Lille, Alberta

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Lille is a ghost town in Alberta located in the Crowsnest Pass region. It held a significant population between 1901 and 1912. In the latter year, the coal mine and coke ovens were closed due to the collapse of the local industry. The company running the town, West Canadian Collieries, suffered a loss of $40,000.


Lille was established as a coal mining town in 1901 by two representatives of a French company, United Gold Fields Ltd. The representatives, J. J. Fleutot and C. Remy, were looking for coal in the Crowsnest Pass of Alberta when they happened upon a seam near the future site of Lille. The town was initially called 'French Camp', but in 1903[1] the founders of the town changed its name to Lille after the French town of the same name where the mining venture's financial backers were located.[2] The next year, the Frank-Grassy Mountain Railway was built, giving the town a strong connection to the outside world. Lille was built mostly by the company, which was renamed West Canadian Collieries in 1903. Approximately 20 residences existed, along with a doctor, a school room, a hospital and a hotel. The company also rented space for firms to conduct business. Although originally planned for nearby Frank, coke ovens were established in Lille in 1903. In 1912, the local coal mine closed due to the collapse of the local coke industry. West Canadian Collieries suffered a loss of over $40,000, as wages exceeded revenue by that amount.[3] Although Lille is a Provincial Historic Site, much of the town site has fallen prey to scavengers, and as such very little of Lille remains.[4]


  1. ^ Crowsnest Pass Historical Society (1979). Crowsnest and its people. Coleman: Crowsnest Pass Historical Society. p. 121. ISBN 0-88925-046-4. 
  2. ^ Meaghan Porter (March 2006). Historical Archaeology at an Industrial Town Site: Lille, Alberta (PDF) (M.A. thesis). University of Saskatchewan.  p. 12
  3. ^ Porter 2006, p. 15
  4. ^ Porter 2006

Coordinates: 49°39′5.5″N 114°23′48″W / 49.651528°N 114.39667°W / 49.651528; -114.39667