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Alberta Online Encyclopedia


The names of men literally fill our landscape: famous explorers, surveyors, trappers, heroes, kings, dukes and princes. Women, too, have had an impact on the way Alberta's land and water features have been named.

Burdett, 63 km west southwest of Medicine Hat, was named for the Baroness Georgina Burdett-Coutts who was one of the principal shareholders in the North West Coal and Navigation Company operating throughout southern Alberta. The Baroness was born in 1814 and inherited a vast fortune making her the "richest heiress in England," enjoying fame second only to Queen Victoria. She received peerage from the Queen in 1871, and eventually married a young American who was an Oxford graduate and thirty-seven years younger than herself. By royal licence he assumed her name. Her wealth opened up the developed coal mining in southern Alberta. The baroness died in 1906.

Dina, 40 km south southwest of Lloydminster, was named in 1908 after Dina Sand, as she was the only girl living in this district at the time. "Dina" is pronounced "Deena."

Elinor Lake is located 24 km southeast of Lac La Biche. According to folklore, a French-Canadian voyageur named this lake and several others in this district after his love interests. Elinor figures early but not very prominently in his love life. It is said that while making his way up the Beaver River he also named lakes after Hilda, Ernestina, Charlotte, Muriel, Jessie, Liza, Barbara, Marguerite, Minnie and Helena.

Mary Gregg Creek, 73 km southwest of Edson, Mary Gregg was the daughter of Chief Cardinal, of the Stoney Nation. A well-respected woman, she married John Gregg and helped him find important coal deposits at Mountain Peak, near Lovettville.

Mount Alberta is commemorative of Her Royal Highness Princess Louise Caroline Alberta who also shares her name with Lake Louise and the province itself. J.N. Collie named this mountain in 1899.

Mount Edith Cavell, 24 km south of Jasper, was named in 1916 after Edith Louise Cavell, a nurse. Originally for Swardeston, she left for Brussels in 1907. In 1914, as war broke out in Europe, she was in charge of a pioneering nurse training school. She was also engaged in helping soldiers trapped behind enemy lines to rejoin their armies. According to German authorities, this was treason and she was sentenced to death by firing squad. Her defence was that, as a nurse, her duty was to save lives; including concealing and smuggling away hunted men. For this reason, she is regarded as a Norfolk heroine whom some consider to be a martyr.

Mount Queen Elizabeth, 80 km west of Turner Valley, is not named for those two Elizabeths of England, but after the former Duchess of Bavaria, Queen of the Belgians and consort of King Albert I. It was officially named in 1918.

Mount Tuzo, 50 km west of Banff on the Alberta-British Columbia boundary, is named after Henrietta L. Tuzo, a member of the Alpine Club of Canada who in 1906 was the first one to climb it. One of the mountains in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, S.E.S. Allen in 1898 called Sagowa, which is "Seven" in the Nakoda language.

Lac Ste. Anne, 61 km west northwest of Edmonton, received its name in 1844 when Father Jean-Baptiste Thibault founded one of the first Catholic Missions on the western prairies here. Ste. Anne was the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her feast day is July 26 and near the end of July and many make an annual pilgrimage to this lake. Even before the arrival of the Europeans, this lake was a place of pilgrimage as apparently the waters have healing powers. This is borne out by the fact that earlier Aboriginal names were translated as Great Spirit Lake, Divine Lake, Devil's Lake and God's Lake.

Royemma Lake, 150 km south southeast of Fort MacMurray, was named in honour of a well-known area pioneer, Royemma (Mitchell) Yanczura. Miss Mitchell was born in May1906 at Humboldt, Saskatchewan. In 1925, she moved to Lac La Biche with her father, William Mitchell, where she worked as a labourer repairing and hanging fishnets. She moved to Winefred Lake in the fall of the same year and helped in the construction of fish camps and headquarters to fish the lake.

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