With his acoustic guitar in tow, an award-winning Alberta historian is visiting communities along the Cowboy Trail to share songs and stories about the past during a Canada Day tour.
Alberta’s History Wrangler and Cowboy Trail ambassador Rob Lennard is embarking on a 15-stop Cowboy Trail tour to sing 150 songs in free performances starting at Calgary’s Bow Valley Ranche in Fish Creek Provincial Park, where he’s the director of education and outreach, and ending at Rocky Mountain House.
The Canada Day performances are part of the singer/songwriter’s 2017 Cowboy Trail and Beyond Tour that kicked off May 4 in Winnipeg.
“I love sharing history,” said Lennard last week. “The 15 stops represents a decade per stop. I always like a fun challenge. I anticipate my tour will be finished at around midnight.”
Lennard is known across the province as a historic storyteller, writing songs filled with Alberta’s rich past from ranching to oil and gas.
His song about the Canadian Pacific Railway made the Calgary International Folk Festival songwriting competition finals about five years ago. He is also a recipient of the Alberta Centennial Medal and Heritage Award.
Among the songs Lennard will sing while on tour on July 1 are YaHoo for the Bar You, about the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site, and Canada 150, a bilingual song about the diversity of Canada and its indigenous heritage. He will also sing a song about the Cowboy Trail that he wrote last summer to celebrate the unique communities along this historic drive.
“I’m so fascinated by Alberta history,” said Lennard. “I just find the fact that Alberta has only been around for 112 years and the ranching history fascinating.”
Among Lennard’s stops on July 1 will be the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site south of Longview at 1:30 p.m., the Longview Beef Jerky Store at around 3 p.m., the Eau Claire Distillery in Turner Valley at around 3:30 p.m., Marv’s Classic Soda Shop in Black Diamond at around 4 p.m., the Okotoks Museum and Archives at around 4:30 p.m., the View and Brew Bistro in Priddis at around 5:30 p.m. and Bragg Creek’s Cinnamon Spoon at around 6 p.m. before he heads north to communities like Cochrane and Cremona.
Having Lennard perform on the porch of the Okotoks Museum and Archives is a great addition to the community’s Canada Day celebrations, said museum specialist Kathy Coutts.
“It’s a wonderful venue for him to sing about history on the porch of a century-old house,” she said.
“I’ve heard some of his songs and he’s quite an entertainer.
“I think anybody coming down to see him and listen to him will have an enjoyable time.”
Coutts said she appreciates Lennard’s enthusiasm for Alberta’s history.
“He has a passion for history and loves to share it through his story telling and music,” she said.
“I hope people find the time on a very busy Canada Day to see him and hear him.”