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St. Vital No. 1 fire truck being restored

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Leon St. Onge and Dave Wiebe sand the frame of St. Vital No.1, a 1939 Fargo pumper truck, at the St. Vital Museum.

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Leon St. Onge and Dave Wiebe sand the frame of St. Vital No.1, a 1939 Fargo pumper truck, at the St. Vital Museum. Photo Store

The St. Vital No. 1 fire truck currently being restored by the St. Vital Museum may be roadworthy by next spring.

Volunteer Leon St. Onge has spent countless hours removing the original motor, which is beyond repair, and searching successfully for a working motor for the 1939 Fargo pumper.
St. Onge and friend Dave Reimer are in the process of scraping the rust and oil from the frame in preparation for painting.

The fire truck is popular with children of all ages, adults included.

Another popular display at the museum, which opened in 2008 at 600 St. Mary’s Rd. and is getting busier every year, is one on the musical history of St. Vital, which features eight Guess Who gold records donated by bassist Jim Kale. Also on display are posters honouring Ray St. Germain, pianist Robbie McDougall, Juno award winners KEN Mode, guitar great Lenny Breau, and former Guess Who members Bill Wallace and Don McDougall.

The museum is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. but off-hour tours can be arranged by emailing info@svhs.ca. Admission is free but donations are accepted.

St. Vital will celebrate three important centenaries in 2014. Celebrating 100 years are the former fire hall which houses the St. Vital Museum, plus St. Mark’s Anglican Church and the Elm Park Bridge, more commonly known as the BDI Bridge.

Construction on the bridge began in 1912 and it officially opened two years later at a cost of $125,000. It replaced a pontoon bridge built in 1891 that allowed Elm Park residents to connect with Jubilee Avenue.

The toll to cross the newly built, 16-foot wide span was a nickel for pedestrians, 10 cents for cars and 25 cents for trucks. The toll taker was stumped in 1933 when George Gobert arrived with a herd of dairy cows driven from Brock Street. Gobert had purchased the cows when he and his brother Rene divided Flanders Dairy, the family farm. The toll for crossing the bridge was eventually settled at five cents per animal.

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