timeline

Alberta

Alberta, the westernmost of Canada's three Prairie provinces, shares many physical features with its neighbours to the east, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The Rocky Mountains form the southern portion of Alberta's western boundary with British Columbia.

Rocky Mountains

July 24, 1754

Government and Politics 

Henday in the West

Anthony Henday reached Fort Paskoyac; he later reached a Blackfoot camp southwest of present-day Red Deer, being likely the first European to set foot in territory that became Alberta.

October 18, 1840

Government and Politics 

First Cleric in Alberta

Robert Rundle arrived at Fort Edmonton, the first permanent cleric in what became Alberta.

July 15, 1870

Government and Politics 

Transfer of Rupert's Land

The British Crown officially transferred Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to Canada. These lands comprise present-day Manitoba, most of Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, southern Nunavut, and northern parts of Ontario and Québec.

October 01, 1874

Government and Politics 

Establishment of Fort Macleod

One hundred and fifty North-West Mounted Police established the first police post in what is now Alberta on an island in the Oldman River, and named it after Assistant Commissioner James F. Macleod.

August 23, 1876

Government and Politics  Indigenous Peoples 

Treaty No. 6

Treaty No. 6 was signed at Carlton and at Fort Pitt with the Plains Cree, Woodland Cree and Assiniboine. It ceded an area of 120,000 sq. miles of the plains of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

September 22, 1877

Government and Politics  Indigenous Peoples 

Treaty No. 7

Treaty No. 7 was signed at Blackfoot Crossing in southern Alberta by the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Sarsi and Stoney. Canadian officials understood that by the treaty First Nations surrendered some 35,000 sq miles of land to the Crown in return for reserves, payments and annuities.

May 08, 1882

Government and Politics 

Western Provisional Districts

Land acquired from the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1870 was divided into four administrative districts by the federal government: Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca and Saskatchewan. The districts, designed "for the convenience of settlers and for postal purposes," were roughly equal in size and natural resource distribution.

March 27, 1883

Government and Politics 

Capital of the North-West Territories Shifts

The capital of the North-West Territories (the future Alberta and Saskatchewan) shifted from Battleford to Pile O' Bones (Regina). Cree hunters harvested buffalo in the region and stacked the bones of their quarry in piles roughly 2 m tall by 12 m in diameter. The Cree believed that buffalo herds would return to visit these bones, and so named the area Oskana-Ka-asateki, "the place where bones are piled."

June 01, 1883

Communication and Transportation 

CPR Arrives in Alberta

The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in Alberta, at Medicine Hat.

January 01, 1895

Resources and Environment 

Waterton Lakes National Park Established

Waterton Lakes National Park was established. The park is situated in the southwestern corner of Alberta on the CanadaUS border. In 1932, the park was united with Montana's Glacier National Park to create the world's first international peace park.

June 21, 1899

Government and Politics  Indigenous Peoples 

Treaty No. 8

Cree, Beaver, Chipewyan and Slavey First Nations ceded territory south and west of Great Slave Lake in northern Alberta to the federal government in Treaty No. 8.

September 01, 1900

Resources and Environment 

Minto Opens Canal

Governor General Lord Minto opened an irrigation canal, which ran 184 km between Kimball and Lethbridge, Alberta.

April 29, 1903

Resources and Environment 

Frank Slide

A rockslide (commonly called the Frank Slide) from Turtle Mountain, NWT (Alta), onto the town of Frank killed at least 70 people, the most disastrous rockfall in Canadian history.

October 08, 1904

Government and Politics 

Edmonton Incorporated

First established in 1795 as a Hudson’s Bay Company post, Edmonton was on this day incorporated as a city. The following year, it was chosen as capital for the freshly minted Province of Alberta. Today, it is the northernmost North American city with a population over one million.

February 27, 1905

Government and Politics 

Sifton Resigns

Interior minister Clifford Sifton resigned from the federal Cabinet in a dispute over guarantees for separate schools in the Act making Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces of Canada.

July 18, 1905

Government and Politics 

Dominion Act

The Dominion Act created the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, effective September 1. Regina and Edmonton, respectively, became the capitals on July 20.

September 01, 1905

Government and Politics 

Alberta and Saskatchewan Become Provinces

Alberta and Saskatchewan entered Canada as the 8th and 9th provinces by two federal Acts which received royal assent on 20 July. Alberta's boundary with Saskatchewan was set at 110°, though Albertans wanted 107°. The Acts (Autonomy Bills) declared that the West was to have non-denominational schools.

September 23, 1908

Communication and Transportation 

University of Alberta Opens

The University of Alberta at Edmonton opened, with 37 students.

May 26, 1910

Government and Politics 

A. Sifton Becomes Premier of Alberta

Arthur Sifton became premier of Alberta. He held together a divided party and was an effective premier, a strong leader and a skilled administrator.

December 09, 1910

Resources and Environment 

Bellevue Mine Explosion Kills 31

An explosion in a coal mine at Bellevue, Alta, killed 31 men. It was caused in part by the negligence of the coal company.

January 01, 1911

Government and Politics 

Oliver's Immigration Policy

Alberta's Frank Oliver wanted tighter controls on immigration. He became the Liberal government's Minister of the Interior in 1905. Oliver was staunchly British, and his policies favoured nationality over occupation. By 1911, he was able to assert that his immigration policy was more "restrictive, exclusive and selective" than his predecessor's.

January 11, 1911

Resources and Environment 

Alberta's Record Low

Alberta's record low temperature of -60.6° C was recorded at Fort Vermilion.

May 14, 1914

Oil Sands 

Oil Discovery at Turner Valley

A major oil discovery at Turner Valley, southwest of Calgary, ushered in the oil age in Alberta.

June 19, 1914

Resources and Environment 

Hillcrest Mine Explosion

An explosion of methane gas at Hillcrest, Alta, killed 189 men in Canada's worst mining disaster.

February 26, 1915

Government and Politics 

McClung's Petition

Suffragist Nellie McClung presented the Alberta legislature with a petition demanding that women be given the right to vote. The right was granted in municipal elections 2 months later.

April 19, 1916

Government and Politics 

Alberta Women Get Vote

Alberta women won the rights to vote and to hold provincial office.

July 01, 1916

Government and Politics 

Prohibition in Alberta

The Prohibition of the sale of alcohol came into effect in Alberta. The law proved unenforceable.

June 07, 1917

Government and Politics 

First Elected Women

Louise McKinney and Roberta MacAdams were the first women in Canada elected to a provincial legislature, in Alberta.

May 01, 1919

Government and Politics 

Sympathy Strike In Alberta

Two thousand workers in Edmonton and Calgary went on strike in support of the strikers in the Winnipeg General Strike.

March 01, 1920

Government and Politics 

Alberta Penitentiary Closes

The federal government ordered the Alberta Penitentiary in Edmonton closed down and the 147 prisoners moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan or Stony Mountain, Manitoba.

July 18, 1921

Government and Politics 

United Farmers of Alberta Win

The United Farmers of Alberta won the provincial election, forming the government until 1935. They chose Herbert Greenfield as premier.

July 18, 1921

Government and Politics 

Parlby Elected

Irene Parlby was elected to the Alberta Legislature, representing Lacombe in the United Farmers of Alberta government. She was subsequently named to Cabinet, as minister without portfolio. Parlby was only the second woman in the British Empire to hold ministerial office. She was particularly active on issues related to public health care, improved wages for working women and married women's property rights.

January 01, 1922

Resources and Environment 

Wood Buffalo National Park Established

Wood Buffalo National Park was established to protect the last herd of wood bison. Canada's largest national park straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories border. It was declared a world heritage site in 1983.

May 01, 1922

Sports and Culture 

First Alberta Radio Broadcast

Radio station CJCA made its first broadcast in Edmonton, Alberta.

May 24, 1924

Government and Politics 

End of Prohibition in Alberta

Prohibition ended in Alberta when the Alberta Liquor Act was amended. Albertans had chosen to have the liquor trade controlled by the government.

June 26, 1925

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Drumheller Strike

A violent confrontation between police and strikers effectively ended the strike of the miners in Drumheller, Alta.

November 23, 1925

Government and Politics 

Premier Greenfield Resigns

Premier Herbert Greenfield, ill and often absent, resigned as premier of Alberta. He was succeeded by John Brownlee.

September 14, 1926

Government and Politics 

King Forms Minority

In a federal election the Liberals and Conservatives reversed fortunes with the Liberals winning 116 seats and the Conservatives 91. The Progressives won 13 seats and the UFA 11; there were 14 others. King became prime minister again, forming a minority.

July 28, 1930

Government and Politics 

Conservatives Win Election

In a federal election, the Conservatives won a majority with 137 seats to the Liberals' 91. The UFA held 10 and the Progressives dropped to 2. R.B. Bennett became prime minister.

June 24, 1932

People 

Birth of Mel Hurtig

Publisher and nationalist Mel Hurtig, who first published The Canadian Encyclopedia (1985 and 1988), was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Hurtig also co-founded the Council of Canadians and wrote a number of books on Canadian society and politics.

August 30, 1933

People 

Birth of Don Getty

Former Alberta premier and professional football player Don Getty was born in Westmount, Québec. Getty played quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos for 10 seasons, leading the team to Grey Cup championships in his first two seasons, 1955 and 1956. A successful career in the oil industry followed before he made the transition to politics, winning a seat in the Alberta Legislature as a member of the Conservative Party in 1967. Getty became premier of Alberta in 1985 and led the province until 1992.

August 22, 1935

Government and Politics 

Social Credit Victory in Alberta

Charismatic Bible-thumping William Aberhart led the Social Credit Party to victory in the Alberta provincial elections. He was sworn in on September 3. The party dominated Alberta politics until 1971.

March 21, 1940

Government and Politics 

Social Credit Retain Power

Premier William Aberhart's Social Credit Party won 36 of 57 seats in Alberta's provincial election.

May 31, 1943

Government and Politics 

Manning Becomes Premier

Ernest Charles Manning succeeded William Aberhart as Social Credit premier of Alberta.

February 13, 1947

Oil Sands 

Hunter Strikes Oil at Leduc

Vern "Dry Hole" Hunter struck oil near Leduc, Alta. The discovery ended a long decline in the Alberta oil industry, began an era of prosperity for the province and spared Canada dependence on foreign oil.

September 24, 1950

Resources and Environment 

“Great Smoke Pall”

Drifting sulphur particles from British Columbia and Alberta forest fires caused the sun and moon to look blue or violet throughout areas of North America and Western Europe. The “great smoke pall” of September 1950 was unique in its scope and intensity.

October 31, 1950

Oil Sands 

Pipeline Completed

The 1770 km oil pipeline from Edmonton to the Great Lakes was completed, linking Canada's gas fields with the markets of central Canada. In 1958 Alberta gas finally reached Toronto and imports of Texas gas ended.

April 24, 1952

Oil Sands 

First Alberta Oil in Ontario

The first shipment of oil from Alberta arrived in Ontario via pipeline and freighter.

September 19, 1960

Sports and Culture 

University of Calgary Founded

The University of Alberta opened a new 130 ha campus on the outskirts of Calgary - later to become the University of Calgary.

May 27, 1963

Sports and Culture 

NAIT Opens

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology opened in Edmonton.

March 20, 1965

Government and Politics 

Peter Lougheed Elected Leader

Calgary lawyer Peter Lougheed, 36, was elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party. He was first elected to the legislature in 1967.

April 06, 1967

Government and Politics 

Canada's First Ombudsman

George McClellan was named ombudsman of Alberta, Canada's first.

May 28, 1969

Communication and Transportation 

Alberta Resources Railway

Alberta premier Harry Strom opened the Alberta Resources Railway, a 378 km line from Grande Prairie north to Solomon.

August 30, 1971

Government and Politics 

Conservatives Win Alberta

Peter Lougheed's Conservatives ended 36 years of Socred government in Alberta by winning a majority government in a general election.

July 02, 1974

Government and Politics 

Ralph Steinhauer Appointed Lieutenant-Governor

Ralph Steinhauer was appointed lieutenant-governor of Alberta, the first Native to hold vice-regal office in Canada.

February 04, 1975

Oil Sands 

Oil Sands Development

The Alberta, Ontario and federal governments agreed to invest $600 million in the Syncrude Canada project to develop the Athabasca oil sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

September 01, 1981

Oil Sands 

Energy Pricing Deal

Alberta premier Peter Lougheed and PM Pierre Trudeau signed an energy-pricing agreement.

September 25, 1985

Sports and Culture 

Tyrrell Museum Opens

Alberta Premier Peter Lougheed officially opened the $30-million Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology at Drumheller.

November 01, 1985

Government and Politics 

Peter Lougheed Steps Down

Peter Lougheed stepped down as premier of Alberta. Don Getty became premier.

February 23, 1986

Communication and Transportation 

Train Disaster at Hinton

Twenty-three people died in a head-on collision between a CN freight train and a Via Rail passenger train at Hinton, Alta.

May 08, 1986

Government and Politics 

Getty's Majority Reduced

In a worsening economic climate, Premier Don Getty of Alberta saw the Conservative majority reduced from 75 of 79 seats to 61.

June 09, 1995

Resources and Environment 

Floods in Medicine Hat

Floods in Medicine Hat, Alta, forced some 5000 people from their homes.

December 19, 1995

Resources and Environment 

Happy Chickens

Alberta chicken producer Rod Chernos was honoured by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He believed "a happy chicken is a tasty one."

April 28, 1999

Government and Politics 

Taber Killings

A 14-year-old boy armed with a .22 calibre rifle shot two students at W.R. Myers High School in Taber, Alberta. One died and the other was critically injured. The shooting occurred just eight days after the Colorado massacre.

May 23, 1999

Sports and Culture 

Owen Hart Killed

Alberta-born professional wrestler Owen Hart fell 15 m to his death during a performance in Kansas City. His wife brought a suit against the wrestling federation for endangering Hart's life in pursuit of TV ratings.

November 02, 1999

Government and Politics 

Compensation for Sterilization

The Alberta government announced that it would compensate 242 people who had been sterilized against their will as part of a policy of sterilizing mentally handicapped children from 1929 to 1972.

April 19, 2000

Government and Politics  Resources and Environment 

Ludwig Found Guilty

An Alberta judge found activist Wiebo Ludwig guilty of a 1998 gas-well bombing. Ludwig claimed that the wells were responsible for deadly pollution in the area.

May 11, 2000

Government and Politics 

Alberta Bill 11 Passes

Alberta's Health Care Protection Act (Bill 11) passed. Seen by the government as an act to preserve the health care system, Bill 11 was intended to expand the role of private surgery facilities.

July 14, 2000

Government and Politics 

Stockwell Day Chosen Leader

The Canadian Alliance elected former Alberta Treasurer Stockwell Day as leader, replacing party founder Preston Manning.

May 20, 2003

Resources and Environment 

Mad-cow Disease Hits Canada

Mad-cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) was discovered in a northern Alberta farm, threatening the $7.6 billion beef industry.

January 20, 2005

Government and Politics 

Norman Kwong Becomes Lieutenant Governor

Norman Kwong succeeded Lois Hole as Alberta's 16th lieutenant governor, the first Chinese Canadian to hold the position in Alberta.

April 12, 2005

Oil Sands 

Chinese Begin Investing in Alberta’s Oil Sands

China National Offshore Oil Corp (or CNOOC) is the first Chinese company to invest in Alberta’s oil sands with the purchase of a 16.7 per cent share of MEG Energy Corp. China's two other state-controlled oil companies, PetroChina and Sinopec, would also purchase shares in other oil sand companies by 2009.

December 14, 2006

Government and Politics 

Stelmach Sworn In

Ed Stelmach was officially sworn in as the new premier of Alberta, replacing out-going premier Ralph Klein.

October 21, 2009

Government and Politics 

Alberta WCB Workers Held Hostage

A disgruntled claimant held 8 Workers Compensation Board employees hostage at gunpoint for nearly 10 hours. The event ended peacefully when the hostage-taker surrendered to police.

April 12, 2010

Oil Sands 

Chinese Oil Producer Buys Shares in Syncrude

Sinopec Corp, China's second-largest oil producer, paid $4.65 billion for a 9.03 per cent share of Syncrude. The purchase more than doubled that country’s presence in Alberta's oil sands since its companies began investing there in 2005.

May 11, 2010

Government and Politics 

Ethell Appointed Lieutenant-Governor

The Honourable Donald S. Ethell was installed as the 17th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta.

June 16, 2010

Indigenous Peoples 

First National Truth and Reconciliation Event

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada hosted its first national event, in Winnipeg, MB. It explored the history of the residential schools system, the experience of former students and their families and the impact such institutions had on Aboriginal communities. Six more events followed in cities around the country, with a national closing ceremony in Ottawa.

September 28, 2010

Oil Sands 

Cameron Tours Alberta Oilsands

Canadian-born film director James Cameron toured the industrial development near Fort McMurray, speaking with First Nations representatives and oil industry officials and ultimately concluding that the issue of environmental stewardship in the area is complex and far-reaching.

June 08, 2013

Resources and Environment 

Alberta Flood Begins

Torrential rains in both northern and southern Alberta flood the landscape and mire cities and townships. As many as 75,000 people are evacuated from Calgary as the Bow and Elbow rivers swell. Waters begin to recede a full two weeks after rains began.

May 05, 2015

Government and Politics 

NDP Wins Majority in Alberta Election

In a remarkable electoral upset, the Alberta New Democratic Party won a majority government, ousting the long-reigning Progressive Conservative Party. NDP leader Rachel Notley replaced Jim Prentice as premier. The Tories lost support with voters on economic issues in the lead-up to the election and finished in third place on election night. The Wildrose Party became the Official Opposition.

February 26, 2016

People 

Death of Don Getty

Former Alberta premier and professional football player Don Getty died in Edmonton, Alberta, at age 82. Getty played quarterback for the Edmonton Eskimos for 10 seasons, leading the team to Grey Cup championships in his first two seasons, 1955 and 1956. A successful career in the oil industry followed before he made the transition to politics, winning a seat in the Alberta Legislature as a member of the Conservative Party in 1967. Getty became premier of Alberta in 1985 and led the province until 1992.

May 03, 2016

Disasters  Oil Sands 

Fort McMurray Wildfire

A raging forest fire, which had begun southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, crossed the Athabasca River toward the city, prompting the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents. The fire eventually covered 500,000 hectares, destroyed 2,400 structures (about 10 per cent of Fort McMurray), and forced oil sands producers to temporarily shut down their operations. It was called the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.

August 03, 2016

People 

Death of Mel Hurtig

Publisher and nationalist Mel Hurtig, who first published The Canadian Encyclopedia (1985 and 1988), died in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Edmonton native also co-founded the Council of Canadians and wrote a number of books on Canadian society and politics.

September 03, 2016

People 

Death of Norman Kwong

Norman Kwong, who made history as the first Chinese Canadian to play in the Canadian Football League, the youngest player to win the Grey Cup, and the first Chinese Canadian lieutenant-governor of Alberta, died in Calgary at age 86.

June 08, 2017

People 

Death of LeRoy Fjordbotten

LeRoy Fjordbotten, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and cabinet minister for the Progressive Conservative governments of Peter Lougheed, Don Getty and Ralph Klein (1979–93), died at the age of 78.

September 30, 2017

People 

Edmonton Terror Attack

A man drove a car into a routine police roadblock in downtown Edmonton, Alberta, striking Constable Mike Chernyk at high speed. The driver then got out of the car and attacked the officer with a knife before fleeing the scene. He was later stopped in a U-Haul van at a police checkpoint but sped away, hitting four pedestrians before he was arrested by pursuing police officers. (In the days after the attack, the victims were all expected to survive.) A Daesh flag was found in the car of the suspect, who was identified as 30-year-old Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, a Somali refugee who had been interviewed by the RCMP in 2015 for supporting extremist views. (See also Terrorism and Canada.)

October 01, 2017

People 

Four Canadians Killed in Las Vegas Mass Shooting

Among at least 59 people killed in the mass shooting perpetrated by Stephen Paddock at a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, were four Canadians: Jordan McIldoon of Maple Ridge, British Columbia; Jessica Klymchuck of Valleyview, Alberta; Calla Medig of Jasper, Alberta; and Tara Roe of Okotoks, Alberta. Several Canadians were among the more than 500 people injured in the attack, which was described as the largest mass shooting in modern United States history.

October 05, 2017

Oil Sands 

Energy East Pipeline Project Cancelled

TransCanada announced that it had cancelled plans to build the Energy East pipeline, which would have carried crude oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Québec and New Brunswick. From there, oil would have been exported to other countries. The company cited changing market conditions and delays in assessments carried out by the National Energy Board as reasons for its decision. The project’s supporters, including premiers Rachel Notley and Brad Wall, expressed disappointment and criticized the federal government’s approach to the review process. Energy East’s opponents, including municipalities in Québec and Indigenous communities along the proposed path of the pipeline, hailed it as a victory.