While the importance of religion in Alberta’s history is undeniable, Albertans are less religious today than they were 50 or even 30 years ago. Also skewing the numbers somewhat is the fact that, as elsewhere in Western society, many Albertans identify themselves with a specific religion but do not attend services.
Christianity is the dominant faith in Alberta, with 70 percent of the population identifying themselves with this faith. Around 25 percent are not aligned with any specific religion, while the remaining 5 percent are mostly identified with Eastern faiths such as Islam. Roman Catholicism is the Christian denomination of choice for almost one in four Albertans. The other major Christian denominations represented in the province are Anglican and the United Church of Canada, with numbers of Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Baptist present but slowly declining. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is well represented in southwestern Alberta, especially in Cardston, which was settled by Mormons from Utah in 1887. Today, Mormonism is the religion of choice for around 75 percent of this town’s population. Mirroring the rest of Canada, the number of Albertans considering themselves evangelicals—in organizations like the Pentecostal Assemblies, but also within existing denominations—is on the rise. Those that adhere to non-Christian religions such as Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are concentrated in Calgary and Edmonton, but pockets do exist outside of the big cities, with rural Brooks home to hundreds of Sudanese of Buddhist and Muslim faith.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition