Here’s an excellent place to start your adventures in Castor, Alberta: the Castor & District Museum. Explore what life used to be like in the early 1900s, with their extensive collection of photographs of the beginnings of Castor as a town, a railway centre and business and agricultural centre.
The main museum building was once the CPR station in Castor. It now houses an eclectic collection of artifacts showing what early stores, businesses and homes were like. There’s a dentist’s surgery, a hospital room exhibit, early clothes of cow and buffalo hide, local history books, maps and pictures. A wood grain elevator sits at the side of the railway track featuring a collection of restored railcars.
The community of Castor was developed to meet the needs of the growing number of homesteaders coming from a wide range of countries and ethnic backgrounds to farm in the area. Coal mining near the townsite was active even earlier. Castor continues to serve the agriculture community which is still the mainstay of the area. The oil and natural gas industry has grown over the years and is also a major employer.
Located near the intersection of Highways 12 and 36, Castor’s natural beauty, which includes sandstone cliffs, rolling terrain and natural prairie grasslands, makes it a scenic and diverse area. In the 1920s Castor residents started a tree planting program. The tree-lined streets in addition to natural water ponds which dissect the community make it a picturesque site.
• Castor Pharmacy Museum is an interesting stop, where knowledgeable guides, longtime pharmacists in the area, that speak on the history of the antique mortars, pestles, scales, the industry and refinishing that has been done, including an old fashioned soda counter!
• Campgrounds: Find the Castor Lions Campground on the outskirts of Castor off Hwy 12 on the north side of town with 14 campground sites. They’re normally open April until November but do call ahead.
• The Castor Recreation Area & Campground is at the Kinsmen Sports Grounds & Golf Course off Hwy 12 on the south side of town, with 20 total campground sites typically open May until October, but do call ahead.
• When the Castor Golf Club first opened at its current location in 1966 it did so without irrigation or grass greens. Those shortcomings have long since been remedied and the course now boasts watered fairways and elevated bent-grass greens. The third hole, with its sharp dogleg left, is considered Castor’s most difficult. This 347-yard par four has 30-foot-high spruce trees on either side of the green that tend to protect the pin and cause difficulty for approach shots.
• The Valley Ski Hill is a vibrant, fun place for people of all ages to come together to ski and snowboard. The full-service lodge includes a kitchen, ample seating, playroom, snow school, office and rental shop.
Castor enjoys warm summers and cold and temperate winters.
Castor is about a three-hour drive northeast from Calgary, via AB-2 N and AB-12 E.
From Red Deer, drive east about 90 minutes along AB-11 E and AB-12 E.