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Cardston is a town in southwest Albertamarker, Canadamarker. Cardston was settled in 1887 by Mormons from Utah Territory who travelled to Alberta in one of the century's last wagon migrations. The official founder of the town is Charles Ora Card, after whom the town is named. Even though to this day most residents of Cardston are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there are sizable congregations of Baptist, Lutheran, United, Anglican and Catholic adherants.

Geography and climate

Cardston is situated in the low foothills of southwest Alberta, approximately 25 km (15 miles) north of the US state of Montanamarker. On its north side, it borders the Blood Indian Reservation, one of the largest reserves in North America. Forty kilometres (24 miles) to the west of Cardston are the Rocky Mountains of Waterton Lakes National Parkmarker. Cardston is 77 km (46 miles) southwest of Lethbridgemarker and 234 km (140 miles) south of Calgarymarker.

  • Coordinates:
  • Elevation: 3677 ft (1121 m)
  • Land Area (square kilometre): 6.90

Along with the rest of southern Alberta, Cardston is subject to chinooks, which often bring temperatures in mid-winter well above 10 °C (50 °F). This same pattern results in more than 200 days of wind a year.

  • Annual rain: 320 mm (12.62 in)
  • Annual snow: 229 cm (90.0 in)
  • Annual frost free days: 111
  • Annual hours of sunshine: 2370

Seasonal temperature averages:
  • January: -6C/21F
  • April: 6C/43F
  • July: 18C/65F
  • October: 6C/43F

Weather records:
  • Hottest Day: July 28, 1939 (38.9 C)
  • Coldest Day: January 28, 1929 (-41.7 C)
  • Most Rain In One Day: June 6, 1995 (106 mm)
  • Most Snow In One Day: May 4, 1919 (63.5 cm)
  • Deepest Snow Cover: April 29, 1967 (84 cm)


The population of Cardston in 2001 was 3,475. In 2006, it had a population of 3,452 living in 1,234 dwellings, a 0.7% decrease from 2001. The town has a land area of and a population density of .

2001 Population by Age and Gender Total
Age Male Female Total
0–4 115 140 255
5–14 335 310 645
15–19 175 180 355
20–24 105 100 205
25–34 125 160 285
35–44 175 210 385
45–54 165 200 365
55–64 125 155 280
65–74 135 170 305
75+ 150 260 410
Totals 1600 1870 3470
Source: Statistics Canada 2001 Census (numbers may not add up due to rounding)

1996 2001
Total number of families 730 760
Average family income $53,750 $52,939
Median family income $46,503 $48,004

Source: Statistics Canada 1996 & 2001 Census


Primary industries are housing material manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism.


Schools include the Cardston High School, the Cardston Jr. High School (formerly Eastridge Elementary School), and Cardston Elementary School which are all under the Westwind School Division

Former schools include Leeside (grades 1 and 2 - torn down in the late 1980s to make way for the Remington-Alberta Carriage Centre) and Westside. The building that housed many of the junior high facilities — including the gymnasium (near the current high school) — was torn down in the early 2000s as the junior high moved to the former Eastridge building. The Cardston High School underwent extensive renovations at this time as well, including an expansion to its gymnasium, much-improved fitness and weight room facilities, wider hallways, and a new cafeteria.


Cardston has ball parks, a golf course, an ice skating rink, a swimming pool, tennis courts, hiking trails, a skateboard park, several recreation parks, picnic areas and playgrounds. The local schools and LDS Church buildings have gymnasiums. St. Mary's Dam reservoir northeast of Cardston supports water sports in the summer months.

Local attractions

The Cardston Alberta Temple
Cardston Alberta Temple:The Cardston Alberta Temple is one of southern Alberta’s most recognized landmarks. It was constructed by Mormon pioneers who settled Cardston in 1887. The temple became the centerpiece of the town, and it was the first temple constructed by the church outside of the United States.

Remington Carriage Museum:The Remington Carriage Museum houses the largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles in North America, with more than 250 carriages, wagons and sleighs. The feature video displays a fire hall, carriage factory, restoration shop, working stable, carriage rides, carriage rentals, a restaurant, and a shop. Guided tours are offered for free. On April 9, 2006, the museum was briefly mentioned on TV in Canada as a destination of Patty and Selma's vacation during the Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore episode of The Simpsons.

The Carriage House Theatre: This theatre was constructed in 1912 by Mark Spencer, and underwent renovations in 1937 and 1992. It seats 350 and hosts films, community theatre and professional summer theatre, which has produced such shows as Seussical, Oklahoma, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Card Pioneer Home:A genuine "Little House on the Prairie", it was built by Cardston’s founder Charles Ora Card in 1887, and served as a community centre and stopping place for travellers until the first hotel was built in 1894. The log structure stands in its original location and is open for public visits as a Registered Provincial Historic site.

Courthouse Museum:The Courthouse Museum shows how a rough country changed dramatically. The unique sandstone structure was built in 1907 from stone quarried near Cardston. The building’s profile and interior stand as a monument to Cardston’s early pioneer artisans. It was used longer than any other courthouse in Alberta. The building displays the judge's bench, witness box, and other artifacts. Original jail cells, including graffiti, can be found. The Courthouse Museum is a Registered Provincial Historic site

Museum of Miniatures: This museum features miniature covered wagons on the move, Indian villages, buffalo, wild animals and an active western town, on a 1/12 scale. Featured also are Indian carvings and paintings, 150 1/24 scale model cars and trucks, shadow boxes, antiques, a marine scene, and a logging scene.

Regional attractions

Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Lakes National Parkmarker is a national park in the southwest corner of Alberta, 40 km (25 mi) west of Cardston, and borders Glacier National Parkmarker in Montana, USA. Waterton Lakes was Canada's fourth national park, formed in 1895. Amid the peaks are the lakes of Waterton Lakes National Parkmarker, carved out of the rock by glaciers.

Frank Slide Interpretive Centre
On April 29, 1903, at 4:10 a.m., the mining town of Frank, Alberta, was devastated by 82 million tonnes of limestone crashing down from Turtle Mountain. The Frank Slidemarker Interpretative Centre in the Crowsnest Pass, 130 km (81 mi) northwest of Cardston, tells of one of the geatest natural disasters in Canadian history.

Castle Mountain Ski Resort
Castle Mountain Resortmarker 90 km (56 mi) west of Cardston has kilometres of groomed skiing runs, natural half pipes, deep fresh powder, short lift lines and wide open spaces.

Writing On Stone Provincial Park
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Parkmarker, 125 km (78 mi) east of Cardston, is one of the largest areas of protected prairie in the Alberta park system, a nature preserve and protection for rock art created by Plains People. There are 50 rock art sites, with thousands of figures, as well as archaeological sites.

Police Outpost Provincial Park
Police Outpost Provincial Parkmarker is south of Cardston, on the Canada/United States border, on the shores of Outpost Lake.

Notable people from Cardston

See also


  1. Town of Cardston - Demographics
  2. “Elder Victor L. Brown Dies at 81,” Ensign, May 1996, 105.
  3. * “Elaine L. Jack, Second Counselor in the Young Women Presidency,” Ensign, May 1987, 100.
  4. “Elder Merlin R. Lybbert of the Second Quorum of the Seventy,” Ensign, May 1989, 98.
  5. "Strate, Grant", The Canadian Encyclopedia, accessed 2007-12-17.
  6. Jay M. Todd, “Edward J. Wood: ‘Faith Personified’,” Ensign, Sep. 1988, 50.
  7. William Addams Reitwiesner, Ancestry of Fay Wray, accessed 2007-12-17.

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