Wooden Grain Elevator, Balzac, Alberta

Wooden grain elevators once dotted the landscape of the Canadian prairies, but they are quickly disappearing to make way for safer and more efficient concrete and steel structures. In the early years there were grain elevators every few miles, to accommodate the needs of farmers who had to haul grain by wagon and horses to the nearest railway point. During the first half of the 20th century there were roughly 5700 grain elevators operated by over 300 different companies. Elevator agents also dealt with other commodities farmers needed, including fertilizer, animal feeds, seeds of various kinds, baler twine, and even crop and car insurance. As the wooden elevators have outlived their usefulness, many have fallen into disrepair and decay, and must be demolished. Photographs from just a few years ago show three grain elevators in Balzac, where now there is only one remaining.

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