Situated along the Oldman River in the southern part of Alberta, Lethbridge is surrounded by picturesque landscape of vast prairies, rugged badlands, and the Rocky Mountains. Only a day trip away from four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there are hundreds of years of heritage waiting to be discovered.
Agriculture is deeply woven into the fabric of Lethbridge’s identity. The city’s fertile lands, commitment to research, and dedication to sustainable practices continue to shape its agricultural landscape and contribute to the province’s agricultural success. Known as the “Breadbasket of Canada,” the Lethbridge region boasts fertile soil, favorable climate conditions, and a strong agricultural tradition. With the incredible bounty being grown and raised in the area, it has also become the heart of agri-food production and processing in Alberta, with major processors like McCains, PepsiCo, and Maple Leaf Foods having facilities situated within the city and surrounding area.
That focus on agriculture and food production pours into other aspects of the city’s culture, including the development of the brand new Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre. This world-class facility boasts 268,000 square feet of multifunctional space with state-of-the-art design and technology. With a beautiful view overlooking Henderson Lake, the facility is perfectly situated for visitors to connect and access in-depth local knowledge, stories, and education, and to visit nearby agricultural operations for hands-on experience. The trade show floor even has outside access doors large enough to bring in farming equipment with ease!
WHERE TO PLAY
Lethbridge is at the heart of a rich agricultural community, Canada’s best growing conditions and world-class food producers and growers along Canada’s Premiere Food Corridor. Explore Canada’s Food Tours with all the fantastic local Lethbridge food producers in and around the city, or follow one of the pre-prepared itineraries for an easy self-drive food tour. Be warned though, there may be a few gravel roads along the way!
Explore the history and broaden your understanding of Blackfoot people, history and culture. The City of Lethbridge rests on the ancestral land of the Blackfoot and Indigenous people of Canada. Lethbridge is in Treaty 7 territory as well as a part of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3. For an introduction into Indigenous history and culture, we recommend a visit to Estipah-skikikini-kots (Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump). A landmark such as Ninastako (Chief Mountain) defines the drive from Lethbridge to Paahtómahksik (Waterton Lakes National Park).
The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden offers you an unforgettable experience, combining the beauty of nature in a serene setting. From the first spring blossom to the final autumn leaf, the Garden is an oasis of tranquility. Established during Canada’s Centennial in 1967, Nikka Yuko was built to recognize contributions made by citizens of Japanese ancestry to the multicultural community of Lethbridge, Alberta, and as a symbol of international friendship. Its name was created from the Japanese words Ni (from Nihon meaning Japan), ka from Kanada or Canada, and Yuko, which translates as “friendship” to mean “Japan-Canada friendship.”
Adventuring the open roads through Southeast Alberta, you’ll start this tour surrounded by beautiful coulees and bluffs, with a welcoming blue sky and sunshine. Canada’s Sunniest City, Medicine Hat, offers three unique breweries — all with dog-friendly patios. They each tell a different story of the city’s history with their brewery names and locations, while serving a wide array of tasty beer. Explore Highway 3 Ale Trail.
WHERE TO STAY
ABOUT THE CITY OF LETHBRIDGE
Life in Lethbridge strikes a balance between the feel of a close-knit small community and the services and amenities of a growing urban centre. Lethbridge is located in the southern portion of the western province of Alberta, Canada and is the centre of a trading area that serves nearly 342,000 people in Alberta, British Columbia and the State of Montana.
Located only one hour north of the Alberta-Montana border, Lethbridge is closer to the U.S. market than any other city in Alberta. Lethbridge is also easily accessible to major markets across Western Canada by road, rail and air. Our proximity to the Foothills of the Rocky Mountains also places us within an hour’s drive to spectacular national parks, UNESCO World Heritage sites and other major attractions.
Living in Lethbridge, you’ll find a diverse population, two modern post-secondary institutions, a thriving arts and culture scene, top-notch recreational facilities all set against a stunning natural environment within a community where collaboration is king.
Lethbridge is two hours south of Calgary, Canada’s third largest city and a major transportation hub for the region, and one hour from the U.S. border. Lethbridge’s location in the heart of southern Alberta also puts it in close proximity to premier attractions like Waterton Lakes National Park, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site and Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park. The Oldman River runs through the middle of the city, creating scenic coulees, verdant valley parkland and boundless recreational opportunities.
Lethbridge was established in the late 1800’s in the Oldman River valley as a coal mining community. Originally known as Coalbanks, the name officially changed to Lethbridge in October 1885 in honor of William Lethbridge, an original shareholder in the Northwest Coal and Navigation Company (NCNC).
A local lumber industry emerged when the Galt family, owners of the Drift Mine No. 1 and operator’s of the NCNC, developed a sawmill directly beneath where the High Level Bridge stands today. One of the contributing factors for the “coal town’s” development into a regional servicing hub was the Canadian Pacific Railway’s decision to relocate the Crowsnest line division point from Fort Macleod to Lethbridge.
This was made possible by the construction of the High Level Bridge across the Oldman River valley. By the early 1900’s, agriculture had begun to replace coal mining as the dominant economic activity, and the townsite moved out of the river valley up onto the prairie.
When Lethbridge was incorporated as a city in May 1906, the community boasted a population of 2500 and a well-established downtown commercial area. Rapid growth occurred after the Second World War when increasing automobile usage spurred development to the east, north and south of the downtown.
New areas included the industrial parks on the east side of the city and commercial development east on Third Avenue and southward along Mayor Magrath Drive. By the early 1960’s, these trends had left the historic downtown somewhat isolated on the western extremity of the city and, accordingly, the commercial and cultural influence of the city center began to wane.
However, the City’s decision in the mid-1960’s to make land west of the Oldman River available for major residential development dramatically altered the City’s urban form and helped retain its relevance as the commercial and cultural heart of the community.
Whoop Up Days
For over 125 years, Whoop-Up Days has marked the culmination of summer for southern Albertans. Whoop-Up Days is where our community comes together to celebrate, experience, eat, laugh, and ride. Where the midway lights brighten up the southern sky, where the authentic west still runs wild, where cultures come together and memories are made. Experience the excitement that comes with amusement rides, entertainment, community pancake breakfasts, the Whoop-Up Days Parade, and much more.
International Peace Pow-wow & Festival
The Blackfoot Canadian Cultural Society hosts its annual contemporary Aboriginal arts festival, including competition dances, the last weekend of February in Lethbridge.
Lethbridge International Air Show
The Lethbridge International Air Show is a semi annual tradition in Southern Alberta dating back over than 20 years. We proudly showcase the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 demo team and the world renowned Canadian Forces Snowbirds as well as many civilian aerobatic acts and static displays.
Southern Alberta Table
Thanks to prime growing conditions and hard-working farmers, Southern Alberta’s table is rich with exquisite ingredients. Canada’s Premier Food Corridor – a 55km stretch of land running along Highway 3 – encompasses nearly 4,500 farms and over 11,000 related businesses on 4.2 million acres. From barley to beef, canola to corn, pork to potatoes, and so many other products – chances are, something you ate today was raised in southern Alberta. Some of the very best food in the world is produced here, and it is this food that brings us all together.
Wide Skies Music Festival
A brand new festival in downtown Lethbridge, the Wide Skies Music & Arts Festival aims to bring a diverse range of world class musicians to a unique urban environment.