FERNIE, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 23, 2015) - Department of Canadian Heritage

David Wilks, Member of Parliament (Kootenay-Columbia), today announced funding of $30,375 through the Museums Assistance Program to the Fernie and District Historical Society, which manages the Fernie Museum. He made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

This investment will enable the Society to produce and circulate the travelling exhibition An Immigrant Story: The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello. The exhibition will examine the historical context of Emilio Picariello, a local Italian immigrant businessman during Prohibition, and his influence on communities in southeastern British Columbia and Alberta.

Quick Facts

  • An Immigrant Story: The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello will open at the Fernie Museum on September 19, 2015 and run until January 6, 2016. It will then begin travelling around British Columbia and Alberta.
  • The Fernie and District Historical Society was founded in 1964 with a mission to preserve and present history in the area through collecting and exhibiting photographs, documents and artifacts.
  • In 2010, with support from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, the Society undertook a major renovation project of two distinctive historical buildings in downtown Fernie. In 2013, the Fernie Museum officially opened to the public in this new permanent location.
  • The Museums Assistance Program provides funding to Canadian museums and related institutions for projects that foster excellence in museum activities and that facilitate access to the treasures of our collective heritage.


"Our Government recognizes the important role that institutions like the Fernie Museum play in preserving and telling the stories that make up Canada's collective history. As we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, museums will have an even more important role to play in championing our heritage and the people, places and events that have made our country into what it is today: strong, proud and free."

-The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

"The Fernie Museum plays a crucial role in telling and preserving the stories of southeastern British Columbia and Alberta, while offering residents and visitors an opportunity to learn about the unique local history of the area. We are proud to support museums as connectors of people and communities, and gatekeepers of culture and heritage. I am excited to attend this exhibition and proud that other communities will have the chance to host it as well."

-David Wilks, Member of Parliament (Kootenay-Columbia)

"The mining communities of the Elk Valley and the Crowsnest Pass were built on the backs of hardworking immigrants. The majority worked as miners, but some, like Emilio Picariello, became successful entrepreneurs. The story of Picariello from immigrant to entrepreneur to bootlegger to convicted murderer is one of the fascinating stories of the region. We are pleased that the grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage provides us with an opportunity to share this story with not only the communities along the Rum Runner Trail, but with all Canadians."

-Ron Ulrich, Director-Curator, Fernie Museum

Associated Links

Fernie Museum

Museums Assistance Program

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Contact Information:

Marisa Monnin
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
and Official Languages

Anna Gravelle
Regional Communications Manager
Canadian Heritage
Western Region

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage