Discover Hinton, Alberta: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty
Hinton, a town nestled in west-central Alberta, Canada, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Located in Yellowhead County, it's situated 81 km northeast of Jasper and approximately 284 km west of Alberta's capital city, Edmonton. Hinton lies at the intersection of Yellowhead and Bighorn Highway, in the picturesque Athabasca River valley.
The Geography of Hinton, Alberta
Hinton is part of the Alberta Plateau Benchlands, a physiographic subdivision of the Interior Plains. The town's soils are influenced by deposits of carbonate-rich, wind-blown sand and silt, resulting in surface textures of loam, sandy loam, or silt loam. These soils are moderately alkaline, contrasting with the varying, mostly moderate acidity found beyond the zone of calcareous aeolian material.
Hinton, Alberta's Climate
The closest weather station to Hinton is located at Entrance, approximately 10 km southwest of the town.
The History of Hinton, Alberta
The town of Hinton was named in 1911 after William P. Hinton, Vice President and General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The community remained a hamlet for the next 45 years. The area was initially scattered along a line some 12 km in length, with a significant site along Hardisty Creek where a First Nations group from the Jasper area left members stricken with smallpox while seeking medical aid.
In 1888, Jack Gregg established a trading post at Prairie Creek, now known as Muskuta Creek. The construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1908 led to the establishment of a construction camp at the mouth of Prairie Creek. The station house built at mile 978 west of Winnipeg in 1911 marked the birth of the Hinton community.
The population of Hinton experienced a boom in the 1930s with the opening of the Hinton coal mine. Despite a recession that saw the population dwindle, the town rebounded in 1955 with the construction of a pulp mill. The two communities of Hinton and Drinnan amalgamated on April 1, 1957, to form the present Town of Hinton.
The Hinton Train Collision
On February 8, 1986, Hinton witnessed a tragic train collision between a Canadian National Railway freight train and a Via Rail passenger train, resulting in twenty-three fatalities. The Hinton train collision was the deadliest rail disaster in Canada since 1947 and revealed serious flaws in Canadian National Railway's employee practices.
Demographics of Hinton, Alberta
As per the 2021 Canadian census, Hinton had a population of 9,817 living in 4,006 of its 4,405 total private dwellings. The town also hosts the Foothills Ojibway Society (non-status First Nation).
Attractions in Hinton, Alberta
Hinton serves as one of two staging areas for expeditions in the Willmore Wilderness Park, the other being Grande Cache. The town is also home to the Beaver Boardwalk, a 3 km walk that attracts nature lovers keen to spot beavers and other wildlife.
Transportation in Hinton, Alberta
Hinton Transit, operated under contract by First Student Canada, provides the town's public transportation service. The service operates from Monday to Saturday, with an accessible transit service, The Freedom Express Service, available for residents with physical and cognitive disabilities. Hinton also has a Via Rail station, with The Canadian calling at the station three times per week in each direction.