Iron Horse Park Celebrates 20 Years in Airdrie
Iron Horse Park, which is run by Alberta Model Engineering Society, is a volunteer, non-profit organization. They create, operate and maintain an 11-acre miniature railroad themed park in Airdrie. Some of their “miniature” locos actually weigh up to half a ton and pull some 30 passengers through grass lands, hills, bridges and tunnels along our 2.3 km track.
The Society was established in 1971 and operated in different locations in the Calgary vicinity. They have been in Airdrie since 1997, where they signed a 20-year lease which has now been renewed till 2027.
Iron Horse Park is completely volunteer run and they currently have approximately 70 registered members and volunteers.
How has your business grown or changed over the years?
Over the last 20 years we have converted our leased property from a former sewage lagoon into the beautiful park it is today. Thousands and thousands of man hours have gone into this park from our volunteers and some sponsors. Our facility provides:
- A nice outdoor venue for many non-profits to hold their social events, like the Scout & Guides, Boys and Girls Club and other groups, etc. free of charge.
- A significant green space in the community and have planted hundreds of trees. The park is also a refuge for lots of wildlife.
- A purpose for many volunteers and members to use their own skills (Carpentry, Machining, Electrician, Mechanical, Computer, Organizational skills, etc.)
- Many opportunities to help troubled youth complete their community service hours.
- Help to other non profits and charities with fundraising.
- And of course, a great place for its members to exercise their hobby and to run their trains.
When and how did you celebrate your milestone?
On August 29, we held a fundraiser for the Airdrie Food Bank, Veterans Fund. We donated all of our ticket sales revenue for the day ($1,600) and collected 660 lbs of food donations (valued at an additional $1,650).
What do you like about operating in Airdrie?
The Airdrie community has a very young demographic which is compatible with the product we offer. Although originally located on the “outskirts of town,” the community as grown and now surrounds our park. The park is also located adjacent to the CPR tracks which is very compatible with its theme.
What is your proudest moment or achievement?
It’s great to see all of the improvements we have made over the years. Building and adding new track, planting new trees, etc. We are well rewarded by seeing the enjoyment of our visitors. And we “break even” pretty well every year which is perfect for a non-profit such as ours.
What's next for Iron Horse Park?
Continue delivering our program for the enjoyment of the public and its members, add new equipment to provide additional variety and find ways to increase our availability to the Airdrie community.
Get connected with Iron Horse Park