As we know from our “recent” heritage, fur traders were plentiful in the Bow Valley region. Trading prized beaver pelts and various other furs was a very lucrative career for many. The Hudson Bay Company decided to station themselves in Rocky Mountain House and in the Bow Valley region where beavers were plentiful. Once the word got out, various designers from Europe and New York City wanted a piece of this market, knowing the quality of the pelts were world class.
With all this money floating around, bootleggers caught the scent of this money-spinning market. Soon, bootleggers from the United States starting arriving to sell their cheap whisky to anyone willing to buy it. Eventually, the North West Mounted Police were called in to build a fort to restore some order. The fort was originally named Fort Breisbois, but this would change to Fort Calgary in 1876.
So much for envisioning cowboys riding down the dusty streets of this new frontier town! Of course, that was prominent as well, but our bootlegging history just sounds so much spicier.
Of course, when you have bootleggers in a “tent-town”, you have another profession that has been around for centuries….