History of the River's Bend Area:

Dead Man’s Flats has a number of stories behind its name.


One story arises from an incident where two or three aboriginal people were trapping beaver in the area. At the time, the area was part of the Rocky Mountain National Park (later Banff) whose boundary extended as far as Canmore in those days. The trappers spied the park warden approaching them, and knew there was no time to escape. They quickly smeared themselves with beaver blood and played dead. When the warden ran for help, they arose and took their beaver pelts home.


Another story of origin version stems from a grisly incident in the early 1900s. The date was May 12, 1904. On the Calgary Daily Herald front page, the large type proclaimed: “Canmore Man Kills Brother With an Axe, Threw the Body in the River. In his confession at the coroner’s jury, François Marret related his story. He had come to Canmore in 1901 from France to work for his brother, Jean, who operated a dairy farm along the flats. François worked for Jean for 15 months. In the spring of 1902, François decided to try his hand at other occupations, and for the next two years worked at odd jobs in Canmore mines, occasionally returning to his brother’s to help out. It was during one of these visits that François killed Jean. He said he disposed of the body in the Bow River to prevent Jean’s ghost from haunting him.