Lethbridge, Alberta (MatadorU)

Yet another MatadorU assignment!  This weeks task was more of a ‘traditional’ assignment, similar to many of the assignments I had completed at university, in the sense of doing research and referencing.  The task was to choose a place you know well (like your hometown or when you are currently living), research it, and construct a short 3rd person entry about the place.  I chose Lethbridge, Alberta, where I am currently based.


Lethbridge, Alberta

Lethbridge is a city in Southern Alberta colloquially known by the locals as ‘Deathbridge’.  Many residents consider it a ‘gateway city’, with people often living there transiently for school or work before moving on to bigger, more lively cities.  Despite its smaller city size, Lethbridge has the feel of a community-oriented town with a big heart.

It is historically known as a railway town, as it was built around a railway hub that served the purpose of transporting coal in the 1880s.  The town was officially named Lethbridge on October 15th, 1885, after William Lethbridge, one of the investors and the first president of the North Western Coal and Navigation Company Ltd. (i). Coal production in the area peaked in 1919, but the industry was not sustainable and collapsed in 1964.  A significant landmark that remains from the coalmining days is the Canadian Pacific Railway High Level Bridge, which when it was built in 1909 was described as ‘one of the wonders of the world’.  It is still the longest and highest bridge of its type in the world.  (ii).

Nowadays, the main industry in the area is agriculture.  Alongside with farming of both crops and livestock, Lethbridge is also home to an interesting array of wildlife such as deer, porcupines, skunks, and is known to have over 300 species of birds. (iii).  Lethbridge is also a ‘student city’, with students coming from all over Canada and internationally to take advantage of the high quality study programs, including agriculture courses, provided at the University of Lethbridge.  The university, which was founded in 1967, is currently recognized as one of Canada’s top three undergraduate institutions. (iv)

The University of Lethbridge supports students from 87 countries including China, India, Brazil, and Nigeria, giving the city a reputation as a culturally diverse area. (iv). Alongside international students, there is a mix of other cultural and ethnic groups in Lethbridge including a prominent Mormon community, Hutterite Colonies on the outskirts of the city, and Canada’s largest Aboriginal Reserve that is located west of the city. (v)

Locals and visitors alike enjoy the mild climate in Lethbridge, particularly in the winter when cold periods of snow are often interrupted by warm winds that hail from the west known as ‘Chinooks’.  Locals love to complain about the wind, reminding visitors that the city has been ranked by Environment Canada as the 8th windiest city. (vi).  (Be aware that they like to exaggerate this number).

Lethbridge is a smaller city, with a population of around 90,000 residents. (vi).  It is a great city to spend some time in to get to know the friendly Canadian culture and bask in the mild climate.  Lethbridge is also located close to Waterton Lakes National Park, an hour away from the U.S. border, near Calgary, and there are plenty of other places to explore in the surrounding area.

 

Sources:

(i) Johnston, A.  (1988).  Lethbridge: Galt Gardens Park.  Lethbridge, AB: Lethbridge Historical Society.

(ii) Green Fooks, G.  (1988).  Lethbridge: Portraits of the past.  Burlington, ON: Windsor Publications (Canada) Ltd.

(iii) City of Lethbridge. (n.d.). Retreived May 27, 2014 from http://lethbridge.ca

(iv) University of Lethbridge. (n.d.).  Fast Facts.  Retrieved May 27, 2014 from http://www.uleth.ca/facts

(v) Maclachlan, I.  (2008).  Lethbridge.  Retrieved May 27, 2014 from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/lethbridge

(vi) Choose Lethbridge.  (n.d.).  Retrieved May 24, 2014 from http://chooselethbridge.ca/

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