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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Former Localities

"Former locality" is a term applied to an area that no longer supports a population. These have emerged because of annexation into a larger city, name changes, the closure of a post office, plant, railway line or mine.

Many of the names of these "former localities" reflect the interesting circumstances of their naming.

Columbine, 27 km west northwest of Bonnyville, was named after the garden plant which has a variety of colours of flowers which when inverted, resemble a cluster of five doves (Latin columba dove.) The "dove plant" is the English equivalent of the genus Aquilegia. The name was officially rescinded November 10, 1970.

Elcan, 40 km east of Lethbridge, reflects the influence of Mormon settlement in the area. The name is derived from the word "tabernacle." Elcan is made up of the last five letters of the word "tabernacle" spelled backwards. Taber, the first five letters of the word, is the name of the town down the railway line, originally recorded as Tabor; it was named after Mount Tabor in the Holy Land.

Fertility, 25 km north east of Hanna, is a descriptive name for this post office, which referred to the richness of the land in the area.

Patience, 29 km northwest of Wetaskiwin, came by its name honestly. It required patience for the early settlers to open and close the 23 gates along the rough road to and from the village of Millet. The post office operated from 1903 to 1952.

Wisdom, 35 km south of Medicine Hat, expressed the opinion of early homesteaders in the district, who believed they were wise to settle in this part of Alberta. The post office at Wisdom operated from 1913 to 1960.

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