Welcome to Alberta!
Written by Wendy Williams (a.k.a. Mom)
Alberta (also known as “Wild Rose Country”) joined Confederation and became a Canadian province in 1905. The awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains border the west of the province. Other landscapes include rolling hills, boreal forests and the dry lands of Drumheller. Oil sands are located in the regions of: Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake.
In the late 1800’s the province was home to several tribes of Aboriginal people: Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Sarcee, Slavey and Chippewan. The Hudson Bay Co. and Northwest Co. were fur traders who set up forts and brought metal tools, weapons and supplies.
Horses were introduced from Spanish Mexico and became an important means of hunting for the Aboriginal people. The North West Mounted Police founded their first fort at Ft. Macleod.
As the Canadian west opened up, Black farmers from the United States came north and settled in Amber Valley, Alberta. John Ware was a legendary cowboy who, being freed from slavery, made his way to Alberta in 1882, eventually settling near the community of Brooks. The historical novel High Rider, written by Bill Gallaher, is based on John Ware's life.
The Canadian Pacific Railroad and Canadian National Railway were instrumental in bringing waves of European (and later Asian) immigrants and opportunists to settle in Alberta. Some present day ethnic groups are: Aboriginal, English, Canadian, German, Scottish, Irish, French, Ukrainian, South Asian, Chinese and Filipino.
Many communities celebrate their culture and heritage through local festivals of singing, dancing and acting. The larger centres offer a wide variety of participation and entertainment for discerning audiences.
Some of the major industries include: oil and gas, agriculture, salt, clay, iron ore, and uranium. The agricultural scene includes grain growing and large cattle ranches. Real cowboys still ride the range checking cattle.
A few famous people from Alberta are: singer- K.D. Lang, actor- Michael J. Fox, actress- Jill Hennessy (Law and Order) and computer scientist-Kenneth Iverson.
Tourists enjoy numerous historic sites, natural boreal forests, lakes, varying scenic landscapes, museums, local celebrations and ethnic foods. Some visiting highlights include: the capital city of Edmonton, the annual Calgary Stampede, and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in the Badlands of Drumheller for the outstanding dinosaur fossil exhibits. Red Rock Coulee is worth a stop for the area of sandstone concretions that look like an alien landscape. Notable National Parks that deserve time in Alberta include Waterton Lakes, Banff and Jasper.
Take time to tour Wild Rose Country.