Thursday, 2 July 2015

Retlaw, Alberta June 13, 2015 Part One

Retlaw, Alberta is a ghost town.

The sign below reads:

"Canadian Pacific Railway

Retlaw, a railway town was built in 1913 when the C.P.R. bought the land. Retlaw is the reverse spelling of "Walter", after Walter Baker, a C.P.R. official from Montreal. The C.P.R. came to town in 1913 at the rate of 1/2 mile a day. Many businesses had been started prior to the first train coming through. Retlaw was expected to be the most important station between Suffield and Calgary and was in the heart of the richest farming area in Canada. 1/4 of a million bushels of grain was shipped out after the line was completed the depot was built in Feb 1914. The C.P.R. also built a freight room, section house, stockyards, pump house & loading dock. Three & four trains a day brought much needed materials but by 1915 only 1 train a week stopped. Good times came & went and by 1928 the depot was closed. The C.P.R. sold all their holdings to the village for the amount of one whole dollar."

Retlaw, Alberta June 13, 2015
This is what remains of the railway. 

Retlaw, Alberta June 13, 2015
A marker where a crossing once was and where a grain elevator once stood. 

Retlaw, Alberta June 13, 2015
Historical marker courtesy of the Retlaw Historical Society. In the background is a war memorial. 

Welcome to Retlaw, Alberta.


  1. Great photos! Amazing how quickly the town died. Wonder what happened to the rails?

  2. My great grandfather and family, George Gorrill, Mary Gorrill and my grandfather Robert Oscar Presho and Lillian Gorrill Presho farmed north of Retlaw. They shopped in Retlaw and attended the church in Retlaw. Jim Gorrill was a teacher in Gleichen. George died when hit by lightning while unhitching the team of horses out in a field. His wife moved to Calgary. My grandfather moved his family to Athabasca. His son George farmed the land until his death at age 80. I would love to email a photo of this forgetten family of Retlaw. I belive George Gorril to be buried in the Retlaw cemetery, but I think the name is wrong on the grave marker. It says George Gopsill. The date is just right for the death of my great grandfather. He was 67 in the 1916 Census for Bow River and would have been 72 at death in 1921.