were really in 1898. No one got out of character and by the end of the day, we started to greet each resident as if a friend. So dang awesome.

For us, our very entertaining and educational day ended as the horses were led back to the stables. This was an exceptional visit to the past.

"History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard.
It is a poem with events as verses."
~Charles Angoff

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Ceighty said...

Thank you for coming to the Fort and truly enjoying yourselves! It is always a pleasure having visitors who have fun with their day. I'm glad we were able to share in your memory making. Happy travels.

Karen Booth said...

I'm a little surprised that Steve didn't abandon the rest of the trip and stay as a performer until September!

Aquí Ahí Allá said...

Are you getting jealous that you aren't being picked!? Steve, Steve, Steve! (Said like Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!) He sure is popular in them thar parts!

Cyndy Brown said...

Steve is such a good sport! Maybe there is an acting career in the near future? How fun the town is. I love places where there are actors who recreate the times.

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