Blackfalds dedicates Wadey Centre
Blackfalds Historical Society President Judy Carleton, Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, Lacombe County Coun. Barb Shepherd, Town of Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol, and two of the youngest members of the Wadey family cut the ribbon to the Wadey Centre on Canada Day. (Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe)
The Town of Blackfalds kicked off Canada Day festivities by officially opening the doors of their Canada 150 project.
The historic Wadey House - now known as the Wadey Centre - was dedicated to the family it belonged to for 70 years in front of six generations of Wadey family members and more than 100 attendees during a Saturday morning ceremony.
The home, a historic Eaton’s package house ordered from a catalogue for $692, was built in 1916 by George Wadey. While it’s no longer a family residence, it’s now a home for both the Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce, the historical society and will serve as a visitor information centre, which the family said couldn’t be more fitting.
“We really want to say how delighted we are that (Mary Wadey’s) home is open and welcoming again,” said Terry Mulrooney, the granddaughter of George and his wife, Mary, affectionately known as ‘Mamy.’
“Mamy’s house was always open and welcoming. The coffee pot was always on... The fact it’s next to a ball diamond is so appropriate. One of the biggest reasons George Wadey even came up to Alberta was so he could play ball with a professional team.”
Located on the southwest corner of All Star Park, the facility will be one of the first visitors to the community will see.
Judy Carleton, president of the Blackfalds and Area Historical Society, was perhaps one of the most integral individuals in making the restoration project happen, and was happy to see it finally completed.
“The historical society is so pleased and proud that a piece of Blackfalds’ history has been preserved and restored,” she said.
The society had been monitoring the status of the home off and on for the last 15 years - seeing it rented, empty, sold, vandalized, flooded, boarded up and in threat of being demolished.
“I’m sure Mary Wadey would be pleased and proud to see what has been done with her home,” Carleton said.
“The preservation of built heritage proved a touchstone for the community to connect with the town’s past. This new location provides the historical society an opportunity to expand its cultural services, to further engage the community while having more room for our main mandate....The venue will be a place to foster dialogue that brings people together, a shared and collaborative space that will be a positive benefit for everybody.”
Ground was broke on the location just one year ago. The house was relocated in November, and the finishing touches were placed in recent weeks, leading up to its official grand opening.
Mayor Melodie Stol was on hand to express her thanks to the groups involved for keeping the project on time. She also passed on words from the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains.
“Congratulations to the Town of Blackfalds on the completion if the historic Wadey Centre, a project that received funding through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program,” he said. The town received $162,000 in funding to make the project happen.
“Cultural facilities like this one are providing spaces for sharing and preserving our community’s heritage. On our nation’s 150 anniversary, I am pleased that we are also able to celebrate the upgrades made to the Wadey Centre which will help and encourage community engagement in the history of Blackfalds.”
Tours and complementary ice cream were served.
The Town of Blackfalds also marked Canada Day with the grand opening of the Bark Park. Agility dog demonstrations, etiquette presentations and free dog treats were handed out. The Bark Park opened to the public last fall.