Niagara of the Foothills

The picture above is of Lundbreck Falls, located on the Crowsnest River in southwest Alberta. It’s a vintage, hand-tinted photograph produced by the Gowen Sutton Company of Vancouver. The photograph was taken circa 1903 by the photography team of Marks and Buchanan, who operated a photo studio in the town of Frank, some 18 kilometers (12 miles) away. The title of the print is “Lundbreck Falls, Alberta – The Niagara of the Foothills.”

Lundbreck Falls are 12 meters (39 feet) in height and have the appearance of a miniature Niagara Falls. They are dwarfed in size by the real Niagara Falls, which stand 51 meters (167 feet) tall. Nevertheless, Lundbreck Falls are very scenic and are one of the most photographed landmarks in the area, matched in popularity only by Turtle Mountain, Frank Slide, and Crowsnest Mountain.

Early Photographs

Lundbreck Falls has attracted sightseers, visitors, and photographers for many years. Some of the earliest photographs of the falls were taken in the mid-to-late 1880s by photographers such as George Anderton of Medicine Hat, William Hanson Boorne and Ernest Gundry May of Calgary, and Sydney Alfred Smyth, also of Calgary.

Lundbreck Falls – Boorne and May (ca. 1890)
Glenbow Museum PA-620-6

The photo below is from the Glenbow Museum Archives. It’s the same Marks and Buchanan image as the one used in the hand-tinted photograph shown at the top of this post.

Lundbreck Falls – Marks and Buchanan (ca. 1903)
Glenbow Museum PB-595-8

The next photo is a postcard view from 1905, showing the same image of Lundbreck Falls as the one above. Photographers, such as Marks and Buchanan, often sold images to postcard companies but were not credited for their work. That appears to be the case with this postcard. Other than the captioning on the front, no other information is provided.

Niagara of the Foothills
Marks and Buchanan postcard – 1905

Below is a postcard from 1910. A small group of people can be seen posing for their picture on the sandstone outcrops above the falls.

Falls at Lundbreck, Alta – 1910

Here is another early postcard of Lundbreck Falls.

A beautiful waterfall in the Canadian West

Thomas Gushul, the renowned Crowsnest Pass photographer, who operated studios in Coleman and Blairmore, also visited the falls with his camera.

Lundbreck Falls (hand-tinted photograph) – Thomas Gushul

Lundbreck Falls is a popular fishing spot, as seen in this 2001 postcard.

Fly-Fishing at Lundbreck Falls – 2001

Lundbreck Falls – 2019

Here are a few photos I took at Lundbreck Falls over the past couple of weeks.

Article References & Credits


Glenbow Museum Archives:
Lundbreck Falls – Boorne and May, ca. 1890 (PA-620-6)
Lundbreck Falls – Crown Studio, Marks and Buchanan, ca. 1903 (PB-595-8)

Marks and Buchanan hand-tinted photograph: VB Collection
Thomas Gushul hand-tinted photograph: VB Collection

Lundbreck Falls postcards: VB Collection

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  1. Allan Palmer June 26, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    Beautiful collection of postcards Vic. It is always interesting to compare the old with the new. Other than houses and fences, the falls don’t appear to have changed much. As does the angler in the 2001 fly fishing postcard!

    • Vic Bergman June 26, 2019 at 1:05 pm #

      Hi Allan,

      You’re right. When you compare the pictures of the falls, they look much like they did 100+ years ago. Pretty amazing, considering the floods that have occurred over the years. I wonder what the fishing was like there back then? With the long-weekend coming up, Lundbreck Falls Campground will be packed with anglers. Hope you have a good fishing season. Thanks for commenting!

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