Sunday April 20, 2014




The heritage of play

Comments
Courtesy City of Yorkton Archives

Yorkton Exhibition 1937

 - Yorkton Exhibition 2005 - Courtesy City of Yorkton Archives
Courtesy City of Yorkton Archives

Yorkton Exhibition 2005

"Fairs are living reflections of the life and times around them, rooted in agriculture and volunteer-driven. They hold deep cultural, traditional and emotional connections to the people of their local area and define a sense of community that grows social capital and quality of life. Fair organizations positively impact their communities through the events they plan, the assets they hold and the traditions and values they nurture." - Canadian Association of Fairs and exhibitions.

On February 16, The Western Development Museum celebrated Heritage Day's 2014 theme of "Have Fun with Heritage: Historic Places Made for Play" with a retrospective of the Yorkton Exhibition and a tribute to one of the area's most colourful families.

 - Yorkton Exhibition c. 1950s - Courtesy City of Yorkton Archives
Courtesy City of Yorkton Archives

Yorkton Exhibition c. 1950s

The exhibition and it's associated events, the Spring Expo and Harvest Showdown are, of course, central to the city's identity. Despite rocky periods including financial difficulties, two world wars and natural (and not so natural) disasters, the Yorkton Exhibition is proud to be one of the few local fairs that has run continuously since its inception in 1883.

The presentation by Carla Madsen, WDM special events programmer covered all the highs and lows of the fairs 130 years with fascinating anecdotes provided by Sheila Harris, a long time volunteer and Terri Prince Lefebrve, the City's historian.

 - Special exhibition at Western Development Museum of Lew’Chuk’s Midway. - Staff Photo by Thom Barker
Staff Photo by Thom Barker

Special exhibition at Western Development Museum of Lew’Chuk’s Midway.

A second presentation featured the fascinating story of Nicholas P. Lew'chuk. Lew'Chuk emigrated from Ukraine in 1902 as a child.His family settled near Canora. Over his 93 years Nicholas would be known for many things (teacher, photographer, taxidermist, printer, record producer, businessman, builder, magician, performer, inventor, magazine publisher, baker) but he is perhaps best remembered for his travelling Lew'Chuk's Midway and Shows, which later became the Canora Fun Spot.

The midway featured a magic and variety show, rides (some of which Nicholas invented himself), a wild animals exhibit, a freaks and wonders of nature exhibit, games of skill and a concession stand.

 - Orest Lewchuk and his daughter, Donna, listen to the presentation on Nicholas P. Lew’Chuk at Western Development Museum Heritage Day February 16. - Staff Photo by Thom Barker
Staff Photo by Thom Barker

Orest Lewchuk and his daughter, Donna, listen to the presentation on Nicholas P. Lew’Chuk at Western Development Museum Heritage Day February 16.

It was a family affair, with Nicholas' wife Nellie and eight children all involved. The show was on the road all over the country during summers from the early 1940s to 1968 when Nellie passed away and the kids were moving on to their own lives.

"It was an interesting life," Orest Lewchuk, one of Nicholas' sons who was on hand for the presentation, said simply.

Nicholas continued to run the midway as Canora Fun Spot in the family back yard until 1987.


Comments

Comments


NOTE: To post a comment in the new commenting system you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, OpenID. You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Yorkton This Week welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Markets





LOG IN



Lost your password?