Magrath, Alberta Canada

Discover Magrath, Alberta: A Historical and Touristic Overview

The Rich History of Magrath, Alberta

Magrath, a town nestled in Cardston County, Alberta, Canada, was established in 1899 by settlers from Utah and Idaho, sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company recruited these settlers to construct irrigation works in the area, a project funded by British interests led by the family of Sir Alexander Galt. The settlers were compensated with cash and land in the town.

This project marked the first major irrigation work in Canada, made possible by the settlers' experience with extensive irrigation projects undertaken by their church in Utah and Idaho. The irrigation system, completed in November 1899, spanned ninety miles and was the first large-scale irrigation system in Canada. This system supplies water to farmers throughout Southern Alberta.

In its early years, Magrath was known as "The Irrigation Capital of Canada" and later as "The Garden City" for its beautiful natural setting and plentiful trees. The town's design and layout were based on the LDS Church's 'Plat of Zion' urban design model. Magrath also has historical links to the internationally recognized British Garden City tradition, which was piloted in England during the same period.

The town was named after Charles Alexander Magrath, the son-in-law of Sir Alexander Galt. The Magrath post office was established on March 1, 1900, with Ammon Mercer serving as the first postmaster.

Demographics of Magrath, Alberta

As of 2022, Magrath had a population of 3,281. The town is located 32 km (20 mi) south of Lethbridge and 242 km (150 mi) south of Calgary. According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Magrath had a population of 2,481 living in 803 of its 830 total private dwellings, a change of 4.5% from its 2016 population of 2,374. The town covers a land area of 5.88 km2 (2.27 sq mi), resulting in a population density of 421.9/km2 (1,092.8/sq mi) in 2021.

Religious Affiliation in Magrath, Alberta

The religious affiliation within Magrath is primarily from the LDS Church. According to the 2001 federal census, 84% of the population identified as Protestant, 4% as Catholic, and 11% reported no religious affiliation. Less than 1% identified as Christian Orthodox or Christian of an unspecified denomination. There is a stake based in Magrath, composed of ten congregations (eight wards and two branches) in the town and surrounding area. As of June 2016, the total membership in the Magrath Alberta Stake was reported as 2,433 members.

Attractions in Magrath, Alberta

Magrath boasts several attractions that draw visitors from near and far. The Buffalo Bin Elevator, the first of five ever built in the Province, was constructed as an experimental elevator for the Alberta Wheat Pool in the 1970s and 1980s. Today, only three of the original buffalo bins remain, with the others located in Foremost and Fort Saskatchewan.

The Galt Irrigation Canal, the first major irrigation project in Canada, is a National Historic Site of Canada. Visitors can also enjoy the Galt Canal Nature Trail, the Magrath Golf Club, the Magrath Skateboard Park, and the Magrath Wind Farm.