The Boomtown Trail Community Initiatives Society is a grassroots regional development organization serving a portion of the rural area of eastern Alberta. Its name is derived from the “boomtown” architecture common in the area, which is characterized by a grandly designed front covering a more humble building behind it.
The Bringing History and Culture to Life project is based on the belief that each Boomtown Trail community has colourful characters from the past with entertaining and important stories to tell. In this collaborative project, local residents, museums, university, and historical societies team up to research and provide the stories needed to develop these characters. The characters are then portrayed by dedicated volunteers who take great pride in sharing their characters’ experiences and legacy. The characters appear at unique events like Dessert Theatre and Walk Among Us, where they interact with local residents. This model is being adopted by other communities in Canada and demonstrates how history can be used to reinvigorate community spirit, forge new partnerships, and boost local economies.