How does a simple fable develop into a legend? How do legends keep landmarks alive? We set out to answer those questions by exploring five different remarkable, historical locations across Alberta, which are forever linked by a haunting secret. Each site is home to a ghost, or in some cases, multiple ghosts, which have become a focal point for visitors and residents alike and which allow each location to foresee living on into the future. Take a journey with us through lives of the Canadians who keep legends alive, and who are an integral part of the provincial economy.
Our story begins in Drumheller, Alberta, famous for Dinosaurs and coal. The city was a mecca of sorts for immigrants at the turn of the 20th century and was pivotal in the economic growth of the newly formed Province of Alberta. The next stop is the tiny, yet spirited community of Wayne, just down the road from Drumheller and set against the backdrop of the visually mesmerizing Hoodoos. At the heart of the coal boom, Wayne was home to nearly 3,000 people, but after the mine closed in the 1950’s, the town slowly dwindled to 27 residents. Even this didn’t deter the spirit, the town thrives today, because of the Rosedeer Hotel and Last Chance Saloon. A time capsule for turn of the century architecture, the Rosedeer, and its accompanying bar, also preserve a long history of the area, as well as a few ghosts who find solace there. We’re going to see firsthand how the allure of the legends and the beauty of the rustic hotel set against the badlands keep this wonderful town alive.
From the Last Chance Saloon, we go south to Lethbridge, and the Galt Museum a former hospital. Here memories and artifacts of a bygone era are preserved for future generation. The Galt’s architecture is a unique blend of old and new. It has become a focal point for community events and George, the resident ghost, helps to stir things up every so often. A benevolent personality he, and the ghost children who roam the halls of this old hospital make sure all is well within its walls.
Our final destination is the remains of a town called Lille. In the municipality of Crowsnest Pass, the town of Lille was built to accommodate coal miners and their families. A coking oven was built from imported bricks from Belgium and everything was booming until a terrible rockslide in 1903 that took out the nearby town of Frank and all access to Lille. To this day, the remains of the original town and those lost still lie beneath the layers of limestone that came tumbling down Turtle Mountain. Tucked safely away from Turtle Mountain Lille was unscathed but in the aftermath, it could not survive the economic climate. Today all that remains are, depressions where buildings used to be and crumbling remnants of the once majestic coking ovens. The life blood of the town.
Alberta Haunts takes us on a journey of discovery that will tickle our taste for the unexplained, quench our thirst for understanding, and satisfy our sense of adventure.