Home Destinations Where to Discover Southern Alberta’s Past

Where to Discover Southern Alberta’s Past

by Karen Ung

You don’t have to be a historian to appreciate Southern Alberta’s rich history. Whether you are interested in First Nations’ history and culture, the fur trade, westward expansion of the railway, oil boom, or transition from horsedrawn carriages to automobiles, there are several awesome opportunities to discover the past. Plan your #BucketlistAB trip now and stay a night and see a sight!

Fort Whoop-Up in Lethbridge, Alberta
Discover the past at Fort Whoop-Up in Lethbridge, Alberta
Image Credit: Matt Bailey

Castle Provincial Park

Elder Margaret Plain Eagle, Castle Provincial Park
Elder Margaret Plain Eagle tells how she was born on these lands.
Image Credit: Chris Istace

Learn about the Piikani (formerly known as Peigan) people’s connection to Castle Provincial Park and how they are working together to manage Alberta’s newest park on ZenSeekers: Connecting to the land brings wow moments in Alberta’s new Castle Provincial Park.

“We welcome all people, no matter what race, because we are all brothers and sisters here.” – Jordan No Chief

For more information on local First Nations culture and history, sign up for a guided walk or interpretive program with Alberta Parks. We were fortunate to hear a Creation story, “a gift from the Blackfoot people,” and learn about edible plants on a snowshoeing trip in Castle earlier this year.

Frank Slide

Frank Side Interpretive Trail
On April 29, 1903, 90 million tons of rock fell from Turtle Mountain on the sleeping town of Frank.
Image Credit: Matt Bailey

Witness the power of nature at Canada’s deadliest natural disaster. In addition to visiting the renowned Frank Slide Interpretive Centre and watching their award winning short films, you can hike the interpretive trail through the boulders, or “Drive the Slide” to understand what happened when Turtle Mountain fell. Despite the huge loss of life caused by the slide, there are amazing tales of heroism and survival to be heard.

Read more on ZenSeekers: Come eye to eye with the power of nature at Frank Slide.

Remington Carriage Museum

Remington Carriage Museum
Remington Carriage Museum has ALL types of pre-motorized vehicles from farm vehicles to luxurious carriages.
Image Credit: Matt Bailey

Remington Carriage Museum is home to the world’s largest carriage collection. Check out carriages that have transported the likes of Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Trudeau, learn about the transition from carriages to horseless carriages (cars), visit the horses and see how they’re cared for, then go on a carriage ride. It’s a unique experience you can only have in Remington, Alberta!

See the full story on ZenSeekers: Romancing the past at Remington Carriage Museum.

Turner Valley Gas Plant

Turner Valley Gas Plant
The Turner Valley Gas Plant was Alberta’s first gas plant
Image Credit: Matt Bailey

“Explore the birthplace of Alberta’s petroleum industry” at Turner Valley Gas Plant, a national and provincial historic site. At Alberta’s first gas plant, only one hour from Calgary, you can tour the original buildings and discover the significance of Turner Valley’s oilfield (once Canada’s largest!).

Find out why you should visit Turner Valley Gas Plant on ZenSeekers: Where Alberta’s Oil Boom Began.


Fort Whoop-Up, Lethbridge
History comes to life at Fort Whoop-Up, Lethbridge
Image Credit: Matt Bailey

Lethbridge’s Fort Whoop-Up takes you back to the fur trade days and showcases how life was then for First Nations and European settlers. Located on the banks of the Old Man River, surrounded by coulees, the fort is also the perfect staging area for outdoor adventures.

The Galt Museum is another great place to learn about the area’s history. Here, you fast forward to the early 20th century and see the roles mining and farming have played.

Read more on ZenSeekers: It’s easy to experience the Old West in Lethbridge.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Learning how buffalo were hunted at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Image Credit: Matt Bailey
Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO World Heritage Site less than two hours from Calgary. Here, at the site of a buffalo jump used for thousands of years, is a state of the art interpretive centre which illustrates Blackfoot culture and history through displays, artifacts, and videos. For a one of a kind experience, sign up for a tour with a Blackfoot guide or attend a special event such as Drumming and Dancing on the Plaza.
Read about Matt Bailey’s visit to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump on ZenSeekers:

If You Go

Learn about these #BucketlistAB destinations (and many others!) at www.BucketlistAB.ca.

Visit Alberta Parks for more information on Castle Provincial Park.

Click on the Frank Slide website to start planning your trip and find other activities in the area.

Check out the Remington Carriage Museum to get planning your trip.

Learn more about the Turner Valley Gas Plant tour.

Go to Tourism Lethbridge for things to do in the area.

Check the Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump website to start planning your trip.

Canalta Hotels has partnered with a collection of destinations across Southern Alberta to save you money on local attractions: Stay a Night & See a Sight.

Visit Travel Alberta for more information on things to do and places to see in southern Alberta.

Where to discover Alberta's past
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Author Acknowledgements

Thank you to Chris Istace | Mindful Explorer and Matt Bailey of Must Do Canada for these great stories!

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