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Town of Magrath
Wind farm west of Magrath.
Wind farm west of Magrath.
Official logo of Magrath
Garden City[1]
Magrath is located in Alberta
Coordinates: 49°25′26″N 112°52′06″W / 49.42389°N 112.86833°W / 49.42389; -112.86833Coordinates: 49°25′26″N 112°52′06″W / 49.42389°N 112.86833°W / 49.42389; -112.86833
Country Canada
Province Alberta
RegionSouthern Alberta
Census division3
Municipal districtCardston County
 • VillageAugust 20, 1901
 • TownJuly 24, 1907
Named forCharles Alexander Magrath
 • MayorRuss Barnett
 • Governing bodyMagrath Town Council
 • CAOJames Suffredine
 • MPGlen Motz
 • MLAJoseph Schow
 • Land5.99 km2 (2.31 sq mi)
Elevation983 m (3,225 ft)
 • Total2,374
 • Density396.4/km2 (1,027/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Postal code span
Area code(s)+1-403 Edit this at Wikidata

Magrath is a town in Cardston County, Alberta, Canada. Its population was 2,217 in 2011. Magrath is 32 km (20 mi) south of Lethbridge and 242 km (150 mi) south of Calgary.


Magrath was established in 1899 by settlers sent by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from Utah and Idaho. These Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints settlers were recruited by the Alberta Railway and Irrigation Company to construct irrigation works in the area funded by British interests by the family of Sir Alexander Galt. The settlers were paid in cash and land in the town. This was the first major irrigation work in Canada and was made possible by the settlers' experience with the extensive irrigation projects undertaken by their church in Utah and Idaho. The irrigation system was completed in November 1899 and spanned ninety-miles. It was the first large-scale irrigation system in Canada. The area's irrigation canal system supplies water to farmers throughout Southern Alberta and was the first major irrigation project in Canada. In its early years Magrath was known as The Irrigation Capital of Canada, and later as "The Garden City" for its beautiful natural setting, plentiful trees, and its Garden of Eden-like characteristics. The design and layout of Magrath was based on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 'Plat of Zion' urban design model. Magrath also has historical links to the internationally recognized British Garden City tradition which was piloted in England during this same period.

Old grain elevator in Magrath.

Magrath was named after Charles Alexander Magrath, the son-in-law of Sir Alexander Galt.[6] Magrath post office was established 1 March 1900, with Ammon Mercer as first postmaster.[7]


The population of the Town of Magrath according to its 2017 municipal census is 2,435,[8] a change of 1.5% from its 2015 municipal census population of 2,398.[9]

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Magrath recorded a population of 2,374 living in 757 of its 794 total private dwellings, a 7.1% change from its 2011 population of 2,217. With a land area of 5.99 km2 (2.31 sq mi), it had a population density of 396.3/km2 (1,026.5/sq mi) in 2016.[4]

In the 2011 Census, the Town of Magrath had a population of 2,217 living in 684 of its 748 total dwellings, a 6.5% change from its 2006 population of 2,081. With a land area of 4.97 km2 (1.92 sq mi), it had a population density of 446.1/km2 (1,155.3/sq mi) in 2011.[10]

Religious affiliation[edit]

The following is a breakdown of Magrath's population by religious affiliation from the 2001 federal census.[11]

  • Protestant: 84%
  • Catholic: 4%
  • No religious affiliation: 11%
  • Christian Orthodox: <1%
  • Christian (unspecified denomination): <1%

Statistics Canada includes 44 churches in its 2001 Protestant definition, including the Mormon denominations of the LDS Church and the Community of Christ.[12]

The religious affiliation within Magrath is primarily from the LDS Church. There is a stake based in Magrath, which is composed of ten congregations (eight wards and two branches) in the town and surrounding area.[13] As of June 2016, the total membership in the Magrath Alberta Stake was reported as 2433 members.


  • Buffalo Bin Elevator - Magrath,[14] the first of five ever built in the Province. The "Buffalo Bin" style grain elevator was built as an experiential elevator for Alberta Wheat Pool in the 1970-1980s, today only three of the original buffalo bins remain. The others still standing are Foremost and Fort Saskatchewan.
  • Galt Irrigation Canal, first major irrigation project in Canada, a National Historic Site of Canada.[15]
  • Galt Canal Nature Trail[16]
  • Magrath Golf club
  • Magrath Skateboard Park
  • Magrath Wind farm

Notable people[edit]

  • Randall K. Bennett, general authority[17] of the LDS Church.
  • Christian Jensen Jr. (1868-1958), Magrath's second mayor, first president of the Southern Alberta Sheep Breeders, President of the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers, the first president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture, the director and founding father of the Alberta Wheat Pool, and Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers' Honorary Knight of the Golden Fleece.[18] The Jensen Dam and Jensen Reservoir were named in his honor.[19]
  • Ron Minor, Paralympic athlete. Winner of two gold and two bronze medals (1984 New York/Stoke Mandeville Paralympics) [20]
  • Trevor Panczak, country performing artist and two-time Country Showdown National Finalist[21][22]
  • Phil Tollestrup (b. 1949), Olympics basketball player and member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Gordon McOmber (1919-2018), Lieutenant Governor for Montana (1988-1989) was born in Magrath.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Garden City Movement
  2. ^ "Location and History Profile: Town of Magrath" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. October 7, 2016. p. 372. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs: Municipal Officials Search
  4. ^ a b c "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Alberta Private Sewage Systems 2009 Standard of Practice Handbook: Appendix A.3 Alberta Design Data (A.3.A. Alberta Climate Design Data by Town)" (PDF) (PDF). Safety Codes Council. January 2012. pp. 212–215 (PDF pages 226–229). Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  6. ^ Holmgren, Eric J. and Patricia M. Holmgren (1973) Over 2,000 Place-Names of Alberta, p. 112, Saskatoon, Sask: Western Producer Book Service, ISBN 0-919306-37-3
  7. ^ Post Office Archives page for Magrath Archived 2011-05-19 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "2017 Municipal Affairs Population List" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. ISBN 978-1-4601-3652-2. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "2016 Municipal Affairs Population List" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. ISBN 978-1-4601-3127-5. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. 2012-02-08. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
  11. ^ "2001 Community Profiles – Magrath, Alberta (Town)". Statistics Canada. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  12. ^ "2001 Census Dictionary – Appendix L. Comparison of Religious Code Values, 2001, 1991 and 1981" (PDF). Statistics Canada. 2003-12-04. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  13. ^ "Statistics Magrath Alberta Stake". Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  14. ^ Buffalo Bin Elevator[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Historic Galt Canal head-gates to receive face lift". August 6, 2015 By Karlene Skretting, Westwind Weekly News.
  16. ^ Galt Canal Nature Trail - Magrath
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Awards Given by the Canadian Co-operative Wool Growers Limited". Archived from the original on 2016-01-15.
  19. ^ "History of Christian Jensen Jr".
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links[edit]