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Canada Land and Irrigation Company Ltd. fonds

1885-1959, predominant 1906-1954

Physical Description:
21.6 m of textual records. -- 19 photographs

The Canada Land and Irrigation Co. Ltd. was formed in 1906 by Guy Tracey Robins of Robins Irrigation Co. in London, England. An agreement was made with the Canadian government to buy 380,573 acres (152,229 ha) of land south of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) mainline and east of the junction of the Bow and Belly (Oldman) Rivers. Estimates were $1,000,000 construction costs, 10 years to complete the project, and 15 to sell the land. The Southern Alberta Land Co. Ltd. was formed in 1906 to carry out the construction. The land was discovered to be unsuitable for irrigation and so the agreement was revised in 1908 for land further up and west of the Bow River. The company also acquired land around Suffield, Alberta. Construction began in 1909 but the company was plagued by financial problems, dam washouts, and engineering mistakes. It went into receivership in 1914 and construction virtually stopped during First World War. In 1917 the receiver arranged a merger between the SAL Co., its subsidiary the Canadian Wheat Lands Ltd., and the bankrupt Alberta Land Co. Ltd. which held land adjacent to that of the SAL Co. A new company, named the Canada Land and Irrigation Co. Ltd., was formed. Sales of the land began in 1918, and two reservoirs, the Little Bow Reservoir and Lake McGregor, were completed in 1919. Water was first delivered in 1920. The post-war depression destroyed the company's chances of repaying its debts and the company went into receivership in 1924, having spent $15,000,000 on the project. In 1927 the company cleared its debt to the government by giving up land and reducing its holdings to 130,000 acres (52,000 ha). More land was forfeited in 1941. In 1950 the system, which had been named the Bow River Irrigation Project, was sold and the company ceased operations. For further information see "The Development of the Bow River Irrigation Project, 1906-1950" / Keith Stotyn. - University of Alberta : unpublished MA thesis, 1982; and Prairie Promises : History of the Bow River Irrigation District / by John Gilpin. -- Vauxhall, Alberta : Bow River Irrigation District, 1996.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of general correspondence (1906-1954); correspondence regarding land sales and purchases (1903-1953), and the Suffield and Vauxhall townsites (1903-1953); and payment collection correspondence and reports (1924-1954). Includes farm and grazing leases (1917-1959); crop records (1943-1945); hay permits (1917-1953); engineering, land, progress and financial reports (1914- 1949); water agreements (1917-1954); easements (1919-1921); tax records (1924-1951); and weather reports (1885-1924). Also includes statutory declarations (1921-1941); general ledgers (1908-1915, 1921-1922); land sale register (1912-1920); cost ledger (1937-1946); and photographs of Vauxhall and Suffield areas (ca. 1920), and CLI Co. staff and equipment (1913-1921).
RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: Aberdeen Angus cattle, Alberta Railway and Irrigation Co., Alberta Sheep Breeders' Association, Francis Percival Aylwin, E. James Bennett, Blackfoot reserve, C.J. Brierley, Canadian Pacific Railway lands and tracks, Christian Community of Universal Brotherhood, Clydesdale horses, Dead Horse Coulee, Doukhobors, Enchant Irrigation District, Expanse Coulee, Eyremore Irrigation District, German-American Colonization Co., Grand Forks Cattle Co., Grantham, F.W. Hanna, Vivian Harcourt, David Walker Hays, Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) lands, Industrial Workers of the World, Percy Love, Lucerne Stock Farms, J.D. McArthur, McIntyre Ranching Co., Maunsell Brothers, Medicine Hat, Milo Irrigation District, Capt. Deuzil Onslow Cochrane Newton, New West Irrigation District, North Enchant Irrigation District, North Retlaw Irrigation District, Ogilvie Flour Mills, petroleum industry, Sir William Plender, Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration PFRA), Retlaw, Guy Tracey Robins, Robins Irrigation Co., Ronalane, Shire horses, Sir Clifford Sifton, Southern Alberta Gas Co., John Steinbrecker, Strathmore, Sundial Irrigation District, swine, Taber Extension Irrigation District, Gordon Tansley, Travers Irrigation District, weather reports, weeds, Western Canada Irrigation Association, Western Canada Land Co., Western Canadian Natural Gas, Light, Heat and Power Co., and wheat.

Source of Acquisition:
Gift of Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Office, Vauxhall, Alberta, 1963, 1981.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-2389, PA-603, PA-2345, PC-42

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