Visiting the Galt Museum and Archives, Lethbridge, Alberta: Housed in the Former Galt Hospital, Completed 1910
Striking Neoclassical features
In Lethbridge, Alberta, what is now the Galt Museum and Archives (1) is housed in the striking Neoclassical building which formerly housed the Galt Hospital. This structure was commenced in 1908 and completed in 1910. This building replaced an earlier facility dating from 1891. At its inception, Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, coming towards the end of a long period in office, presided over the hospital's inauguration.
To give it its complete former name, the Sir Alexander Galt Hospital (2) served its original function until 1955. After care facilities were somewhat restricted from this date, the building continued to serve as a rehabilitation centre until 1964.
The Hospital was originally built particularly to serve local people who worked at the Alberta Railway and Coal Company, of which the Galt family were founders and owners.
Neoclassical features include an entrance way pediment and several pilasters at the same elevation. The clean lines of this partly brick and partly sandstone structure give these Neoclassical features clarity. The building's cornice is notably ornate.
Today, the Museum contains over 17,000 items and over 1 million documents, with strengths in local history (3). Particular strengths of the Museum's collection include sections on coal mining and on the Blackfoot culture of First Nations. The adjacent Museum Grounds contain a large variety of grasses and wildflowers.
The building has been entered into the Alberta Register of Historic Places. It thus effuses memories of a long-gone era of Western Canada, when the Province of Alberta was still in its infancy.
The Galt Museum and Archives — my visit to which was all too short — are situated at 502 1 Street South Lethbridge, Alberta.
August 30, 2019
(1) See also: https://www.galtmuseum.com/about
(2) Among other roles, Sir Alexander Galt (1817-1893), one of the architects of Confederation who was notably involved in railway interests and irrigation projects in Southern Alberta, at various times served as the Dominion (Federal) Government's Finance Minister, and Canadian High Commissioner in London, England (Interestingly, Sir Alexander Galt, while serving as Canada's representative in London, managed to annoy the British Government because he "dared" to negotiate trade issues with French and Spanish officials. Thus, in a benign way, he is remembered as a historical figure who quietly undermined British Imperialism.) He is particularly noted locally as the founder of Lethbridge. Soon after the opening of the Hospital, named for Sir Alexander Galt, came the cataclysmic events of World War One; the Government of Canada continued in stages to become more independent; and the custom of conferring knighthoods on prominent personalities ceased.
Also worth seeing
In Lethbridge, notable sights include Henderson Lake; the Japanese Gardens; the record-breaking High Level Bridge, dating from 1909; dining in the Water Tower Restaurant; and many others.
Nanton (distance: 121.4 kilometres); the Air Museum commemorates Canadian aviators of Bomber Command during World War Two; the Museum notably possesses a Lancaster bomber. There are various well appointed antique shops close by.
Waterton (distance: 124.6 kilometres): this outstandingly scenic location - part of Warterton-Glacier International Peace Park - has striking views from the much photographed Prince of Wales Hotel over the often snow-capped Rockies and the Waterton Lakes.
How to get there
Air Canada, flies to Lethbridge Airport, via Calgary, 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, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent. Please 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.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting the High Level Bridge, Lethbridge, Alberta: of its type the highest and longest in the worl
High indeed, and long: nowhere in the world is there another of its type as high and as long.
- Visiting Calgary, Alberta: Viewing Beaulieu Gardens, Calm Oasis in Alberta's Furious, Dynamic and Fa
Living up to its "beau lieu" name, this City of Calgary park is terraced, with many species of flowers and plants. This most peaceful place is located in the Beltline neighbourhood of Alberta's furious, dynamic and fastest growing city.