The foliage at R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum is in blossom. There’s an energy in the air. Things are happening!

The Children’s Museum and Discovery Centre, on the ground floor of the Broadview School, is feeling close to completion. The outdoor discovery area is mapped out and ready for the Rotarians to arrive.


We at the Village are so lucky to have the support of the Shuswap Rotary Club and project leader John Hansen. The club’s members have come on board to build the discovery area. There’s going to be so much for the little to middle school crowd to do at the Village and it is happening this spring! The area will include all the things that make outdoor play exciting.

Recently General Manager Susan Mackie was browsing Facebook Marketplace at 5:46 in the morning. Susan does this while she exercises. She knows how important being physical is for the development of brain cells. Besides, Susan likes to multi-task.

At the same time, I was getting ready for work and Susan sent me an image of a locomotive built with treated wood. The  owner, Jacqueline Barry,  had had the train given to her and she was returning the favour.   Barry's son, now a teenager,  had enjoyed hours and hours of play in it, travelling imaginary miles and miles. “Would this work in the outdoor play area at the Village?” Susan asked me.

Cuyler Page, the designer of the exploration area, and I agreed it would with a resounding YES! And the plan changed to incorporate the new-to-us piece.

The discovery area is all about creative play and will include building materials so that children can make their own forts, something city children don’t always get to do. Magnifying loops will be on stands so that children can see leaves, twigs and insects up close and personal. There will be slates to paint on and H2O as the medium. Paintings will evaporate for the next artist to come along. There will be sand and water play – suited to a Heritage Village. Kids will be doing laundry the old fashioned way! Challenging balance will be a set of submerged lengths of logs and children will need no help discovering how to use them naturally. The underlying message is that play should be natural and foster a sense of curiosity.

The Rotarians are eager to start construction. Cuyler Page has supplied the drawings and the Shuswap Rotary Club has secured the funds needed for materials. Our anonymous donor must really like children! We know he loves this community!

We look forward to July when we can welcome our first child-sized visitors to the park. In the mean time, this curator is going to go outside and sit in the locomotive. It is lunch time and what better place to grab a quick bite? I might even travel a few miles. Don’t worry. There’s a bell to warn people and animals on my tracks!