Grimshaw was named for Dr. M.E. Grimshaw, a pioneer doctor who established a practice in the village of Peace River Crossing in 1914, and gave loyal service to the settlers of the Peace River District for many years. He served on the village council for many years, and held the positions of reeve, village commissioner, and later the position of mayor from which he resigned in 1922. In 1929 he moved his family to Fairview where he died in November of that year.
Dr. M. E. W. Grimshaw
Grimshaw is strategically located as a distribution point to the north.
The location of Grimshaw was chosen in 1917 and surveyed by Alfred Driscoll in September of 1921. Credit for this is given in part, to the Central Canada Railway who built a railway line from McLennan to Peace River Crossing in 1916 and an extension westward to Berwyn the following year. When the site for the hamlet was first surveyed it became commonly known as “the stop” to the railway crews.
Jim Kennedy opened a livery stable and hotel in 1921. John Cattanach, regarded as Grimshaw’s premier citizen, became postmaster and general merchant in 1923. Then other merchants came who established such businesses as a butcher shop, a service station, a general store, a poolroom and barber shop. The first grain elevator was built by Security Elevator in 1926 and was followed by competition. Other businesses were established such as a real estate company, United Farmers of Alberta, a restaurant, a drug store, a farm machinery business, and a hardware sales competition. These were the pioneer merchants, ready to make their fortunes in the 1930’s. Incorporation was carried out. In March, 1930, the hamlet was established as the Village of Grimshaw, and then later incorporated as a Town on February 1, 1953.
Grimshaw developed first as a community centre for a rich mixed farming district. It was a focal point where early settlers did shopping, and from which they shipped their surplus farm products. As the rich land to the north was opened up for settlement after the railroad arrived, it became the nearest rail shipping point for the farmers, trappers, and fisherman as far north as Yellowknife, 632 miles to the North, and also 15 miles South to Peace River.
The Town is more important than local farming activities would indicate. Grimshaw is strategically located for a distribution point for the entire North. The local resources are wheat and coarse grains, forage crops and seeds (mostly alfalfa and grass), cattle, hogs, poultry products, honey, straw, sand and gravel, fish, furs, lumber, oil, and gas.