With its rolling hills and cropland to cattle farms and collection of towns and hamlets, Wheatland County to the north and east of Calgary has maintained a sense of community amidst rural and urban lifestyles.
Wheatland County includes the communities of Strathmore, Gleichen, Cluny, Dalemead, Carseland, Lyalta, Rosebud, Hussar, Rockyford, Chancellor, Dalum, Speargrass and more.
“Our proud heritage of independence and hard work shows in our farms and ranches — and our pride in the past is still evident in community rodeos and fairs each summer and fall,” states www.wheatlandcounty.ca. “Our work ethic and dedicated stewardship of the land, once primarily agricultural, is now our strengths and we look forward to the future.”
Aside from the populations within communities in Wheatland County, the county itself — bordered to the west by Rocky View County, to the south by Vulcan County and Siksika Nation, the east by the County of Newell and north by Kneehill County and the Town of Drumheller — the county is home to 8,285 residents, an increase of 2.2 per cent compared to 2006. In 2011, there were 39 applications for subdivisions, 32 applications for land use re-designations and 181 development permits allotted.
Aside from its rolling hills and spacious skies providing spectacular sunrises and sunsets on a daily basis, Wheatland County has amenities and activities that would appeal to anyone from young families to retiring couples.
An hour southeast of Calgary, Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park includes camping, boating, hiking and bird watching. For golf enthusiasts Carseland, Strathmore, Lyalta and Gleichen offer up links from relaxing nine-hole courses to more challenging 18-hole courses. Wheatland’s biggest community — Strathmore — has a population of over 12,000. The town was named by Scotsman James Ross with the CPR for his native home, the word Strathmore is derived from Gaelic for “large valley”. Strathmore is home to the World Professional Chuckwagon Finals and Rodeo every Heritage Day, the biggest rodeo in the area following the Calgary Stampede.
In 2010, Strathmore had 186 residential building permits, eight commercial building permits and three institutional for a total of $37,810,818 with homes selling for an average of $300,000 and taxes averaging $2,433.
The small hamlet of Rosebud offers a plethora of opportunities for both residents and tourists including The Rosebud Theatre, Rosebud School of the Arts and the Canadian Badlands Passion Play. A stone’s throw away there’s The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, The Atlas Coal Mine, Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park and the Rockyford Lions Rodeo.
Schools in the county include Strathmore High School, Golden Hills Learning Academy, Sacred Heart Academy, Siksika High School, Brentwood Elementary School and more.
In 2012, the county announced the launch of the 2012 Water Protection Initiative, a funding program designed to conserve and improve water quality in Wheatland County. Funding is available for landowners managing agricultural land to implement management practices which increase the health of riparian areas while protecting surface and groundwater sources.
Field Stone Fruit Wines
Located 40 minutes east of Calgary, Field Stone Fruit Wines was established as Alberta’s first cottage winery in 2005. The family-run winery sits on 50 acres of berry orchards and includes “U-Pick” bumbleberry fields. All fruit wines produced at Field Stone are 100 per cent produced from Alberta-grown crops with 90 per cent of the fruit coming from the orchard itself. Guests can visit Field Stone between May and September and can also find products at the Calgary and Kingsland Farmers Markets as well as markets throughout Alberta in the spring and summer season.
Located just east of Strathmore and surrounded by the rolling farmlands of Wheatland County, Eagle Lake provides fishing, boating and other water activities for the County’s residents. The lake is named for nearby Eagle Hill where First Nations people would like in baited holes to wait for eagles. When a bird would land, the hunter would grab it and remove tail feathers for use for headdresses. For fishing enthusiasts the lake is stocked with walleye, yellow perch and northern pike. Campers can enjoy the lake from Eagle Lake RV Resort, which includes short and long-term camping and includes hayrides and an artisan’s gallery.
Gleichen & District Fall Fair
For the last 25 years, the hamlet of Gleichen (an hour east of Calgary) has been celebrating the Gleichen and District Fall Fair. The fair includes a parade, Lions breakfast, bench show and trade fair, show and shine and barbecue supper as well as homemade pie contests and a chili cook off. The event is run in conjunction with the Foothills Cowboys Association rodeo, which takes place at the nearby Wilson Rodeo Grounds.
Just over an hour and a half northeast of Calgary and half an hour from Drumheller the hamlet of Rosebud is named for Alberta’s provincial flower, the Wild Rose. The hamlet is home to the province’s only professional rural theatre company, The Rosebud Theatre. Performances take place in the Opera House and casts are composed of resident actors, theatre students and visiting artists. Anne of Green Gables is currently playing at the theatre and the season is also set to include My Name is Asher Lev, Tuesdays with Morrie and May & Joe.