Blairmore, Alberta Canada

Discover Blairmore, Alberta: A Historical and Geographical Overview

Nestled in the Rocky Mountains within the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Blairmore, Alberta, Canada, is a community rich in history and natural beauty. Once a town before its amalgamation with four other municipalities in 1979, Blairmore now serves as the principal commercial centre of Crowsnest Pass.

The Historical Journey of Blairmore, Alberta

Blairmore's history dates back to its days as a Canadian Pacific Railway stop, initially known as Tenth Siding or The Springs, owing to the cold sulphur spring to the east. In November 1898, the settlement was renamed Blairmore, and a post office was established the following year.

Despite a ten-year dispute over land ownership between the CPR station agent and the section foreman, Blairmore was incorporated as a village on September 3, 1901. The community's principal industries were lumber and, after 1907, coal. Blairmore was incorporated as a town on September 29, 1911, and with the declining fortunes of the nearby community of Frank, Blairmore soon became the region's economic centre.

One of the town's early residents, Emilio Picariello, also known as "Emperor Pic," settled in Blairmore in 1918. He operated several businesses and illegally imported alcohol from nearby British Columbia during prohibition. Picariello and Florence Lassandro were hanged in 1923 after the shooting death of Alberta Provincial Police constable Steve Lawson in 1922.

In the 1930s, Blairmore, like many Canadian industrial towns, had some sympathies with Communism. Canada's first Communist town council and school board were elected in Blairmore in 1933. The council reformed the tax system, refused to observe Remembrance Day as an Imperialist holiday, and honoured the Russian Revolution instead. A street was named after the leader of the Communist Party of Canada, Tim Buck, a decision that was reversed by the next town council.

On November 3, 1978, the Government of Alberta passed the Crowsnest Pass Municipal Unification Act, leading to the formal amalgamation of Blairmore with the Village of Bellevue, the Town of Coleman, the Village of Frank, and Improvement District (ID) No. 5 on January 1, 1979.

Blairmore, Alberta and the Canadian Militia

From 1946 to 1965, Blairmore was home to Canadian Militia units associated with the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers. The town hosted No. 22 Armoured Workshop from 1946 to 1950, which was renamed as a Troop of 39 Technical Squadron (1950-1954) and eventually the 31st Technical Squadron (1954-1965). The Squadron had a band that regularly paraded within the town and a 535 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, which existed until 1971.

The Geography of Blairmore, Alberta

Blairmore is located in southwest Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. It is approximately 135 km (84 mi) west of Lethbridge on Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway) and approximately 20 km (12 mi) east of the British Columbia border. Fellow Crowsnest Pass communities Frank and Coleman are 3 km (1.9 mi) to the east and 6 km (3.7 mi) to the west, respectively.

The Geology of Blairmore, Alberta

The Blairmore area is known for its volcanic rocks related to the Crowsnest Formation. In the late 1980s, geologists found trace amounts of gold in certain units of the volcanics. Blairmorite, a rare volcanic rock of the Crowsnest Formation, is named after Blairmore.

Demographics of Blairmore, Alberta

According to the 2021 Census of Population, the urban population centre of Blairmore, as delineated by Statistics Canada, recorded a population of 1,522 living in 731 of its 896 total private dwellings, a change of -1.5% from its 2016 population of 1,545. With a land area of 2.04 km2 (0.79 sq mi), it had a population density of 746.1/km2 (1,932.3/sq mi) in 2021.