Improvement to Districts in Leduc County

Pipestone Flyer

    When settlers first stepped off the train at the Leduc station in 1891 they saw the wild prairies and little else. There were no roads, no schools, and in fact very few buildings. To reach their homestead they often followed game trails or paths established by First Nations people. The only form of order established by the Northwest Territorial Government was the development of herd, statute labor, and fire districts. In 1897 the districts were amalgamated into local improvement districts. These districts were typically composed of a township of 36 sections of land. The prime purposes of these districts were the building and maintaining of roads, management of fires and noxious fumes, and management of animals.

    In 1903 the districts were expanded to accommodate from 3 to 6 townships. The new province of Alberta passed the Rural Municipality Act in 1912 that allowed 9 townships to join for incorporation as a rural municipality as long as they had one person per mile living within its borders.  

    After World War I the province required that all local Improvement districts become municipality districts (MD) and the area saw three districts created in the area; Blackwood $488, Liberty #489, and Pioneer #490. Then in 1944 the three joined to become the Municipality of Leduc #489 a year later the district was renumbered to #75. This new MD had expanded to 40 townships and included communities as far west as Warburg and as far east as New Sarepta.

    The new enlarged MD needed office space and in 1944 bought the old Leduc Motors building located on 49th Avenue and 48th Street. The building had been constructed in 1925 and was used by Leduc Motors until it was sold to the MD. The building would be reconfigured to accommodate office space for the MD and the second floor was used as a courtroom and a law office for D.P. McLeod. 

    The MD would remain at that location until the end of 1963 when the MD was replaced with the birth of the County of Leduc #25. Today the building continues to serve the residents of Leduc. First as commercial space and then in 1968 it became home for the current Smyth Medical Clinic. 

    The birth of the county also saw the various school boards in the area dissolved and absorbed by Leduc County. Over time the various school boards would regain their independence, but in 1995 the Alberta government would again reconsolidate the various school districts that had been developed within Leduc County’s borders into one school division called Black Gold. The long association between these two government bodies remains today as they both host their offices in the same building in Nisku.

    Today Leduc County has seen a number of municipalities both within its borders and beyond wishing to absorb parts of the County. After fifty years the future could see the County once again change to meet the new conditions of the day