Cardston, Alta, incorporated as a town in 1901, population 3580 (2011c), 3452 (2006c). The Town of Cardston is located 75 km southwest of LETHBRIDGE. It was named for Charles Ora Card (1839-1906), a son-in-law of Brigham Young, a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (MORMON CHURCH) in the United States. In order to escape American anti-polygamy laws, Card led the first 10 Mormon families to Cardston from Utah in 1887. The settlers and their church were the focus of economic and agricultural activity. Church-based co-operatives started in 1888 and included, among other enterprises, a store, a sawmill, a cheese factory and a flour mill. In 1898 the church built the first irrigation works on the St Mary's River, and in 1913 started construction of Canada's first Mormon temple, finished in 1923.
Today Cardston is an important farming and ranching centre. It also relies on tourism due to its proximity to WATERTON LAKES NATIONAL PARK and as the home of the Don Remington carriage collection and a number of provincial historic resources - Cobblestone Manor (1913-29), Courthouse Museum (1907) and Card Pioneer Home (1887).