Discover Westlock, Alberta: A Historical and Geographical Overview
The Geography of Westlock, Alberta
Westlock, a town in central Alberta, Canada, is situated approximately 85 km north of Edmonton, the provincial capital and Canada's sixth-largest census metropolitan area. The town is nestled at the junction of Highway 44 and Highway 18, surrounded by Westlock County within Census Division 13.
Westlock is part of the Alberta plain, one of the Great Plains, and is located just north of the continental divide between the Athabasca and North Saskatchewan river basins. It is also east of the Pembina River, a tributary of the Athabasca. The town sits at an elevation of about 670 metres above mean sea level.
The climate in Westlock is a humid continental, situated on the northern edge of the aspen parkland belt, a once heavily treed region cleared for agriculture at the turn of the 20th century. The region is relatively fertile with dark soils. To the north lies the subarctic climate zone. The mean annual precipitation is 468 millimetres, and the mean annual temperature is 1.9 °C.
The History of Westlock, Alberta
Before European settlement, the area around Westlock was inhabited by First Nations people, notably the Cree. Although the fur trade had been active in Alberta since 1754, the Westlock district was not mentioned in writing until David Thompson came through in April 1799.
White settlement began in 1902, centred on a rural community about 5 km east of present-day Westlock. The founding family was named Edgson, but this was considered too hard to pronounce. Edson, Alberta already existed, so the site was called Edison by its Irish-Canadian founders, after the American inventor Thomas Edison.
In 1911, the railway reached nearby Clyde to the east, and in 1912, the E.D. & B.C. Railway mapped a new townsite where Westlock now stands. The name of the new town is a portmanteau of the names of William Westgate and William Lockhart, who owned the property. Westlock was incorporated as a village on 16 March 1916, with a population of 65 residents.
Demographics of Westlock, Alberta
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Westlock had a population of 4,921 living in 2,151 of its 2,385 total private dwellings, a change of -3.5% from its 2016 population of 5,101. With a land area of 13.37 km2, it had a population density of 368.1/km2 in 2021.
In the 2016 Census of Population, the Town of Westlock recorded a population of 5,101 living in 2,142 of its 2,333 total private dwellings, a 5.8% change from its 2011 population of 4,823. With a land area of 13.37 km2, it had a population density of 381.5/km2 in 2016.
The population of the Town of Westlock according to its 2015 municipal census is 5,147, a 0% change from its 2008 municipal census population of 4,964.
Dwelling Characteristics in Westlock, Alberta
Westlock had 2,060 private dwellings occupied by usual residents in 2006. 74.8% of the occupied housing in the town was single-detached, while 17.7% were apartments in buildings with fewer than five storeys. Of the total private dwellings, there were 1,410 housing units which were owned, and 650 which were rented. The average value of owned dwellings was $148,083.
Families and Households in Westlock, Alberta
There were 2,060 households, of which 1,355 were considered census families in 2006, with an average of 2.8 persons per family. The median incomes in 2005 were $41,487 per household and $47,853 per census family.
Mother Tongue in Westlock, Alberta
In 2006, there were 3,945 people who claimed English as their mother tongue, 125 who chose French, and 10 who indicated both. In addition, 600 claimed another language as a mother tongue. Every person in town claimed at least a working knowledge of English.
Immigration, Citizenship, and Generation in Westlock, Alberta
Of the population, only 385 were immigrants, the majority of those having arrived in Canada before 1991. All but 55 people were Canadian citizens. Most of the Canadian-born residents were from third generation or more, or the second generation.
Mobility Status in Westlock, Alberta
The majority of the population had lived in the same house a year earlier, and most of those had been in the same house five years earlier as well.
Aboriginals and Visible Minorities in Westlock, Alberta
There were 310 people who had Aboriginal identity. There were 145 who reported being visible minorities.
Educational Attainment in Westlock, Alberta
A large minority of those residents aged 15 years and older had no certificate, diploma, or degree. 1,100 of residents aged 15 years and older has a high school certificate or equivalent.
Occupation and Industry in Westlock, Alberta
The total workforce was 2,155 people. The most common occupations were in sales and service and trades, transport and equipment operation. The most common industries were other services, health care and social services, and retail trade.
Work Location and Transportation in Westlock, Alberta
Most people claimed to work in Westlock, and only a few indicated working in another municipality. The majority of those that had a regular workplace that was not their own home commuted to work by private automobile.
Income in Westlock, Alberta
Of all persons in Westlock aged 15 years and older with income in 2005, 11.0% reported being below the low income cutoff before taxes. For those under the age of 18, the rate was 10.4%.