Canal Flat’s lightning rod couple, Kelly Kask and Kate McLean, are at it again. The couple have sought opportunities to help the village flourish after moving here three and a half years ago. They bought the Flats RV Campground and gas station on the highway. In town, they purchased the old high school and converted it into a bohemian business venture before selling the building to businessman Brian Fehr (the man with the money and drive behind the Columbia Lake Technology Centre).
When they lived in Calgary, Mr. Kask and Ms. McLean built up a funky warehouse over years of salvaging and tearing down old barns, auditoriums, and other venues. They would uncover treasure troves of unusual items, take them back to their shop, and repurpose, display, sell, and collect the odd assortments they discovered.
The pair started hosting exclusive musical events inside their Calgary warehouse, with mezzanines packed and the floor filled with patrons of the arts. As the buzz grew about Reclaimed Trading Company, more and more businesses and individuals reached out to see if they could use the venue for photoshoots, music videos and more. It was a hit on the Calgary hip scene.
When they moved to Canal Flats, the couple relished the idea of restarting something similar. With eight seacans filled to the brim from their Calgary salvage days, alongside the wonderfully tall ceilings in the old high school gymnasium, the pair have redesigned it to be a funky music and events centre.
The Flats Venue & Stage is now open and ready to rock.
“We’re trying to bring that same vibe here,” said Ms. McLean, describing the space as eclectic industrial.
Their goal is to have a concert at least once a month, as well as open it up for other functions like wedding receptions, festivals, live theatre, dances, business parties and anything else people can dream up. They might even launch regular movie nights, including pizza from their on-site pizza oven they plan to install. They have some catwalks salvaged from the old Canfor mill and are hoping to turn them into a mezzanine around the border of the room.
“We had so much fun doing this in Calgary, we wanted to bring it here. We love music, and we think it brings people together,” said Ms. McLean.
The Flats Venue & Stage opened in time to host the Columbia Lake Technology Centre Christmas party, with 200 attendees and live music. They’ve had a few other events too, such as auctions and a keg night for Canal Days 2019.
The official kickoff for the Flats Venue & Stage is Saturday, July 6th. A 70s to 90s cover band, Sucker Punch, will be performing. Tickets are $15; doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, call 250-260-0134.