Features photos and artifacts pertinent to the local area history. It is located in the former 1912 CNR Depot, which is in itself a historic site.
Situated at the end of Main Street, the station is the centerpiece of the collection of historic buildings within the Village. It was built in 1912 by the Canadian Northern Railway to its Second Class depot plan and has served three railways: The Canadian Northern, Canadian National, and presently the Central Western Railway.
This wonderful example of prairie railway architecture still houses a railway office. The ground floor of the station contains an extensive photo and artifact gallery featuring the Village and area’s railway heritage. Washrooms are located in the waiting room.
The station garden is available as a rest area and is often used for picnics. There are several pieces of railway equipment in Big Valley, notably a wooden caboose and a CPR horse-express car dating from the 1930s. Next to the station is a 1950s-era section bunkhouse that was used for the accommodation of the dedicated railroaders who maintained the track and the right-of-way over the years.
Open 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., July 1 to August 31. For off season appointments, phone Kathy Evans at (403) 876-2033
This building is one of many that owned and maintained by the Canadian Northern Society.
St. Edmund’s Church
Sitting on the hills overlooking the Village, our landmark blue 1916 Anglican church is a provincial heritage site.
In late 1914, the Anglican Diocese of Calgary received a letter and the sum of $500.00 from Mrs. Caroline Leffler, an English lady, who raised the money by making and selling children’s clothing. The letter indicated her wish that the money be used to establish a Church of England anywhere in western Canada that the Diocese saw fit.
By 1915, Big Valley was booming. It was a well established ranching community, an important divisional point on the Canadian Northern Railway and a prosperous coal mining center. The community’s population seemed certain to exceed the 2,000 mark. The Diocese soon decided that Big Valley was the logical choice for the new church. They chose a site on top of the valley edge overlooking Main Street and contacted a local craftsman, Mr. Walter Dennis, to build it.
The church, named St. Edmund’s, was virtually completed by the end of 1916 and the first church service was held in the nearly-finished building on November of that year. For the first six years, the entry doorway was on the west side. Strong, prevailing north-west winds were a problem, so the present bell tower was added in 1923 to provide an east-facing doorway. The exterior finish, which had originally been stucco, was changed to siding at that time and painted the traditional cream color.
After many years of serving the community, the church gradually saw less and less use. The last regular service was held in the 1960’s. The building soon began to show signs of neglect. A community Homecoming was organized for 1974 and the conspicuous but shabby church was in need of paint. The organizers had no money, but the local lumber yard offered a large quantity of blue paint that they had “been stuck with”. The offer was eagerly accepted and the church became blue! The furor of the local Anglicans was something else indeed, but the unusual blue color has been gradually accepted and is now a trademark of the town.
In 1997, the quaintness of the Blue Church was further enhanced by the addition of an automatic bell ringing device donated by Harry Stuber and designed by his son, Lionel. The huge bell now rings out the hour, much like a grandfather clock. It’s rather like the “Big Ben of Big Valley.”
Each year, many couples choose the beautiful old church as a unique setting for their wedding.
Oil Well Pumper Display
Donated by Gulf Canada, this pump jack unit is a symbol of Big Valley’s oilfield history.
Located in Memorial Park, this unit, donated by Gulf Canada, is an example of the machinery used for oil production in the area since the boom when discoveries were made just north of the Village in the 1950s.
Discovery well Big Valley 7-10-35-20-W4 is located four miles south of Big Valley. It was completed in September, 1950.
Once the Fenn – Big Valley Oil Field was developed, the field covered an area of 78.2 hectares (30.2 square miles). This field produced over 51 million cubic metres (321 million barrels) of oil and over 2.4 billion cubic metres (85 billion cubic feet) of solution gas. Small amounts of oil and gas remain to be produced from this field.
These historic ruins are a favorite for all train enthusiasts to visit.
The remains of the railway locomotive shops and servicing area are located across the railway main line and to the south of the station site. This area has now been reclaimed through the efforts of our local volunteer organizations and features interpretive signage describing the one-time important role of this facility.
The roundhouse, originally constructed in 1912, looms like colossal ruins and is a must-see for all visitors to the village. An effort has been made by the Canadian Northern Society to portray an ‘undiscovered’ look.
The Roundhouse is located at 148 Railway Avenue, South.
Jimmy Jock Boardwalk
This western-flavoured boardwalk houses a fudge shop, a custom cowboy hat shop, tea room and art gallery.
One of the main tourist attractions is the Jimmy Jock Boardwalk, named after a local Chinese restauranteur who operated a restaurant on this same site in the earlier days. Today, a “U” shaped boardwalk similar to a frontier town stands with wooden signs and a large mural.
The Boardwalk features current local businesses and some others – like the local undertaker and the house of ill-repute (which have long since been closed). Visitors can visit a unique collection of businesses – a fudge factory, a Boardwalk Bistro, an Ice cream shop and other stores with a variety of interests. 40 Main Street, East.
Big Valley Jailhouse
Come cool your heels in a real jailhouse! We are proud to have restored and brought our original 1914 jailhouse back to the Village.
From about 1914 through the 40s, this jail cell was part of the Big Valley scene. Many a young cowboy, miner, or railroader cooled their heels in this small lock-up.
The jail was sold to a local rancher, who used it as an out-building and then as a well house. An inside view will confirm that some of the comforts in jails today were not available when this was in use.
The rehabilitation work has been a project of the Big Valley Communities in Bloom committee, with donations from local organizations and citizens. 21 Main Street, East.
A wonderful place to sit and relax, this beautiful park is also a War Memorial.
Memorial Park is a beautiful spot to sit and relax or enjoy a picnic lunch.
Pay your respects at the War Memorial to the significant number of boys who fought for Canada in war time.
121 Main Street, West.
Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions
Big Valley is the destination of Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions! Come and be a part of the excitement when the big steam or diesel engines pull into town.
Big Valley is the destination of Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions. Departing from Stettler, visitors board the train and have a scenic and relaxing trip down the line. Entertainment is often on board. Once the train rolls into Big Valley, passengers are greeted warmly by our hosts. There is never a shortage of residents or visitors on hand when the train pulls into town, over 70 times during the year. After checking out the local sights, a hot meal (prepared by Catrina’s Catering) awaits inside the Jubilee Hall.
Railway Avenue & Main Street. See more photos in our gallery.
Contact Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions at (403) 742-2811 to plan your visit.
Big Valley Golf Club
Located on the western edge of the Village, we offer nine holes on sand greens. Enjoy the quaint quietness of our course.
The Big Valley Golf Course is on the western edge of the Village. It’s a challenging nine hole course with lots of hills on sand greens. The views from the course and the clubhouse are spectacular. It overlooks the Village and the valley. There is still plenty of land to expand to 18 holes in the future. Power carts are not available. The entire course may be rented for $100 for 1/2 day or $200 for a full day. Open from dawn until dusk. For more information, call Darcy Greig at (403)741-4110 or Dan Houle at (403)740-5952.
9 holes: $5.00
Play all day: $10.00
Under 10 golf free
One-year membership: $100.00
Student Yearly Membership (ages 10-17): $10.00
Canadian Railway Hall of Fame
Everything you wanted to know about the railway and more.
The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame is a project that will honour Canadian achievement in the railway business – specifically related to the development of Canada’s vibrant railway industry. It is unique in that it will be accessible to all Canadians through the medium of internet technology. This Virtual Hall of Fame” concept allows the Hall of Fame to be truly National in scope.
A secondary physical component of the Hall of Fame is a pavilion established in the historic community of Big Valley. Using the medium of interpretive signage, visitors to the Village can take a self-guided tour through the outdoor pavilion facility honouring the inductees to the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame. This pavilion is located directly south of the historic 1912 Canadian Northern Railway depot.
The specific objectives of the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame are as follows:
- Education of Canadians, especially our youth, on the importance of the railway industry in developing this great country.
- Honoring those individuals whose contribution to the development of the railway industry has assisted the development of the Canadian economy, and have played a vital role in the shaping of Canada.
- Promotion of our rich Canadian heritage, enhancing the quality of life in our communities, our province, and our country.
The project is co-sponsored by the Railway Association of Canada and the Canadian Northern Society. Federal charitable tax receipts can be issued to those who make financial contributions. For information on the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame, or to help out, please contact the Canadian Northern Society, Big Valley, Alberta TOJ OGO, or visit www.canadiannorthern.ca.
Big Valley Library
Interesting activities, good reading and a source of high-speed wireless internet.
29 1 Avenue South.
Creation Science Museum
41 Railway Avenue South.
Big Valley Historical Society’s McAlister’s Garage Museum
McAlister’s houses many interesting artifacts of our region as well as vintage autos and tractors.
57 Railway Avenue South