The area around Forestburg was originally home to Cree and Blackfoot tribes. Anthony Henday camped just west of what is now Forestburg on his exploration of the Prairies in 1754. However, by the late 1800's exposure to smallpox and over hunting of the buffalo took its toll on the native population. One homesteader recollected that by the time land was surveyed in 1900, the aboriginals had all but disappeared from this region.
Homesteaders of Scandanavian, British, and German descent began settling the rich farmland of the area in 1905. In 1915, with the coming of the Canadian National Railway, a town grew up which was primarily the agricultural service center for the surrounding farms. In August , 1919, Forestburg was incorporated as a village.
Coal mining has been part of the area almost as long as agriculture, as enterprising homesteaders opened the first of many small underground "gopher hole" mines in the banks of the Battle River in 1907. With the advent of strip mining operations in 1949, Forestburg became home for many of the employees of the coal mines and the associated power generation station. Today agriculture, coal mining, and power generation form the basis of the economy, along with increasing oil and gas activity and related manufacturing and service businesses.
To learn more about Forestburg's history, visit:
Forestburg & District Museum, 4707 - 50 Street. The Museum is open as of April 1st, hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm. Please call 780-582-3790 to arrange a tour if the museum is not open.
Diplomat Mine Interpretive Site, 8km west and 8km south of Forestburg on Highway 855. See the Marion 360 stripping shovel, the star attraction in Canada's only museum devoted to surface coal mining!