Town of Carstairs
Main Street in Carstairs
Main Street in Carstairs
Flag of Carstairs
Coat of arms of Carstairs
Carstairs is located in Alberta
Location of Carstairs in Alberta
Carstairs is located in Canada
Carstairs (Canada)
Coordinates: 51°33′43″N 114°05′43″W / 51.56194°N 114.09528°W / 51.56194; -114.09528
RegionCentral Alberta
Census division6
Municipal districtMountain View County
 • VillageMay 15, 1903
 • TownSeptember 1, 1966
 • MayorLance Colby
 • Governing bodyCarstairs Town Council
 • CAOCarl McDonnell
 • MPEarl Dreeshen, Red Deer-Mountain View
 • MLANathan Cooper
 • Land11.77 km2 (4.54 sq mi)
Elevation1,060 m (3,480 ft)
 • Total4,898
 • Density416.2/km2 (1,078/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Postal code
Area code+1-403
HighwaysHighway 2A
WebsiteOfficial website

Carstairs is a town in central Alberta, Canada. It is located on Highway 2A, 241 kilometres (150 mi) south of the provincial capital, Edmonton, and 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of Calgary, the nearest major city. The closest neighbouring communities are the towns of Didsbury and Crossfield. Carstairs is located entirely within the rural Mountain View County.

Named after Carstairs, Scotland, Carstairs began life as a loading platform on the railway connecting Calgary to Edmonton. The first post office opened in 1900.[6] The first school district was established in 1901.[7]


The origins of the Town of Carstairs dates back centuries to a network of trails collectively known as the Ancient Trail (also referred to as The Old North Trail and the Wolf Track). This important transportation corridor passed through the Carstairs area. Several prominent rock formations along river and creek beds were found in the district, and these were known resting and stopping sites for First Nations people as they moved up-and-down this corridor.[8]

As the fur trade developed and settlement grew, the newcomers to the region adopted the same network of trails that had been used for centuries. In 1883, one of those newcomers, Sam Scarlett, set up a Stopping House at one of the prominent rock formations along the Rosebud River.[9] "Scarlett's" became an important and popular stop along the Calgary and Edmonton Trail - frequented by freighters, the NWMP, military and the various stage coach lines.[10]

When the Calgary and Edmonton Railway arrived in 1890, the surveyors made an allotment for a siding, station house, and townsite to be built in relative proximity to Scarlett's Stopping House. However, to avoid crossing the Rosebud River at that point, the rail line was laid approximately 4 km west of Scarlett's.[11]

Named 'Carstairs' the new townsite's development started off slowly, but by the turn of the 20th century, the area began a steady growth pattern that allowed it to be officially recognized as Carstairs, NWT on May 15, 1903. The name changed to Carstairs, Alta in 1905 when Alberta received official Provincial status.[12]


In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Carstairs had a population of 4,898 living in 1,837 of its 1,883 total private dwellings, a change of 20.1% from its 2016 population of 4,077. With a land area of 11.77 km2 (4.54 sq mi), it had a population density of 416.1/km2 (1,077.8/sq mi) in 2021.[3]

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Carstairs recorded a population of 4,077 living in 1,544 of its 1,590 total private dwellings, a change of 18.4% from its 2011 population of 3,442. With a land area of 11.92 km2 (4.60 sq mi), it had a population density of 342.0/km2 (885.9/sq mi) in 2016.[13]


First Student Canada provides commuter bus service to Calgary from Didsbury and Carstairs.[14] The service loads commuters at the Carstairs Curling Club.[15]


Old Dominion Hotel

Carstairs is home to an 18-hole golf course, a Memorial Complex with abundant parks and playgrounds, and Tourist Information Center. Carstairs has historically been an agricultural community, as it once had seven grain elevators. It celebrates each year with the CARA Rodeo in July,[16] Beef & Barley Days,[17] the High School Rodeo in September, 4-H Calf Show and Sale, Bull-A-Rama, Horticultural Show, and Pumpkin Festival.

There are seven churches in the town, including the Carstairs Church of God, St. Agnes Catholic Church, and the Carstairs Bancroft United Church. One of the churches is being used as a museum that often has religious services.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Location and History Profile: Town of Carstairs" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. October 7, 2016. p. 127. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  2. ^ "Municipal Officials Search". Alberta Municipal Affairs. 2019-05-09. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  3. ^ a b c "Population and dwelling counts: Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities)". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 9, 2022.
  4. ^ "Alberta Private Sewage Systems 2009 Standard of Practice Handbook: Appendix A.3 Alberta Design Data (A.3.A. Alberta Climate Design Data by Town)" (PDF) (PDF). Safety Codes Council. January 2012. pp. 212–215 (PDF pages 226–229). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada and population centres". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
  6. ^ Carstairs History Book Committee (1995). Beyond our Prairie Trails, V. 1 Community history. p. 47. ISBN 1-55056-249-5. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
  7. ^ Francis, Alyce (c. 1976). Carstairs School Days. p. 9. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
  8. ^ McCLINTOCK, WALTER (1910). THE OLD NORTH TRAIL. London: Macmillan and Co. ISBN 0-8032-8258-3.
  9. ^ "Edmonton Bulletin". December 8, 1883.
  10. ^ "Edmonton Bulletin". 1883.
  11. ^ "Calgary Herald". August 27, 1890.
  12. ^ "Alberta Gazette". June 15, 1903.
  13. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  14. ^ "Didsbury/Carstairs Commuter" (PDF). November 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-07-22.
  15. ^ "Transportation". Town of Carstairs. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  16. ^ "Home". Carstairsrodeo. Retrieved 2021-07-22.
  17. ^ "Beef and Barley Days – Carstairs Agricultural Society". Retrieved 2021-07-22.