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Rediscover Downtown with the Galt Museum

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The Galt Museum is excited to present a re-imagined Taste of Downtown, April 20.

Because of Covid restrictions, the Galt Museum opted not to hold a ‘Taste of Downtown’ for the past two years.


“The pandemic gave us the opportunity to re-imagine and redesign some of our events like ‘Taste of Lethbridge,” said Galt Museum Resource  Development and Volunteer Co-ordinator Chris Roedler.


The new event, “Rediscover Downtown’ has a few little changes, but the purpose of the event is still to not only help people  discover everything happening downtown, but also  to raise some money to update the Discovery Hall/ long term exhibit hall.


“We’ve moved the event up a few months to April, we have 20 different businesses participating and  we’ve increased tickets to 300 from 200,” Roedler summarized, adding if it is successful,  the Galt Museum would love to have the event multiple times a year instead of just once.


During Discover Downtown Lethbridge Festival, ticket-holders sample menu items at well-established and new restaurants and cafés, tour businesses and learn about the history of downtown historic buildings. This is a place where street culture will come alive, seeing the sidewalks of downtown teeming with community members of all ages, no matter what the weather has in store. 


“ The idea is not  to go and sit in a business for an hour and eat. People can stop by, see what they have to offer and  get  a free sample,” Roedler said, adding the Galt Museum is also offering their space to businesses who may not have a downtown location, but still want to be part of the event.


Participating businesses include Décor Out the Door, The Slice Bar and Grill, Seyyes Clothing, Purple Hippo Boutique, Mocha Local (and their various local suppliers), Mocha Cabana, Umami/Asian Supermarket, How Sweet Inc., The Sill and Soil, The Penny Coffee House, Naturistas, Urban Apothecary, Arise Coffee House, Infinitea, Downtown BRZ, Tourism Lethbridge, Standout Photography and 4 Elements Massage. Roedler noted there are a lot of businesses returning from previous Taste of Downtown events, but also a lot of new businesses participating,  some of which started during the pandemic.


“ They’re all within walking distance, so you can part at the Galt Museum or downtown and walk to them all,” he said.


 There will also be buskers performing  during the event, which will be happening 5-8 p.m, April 20.



Galt Museum showcases masks with Treaty 7 creativity in Breathe ( Second Wave)

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Masks are probably the last thing anybody wants to think about as the world is well into two years of  Covid 19, but they can be a beautiful thing, especially when they reflect Treaty 7 First Nations culture.

The Galt Museum presents a new travelling exhibit “Breathe (Second Wave),” until  the end of April.


Halli Heavy Shields speaks about the local contributions to Breathe (Second Wave) at the Galt Museum. Photo by Richard Amery

“ We have three remarkable exhibitions. They’re all individually crafted by  indigenous artisans,” said Chief Executive Officer / Executive Director Aaká óóhkotoki (Many rocks) Darrin Martens.

“ They’re all traditionally crafted mask demonstrating resilience in the twenty-first century,” Martens continued.


 The  exhibit features 50 masks designed by First Nations artists from all over Canada. There is leatherwork, a lot of traditional  bead work  and different masks including one  made out of Chinese take out menus. there is a quilt made entirely out of cloth masks as well.


Breathe is a travelling exhibit of artistic masks designed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists that explore the experience of navigating changing COVID-19 conditions.


It was inspired by Métis artists and co-curators Lisa Shepherd and Nathalie Bertin, who launched a Facebook group which now has over 2,300 members.

They issued a call for artists to submit artistic masks to the exhibition. The “first wave” of the exhibit has toured across Canada since 2020 and was shown in museums and galleries in Banff, Edmonton, Yellowknife and more. 


Galt Museum exhibit explores the influence of Geishas in Japanese culture

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The Galt Museum explores Japanese culture and pop culture with  a new travelling exhibition “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimono of Ichimaru,” which runs Sept. 25- Jan. 9.


Geishas to Divas runs at the Galt Museum from Sept. 25 to Jan 9. Photo by Richard Amery

“It’s an exhibit from Barry Till from the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. It’s been travelling for two decades,” said Graham Ruttan, Galt Museum Marketing and Communications Officer.

 “This exhibit tells the story of  Ichimaru,” he continued, noting  she  transitioned from geisha to pop diva in the 1930s.


Geishas have a long and honourable  history in Japan as entertainers and hostess/ courtesans. They were trained in many of the Japanese arts including music.


“ The local connection is there is a large Japanese Canadian community in Lethbridge,” he said, adding the Galt Museum has partnered with the Nikka Yuko Japanese Centre to bring this exhibit to Lethbridge.


 Ichimaru (1906-1997) was one of Japan’s most famous geishas of the twentieth century, who mastered singing and shamanism. She began recording music in the 1930s. One of her songs is part of the exhibit in a motion activated box.


“She was quite active from the 1920s to the 1980s,” he said.

There are several kimonos and a few Obi, long sashes wrapped around the kimonos. There are also some wood cut paintings plus personal effects  and wigs.


Exhibition Park introduces new website for virtual Home and Garden show

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As expected, due to Covid restrictions on large gatherings, the Lethbridge Home and Garden Show, originally postponed to April 7-11, is now pivoting to an online event.

“We’re not allowed in person events due to safety restrictions,” said Exhibition Park Marketing supervisor Mike Wurchterl, noting there will be an online directory to allow vendors to connect with their customers at

The online platform goes live on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, coinciding with the previously scheduled opening of the in-person Southern Alberta Home & Garden Show 2021, which will not be taking place this year due to indoor gathering restrictions.
Wurchterl noted there is an interactive  map to allow  visitors to locate businesses of interest closest to them.


New ice sculptures a highlight of Nikka Yuko's festival of lights

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The lights are staying on at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens for their annual winter lights festival.Lee Ross installs one of his ice sculptures at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens. Photo by Richard Amery
 Organizers were concerned new Covid measures would mean they would have to flick the off switch for their fifth annual Winter Festival of Lights..
 But the event will proceed as planned, including moving in new ice sculptures on Saturday, Dec. 12.

“We’ve been working with the City of Lethbridge and Alberta Health to work with these new restrictions,” said Nikka Yuko Marketing and Events manager, Melanie Berdusco, adding it has been a tough week, worrying about being  cancelled then having to  pull everything back together  again in a day to get things going.
“It’s one of the benefits of being an outdoor  event, so we’ve been working with Alberta Health Services. We’re excited to be able to do it,” she said.
“ There isn’t a lot to do anymore, so it is really important to the community,” she continued.

“And we’ve been sold out every night so far,” she continued.

Unfortunately Shakespeare Meets Dickens in the Garden as well as horse and wagon rides have been cancelled. Ticket buyers can still check out the  lights, but refunds are also available upon request.

Berdusco noted there are 167,000 lights for the fifth year of the event. There were 116,000 last year.
This year,  10 ice sculptures will be installed on Saturday, including three created by Calgary based artist Lee Ross of Frozen Memories as well as another seven  works from Lethbridge College Culinary Arts program students, for which Ross teaches an ice sculpture course.
“ We had eight, but one of them didn’t make it,” she said.

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