seeking charitable status
reprinted from Red Deer
Advocate (Laura Tester) October 27, 2010
A Central Alberta
group eager to make Red Deer's railroad history into a tourist
attraction is in the final stages of applying for charitable status.
Forth Junction Heritage Society president Paul Pettypiece said he
hopes to have the application filed this week with Revenue Canada.
The society wants to become a registered charity so it can begin
fundraising for the project that's expected to take millions of
dollars in donations and government grants.
Pettypiece said the society has been increasing its public awareness
this fall so that more Central Albertans know about the project.
Last weekend, Pettypiece and several others were kept busy chatting
with visitors at the Red Deer Model Train and Model Show at
The society has several projects in mind.
One attraction would include shops, a children's theme park,
observation tower restaurant and ground transportation museum in the
heart of Riverlands, west of Taylor Drive.
Pettypiece said the society will apply for $40,000 through Alberta
Tourism so it can conduct a destination study on whether this
Riverlands attraction could work.
The society has also met with top brass at Tourism Red Deer to gauge
A second main attraction will occur in an unidentified location
within Red Deer County. It would include replicas of several
regional railway stations for overnight lodging, a railway park and
a lookout tower.
Originally, the society was looking to build a real-life size
replica of The Chinook, a passenger train that ran from the 1930s to
the 1950s between Calgary and Edmonton. It may go on the county
parcel or next to the old Canadian Pacific Railway station near 51st
Pettypiece said the version has been scaled back to one-eighth the
size of the original due to cost. Now estimated at $275,000 versus
around $1 million or more. It will be able to function like a real
one where people will be able to ride in railway cars hitched
Forth Junction held its annual general meeting on Tuesday, featuring
Red Deer historian Michael Dawe as a guest speaker.
Red Deer's rail history is very important to the city, he said.
In the early 20th century, Canadian Pacific Railway made Red Deer a
divisional centre, helping to make Red Deer a much larger community
than others around it, including Blackfalds and Innisfail. The
railway was the biggest employer for years, Dawe said.