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Watino, circa 1915 Watino, Alberta.jpg
Watino, circa 1915

Watino is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada within Birch Hills County. [1] It is located on Highway 49, approximately 96 kilometres (60 mi) northeast of Grande Prairie, and has an elevation of 385 meters (1,263 ft).

Hamlet (place) small settlement in a rural area

A hamlet is a small human settlement. In different jurisdictions and geographies, hamlets may be the size of a town, village or parish, be considered a smaller settlement or subdivision or satellite entity to a larger settlement. The word and concept of a hamlet have roots in the Anglo-Norman settlement of England, where the old French hamlet came to apply to small human settlements. In British geography, a hamlet is considered smaller than a village and distinctly without a church.

Northern Alberta geographical object

Northern Alberta is a region located in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

It was established on the banks of the Smoky River, downstream from its confluence with the Little Smoky River. The name Watino is derived from the Cree word “Wa-ye-te-naw”, meaning “valley”. [2]

Little Smoky River river in Canada

The Little Smoky River is a tributary of the Smoky River in west-central Alberta, Canada.

When the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway began to construct a railway bridge over the Smoky River in 1915, two temporary hamlets sprang up on either side of the river. On the east bank was the main railway camp, called Pruden’s Crossing, and on the west, connected by a small cable ferry, was the hamlet of Smoky River, or “Old Smoky”. [2]

The railway bridge was erected in 1916, and a railway siding situated on the west bank. It was here that Carl Donis opened the first post office, named Prudens Crossing, in 1917. [3] The community was renamed Watino in 1921, and the post office name changed to the same in November 1925 . [3]

Eventually Watino contained a school, two grocery stores, two hardware stores, post office, three machine agencies, garage, grain elevator, restaurant, pool hall, community hall, and skating rink . [2] There was also a railway station, a pump station, and coal dock for the steam trains, and stockyards on the railway, from which Egg Lake Ranch shipped 13 carloads of cattle to Chicago in 1920. [2] The railway was the main mode of transportation until 1938, when the bush trail into the community was replaced by a highway and a connecting ferry over the Smoky River. [2] In 1950, the establishment of the Park Brothers sawmill and planer made Watino boom. [2]

Watino declined in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1972, the Smoky River flooded, washing away much farmland in the valley, and in 1975 the grain elevator was removed. [2] In 1987 another flood caused heavy damage to the east and west sides of the railroad bridge and forcing the closure of the CNR train system through Watino. [2]

See also

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  1. Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-04-01). "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-20.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Smoky Peace Triangle. Eaglesham History Book Committee. 1991. pp. 39–47,123.
  3. 1 2 Canada, Library and Archives (2013-07-05). "Item" . Retrieved 2015-05-25.

Coordinates: 55°43′09″N117°37′02″W / 55.71917°N 117.61722°W / 55.71917; -117.61722 (Watino)