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“The Galt No. 8 Mine site represents one of the most important abandoned coal mines in Canada… the headframe of the shaft mine is the last remaining structure of this type in Canada… the brick buildings area also a valuable heritage resource because of their distinctive architecture and their good condition.”
– Larry Chrismas, Past Chairman, History and Heritage Committee of the Coal Association of Canada.
- The Galt #8 Mine Historic Site Society is a not for profit registered community society, committed to:
- The preservation, maintenance and promotion of the Historic Galt #8 Mine Site;
- The development of the Site and Buildings dedicated to the interpretation of the Historic Galt #8 Mine, the history of coal and coal mining, coal miners and their families and the influence of coal mining on the development of Lethbridge and area;
- Investigating ways and means to develop the historic and tourism potential of the Historic Galt #8 Mine Site in coordination with other local heritage and tourism activities and initiatives.
In order to be able to realize its Mission, the Society will seek cooperation with all parties involved or to become involved, to ensure:
- That the area with the remaining Buildings of the former Galt #8 Mine Site will become available to the Society as soon as possible and will be designated as a Historic Site;
- That the adjacent area will be developed in a manner that does not interfere with the integrity of the Site but rather will support the mandate of the Society and will improve the visitation and viability of the Site.
The Society is committed to:
- Having the historic buildings used primarily for historical interpretation programs and related activities;
- Honoring the mandate of the Sir Alexander Galt Museum regarding the interpretation of the history of Lethbridge and area;
- Seeking cooperation with the museum for the development of the programs of the Society as an extension of the museum programs;
- Avoiding unnecessary duplication of programs, while networking and cooperating with other historic coal mine sites and tourist attractions and organizations in Alberta.
In order to realize its commitments, the Society will seek:
- Continued support of dedicated volunteers and “partners in purpose”;
- Extensive private, corporate and community support and involvement and assistance from all levels of Government.
Development of the Site
The Galt #8 Mine Historic Site Society is negotiating with the present property owners to purchase the property and to develop an historical interpretive centre that will preserve and enhance existing mine buildings. Our Society hopes to develop the site as a centennial legacy project that will celebrate our mining heritage and provide both an educational and virtual reality experience to the visitor. The existing property will be developed to allow the public controlled access to the park for a variety of community uses that will not interfere with the integrity of the site.
To date, our Society has gifted to the Citizens of Lethbridge a series of signs marking former mine sites and providing an overview of those mines. We have also provided educational materials relating to our coal heritage to City and district schools. The Society has completed a model of the Galt #8 Mine surface infrastructure as it would have appeared at the height of operations and is developing the concept of a similar model to show the underground workings. The Society has completed its book project, and “People of the Mines – an oral history” is now available for sale to the public. In 2003 the Society was a sponsor of the Province-wide “Year of the Coal Miner” event.
Galt No. 8 Mine
The buildings of Galt No. 8 Mine, along our western coulees and to the right of the C.P.R. viaduct, have been familiar landmarks since 1935. The mine’s water tower and tipple stand like exclamation points on the western horizon.
Galt No. 8 Mine got its start in 1934 when the Canadian Pacific Railway sunk the first shaft. Work crews dismantled the tipple from the recently closed No. 6 Mine and brought it over to the new site by rail. No. 8 stayed in operation until 1957. It was the last mine to close within the city of Lethbridge proper and was one of the last within the Lethbridge Coal Field. Between 1874 when the first mine in the district opened, and 1957 when Galt No. 8 closed, almost 24 million tonnes of coal had been taken from the ground.
Although the mine closed in 1957, the red shale being used today on many of Lethbridge’s pathways and baseball diamonds is a bi-product of the Galt No. 8 Mine. During the mine’s operating years, waste products such as rock and impure coal were dumped over the edge of the bank into the coulee. Ignited by spontaneous combustion this material has burned for many years. These fires created the red shale found in city parks and sports’ fields today.
While the remaining mine buildings are striking landmarks, they are also symbols of an industrial heritage that saw coal mines flourish in grain country for over 80 years.