10 Years of Celebrating our Railway Ties!
Aspen Crossing opened its doors May 1st, 2004, with one greenhouse attached to a replica of a CPR Train Station, a Caboose and 3 staff members. The owner, Jason Thornhill, chose the train theme for his retail business, partly for his love for trains and also for the connection between CPR and horticulture.
History states CPR created beautiful gardens at some of their Railway Stations to show that the soil was fertile and to entice settlers to this new civilized country. In doing so many CPR agents became horticulturists and CPR greenhouses and research centers became a part of railway history.
By 2006 Aspen Crossing added another Greenhouse, a museum and a very unique gift store. We moved forward and chose our mission, “To provide the ultimate quality of product to our customers, using superior assistance, while preserving history of the railway, agriculture, and gardening. “
Aspen Crossing, in the last 10 years, has successfully grown and expanded into a rural destination. The business had to build and grow a unique shopping experience in a community of only 65 people, in an area that most had never heard of, or had any idea where it was located, and then convince these customers it was worth the drive.
One of Aspen Crossings best finds, and fitting to the theme, was an 1887 Pullman dining car. This treasure was once John Diefenbaker’s business car and also the famous Sidetrack Cafe in Edmonton. It now serves as a place for a great home cooked meal and in the evening people can enjoy the fine dining that the cars elite cliental from the past enjoyed. Finding it challenging to bring people out to the dining car during the winter, Aspen Crossing put together a one of a kind train themed dinner theatre. The theatre was such a hit, Aspen Crossing decided to do an entire season starting in fall 2010. The six dinner theatre productions not only sold out, but encore productions were necessary to meet the high demands. The dinner theatre will begin again for its 5th season in the fall 2014.
In the summer of 2010, Aspen Crossing completed the 85 site campground. The campground includes a shower house, laundry, convenience store in the venue of another replica railway station. We’ve also converted Cabooses into luxury cabins, which include a full size bed, kitchenette, living area, bathroom, fire place and a private deck & outdoor fire pit.
Looking back on our 10 years we’ve not only accomplished an immeasurable amount of growth, but have also been greatly recognized for it. In 2011 we were honored to receive SouthGrow’s ‘Growth and Expansion Award’ as well as the ‘Alberta Growing Rural Tourism Award’. Aspen Crossing has been featured in may magazines, newspapers, on Dragon's Den, Shaw TV, the Prairie Farm Report and CBC Radio. In 2013 our team also received ‘Marketing of the Year’ and ‘Excellence in Diversification’ from Vulcan Business Development.