Quesnel’s Antique Machinery Park opened its gates to the community’s families this Sunday (Aug 18).
The Quesnel and District Heritage Association members did their best to have the place looking spic-and-span, with all their various tractors and old-timey vehicles displayed smartly for lovers of machinery of all ages.
A crowd upwards of 20 gathered to watch some of the association’s hands work an older sawmill.
Some of the grown men who watched looked like enthralled little boys. There is something about purpose-built machinery that captures their imagination and never lets go.
Former secretary-treasurer Lanna Saunders says the day is meant to draw attention to all the interesting work being done at the park, which also features a full blacksmith shop, as well as myriad of agricultural, forestry and mining technology.
“We’re kind of not in the mainstream, and it’s really hard to get people here because we’re out away from everybody,” she said.
Located just off Dragon Lake Road a 10-minute drive south of town, the park is operated by volunteers — mostly retired — who still love tinkering around with older machines.
“The time that we have is what we commit,” says Saunders, whose husband Lloyd is the club’s president.
“It’s a slow process, but when it’s done, it’s really nice,” she adds, her face lighting up.
“We’ve got a couple of the members that are dedicated to getting everything looking like a real museum. Our inside’s been revamped and done and now the outside is getting it, and we’re really happy with the way things are going. It’s kind of exciting in its own way because it’s been a long time coming.”
Within the last year, the Antique Machinery Park has also been home to Quesnel Maker Space, a community workshop with a CNC machine and a 3D printer, which members can use for a small fee per year.
Saunders says one of her favourite parts of being a member of the club is seeing kids playing with the machinery.
“We had the old JD 60 in the touch-a-truck last year in town, and we had kids lined up just to sit on that old tractor and play with the knobs and the steering wheels.
“It was really fun because they got so excited, and then Lloyd had it so he could just turn it on when they least expected it and their eyes would just…” Saunders gestures with her eyes, opening them up as wide as they will go.
She proudly draws attention to one of the new projects that the members have been sprucing up.
It is a smaller-sized tractor which was donated by someone from Prince George.
“They’re looking to get it painted, so it will be in one of our new displays,” she says. “We had hoped to get it in the [Billy Barker Days] parade this year but we didn’t have it up and running.
“It’ll be in next year’s for sure.”