In the beginning, settlers reached Provost, Alberta by oxcart, horse drawn wagons and on foot from the railhead at Battleford, Saskatchewan. In 1909 the railroad finally reached the hamlet from Hardisty, Alberta in the west. The town was first established by Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR)’ surveyors shortly after the turn of the century. Provost is the title applied to the chief magistrate of a Scottish town and is the equivalent of “mayor” in Canada. The origin of the name is uncertain, but since the streets were originally named after Scottish urban centers, the name Provost may have been chosen to indicate the principal role of the town. Consistent with its origin, the name of the Town is pronounced as it is spelled and not in the French or military style. Although streets and avenues today are numbered only, the avenues were named to commemorate Canadian associations in the beginning. In 1910, Provost was incorporated as a village with Mr. N.A. Kilburn as Reeve. In 1952 the village became a Town with Mr. Dave Johnstone as Mayor. Some of the pioneer businessmen started their enterprises in tents and shiplap sheds. This was the start of the commercial development that today serves as the regional center of a very large rural area. Provost is the seat of the municipal government for the M.D. of Provost No. 52.

A large wheat stalk on each side dominates the Town’s Coat of Arms, symbolizing the agricultural history of the community and the peace pipe in the center is reflective of the signing of Treaty No. 6 at Sounding Lake, located directly southwest of Provost.

In 1908 the original Methodist Church was built (later serving as the Masonic Lodge Hall and today, as the Provost Community Church @ 5140 – 51 St.), followed by the Anglican Church that same year. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce began operations also in 1908 in a two-story white frame building on the same location the present day bank stands. A Catholic Church was built in 1910. Provost’s first newspaper, the Provost Star, also started publication in 1910.

Alberta Emergency Management Agency
How to Protect your self from winter storms

Blizzards, ice storms, high winds and blowing snow can develop quickly and threaten life and property. Alberta also experiences extreme cold temperatures during the winter, when temperatures can reach as low as minus 40°C or colder. Temperatures this low are life-threatening and put people and animals at risk.

Blizzards

A blizzard warning is issued when falling or blowing snow reaches speeds of at least 40 km/h, and is expected to last 4 hours or longer. Visibility during this time is reduced to 400 m or less.

Blizzards or blowing snow can occur when there are clear skies, and can cause zero visibility.

What to do

  • Avoid driving and wait several hours after the storm ends before going anywhere.
  • If you have to drive, check Alberta 511 for current road conditions, travel during daytime hours, make sure you have a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit and use the buddy system so someone knows where you are going and when you expect to get there.
  • If possible, avoid going outdoors. If you have to go outdoors, make sure you dress for the weather.
  • If you live in a rural area, string guidelines between your house and any other buildings you might have to get to during the storm.

If you are stuck in your vehicle:

  • remain calm, stay inside and call for help
  • occasionally run the engine to stay warm, but beware of exhaust fumes and make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow
  • allow fresh air in by opening the window slightly on the sheltered side away from the wind

Freezing rain and ice storms

Freezing rain is rain that freezes on impact and creates a buildup of clear ice (glaze) on surfaces.

An ice storm occurs when large amounts of freezing rain continue for several hours. They can also include wind, ice fog and cold temperatures.

  • Freezing rain can cause damage by creating a heavy load wherever the ice forms.
  • Ice from freezing rain can build up on any surface making sidewalks and pathways dangerous for falls and slips.

What to do

  • Avoid driving and wait several hours after the storm ends before going anywhere.
  • If you have to drive, check Alberta 511 for current road conditions, make sure you have a well-stocked vehicle emergency kit and use the buddy system so someone knows where you are going and when you expect to get there.
  • If possible, avoid going outdoors. If you have to go outside, dress for the weather and pay close attention to large sheets of ice on buildings, tree branches and power lines, which could fall unexpectedly.

Extreme cold

In Alberta, an extreme cold warning is issued when temperatures or the wind chill index reach minus 40°C or colder. Being exposed even for short periods in these conditions can be dangerous.

Protect yourself and your loved ones

  • Stay safe, warm and protected.
  • Stay indoors when possible. If you have to travel by car, know your route ahead of time and make sure you have a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle.
  • Dress in warm, windproof layers. Watch for signs of frostbite, which can occur in less than 10 minutes in extreme cold.
  • When working outside, do not over exert yourself. Sweating can lead to hypothermia, which can be fatal.
  • Make sure your pets have warm shelter during a cold snap.

Financial preparedness

In all cases of severe weather, you can reduce stress by being financially prepared to handle emergencies.

  • Speak to an insurance agent about your specific needs.
  • Know your insurance options and policy limits. Make sure your home, vehicle, business and belongings are protected. Talk to your insurance agent to learn about what is not covered in your insurance policy.
  • If possible, consider an emergency savings account to cover temporary expenses while you are out of your home.
  • If you can, keep emergency cash handy in case banking services are unavailable.
  • If you are evacuated, keep all receipts for additional expenses.
  • Prepare a detailed list of all your belongings. For more information, see Home Inventory.
  • Know the 7 steps for making a home insurance claim. For more information, see Claims Management.
  • The Disaster Recovery Program may provide assistance for uninsurable loss and damage.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is ready to answer your questions. Connect with them by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca or by telephone at 1-844-227-5422. For more information on insurance preparedness, visit IBC.

Staying informed

Staying informed during emergencies can save your life. Protect yourself and your loved ones by downloading the Alberta Emergency Alert app to receive critical, life-saving alerts.

You can also find out more information by contacting your community directly to find out where they post updated information during emergencies.

Before you travel, check Alberta 511 for current road conditions.

Helping others

Check with your community to learn how to help others during severe weather events. If you are concerned for someone’s safety, call:

  • 211 if someone is in distress or in an unsafe place
  • 911 if they’re unconscious or need medical help