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The Story of Bezanson’s Gazebo

“Bezanson is not a sub-division.  It is a townsite.  It is beautifully situated at about one hundred and twenty feet above the river of which it commands a magnificent view…..we intend to carry out the wide streets for streetcars every four blocks in the business section.” From “Looking Ahead in the Peace River County by A.M. Bezanson.

The Old Bezanson Townsite (Historical Preservation Society) Committee is a sub-committee of the Bezanson Agricultural Society. Their mandate is to preserve and promote the Heritage of the provincially registered Historic site (the Old Bezanson Townsite) on behalf of the Bezanson Agricultural Society, in partnership with the County of Grande Prairie No. 1 and preserve and promote the history and heritage of the Bezanson Community.

To showcase Bezanson’s rich history, a variety of fundraising endeavours have contributed to the creation of a gazebo that originally was intended to overlook the riverbank where the 3 rivers (Smoky, Simonette, Wapiti) converge at the OBT and where the beauty of the original townsite of Bezanson could be enjoyed by all.

This year the dream has come to fruition.  Jeremy with ForgeFire Metalworks designed and built this gazebo along with volunteers who helped maneuver this structure into place with their crane (Mammoet) and Doug Small for getting the groundwork ready for the installation and Blake Lange for the use of his gravel truck.

This beautiful masterpiece will be enjoyed by all who visit this gazebo and the history of Bezanson will begin to emerge in the spring so that all who visit the gazebo can also read the history of Bezanson and appreciate the dream and vision that A.M. Bezanson had for this community.  Mr. Bezanson’s dream for the original townsite died when the railway was rerouted to Grande Prairie but not through the Bezanson townsite.  People and businesses moved away to where the railway was being built. 

A.M. Bezanson was so disappointed with the loss of this vision that he enlisted in World War 1 and fought overseas.  Upon his return, he relocated his family to Pouce Coupe in 1931. 

The Old Bezanson Townsite Committee has experienced a disappointment with the original vision to install this historical gazebo at OBT.  Unfortunately, with circumstances beyond anyone’s control, the County of Grande Prairie had to make some difficult decisions to limit the hours that OBT is open to the public.  This historical gazebo has been installed in the hamlet of Bezanson on the Bezanson Ag grounds and while the river isn’t in view, there is still beauty around the gazebo and numerous opportunities to share the rich history of Bezanson and ensure that the history of Bezanson is not forgotten nor those who helped build this community to the vibrancy it is today.  While the dream has been changed somewhat, it didn’t die.  Please enjoy this gazebo next spring when it is open to the public and be reminded of the significance that a dream and vision brings to the creation of community.