Portage Heritage Museum

The Museum Building Acquisition and Conversion

The Cranberry Portage Heritage Museum had accumulated a substantial Archival Collection consisting of artifacts and documentation of irreplaceable historical value. Originally these were stored by volunteers at various private locations throughout the community. Then the Museum succeeded in acquiring the historic Cranberry Portage Rail Station to house and display the collection publicly.

The Building Acquisition Committee consisted of Chairperson Rene Grenier, Dale Streamer and Richard Gibbons.

The mandate of the Committee was to research the alternatives and present the data to the public of Cranberry Portage for the purpose of of an informed decision on the location of the Cranberry Portage Heritage Museum's Archival Collection. With the acquisition of the old railway station, the next task was to renovate the station so that it can develop into a museum that is a major asset for the town.


The Cranberry Portage Heritage Museum Executive continues to work towards securing the former Cranberry Portage VIA Rail Station with the intent to transform it into the permanent home for the museum.

Negotiations with the American-based owners have been arduous; however, we are nearing the final stages. The Museum executive has secured the services of a lawyer to ensure that the complicated transfer of legal title and land transfer are accomplished without any problems.

Preparations are underway, that upon acquiring title to the land & building an application can be submitted to have the Museum centre designated as a provincial heritage site. Thank you to all the museum members for their past and continuing support in raising funds that will be necessary to repair and remediate the museum building for use as a proper facility to display the local history of Cranberry Portage and surrounding area.

How We Got To This Point


The Plan of Subdivision was registered and pursuant to a Transfer of Land executed by Hudson Bay Railway Company Title #2588790/3 issued on April 12, 2012 in the name of the CRANBERRY PORTGAGE HERITAGE MUSEUM CORP. covering Lot 1, Plan 522645 PLTO on which is situated the old CNR/HBR Railway Station building which, once restored, will house the Cranberry Portage Heritage Museum.

The Building Acquisition Committee consists of Chairperson Leonard Gluska, Dale Streamer and Richard Gibbons.

Richard G. Gibbons
President CPH Museum

The Station and the Task Ahead

Here are a few pictures showing the museum from the past and as it is at present.

The station in its heyday

Another view from that era

The kitchen

The stairs to the upper floor

The lobby and ticket counter

Ticket counter

Museum memberships for sale

Northern Technical Centre - Student Work Experience - May 26, 2013, & June 4,5, 6th, 2013

Six students from Frontier Collegiate Institute were hired to clean out the basement on May 23, 2013,

Mike O'Nabigon, Tessla Cook, Nick Shlachetka, Vanessa Turner, Ernest Bighetty, Edgar Bushie


Thank you for a job well done.

The old furnace has been removed from the basement, thanks to Don Brewer and Richard Gibbons.

On May 29th, Gordon Slade and ten other family members attended at Mary-Ann Playford's home for a luncheon meeting with the Directors. An update as to how the idea for the Museum originated was presented as well as our schedule for the restoration. The trust fund agreement was executed. Everyone then went over to the Museum for a tour to check out the progress being made.

Signed Trust Agreement - Gordon Slade & Richard Gibbons


Additional volunteers for the Museum Restoration Action Plan; Fund Raising Committee and Membership Committee are required and if anyone is interested in helping out or taking over a committee, please contact a board member. Your help is needed in order to make this project a reality and for the doors to open to the public.

VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED for paint scraping inside the building. Also later this summer, after the shingles have been replaced and eave-troughing has been completed, the outside of the building has to be repainted.

Contact any of the Board Members for all information regarding the Restoration Program. Your input and support is always appreciated.

Richard Gibbons - 472-3537Rene Grenier - 472-3543
Dale Streamer - 472-3222Sandra Buchberger - 472-3783
Mabel Brewer - 472-3031Sandra Erickson - 472-3696
Mary-Ann Playford 472-3470 or email


Work in progress - Fencing completed fall of 2012


On May 16, 2013 Wayne Hukulak from Community Places, The Pas and Lindsay Kolt, Housing and Community Development, Winnipeg attended at the Museum building to see the progress and provide the Board members with ideas and information regarding restoration of the building. As well Jeff Henderson came out to do some more checking regarding insulation required for the roof and walls.

The piping for the geothermal heating/ cooling system arrived on site and installation began the week of May 20th by Tom MacGowen of TMAC Geothermal out of Denare Beach, Sask. Ron Filuk and his men completed the trenching with a tracked excavator, a Cat 950Wheeled Loader & a small tracked 450 dozer to neaten up the job.

Five trenches were constructed each containing 800 feet of 1" polyethylene tubing. These are referred to as ground loops. The 5 ground loops are joined together by heat fusing them into manifolds (one manifold for each of the supply side & the return side of the ground loops) located in a central area known as a header pit . The two manifolds are then joined to 2" lines- one for supply & one for return which run through the Museums foundation to the furnace location. Once the geo thermal unit is installed the lines will be filled and pressurized to approximately 30 lbs. with an alcohol based product. Electric pumps will constantly circulate the solution through the ground loop system absorbing heat from the ground and releasing it through a radiator like heat exchanger in the unit inside the Museum. The air circulating through the heat exchanger will become warmed and fans will circulate the warmed air throughout the building as in a normal heating system.

Work in progress - Geothermal installation - 2013



May 26, 2013, & June 4,5, 6th, 2013



To help offset costs of Phase 1 of the Restoration Action Plan (RAP)

A claim was made for the completed work and we have received some of the federal grant money.


To offset part of the costs of Phase 2 of the RAP project


Mary Ann Playford and the hired work crew, Mike Barnhart, Jeff Bigetty, James DuBois, and Irvin Head have done an excellent job.



The insulation was all completed by Jeff Henderson of 24 Main St. Inc. Flin Flon. The numerous holes drilled for the blown in insulation have to be repaired and the mudding and sanding will be next. Thank you Jeff for donating your labour for 4 full days of work.

Korte, the duct work installer, has been there a couple of times and has the ducts ready to connect.

Mike Conners from Ultimate Carpet & Duct Cleaning Inc., The Pas has completed cleaning the old ducts. We will be sealing off the duct openings for now but at least it will all be ready to connect.

AND the basement is 99.9% dry. WOW


We have had some items donated:

Latest Fund Raiser draw date Aug. 4, 2013 ******The $100.00 worth of Scratch tickets were won by a local resident Delilah Brightnose. Thanks to all who purchased tickets. We raised $690.00 towards our restoration fund.


New shingles, refurbished windows, exterior paint job and eavestroughing - September-October, 2013

It has been a very busy and productive summer at the Museum and if you have driven or stopped into the building you have seen:

There is still a lot of work to do:

The Board of Directors would like to express their appreciation and give a special thank you firstly: to the work crew, Irvin Head (until he left for university), Jeffrey Bighetty, Mike Barnhart, James DuBois, and Bryton Bigelow, who have completed their jobs;

and secondly: to Mary-Ann for assuming the task of supervising and working alongside her work crew to get the jobs done. The work had to be completed in order to meet the grant deadline for some of the interior and all of the exterior work. She spent most days at the Museum as well as running around picking up supplies needed and keeping all of us updated with progress reports including most of which is reported above.

As Richard said, "I think we can all be proud of the effort we have put in to accomplish the work we have done since we started."

Submitted by Sandra Buchberger, Public Relations Officer


Interior restoration of the walls and ceilings continues, and once completed the interior will receive a fresh coat of paint. Then it's on to the floors. The geothermal heat is working, and the building temperature remains constant. In addition the bathrooms will be put in working order sometime hopefully this winter.

We appreciate the support of the community this past year and your continued support will bring this major project to completion.

Submitted by Sandra Buchberger, Public Relations Officer


2013 was a very busy year for the executive and we wish to express our sincere thanks to the community at large for all your support and hope it will continue into 2014. Much was accomplished during the past year and we hope that once the clutter and mess made with respect to the restoration is cleaned up the building will be accessible for public inspection. You will be amazed at the transformation that has taken place both inside and out.

Interior restoration of the walls and ceilings has been completed by Darrell Guest and he has almost completed the interior painting. We are in the process of obtaining quotes for the floor/woodwork restoration and plumbing of washrooms.

We wish to express our thanks to:

a) Tom Speary for his donation of time to build two frames for each basement window (one with glass and one with screens) for the basement windows that needed replacement. The museum supplied material, Richard and Rene installed the window frames and Mary Anne & the fellows from the community that worked with Mary Anne over the summer did the glazing.

b) Cranberry Town Foreman Darcy Rajszakowski who has been helpful in locating fittings for the roof fence repair, lending us the witching wand, help in locating the curb stops, survey pegs and water lines etc. as well as donating water meter repair parts for the town water supply.

c) Bob Huck who has been keeping the road to the gate plowed for us.

We are looking for someone interested in donating (or hire perhaps?) their time and talent for a couple of woodworking projects for the museum. This job entails construction and/or installation of a wooden handrail for the upstairs and a second (or could be included with the rest of the handrail project) is a newel post that would complement the current lower portion of banister also for the upstairs. The Museum would supply the material. If anyone is interested they could contact either Richard (204–472–3537) or Rene (204–472–3543) for the particulars.

Submitted by Sandra Buchberger, Public Relations Officer


As surely as spring is getting steadily closer, so too is the Cranberry Portage Heritage Museum continuing its transformation from an abandoned railway station to a valuable piece of local history.

Restoration projects slated for completion sometime later this year will renew the old station into the once beautiful building which will be an amazing addition to the town, one that we can all be proud and show off to visitors.

During February the Building Acquisitions and Maintenance Officer Mr. Rene Grenier and the Museum President Mr. Richard Gibbons have been putting in a good amount of volunteer time and worked hard to coordinate the smooth integration of the various professional contractors working on their restoration specialties.

Some project updates since the last newsletter are:

Thank you to some local residents who have called to say they would be willing to volunteer a few hours of help doing whatever they can. There are a great many small jobs left to be done before we can open to the public, so if you have some free time and would like to help with simple tasks like touchup painting were scraping and varnishing, window cleaning, etc. please give any of the museum executive of call and we can find something for you to do.

Richard Gibbons (204–472–3537)
Rene Grenier (204–472–3543)
Dale Streamer (204-472-3222)
Sandra Buchberger (204–472–3783)
Mabel Brewer (204–472–3031)
Sandra Erickson (204-472-3696)
Mary-Ann Playford (204-472-3470)

Submitted by Sandra Buchberger, Public Relations Officer


As in the past, we have posted pictures of the progress made in the restoration projects and although pictures do not do justice to all the work, it does give you a peek into the future completion.


Darrell Guest plastering the ceiling


Before: Stairwell


After: Stairwell


Before: Living Room


After: Living Room – woodwork still in progress


Ticket Waiting Room - Check out the floors


New washroom


Second Washroom


March was also a busy month with the following project completions:

A big thank you to Bob Huck for cleaning out the parking area by the Museum.  This is appreciated by all of the Executive as well as the contractors who have been busy at the Museum this past month.

A grant application was submitted to Northern Neighbours for archival preservation units to be used for the collection of pictures, books, newspaper articles, etc. and we have been approved. 


Work has continued steadily. As the Action Plan shows, and an impressive list of restorations hav been completed.

The Restoration Action Plan details the work done to date.

Room designations have now been made to provide a layout for museum displays.


Over the summer, work continued at the museum:

Volunteers Doreen Huck & Bonnie McGillivray put in approx. 37 hours each and worked very hard to put the old kitchen back to the way it may have looked back in the day. The living area used by the station manager and his family is now home for a couch and matching chair along with the dining room table which originally belonged to the Thompson family. Erin Ziehlke also did some work for the room upstairs that is being dedicated to the women of the community that acted as medical personnel and volunteer ambulance group. Shaylee Hodder did some volunteer work in the children’s room. The Resources Green Team cut the grass within the fence and Bill Taylor helped clean up after the grass was cut. All this was accomplished before the Trout Challenge weekend.

The custom-made new door for the main entrance into the waiting room arrived and was varnished and installed by Rene Grenier who also made and painted the door jambs. He was assisted by Danny Sinclair who donated his time to help install the door jambs. Rene has also made and installed a new varnished screen door in this entrance. Hand rails up to the second floor have been made and installed and Don Brewer designed and welded an extension of the hand rail as required by the Fire Commissioner. Rene was also assisted by Brighten Brightnose to complete the repairs to the window wells.