Over in Highlands, the heritage buildings at the Caleb Pike Heritage Park have been around for more than one pandemic.
Like the buildings they preserve, the Highland Heritage Park Society is still standing strong even with the challenges this past year presented.
Sally Gose, the society’s chair, said it has been a quiet year at the park, with many of the meetings and events housed in the Caleb Pike House, or the restored Little Red Schoolhouse, or the old dairy building, the Gregory House, cancelled.
“We’ve definitely had the support of the district, but it’s been quieter and people are missing it,” she said. “It’s one of the hubs up here in the highlands, and it’s really sad.”
The buildings, which are already small spaces – making social distancing difficult – were closed for much of the year.
Some volunteers with the society made the most of the quieter times, working on some much-needed projects like shovelling a gravel bank to support one of the buildings and improve the drainage.
The society faced some lean times during the pandemic, Gose said, but with support from the Highlands council, plus some experienced veterans in the society, they were able to pull through.
“They are used to running on a shoestring and that is what we do. So we require very little funds to keep going and we just keep chugging along.”
The society also received a financial boost when Gemstone Pictures Inc. filmed the Landry series based on the books by VC Andrews at the site, just before the pandemic began.
Many of the society’s events were cancelled, like the upcoming winter craft fair, which Gose said sadly didn’t make sense with how the Covid picture was looking.
Some events were able to take place outside in the park’s orchards and the highlands fling was a highlight of the year, with around 200 people gathering for some music, dancing and food.
“Even though it was rainy, the feeling was so good,” she said. “We had like less than 200. So it wasn’t overwhelmed with people, but people were so engaged and just enjoying it so much.”
Gose said planning for the future is tricky for a lot of organizations, but said being flexible is key.
“We have a contingency for everything and any rentals we’ve had are all conditional on public health orders,” she said.
“So I think it’s really kind of taking it one step at a time and trying to take advantage of what we can offer our community without going against public health orders.”
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