Blairmore is the oldest permanent settlement in the Pass, though not the oldest town. Originally a Canadian Pacific Railway stop called Tenth Siding or The Springs (for the cold sulphur spring to the east), the settlement was renamed Blairmore in November 1898. A ten-year dispute over land ownership between the CPR station agent and the section foreman stunted early development, and it was not until September 29, 1911 that Blairmore was incorporated as a town and began to grow. Its principal industry was lumber and, after 1907, coal. With the declining fortunes of the nearby town of Frank , Blairmore soon became the region’s economic centre.
Communist Sympathies. Like many Canadian industrial towns in the 1930s, Blairmore had some sympathies with Communism partially as a reaction to low wages and poor working conditions and the mine owners’ resistance to unionization. After a bitter eight-month strike, Blairmore citizens elected Canada’s first Communist mayor, town council, and school board in 1933. This council instituted tax and other reforms, removed several town administrators and the chief of police for corruption, and uncovered financial irregularities during an audit. Council also abolished Remembrance Day as an Imperialist holiday and honoured the Russian Revolution instead, and Main Street was renamed Tim Buck Boulevard after the imprisoned leader of the Communist Party of Canada. Not surprisingly, Blairmore was derisively known as “Little Moscow”. Some of these changes were undone after the next election, although miners with strong union ties served on town council for many years afterwards.
Blairmore joined four other local towns in a legal amalgamation into the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass in 1979.
Blairmore’s main street retains much of its original character, and several buildings are identified on the Heritage Driving Route map. Visitors will enjoy the self-guided Historical Walking Tour which also takes you past many heritage houses. Blairmore celebrates its incorporation centennial in 2011.