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A Little History On Laggan, Alberta Split Ring Cancels

Hello Collectors,

You have all heard the word LAG before? Right?

“Jet LAG”.

Golfers often “LAG up”.

LAG bolts”.

LAG time”, etc.

However, if you “LAG behind” you may miss this postmark - LAGGAN ALBERTA -  an opportunity for $10.00.

So you say, what the hell is this guy talking about?

If you dare .....READ ON.

Let’s say you were Tom Wilson “hanging around” the Canadian Rockies in the mid to late 1800’s.

Hanging Around?

To illustrate, you may be a prospector looking for gold. Or even better yet a “guy” named Tom Wilson exploring the Bow River Valley, for a route to build the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Upon completion, this was a huge, huge money maker for the C.P.R.

A number of Indigenous (Stoney) people, offered to guide Tom Wilson to a spectacular beautiful spot.

Everyone in!

Yep, after a long, strenuous hike, through the rugged mountain terrain Tom came upon a breath taking, dazzling 🤩 site.

A blue-green azure lake in the majestic Canadian Rockies.

⛰ WOW!! Even Casey Jones would be impressed.

In the Stoney language they call the area (HO- RUN-
NUM-NAY) or “lake of the little fishes”.

The lake (1870’s) was initially called EMERALD LAKE, and the Hamlet/Village named HOLT CITY (during the C.P.R. construction).

After construction it was dubbed LAGGAN, meaning “low place”.

Then, finally in honour of Queen Victoria’s daughter, Lake Louise as it is known, today.

For those who did not know, this past long weekend and specifically Monday, May 24th was Queen Victoria’s birthday.

Did you enjoy your extra day off?


Laggan was established as a post office from 1901-1914, in the Territorial period.

This was a relatively short period of time.

The Postmaster, Elizabeth Evans, and assistant(s) were “hand stamping” postmarks on envelopes & postcards:


And then the coinciding years, until 1914.

The Canadian Rocky Mountain postcards were manufactured in the hundreds of thousands.

· Lake Louise with her “emeralds”!
· The Three Sisters “singing at the peak of their voices”!
· The Beehive “buzzing”!
· The Kicking Horse Pass was even “kicking ass”!

Thousands of majestic views sent to families and friends, and of course lengthy letters all sent back home.

Work at the Laggan post office, was no leisurely trail ride in the valley. Hammering postmarks in the right hand corner soon caused blisters, then switching to the alternate hand, more blisters.

Hammer, hammering “Laggan ALTA” from 1901 until 1914!

By the time Elizabeth finished her career as Postmaster at Laggan, she had callouses on her hands thicker than two Buffaloes hides stuck together!

Many a dealer or postal history collector may have concluded, that Laggan postmarks are somewhat rare and pricey!

Browsing through a late 1990’s Alberta Post Office catalogue and checking the rarity factor associated to LAGGAN, this conclusion makes sense.

The Post Office was only open for 14 years.

But, now is now!

Since the late 1990’s - how many have been found or reported? My best guess - A LOT – probably 100’s of 1000’s !

Consequently, MJR has eight (8) of them for sale (one per collector) the price $10.00 each.

Don’t LAG-GAN behind!



                  John Bucci

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