As part of Historic Calgary Week – hosted by the Western District and Chinook Historical Societies – “Supply Farm No. 1” will be featured as the topic of presentation during the event.
Historic Calgary Week is an annual event that highlights the history of the Calgary area and the significance of certain locations.
This year, an in-person presentation on the supply farm in Strathmore is included in the event programming.
This marks the first occasion the Western District Historical Society will be joining the Chinook Historical Society to take part in Historic Calgary Week.
According to presenter, Bruce Klaiber, the presentation will mostly be about the history of the site why it became a notable landmark.
“We’re hoping that his history buffs in particular will come and look at it, but hopefully, the word is going to spread on how important this location and how important Strathmore was, to the early history of the area,” he said.
Klaiber explained the Canadian Pacific Railway was originally meant to be constructed farther north towards Edmonton instead of being as close to the 49th parallel as it is, running through the Palliser’s Triangle.
The area had initially been deemed a desert and was unattractive to settlers and customers. Eventually the federal government negotiated with the CPR to irrigate the desert and promote agriculture.
This agreement birthed the Western, Central, and Eastern irrigation districts between Medicine Hat and Calgary.
Once settlers started shipping in and buying land, it was quickly discovered most people didn’t understand the local agriculture or didn’t have experience with agriculture in general.
To remedy this, the CPR built the demonstration farm “Supply Farm No. 1” in 1908, which for a time came to have the largest dairy herd in North America.
Klaiber’s presentation will be going more into detail about the history of the farm and the role it played in developing the area.
He also gave credit to Strathmore resident Rob Pirie, who is a member of both societies for suggesting that the barn be featured in Historic Calgary Week.
As the presentation is an in-person event, organizers with Historic Calgary week have limited the amount of people they will allow to take part on site.
“We’ve got some people that are registered, but the attendance is going to be limited to about 35 individuals,” said Klaiber.
The presentation will be taking place at the Canadian Pacific Railway Supply Farm No. 1 in Strathmore on July 25 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Those who are interested are being asked to register online prior to attending the event.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times