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Bringing the past to life through historic costumes

By Josh Aldrich, Camrose Canadian

Christie Mason will be bringing Irene Parlby to the Canada 150 celebrations and is encouraging people to portray other historical figures. Supplied

Christie Mason will be bringing Irene Parlby to the Canada 150 celebrations and is encouraging people to portray other historical figures. Supplied

The Camrose Centennial Museum is hosting a pair of workshops to help Camrosians get into character for Canada150. 

The workshops are designed to encourage people to dress up as historical characters for Canada 150 celebrations on Canada Day and they are hoping to recruit a few to volunteer at the museum in character. 

“We want to encourage people to come and volunteer at the museum, to take an active role in preserving history and bringing it alive for people both young and old,” said organizer Christie Mason. 

Mason has been involved in historical cosplay for a few years now, getting her start as Irene Parlby with the Boomtown Trail Society. It is a role she has embraced and will be breaking out for Canada as a mural is unveiled at the museum. 

She is also organizing a skit following the unveiling of the mural, involving historical figures and is looking for people wanting to join in on production. 

“We’re going to want to celebrate the fact that it is Canada’s 150 anniversary, and we’re going to remind everyone that Canada is even older than that,” said Mason. 

She has embraced the role of Parlby was an MLA for the Lacombe Riding from 1921-35 and was appointed as a minister without a portfolio. She is the first female cabinet minister in Alberta, but she accomplished much more, including help found the first women’s local of the United Farmers of Alberta in 1913. Perhaps most importantly she was part of the Famous Five who established through a court case that women “qualified as Persons” in the meaning of the Constitution of Canada and therefore were entitled to sit in the Senate of Canada. 

“I’ve put in quite a bit of research into Irene, it’s not something we’re going to say needs to be done for this, but we’re hopefully going to pique interest for people who may already know quite a bit about history to bring those characters alive,” said Mason. 

This is another opportunity to do just that. 

Mason, however, insists the term historical character is a broad one. While the main tie-in is Canada 150, people can dress up as someone from their own historical cultural background or even as a family member.

The idea is that we all came from somewhere to make this country what it is today. 

“It’s for people who are fascinated by heroes or inspired by even their own family members and perhaps want to bring those people back to life and perhaps be willing to dress up in costume to be willing to do it,” said Mason. 

The workshops will help participants zero in on a character and give them ideas for their costume ideas, though the costumes will not be created on site.

The workshops are free of charge and go on June 10 and 24 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at the Camrose Centennial Museum, people are asked to RSVP to ensure there is space. For more information or to get involved with the Canada Day skit, contact Mason at the museum at 780-672-3298. 


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