The Barr Colony Heritage Society

By Sandra L. Brown

February 28, 2018 3:41 PM

It takes more than a passing interest or vision in preserving and recording Lloydminster’s history.
This history needs to be visibly kept alive through restorations, pioneer demonstrations and hosting community events. 
Sharing stories, working together on a restoration project, being a key participant in the community, mentoring others and providing volunteer opportunities for seniors and other generations are also important. 
The idea of forming the Barr Colony Heritage Society was conceived over coffee in January 1979 by “a few old timers discussing the possibility of putting on a threshing demonstration and an old time picnic during the summer of 1979.” 
They applied for a grant through the New Horizons (Saskatchewan) and quickly obtained the required 10 signatures from folks over the age of 65. An election of officers soon followed.  After a meeting with the New Horizons Co-ordinator from Regina, they were encouraged to move forward.  A grant of $2,500 for the purchase of tools to stock the Barr Colony Antique Museum Workshop was applied for.
Developing key objectives was next on their list.
1. To promote the preservation of equipment and tools used by the pioneers of Lloydminster and District. 
2. The promotion and holding of an old time picnic, yearly, which includes the steam and gas tractor threshing and setting up demonstrations and other related events for public viewing. 
3. The repair and overhaul of small gas motors and vintage tractors. 
4. To help and encourage the younger generation to have an interest in preserving our heritage.
In 1980, there were 32 members who completed projects such as rebuilding small gasoline engines.  Restoration projects in progress included a 1918 Titan tractor and a 1920’s Rumely Oil Pull.  As time permitted, these dedicated volunteers planned to restore more engines.
As promised the first Old Time Picnic took place at Weaver Park on Sunday, July 29, 1979 with an overflow crowd attending this community event. 
The threshing demonstration was well received by the enthusiastic crowd. Lunch and supper were provided by the Farmer’s Market Co-op. 
A picnic isn’t a picnic without games!  The rolling pin toss (for the ladies), egg toss, tug-of-war, children’s races and a horseshoe tournament were enjoyed by all.  Lemonade and children’s treats were popular.  Vintage cars were displayed in their ageless splendor by the Lloydminster Antique Car Club.
Though a tough act to follow, the second annual picnic and dance took place over two days in August 1980.  The dance drew a crowd of 200 and more than 1,000 folks enjoyed the picnic and threshing demonstrations. 
Festivities kicked off with a wood sawing demonstration, windmill pumping water and demos of working vintage engines. 
This event received widespread community and district support. 
The Foresters Club looked after the parking, a couple from the district ran the children’s races, Knights of Columbus looked after the horseshoe tournament and the ever popular arm wrestling was run by the Legion.  Food was provided by the Heritage Society and the Farmer’s Market. 
Selling out very quickly, fresh bread from the outdoor clay oven smothered with fresh jam was baked by members of the Allied Arts Council.  Vintage operational tractors, blacksmithing, welding with a forge and a 1930s Bennet Wagon pulled by a 1935 John Deere tractor provided additional interest. 
Old time songs were sung by the Forest Bank Family.  From its set-up to the actual demonstration, the threshing was a prime attraction. 
A sudden downpour failed to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm and eventually the sun made a welcome reappearance.
It is both an honour and privilege to have met many of these dedicated members who unselfishly volunteer more than just their time and valuable skills to our community.  Each project, no matter the size, is vital to the preservation of our history. 
Together, the members of the Barr Colony Heritage Society have a wealth of vast experience, interest and knowledge of what life was like in bygone days; and in turn, shares their love of the past with Lloydminster folks. 
These members share a well-deserved satisfaction in completing each project and bringing the past alive.  They are leading examples of modern day unsung prairie heroes.
Excerpts in part from the book, 75 Years of Sport and Culture in Lloydminster.

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