Canada’s Largest Buffalo (bison)

Deemed ‘Canada’s largest buffalo’, Wainwright’s Buffalo Statue was erected just off the highway on Main Street in July 1965 in memory of the great buffalo herds that roamed Buffalo National Park. The great northern herd was rumoured to be over 4 million animals, but that has never been proven accurately. The statue was unveiled at a ceremony attended by many townspeople and visitors including a group of men who rode the range in the buffalo park or took part in its operations. Many dignitaries were introduced including the man who actually made the buffalo, Heiko Hespe.

Buffalo National Park was created near the town of Wainwright in east central Alberta on June 5, 1909. It was closed in 1940 and delisted in 1947 when the land was transferred to the Department of National Defence. The 583 km2 (225 sq mi) parkland was developed for use by Canadian Forces Base Wainwright and comprises the majority of its space. The land was originally a training facility for the armed forces but during World War 2 it was used as a POW camp, housing as many as 1100 German POWs. The first Park Warden was Bud Cotton, who served from 1912 through 1940.

There is now a small herd of bison in the Bud Cotton Paddock located on the grounds of CFB Wainwright. Two bulls and two cows were moved from Elk Island National Park to the paddock and they bred into a herd of twelve. The bison were descendants of the Palo Alto herd that had been purchased and moved to Buffalo National Park in 1909.

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