Staff Profile: Interpreter at St Albert Grain Elevator Park

Hello, everyone! I’m Janel, and I’m one of the cookie-baking, blog-writing, garden-tending interpreters at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park! My interest in history comes from my origins in Atlantic Canada – I was surrounded by old buildings, ships and graves, and I was able to use the historical resources there to trace my own ancestry back to the landing of the Acadians in the early 17th century. 
 
 
When I applied to work at the Elevators, for me it was a chance to delve into a new, unique sort of history that I’d had no exposure to; you just don’t come across too many grain elevators in rural New Brunswick!

My favourite part of the job has to be the tours, because visitors from both local areas and far-off places all seem to have such reverence for these places as symbols of the prairies, though few of them know how the elevators actually work. It’s so great to be able to see them looking around and getting a better understanding of this city’s past. 

The thing that most surprised me about working here has to be the gardens. When I thought ‘tour guide job’, wrestling with a persnickety wheelbarrow was not the first thing that came to mind! I’ll be glad to see these plants coming up at the end of the summer to show us our hard work paying off. 
My most memorable moments always happen when someone with a personal connection to the elevators – whether a farmer, a former employee or even a pilot who once used them to navigate the prairie skies – comes by. They have so many stories about the places that I can pass on to future visitors, and there’s no other way to uncover those stories otherwise. If – or, I should say, when – you drop by, be sure to look up the manlift or ladder shaft in the elevator. There’s no better way to appreciate just how huge these things are. And be sure to try a cookie!