Raymond

Raymond, Alta, incorporated as a town in 1903, population 3743 (2011c), 3225 (2006c). The Town of Raymond is located in southern Alberta, approximately 35 km south of LETHBRIDGE.

Raymond, Alta, incorporated as a town in 1903, population 3743 (2011c), 3225 (2006c). The Town of Raymond is located in southern Alberta, approximately 35 km south of LETHBRIDGE. In the 1880s Charles Ora Card led the first group of MORMON, or Church of Latter Day Saints, settlers from Utah to what is now southern Alberta. Successful settlements at CARDSTON, Magrath and Stirling made other Utah Mormons interested in the prospects of the area. In 1901, Jesse Knight, a Utah entrepreneur and philanthropist, sent his sons William and Raymond north to seek out land and opportunities in Alberta. He purchased land and later that year he began work on a large sugar factory. The factory would process the sugar beets that Mormon farmers had begun planting throughout the region. The factory was completed in 1903, and the settlement that grew up around it was called Raymond, after his son.

Raymond was soon one of the fastest-growing communities in southern Alberta. Unfortunately, the sugar factory was not profitable and it closed in 1914. Before the factory closed, however, a number of Japanese workers had been brought in to work sugar beets. These Japanese immigrants stayed and formed a distinctive community in the Raymond area. In 1929 a Buddhist church, now a historic site, was opened in Raymond. Following the collapse of Knight's sugar venture, area farmers switched to wheat and other grain production, and the use of irrigation expanded. Raymond became a service and commercial centre for the surrounding agricultural district. The Raymond Stampede, Canada's first RODEO, has been held since 1902.