According to the Alberta Main Street restoration program, wooden boardwalks and old-fashioned storefronts not only symbolize a whole lotta history, they represent good old-fashioned money in the bank.
Thanks to the 19-year-old program and countless innovative citizens across the province, Alberta small towns from Black Diamond to Wetaskiwin are increasingly looking to the past to ensure their futures – the premise being that a revitalized downtown core generates business, boosts tourism and fosters community pride.
One recent project, Vilna, has seen more than 20 historic buildings restored, including Alberta’s oldest operating pool hall and barbershop, complete with the businesses’ original pool cues and ball racks, oiled wood floors and barber chair.
Local hangouts for much of their 85-year history, the pool hall and barbershop are set for a new – and hopefully, prosperous – era of indoor plumbing, female patrons and no worries of Prohibition.
See http://www.touralbertamainstreets.ca for participating towns and architectural styleguide.