Memory Lane park honours community's origins and history

·3 min read

At the southern edge of the Village of Standard is a green space, known as Memory Lane, which commemorates the history of the village with a walking path, picnic shelters, and an art installation honouring the village’s history as a hub for CP Rail.

The land Memory Lane sits upon was donated to the Village of Standard by CP Rail in 1923 with the intention to develop a park on the land. However, it was not until 2015 when the Standard Community Facility Enhancement Society (SCFES) was formed that work to develop the land into Memory Lane began.

SCFES contacted Gerald Knowlton, the son of former station manager Ted Knowlton, to ask for his help and support of the project.

Gerald grew up in the original station where his father served as station manager for 42 years; Ted Knowlton received recognition from CP Rail as the longest serving manager of the same station.

Although Gerald left the village in 1960 to pursue a university education and a career in real estate, he always maintained an interest in the railway.

Prior to being contacted by SCFES, Gerald had helped develop Champion Park, a 52-acre park south of Calgary, which was a joint tribute to Knowlton’s parents and an homage to CP Rail.

Part of the installation at Champion Park includes a restored station, similar to the one Knowlton grew up in, from Champion, Alberta-about 122 kilometres south of Standard.

For the project in his hometown, Knowlton helped with the acquisition of an original CP Rail caboose as well as the commission of a unique art installation called The Vanishing Station.

The Vanishing Station was designed by Vancouver-based architect Spencer Purdy, the grandson of Gerald Knowlton, and structural engineer and CEO of exhibition and event design company Exhibau, Patrick Wallain. It is made of a series of angled metal panels and together form the image of the original train station.

Due to the angled design of the panels, the image of the station can literally vanish, giving way to the fields and buildings south of Memory Lane.

Some of these panels sustained damage in 2020 and the installation was temporarily taken down for repairs to be completed.

Gerald also helped bring an original CP Rail caboose to Memory Lane, purchasing the caboose from Leader, Saskatchewan and having it transported some 320 kilometres to the village.

The caboose was settled onto the tracks a short distance from The Vanishing Station. It was repainted and repurposed for use as a meeting area during village events.

Since beginning work on the project, SCFES continues to make Memory Lane a welcoming space for village residents and visitors alike.

They have planted trees and flowers to help with the beautification of the area, paved a one kilometre walking path with multiple bridges crossing waterways, and installed picnic shelters and memorial benches along the pathway.

Other artifacts commemorating the village’s history, including a towering galvanized windmill, have also been installed.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail