Fort Macleod

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Fort Macleod

Macleod (1884–1913)
Town of Fort Macleod
Fort Macleod.JPG
The NWMP fort in Fort Macleod, which is now a museum [1]
Alberta County Point Locator.svg
Red pog.svg
Fort Macleod
Location of Fort Macleod in Alberta
Coordinates: 49°43′32″N113°23′51″W / 49.72556°N 113.39750°W / 49.72556; -113.39750
CountryFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Province Flag of Alberta.svg  Alberta
Region Southern Alberta
Census division 3
Municipal district Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26
Incorporated [2]  
   Town December 31, 1892 (as Macleod)
  Name changeApril 1, 1952
  MayorBrent Feyter
  Governing bodyFort Macleod Town Council
  ManagerSusan Keenan
   MP John Barlow (Foothills)
   MLA Roger Reid (Livingstone-Macleod)
 (2016) [4]
  Land23.41 km2 (9.04 sq mi)
945 m (3,100 ft)
 (2016) [4]
  Density126.8/km2 (328/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Postal code span
Area code(s) +1-403
Website Official website
The American Hotel American Hotel in Fort Macleod.JPG
The American Hotel
Fort Macleod & District Community Hall Fort Macleod & District Community Hall.JPG
Fort Macleod & District Community Hall

Fort Macleod, originally named Macleod, is a town in the southwest of the province of Alberta, Canada. It was founded as a North-West Mounted Police barracks, and is named in honour of the North-West Mounted Police Colonel James Macleod. It was known as the Town of Macleod between 1892 and 1912. [6]



The fort was built as a 70 by 70 meters square (233 by 233 ft) on October 18, 1874. The east side held the men's quarters and the west side held those of the Mounties. Buildings such as hospitals, stores and guardrooms were in the south end. Stables and the blacksmith's shop were in the north end.

The town grew on the location of the Fort Macleod North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) Barracks, the second headquarters of the NWMP after Fort Livingstone was abandoned in 1876. [7] Fort Macleod was originally established in 1874 on a peninsula along the Oldman River, then moved in 1884 to the present town location. [8] The Museum of the North-West Mounted Police is located in Fort Macleod. [1]

Once agricultural settlement and the railway came to the region, Macleod boomed. The town became a divisional point for the Canadian Pacific Railway and frontier wood construction began to be replaced by brick and sandstone. In 1906 a fire devastated the downtown and destroyed most of the wooden buildings. From 1906 to 1912 Macleod had its greatest period of growth, as more new brick and stone building replaced the destroyed wooden ones. Then in 1912 the CPR moved the divisional point and 200 jobs to Lethbridge, devastating the local economy. Fort Macleod ceased to grow, and in 1924 was forced to declare bankruptcy. Until the 1970s, the town's economy stagnated and the buildings from the turn-of-the-century remained untouched. [9]

In 1978 Alberta Culture started to inventory the downtown buildings, and in 1982 the downtown became Alberta's first "Provincial Historic Area". As well, Heritage Canada started a Main Street Restoration Project in 1982, aiming to preserve the sandstone and brick buildings, some dating back to 1878. [9] [10]


In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Fort Macleod recorded a population of 2,967 living in 1,226 of its 1,426 total private dwellings, a

In the 2011 Census, the Town of Fort Macleod had a population of 3,117 living in 1,244 of its 1,350 total dwellings, a 1.5% change from its 2006 population of 3,072. With a land area of 23.34 km2 (9.01 sq mi), it had a population density of


The town is located in the Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26, at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 3, on the Oldman River. It lies west of the larger community of Lethbridge, near the reserves of the Peigan and Kainai First Nations. It is also located close to the Waterton Lakes National Park.

The town is located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of the McBride Lake Wind Farm, one of the largest wind farms in Alberta. The wind farm has a capacity of 75 megawatts of electricity.


Fort Macleod experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb).

The community enjoys frequent breaks from cold spells in winter when the Chinook wind blows down-slope from the Rocky Mountains. A Chinook on 27 February 1992 caused the temperature to rise to 26.5 °C (80 °F). [12]

The highest temperature ever recorded at Fort Macleod was 102 °F (38.9 °C) on 7 July 1896, 18 July 1910 and 17 July 1919. [13] [14] [15] [lower-alpha 1] The coldest temperature ever recorded was −49 °F (−45.0 °C) on 2 February 1905, 17 December 1924 and 28 January 1929. [16]

Climate data for Fort Macleod, 1971–2000 normals, extremes 1876–present
Record high °C (°F)19.8
Average high °C (°F)−1.3
Daily mean °C (°F)−7.1
Average low °C (°F)−13
Record low °C (°F)−45
Average precipitation mm (inches)21.0
Source: Environment Canada [16] [17] [18]


The town is home to the Fort Macleod Mustangs, Senior AA men's hockey team of the Ranchland Hockey League. [19]


Fort Macleod's local weekly newspaper is the Fort Macleod Gazette. [20]

Historical newspapers

A selection of historical newspapers from Fort Macleod have been digitized from microfilm and are available in the Southern Alberta Newspaper Collection from the University of Lethbridge Library digitized collections. Included are: Macleod Advertiser (1908–1913), Macleod Chronicle (1908–1909), Macleod Gazette (1897–1907), Macleod News (1916–1919), & Macleod Spectator (1912–1916).

Notable people


The 2005 romantic drama film Brokeback Mountain was filmed in part in Fort Macleod. The laundry apartment is located at 2422 Third Avenue, where a sign is posted marking the "passionate reunion" of Jack and Ennis. Passchendaele was also filmed in Fort Macleod's historic downtown, which acted as a stand-in for Calgary circa 1915. Scenes involving the dust storm and Matthew McConaughey's character were also filmed in Fort Macleod in Christopher Nolan's 2014 film Interstellar , where the giant dust clouds were created on location using large fans to blow cellulose-based synthetic dust through the air. [22] Francesco Lucente's motion picture drama Badland was filmed mostly in Fort Macleod. Francesco Lucente lived in Fort Macleod from 1974 to 1978. His father Salvatore Lucente owned the American and Queens Hotels during that time.

See also

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  1. 1 2 Museum of the North-West Mounted Police
  2. "Location and History Profile: Town of Fort Macleod" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. October 7, 2016. p. 463. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
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  9. 1 2 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-06-25. Retrieved 2006-06-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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  19. "RHL – About Us". Ranchland Hockey League. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2011-03-09.
  20. Fort Macleod Gazette
  21. Strathern, Gloria M. (1988). Alberta Newspapers, 1880-1982: An Historical Directory Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine . University of Alberta. ISBN   0-88864-137-0.
  22. Frank McTighe (August 28, 2013). "Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey in Fort Macleod to film scene from 'Interstellar'". Macleod Gazette. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  1. A temperature of 109 °F (42.8 °C) was recorded on 21 July 1877, but this value appears to be incorrect given the elevation of Fort Macleod and the irregularity of observations in that year.

Coordinates: 49°43′32.1″N113°23′51.1″W / 49.725583°N 113.397528°W / 49.725583; -113.397528 (Fort Macleod)