The Heritage Resources Committee (HRC) advises Council on matters relating to historical resources, and municipal heritage policies and programs; encourages and advocates for the preservation and safeguarding of significant historical structures and sites; investigates and supports ways to document or protect heritage material that is not structural or tied to a specific property; and educates and engages M.D. of Bighorn residents and other parties regarding the value of remembering and celebrating history, historic structures, places and events, and heritage in general.

2017 Agendas

2017 Minutes

March 6, 2017
January 9, 2017January 9, 2017

2016 Agendas

2016 Minutes

November 7, 2016 November 7, 2016
September 7, 2016September 7, 2016
July 4, 2016July 4, 2016
May 16, 2016
May 16, 2016
March 7, 2016March 7, 2016
January 25, 2016January 25, 2016

2015 Agendas

2015 Minutes

November 2, 2015November 2, 2015
September 21September 21
July 20, 2015July 20, 2015
May 4, 2015May 4, 2015
March 2, 2015March 2, 2015
January 12, 2015January 12, 2015

Activities of the Heritage Resources Committee include the following:

  • In partnership with the provinces Municipal Heritage Partnership Program and with consultants Heritage Collaborative Inc., the Committee completed a heritage survey of 100 buildings and sites located within the MD of Bighorn aged 50 years or older
  • Following completion of the Heritage survey, the Committee undertook a heritage inventory that selected 20 sites. During this process, the eligibility, significance and integrity of each building or site was thoroughly evaluated and a statement of significance was prepared
  • The third phase of the provinces Municipal Heritage Partnership Program was to develop a heritage management plan. Donald Luxton and Associates Inc and Catherine C Cole, consultants hired for the project, completed this in 2012
  • The Committee is currently working on an oral history project. Collecting stories from the past and being able to share them is the main focus of the Committee at this time
  • The Committee has researched what is necessary to properly store old documents or photographs that would be of heritage value
  • An investigation has been started with the intention of compiling information from different sources about the old Exshaw cemetery and its preservation
  • A few books which relate to the history of Bighorn and area have been collected in an effort to create a small heritage collection
  • Photographs were taken when the Olympic Torch came through the MD of Bighorn in January 2010 as a first step in creating a photographic record of important events as they occur

The MD has set out its heritage resource stewardship program through its Heritage Resources Management Plan. Two large projects completed from the plan include a Heritage Survey of structures and an Inventory. The Context Paper included in the Inventory, provides a rich history of the MD.

The Morleyville Methodist Mission was added to the Survey and Inventory in 2013. The Mission is also the MD’s first site to be designated as a Municipal Historic Resource.

Heritage Survey


Lazy JL Ranch

Heritage Inventory


Rafter Six Ranch

Overview of Inventory Sites in the Exshaw area, Ranchlands and Bow Valley

The Heritage Inventory Report includes a final report, a Context Paper which provides an overview of the major historical and cultural themes and events associated with the development of the municipal district of Bighorn and Statements of Significance for 20 sites. Pages 1-116
Correction Butchart Kiln and Old Slot Quarry Page 56

Morley Methodist Mission Statement of Significance

Rafter Six Ranch Statement of Significance



William and Priscilla Grier, Early Pioneers of the MD of Bighorn – By Karen J. Clark

William Grier was born in Ireland in 1828. He emigrated to Upper Canada near Meaford, with his father and uncle and there established a village, still known today as Griersville. Together, the Griers planned and constructed the roads and streets, built several homes, a school and a village library. They also built an interesting octagon stone church which was completed in 1856.
Read More.

Heritage Management Plan


McDougall Memorial United Church Site, Morleyville Methodist Mission

A Heritage Resources Management Plan provides a framework for decision-making to help to retain, maintain and appreciate historic buildings, landscapes and structures in the community. It is one of the most compelling ways to respect our past and enrich the present and future. The MD of Bighorn adopted its Heritage Management Plan in 2012.

Rafter Six Ranch – Statement of Significance
In 2015 the MD had Rafter Six Ranch Statement of Significance prepared. The Statement of Significance describes the historical values of the site.

Morleyville Methodist Mission – Statement of Significance
In 2013 the MD designated the Morleyville Methodist Mission as a Municipal Historical Resource. The Morleyville Methodist Mission Statement of Significance which is a Schedule to the Designation Bylaw, describes the historical values of the site.

Oral History Project
In 2011 the MD Heritage Resources Committee launched the Oral History Project. The Interviews and Interviewee listings are presented on our Oral History Project page.

Reddy Kilowatt Linoleum Restoration
In 2005 the MD recovered the linoleum Reddy Kilowatt from the TransAlta Staff House in Seebe, Alberta. The linoleum of Reddy Kilowatt restoration was completed in 2013 and is now displayed at the MD building in Exshaw, it was also presented in an article of the Rocky Mountain Outlook. Click here for article about the Restoration of Reddy Kilowatt.

Exshaw Cemetery History Preservation
The MD Heritage Resource Committee has been gathering information on the Exshaw Cemetery in order to secure the cemeterys history before it is lost. The details of its preservation and history are presented on our Exshaw Cemetery page.


Black Rock Fire Lookout, Jacob Johnson 2016.

Black Rock Fire Lookout – Statement of Significance – IN PROCESS
The Black Rock Fire Lookout, constructed circa 1928, is a stunning example of a summit-style lookout providing 360-degree views of thesurrounding landscape. Alberta’s fire lookouts were established as a means of early detection and monitoring of wild fires and played, then as they do now, a pivotal roll in maintaining Alberta’s forests. The Black Rock Fire Lookout was added to the Municipal District of Bighorns Heritage Inventory in 2011.
Click here for article about Black Rock Fire Lookout.
Click here for YouTube Video of Black Rock Fire Lookout.

Municipal Heritage Partnership Program (MHPP)

The MHPP is an initiative of the Historic Resources Branch of the Department of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit. The MHPP offers assistance to municipalities through guidance and project funding opportunities. The MD of Bighorn has received assistance from the MHPP since 2005 in the form of guidance and funding for the recently completed historic resources survey and inventory.

Alberta Historical Resources Foundation

The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation supports individual initiatives in heritage preservation through a variety of grants under the Heritage Preservation Partnership Program. The owner of a designated Municipal Historic Resource (for example, a historic house or building) can apply for grants of up to $50,000 per application for the repair and maintenance of the designated Resource. Information about the program can be found on the website of the Government of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Alberta Historical Resources Foundation.

For 100 years, the residents of Knowlerville Exshaw had their water supplied by the cement plant’s water system drawing water from Exshaw Creek. Recently, this changed.Read more.

MD of Bighorn Heritage Books

The Heritage Resources Committee has purchased books related to the municipality. The books are available for the public to view at the office only.

  • The Buffalo Head – R.M. Patterson
  • Far Pastures – R.M. Patterson
  • The Cowboy Legend – John Jennings
  • Her Worship The Mayor – Sharon Thorogood
  • Exshaw Cement Plant 100 Years – Foundations for the Future – Jenn Lutz, Rob Alexander
  • TransAlta Utilities 75 Years of Progress
  • Powering Generations – The TransAlta Story, 1911-2011 – Robert Page, David A. Finch
  • Wilderness and Waterpower – How Banff National Park Became a Hydroelectric Storage Reservoir – Christopher Young, H.V. Nelles
  • A Historical Perspective of Selected Areas of the M.D. of Bighorn, Alberta: Ghost River Valley, Ranchlands – Karen J. Clark
  • Bighill Country Cochrane and Area – Cochrane and Area Historical Society
  • More Bighill Country 1945 – 1980 – Cochrane Historical and Archival Preservation Society
  • “Yust” Ole – Ole Olson
  • The Alberta Forest Service 1930 – 2005 – P.J. Murphy, R.E. Stevenson, D. Quintilio, S. Fedinand
  • Exshaw Heart of the Valley – Dene Cooper, Rob Alexander
  • History of Canmore – Rob Alexander
  • Mission to the Stoneys – Robert MacDonald
  • McDougall Stoney Mission Site – Guide to an Interpretive Walk – McDougall Stoney Mission Society
  • My Valley the Kananaskis – Ruth Oltmann
  • Ruthie’s Trails A Lifetime of Adventure – Ruth Oltmann
  • The Valley of Rumors – Kananaskis – Ruth Oltmann
  • The Kananaskis Valley – Hikers’ and K-C Skiers’ Guide – Ruth Oltman
  • Lizzie Rummel – Baroness of the Canadian Rockies – Ruth Oltmann

We would be interested to know about other Bighorn heritage books . Please contact us if you know of one.


Stockmen’s Memorial Foundation
Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies
McDougall Stoney Mission Society
Alberta Historical Resources Foundation
Canadiana Discovery Portal