Ray Gionet and Don McArthur sat in the Voyageur enjoying a coffee one day when Ray shared his vision of having a museum housed in a train and located on the side of the highway across from the Voyageur.
Because of Ray’s job he had been in many houses and was amazed by all the antiques and history that the locals had sitting in their basements. A museum in a train would be a fitting place to be able to have it proudly displayed. Don embraced the idea and suggested a public meeting to see if they could get people interested.
With a little advertising, the first meeting took place June 4th, 1992; over 60 people attended, and a committee formed. An idea to create a community festival to raise funds came up, and from that, the first Schreiber Heritage Day’s Festival ran one weekend in August of 1992. The festival was a huge success and the following year turned into a week-long celebration.
In the festival’s second year with the help of then Reeve Bob Krause and his contacts at the CPR a Via Train was secured and was dubbed the “Heritage Express,” for a $2.00 Heritage Days button, you got to travel on it from Schreiber to Marathon and back. The train was booked all week with the first ride being “held up” at gunpoint by the notorious Steel River Gang who donated their loot to the committee. The train ride continues to be remembered fondly.
The festival’s Christmas in July theme was always a fun time with Santa and his sleigh riding around and judging the best-decorated block. Neighbors all getting together to celebrate and everyone attending events such as spaghetti and steak suppers, belt sander races and mini carnival rides. Moreover, who can forget all the reunions that happened, whether it was a school class celebrating a milestone or reminiscing with previous home towners that have come to join the week’s celebrations?
Heritage days has continued yearly and is always changing but keeping the most popular events such as the Bocce Ball Tournament, the parade, and those unforgettable lunches.
The whole reason it continues is that of volunteers and the Township working together to keep our history alive and of course our residents that welcome everyone to our community.
Have fun and cherish our rich history!