Bowden Expanding Horizons

Building on the Horizon

The official ground breaking was held on Saturday, July 29 and what a way to kick off the construction of the new Bowden Community Hall!
First we had a great group of volunteers represent us on the float for the Bowden Daze parade The float came to the construction site and lent a bit of color to the backdrop of equipment. Thank you to everyone who decorated and rode on the float.
Our invited dignitaries, special guests, donors and friends gathered at the construction site and we had a chance to say thank you to our major donors.
Mayor Robb Stewart spoke on behalf of the Town of Bowden.
Mayor Jim Wood spoke on behalf of Red Deer County.
MLA Kim Shreiner spoke on behalf of the Minister of Culture and Tourism and the province.
Olds Westview Coop General Manager Dennis Laing present a cheque for $25,000 from the Federated Coop Community Spirit Fund.
Red Deer County Councillor Connie Huelsman presented a cheque for $300,000 from the County.
Thank you to all our special guests for joining us:
MP Earl Dreeshan (Red Deer/Mountain View)
MLA Don McIntyre (Innisfail/Sylvan Lake)
Mayor Brian Spiller (Innisfail)
Red Deer County Councillor Connie Huelsman (Division 4)
Red Deer County Councillor Richard Lorenz (Division 5)
Red Deer Councillor Diane Wyntjes
Red Deer Councillor Lynn Mulder
Red Deer Councillor Buck Buchanan
We were also joined by Town of Bowden council members Wayne Milaney, Sandy Gamble, Sheila Church, Earl Wilson, Lloyd Lane and Paul Webb. Town staff James, Jade and Alison were also on hand. (Special thank you to the town office for the loan of the portable sound system).
The overwhelming theme of the day was community spirit. President Mabel Hamilton thanked all of our major donors and told the story about Norm Westman getting a few people together to see if the Lions Hall could be renovated. From that day in 2015 to today, the Expanding Horizons team has moved mountains to bring Norm's vision to life. We're Raising the Roof and bringing the heart back to Bowden! Congratulations to all of the Expanding Horizons members - without your community spirit, dedication and commitment this would not be possible!
April 12, 2017
Culture and Tourism Community and Facility Enhancement Program  Grant application has been received for a total of  $750,000.  Congratulations to all those who have been working on this project.

Innisfail Province

Bowden has begun a million-dollar fundraising drive to “Raise the Roof”, a project that will finally see a new community hall for the town and region. The local... enhancement society has recently broken ground for the new hall's site along Highway 2A (27 Avenue) and 22 Street. For more information read the Sept. 6 edition of the Innisfail Province. (Click to view)

Pg 6. Sept. 6 Edition

Mabel Hamilton, president of Bowden Cultural Enhancement Society
“We are not going to start the project per se until we have the money but we have enough money at this point to make people understand we are serious.”

Bowden has launched a million-dollar fundraising drive to “Raise the Roof” for its long-awaited new community hall, a project that has been in the minds of town and rural residents for over a decade.

The cost of the new community hall, which will be located on 3.2 acres of land at the north end of Bowden along Highway 2A (27 Avenue) and 22 Street, is estimated to be $1.5 million.

The new 10,750-square-foot facility will replace the antiquated seven-decade-old Bowden Lions Hall along Main Street, an ancient military building moved piece by piece in 1948 from the area’s Elementary Flying Training School that was administered under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) during the Second World War.

“There are people around here who remember it when it was moved in. It has served the community very, very well, but it is tired. We talked a lot about refurbishing it and maybe giving the old girl a bit of an upgrade, but we realized fairly quickly there were too many structural issues,” said Mabel Hamilton, president of Bowden Cultural Enhancement Society, noting the new hall will be able to seat 350 for dinner theatres -- twice the capacity of the old hall, which is still in use but with an undecided long-term fate. “We really believe there is a need for that (new hall) in the community.”

Hamilton said while the new modern hall will be a place of honour for milestone events such as graduations, weddings and funerals, it will also be a valuable venue, complete with a commercial kitchen, to host trade shows, dinner theatres, a farmers market and seasonal events. The intent, said Hamilton, is to expand the usage to include more and more community groups, such as FCSS, preschool, 4-H, minor hockey and dance clubs. She said the new structure could also be used as a disaster or emergency service building.

“We have the Fall Supper and that has been going on for 70 years, and we want to continue doing those kinds of things, and we want to continue having the volunteer suppers,” said Hamilton, noting there is enough room on the 3.2-acre site for up to 30 sites to accommodate RVs and campers. “We have to make sure that it is affordable and that people in the community can use it for a reading room, or maybe the library will go there, or maybe we can have just meetings.”

Despite the talk in the town and district over the past 10 years about getting a new hall to serve the community and region, it has only been in the last couple of years the initiative has gathered steam. Last July 16 during the annual Bowden Daze, members of the society gathered at the new site and held a shovels-in-the- ground ceremony, a celebratory moment to mark a new beginning.

“We have done some dirt work. We are working to move forward with some footings,” she said of the preliminary construction at the new site. “We are not going to start the project per se until we have the money, but we have enough money at this point to make people understand we are serious.”

While the community hall will cost about $1.5 million to complete, the society already has $500,000 to start, including $300,000 from Red Deer County, $150,000 from the Town of Bowden and another $50,000 through private sources. To raise the remaining $1 million during its Raise the Roof fundraising campaign, society officials are seeking different levels of sponsorship, from the $500 level of Friends of the Hall to the $10,000 Foundation level. They are also hoping to take advantage of matching provincial and federal grants that will help achieve a $500,000 fundraising goal by next spring, which is also the target to begin construction.

“We are going to do a community awareness blitz in the town, and start fundraising that way and we already have some people who say, ‘Look, we believe in your project and we are willing to step up,’” said Hamilton, adding the society has a plan for the first year of operation. “We are really working hard on making sure that we can hit the ground running and that we will be able to keep it open for a year until we actually get the kind of usage we believe we can get.”

In the meantime, society members are also in the early planning stages of organizing a gala at the end of November, an event that could include a keynote speaker and generate more dollars towards the ambitious community hall project.

For more information on the Raise the Roof initiative and how to help with fundraising, contact Hamilton at 403-224-2353.


AUGUST 17, 2016  Ground work has started on the new hall for the town of Bowden and surrounding community.

More photos are on the photo gallery page.  PHOTOS