Channels
× Select City
×
×
×
Canada 150, History, Photos, Events

Canada 150: Strathmore, from tiny hamlet to boom town (PHOTOS)

Canada 150, History, Photos, Events

Canada 150: Strathmore, from tiny hamlet to boom town (PHOTOS)

934b8bf0c8e2a9efe392a5c724fd7ec5?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Guest Author Jul 01, 2017 12:55 pm 100

Story by Andrew Farris, Founder and CEO of the On This Spot historical then-and-now photo app.


The On This Spot app offers you a guided tour of historic photo spots in your area and allows you to create your own then-and-now photo mash-ups as you walk around.

Now, in partnership with the Western District Historical Society, we are marking Canada 150 by unveiling three walking tours and hundreds of photo opportunities in Strathmore, a 40-minute drive east of Calgary.

Celebrate Canada 150 with the On This Spot app by discovering Strathmore’s history and creating your own then and now photos! Share them on Instagram with the #onthisspot hashtag.

King Edward Street in 1912

An early shot of Strathmore's main street in 1912 (Glenbow Museum and Archives/On This Spot)

An early shot of Strathmore’s main street in 1912 (Glenbow Museum and Archives/On This Spot)

An early shot of Strathmore’s main street. On the right is the King Edward Hotel, centerpiece of the town’s social life, while hardware stores, stables, banks and churches further up the street served the farmers in the surrounding area.

At Strathmore’s incorporation as a town in 1911, the population stood at 520. After that initial burst of growth, the town’s size and shape were set down. It would change remarkably little for over 50 years.

Stampede Parade in the 1920s

Ray Buker and Margaret Keeler, winners of the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl in the Strathmore Stampede in the 1920s (Strathmore History Book Committee/On This Spot)

Ray Buker and Margaret Keeler, winners of the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl in the Strathmore Stampede in the 1920s (Strathmore History Book Committee/On This Spot)

Ray Buker and Margaret Keeler, winners of the best dressed cowboy and cowgirl in the Strathmore Stampede, take part in the Stampede Parade down Main Street, past the Union Bank.

The brick-built Bank, prefabricated in British Columbia and shipped to Strathmore by rail, is the only prominent commercial building to survive from Strathmore’s early days.

The harsh climate, frequent fires, and economic downturns took their toll on the remainder of Strathmore’s wooden businesses buildings.

Stampede Parade in 1930

A fire engine drives down Main Street in Strathmore for Stampede Parade in 1930 (Strathmore History Book Committee/On This Spot)

A fire engine drives down Main Street in Strathmore for Stampede Parade in 1930 (Strathmore History Book Committee/On This Spot)

A fire engine bedecked with Union Jacks drives down Main Street as part of the Stampede Parade.

Snow in 1916

Doctor John Giffen in front of his office after a great snowfall in 1916 (On This Spot)

Doctor John Giffen in front of his office after a great snowfall in 1916 (On This Spot)

Doctor John Giffen in front of his office after a great snowfall in 1916.

The cenotaph in 1925

The final unveiling of the cenotaph in Strathmore in 1925 (Glenbow Museum and Archives/On This Spot)

The final unveiling of the cenotaph in Strathmore in 1925 (Glenbow Museum and Archives/On This Spot)

The final unveiling of the cenotaph in 1925. Strathmore is remarkable because every single eligible man who lived in the town enlisted in the military almost right away at the outbreak of war in 1914, the only place in Canada where this happened.

The cenotaph in 1926

The cenotaph in Strathmore in 1926 (Strathmore History Book Committee/On This Spot)

The cenotaph in Strathmore in 1926 (Strathmore History Book Committee/On This Spot)

On the cenotaph are inscribed the names of 35 of Strathmore’s sons who never returned from the First World War.

Behind it is a German field gun that was one of thousands captured at the end of the war and hauled back to Canada to be put on display in every corner of the country.

Most of them were melted down during World War II to make new weapons. After that war, another plaque was added to the bottom with the names of those who died in the Second World War.

Demonstration Farm in the 1920s

A view of the Canadian Pacific Railway's farm in Strathmore in the 1920s (Town of Strathmore/On This Spot)

A view of the Canadian Pacific Railway’s farm in Strathmore in the 1920s (Town of Strathmore/On This Spot)

A view of the Demonstration Farm with huge lettering on the barn’s roof visible to passengers on passing trains.

The trains would stop by to take on fresh supplies, grown at this Canadian Pacific Railway-owned farm, for their cross Canada journeys.

The farm was a key part of Strathmore’s early years, but the CPR was shattered by the Depression of the 1930s and couldn’t afford to continue running it. It was sold off in 1944.

Battered by the rising popularity of the automobile, eventually the railway through Strathmore itself was shut down.

While the railway and the demonstration farm were so crucial to Strathmore’s development, today there is little obvious trace there were ever there.

Work crew in 1914

A work crew heading out to do irrigation work in 1914 (Town of Strathmore/On This Spot)

A work crew heading out to do irrigation work in 1914 (Town of Strathmore/On This Spot)

Though the landscape has been completely reshaped into a strip mall, this is – within a few metres – where the original photographer was standing when they took this photo.

It shows a work crew stating out from the headquarters of the Western Irrigation District to build the sprawling irrigation system.

Main Street in the 1980s

Cars are parked outside the businesses along Main Street in the 1980s (Town of Strathmore/On This Spot)

Cars are parked outside the businesses along Main Street in the 1980s (Town of Strathmore/On This Spot)

Cars are parked outside the businesses along Main Street.

Through booms and busts, wars, new technologies and social change, for the most part Strathmore changed surprisingly little from incorporation in 1911 to the date this photo was taken.

The population barely grew, the town expanded little, and people by and large went about their lives. The Alberta oil boom of the 1970s changed all that.


The On This Spot app offers you a guided tour of historic photo spots in your area and allows you to create your own then-and-now photo mash-ups as you walk around.

On This Spot is expanding across Canada and partnering with universities to create coops for history majors who want to help write walking tours for the app.

If you are a history major interested in working with On This Spot, get in touch at [email protected]

To download the app for Android or iPhone, for more info or to contact Andrew, check here:


934b8bf0c8e2a9efe392a5c724fd7ec5?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Guest Author
Guest posts are welcome to Daily Hive. Send in your thoughts: [email protected]

© 2017 Buzz Connected Media Inc.