We have recently received our Concept walkthrough plans that were put together by Alberta Stonemasons Council. As these are the initial concept and first draft of the site these plans are subject to change and with any large scale building operation this is an integral part of the evolution of the site.
The settlement is based on the La Couvertoirade commune in the Aveyron department in southern France.
This well-preserved fortified town was owned by the Knights Templar, under orders from the Commandery of Sainte-Eulalie, from the twelfth century. The Templars built the fortress there during the 12th and 13th centuries; its two upper floors have since been removed. Following their dissolution in 1312, the Templars’ property in the causses was taken by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who were responsible for building the curtain wall at La Couvertoirade between 1439 and 1450.
Like other Larzac villages, the population fell rapidly in the 19th century, to as few as 362 by 1880. Today, it is largely inhabited by craftsmen working with enamel, pottery, weaving and similar crafts.
We are often asked the question: “Where did the idea for Alberta Medieval come from?”
The answer is a bit of a story.
I was young in the St. Lawrence seaway area. Everywhere one turned, there was the evidence of history. The history of the First Nations, the history of English and French explorers. The history of growing pains as a new nation found its feet and began to define itself. Upper Canada Village was less than an hour away and I can recall many trips and experiences there.
But the real foundation of a dream came during teenage years in Nova Scotia.
Fortress Louisbourg was not far from home for us and we made many visits to this amazing site. I am in my fifties now, but I still remember the impact that the staff and experiences at the Fortress left me.
I still remember the sound of the shuttle on the loom and the feel of the tension of the warp. I remember how it felt when the tools were placed in my hands and, suddenly, I was carding raw wool. I recall the smell (not the most pleasant!!) of the wool being washed and dyed. I felt that I could clearly imagine what it was like to live during that time. It sparked a love, not only of history, but of weaving that remains to this day.
It was not so long ago, it seems, that I learned about Guedelon Castle, in France. Now, as an adult, I could look back upon a lifetime around historical reenactors, historians and hobbyists. All of the skills that I had acquired over the course of a life-time almost seemed to have been a path that lead to this place. Together with other members of a dedicated team, we could bring a love of hands-on learning to a whole new generation. We could bring history to life.
We can do that.
We have Alberta know-how. We are Alberta strong. We are Alberta creative.
It didn’t need to be someone else’s dream. It didn’t need to be something happening in another country.