The church with many names, Church on the Hill, St. Edmund’s Church or the Blue Church of Big Valley has been declared one of Alberta’s 76 “Heritage Markers” by the provincial Ministry of Culture. The move coincides with the centennial of Big Valley.
Using a series of archival photos, the marker tells the story of the almost century-old St. Edmund’s Anglican Church and traces its roots back to England and one of its earliest benefactors, Caroline Leffler.
“Ensuring that future generations can share in the rich history of our province matters to Albertans. The Heritage Markers Program is one of the ways we are working with local municipalities and organizations to preserve Alberta stories for Albertans and visitors from around the world,” said Heather Klimchuk, Minister of Culture.
St. Edmund’s Anglican Church was built in 1916 through local donations and a $500 contribution from English citizen Caroline Leffler. Leffler offered the donation to the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary to establish a church in an area of his choice. Big Valley was selected and the church was constructed on the crest of the valley, visible from miles away.
To this day, St. Edmund’s Church stands as a significant community landmark. The church was designated a Provincial Historic Resource in 2002 and the Big Valley Historical Society proposed the development of the heritage marker to celebrate and increase awareness for one of the community’s most significant historic places.