Canada Land and Irrigation Company

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Canada Land and Irrigation Company

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The Canada Land and Irrigation Co. Ltd. was formed in 1906, by Guy Tracey Robins of the Robins Irrigation Co. of London, England. An agreement was made to purchase 380,573 acres east of the Bow and Oldman River junctions, south of the CPR mainline. The Southern Alberta Land Company was formed in 1906 to carry out construction of a major irrigation project; construction costs estimated over $1,000,000.00 were to take place over a 10 year period. The completion of land sales were estimated to take 15 years. The land was found to be unsuitable for irrigation however, so agreement was made to purchase land further west of the Bow River and around Suffield. Construction began in 1909, but the company was plagued by financial problems, dam washouts and engineering mistakes. It went into receivership in 1914, and construction virtually stopped during WWI. In 1917, the receiver arranged a merger between the South Alberta Land Company and its subsidiary the Canadian Wheat Lands Ltd., and the bankrupt Alberta Land Co. Ltd. which held land adjacent to that of the South Alberta Land Co. A new company, named the Canada Land and Irrigation Co. Ltd. was formed. Sales of land began in 1918, and two reservoirs, the Little Bow Reservoir and Lake McGregor, were completed in 1919. Water was first delivered in 1920. The post war depression caused the company to again go into receivership in 1924, as it was unable to pay its debts. At that time, it had spent $15,000,000.00 on the project. In 1927, the company cleared its debt to the government by giving up land and reducing its holdings to 130,000 acres. More land was forfeited in 1941. In 1950, the system which had been named the Bow River Irrigation Project, was sold and the company ceased operations.


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