Cardston, just ten minutes north of the Montana border, is a small town that is full of hidden gems. While there are great family activities throughout the summer, finding out the when and where can take a little digging.
What other small town community, for example, offers up a kids-only “marathon,” or has a local theatre whose productions are described as “better than the London version,” or “as good as any amateur theatre in Vancouver?” Not many! Productions take place in the beautifully refurbished art deco-ish Carriage House Theatre, which is situated on main street just a few doors over from an original “little house on the prairie” – the Card home. The first house built in Cardston by the early Mormon settlers who’d arrived by wagon train, the Card home is open all summer for a glimpse of early prairie living.
Since alcohol is not served in Cardston and there are no bars, residents find lots of other things to do. There’s mud pit car racing, a rancher’s rodeo, fun ball tournaments, and fireworks during Heritage Week in August. The town also celebrates its horse-drawn transport of the past with the largest collection of carriages in North America. In fact, one of the jockeys who rode the famous racehorse Seabiscuit, started his career working in Cardston’s huge horse barns. Those barns served the wagon trains used to supply Alberta from Montana in the late 1800s. Although the barns burned down, a beautiful bronze statue of Seabiscuit and his jockey were erected outside the Remington Carriage Museum. No one leaves disappointed! The displays are fascinating, featuring everything from stagecoaches to the fancy carriages of New York high society. There are also Mormon history themed wagon tours through town in the summer.
All this in a little town sitting in the midst of great fishing and bird watching options, and on some of the prettiest highways in the province. Whether you head southwest 30 min to Waterton Park, or on to Twin Butte for some great Mexican food, or go north of town and over to Magrath to explore the Mormon Trail, this is truly Sunday drive country!
By: Allen R. Gibson