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JinJ: Jasper’s stories on display

Screen shot 2015-01-14 at 1.37.17 PMHave you ever heard of the Tank: the notorious bike from the 1950s that could be used to transport a gaggle of kids across town? What about the parade for the Jasper curling team that used to pack the activity centre in days gone by?

Jasper is a town with a rich history and, as part of Jasper in January, that history will be on display Jan. 21, as locals share their stories at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives.

The event, named Jasper Stories, was bourn out of Laura Campbell’s work over the past 12 months, collecting anecdotes and stories from some long-memoried Jasperites.

Campbell, with the help of Marianne Garrah and David Baker, has taped interviews with Jasperites, who share some of their fondest memories of the town of old, and Jan. 21 they will show them off for everyone to see.

According to Baker, many of the tales are rich and surprising, and reveal the evolving character of the town.

“Jasper is not a place without characters, and Jasper is not a place without stories,” he said.

At the event, Museum Manager Andy Kilmach will compliment those stories with artifacts from the museum’s archives, giving tangibility to the memories.

“It’s one thing to see a pair of snowshoes, it’s another thing to see and hear the voice of the person who wore those snowshoes,” Baker said. “It’s bringing history to life.”

“Jasper’s stories are in the museum, and [hardly anybody] knows what’s in there. So Andy has made it a night to drag out all those things that may have been forgotten,” Garrah said. “It’s an opportunity for the museum to tell some stories from their basement.”


The old Sunset Ice Cream Parlour. Photo courtesy of the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives

Garrah hinted at the appearance of a nearly century-old artifact from the Jasper Fire Brigade, as well as a unique story of firefighting in the 1920s. She also said some Jasperites will share their memories of the old Sunset Ice Cream Parlour.

As well as a venue to appreciate the stories already collected, Baker said the event is an invitation for Jasperites to add their own histories. Eventually, the plan is to create a documentary for the museum’s archives that will illuminate Jasper’s history.

“It’s building a collection that is a resource that will form what is a story of Jasper,” said Baker, who’s a local filmmaker. “As people we are storytellers, and we don’t live forever. And the hope is to get as many people as possible to come forward and tell any kind of story,” he said.

Garrah agreed, adding that she hopes that the stories they have already collected will inspire others to contribute.

“Maybe this little teaser on Jan. 21 of stories and some locals talking on camera and some stuff coming out of the basement and a glass of wine—maybe it will encourage some more stories.”

Trevor Nichols

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