Town of Pincher Creek

Population: 3712

On the paneled office wall of Canada's pre-eminent jurist hangs a painting honouring an undulating landscape where rolling grasslands crash up against the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains. The office belongs to Canada's Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and the painting by Robert McInnes depicts the place of her birth and cowgirl education, Pincher Creek in Alberta SouthWest. “It’s physically a very beautiful place, with the mountains on the one hand and the prairie on the other,” McLachlin has said. “You had this sense of privilege that you were living in this very special place.”

Pincher Creek’s employment base consists of retail, agricultural services, agriculture mechanical and machinery services, oil and gas services, wind energy services, and tourism and recreation. More broadly, Pincher Creek is a commercial service centre for surrounding farm and ranch country. The concentration of retail shopping into fewer, larger stores (Co-op, Agro, United Farmers of Alberta, Rona, and Walmart) has reinforced this role.

Since 1960 Pincher Creek has been home for workers and contractors maintaining and operating the invisible network of wells and pipelines that feed gas to Shell's Waterton petrochemical plant 30 kms south of town. More recently, the rapid deployment of wind generation nearby – making Pincher Creek the de facto wind energy capital of Canada - has generated green-collar employment and business niches related to the construction and maintenance of towers and turbines.

As a gateway community to Waterton Lakes National Park, Pincher Creek has a year-round tourism economy that benefits from the area's abundant opportunities to fish, hike, ride, ski, soar, and sail. Those same recreational assets help all employers to attract and keep skilled workers, such as the 150 doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who make Pincher Creek Health Centre the most complete general hospital in Alberta SouthWest.

Interesting Tidbits
  • The most extreme temperature shift recorded in Canada occurred in January 1962 when a Chinook wind roared out of The Rockies and lifted Pincher Creek's official thermometer reading from -19 degrees Celsius to +22 degrees in just one hour.
  • Pincher Creek was named in 1874 by a patrol of the North West Mounted Police that was surprised to find a horseshoeing tool in the stream bottom.

Town of Pincher Creek Links