Visiting Fort Macleod
Take a walk through the history of Southern Alberta all in one community!
In 1874, the North West Mounted Police established their first western outpost on the Oldman River in what is now the Town of Fort Macleod. A vibrant community grew to service the needs of the "Mounties". Fort Macleod's downtown core is Alberta's only designated Provincial Historic Area. Over thirty historically and architecturally significant buildings can be enjoyed on a self-guided walking tour through town. Shopping in this historic setting is a joy for visitors and residents alike.
The Town boasts many attractions. Besides the Fort Museum of the NWMP and the historic Empress Theatre, Fort Macleod has a challenging nine-hole golf course, a River Valley Wilderness Park that has been set aside for the pleasure of bird watchers, naturalists, hikers and fishermen. The Town also boasts many unique shops and restaurants.
Provincial Historic Area
Fort Macleod, founded in 1874 with the arrival of the North West Mounted Police, experienced three periods of building growth and development until 1914. First the settlement at the original island site from 1874 to 1883. This followed by a period of relocation to the present site during the 1880's due to the persistent flooding of the island. Then came the increased settlement, stimulated by the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway Crowsnest Line, beginning in 1897 and culminating in 1914.
The town was incorporated in 1892 and grew to a population of 2500 by 1910. Optimism ran high and "Macleod" was described in the promotional literature as the Winnipeg of the West. Prior to 1914 Fort Macleod competed aggressively with Calgary and Lethbridge and the town enjoyed a measure of prosperity and growth.
Fort Macleod's main street buildings are an interesting vignette - characteristic of a significant period in the history of both the town and southern Alberta. Methods of construction, ornamentation and style of these structures are indications of traditions imported by immigrant craftsmen from Eastern Canada, the United States and Europe.
In 1982, Heritage Canada and the Town started a Main Street Restoration Project to preserve this unique heritage. Fort Macleod is now the only Designated Historic Area in the Province of Alberta with 60 buildings (in the area). Some of these buildings date back to 1878 with several sandstone and brick buildings from the 1910 to 1920 era.
Take a self-guided walking tour of our historic area and visit the many shops that occupy these historic buildings.
Main Street Fort Macleod - 1910 [See Larger Image]
Modern Main Street in Fort Macleod [See Larger Image]