Hillcrest Mines Memorial Park and Cemetery

Hillcrest, Alberta

Difficulty: Easy - Family
Park Amenities:
Interpretive Signs
Wheelchair Access

Historic Places to Visit in Alberta

Home of Canada's Worst Mining Disaster

The town of Hillcrest is home to the memorial park and cemetery dedicated to coal mining disasters in Canada. Most specifically the Hillcrest Mines explosion. Take a walk around the interpretive loop trails, picnic areas, monuments and even an active and historic cemetery to explore. An informative stop on a road trip through the Crowsnest Pass, just minutes from the Frank's Slide site.

Where to Find this Provincial Historic Resource

Hillcrest Mines Memorial Park and Cemetery are located just off of the Crowsnest Hwy/Hwy 3 in Hillcrest, Alberta, Canada. From Hwy 3, turn south on 9th Ave in Hillcrest, between the Bellevue Mine and Frank's Slide Interpretive Centre. After 1.4km, turn right onto 4th Ave and you will see a large parking area to the right. On one side of the parking lot you will find the Hillcrest Mines Cemetery, and the memorial park is nearby in the same location.

Hillcrest Mines Cemetery and Memorial Park

An interesting stop in the Crowsnest Pass, this area is a sad reminder of the tragedy that took place on June 19, 1914. The Hillcrest Mines Cemetery is where a large number of the 189 men who perished that day are laid to rest. Some in independent graves, and a significant amount are together in the mass grave sites here on the property. As you walk through this active public cemetery, you'll notice interpretive signs that talk about that unfortunate day in great detail. You will learn how this day impacted Canada right up until today, as well as the men who lost their lives, their families, and the people involved in the aftermath of this disaster.

What Happened on June 19, 1914 in Alberta

The Hillcrest Mines disaster of 1914 was catastrophic, and is still Canada's worst mining disaster ever recorded. 235 men were working that day, and of them, only 46 survived. What started as just another ordinary day, abruptly changed course when a pocket of methane gas ignited at 9:30 a.m. and blew through the tunnels of the Hillcrest Coal mine, triggering the large coal dust explosion. A horrible day in Canadian History. Many survived the initial explosions, but perished from lack of fresh air as the deadly mix of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide filled the blocked, deep tunnels of the mine. Practically the whole male population in the community of Hillcrest Mines was taken out in 1 day. Devastating families, the community, and surrounding areas for years to come.

Self-guided Tours in Hillcrest Alberta

Visitors stopping by this area will notice the memorial park on the opposite side of the parking lot from the cemetery. There is a small gravel loop trail with interpretive signs speaking of the coal days and history of the area. There are picnic tables and benches to relax and enjoy this tree covered park in southern Alberta. Additionally, you can walk through the Cemetery itself and find more informative panels and markers for this moment in time. There are many interpretive panels located around the mass grave sites telling the detailed story of June 19, 1914. As well as pointing out that all 3 of Alberta's worst disasters happened along this stretch of road, just a few kms apart. Very interesting information to take in about Alberta's past.

Historic Changes in Canadian Law

Based largely on the events that took place in the early 1900's in the Crowsnest Pass, legislation was changed across Canada within the following decade. Rescue teams were placed near every mine, as well as a revamp of the health and safety regulations for the country. Furthermore, workers compensation was also changed to better protect the victims and families. This was an important time in history as far as addressing the emerging issues in the Canadian workforce.

Learning the History of the Crowsnest Pass

One of the many interesting stops in the Pass, this stop is a sobering reminder of the dangers coal miners faced daily just to make a living. You will find a large granite monument for the men involved in the Hillcrest Mine disaster, as well as plaques for all the other mining disasters across Canada. There is a basket at the entrance to the cemetery with some plastic flowers in it. Feel free to place some around the plots if you are so inclined. A beautiful resting area nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This is bear country, and they have been known to walk through the cemetery according to locals. Just one of the many historic stops along the Crowsnest Hwy in southwestern Alberta, Canada. 

Explore the Historic Crowsnest Pass

Things to do in Alberta


Hillcrest Mines Memorial Park and Cemetery
200 4 Ave, Hillcrest Mines, AB T0K 1C0
Hillcrest, Alberta

How To Get ToHillcrest Mines Memorial Park and Cemetery

From Hwy 3, turn south on 9th Ave in Hillcrest, between the Bellevue Mine and Frank's Slide Interpretive Centre. After 1.4km, turn right onto 4th Ave and the parking lot will be on the right.
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