History in the Canadian West
Did you know Saskatchewan (a Cree word) and Calgary (A Gaelic word) mean the same thing? Both mean ‘swift waters or currents’ in English.
Although Saskatchewan has two rivers named ‘swift waters’ as both the North and South Saskatchewan rivers run through the province, Calgary has no river called Calgary. The two rivers that run through the city of Calgary are the Bow and the Elbow River. The Bow River was named because of the trees that lined the river creating branches which made excellent bows for the Natives. The Natives often camped alongside what is known as Calgary today. The warm chinook winds created relief from cold, harsh winters. Both rivers get their clear, pristine waters from glacier fed Lake Louise, considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Alberta was named after Princess Alberta, Queen Victoria’s daughter. It was originally part of Rupert’s Land, a vast area owned by Prince Rupert one of the owners of the famous Hudson’s Bay Company. The Hudson’s Bay Company is the oldest mercantile company still in operation today. Their trading posts were scattered all over western Canada. Alberta became part of the Northwest Territories when Canada purchased the western lands from the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1905 Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces.
Edmonton, the other large city in Alberta is an English name and has a long history in England. Edmonton, was established as a town in 1892. The town was named after Fort Edmonton which had been established by 1795. The name of the fort was suggested by John Peter Pruden after Edmonton, London, which was his home in England as well as the home of Sir James Winter Lake, the deputy governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company at the time.