ALBERTA IS BORN:
Alberta became a Province in Canada in 1905, with a population at that time of about 100,000. Alberta is named after a Princess, the 4th daughter of Queen Victoria named ‘Louise Caroline Alberta’. The world-famous Lake ‘Louise’, designated as a ‘top ten most beautiful lake in the world’, is also named after the same Princess… she must have been very beautiful!
In the late 1800s, ranchers came north to Alberta from the USA, with their herds of cattle to set up what would soon be massive ranching operations in the foothills of southern Alberta, including one of the originals, the Bar U Ranch… designated today as a National Historic Site. Today Alberta is Canada’s largest beef producer (40% of total), with 4.7 million cattle and known as producer of the finest beef in the world.
The primary catalyst for population growth in Alberta were the railroads; connecting the main cities of Alberta in those days, Calgary, Lethbridge and Edmonton to points east and south. Those same railways later connected Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia, thereby forging and joining a “Nation from Sea to Shining Sea”.
About 40,000 homesteader grants were handed out between 1901 and 1905. All of this led to the first really big ‘wave of folks’ arriving in Alberta from all around the world, especially those from eastern Europe as well as people of English heritage. Its because most Albertans trace their heritage to immigrants that Canadian prefer to refer to the new arrivals to our nation as ‘New Canadians’.
Alberta was deeply impacted by the great depression, but during those very difficult years family, community and faith became greater priorities and as a result, a conservative version of a social gospel populist movement that resulted in the election of the Social Credit Party (SCP) in Alberta.
- The SCP stayed in power for a very long time (from 1935 – 1971)
- While the SCP is long gone from the political scene in Alberta, the conservative populism and culture of independence that arose in those days still runs deep today in Alberta.
On Feb. 13, 1947 a large oil discovery took place at Leduc (less than 10 miles south of the City of Edmonton), radically transforming the Alberta economy from almost entirely agriculture dependant to an oil and gas leaders, and one of the wealthiest and most dynamic economic zones in North America!
- With the oil boom a second wave of USA citizens moved to Alberta (most out of Texas)
- Alberta now boosts the third highest oil reserve in the world
- The oil industry has its ups and downs and for better or worse, Alberta has also become famous for its ‘boom and bust’ economic cycles.
- With every ‘bust’ Alberta is of necessity nudging more and more towards greater diversification towards economic drivers including tourism, technology, pulp & paper, intensified agriculture, education and manufacturing.
- As a measure of that diversification, the City of Calgary today boosts the second highest number of corporate head quarters in all of Canada, second only to Toronto, a city/ region 4 times higher than Calgary!
Today Alberta is vibrant, hard working and nature loving and we welcomes you to our Regions, Parks and Cities. We hope your stay with us will be EXTRAordinary!