Having received a $1,000 grant through Hometown Manitoba, the Rossburn Chamber of Commerce is building on the community’s adopted ‘black bear’ theme, by installing metal black bear symbols measuring 22" x 22.5" on various street signs throughout the town.
“The symbols will match the bear on the two community entrance signs that were installed along Highway 45 last year,” said Thomasina Charney, Rossburn Economic Development Officer. Initiated by the Rossburn Community Development Corporation, the sign project which was assisted by a Parkland Community Futures grant, will be further improved upon this fall with the implementation of solar lights.
Charney said the light project, which is estimated to cost $2,700, is being cost-shared 50/50 by the Town and Rural Municipality of Rossburn.
Community needed a symbol
As a way to create awareness and recognition, Rossburn turned its attention to the area’s black bear population in 2008, after the idea of creating a theme was mentioned numerous times at community development meetings that Charney as economic development officer had attended over the previous two years.
The general concept was that just like Russell has a bull, Onanole an elk, and Glenboro has a camel, Rossburn needed something to call its own. Upon hearing the story about a famous black bear named ‘Duke’ and the story which was published in an old issue of the Equinox about the black bear population in the area, Charney was on board to promote and build on black bears in the world as the community’s theme.
As a tribute to ‘Duke’ a committee is aiming to erect a statue in a natural setting within the Town of Rossburn limits. The massive bear weighed 812 pounds at the time of being found dead – murdered for only his gallbladder – in Riding Mountain National Park in 1992.
“The black bear monument project is a big one with a big price tag,” said Charney. “Our small committee doesn’t have the support of council at this time, but the vision is still alive and well. We’re keeping on top of funding programs that fit and we’re doing what we can to bring attention to the project.”
Seeing other successful projects taking place in town that build on the black bear theme, Charney is hoping someday a monument or statue will be the next logical step.
Along with implementing the symbols on the sign posts, the Chamber – a catalyst of community members and businesses working together for the benefit of Rossburn and surrounding area – is also very active in building on ideas to promote the theme. Enhancing the theme – small or large – requires the support of many facets.
“We’re grateful for the funding programs available that support exactly what we’re trying to do which is to build awareness and recognition of our community,” said Charney.