Summer has come to an end, but there is so much more to explore as we head into the fall. From towns underwater to crumbling ruins above ground, our province is full of historical hamlets from days gone by and this upcoming season is the perfect time to visit.

Located in Banff National Park, Bankhead, Alberta was established as a mining town and grew quickly after its shaft opened in 1905.

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From trade shops, stores, a school, common facilities, and about a hundred private homes, Bankhead was thriving – or at least that’s how it appeared from the outside.

In reality, like so many others who built a community around coal, things were headed south after 20 short years.

“Bankhead also suffered from the problem that beset the entire industry during this period – labour relations. Miners everywhere were striving for safer and better working conditions and higher pay,” Environment Canada once wrote.  

“At Bankhead several strikes resulted in higher wages, making it even harder for the mine to pay its way. In April 1922, the workers went on strike again in a labour action that involved much of the coal production in North America.”

By June, all underground operations were shut down, the entrance to the mines had been sealed and naturally – people began to move to neighbouring towns.


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All that’s left now? Run down buildings and an interpretive trail, where you can walk through what once was.

interested? The old vehicles, houses and empty sheds are well worth the drive!

In fact, CNN once named Bankhead among their list of “The World’s Most Fascinating Abandoned Towns and Cities,” just be sure to wear comfortable footwear!

You won’t want to miss a brick, rod or path in this place – it’s truly something else.

Enjoy and happy learning!

Bankhead Ghost Town, Alberta

Where: Bankhead Banff National Park Bankhead, Alberta