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Canmore North West Mounted Police Barracks


Other Names:
Canmore NWMP Post
Canmore Outpost
N. W. M. P. Barracks
N.W.M.P. Barracks Canmore
NWMP Barracks
N. W. M. P. Building
N.W.M.P. Building
North West Mounted Police Building
NWMP Building

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Canmore North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.) Barracks is a late nineteenth century, mud-and-straw chinked, one-storey rectangular dovetailed log structure. The building has a front verandah and two shed roofed extensions. Significant landscape elements include original spruce trees dating from the period of construction and reconstructed, whitewashed stone paths around the building. The barracks and the property are located on 0.122 hectare lot on the west bank of Policeman’s Creek at the east end of Canmore’s main street.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Canmore North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.) Barracks lies in the important role it played in maintaining law and order during the development of Canmore region as a coal mining community. It is one of the oldest surviving North West Mounted Police buildings in Alberta, one of only three remaining from before the creation of Alberta in 1905.

In 1888, the president of the Canadian Anthracite Coal Company petitioned the Comptroller of the N.W.M.P. in Ottawa for more police to control the importation of liquor from the United States, which was causing problems with the miners and railway workers. One constable was stationed in the town in rented quarters, but by 1892 it became obvious that more permanent quarters were needed and the existing Canmore North West Mounted Police Barracks were constructed in 1893. Occupied by a one- or two-man detachment between 1893 and 1929, their duties included patrols, checking the trains for illegal liquor and maintaining law and order during the strikes that occurred in Canmore, particularly in 1911.

The building is an excellent and early example of a functional log building in the cabin style, and has been both dismantled and reconstructed (1908-9) and expanded (1920-23). Originally the site included a stable, corral and barn. Although much of the historic landscaping around the barracks has changed, several of the evergreen trees date from the period of construction. The whitewashed stones placed around the building are a sympathetic reconstruction of a historic feature of the barracks. The North West Mounted Police Barracks remains a landmark on the main street and a symbol of the early settlement of Canmore.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 557)

Character-Defining Elements
Key elements of the log construction style, such as:
- the rectangular shape, form and massing;
- round log structure, with compond dovetail notches;
- mud-and-straw chinking and whitewashed finish;
- two-over-two wooden double-hung, single-glazed windows;
- exterior paneled doors;
- architectural features such as: the front veranda with fascia board, wooden railings, squared posts and simple corner.

Original remaining elements and fittings of the interior, such as:
- wood flooring;
- interior doors.
- wall and ceiling finishes.

Key elements of the Barracks site as a whole include:
- whitewashed stones to delineate paths and borders;
- original spruce trees on site at time of barracks construction.


Street Address: 609 - 8 Street
Community: Canmore
Boundaries: Lots 18 and 19, Block 71, Plan 1095F
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 2

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
1095 F
1095 F

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.088938 -115.356514 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1990/05/09

Historical Information

Built: 1893 to 1893
Significant Date(s) 1893 to 1929
Theme(s) Peopling the Land : Settlement
Historic Function(s): Government : Police Station
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Eating or Drinking Establishment
Leisure : Museum

North West Mounted Police officers were first stationed at Canmore on a permanent basis in 1888. Initially the detachment rented quarters from a number of settlers in the town. In 1892, however, eight lots in the Canmore townsite were set aside for police use. The necessary logs for the construction of a barracks building and stable were gathered in the same year. The buildings were completed and occupied by 1893. In 1908-09 the barracks was dismantled and reconstructed. The Canmore attachment, which occupied the building until 1928 or 1929, consistently comprised only one or two constables reporting to "E" Division Headquarters in Calgary. Duties of the detachment included patrols, checking the trains for illegal liquor and maintaining law and order during strikes.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0378
Designation File: DES 0557
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 24969
Website Link: www.cmags.org/nwmp.htm
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 557)
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