hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:21:09 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.

Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia


World Beat

Alberta's place names reflect not only the influence of English, French and Aboriginal cultures but also the cultures of all peoples who have made Alberta their home.

Alhambra, 18 km east of Rocky Mountain House, was named after the ancient fortress on the Moorish (North African Arabic) Kings in Spain. One possible theory as to who named this hamlet is that John T. Moor, President of the railway, gave it this name in a half-hearted attempt to link his family with the Moors in Spain.

Arcadia, 28 km east of High Prairie, is derived from a mountainous district of Greece, which is renowned and celebrated as the abode of a simple, contented pastoral people. As Arcadia is the place name for a quiet rural district, it seems quite appropriate and it likely reflected the early residents' hopes for the area.

Bergen, 10 km south of Sundre, was named by Norwegian Settlers. Apparently, this valley reminded them of their homeland. Bergen is derived from "Bjorgvin" which means "between the mountains."

Blumenau, 74 km east of Red Deer, is derived from the Swiss-German term for "flowering." "Blumen" is the general term for "flower" in Swiss-German. The first postmaster, Carl Stettler, came from Switzerland and named this area for the crocuses blooming in the early spring.

Cairngorm, 10 km northwest of Jasper, was named by M.P. Bridgland. The name itself is of Gaelic origin and means "blue-green mountain" and it has been applied to a mountain range in Scotland.

Coronado, 40 km northeast of Edmonton, was named after a town in California, named after Coronado Butte, Arizona. Coronado Butte honours Francisco Vasquez de Coronado (1510-1554), a Spanish Explorer of the North American Southwest. His expeditions resulted in the discovery of many physical landmarks and as well, he was the first European explorer to see the Grand Canyon. In 1538, he was appointed governor of Nueva Galicia. "Coronado" means "crowned " or "perfectly finished" in Spanish.

Dalum, 15 km south of Drumheller, is the location of a settlement of Danish immigrants. The organization "Dansk Folksamfund" was established under the leadership of F. L. Gruntvif in conjunction with men and women from various Danish communities. Its goal was to strengthen the cultural heritage of Danish-American immigrants. In 1916, representatives of the D.F. made contact with the CPR and soon negotiations were in place so as to obtain a tract of land for a settlement in Alberta. Mr. J. Gregersen and Mr. Jens Hvass, both of Chicago, travelled to Alberta and in 1917, they had arranged for land. The area was finally settled in 1917-1918 and the name Dalum was chosen as it was Mr. Hvass' hometown.

Freedom, 11 km east northeast of Barrhead, was formerly called Dusseldorf after the well-known German city by the German homesteaders who settled here. However, in January 1919, the name was changed to Freedom as to commemorate the allied victory over the central powers. This is just one example of the impact of the Great War on German place names within the province.

Granada, 41 km south southwest of Mayerthorpe, is named after the Moorish Kingdom (North African Arabic origin) captured by the troops of Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.

Kansas, 15 km west southwest of Didsbury, is named for the American State.

Kirriemuir, a hamlet 47 km south of Provost, is named after a town in Scotland located in a fertile agricultural area. Apparently, in coming to this area of Alberta, the person who gave Kirriemuir its name was reminded of the other Kirriemuir. The name comes from the Gaelic words "ceathramh nor" meaning "big quarter or division."

Krakow, a locality 42 km south of Smoky Lake, is named after the famous Polish city that was once the capital of that country for three centuries. This locality was named by a group of early Polish settlers.

Leicester, 30 km north of High Prairie, is named after the English town. The word is a mixture of Celtic and Latin: lei or leire is the name of a river while castra is the word used for a "fortified Roman Camp."

Montana, a railway point within the city limits of Lethbridge, was likely named for the U.S. state that borders Alberta to the south.

Navarre, 10 km south of Wetaskiwin, is named after a province in Spain, near the Pyrenees Mountains, which is the point of division between France and Spain. It describes the region of hills and valleys. The French King, Henri IV, prince of the Huguenots, was known as Henri de Bourbon de Navarre.

Newcastle Mine, incorporated into the city of Drumheller on January 1, 1967, shares its name with a city in England, where coal was also mined.

New Lunnon, 26 km north northeast of Edmonton, was named for the city of London, England.

New Kiew, 16 km north northeast of Vegreville, was a name given to the predominantly Ukrainian community. It is named after the present capital of Ukraine, Kyiv. The term "new" was added to Kiew so as to possibly reflect changes in the community. While a post office did operate here from 1932 until 1954, the name "New Kiew" was already in place. The district was known as Kiew around 1908 and the post office from 1930.

Nuorison Creek, 35 km west of Red Deer, was officially approved in 1986. Despite this, this locally, well-established name likely dates from the early 1900s when a group of Finnish settlers arrived in the area. They established a community they called Nuorison, which means "young people" in their native tongue. This name was applied to a youth and community hall. At the time the creek was officially named in 1986, neither structure existed, but the memory of the Finnish settlers live on in the name.

San Francisco Lake, 111 km northeast of Lethbridge, is a manmade lake constructed in 1942 at the urging of the Pacific Rod and Gun Club, based in San Francisco, in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited. Members of the club used to hunt here in the fall. Together, they convinced the Eastern Irrigation District to flood some 200 acres so as to create a bird sanctuary. They raised to money to do this through trap and skeet shooting competitions.

Stettin, 52 km northwest of Edmonton, was named after Stettin, a city in Europe. Formerly of Germany, it is now a part of Poland. This is due to the innumerable border changes that affected Europe throughout its long history.

Slawa, a locality 43 km east of Two Hills, was the name proposed for a post office by the early settlers who all came from present-day Ukraine. The word itself means "praise." The post office operated here from March 1912 until May 1950.

Venice, 15 km southwest of Lac La Biche, was named after the hometown of J.O. Biollo, the first postmaster here. He was a native of Venice, Italy. By 1916, a number of Italian families had settled here.

Westerose, 40 km west of Wetaskiwin, was named after Westerose, Sweden, the hometown of John Norstrom and family. The name is derived from Wästerås, meaning "western hilltop" or "flat-topped hill" in Swedish.

Yankee Flats, 35 km southwest of Red Deer, received its name due to the large number of Americans who settled near here around the 1900s.


Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on place names of Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.

Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved