Address: 19 – 1 st Avenue N.W. - P.O. Box 356 - McLennan, AB T0H 2L0 - Phone: 780-324-3065
History & Heritage - Town of McLennan
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Information from old Dominion Land Surveyor Maps of the surrounding area show that old trails existed in 1910, however we have no data to show how old the trails were in 1910 and how long they had been in use, nor if the Klondike’s used this route.   

Early in the 20th century settlers had established a community known as Round Lake on the south shore of Kimiwan Lake in the area near what is now the site of the Hospital.  Wagon trails led from the community to Grouard on the east, Spirit River on the west, and Peace River to the north.  

In 1913-1914 Leon Giroux and Mr. Bloom each built a stopping place.  Ernie Reitze built a log stopping place and restaurant in the Round Lake community.  This was a sure indicator that there was a lot of business and traffic in this vicinity. 

In 1914, the town site was selected by officials of the Edmonton Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway Company and named in honor of Dr. John K. McLennan whose titles included vice president, secretary treasurer and purchasing agent of the new railroad.

In those days streets were not paved, and the town site was one half mile away from the established community known as Round Lake.  This meant businesses not located in close proximity to the railway station would lose out; therefore the three businessmen relocated their businesses to the town site selected by the railway company.

Early in January 1915, the steel reached McLennan and the first train station was built. 

On November 7, 1915 a first-class passenger train was scheduled to leave Edmonton and arrive in McLennan the following day.  In 1918 the railway company sold its first residential lot to Mr. Percy Jones and on this property the first house was built.  To this day that house still stands.

On February 1, 1944 McLennan was incorporated as a village and four years later the population bolstered, and McLennan received town status on February 11, 1948. 

And that is how it all began.  We continue to be a striving community that has not forgotten our roots and what has brought us all together as more than just a community but friends and family.

Historical Hot Spots


Thanks to many dedicated volunteers and many many hours of time, the town has great historical significance on display.

Two History Books of McLennan & District have been published entitled Trails and Rails North, Volume I and II. Volume I was published in 1981 and the second volume in 1999. Volume II is available for purchase at the McLennan Town Office and the McLennan Municipal Library.

A video of the past has been made and is for sale by the Railway Museum. 

A parade clip has been added for interest.

History Lives in McLennan

Entering on the west end of the town, a person will be greeted with a replica of the Wop May plane and a sundial.

Continue forward on Highway 2, a large outdoor interactive display of the Railway and the many pieces of equipment railroaders used in the past to lay steel is available to see and touch.  Once a this stop, a person would not want to forget to go into the Kimiwan Lake Interpretive Centre/Historical Museum building.

As you continue to move east, the town centre will greet you to have a quick bite to eat or a little snack and forward some more to the St. Paul’s Anglican Church & Manse. 

The Wop May.  An infamous flight.  Pilots, Captain Wop May and Vic Horner made a mercy flight in the dead of winter to bring lifesaving medicine to save an indigenous village in the north made a stop here to warm up and wait out the night. 

At 3:55pm, January 2, 1929, the plane landed. The residents were notified by telegraph of the situation and a landing strip on the ice was cleared and marked. The pilots, who were extremely cold, were welcomed and hosted to meals and overnight lodging. The hospitality that was shown by our community was from the heart. Our town was honored to play its role to continue this endeavor.

To find out more about the Wop May – Vic Horner Mercy Flight of 1929 see the McLennan History Book Volume I.

The Golden Coach.  This was a means of comfortable and affordable transportation from and to the north.  This passenger car is on display with the ability to go into it and see the past. 

Historical Museum.  The museum itself has been uniquely set up to transport a visitor to the past.  Little rooms have been created that show what you would really encounter in a school room, medical centre, railway office and more.

St. Paul’s Anglican Historical House & Manse

St. Paul’s Anglican Historical House & Manse Brochure

In the past, murals existed to provide a pictorial history of the town.  Each mural had an information scroll to provide a brief historical perspective of our community.  Unfortunately, these too are now a thing of the past.