While its French namesake is certainly Father Albert Lacombe,
the town of Lacombe has little to do with French-Canadians. In
1883, Ed Barnett of Almonte, Ontario—formerly a member of the
North West Mounted Police—arrived just north of present-day
Lacombe. Due largely in part to his previous service, Barnett
was granted a title to the property, and shortly thereafter,
built a stopping-place and stable for passing travellers. Later
that year, the area was surveyed.
The railway reaches the Lacombe region.
During the North-West Rebellion of 1885, Barnett was one of
the only white men remaining between Edmonton and Calgary. After
the Rebellion's conclusion, owing largely to the massive
immigration campaign staged by the federal government, the
Caucasian population started to grow in the West. Despite
substantial growth to the region, it was not until 1891 (when
the Calgary-Edmonton Railway reached the area) that Lacombe was
actually named. Canadian Pacific Railway officials dubbed it as
such in recognition of French-Canadian Father Albert Lacombe,
who pacified the Aboriginals that vehemently opposed to the
In 1896, the population of Lacombe was 25, but it grew
swiftly to achieve town status by 1902. Today, Lacombe boasts a
population of approximately 10,000 people.