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Visiting Claresholm, Alberta: Skyline and Historical Landmarks

Updated on January 30, 2020
Provincial flag of Alberta
Provincial flag of Alberta | Source
December Sunset in Claresholm, Alberta
December Sunset in Claresholm, Alberta | Source
Claresholm Water Tower
Claresholm Water Tower | Source

Physical and metaphorical landmarks

Water towers not being unusual sights especially in Western Canada, the water tower at Claresholm, Alberta has stood empty for over 30 years.

However, because it dates from 1909/10 (1) and had become part of the local landscape for so many decades, the local authorities were loath to remove it. Indeed, the structure — usually kept painted silver, although originally painted black — has come to be somewhat symbolic of Claresholm. The water tower is thus a landmark which looms large as travellers across Southern Alberta's largely treeless Prairie landscape close to the foothills of the Rockies approach the locality. Formerly the tower stored water pumped from Willow Creek for the needs of the local population and industry.

Claresholm was also formerly known as a stop on the Canadian Pacific Railway; and for its military air base, used in Word War Two under the Commonwealth Air Training program and subsequent to World War Two also.

Prominent local personalities have included Louise Crummy McKinney, MLA (1868-1931), who served in the Alberta Legislative Assembly from 1917 until 1921, and was prominent in a number of causes including Temperance (see photo, below). Elected as a member of the Non-Partisan League, which later merged with the United Farmers of Alberta, Louise McKinney was noted as one of the Famous Five in the Persons Case.

At a time when Louise McKinney had already served in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, she joined Emily Murphy (who had served from 1916 as a magistrate), Nellie McClung and Irene Parlby (both of whom served from 1921 as Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta), and Henrietta Muir Edwards (co-founder of the Victorian Order of Nurses and very prominent in leading Canadian women's organizations) in a case which challenged the blocking by Canadian courts of Emily Murphy from being appointed to the Canadian Senate on the grounds that she was a woman. This decision was in principle reversed in 1929 by the Judicial Committee of the United Kingdom Privy Council. Although in the event Emily Murphy was subsequently not formally appointed to the Senate by the Government of Canada, she along with Louise McKinney and the other Famous Five were much later posthumously declared Honorary Senators.

January 30, 2020


(1) See also:

Louise McKinney, World's Women's Christian Temperance Union Certificate awarded to Louise McKinney, 1910
Louise McKinney, World's Women's Christian Temperance Union Certificate awarded to Louise McKinney, 1910 | Source

Also worth seeing

In Claresholm itself, the former railroad station now houses Claresholm and District Museum, containing rail artifacts and other items including those relating to Blackfoot and military history.

Nanton (distance 41.2), the Air Museum particularly commemorates the contribution and sacrifice of the many Canadian aviators of Bomber Command during World War Two; the Museum notably possesses a Lancaster bomber, with its Rolls Royce Merlin engines in working order, and a decommissioned jet from the Snowbirds air demonstration team. Also in Nanton; a grain elevator has been turned into a local museum; the MacEwan Schoolhouse of 1906 serves as a tourist information centre.

Calgary (distance: 132.3 kilometres); the Calgary Tower, Lougheed House National Historic Site and Museum, the annual Stampede, the Glenbow Museum and Prince's Island Park are just a few of the many visitor attractions in this fast-growing city.

Waterton (distance: 130.7 kilometres): this outstandingly scenic location - part of Warterton-Glacier International Peace Park - has amazing views from the historic Prince of Wales Hotel over the often snow-capped Rockies and the Waterton Lakes.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Calgary International Airport (distance from Claresholm: 142.6 kilometres), with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Location of Claresholm, Census Division No. 3, Alberta
Location of Claresholm, Census Division No. 3, Alberta | Source

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