The Crowsnest Pass was one of the most difficult areas to
mine. The mountainous terrain presented problems that miners
from other areas in Alberta never encountered including the
threat of gas explosions. Despite these dangers and limitations,
thousands of immigrants came to work in the
mines of the
Pass. While the steady paying work would have been an incentive,
the beauty of the mountains and the outdoor life style would
have been enormously attractive as well.
Good information about the makeup of the mine
work force is available in a royal commission study of the coal
industry in 1919, which noted the following makeup of the
labour force in the Crowsnest Pass::
90 percent of the workers were
34 percent were British
23 percent were Slovak
14.5 percent were Italian
7 percent were French and Belgian
2 percent were Russian
8.5 percent were "other European"
1 percent were American
This section introduces representatives of some of these
ethnocultural groups their contributions to coal mining
industry. The community histories are rich with family stories
and photographs that document their lives and contributions.
These include hunting and fishing trophies as well as mountain
pastimes such as hiking and rock climbing.
No. 343Coal Mining: The Miners
Listen as historian Pat Myers talks about some of these
brave and hardworking individuals who worked in the
Crowsnest Pass region of the province during the early
Click here to
Watch Ray Lazzarotto narrate through the illnesses and other
dangers that miners suffered, as well as the things they loved
about mining, in this video produced by CFCN Television.