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|City of Medicine Hat|
Animo et Fide (Latin)
"By Courage and Faith"
|Planning region||South Saskatchewan|
|Municipal district||Cypress County|
|• Village||May 31, 1894|
|• Town||November 1, 1898|
|• City||May 9, 1906|
|• Mayor||Ted Clugston|
|• Governing body|
|• CAO||Merete Heggelund|
|• MP||Glen Motz
–(Cons – Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner)
|• MLAs||Drew Barnes
–(UCP – Cypress-Medicine Hat)
–(UCP – Brooks-Medicine Hat)
|• Land||112.04 km2 (43.26 sq mi)|
|Elevation||690 m (2,260 ft)|
|• Density||564.6/km2 (1,462/sq mi)|
|• Municipal census (2015)||63,018|
|Time zone||UTC−07:00 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−06:00 (MDT)|
|Forward sortation areas|
|Area code(s)||403, 587|
|Highways||1, 3, 41A|
|Waterways||South Saskatchewan River, Seven Persons Creek, Ross Creek|
|Railways||Canadian Pacific Railway|
Medicine Hat is a city in southeast Alberta, Canada. It is located along the South Saskatchewan River. It is approximately 169 km (105 mi) east of Lethbridge and 295 km (183 mi) southeast of Calgary. This city and the adjacent Town of Redcliff to the northwest are within Cypress County. Medicine Hat was the sixth-largest city in Alberta in 2016 with a population of 63,230.
Started as a railway town, today Medicine Hat is served by the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and the eastern terminus of the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3). Nearby communities considered part of the Medicine Hat area include the Town of Redcliff (abutting the city's northwest boundary) and the hamlets of Desert Blume, Dunmore, Irvine, Seven Persons, and Veinerville. The Cypress Hills (including Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park) is a relatively short distance (by car) to the southeast of the city.
Historically, Medicine Hat has been known for its large natural gas fields, being immortalized by Rudyard Kipling as having "all hell for a basement". Because of these reserves, the city is known as "The Gas City".
Name origins and ancient history
The name "Medicine Hat" is an English interpretation of Saamis (SA-MUS) – the Blackfoot word for the eagle tail feather headdress worn by medicine men. Several legends are associated with the name of a mythical mer-man river serpent named Soy-yee-daa-bee – the Creator – who appeared to a hunter and instructed him to sacrifice his wife to get mystical powers which were manifest in a special hat. Another legend tells of a battle long ago between the Blackfoot and the Cree in which a retreating Cree "Medicine Man" lost his headdress in the South Saskatchewan River.
A number of natural factors have always made Medicine Hat a gathering place. The gently sloping valley with its converging waterways and hardy native cottonwood trees attracted both the migratory bison herds which passed through the area, and humans who used the waterways and hunted the bison. Before Europeans arrived, the historic Blackfoot, Cree and Assiniboine nations used the area for hundreds of years, and were preceded for thousands of years by previous indigenous cultures.
Beginning in 1971, archeological excavations supervised by scholars from Medicine Hat College (MHC) were conducted at what became known as Saamis Archeological Site along Seven Persons Creek, near a historic Blackfoot buffalo jump. These revealed numerous artifacts associated with bands of First Nations ancestors, known as the Old Women's Phase to archeologists. They found "quantities of stone tools, fire cracked rock, butchered bone and pottery", marking this as an important spot. Most of the bones were identified as bison. Additional excavations were conducted in 1972 and 1973, and a field school for college students was based there. They "excavated and mapped over 3,200 sq. ft. of living floors and nearly 80 features including hearths and stone boiling pits. Radiocarbon dates indicate the Saamis Site was initially occupied about AD 1500 and again around AD 1750", well before most European contact.
Also in this area, further to the west, other MHC students and faculty were part of an excavation in 2000 at what became known as the Hillside Campsite, where two layers of finds were made. The upper layer had artifacts from the Old Women's Phase, but the lower layers were found to be much older, containing Pelican Lake Phase remains that were dated to between 1000 and 1500 BC.
In 1883, when the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) reached Medicine Hat and crossed the river, European Canadians established a town site. They named it from the First Nations legends. As growth took place, in 1889 Medicine Hat built the first hospital west of Winnipeg. The CPR established this town as a railway divisional point. The frontier settlement was incorporated as a town on October 31, 1898, and as a city on May 9, 1906. Medicine Hat is halfway between Winnipeg and Vancouver, British Columbia, on the Pacific Coast.
Progress and growth
Rich in natural resources including natural gas, coal, clay, and farmland, the town became industrialized and was known in its early days as "the Pittsburgh of the West", referring to the industrial city in western Pennsylvania of the United States. A number of large industries located here, attracted by the cheap and plentiful energy resources. Coal mines, brick works, pottery and glass bottle manufacturing plants, flour mills, etc. became established. With transportation access via the railway and river, the town became a service and trade center for the agriculture and its products, both commodity crops and livestock, of the surrounding area. Between 1909–1914 the town had an economic boom that increased the population to more than 10,000. Little growth occurred between the World Wars.
During World War II, one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps (P.O.W.) in Canada was established here in the mid-1940s, used primarily to hold German and Italian prisoners. It was not until the 1950s of the post-war period that the town again had commercial growth.
In the 21st century, Medicine Hat promotes its quality of life and affordable cost of living, enjoying the savings of a city-owned gas utility and power generation plant. Major industries have included chemical plants, a Goodyear tire and rubber plant, greenhouses, numerous oil and gas related companies, a foundry, I-XL Industries (a brickworks dating from the 1880s), to name a few. Friends of Medalta is a non-profit that has been formed to preserve some of the city's industrial heritage.
The Medicine Hat landscape is dominated by the South Saskatchewan River valley. In addition, the tributaries Seven Persons Creek and Ross Creek both flow into the South Saskatchewan River within the boundaries of the city. These waterways have cut a dramatic valley landscape with numerous cliffs, and finger coulees throughout the city. Beyond the city and river valley, the land is flat to slightly rolling and is characterized by short-grass vegetation.
Located about 40 km (25 mi) to the east at Badlands Guardian Geological Feature. It is a landscape formation taking the form of a head wearing a feathered headdress. The head is 1,000 ft (300 m) wide. It is in inverse relief, formed by valleys rather than raised ground.lies the
2013 Alberta floods
During the 2013 Alberta floods Medicine Hat, located on the South Saskatchewan River downstream from the confluence of the Bow and Oldman Rivers was hit with significant flooding. The city evacuated 10,000 residents ahead of the flooding, and facilities including the Medicine Hat Arena had begun to flood late Sunday evening, June 23. The South Saskatchewan River peaked at 5,460 m3/s (193,000 cu ft/s), which was below earlier predictions of 6,000 m3/s (210,000 cu ft/s), but exceeded the highest recorded rate of 5,100 m3/s (180,000 cu ft/s) in 1995.
- Cottonwood – A community located above the Cottonwood golf course, between the light industrial area and the airport. Overlooks the World's Largest Teepee.
- Crescent Heights – Mainly built in the 1950s through to the 1960s. Located on the north side of city on the entire ridge above the river valley.
- Crestwood and Norwood – This is an older area of town mainly built in the 1950s. It is located on a plateau southeast of the South Flats and the Seven Person's Creek. The Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede grounds is within this area.
- Hamptons - A four-phase neighbourhood approved for development in 2005. It is located in south Medicine Hat, and is bounded by South Boundary Road to the south, 13 Avenue SE to the east, South Vista Heights to the west and South Ridge to the north. It features architectural controls implemented by the developer.
- North Flats / River Flats – The oldest area in Medicine Hat. Located northeast of the CPR marshalling yards near the South Saskatchewan River and downtown. An inner-city neighbourhood that is home to residential and industrial uses. This area is in the east valley.
- Park Meadows – An area that was developed in the 1990s, adjacent to Crestwood. Primarily residential with several apartments.
- Parkview – A subdivision developed in the 1990s, and located north of the South Saskatchewan River. It is adjacent to Police Point Park and Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club.
- Ranchlands – A neighbourhood developed in the mid 2000s and located in the northeast sector of the city. The neighbourhood includes residential lands both above and in the South Saskatchewan River valley.
- River Heights – Located on the Southwest Hill north of the hospital, and south of the South Saskatchewan River. Includes River Heights Elementary School and an extended care wing, which was originally a part of the hospital.
- Riverside – A mature inner-city neighbourhood along the north bank of the South Saskatchewan River. The community has experienced gentrification. Mature trees line the boulevards and streets.
- Ross Glen – Low density middle-class neighbourhood located in the southeast end of the city. First developed in the late 1970s.
- Saamis Heights – Located west of South Ridge in the south sector of the city. Saamis Heights was developed in under five years. The community borders the Seven Person's Creek valley and thus provides some walkout view lots.
- South Flats – Located south of the CPR marshalling yard, also in the valley, and adjacent to downtown.
- South Ridge – The first residential development south of the Trans-Canada Highway. First developed in the late 1970s. Adjacent to the World's Largest Teepee.
- South Vista Heights – A new residential suburban community south of the Trans-Canada Highway.
- Southeast Hill – One of the oldest areas of the city. It originally overlooked downtown on the north side of the hill and Kin Coulee on the south side. Originally this area housed CPR workers. It is home to four schools.
- Southlands – A community that opened in 2007. It is home to a significant regional commercial centre including Walmart, Staples, Canadian Tire and The Home Depot. The residential community includes parks, future school sites, many low-density residential lots, and several large multi-family sites.
- Southview – Located in the southeast part of the city between Ross Glen and Crestwood. First developed in the 1960s.
- Southwest Hill – Located west of Division Avenue next to the SE Hill area. It is home to five schools and the city's hospital.
The average home price in Medicine Hat in 2018 was $277,294.
Located in the steppe region known as Palliser's Triangle, Medicine Hat has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), with cold winters, and warm to hot, dry summers. Frequently, the winter cold is ameliorated by mild and dry Chinook winds blowing from the west, and hot summer daytime temperatures are made more tolerable by low humidity and rapid cooling in the evening. As Medicine Hat receives less precipitation annually than most other cities on the Canadian Prairies and plentiful sunshine (it is widely known as "The sunniest city in Canada"), so it is a popular retirement city. Maximum precipitation typically occurs in the late spring and early summer.
In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Medicine Hat recorded a population of 63,260 living in 26,652 of its 27,970 total private dwellings, a change of 5.4% from its 2011 population of 60,005. With a land area of 112.04 km2 (43.26 sq mi), it had a population density of 564.6/km2 (1,462.4/sq mi) in 2016.
In the 2011 Census, the City of Medicine Hat had a population of 60,005 living in 25,445 of its 27,342 total dwellings, a change of 5.3% from its 2006 population of 56,997. With a land area of 112.01 km2 (43.25 sq mi), it had a population density of 535.7/km2 (1,387.5/sq mi) in 2011. Also in 2011, the Medicine Hat population centre had a population of 65,671, while the Medicine Hat census agglomeration had a population of 72,807. The population centre includes the adjacent Town of Redcliff to the northwest and a small portion of Cypress County to the east that includes the Hamlet of Veinerville, while the census agglomeration includes Redcliff and Cypress County in its entirety.
More than 89 percent of residents identified English as their first language at the time of the 2006 census, while 6 percent identified German and just over 1 percent each identified Spanish and French as their first language learned. The next most common languages were Ukrainian, Chinese, Dutch, and Polish.
More than 79 percent of residents identified as Christian at the time of the 2001 census while almost 20 percent indicated they had no religious affiliation. For specific denominations Statistics Canada counted 16,175 Roman Catholics (26.5 percent), 9,445 members of the United Church of Canada (15.5 percent), and 6,170 Lutherans (slightly more than 10 percent). Less numerous denominations included 3,780 Anglicans (more than 6 percent), 1,745 members of the Evangelical Missionary Church (almost 3 percent), 1,470 Baptists (over 2 percent), 1,220 identifying as Pentecostal (2 percent), 1,220 Latter-day Saints (2 percent), and 675 Presbyterians (just over 1 percent).
The Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District is a living, working museum based on the Medalta Potteries and Hycroft China Factory Complexes as the focal points of the 150-acre (0.6 km2) district. It offers guided tours, educational and arts programming, as well as experience through collections, exhibits, and interpretation. This nationally recognized industrial historic district is a cultural initiative of the Friends of Medalta Society with federal, provincial, municipal and private support. They are working to restore, preserve and culturally develop the Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District for education and public enjoyment.
Located in downtown Medicine Hat, The Esplanade is a large multi-purpose cultural centre. The facility features a 700+ seat performing arts theatre, art gallery, museum, archives, gift shop, and cafe. The Esplanade officially opened in October 2005.
The Medicine Hat Family Leisure Centre is the largest indoor multi-purpose sports facility in the city. The building is 90,000 sq ft (8,000 m2) and is sited on 57 acres (0.23 km2) in the north end of the city. The facility includes an Olympic-sized ice rink, 50 m (160 ft) pool, waterslide, diving platforms, kiddies pool, wave pool, and cafe. It is being renovated to include an indoor soccer facility, track, and improved fitness centre. These will almost double the size of the facility. In the area surrounding the Leisure Centre facility are several other sportvenues including; four ball diamonds, lighted football field, three soccer pitches, and one of the largest BMX racing facilities in Southern Alberta.
The Medicine Hat Drag Racing Association is located just off the Trans-Canada Highway on Boundary Road or the spectators entrance on Box Springs Road. This is Alberta's only sanctioned National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) track and is a 1/4 mile in length. The facility supports affordable family entertainment and encourages people to race the strip, not the street. The seasons typically run from May till September, with events featuring jet and alcohol cars, bracket racing, and the NHRA National open, which attracts approximately 300 cars from all over North America.
The Shannon House is a historical landmark built in 1906 by James Shannon for his wife and nine children. He had purchased the land and a team of horses for $40.00 in 1895. The family kept the property for three generations, using part of it as a campground in the early 20th century. In 1930, they built the Maple Leaf motel on the property to generate some income. In 1990 a local family bought the property. With a view toward keeping the prominent property as part of the community, they adapted it as the Saamis Memorial Funeral Chapel & Crematorium.
Now named the Saamis Tepee, this work of public art is the world's tallest teepee. It was installed in 1991 south of the Trans-Canada Highway and at the edge of the Blackfoot buffalo jump, above the Saamis Archeological Site along Seven Persons Creek. Commissioned for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary as a symbol of Canada's Plains Indians, it stood 215 ft (66 m) high (more than 20 storeys) and is 160 ft (49 m) in diameter at the base. The sculpture was designed by Steve Illes of steel and concrete. He had the teepee painted "white for purity, red for the rising and setting sun, and blue for flowing waters". Within the teepee are ten circles, with painted illustrations that express ideas about the cultures of the Plains tribes. Explanation are on plaques set in the base. Although designed to withstand extreme temperatures and winds up to 240 km/h (150 mph), during a severe windstorm in January 2007, a portion of the teepee was damaged. Inspection revealed that extensive weathering had weakened the structure. The necessary repairs resulted in lowering the height of Saamis Teepee by approximately 15 ft (4.6 m).
There are over 100 km (62 mi) of walking trails in the city. All of the major parks are linked by the extensive trail system.
- Police Point Park was an early North-West Mounted Police outpost. It has 300-acre (1.2 km2) and shale paths next to the South Saskatchewan River. It is one of Southern Alberta's well-known birding destinations. The Medicine Hat Interpretive Program building is located on-site, to run programs and inform the public about nature around the city.
- Strathcona Island Park is located along the south bank of the South Saskatchewan River. The park has 5 km (3.1 mi) of walking trails, playgrounds, a water park, ball diamonds, a pavilion centre, washrooms, ice skating, kitchens and fire pits. The park is heavily treed.
- Kin Coulee Park is located along the banks of Seven Persons Creek. This 100-acre (0.4 km2) park is almost entirely manicured. The park features a skateboard park, two ball diamonds, beach volleyball courts, fire pits, a band shell, washrooms, and two playgrounds. It is the venue for the annual Canada Day festival and fireworks.
- Echodale Regional Park is a 650 km2 (251.0 sq mi) park that includes a manmade swimming lake. Amenities include a beach, walking trails, fire pits, canoe rentals, paddle boats, snack bar, washrooms and historic ranch.
- Central Park – located in the Southeast Hill neighbourhood, this is surrounded by large cottonwood trees and, on the north side, a row of cedar trees. It has play structures and a spray-deck, and a street basketball court.
- Riverside Veterans' Memorial Park – located downtown across River Road from the South Saskatchewan River and across 6th Avenue from City Hall. It contains the city's Cenotaph, a WWII-era Sherman tank, a brick mural by James Marshall, and two Canadian Pacific Railway locomotives.
The city is home to the Medicine Hat Tigers, a major junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Established in 1970, the team has won seven division titles, five WHL league championships and back-to-back Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Memorial Cup national championships in 1987 and 1988 in its history. Numerous Tigers alumni moved on to play in the National Hockey League (NHL). Lanny McDonald played WHL hockey for the Medicine Hat Tigers. He played in 1971–1972 and scored 50 goals and assisted on 64 goals. In 1972–1973 seasons he scored 62 goals and 77 assists. They play at the Canalta Centre which opened in 2015 and replaced the 40-year-old Medicine Hat Arena.
The city is also home to the Medicine Hat Mavericks, a summer collegiate baseball team in the Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL). Established in 2003, the team plays at Athletic Park stadium, formerly home to the Medicine Hat Blue Jays, in the River Flats neighbourhood adjacent to downtown.
In 2012 the riding of Medicine Hat was renamed to Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner. Jim Hillyer of the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) was elected in the 2015 election. Hillyer died in 2016 and in a special by-election, held on October 24, 2016, Glen Motz (CPC) was elected.
LaVar Payne (CPC) was the Member of Parliament for Medicine Hat since October 2008, and was re-elected in the 2011 election. He announced in 2014 that he would not be running in the next election in October 2015. Previous to Payne the MP was Monte Solberg (CPC).
Medicine Hat has two provincial ridings. One is named Cypress-Medicine Hat, and is represented by Drew Barnes of the United Conservative Party (UCP), while the other one is named Brooks-Medicine Hat, and is represented by Michaela Glasgo of the United Conservative Party.
Alberta Transportation is currently negotiating with landowners south of the city to secure land for the future Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) bypass. The bypass is expected to be constructed in the next 10–20 years.
The city owns the gas production, gas distribution, electric generation and electric distribution utilities that serve the citizens. The city-owned gas utility is the 30th largest natural gas producer (by volume produced) in Canada.
The city is working on design of the South-West Sector Sanitary Trunk main, extension of South Boundary Road from Strachan Road to South Ridge Drive, and a South-West Sector water transmission line. This infrastructure will accommodate the development of new residential communities west of South Ridge Dr, and south of the Seven Persons Creek.
Beginning in 2009, several ICT business leaders began working together to facilitate economic growth and diversify the local economy by building a robust community network based on fiber optic technologies.
Medicine Hat School District No. 76 has been serving the needs of public school students since it came into existence in 1886. The district has five trustees and comprises three secondary schools, Alexandra Middle School (formerly Alexandra Junior High School), Crescent Heights High School and Medicine Hat High School, 12 elementary (K–6) schools, a special needs school for the severely disabled, as well as an Alternative School program which incorporates a joint partnership with the YMCA Teen Moms' Program, YMCA Stay-in-School Program, a program with the former Palliser Health Region for secondary students and a program supported by Alberta Children Services for students with behavioural needs. French immersion programming is provided as an option at one elementary school and at Crescent Heights High. The district currently works with the BHTH Institution for Education, part of the International Education Association of Western Canada, to operate an international educational program in China and three schools have joined this program, Tangshan Caofeidian #2 School, Qinhuangdao Foreign Language School, and Shandong Weifang Middle School.
The Medicine Hat Catholic/Separate School District provides educational programming for students from kindergarten through Grade 12. French immersion programming is provided as an option in select District schools. It operates one high school, Monsignor McCoy, and nine other schools.
Medicine Hat College is located in the south part of the city. The first students were accepted to the college in 1965. Now with over 2,500 students and three campuses, the college has grown into an integral part of the community. The Medicine Hat College Rattlers athletic program include basketball, volleyball, golf, soccer and futsal.
Medicine Hat is home to the South Alberta Light Horse (SALH), an army reserve unit. The SALH dates back to 1885 when it took part in the suppression of the North-West Rebellion. It gained battle honours in the First and Second World Wars and today its members serve overseas on United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization missions. Currently the SALH has members serving in Afghanistan.
Medicine Hat was also home to a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan airfield (located at the present airport) and a POW camp (located at the present Exhibition & Stampede grounds) during the Second World War.
Canadian Forces Base Suffield is located 50 km (31 mi) west of the city. It is estimated that the base contributes C$120 million annually to the local economy, principally through its two lodger units: British Army Training Unit Suffield, and Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield).
- Terri Clark, country singer
- Amanda (Falk) Cook, singer-songwriter and worship leader and winner of eight GMA Covenant Awards
- Glen Edwards, test pilot for the United States Air Force and the namesake of Edwards Air Force Base in southern California.
- Jurgen Gothe, radio broadcaster
- Richard Hortness, Olympic swimmer
- Trevor Linden, former professional hockey player, member of the Order of Canada, former president of hockey operations for Vancouver Canucks and recipient of the Order of British Columbia
- Dawson Murschell, Darts Player
- Bud Olson, former Member of Parliament and Senator for Medicine Hat, former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
- Chris Osgood, former professional hockey player
- Kalan Porter, singer-songwriter known for winning season 2 of Canadian Idol
- MacKenzie Porter, TV actress known for her roles as Marci in Travelers and as Naomi in Hell on Wheels
- Rhoda Cosgrave Sivell, poet
- Richard E. Taylor, co-recipient of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics
- Arnold Tremere, Executive director of the Canadian International Grains Institute (government official)
- Sage Watson, Olympic track athlete
- Jadyn Wong, actress known for her role as Happy in the American TV series Scorpion
- Ronnie Burkett Canadian puppeteer, best known for his original theatrical plays for adults, performed with marionettes.
- Bruno Gerussi Canadian stage and television actor, best known for the lead role in the CBC Television series The Beachcombers.
- Gordie Johnson Canadian musician, best known as the front man for the reggae rock band Big Sugar, Austin-based Latin jazz band Sit Down Servant and southern rock band Grady.
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- Brennan, Brian (2003), Boondoggles, Bonanzas, and Other Alberta Stories, Fifth House, p. 43, ISBN 1-894004-94-9,
This part of the country seems to have all hell for a basement, and the only trap door appears to be in Medicine Hat. And don’t you ever think of changing the name of your town. It’s all your own and the only hat of its kind on earth.
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- "Bylaw No. 3617: Hamptons Area Structure Plan". City of Medicine Hat. May 31, 2005. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
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- "Alberta Real Estate Association Housing Market Stats". The Canadian Real Estate Association. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
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- Dorerin Naoero
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