Experience Brooks and The County of Newell
Located on Hwy 1, about an hour northwest of Medicine Hat, the City of Brooks has a population of 14,400, offering a full range of services for travellers.
Brooks is bounded on the north by the Red Deer River and on the south by the Bow River. It is surrounded by the County of Newell, known for great camping, fishing, and hunting. Sites to see include: the Brooks Aqueduct, a National/Provincial historical site; the Crop Diversification Center, a research center that supports the horticultural industry; Brooks and District Museum, representing life in this area from 1900 to 1950; Lake Newell, one of the country’s largest man-made lakes; and Dinosaur Park, a World Heritage Site and home of the field station of the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Brooks Museum was built in 1974 on the east side of the city. Their extensive collection includes exhibits portraying the life of early ranchers, the war years, the N.W.M.P., the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and the Eastern Irrigation District.
Cory the Dinosaur stands outside the museum and represents the Corythosaurus Casuarius, a species native to the area some 70 million years ago. One of its major distinguishing features is a hollow skull that may have allowed the animal to swim and remain above the water level.
Dating back one century, Brooks Aqueduct is an enormous concrete structure that spans across the parched prairie landscape like a giant centipede. Learn why the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed the Brooks Aqueduct as part of the Eastern Irrigation District. Get your camera ready as you walk along the new wetland interpretive trail and listen to red-winged blackbirds in their natural habitat. brooksaqueduct.org
Just 15 km south of Brooks, there is an oasis of water, trees, and beaches known as Kinbrook Island Provincial Park. In 1910, due to the limited amount of rainfall in the area, the Canadian Pacific Railway began the construction of an irrigation system, and a dam was constructed on the Bow River diverting water through a series of canals and reservoirs. The reservoir that is now Lake Newell is so large it took 3 years to fill.
It was the local Kinsmen Club that initially planted trees here. To honour their work, the “Kin” from Kinsmen, was used in the park’s name. What was initially a large depression holding a small body of water became a beautiful lake with 69 km of shoreline, a shaded campground, and a lovely beach.
Kinbrook Island became a provincial park in 1951. In 1952 the boundaries were expanded to include all of the islands on the lake to protect nesting sites. The Kinbrook Marsh Trail winds through wetlands and provides excellent bird watching opportunities. Today, the park has 170 campsites, a sandy beach, 2 playgrounds, a concession, shower and laundry, a boat launch and several picnic areas.
History of Brooks
It’s said that this area was used as a buffalo hunting ground by the Blackfoot and Crow. Homesteaders moved into the area in the 1880s. By 1904, Canada Post wanted to establish an office in the settlement, but the community was still unnamed. So through a Canada Post sponsored contest, the new area was named after Noel Edgell Brooks, a CPR Divisional Engineer.