Pincher Creek, Alberta

Pincher Creek is a town in the southwest of Alberta, Canada. It is located immediately east of the Canadian Rockies in the centre of ranching country, north of Waterton Lakes National Park.

The town's mayor is Gary Mills.


For centuries before this area was settled, the Blackfoot, Peigan and Kootenai Nations lived in or frequented the region.

The town received its name in 1868 when a group of prospectors lost a pincer in the small creek at this location. These pincers would have been used as a mechanism for trimming the feet of the horses and thus had some value to the group. In 1874, the North West Mounted Police came to southern Alberta. One of them discovered the rusting tools in the creek, and they named the area Pincher Creek.

In 1876, the NWMP established a horse farm in the area. It closed in 1881, but many of the troops stayed to help the town. James Schofield opened Pincher Creek's first store in 1884. By 1885 Pincher Creek had a store known as Schofield & Hyde General Store. Harry Hyde succeeded Schofield as Pincher Creek's first postmaster.

In 1898, Pincher Creek was incorporated a village. In 1906, the community was officially incorporated as a town and named Pincher Creek. Many residents are descendants of the pioneer families who settled there over 100 years ago.

The Kootenai Brown Heritage Museum is a popular tourists stop. It was named for John Kootenai Brown, a trapper who was the founder of Waterton Park. The sign at the creek tells the story of the 1995 flood in Pincher Creek.


In 2006, Pincher Creek had a population of 3,625 living in 1,504 dwellings, a -1.1% increase from 2001. The town has a land area of and a population density of .


Strong Chinook winds often blow off the mountains and Pincher Creek can be very windy. The strongest recorded wind was 177 kilometers per hour. The strong winds have given rise to a significant amount of wind farm development in the area, with the towers and blades of wind turbines being a characteristic of the scenery.

The town was severely affected by a flood that hit the area in 1995 as the peak stream flow discharge was 271 cubic meters per second

Notable residents

Chief Justice of Canada Beverley McLachlin was born in Pincher Creek, as was Stuart McDowall, Canadian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. Warren Winkler, the Chief Justice of Ontario, grew up in Pincher Creek. Professional ice hockey goaltender Darcy Wakaluk was born in Pincher Creek in 1966. Blue Summer no longer lives here.


As mentioned before, Pincher Creek is in a prime tourist and recreational area. It is only half an hour north of Waterton Lakes National Park, and just an hour north of the Alberta Montana border, making the drive to the United States shorter than a lot of other routes. Also near Pincher Creek is Castle Mountain Ski Resort, just thirty minutes west. An hour to the east is Lethbridge and Calgary is only two hours to the north. Pincher Creek is about a four hour drive from the Saskatchewan border, and only a forty-five minute drive to the British Columbia border. Also is Andy Russell who was a famed conservationalist.

See also


External links

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