Alberta has done a big tourism push over the last few years encouraging people to do “stay-cations”: don’t go somewhere exotic, stay here and spend your vacation money! And I’ll admit, sometimes it is nice to pop out to the local attractions for the afternoon, no passport or visa required.
Today’s stop was the Sir Alexander Galt Museum in Lethbridge, Alberta – it’s a small museum but they pack a lot of information in and the displays are quite well done.
Sir Alexander Galt was instrumental in early coal exploration in the area, bringing in the railroad and creating the NWC & N Co. coal company, whose first president was William Lethbridge….oh I bet you can see where this is going. Apparently if you throw a lot of money into a new town, they’ll name it after you, and ta da the town of Lethbridge is born!
But it isn’t all boring coal mining history, there was an early fort here, a lively history of beer brewing (mmm Pilsner), and we had quite the scandalous red light district for awhile. It was getting so bad that the authorities had to step in because the VD spread by the ladies of the night was effecting the war effort…
We had a German internment camp on the north side of town and one of the displays gives a lively retelling of a conflict between some of the early Chinese immigrants and the locals (the newspaper expert gives some horrifically offense racial slurs in reference to the Chinese, if that’s how they were treated by everyone including the media, I am not surprised they took a hammer to someone’s head…).
They usually get in some pretty interesting traveling displays as well and the hallways are lined with ever-changing displays too. I must confess, though, that the display of sentimental hair art was a tad disturbing – decorative flower creations made with the hair of your loved ones, who wouldn’t want that on their wall? I’m sure Pinterest has a bunch of how-to’s on it.