A living legacy
Launched in June 2011 thanks to a generous gift from the late Dr. Jim Coutts (LLD ’12), the Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage preserves and celebrates the diverse heritage that is central to the spirit of the west, honouring both its namesake and the land he so admired.
Just east of Nanton, AB, the Coutts Centre is comprised of a quarter section of land on the more than 100-year-old property that once belonged to Jim’s grandfather. The quarter section of land includes the original homestead, extensive gardens and restored outbuildings.
This unique property is a living testament to Jim’s family history and his own legacy as a community-driven Albertan. The Centre supports community involvement with artist residencies, festivals, weekend brunches and live music, and encourages community use through rentals and event bookings.
“A piece of you will always stay wherever it is that you came from, and you also carry a piece of that landscape with you,”
Jim Coutts (LLD ’12)
Learn about the Coutts Centre from staff
Visiting the Coutts Centre gardens is a wonderful way to discover the beauty and history of Jim’s passion for native plants. Walk the pathways or set up your easel for an en pleine air art session. The quarter-section of land includes many unique gardens including:
- Grass plots with 32 different species native to Western Canada
- Peony, rose, lily & poppy gardens
- Herb and vegetable gardens
- Beautiful features including a medicine wheel and Three Sisters garden plot
- A stunning elm allée (avenue)
Every building tells a story
Visit the Centre
Gardens and Trails
Natural trails and tended gardens display local plants and flowers.
The original homestead, reclaimed in the 1980s is home to an incredible art collection.
A large, airy venue with beautiful chandeliers is a beautiful backdrop for your next event.
The octagonal bandstand’s shape carries sound beautifully surrounded by picnic tables and concert-style seating
Made with stones gathered from the nearby family ranches, the pathway evokes a river flowing through the site.
The greenhouse is made of repurposed windows, doors, frames, and is a work of art as much as a functional building.
A repurposed grain bin becomes a giant camera to take in a 360 view of the property.
Jim’s mother’s old granary is now a quiet space for reflective writing or art.
Walk the grounds to see many sculptures created by local artists.
A meeting space for retreats and gatherings up to 36 people.
A beautiful open-concept building for classes, workshops or meetings.
The prime time to see this garden is in late June when the cacti are blooming.
THE COUTTS HOMESTEAD
Writers and artists welcome!
Artists of any discipline can apply for residency.
Stay at the historic homestead
The original Homestead house built in 1904 and reclaimed in the 1980s has 2 bedrooms & 1 bathroom, a full kitchen and laundry with 2 sitting areas. No TV. Full access to the grounds is available during your stay, with a share-the-space policy during our peak season.
COME VISIT THE COUTTS CENTRE
The Coutts Centre for Western Canadian Heritage is open May 1 - October 31
Grounds open for self-guided tours
(Please note this is a working site, so staff may be mowing, gardening or doing light construction on these days)
Fridays & Saturdays
Reserved for private events only – no public events
Open for public programming – please see Events page for more details