An incredible Canadian story: Remington Carriage Museum
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A ZenSeekers' road trip isn't complete unless the destinations include outdoor adventures, and culinary, learning and cultural experiences. During summer 2018, create your #BucketlistAB itinerary in Southern Alberta and come and stay a night and see a sight.
I've lived in Alberta my whole life and had never heard about the Remington Carriage Museum until we began a road trip through Southern Alberta. Situated in the scenic town of Cardston, the museum is home to more than 270 carriages and is the largest of its kind in the world.
Created by Don Remington (1914 - 1987), a cattle rancher, developer, and philanthropist, Don and his wife travelled across North America and Britain to obtain as many carriages as they could before bringing them home to restore them. Now, all of them are showcased in this whopping 64,000-square-foot building.
One of the old-west style carriages on display at the Remington Carriage Museum.
The newest exhibit, which opened in May 2017, tells the tale of the largest carriage manufacturing company in the British Empire, which was founded by Robert McLaughlin in 1867. After gawking over the beautiful sleigh that began it all, Robert Mein, head of interpretation for the museum, said, "A lot of people don't realize how big of an impact the McLaughlins had on Canada. Not only are they responsible for General Motors opening up operations in Ontario, but they're also the creators of Canada Dry Ginger Ale. They're truly an incredible Canadian story."
It doesn’t happen every day but if you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to watch a horse get new shoes.
After walking around the gorgeous carriage showroom, we moved next door to the blacksmith shop to watch the workers demonstrate how to forge various crafts, such as miniature horseshoes, which were then handed out to some guests as a special keepsake. We enjoyed seeing the blacksmith light up the coal-burning fire, heat up his metal until it looked like it had come out of a volcano, and then mold it with various tools before cooling it off in a bucket of water. You can learn about history in a book but it's so much better when you see it firsthand.
We had already spent hours exploring the property. However, our taste of the 19th-century wouldn't be complete without visiting the horses that moved the carriages forward. Another feature of the Remington Carriage Museum is the on-site stable, which is home to Clydesdales, quarter horses, and Canadians. Just by chance, we were lucky enough to witness workers creating and fitting horseshoes onto the horses. This does not happen every day here, and despite living in Alberta, this was the first time any of us had ever seen this. We watched them take off the old shoes, mold new ones, and then fit them onto the horse's hooves. We then moved outdoors to watch them demonstrate how to feed, clean, and harness a horse, before jumping into a carriage to go for a tour around the property.
Between witnessing some of the rarest carriages in the world, learning how to care for a horse, and taking a tour throughout the property in a horse-drawn carriage, we could easily see how Remington Carriage Museum is known as one of the best indoor attractions in the country. Whether you visit for the history, the beautiful carriages, the interactive learning, or to get a glimpse of an old-fashioned blacksmith shop, this place has it all.
If You Go
Cardston is about a 2.5-drive south of Calgary.
Travel Alberta also has lots of great information about things to do and places to see in Southern Alberta.
Matthew Bailey is a Canadian travel writer, photographer, and video host with MustDoCanada.com. Follow his travels on Instagram and Twitter @MatthewGBailey and @MustDoCanada.