It is a season of rebirth for the old Local Union 1387 building, in the bustling town of Canmore, nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Canmore had once echoed with the voices of miners who toiled deep in the earth and the building had stood as a testament to their struggles and triumphs for generations, a symbol of unity and strength.
Local Union 1387, founded in 1905 as part of District 18, had been the backbone of the miners who worked for the H.W. McNeill Co., operating the mines for the Canadian Anthracite Co. For years, they fought for workers’ rights, fair wages, and safe working conditions. The Union Hall, a place where they gathered, planned, and found solace in one another’s company, was a cornerstone of their community.
The building’s construction began in 1910 and took three years to complete. It was a grand structure, built with pride and purpose. For decades, it served as a hub for the miners and their families. It was where they celebrated victories, mourned losses, and forged lifelong friendships.
But in 1979, the mines closed, leaving the Union Hall in disarray. The heart of Local Union 1387 seemed to wither away, like the coal seams they had once dug. The building stood silently, a witness to the passing of time.
In 2013, a ray of hope pierced through the darkness. The people of Canmore, recognizing the historical significance of the building, rallied together to restore it for its 100-year anniversary. The renovation project breathed new life into the old Union Hall, ensuring that it would stand for another century as a testament to the strength and resilience of the mining community.
“The 2013 restoration of this historic facility celebrates 100 years of service of the Miners’ Union Hall to the community of Canmore,” a plaque proudly declared, commemorating this monumental achievement.
In 2022, the Town of Canmore dedicated the building as part of the Canmore Heritage Festival. The local community celebrated its rich history and the enduring spirit of the miners who had once called this place home.
Today, the old Local Union 1387 building stands proudly, owned by the Town of Canmore, and maintained and operated by dedicated volunteers. It has been transformed into a venue for meetings and social events, serving the needs of the modern community while never forgetting its storied past.
As the UMWA International visited this summer, the building resonated with the echoes of its history. It stood not just as a structure of bricks and mortar, but as a living testament to the generations of miners who had fought for justice, dignity, and a better life for themselves and their families. The old Union Hall had been rejuvenated, and in its halls, the spirit of the miners lived on, a beacon of unity and strength in the heart of Canmore.