the alpine club of canada

Formed in 1906, the Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) was originally proposed as an off-shoot of the American Alpine Club which had been founded three years previously. While proposing the formation of such a club, co-founder Arthur O. Wheeler received a scathing letter from a journalist correspondent in Winnipeg from whom he was searching for support. That journalist, Elizabeth Parker, soon joined Wheeler in his endeavor to start the club and, once established, it would be totally independent of its American counterpart.

With support from organizations like the Canadian Pacific Railway and the YMCA, the ACC was able to acquire a space in which to hold their first meeting. The ACC was to be a national organization; Wheeler and Parker wanted it to be accessible to anyone who wished to take part, so the founding meeting of the Alpine Club of Canada was held in an accessible location. Not in the mountains, but in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1909 a clubhouse was built in Banff National Park on Sulphur Mountain, about halfway between the Upper Hot Springs and the town of Banff. This would serve the ACC as a base of operations until Parks Canada called for its demolition in the 1970s, at which point it was moved to its current location in Canmore.

After its founding, the ACC turned to guides (many of whom were from Switzerland) already familiar with the western Canadian peaks to show them the ropes. Wheeler became the Alpine Club of Canada's first president. Men and women from across the country quickly joined the Club and the organization flourished.

Lantern slides were useful tools for the ACC to use for marketing, promotional, and administrative reasons – the coloured slides from first ascent expeditions could have trip details written directly onto the matting paper, creating a colourful and thorough record that would appeal to club members and the public alike.

The Alpine Club of Canada continues to flourish today, maintaining backcountry huts throughout Alberta and British Columbia, encouraging people to explore those wild places and to help the club preserve them for those who come later.