D is for Drumheller and Dinosaurs
Drumheller and Dinosaurs go together like bees and honey. The town is located in the Canadian Badlands of southern Alberta, and the bones of the dinosaurs that once roamed here dream on in shallow graves, a hip bone sticking out here, a long bony toe searching its way out of the ground and massive footprints preserved for thousands of years.
Drumheller is named for Colonel Samuel Drumheller. The Colonel bought land a hundred years ago, in 1910, and started mining operations in 1911. Here he is in his Cadillac.
During the time when Coal was King Drumheller's population was more than 30,000 and it became a city in 1930. Now it contributes to a vibrant energy sector and has Alberta's second largest natural gas deposit, the West Drumheller Field.
In 1997 Drumheller dropped its City Charter and once again became a town, amalgamating at the same time with fourteen old adjoining residential mining communities.
The great deposits of coal in the vicinity led to the establishment of The Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. While surveying for coal deposits Joseph Burr Tyrrell found the first dinosaur - a 70 million year old Albertosaurus. In 1985 the Museum was opened and is the only museum in Canada devoted to 4.5 billion years of the Earth's history. In the Dinosaur Hall a T-rex towers over a display of some thirty-five complete dinosaur skeletons.
You can go here, and here to learn more about this wonderful Museum, and about taking part in a dinosaur dig in the badlands surrounding Drumheller.
Within these Badlands is a wonderful natural amphitheater and each year for six days in July a dramatic portrayal of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is presented in the form of a Passion Play. In 2009 over 12,000 people attended this event.
When we visited Drumheller ten years ago we were impressed with the Royal Tyrrell Museum, but moved to tears by this presentation. The acoustics are beyond splendid; the music and sets and costumes and the performance of the hundreds of local volunteers is remarkable and one can feel the spirit and heart and passion that is put into it. It is a three hour performance, with a twenty-minute intermission, but to the audience sitting on bleachers (take a cushion) it was absorbing and time passed almost too quickly.
Learn more about this marvelous Canadian Passion Play here.
For more information and entertaining D's visit ABC Wednesday here.