Bragg Creek History

Our Story

Bragg Creek is named after Albert Warren Bragg from Collingwood, Nova Scotia, and his 13-year-old brother John Thomas Bragg who came to the area with dreams of becoming cowboys and living the ranching lifestyle. They received a grant from Dominion Land Corporation on September 17, 1894, for land about 35 miles west of Calgary. However, the brothers didn’t begin preparations for their homestead until the fall of 1897. They built their small cabin beside a tiny creek that ran through the northeast corner of their quarter section. It’s this creek that became Bragg Creek in their honour. Fire had stripped the land of trees, leaving verdant open land particularly suited to ranching. However, very few of the settlers remained for long; it was a beautiful and unspoiled area but isolation made life difficult, particularly through the winter months. By spring, the boys decided that the land in the foothills was not suited to the type of ranching operation they wanted. Warren applied for and was granted a homestead in Gleichen, east of Calgary, and John returned home to Nova Scotia.

For the pioneers who remained, trade with the Nakoda First Nation (also known as the Stoney Tribe) was an important part of life. Beaded clothing and furs were exchanged at the Trading Post. In fact, the Bragg Creek Trading Post on White Avenue is on the exact same footprint as it was when built-in 1927. The structure is the original building other than the porch and some lower logs due to the flood of 2013.

From the 1920s onward the Bragg Creek area became increasingly popular as a weekend and retirement destination, and the first Youth Hostel in North America was established in Bragg Creek at the junction of the Elbow River and the Bragg Creek in 1933. Initially, a simple tent was pitched on Ida May White’s property by Mary and Catherine Barclay. Then a permanent structure was built in 1936 on Thomas Fullerton’s nearby property. The building was later moved and sadly burned down in 1984.