For this month, the Winnipeg River Arts Council features the Lac du Bonnet and District Historical Society. Incorporated on January 18, 1988, this organization received charitable designation status effective January 1, 1991.
Local residents established the Society to assemble and preserve the history of the Lac du Bonnet area. Their goals also include: planning ways to make sure future generations learn about the past, developing programs and facilities, seeking input from community. Because of limited resources, they have learned to be innovative and prudent to achieve these goals.
Gordon Emberley, who also served as chair of the local Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee, helped establish the Society. From the start, they realized that no such organization had ever existed in Lac du Bonnet.
The project off to a slow start and stalled during in the early 1990’s. Society member Gus Wruck said, “However, in the mid-2000’s, the donation of a log cabin called the Erickson dwelling revived interest.”
The moving and restoration of the Erickson cabin proved to be a truly creative project. It ended with the pioneer home being reinvented as a museum at Halliday Park, located along PR 502, near Lac du Bonnet. It is open primarily during summer months and other times by appointment. Visitors can visit the Society’s website for more detailed information.
The Society serves Town of Lac du Bonnet, RM of Lac du Bonnet, and Ward 4 of the RM of Alexander. It also attracts visitors from the summer population. Membership is open to the public and they always welcome individuals and families who support their activities and want to help out.
Every year, they host several fundraisers, a Heritage Day, a cultural awareness event, and other activities to recognise and celebrate the past. Fundraising events help folks learn more about the history of the area. Operations are supported by donations, municipal, provincial and federal grants.
There are no employees except for the summer student who is hired annually on a casual basis. Board members often volunteer for programs and projects. They hold monthly meetings and have worked hard to develop an updated Strategic Plan.