WINNIPEG — It wasn’t your usual ribbon-cutting ceremony at Assiniboine Park Zoo on Wednesday. This one was unique.
Hooked up to a carriage, two horses rode out of the new McFeetors Heavy Horse Centre to break the ribbon and mark the ceremonial opening of the building.
The centre, through a $2 million donation by Ray McFeetors, will allow visitors to experience barn tours and learn about the pioneer era of Manitoba’s history, when heavy horse power was relied on in industries such as agriculture, forestry, mining, and road construction.
“Heavy horses were once as common and vital to farming as tractors are today,” said McFeetors, 71, the former chairman and CEO of Great-West Life.
“As one who grew up in that era, it’s my privilege to support this exhibit celebrating Manitoba’s agricultural past and to help today’s families experience rural life how it once was.”
The new exhibit is 4.7 acres and located in the northern area of the zoo. It will be home to four Percheron horses year-round and includes a barn, pastures, paddocks and a carriage shed.
Wagon rides will be offered in the summer months and sleigh rides in the winter for $3 per person.
The exhibit will open to the public on Friday, August 28 at 9 a.m.