Discovering Turner Valley, Alberta: A Historical and Touristic Overview
Turner Valley, Alberta, is a former town nestled in the Calgary Metropolitan Region of Alberta, Canada. It's located within the Town of Diamond Valley, on Highway 22 (Cowboy Trail), 3 km west of Black Diamond and approximately 60 km southwest of Calgary. The town was named after Robert and John Turner, who settled in the area in 1886. Turner Valley was once the epicenter of an oil and natural gas boom, with the Turner Valley oilfields being a major supplier of oil and gas for 30 years and the largest producer in the British Empire.
The Historical Journey of Turner Valley, Alberta
Turner Valley was incorporated as a village on February 23, 1930. After 47 years as a village, it was incorporated as a town on September 1, 1977. On January 1, 2023, the Town of Turner Valley amalgamated with its neighboring Town of Black Diamond to form the Town of Diamond Valley. This amalgamation was a result of an Order in Council issued by the Province of Alberta on May 25, 2022, following decades of discussions and a 2007 plebiscite. The prospect of efficiencies and possible cost savings of $1 million a year became a major catalyst to approving the merger without a plebiscite.
Turner Valley, Alberta: A Landmark in Oil and Gas Industry
The Turner Valley Gas Plant was a significant landmark in the town's history. W. Stewart Herron, a rancher from nearby Okotoks, gathered investors from local contacts such as James Lougheed, R.B. Bennett, and A.E. Cross. Herron recruited drilling expert Archibald Dingman, a 19th-century American veteran from Pennsylvania, to drill Turner Valley's fossil-fuel that was some 800 m underground. On May 14, 1914, A.W. Dingman struck wet natural gas, which produced gasoline. However, in 1920, the main buildings burned to the ground. Imperial Oil bought Calgary Petroleum Products, created a subsidiary named Royalite Oil Co., and rebuilt the plant. The plant ceased operations in 1985, and since then, Alberta Culture has been working on the Turner Valley Gas Plant, primarily stabilizing the facility and removing or mitigating the contaminants on the site.
The Amalgamation of Turner Valley, Alberta
On May 25, 2022, the Province of Alberta issued an Order in Council to amalgamate Turner Valley and Black Diamond to form the new Town of Diamond Valley, with an incorporation date of January 1, 2023. This followed decades of talk and a 2007 plebiscite that saw Turner Valley citizens embrace amalgamation and Black Diamond residents reject it. Ultimately, the prospect of efficiencies and possible cost savings of $1 million a year became a major catalyst to approving the merger without a plebiscite, and on January 1, 2023, the Town of Black Diamond amalgamated with its neighboring Town of Turner Valley to form the Town of Diamond Valley.
Demographics of Turner Valley, Alberta
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Turner Valley had a population of 2,611 living in 1,073 of its 1,133 total private dwellings, a change of 2% from its 2016 population of 2,559. With a land area of 5.75 km2, it had a population density of 454.1/km2 in 2021. In the 2016 Census of Population, the Town of Turner Valley recorded a population of 2,559 living in 1,019 of its 1,066 total private dwellings, a change of 18.1% from its 2011 population of 2,167. The population of the Town of Turner Valley according to its 2015 municipal census is 2,511, a change of 24.2% from its 2008 municipal census population of 2,022.
Attractions in Turner Valley, Alberta
Turner Valley, Alberta, is not just about history and oil; it's also a place of natural beauty and recreational activities. Kananaskis Country, approximately 25 km to the west, offers camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, fishing, and bird watching. Recreation venues include the 18-hole semi-private Turner Valley Golf and Country Club, outdoor Dr. Lander Memorial Pool, an outdoor rink and skateboard park, and Friendship Trail, a 3 km paved link to nearby Black Diamond.