Changing face of Canada "Cowboy City"





The small Canadian cattle-ranching city of Brooks, in south-eastern Alberta, is preparing to celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.

Painted murals depicting a proud western heritage of cattle farming, cowboys, ice hockey and the oil and gas industry have appeared throughout the city.

A century ago, immigrants cried when they reached Brooks because the landscape was so dry and inhospitable before irrigation helped it to become an oasis in the desert for cattle ranchers.

Decades ago it was the promise of farmland that attracted immigrants to Brooks; today it is the prospect of work at the local meat processing plant, XL Foods Inc Lakeside Packers.

About 10 years ago, the company started hiring new immigrants and refugees who had recently arrived in Canada.

Alberta's oil patch with its high salaries had enticed locals away and the plant could not find enough Canadian workers.



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