A Green and Inviting Place
Sir Alexander Galt Museum & Archives

Men's foot race at Galt Gardens.
Catalogue No. P19640504000-GP
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Looking west across Galt Gardens.
Catalogue No. P19760219067-GP
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Galt Gardens park is the centrepiece of downtown Lethbridge. It is a two block square section of land, 9.16 acres in size, bounded by 1st Avenue and 3rd Avenue on the north and south sides respectively, and 5th Street and 7th Street on the west and east sides. Simply known as The Square in its early days, this section of land was set aside from the very start of urban development in Lethbridge. The land was owned by the Galt family who were founders of the City of Lethbridge, and reserved as a parkland by Elliot Galt in the original town plan surveyed in 1885.

This parcel of prairie grassland became the focal point of Lethbridge as the business core of the town began to develop around the streets and avenues which marked the park's boundaries. In short time the citizens of Lethbridge adopted the park as their own and it became the venue for most town events, including serving as the main arena for any sports events. It continued to serve as an impromptu meeting place for the city until 1909 when Elliot and John Galt donated the land to the city to be held in perpetuity as park lands. The park was named Galt Gardens in honour of the city's patron family.

Trees had been planted around the periphery of the park as early as 1901, but in 1910 serious plans for development were drawn up. The City Fire Department took on much of these landscaping responsibilities and by the late 1920s the park took on the air of a formal garden. The beauty and charm of Galt Gardens in that period has never been surpassed. Galt Gardens stood as the centrepiece of a booming and industrious city of Alberta.

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A Sense of Place