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T.rex Discovery Centre undergoing changes

By Tim Kalinowski T

here’s a beautiful little town deep in the Frenchman River Valley out Ravenscrag way.

It’s a community which has long lived in fellowship with the natural world which surrounds it, and, for much of its history, drawn to it those of poetic soul, mind and temperament. A little river runs through this peaceful town. And the jagged white chalk hills surround the community in a way which embraces and cradles it.

When you enter the little town you will see new buildings and old buildings standing side by side, and local characters wearing cowboy hats sitting outside the corner cafe. Go a little further in and, on the hour, you’ll hear the soaring chimes of the Anglican church. Take a walk down the little town’s streets and you’ll find art galleries, playgrounds full of laughing children, and neighbourly coffee shops, bistros and diners. And, if the spirit takes you, you might even decide to spend a lazy afternoon with a line dangling in the water under an old willow tree watching the clouds move by.

This little town has a name. It’s Eastend, Saskatchewan.

Fossils discovered in the area are the main attractions in the interactive museum.

However, to most Eastend is not known for these wonderful things. Not known for its vibrant local arts community. Not known for its awe-inspiring natural

landscape or good old cowboy heritage.

It is known, mainly and predominantly, for its T.rex Discovery Centre.

Indeed, much of what has been built culturally in the community over the last twenty years is directly attributable to the thousands of visitors passing through town on the way to the T.rex Centre.

That’s why when the attendance numbers at the T.rex Centre began to slip the last few years the whole town, in a sense, began to feel its pain. Fewer tourists coming in left local artisans and artists with fewer potential buyers, and restaurants and businesses lost much of that regular injection of outside capital they needed to grow.

The one continuous source of revenue for the T.rex Centre through this difficult period was the Royal Saskatchewan Museum’s funding to operate its field station out of the Centre. It was a field station mainly dedicated the long process of unearthing and cleaning Eastend’s most famous resident— Scotty the T.rex.

With that work completed in 2012, the community-run T.rex Discovery Centre knew it was at an important crossroads. The Centre’s board decided to approach the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to see what could be done to work together to revive the facility. Eastend Mayor Alan Howard describes the situation as it

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