History, Community, and the World’s Largest Softball Chauvin, Alberta

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Hi, my name is Val Gramlich and I’m a Municipal Councillor for the Village of Chauvin. I’ve lived in Chauvin all my life and I was born and raised on a farm north of town. After moving away for a bit, I returned and raised my family here. If you enjoy the quiet life, Chauvin is definitely a place for you. We enjoy the benefits of living in a small rural community with amenities that urban life has to offer.

People often ask about the giant softball. Back in the 1970s, Chauvin played host to June Jamboree Days, which was a three-day ball tournament that drew teams from throughout Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan. The teams and their families would camp in Chauvin and the population quite often tripled during the event. It was a great event for the community and it required a lot of volunteers.

To honour that event, one of our local artists designed and painted Suzie the Softball. She has become the mascot for our community and you’ll see her as you enter on the west end of town. Softball played an important role in this community. Every little town in the area had a team and the fans enjoyed going out for the regular league games or to the tournaments that were held every weekend. We don’t have a team in Chauvin anymore, but fortunately, the sport has is alive in some of our neighbouring towns.

Suzie the Softball of Chauvin

While we don’t have June Jamboree Days in our village anymore, we have a local Elks group who are very active in promoting the community. They have a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, a soap box derby for the kids on Father’s Day weekend, and a barbecue steak supper with live entertainment in the fall to kind of wrap up the harvest. They also have a Christmas kids market where the kids can go do their Christmas shopping. The Village Council hosts a Christmas Open House every year. Residents are invited to mix and mingle, take a tour of our fire hall, and just get to know everyone on a first-name basis.

One of the other events that our community hosts every four years is the Fire N Wheels Motorbike Rally. This is an event that rotates between the various villages within the M.D. of Wainwright, as well as the town of Wainwright. It’s a motorbike rally that includes a show and shine, live music, and a live and silent auction. It’s basically a fundraiser for the local fire departments of Chauvin, Edgerton, Irma, and Wainwright. It’s a fantastic event!

If people wish to camp in our area, we have a Kings Park Campground. It’s located by the water tower and it offers full-service sites. There are picnic tables, camp stoves, and some outdoor exercise equipment. There are other campgrounds within the M.D. of Wainwright like Arm Lake, Clear Lake, and Riverdale Mini Park. Southeast of Chauvin is Salt Lake, also known as Reflex Lake. This lake has been a popular spot for Chauvin residents since the 1920s. There are currently several cabin owners on the lake, and it does provide overnight camping as well as a picnic area for travellers. Dillberry Lake is a provincial park in Alberta, although the lake does straddle the Saskatchewan border. It offers camping facilities for overnight campers and for those looking for longer stays as well. It’s known for its clear water and is a popular spot for powerboating, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. It’s also a great spot for wildlife and birdwatching. In winter, people enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing on the lake.

The Chauvin Museum is located on 1st Avenue in the southeast corner of the village and is the former site of St. Aubins Catholic School. The museum was established in 1981 when a group of volunteers got together and decided that we needed to have a place to house some of the artifacts and the history of our community. We are also very fortunate to have an original one-room schoolhouse on the property, as well as a little cottage, which might eventually depict what life was once like in this area. The museum is open occasionally throughout the summer, and it’s a work in progress, but it’s awesome that we have the artifacts that we do.

“The residents take pride in their community, and I think it shows. We try to provide a safe place for people to live, to work and to play.”

Val Gramlich, Municipal Councillor – Village of Chauvin

My favourite local shop is the local greenhouse, Chauvin Gardens. It’s such a relaxing and soothing place to visit, especially when the plants are blooming. The owners are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful people. A hidden gem in our community is the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. As you enter from either direction into Chauvin, you’ll notice the tall steeple. For those of us that live here, it’s a welcome sign letting you know that you’re home. It was built in 1917 and although it’s not in service these days, it does provide a wonderful place for weddings.