Dominion Prairie

Alberta. Prairie: Athabasca River drainage
E of Yellowhead Pass
52.8853 N 118.4153 W — Map 083D16 — GoogleGeoHack
Earliest known reference to this name is 1900 (McEvoy)
Name officially adopted in 1951
Official in Canada

James McEvoy [1862–1935] surveyed the Yellowhead Pass in 1899:

A mile above this [the fourth crossing of the Miette River above the Athabasca], the river-bottom widens and the stream takes a winding course through marshes and meadows, half a mile to a mile wide. Fourteen miles in a straight line from the Athabasca, Derr Creek, the largest tributary of the Miette flows in through three separate mouths. The valley here is wider than elsewhere and the dry open tract of grassy land between the branching mouths of Derr Creek is known as Dominion Prairie. For two miles farther the valley continues wide and flat, a soft marsh marsh occupying the whole width, forcing the traveller to climb along the timber-strewn hillsides and across angular rock-talus at the foot of cliffs. Beyond this the stream again takes a steeper grade and three miles from Dominion Prairie it is crossed for the last time. The Miette is here scarcely one-third the size that it is near its mouth.

Frederick Arthur Ambrose Talbot [1880–1924], travelling on behalf of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, crossed the Yellowhead Pass in 1910:

The bottom of this narrow defile was so depressing, owing to constriction of outlook, that we pushed forward energetically until we emerged upon Dominion Prairie, which is first an exasperating stretch of marsh, conducive neither to rapid progress nor to the maintenance of good temper, but which afterwards became drier and easier. We hastened through the grass, four or five feet in height, among burned and scorched carcasses of jack pine, to be pulled up by an unexpected obstacle.

According to James White [1863–1928], “Dominion Prairie was probably named by Canadian Pacific engineers. The derivation is obvious.”


  • McEvoy, James [1862–1935]. Report on the geology and natural resources of the country traversed by the Yellowhead Pass route from Edmonton to Tête Jaune Cache comprising portions of Alberta and British Columbia. Ottawa: Geological Survey of Canada, 1900. Natural Resources Canada
  • McEvoy, James [1862–1935]. “Map Showing Yellowhead Pass Route From Edmonton To Tête-Jaune Cache.” (1900). Natural Resources Canada
  • Talbot, Frederick Arthur Ambrose [1880–1924]. The new garden of Canada. By pack-horse and canoe through undeveloped new British Columbia. London: Cassell, 1911. Internet Archive
  • White, James [1863–1928]. “Place names in the vicinity of Yellowhead Pass.” Canadian Alpine Journal, Vol. 6 (1914–1915):107-114

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