Collin J Örthner – Photographer

July 17, 2010

Whiskey Gap, Alberta

Filed under: Nature, Plants, Travel, Zeiss — collin j örthner @ 8:08 pm

Whiskey Gap is a ghost town in southern Alberta, Canada. It is located about 80 kilometers south of Lethbridge on Highway 501.

In the 1860s and 1870s American traders crossed into what would become Alberta to trade goods and alcohol for buffalo robes and furs. One of the main routes for this trade, the Riplinger Road, crossed the border just west of Whiskey Gap.

During the Prohibition period in Alberta between 1916-1924 alcohol was smuggled through this area from the United States. Later it flowed in the opposite direction when the Americans declared Prohibition.

The local post office was named Fareham in 1918, and when the railway reached the area a community consisting of 3 grain elevators, a store, and other businesses and houses grew up around this post office. In 1913 the community was officially renamed Whiskey Gap. Although little remains of this once thriving community, its name reflects its long and colorful past and strategic location.

This was my first chance to get out with my new Zeiss 21mm Distagon lens on my Canon 5DmkII camera.



  1. This is beautiful. What flowers are those, lupines?

    Comment by Judy — July 17, 2010 @ 8:46 pm

  2. Collin, you must know what famous American film was made here…I went in search of that very film’s location in 1986, knew only it was shot in southern Alberta, but didn’t know then what I know now (what did we do before the Internet?) Didn’t think to contact the film’s production manager in Canada to pinpoint my destination, figuring everyone in the southern Alberta area would remember the shoot and show me right where to go. Unfortunately, no one I talked to remembered the shoot and I found out just recently I was about 30 miles to the east of where I wanted to explore. So, I’ve made it a goal to get back to see Whiskey Gap, the actual shooting location of my favorite film of all time.

    Comment by Angela Havel — December 28, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

    • Hi Angela,
      Please let me know to which movie you are referring.

      Comment by collin orthner — December 28, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

      • Collin, I was thinking you would want to guess, so that’s why I didn’t mention the title…it’s *Days of Heaven* (1978) directed by Terrence Malick. (Also directed *Badlands,* *The Thin Red Line,* *The New World* and the soon to be released *Tree of Life*). You can find the reference to Whiskey Gap, Alberta in the “Principal Photography” section of the Wikipedia entry on *Days of Heaven* here:

        Magical film–if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth your time…must be seen on a big screen to get the full effect, but still impressive on a television.

        Comment by Angela Havel — December 28, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

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