With a population of about 90,000 residents, Lethbridge is the largest city in southern Alberta. But before the nineteenth century it was the domain of the semi-nomadic peoples from a number of First Nations: Blackfoot, Sarcee, Cree, Nakota (Assiniboine), and Kutenai. The settlement that became Lethbridge began in 1869 as Fort Hamilton, a whiskey trading post established north of the border after the United States Army shut down the practice of trading booze with the Blackfeet in Montana. The post, also known as “Fort Whoop-Up,” had a short life. In 1873, a drunken group of whiskey traders, American wolf hunters, and freight wagon drivers fired into a Nakota encampment near the fort. The incident, called the Cypress Hills massacre, led to the establishment of the Northwest Mounted Police (forerunner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), who moved into the area in 1874, shut down the post, and established order.
Sophie and her group began the day by going to the Fort Whoop-Up historic site. Later that morning, they viewed the High Level Bridge, the longest and highest steel trestle bridge in North America. After lunch they went to several local art galleries: the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, and Casa, the city’s new community arts center.
Unlike Laetitia, Sophie wasn’t much into the bar scene, but she needed a limerick. Just as she decided she would take Laetitia’s advice and find a happy hour, one popped into her head.
Those drunks really managed to goop up
That profitable venture Fort Whoop Up
For Lethbridge is tame
And just not the same
Since the tiff that brought that Mountie troop up.