I arrived in Medicine Hat on May 19th, it has been cool and wet ever since I got here but it should start improving next week.
The land approaching Medicine Hat is very flat in all directions but the city itself is built in and around a meandering valley created by the South Saskatchewan and its feeders. Known locally as individual coulees; the campground where we are gathering is located on a golf course in one known as “Woolfry’s Coulee.” The Woolfry family had a farm and dairy on the land which was sold and converted into a golf course about ten years ago and the name was changed to Cottonwood Coulee at that time. Canadian Dictionary definition of a coulee is “A deep narrow ravine.”)
Medicine Hat is a very nice, clean city; the vast majority of the folks who live here keep their homes and yards in beautiful shape. Even though the climate here in the summer is sub-tropical it is nevertheless brief, which encourages today’s 60000 ‘Hatters’ to spend time outdoors and most yards have an abundance of colorful flowers and manicured lawns.
A lot of settlements across the Canadian prairies were established as the Canadian
Pacific Railroad made its western progress and Medicine Hat is no exception. The CPR arrived here in 1883, and were faced with building a bridge across the South Saskatchewan (the only river crossing in the prairie system,) a tent city was born, Ladies of the Night arrived, and Medicine Hat was established.
There are a couple of variations to the legend of how Medicine Hat got its name but the original story was that the Cree Indian Tribe met in battle with the Blackfoot Indian Tribe and the cowardly Blackfoot Medicine Man ran away losing his headdress in the middle of the South Saskatchewan river in his haste, the Blackfoot braves saw this as a sign, laid down their weapons and were slaughtered. A more mythical and romantic version of the origin appeared in the late 1980’s but I like this story --- and I’m stickin’ to it!!
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