Entwistle, Alberta Canada

Discover Entwistle, Alberta: A Historical and Touristic Overview

Entwistle, Alberta, is a charming hamlet nestled within Parkland County, Canada. Located at the intersection of the Yellowhead Highway with Highway 22/Highway 16A, it's approximately 95 kilometres west of Edmonton. Entwistle sits on the east banks of the Pembina River, making it a halfway point between Edmonton and Edson.

Entwistle, Alberta: A Staging Area for the Oil and Gas Industry

Over the years, Entwistle has grown into a significant staging area for the oil and gas industry. It hosts an annual rodeo and is home to the Pembina River Provincial Park. Entwistle proudly calls itself the Diamond Capital of Canada. It falls within the federal riding of Yellowhead, the provincial electoral district of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, and Parkland County's Division 6.

The History of Entwistle, Alberta

Entwistle was founded by James Entwistle, an employee of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP). He foresaw the construction of the railway halting on the east banks of the Pembina River as a bridge was built over the river, and a boomtown would spring up. Seizing the opportunity, Entwistle staked a claim on a section of land near the Pembina River and the surveyed line for the GTP in 1907.

In 1908, as the railway construction camps drew closer to the Pembina River, Entwistle built a general store on his land, leaving it in the care of his wife and children. The railway soon arrived, construction on the railway bridge started, and the boomtown formed around Entwistle's store.

The town was officially incorporated as a village on March 26, 1909, with James Entwistle elected as the first mayor in April 1909. The railway trestle was completed in 1910, and the Canadian Northern Railway built their own railway bridge from 1910 to 1912. The railway construction boom started moving west in 1912, but many stayed behind in Entwistle. In those early decades, Entwistle had a thriving agriculture industry, along with timber and the coal mines in neighbouring Evansburg.

Climate of Entwistle, Alberta

Entwistle experiences a humid continental climate with warm summers with cool nights and long, cold winters with moderate snowfall. Precipitation peaks during the months of June and July.

Demographics of Entwistle, Alberta

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Entwistle had a population of 429 living in 195 of its 231 total private dwellings, a change of -10.6% from its 2016 population of 480. With a land area of 1.96 km2, it had a population density of 218.9/km2 in 2021.

Entwistle, Alberta: The Diamond Capital of Canada

In 1958, Entwistle resident Einar Opdahl found a diamond in the banks of the Pembina River. The diamond weighed 0.83 carats and was described as being "a perfect octahedron with eight faces; a clear, colorless stone." Opdahl sold the diamond to gem cutter Ed Arsenault for $500. It was later claimed that Arsenault discovered the diamond. When De Beers staked a claim for diamond mining in Alberta's Peace River country in 1990, people were reminded of the discovery of a diamond in the Pembina River near Entwistle. Several Alberta-based exploratory companies staked diamond claims near Entwistle and the Pembina River in 1992. Opdahl and Arsenault's discovery and the mini-boom in diamond prospecting led Entwistle to claim the title "Diamond Capital of Canada" in 1994.

Landmarks in Entwistle, Alberta

Pembina River Bridge

The GTP railway bridge, whose construction caused Entwistle to spring up, is still in operation. It is a vital part of the Canadian National Railway main line. An average of 20 trains travel across it per day. The bridge itself is 280 metres long and 65 metres high. It is the fifth-highest railway bridge in Western Canada.

Yellowhead Highway Bridge

The Yellowhead Highway Bridge runs parallel to the Pembina River Viaduct and was built from 1961 to 1962. Even though it was opened to traffic in 1962, a grand opening was not held until July 24, 1963. The bridge is 63 metres high and approximately 270 metres long. It cost $1.7 million. When construction was finished in 1962, it was the highest highway bridge in Alberta.

J.D. Read Memorial Building

John Davis Read was one of Entwistle's first citizens, having moved to town in 1908. He opened Entwistle's first lumber yard in 1910. In 1912, he started a feed business, which was hugely successful all throughout the 1940s. Read was also very interested in village matters, serving on the Entwistle Village Council from 1913 to 1942. He was mayor of Entwistle from 1925 to 1930, and 1935 to 1942.

Entwistle vs. Old Entwistle

1.6 kilometres to the east of Entwistle lies the hamlet of Old Entwistle. Old Entwistle has a population of around 20. The citizens of Old Entwistle have always maintained that their hamlet is all that remains of the original village of Entwistle. Usually, they offer up their hamlet's name as the only proof.