Looking Back


Onoway Centennial Project

When Canada celebrated the 100th anniversary of confederation in 1967, communities across Canada joined in the celebration. From the smallest village to the largest city, activities and permanent "monuments" were built that remain as concrete memories of that year. The federal and provincial governments set aside huge amounts of money to encourage events and construction of facilities. Fifty years later, Onoway's Centennial Project has stood the test of time as a well-used community asset just what the federal Centennial Commission had envisioned when they set aside $25 million (approximately $1 for every person in Canada) for this celebration.


At a public meeting (attended by 32 people) in early 1967, the suggestion was made that a new hall be built and in March the work began. Mayor Charles Seeley and MLA Wm. Patterson officially laid the cornerstone. By August it was ready for the first event (the wedding of Elaine Liske and Roy Gitzel). On December 1, MLA Dr. Hugh Horner cut the ribbon and declared the Onoway Community Centre open.


Funds had been raised by selling "blocks". The Onoway branch of the Elks played a major role in fundraising and paying off the debt.


Laying the Cornerstone
Laying the Cornerstone
Old Community Centre
The Old Community Centre, built in 1925

New Community Hall
New Community Centre with centennial flag flying

One of Onoway's centennial events was a beard-growing contest, with the winners announced at the official opening of the Community Hall. Prizes were given for the worst beard, best full beard, best trimmed beard, best style and most unique beard.

Centennial Souvenirs
Centennial Souvenirs (including
the ubiquitous ashtray)
Beard Growing Contest
Beard Growing Contest

Onoway's long time reporter, Mable Zerke, covered the Centennial Project from its ideation to the final ceremony, taking photos that were incorporated into a two-page spread in the Lac Ste. Anne News on December 13, 1967. You can check out the newspaper and Mrs. Zerke's photos in the archives at the Onoway Museum.

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Last updated: July 24, 2018