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Edson and Hinton in the Modern Era

Imperial Bank of Canada, Edson, Alberta

In the early 1980s, the trend of significant economic growth continued, but only for a short time. West Central Alberta’s coal industry was growing. Canadian National Railway lines were forced to expand around the Edson area because of increase in traffic on the coal branch. Edson was growing; in 1981, building permits broke the 2 million dollar mark. In 1983, Edson annexed 4365 acres of land, gaining 1200 new residents in the process.

Homes on Fourth Avenue West, Edson, Alberta.

But a recession began to hit the country by 1982. The installment of the National Energy Plan created conditions unfavourable to petrochemical industry investment in Alberta. The oil and gas industry slumped while drilling rigs and seismic crews moved south to the United States. The coal and forestry industries also suffered, with new mines and mills moving their opening days forward or not opening at all. Despite the slump, the Pelican Spruce Mills (now Weyerhaueuser Canada) opened and became one of Edson’s major employers.

Stores on main street, Edson, Alberta

In the new millennium, Hinton and Edson continue to grow. Forestry, coal and petrochemical industries continue to be the mainstay of the economy of West Central Alberta. The Luscar Mines were depleted but soon replaced by the new Cheviot Mines. Hinton’s coal industry continues to be an important employer; the Elk Valley Coal industry is the town’s biggest employer, behind Hinton’s Pulp Mill. The oil and gas industries are also on the rise in the area, with many large oil companies exploring, developing and expanding, along with oil service companies such as BJ Services, Schlumberger, Halliburton and Trican. Hinton is now home to Canada’s first eco-industrial park, Innovista. Because of Hinton’s high growth rate, housing prices are high, with the average price of a single family home increasing 25-30% from 2006 to 2007. As of 2006, Hinton had a population of 9740.

Royal Bank of Canada, Hinton, Alberta.

Edson is not far behind, with a population of 8,098 in 2006. Edson’s building permit values have been in the 10 million to 15 million dollar range, reaching over 40 million dollars in 2004 and 2005, and peaking at 107 million dollars in 2006. New residential areas and public works have been completed, including the major Highway 16 Underground Waterline Project, completed in 2008.

Hinton Hotel, Hinton, Alberta.

Edson is home to the West Central Real Estate Board which represents 149 members in a large area that includes including Hinton, Edson, Jasper, Grande Cache, Whitecourt, Swan Hills, Fox Creek, Mayerthorpe, Barrhead, Slave Lake, Athabasca, and parts of Banff and Canmore.


Ahlf, Marguerite. Edson – 75 Years: A History of the Town, 1986.

Bargery, Mary. Picture Hinton, Entrance, Brule and Cadomin. Hinton Municipal Library, 1999.

Town of Edson. “2008 Community Report, Edson.” Retrieved February 27, 2009 from http://www.townofedson.ca/municipal/edson/edson-website.nsf/AllDoc/CCCAA358DFD418158725747300759F15/$File/2008%20Community%20Report.pdf

Town of Edson. “History of Edson.” Retrieved February 27, 2009 from http://www.townofedson.ca/municipal/edson/edson-website.nsf/AllDoc/F24E239A7193D84C87256F020062C781?OpenDocument

Town of Hinton, Gateway to the Rockies. “Doing Business.” Retrieved February 27, 2009 from http://www.town.hinton.ab.ca/siteengine/ActivePage.asp?PageID=4

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