Municipal government

Strathcona County’s history of rural governance 

It was on April 14, 1893 that the North-West Territories Legislature, the government of the day, declared an area of Strathcona County as Statute Labor and Fire District Number Two. It was the 56th year of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's reign. This measure was taken to help settlers in the area address problems they were having with fires and wandering livestock, and their need for trails. 

Besides paying an average 5 cents per acre property tax, residents of the local self-government were required to work at building and maintaining trails and roads, and fighting fires. 

This initial labor district comprised just one township—that of Township 53, Range 22, West 4th Meridian; it was 36 square miles in area. This labor district, within an area already widely known for decades as Clover Bar, was enlarged in 1903 to six townships (216 square miles). It was enlarged again in 1912-13, this time to nine townships (324 square miles) and named Local Improvement District No. 517. In 1918 the Local Improvement District No. 517 was renamed yet again as the Municipal District of Clover Bar No. 517. 

In 1918, Local Improvement District No. 518 was renamed the Municipal District of Strathcona, No. 518. Check back for more as we research this further. 

With a tax rate of $8 per quarter section, property owners could see a 10-per-cent discount if they paid before the July 1 deadline. In 1913 wages for all work in the local improvement district were paid at: 

  • 25 cents per hour to a man doing manual labour 

  • 30 cents per hour to a man working as foreman  

  • 50 cents per hour for a man working with a team of horses 

In 1938, the Government of Alberta amalgamated 76 one-roomed schools in the Clover Bar, Strathcona and Leduc areas; the new entity was called Clover Bar School Division No. 13.  

In 1943 the Municipal District of Clover Bar No. 517 merged with the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 518. The new larger municipality was temporarily named the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 517. Then in 1945 when the province renumbered all of the municipal districts in Alberta, the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 517 was renamed the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83. 

In 1955, under the Co-terminus Boundaries Act, the province united the Municipal District of Strathcona and those school districts within its borders. This move eventually led to the amalgamation of these two bodies—the municipality and school division—on January 1, 1962; the new entity was called County of Strathcona No. 20. The county model of governance was in place here until 1994, when the province repealed the County Act and the school division was split off to form Elk Island Public Schools Regional Division No. 14. 

Effective January 1, 1996, Strathcona County was granted status as a specialized municipality by Alberta Municipal Affairs. This means that Sherwood Park and the Urban Service Area immediately around it are considered equivalent to a city for purposes of provincial programs and grants, and rural Strathcona is recognized as equivalent to a municipal district for program and grant purposes. 

Local government timeline

Researched in part from Story of Rural Municipal Government in Alberta 1909 to 1983, published by the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties, 1983

Last updated: Tuesday, February 09, 2021
Page ID: 41147