Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions has been recognized with the Heritage Award

The Stettler Regional Board of Trade hosted the annual Business and Citizenship Awards Gala on Oct. 24th

Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions has been recognized with the Heritage Award in this year’s Business & Citizenship Awards.

Having marked its 30th anniversary this year, there is no question the organization indeed promotes both the Town of Stettler and the County in a global manner.

As the nomination information puts it, APRE shows, “Great foresight and creativity in creating events to encourage guests outside normal schedules (the Pumpkin Run, Polar Express, Christmas parties, etc.)”

They also support, “Many if not all community organizations, events and activities and also support the community as a whole by giving back with the annual ‘Night Before’ free rides.”

“We are happy about it, and we do try to stay within the heritage aspect of it,” said Don Gillespie, president and CEO of the Alberta Prairie Railway. “When we are loading people onto the train, you take a ticket and a gentleman might step up to go up first. But you put your arm out to hold him back – this is a 1927 train so we try to stay with that protocol,” he added with a smile. “It’s ladies first.”

Gillespie has been with the organization since day one. It’s always been fulfilling work with plenty of purpose as well.

“I grew up in it. I’m 80 years old, so this is just natural,” he said of his passion for local heritage. “The railroad heritage is definitely a very strong (draw). People are fascinated by it.

“Twenty to 25 years ago, just about every family knew somebody or had somebody working in the rail industry,” he said.

As time has passed, that knowledge of the rail industry’s history has diminished, but that’s what fuels Gillespie’s passion to press on with his mission. “I’ve tried to bring that to them through heritage.”

A recent note of thanks says it well. “I had the privilege of travelling on your was my first trip on the train, and I have to say that I was very impressed. I loved the ride, the entertainment, the ‘robbery’ and the humour of your staff.

“The stop in Big Valley and the luncheon also made for a very enjoyable day. Thank you so much – we will definitely suggest this trip to others.”

That’s the kind of feedback that makes it all worthwhile.

Meanwhile, Alberta Prairie Railway has attracted people from not just Canada and the U.S. but from around the world as well. The bulk of that amazing awareness has been fueled by enthusiastic word-of-mouth, added Gillespie.

“We thoroughly appreciate the support that the community has given us. We try to do our best, and to give out as much as we can.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Local officials sign proclamation declaring Feb. 16th to 22nd as Kin Canada Week

On Feb. 20th, Kin Week was proclaimed in Stettler in honour of 100 years of Kin in Canada

Bashaw filmmakers produce striking short film

Documentary showcases how a unique ecosystem is surviving

Summer Villages halt Stettler County’s Buffalo Lake amendment request

White Sands and Rochon Sands oppose density increase at Buffalo Lake RV Resort

Central Alberta’s Gord Bamford adds Bashaw and Hanna dates to the #REDNEK Music Fest

The tour features Jess Moskaluke and other special guests

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Portrait of the Coastal GasLink, a pipeline to divide a nation

In mid-February, 46 per cent of the pipeline route had been cleared

Alberta ends master agreement with doctors, new rules to be in place April 1

The current master agreement with physicians ends March 31

Alberta rail conductor fired for social media posts awarded money, but not reinstatement

Arbitrator Richard Hornung says that he agreed with the Teamsters union

Kids exposed to household cleaners as newborns more likely to get asthma: study

Air fresheners, plug-in deodorizers, antimicrobial hand sanitizers and oven cleaners were the worst culprits

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

Most Read