They have won acclaim for helping to make Maple Creek a better place to visit, live and do business. However, official recognition of their contributions was denied for many months by COVID-19 … until last Thursday.
During an informal session at Drury Lane Fashions, owner Johanna Koch presented 2020 Maple Creek Community Awards to Chesarae “Ches” Lyman, the Jasper Lounge & Event Centre, volunteers at the Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre, S.W. Sask. Oldtimers Museum and Archive, and Lew Bevan.
Lyman received the Citizen of the Year award, while Ron Janzen accepted the Business of the Year award on behalf of the Jasper Hotel.
Community Awards were handed to Lew Bevan, Nancy Dobson on behalf of the Jasper Centre volunteers, and Betty Abbot, representing the museum.
The custom-made trophies – photographs of a CP Rail caboose in the Jasper Centre grounds – were the work of Christine Johnson, from Journeys Road Photography.
Traditionally, award recipients are acknowledged during a gala evening in March at the C.M. Glascock Building.
Tina Cresswell, president of Maple Creek & District Chamber of Commerce, said last year’s ceremony was cancelled at very short notice because of the pandemic lockdown.
These short pieces on the achievements of the 2020 Maple Creek Community Awards recipients are based on nomination letters, which contain opinions and relate to 2019, before the COVD-19 pandemic lockdown. The letters were of varying length.
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Chesarae “Ches” Lyman
A long-time resident of Maple Creek, Ches demonstrated a tireless work ethic as a goal judge during the Cypress Cyclones Junior B Hockey Team time in Maple Creek.
After the Cyclones team folded, he continued to be the goal judge for the Maple Creek Senior Hawks hockey team.
He has continued volunteering for the Senior Hawks to the present day. He is the server at the upstairs lounge and organizer at all home games.
Ches also volunteers his time and effort to make the Slow Pitch Tourney in June run smoothly year after year. The event is hosted by the Senior Hawks.
Firefighting is another of Ches’s volunteer activities. In addition to firefighting training and being a first responder with the Cypress Health Region, he is always willing to help with fundraisers hosted by the Fire Department. He is also in charge of submitting invoices and/or claims to insurance companies or third parties on behalf of the Maple Creek Fire Department.
As a worker for the Town of Maple Creek, Ches forever has a smile on his face and is more than willing to help out. Despite his achievements, he has an uncanny way of slipping away after an event and not wanting any recognition.
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: Jasper Lounge & Event Centre
Owners Richard and Debbie Janzen, and Ron Janzen, have worked hard to evolve the hotel and create positive changes.
The layout is open and pleasant. At a staff event catered to in a private front section, Richard provided games, snacks and entertainment. The highlight was a homemade meal prepared by Debbie.
Richard, Debbie and Ron continue to provide opportunities to reach out to a variety of clientele.
They have offered dance lessons, paint nights, ladies night bingo, trivia nights, DJ music, live bands and open mic nights. All this is part of ongoing development.
Running a business in Maple Creek goes beyond the daily operations. It needs to invite tourism and represent the history of the region.
The “oldest bar in the southwest” has progressed, providing guests with a positive memory of their visit to Maple Creek.
COMMUNITY AWARD: Volunteers at the Jasper Cultural & Historical Centre
The volunteers are the reason the Centre is still standing and offers several events of interest to the town and area, such as silent auctions, guest speakers, artists and their work, movie nights, book sales. They also prepare exhibits, repair the museum pieces and act as guides, curators, maintenance inside and out, planners, boiler and building fixers, to attract all ages, including school groups and tourists.
COMMUNITY AWARD: Lew Bevan
Lew has been involved in the following groups: Maple Creek & Medicine Hat Retired Teachers; the Jasper Centre museum (member); and Piapot Curling Club (member). He also played slo-pitch for many years.
Among his many volunteer activities are: Salvation Army – cheer greeters (bell ringer), kettle collector, breakfast program (MCCS), food drive 2017 (MCCS); Maple Creek & Medicine Hat Retired Teachers – Meals on Wheels; photographer at events around the area; Jasper Centre – volunteer and archive assistant; and Mohawks Baseball Games – announcer.
Lew can be found supporting activities around the community. Here are just a few of them: MCCS school sports – Redmen Football (“chain gang” supervisor); Student Leadership Conference 2016; hockey games at all levels; baseball at all levels; advocate for “shopping local”; July 1 activities; Cowtown Christmas; Mohawks baseball games; Legion functions; Chamber of Commerce awards night; Jasper Centre activities; Taste of Maple Creek; and the Heritage Festival.
Through his community contributions, Lew is someone who makes Maple Creek a better place to work visit and live.
COMMUNITY AWARD: S.W. Sask. Oldtimers’ Museum & Archive
2019 was a monumental year for the museum. During the 2019 Maple Creek Heritage Festival, on Canada Historic Places Day (July 6th), both the 1935 Log Museum and the new Log Museum were officially opened/re-opened to the public after 10 years of fund-raising and eight years of construction/rehabilitation work.
The S.W. Sask. Oldtimers’ Museum Board of Directors raised well over $400,000.00 for the rehabilitation of the log museum and for the construction of the adjacent new Log Museum building. Raising funds for the project was a big undertaking for a small volunteer-run community non-profit organization.
The project also included the rehabilitation of the public park green space around the Log Museum complex, including the reconstruction of the iconic 1935 lodge pole pine rail fence.
Almost all of the $400,000.00 raised by the museum was spent on contractors and supplies right here in the Maple Creek I Cypress Hills area.
Since the opening, the museum has demonstrated its commitment to being a place for all residents through providing space within the museum for use by the Creek Classics Car Club, Murraydale Stampede & Picnic Society, the Maple Creek Chamber of Commerce, the Communities in Bloom Steering Committee, the Saskatchewan Stock Growers’ Association, the Cypress Hills Metis Cultural & Resource Centre, the Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee,
4-H, local artists, and others. In addition, the museum has initiated the practice of undertaking biannual “Feeding the Spirits” ceremonies with Elders from Nekaneet First Nation in order to commemorate the original artisans and users of the Indigenous objects entrusted to the museum’s stewardship.
Also in 2019, the S.W. Sask. Oldtimers’ Museum and The Art House brought Provincial attention and recognition to Maple Creek in winning the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan Heritage Award in the category of Community Development for the “Living Heritage Art Workshop Series”.
The S.W. Sask. Oldtimers’ Museum also took great pride in the announcement that the Town of Maple Creek was named as the recipient of the Prince of Wales Prize for Municipal Heritage Leadership at the National Trust for Canada Conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
This pride stemmed from the S.W. Sask. Oldtimers’ Museum having submitted the application to the Province of Saskatchewan to pilot the Main Street Saskatchewan Program here in Maple Creek, and because it was the museum that had volunteered to serve as the program’s requisite non-profit host organization for the duration of the program’s local implementation.
The Maple Creek Main Street Program had leveraged over three million dollars of reinvestment in the Maple Creek Heritage District, saw rehabilitation work undertaken on 19 heritage/commercial properties, and numerous Provincial and National awards for Maple Creek. Of which, by far, the most prestigious was the Prince of Wales Prize received by the community last fall. The museum is deeply grateful to the Town and the MHAC.
In its 94-year history, the museum has made countless other contributions, ranging from
registering as a “War Charity’’ in support of victory during WWII, to raising funds for hospital furnishings at the Maple Creek Union Hospital in the 1960’s.