Foothills' Western Heritage

Posted on: Jul 19, 2021

The history of Alberta’s Foothills is rich and storied. Usually, the first thing that comes to mind are cowboys and cattle, and we certainly have a lot of those, but there is more. This area was once a training ground for WWII pilots, their yellow training planes were a common sight. In Nanton, you can discover the Foothills’ aviation history at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada. This massive collection of memorabilia and aircraft requires at least half a day to experience. Patrons can clamber through old fuselage, marvel at the nose art reproductions and immerse themselves in a time gone by. Find it all in Nanton at Bomber Command.
To get a taste of what Alberta is all about, you must make a trip to the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. This amazingly immersive experience begins with a literal ride into history, in a horse-drawn wagon pulled by two stunning Percherons. See the life of a ranch cowboy from the late 1800s in the Bar U’s meticulously curated exhibits. Wander through the authentic buildings, sit fire-side and listen to old-time yarns and learn all about the massive draft horses that made this ranch famous at the Percheron exhibit. With a stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, the Bar U is a Foothills gem not to be missed.
In the old train station in downtown High River, you will find the Museum of the Highwood & High River Visitor Information Centre. This iconic setting is home to a huge collection of artifacts, photos, exhibits and local lore. The curating team is a wealth of information about the region, its history and its people. This hard-working bunch have collected and catalogued so many varied and intriguing pieces of prairie memorabilia that will fascinate and delight. If you are a Heartland fan, this is a must-stop. The museum houses costumes and photos of CBC’s longest running drama series and the staff can offer directions to many of the show’s filming locations.
Now that you have seen the Foothills’ western heritage, why not live it? A horseback ride into the hills is nothing short of spectacular. Ride the range and get a feel for what life was like way back when. With four superb outfitters in our region, you will have your pick of a horseback adventure. All are authentic, safety conscious and ready to lead you out on the trail. Choose from Anchor D Guiding and Outfitting near Turner Valley, The Homeplace Ranch west of Priddis, Moose Mountain Horseback Adventures or for the overnight adventurer, Horsepowered Adventures near Millarville. Giddy up.

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