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!
Across the lake lies the beautiful Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, an oasis that transports you to a serene world of Japanese tradition, beauty, and harmony. Established during Canada’s Centennial in 1967, the garden was built to recognize contributions made by citizens of Japanese ancestry to the multicultural community of Lethbridge and as a symbol of international friendship. In the early 20th century, Japanese immigrants began moving to southern Alberta to start new lives in the prairies. These settlers are recognized as the pioneers of the sugar beet industry in Alberta, which continues today as being one of two places in Canada where they grow. They are processed into sugar at the nearby Lantic-Rogers plant, and if you see a number stamp starting with “22”, that sugar was made with Alberta sugar beets!
At the gardens, you can enjoy special dining experiences, including outdoor picnics and private tea ceremonies. You can even try their collaboration brew, the Nikka Yuko Matcha Pale Ale, brewed by local Theoretically Brewing. This nano-brewery is a hub of community spirit and inclusiveness, partnering with other local businesses and sourcing ingredients from as close to home as possible. Their taproom hosts a variety of special events including craft nights, open mics, and even a Celtic jam on the first Thursday of every month.
The Japanese and other cultural influences can be seen throughout the community, and you can learn more about them all at the Galt Museum. The history of Lethbridge and southwestern Alberta can be explored through the Galt’s rotating world-class exhibits, special events, and school and community programs. The museum cares for well over 17,000 artifacts and more than 1 million archival documents and photographs. Outside, there are numerous walking trails with interpretive signage, as well as two gardens created in partnership with community groups. The museum also manages Fort Whoop-Up, a replica of an original fur trading fort built in the late 1800s. They tell the story of this region and the people here from the mid-1860s to the early 1890s. It is a complex story that includes the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot), other First Nations, Métis, Canadians, Americans and British. All within a short distance of the downtown core.
Lethbridge’s downtown core is full of life, with Festival Square at its heart. Home to many community celebrations, it can also be a great space just to relax and refresh amongst the shopping, dining, and cultural activities. At its doorstep are several restaurants just waiting to serve you up delicious eats that give you a true taste of southern Alberta and feature many local producers. Telegraph Taphouse, housed in the historic Telegraph Office, it is a great place for neighbours and community to share in great food, fantastic beer and culture. For the more upscale experience, try Bourbon & Butter or Steel & Vines, perfect for date night or any celebration. Or if you’re in the mood for a hearty, home-style cooking, check out Chef Stella Diner, a local favourite. If pasta is more your style, the Italian Table uses locally produced Let’s Pasta, which uses wheat from nearby farms in all their pasta.
Thirsty traveller? Then Lethbridge has you covered. Whether alcoholic or caffeinated, traditional or contemporary, the perfect beverage is waiting for you to enjoy. Try Cupper’s Coffee & Tea, where you can watch the beans being roasted and shop local goods while you wait for your carefully crafted cappuccino or latte. Or if craft beer is more your scene, head to Spectrum Ale Works for a relaxed atmosphere. Prefer your beverages to be accompanied by live music? Check out Owl Acoustic Lounge for food, music, art, and drinks.
Whether you are exploring the region’s bountiful heritage, or indulging in delicious eats, Lethbridge is the perfect destination for your next culinary adventure.