Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre places third in Next Great Save contest

Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre places third in Next Great Save contest
May 08, 2024

The landmark in Nanton, Alta., will receive $5,000 to use towards maintenance and preservation

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre (CGED) in Nanton, Alta. will come away with prize money in the Next Great Save contest.

After a three-week voting period which started on April 18, the community landmark placed third in the competition with more than 32,000 votes, earning a $5,000 prize.

“Of course we wanted to get first place, but the awareness that this contest raised about the centre and about the elevators is great too,” Leo Wieser, president of the CGED, told

The contest, administered by the National Trust for Canada, awards a total of $65,000 to communities to support local landmark maintenance and preservation.

Our Lady of Mercy Heritage Church in Aguathuna, N.L., placed first overall with about 60,000 votes and will receive $50,000.

Kirkland Lake, Ont.’s LaSalle Theatre and its roughly 50,000 votes placed second and earned $10,000.

At the CGED, the prize money will be used to support work being done by the University of Calgary.

The university’s digital archival library has scanned three of the centre’s five buildings to create 3D virtual models of the buildings.

“From those scans, we can do 2D plans, which allows our architect to get working on renderings and cost estimates for other projects,” Wieser said. “Then we should have a little bit left over to do work on the Alberta Wheat Pool building.”

Leading up to the final voting day, the CGED and the local community was very active online trying to gather support for the contest.

And those efforts are translating into donations, Wieser said.

“We’ve had people from many different communities ask how they can help and want to make donations to the centre,” he said. “We have no staff overhead, so every dollar we receive goes back into keeping these buildings up and in good shape.”

One of those vocal community members was Jennifer Handley, the mayor of Nanton.

She posted multiple times on social media about the contest and has had people reach out to her asking how they can help.

“People from all across the country have contacted me wanting to support the CGED and these buildings,” she said. “They’re so important to our community and to help share the stories of rural Alberta. Our goal is to keep these buildings up for as long as we can.”

Despite not winning the grand prize, this contest showed the power of community, Wieser said.

“Each one of the finalists in the contest are absolutely worthy of the grand prize,” he said. “And they were started by concerned citizens who care about their communities and want local landmarks to be around for future generations. That’s very powerful.”

Wieser also encourages others from across Canada to support the CGED.

“We’re based in Alberta but we’re the Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre,” he said. “If you’re passionate about agriculture or rural Canada, we’d love you to host a fundraiser and donate the money to us to help keep these buildings up. Or if you’re ever in this part of the country, please stop by because we’d love to have you.”

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