REVEREND GEORGE MCDOUGALL MEMORIAL
Rev. George McDougall Cairn
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Reverend George McDougall Memorial is a commemorative cairn located on 0.46 acres approximately six kilometres north of Calgary, several kilometres west of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway.
The heritage value of the Reverend George McDougall Memorial lies in its indication of the place at which the legendary Methodist missionary is believed to have died.
Reverend George McDougall was one of the pre-eminent early missionaries in Alberta and a key figure in the development of early civil life in the province. Born in Kingston, Ontario in 1821, McDougall converted to the Methodist faith at the age of 19 and began a trial candidacy for the ministry a decade later. Between 1851 and 1860, he served the Native peoples of central Canada before being appointed to the Rossville mission at Norway House and assuming the responsibilities of superintendent of Methodist missions in western Canada. From the early 1860s until 1876, McDougall conducted most of his work from present-day Alberta, establishing new missions at Victoria and Morleyville and overseeing Methodist efforts at Whitefish Lake, Pigeon Lake, and Fort Edmonton. McDougall served both Native and Euro-Canadian populations in his role as evangelist and spiritual guide. He was also a strong advocate for Native peoples in their struggles to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances of the 1860s and 1870s. With his large family - particularly his famed son John - McDougall pioneered some of the earliest settlements and agricultural efforts in Alberta. As missionary, advocate, and pioneer, McDougall had a profound impact upon Euro-Canadian and Native relations in western Canada and on the development of early settlement in present-day Alberta.
George McDougall died in January 1876 after becoming lost during a buffalo hunt. At the time, the Morleyville Mission's food supplies were dwindling and McDougall had brought word that the buffalo were moving westward over the plains. A small hunting party was organized that included both George McDougall and his son John. After successfully killing several of the animals, George McDougall rode ahead of his son toward their camp. He never arrived. A snowstorm impeded search efforts and his frozen body was not discovered until days later. It is believed he died of a heart attack at the site now marked by the commemorative cairn; his body was taken to Morleyville and buried.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 659)
The character-defining elements of Reverend George McDougall Memorial include such features as:
- location where George McDougall is believed to have died;
- environment of native prairie grasses;
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Commemorative Monument
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 659)
Cross-Reference to Collection