The diversion of the railway north to Edmonton may have dashed Mirror’s hopes of becoming the seat of government, but it may now lay claim to a new title, as the antique capital of Alberta.
It began simply enough as a hobby for Grace Smith, the proprietor of Gracie D’s Antiques. “It was a family tradition,” says Smith. “My grandmother had some antiques when I was a little girl, so it kind of became my quest to find items like hers when she was gone. I guess I found a few.”
Five years ago, she opened Gracie D’s Antiques. “In the beginning they were all special and I had a hard time parting with them,” she recalls. “‘Oh no, I can’t sell that.’ I had to learn to separate myself.”
It wasn’t long before the shop ballooned into a compound taking up several lots with 14 themed buildings in all and outdoor displays as well. Among her favourites over the years, Smith has acquired a number of pieces once owned by the late James Gadsby, one of Mirror’s most infamous (and beloved) early residents who made his reputation as an outrider for the Jesse James gang.
Just 10 minutes down the road in Tees, you’ll find another side of Alberta heritage - its agricultural roots. Greenhouses and gardens are everywhere. Stop in at Willow Lane Flower Farms for strawberries in July; find lush perennials, annuals and floral arrangements at PJ’s Plantations; or discover one-of-a-kind handcrafted garden decor and learn about plant arrangement and care at Tranquility Greenhouse.
And of course, there’s the rodeo grounds. As the social event of the season, the Tees Rodeo in August gives people from the county an opportunity to gather and celebrate the country lifestyle and catch some local talent in action.