Vintage Photos of Camping from Western Canada

Camping season is right around the corner. It’s a favourite pastime for many Albertans and something we look forward to each year as the days get warmer. With the spirit of that in mind, I present to you a collection of historical camping photographs from across western Canada. These photos might not depict the same type of camping we’ve become used to these days and, in fact, there’s quite a variety of camping setups, including round-up camps, railroad camps, survey camps, hunting camps, and First Nation camps to name a few. As you’re prepping your camping gear for the upcoming season, why not enjoy this peak back at the way things used to be.

Camping near the Bow River, Calgary, Alberta, 1883
Packing outfit getting horses ready, 1890s
Fred Stephens, Arthur Arnold and Tom Lusk sitting in camp, [Rocky Mountains, Alberta?\, 1890-1909
Cowboys at round-up camp, southern Alberta, 1887-1889
Hay camp, 76 ranch, Crane Lake, Saskatchewan, 1888-1889
Camp at Medicine Hat, Alberta, 1883
Canadian Pacific Railway engineers camp at Mount Stephen, Field, British Columbia, 1884
Canadian Pacific Railway camp at Selkirk Summit, British Columbia, 1886-1889
Robert Randolph Bruce, Canadian Pacific Railway surveyor, inside tent, 1890s
Canadian Pacific Railway survey team in camp, 1890s
Bull train camp, Benton-Macleod trail (from Fort Benton, Montana to Fort Macleod, Alberta), 1880s
American camp near West Lynne, Manitoba, 1872
Photographers camp, International Boundary Survey, 1873
Astronomical camp near, Turtle Mountain, Manitoba, 1873
Survey camp at Wood End, Saskatchewan, 1873
Lieutenant’s Galwey’s Canadian camp, 1874
Mount Wilson from the valley of the Belly River, Alberta, 1874
Snow bound camp, Mill Creek, Alberta, 1881
Deer hunting party in the Rocky Mountains, Alberta, 1880s
Colonel James Macleod family’s camp near Waterton Lakes, Alberta, 1890-1893
Sporting party camped on Highwood River, Alberta, 1890s
Survey camp, McPherson’s Coulee, Alberta, 1890
A man at rest at a campsite in the foothills, probably in southern Alberta, 1880s
Blackfoot encampment, southern Alberta, 1890
Camp of North-West Mounted Police, Fort Walsh, North-West Territories (later Saskatchewan and Alberta), 1878-1879
View of troops’ camps at internment camp at Castle, Alberta, 1916. Object #A15281
Men and tents at surveyor’s camp, Peace River district, Alberta, 1917. Object #A14229
Blackfoot women and children at a Blackfoot Camp near Rosebud, 1910. Object #A11527
Bedding being aired out in a field at the Canadian Girls in Training camp, Vilna, 1941. Object #A11880
View of men, tents, horses, and equipment at the Canadian Mounted Rifles Camp, Edmonton, 1908. Object #A11658

The photos above were collected from the Glenbow Archives and the Provincial Archives of Alberta. If you’re interested, additional information can be found for each photograph on the Glenbow website by searching the identification number that is printed on the photo. There is also the option to purchase a high resolution copy. If you search the object number that can be found in the photo captions, you will find additional information about the photographs on the Provincial Archives website. Stay tuned for additional posts featuring historical photos from across Alberta. We’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.

About Tyler Dixon 177 Articles
Tyler is originally from Saskatchewan, and yes he cheers for the Roughriders, but don’t hold that against him as Calgary has been his home for the past eight years. He is a teacher working at a wilderness- based treatment program for youth working to overcome addiction. Tyler is also a volunteer with the GOT Parks initiative, which aims at reconnecting Canada’s youth with our national, provincial, and territorial parks. During his time away from work, Tyler enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and snowboarding, team sports, travelling, photography, spending time with good friends, and being at home with his wife and German Shepherd, Rome.