History of Taber
Click on the picture of early downtown Taber to see a photo gallery >>
Coal-Mining Town Beginnings
Taber was settled by homesteaders in the late 1890s and initially was a coal-mining town. Coal was mined in Taber and shipped to Medicine Hat, first on the Oldman River steamers and, later by narrow gauge railway. Mining declined dramatically in the late 1920s, however the extensive development of irrigation in Southern Alberta led to a major recovery in the early 1930s.
Founding of a Sugar Factory
Irrigation brought with it the production of sugar beets and by 1950, a sugar beet processing plant had been built. Roger's Sugar Ltd. (formerly, the Alberta Sugar Company) operates the only sugar factory in Alberta and it is the largest employer in Taber. The sugar factory is a landmark which can be seen clearly from Highways #3 and #36.
Naming of Taber
There are many stories of how the town received the name Taber, but the one usually accepted is that it was named for Mt. Tabor in Palestine. However, the story is told that in 1903, with the arrival of the first Mormon settlers from the USA, they established a hamlet at what was known then as Tank #77 on the Medicine Hat-Lethbridge Railway.
Later, with the establishment of a post office, it was decided by the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) to name the station Tabor. The station's letterhead and various forms came through printed Taber. When the settlement was incorporated in 1907, the name was changed to Taber, making the name of the town and the post office uniform with the records of the CPR.
A Centennial Celebration
In 2005, Taber was one of five communities that celebrated its centennial birthday concurrent with that of the province.
Taber's Coat of Arms
Granted in 2004 by the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges, the Town of Taber's official Coat of Arms symbolizes the history, growth, and prosperity of Taber.
The water tank represents Tank 77 which served the early railroad, and was the genesis of the Town of Taber.
The gold shield represents the sun shining on the earth in the area. The "V-shapes," or spray symbolizes three different things: a plant reaching for sunlight, a gusher produced when oil is hit, and a community looking up to better things and reaching for the future. The red wavy band stands for the presence and effect of wind in our area.
The horse signifies the "pit ponies" that were once used in the coal mines, the "horse power" in all types of transportations, the livestock of the area, as well as the western heritage and culture of cowboys. The antelope is a symbol for the same type of animals commonly found around Taber. Each of the two animals wear collars of wild roses, Alberta's provincial flower. Finally, each animal wears a pentagon which serves to symbolize coal mining and rail transport. The shape of the pentagon alludes to the structures of Tank 77 and coal. The compartment in the lower section of the Coat of Arms contains examples of local crops: sugar beets, wheat, and corn.
The motto reads "Unity - Growth - Prosperity," a message the Town of Taber strives to achieve every day.
Higashiomi Twinning Relationship
Since 1981, the Town of Taber and Notogawa, Japan have been twinned municipalities. Notogawa was a town located in Kanzaki District, in Shiga Prefecture in Japan. In 2006, Notogawa was merged into the city of Higashiomi. Therefore, in 2006, Taber re-signed the Twinning Agreement to demonstrate the Town's commitment to keeping the friendship going.
Notogawa Station is the only Japanese Railway Station in Higashiomi, which harkens to the similarity between the two municipalities in regards to the importance of the railway. The Twinning Agreement is the second oldest in Alberta, second only to Jasper.
In alternating years, delegates from each municipality travel to the other country in order to experience a new country, culture, and enjoy new friendships! The delegations are typically comprised of students with a few adults, but there have been delegations with adult citizens from each country. Many of the gifts presented to the Town of Taber can be found within a cabinet just outside Council Chambers!
The Twinning Relationship provides opportunities for both municipalities to experience new cultures, collaboration between governments, as well as possible economic growth. But above all, it provides an avenue for citizens to create and foster friendships beyond borders!
Delegates from Japan receive a map of Taber and area in 1986!
Mayor Bryant accepts a gift on behalf of the Town in 2009
35th Anniversary Gift to Higashiomi
Following in the tradition of presenting a gift to the host country, the Town of Taber commissioned a one-of-a-kind piece to celebrate the 35th anniversary of our twinning with Higashiomi! Created by Southern Alberta artist Marney Delver, this piece combines Higashiomi and Taber in their most natural states! The Japanese Maple leaves are from the municipal tree of Higashiomi, and the potato flowers stand as a symbol for one of Taber's famous crops! Together they create this beautiful piece that will forever commemorate our friendship! The entire piece is created out of clay and then hand-painted. This gift was presented to the City of Higashiomi by Town of Taber delegates in July 2016.