Edmonton grain elevator defies time separating wheat from the chaff

They once stood as the sentinels in cities, towns and villages dotting the prairie landscape. Now they are larger, but fewer and farther between. Edmonton's Alberta Terminals Limited elevator, now almost a century old, has watched as the city grows up around it.

Roof of Edmonton's Alberta Terminals Limited grain elevator offers fine views of rapidly growing city

A prairie sentinel for close to 100 years

7 years ago
Duration 3:04
Watch this video for a history lesson on this Edmonton grain elevator and to learn more about what happens behind the scenes at the Cargill AgHorizons Canada.

At 22 storeys up, the roof of the Alberta Terminals Limited building offers quite the view. (John Robertson)
The Alberta Terminals Limited grain elevator once stood as a lone sentinel on the western outskirts of the city.

But now this still-working grain elevator at 127th Avenue and 130th Street has long been surrounded by homes and industry, so much so that one of the best views of the growing city of Edmonton is from its roof. 

Opened by the federal government in 1924 and later owned and operated by the province, the elevator was purchased by agricultural giant Cargill about a quarter century ago.
Wendy Merchant grew up on a farm in the Peace Country and is now the Cargill plant manager at Alberta Terminals Limited. (John Robertson)

"Last year 400,000 tons of grain pass through this terminal,"  says Cargill's Brad Clark.

Thousands of rail cars a day leave the Alberta Terminals Limited elevator hauling grain to the west coast. (John Robertson)
Seed crops arrive at the terminal from Alberta farms and are sorted, cleaned and graded before being loaded onto a train bound for Vancouver and the ocean journey to overseas customers in countries like Japan.

Clark says the terminal may be nearly 100 years old, but is equipped with modern technology such as a state-of-the-art colour-sorting camera that literally separates the wheat from the chaff.

You can see more of the Cargill grain elevator on this week's edition of Our Edmonton.

The weekly magazine show airs on Saturday at 10 a.m. Sunday at 11 a.m. and Monday at 4 p.m. on CBC TV.


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