610. The Rural Alberta Advantage & Sandpoint

Here’s some shit about Alberta:

Why Visit Alberta?

Alberta, the largest of Canada’s three prairie provinces, contains a large portion of the Rocky Mountains and most tourism to the province centers around visiting the beautiful parks that surround them. The province’s two main cities, Calgary and Edmonton, are Canada’s largest outside the Toronto-Montreal-Vancouver axis, though they’re much less popular as tourist destinations. The larger city, Calgary, is generally acknowledged to contain more to see and do, though Edmonton contains a few famous attractions, as well.

Orientation

Most Albertans live in either Calgary or Edmonton and the cities are about three hours apart, with Calgary in the south and Edmonton in the north. The Rocky Mountain region is on the province’s far west, along the border with British Columbia. Everywhere else is largely rural, home to small farm towns and oil fields.

The Rocky Mountain Parks

The most iconic tourist destination in Alberta — and possibly the entire country — is the beautiful Banff National Park and its emerald-green Lake Louise. Containing over 6,000 square kilometers of unspoiled Rocky Mountain scenery, Canada’s most popular outdoor resort is home to virtually every activity you could imagine, with over 1,000 km of hiking trails, a dozen campgrounds, numerous ski hills, a 27-hole golf course, three hot springs, and a wild river (the Kicking Horse) that’s ideal for white water rafting. There are no shortages of shops, hotels, and restaurants in the village of Banff Town, which is usually packed with tourists.

Three hours north of Banff is Jasper National Park, which is broadly similar to Banff in terms of natural beauty, but is harder to get to, has fewer activities and is thus slightly less popular. Some prefer its more laid-back vibe. Even more laid-back are the smaller-still mountain communities of Canmore Kananaskis, which is near Banff, and Waterton Lakes National Park which is in Alberta’s most south-west corner. All of the Rocky Mountain parks are a couple hours from the two big cities. Banff, Canmore, and Waterton are closer to Calgary while Jasper is closer to Edmonton.

What does Rural Alberta and Sandpoint, Idaho have in common? Does one really have the advantage over the other? Well let’s look at Sandpoint shall we?

Here’s some crap about the history of Sandpoint from the internetz:

Before Sandpoint officially became a village in 1901 and a city in 1907, it was part of the home of the Kalispel Tribe of Native Americans. Their ancestral lands extended across all of Priest and Pend Oreille Lakes, up the Pend Oreille River into Canada, and as far east as Montana. Northwest Company fur trader David Thompson was one of the first settlers to establish a relationship with tribes, including the Kalispel, and helped establish fur trading in the area in 1809. Northern Pacific Railroad surveyors arrived in the area in 1880, attracting a few permanent settlers. That same year, Robert Weeks opened a general store in what was then called Pend Oreille, the little settlement that sprouted up on the east side of Sand Creek opposite the present Sandpoint City site. By 1882, Northern Pacific began building the stretch of railroad that ran between Montana and the tiny community of Pend Oreille. The settlement grew slowly over the next decade, during which time its name was changed to Sandpoint.

In 1892, Great Northern Railroad arrived in what is now Bonner County. Its first agents were L.D. Farmin and his wife Ella Mae. The Farmins bought rights to 160 acres along the west edge of Sand Creek and, after “proving up” on homestead property, platted the City of Sandpoint in 1898. The forests and rich mineral deposits in the Pend Oreille region attracted settlers to small communities forming throughout the area. Timber became the main industry in Sandpoint and Kootenai, and mills like the Humbird Lumber Company thrived in Sandpoint into the late 1920s. Farming was also becoming a popular activity on the cleared forest land. Called “stump ranches”, these farms primarily grew hay because the short growing season in Northern Idaho made it difficult to grow other crops. The hay was used to feed the horses lumber companies used to harvest and process the wood.

The Village of Sandpoint was incorporated on February 7, 1901, by the Kootenai County Board of County Commissioners. Present day Bonner and Boundary Counties were a part of Kootenai County at that time. The Kootenai County Commissioners appointed five village trustees who first met on February 25, 1901, in the Sandpoint courthouse to take their oaths of office. The first village election was held in April of that year. Judge Whitaker was the first chairman of the trustees elected by the voters – not the first mayor, as is popularly thought.

Now let’s listen to both. First the Rural Alberta Advantage.

The Rural Alberta Advantage, on KEXP Seattle
The Rural Alberta Advantage, Brother

Now for Sandpoint…

The Big Fatties Playing Mick’s

I don’t know who has the advantage really. Rural Alberta or Sandpoint, Idaho but at least Alberta has a band by that name. Advantage Rural Alberta.

Good.

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