Finding Friday – What’s in a name?

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.Carol's Picture & Tim Horton's

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.

7 thoughts on “Finding Friday – What’s in a name?

  1. that is so interesting learning about the meaning behind our city’s and province’s name originated from. When my mom first moved to Calgary she said she could ride her bike all along Memorial Drive, no traffic. It was actually the outskirts of town back then and was a dirt road. Wow, has the city grown! It’s now a little New York.

    • Yes. I remember when I first came Glenmore was on the outskirts on the south. It’s interesting and I am amazed at the amount of people both in the States and Eastern Canada who don’t know about it. It has grown – it was about 250,000 people the first time I came. Yet, it remains ‘Cow Town’.

  2. Thanks for the plethora of interesting facts. As a transplant to this country and province the only fact I already knew was the one about the Hudson’s Bay being the oldest company, all the others were new to me.
    Thanks again.

    • Good. I’m glad you learned something. I know most people aren’t aware of a lot of our history – even people who live here. I have done so much research – and thought it might make for good blogging (as we always seem to run out of ideas). It’s all western Canada prairies I intend writing about – as I grew up in Saskatchewan and have a certain ‘loyalty’ remaining inside.

  3. The professional performing arts are centred in Edmonton and Calgary, with most critics giving the artistic edge to the capital city. Edmonton hosts a major summer folk festival and Jazz City, a critically acclaimed international jazz festival. The EDMONTON SYMPHONY and the Calgary Philharmonic dominate orchestral music; there are 2 opera companies, the Edmonton Opera Association and Calgary Opera Association; and a ballet company, the ALBERTA BALLET COMPANY , with headquarters in Calgary.

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