Cochrane & Area
Cochrane & Area – known for its western culture – has a variety of restaurants and activties that you’re sure to enjoy. Read on for details!
Senator Matthew Henry Cochrane established the Cochrane Ranche in 1881. Nestled at the base of Big Hill in the Bow River valley the ranch was in a truly picturesque location. Four years later, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) created a townsite here and named it in honour of the man.
Located 36 km west of downtown Calgary, 32 km north (30 minutes north) of Bragg Creek, less than an hour from Banff, and in the heart of Alberta cattle country, Cochrane is smack dab in the middle of the Cowboy Trail. It is home to the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site and Bert Sheppard Stockmen’s Foundation Library and Archives, which is a must see! Full of western memorabilia, ask the staff about the 101 Hats Collection as well as the numerous examples of barbed wire on display.
Located just minutes north of Cochrane, Spring Hill RV Park has become a favourite first stop for travellers who rent their RV in north Calgary. You simply follow Hwy #567 west through Airdrie til you get to Hwy #22. The driving time is about half an hour, just long enough for you to get used to your rig. Bonnie & Sean will help you get settled so you can start your adventure fresh in the morning, just be sure to top up with gas. Heading south on Hwy #22, your first stop is only minutes away. It is the Cochrane Ranch Historic Site.
Cochrane has a reputation for western culture, which is obvious as we saunter down Main Street. The quaint authentic stores such as Home Quarter Mercantile and Tony’s Western Wear and the Rockyview Hotel anchor Historic Downtown Cochrane.
Last year, Joan & Clarence Longeway made the decision to close their coffee & pie shop in order to allow for the expansion of their mercantile department. Be sure to stop at Home Quarter Mercantile for an excellent selection of affordable, authentic western wear. They carry men’s and women’s clothing lines, accessories, jewellery, handbags & wallets, as well as home decor and accent pieces, with new stock arriving regularly.
If your sweet tooth is acting up, especially on a hot day, stroll down the street two doors to another landmark in Cochrane. MacKay’s Ice Cream has been serving perhaps the best ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet in western Canada for more than 65 years! Some of their more innovative flavours include Purple Yam, Avocado, Kulfi, and Halo Halo although their best seller is Chocolate. What’s your favourite?
Olive ‘R Twist is a trendy bistro and martini bar, nestled in the heart of downtown Cochrane, just across the street from Home Quarter Mercantile. Megan will make your dining experience a memorable event with friendly, personable service, comfortable atmosphere, trendy décor and delicious cuisine prepared with the freshest ingredients. May we suggest the Ahi Tuna Salad, Ginger Duck or the Maple Blueberry Bison Burger?
The Bullhorn Saloon is a western-themed bar located just south across the tracks. A 10 tap beer tower makes the draft beer alone worth stopping in for, but you may also like the seven sport TVs.
The Studio West Art Gallery & Bronze Foundry is a unique attraction. Don & Shirley Begg have operated this lost-wax bronze foundry since 1970. Since then they have designed and created more than 85 public bronze statues. Be sure to stop for a free tour of sculpting and see work in progress. They too are located just south of the tracks not far from the Bullhorn. You’ll find their work from Lethbridge to Mayerthorpe and beyond. Can you find “The Legacy” in downtown Cochrane or “The Fallen Four” in Mayerthorpe? Refer to our map of The Cowboy Trail (pg 10) for the locations of numerous works along the trail.
Cochrane is growing rapidly and changing. In recent years it has earned a reputation as a centre of outdoor adventure for such activities as paragliding, skydiving, wind sports, water activities, golfing, hiking and cycling. However, western roots here remain strong, so stay tuned for a much hoped for announcement about a new $160 million western conference facility.
In the meantime, check out the Farmers’ Market Saturdays from 9 am – 1 pm and numerous special events throughout the year such as the Outhouse Races on Main Street during the Lions Labour Day Rodeo weekend.
Located in the heart of Alberta cattle country and the Cowboy Trail, Cochrane is a recreation playground for families, adventure enthusiasts and those seeking rest and relaxation in a beautiful natural setting. Only 20 minutes from Calgary and less than an hour from Banff, with spectacular vistas of the rolling foothills and majestic Rocky Mountains, Cochrane combines a proud western heritage with all the modern conveniences required for a great vacation.
Events in Cochrane
June 30 – July 1: SummerFest, Cochrane Ranche Historic Site
July 9: Foothills Bucking Horse Futurity
July 25: Cochrane Classic Bull Riding, Cochrane Lions Rodeo Grounds
August 1-2: Cochrane Ranche Days Festival at the Cochrane Ranche Historic Site
August 15: Pony Club Rally, Cochrane Agricultural Society Grounds
August 21-23: Cochrane Fall Fair
Sept 4: Slimdor Ranch Rodeo. Cochrane Lions Rodeo Grounds
Sept 5-7: 49th Annual Cochrane Lions Labour Day Rodeo. cochranelionsclub.ca