Famous Five Centre for Canadian Women Opens at Heritage Park
Enhanced replica of the Nellie McClung home opens as Heritage Park’s 50th Anniversary legacy exhibit
After a week of rainy days, the skies cleared and the sun came out for the grand opening of the Famous Five Centre of Canadian Women at Heritage Park.
The Centre is an enhanced replica of the Calgary home Nellie McClung lived in from 1923 to 1932 while she served in the legislature of Alberta. With private function space as well as classrooms, the Centre is Heritage Park’s 50th Anniversary legacy exhibition.
“Heritage Park is in the business of telling stories,” said president of Heritage Park Alida Visbach, at the opening ceremony. “We have collectively created an important legacy for Canadian women.”
David McClung, grandson of Nellie McClung, was on hand for the opening of the enhanced replica of his grandmother’s home at Heritage Park. Kathryn Kepke, a Heritage Park interpreter, played the role of Nellie McClung at the grand opening of the Famous Five Centre of Canadian Women.
Visbach noted that the story of the Famous Five and their work is not as well known as it should be, a sentiment echoed by Richard Starke, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. “We really should know more about them,” said Starke. “It’s time to make the Famous Five famous, that’s what this centre will do.”
The original Nellie McClung home still stands and is a recognized historic site. The “enhancements” to the replica include updated electrical and a walkout lower level. The centre is also 17 per cent larger than the original home. The home is meticulous in its level of heritage detail and will be sure to be a favourite spot for special events.
Starting later in the summer Heritage Park hopes to run “Pink Teas” in the dining room of the Centre. The original Pink Teas were organized by suffragists including McClung. Only women were invited and only the host would know if suffrage would be discussed so that if opposition protesters showed up the topic could be easily changed.
For more information about Heritage Park and the Famous Five Centre of Canadian Women, visit heritagepark.ca