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A bit of history...

cochrane_pic2.jpgNestled at the base of Big Hill in the Valley of the Bow River the Town of Cochrane is situated in a truly picturesque location. Add the view of the foothills and the Rocky Mountains to the west, and it seems only natural that an urban center would have developed here. Along with the beauty of the location, Cochrane also has the advantage of being in a very prosperous mixed farming area.

Cochrane was named after Senator Matthew Henry Cochrane, the man who established the Cochrane Ranche in 1881. With the historic site of the Ranche on the western edge of Town, it would seem logical to assume that Cochrane automatically developed as an urban centre to serve the needs of the ranching population. Such was not the case. In fact, in the 1880’s and early 1890’s it seemed that Cochrane might never become much more than a railway siding.

The Canadian Pacific Railway granted the town-site in 1885 and named it in honour of Senator Cochrane, but very few people initially made Cochrane their home.

The little hamlet of Cochrane became a village in 1903. In 1906, Cochrane had a population of 158. Five years later, the village boasted a population of 395. Cochrane provided all the services necessary for the growing community, and perhaps more importantly, the residents took advantage of the resources at hand. Before World War I, Cochrane was home to a stone quarry, a sawmill, and four brick plants. Within the community, skilled artisans combined their talents with local products to construct buildings of quality and personal style thus giving Cochrane a unique and special character.

The days of expansion and prosperity, however, came abruptly to an end at the onset of World War I. The depression of 1913 caused serious problems in local industries and the shortage of manpower caused by the war in 1914 sealed the fate of the Town’s industrial base. Many residents left Cochrane during the war years, but because it continued to act as the service centre for the rural population, the village was able to survive with a decreased but constant population of approximately 300. It was not until after World War II that Cochrane began a renewed expansion, and in 1971, the community was incorporated as a Town with a population exceeding 800.

The general economic boom of the 1970’s brought many new residents and a great burst of construction activity. As in most Alberta towns, the optimism and expansion of the early seventies initiated a process of modernization which either demolished or resurfaced many of the older structures.

Today, Cochrane is still noted for its western heritage, with its unique buildings and popular Main Street, as well as its small town hospitality. With the completion of the downtown revitalization and celebration of the Town’s centennial in 2003, Cochrane has become a popular tourist attraction for many. The Town has had a steadily increasing population over the last decade and the 2004 census boasted an official population of 12,418.

History courtesy of: CHAPS (Cochrane Historical & Archival Preservation Society) & Cochrane.ca

Cochrane Statistics

15,424 (2009 Municipal Cencus Results)

1,186Meters (3,890 feet)

Distance To:
Calgary City Limits - 22km
Calgary Downtown - 35km
Calgary Inter'l Airport - 40km
Kananaskis Country - 85km
Banff - 110km
Lake Louise - 160km
Edmonton - 300km 

Average Temperatures:
January: -11.8c (10.8f)
April: 3.3c (37.9f)
July: 16.4c (61.5f)
October: 5.5c (41.9f) 

50cm (19.5 inches) annually 

28cm (11.1 inches) annually 

Hours of Sunshine
2,341 Hours annually 

Frost Free Days
112 Days annually 

Population Trends:
2008 - 14,653
2006 - 13,760
2004 - 12,418
2002 - 12,074
2000 - 11,173