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Places To Go In Edmonton


LETHBRIDGE

Picture a lawless 1869 whiskey trading fort patronized by shady characters of the Wild West. The Aboriginals had frequented the region for thousands of years, but it was the unruly trading post that spurred the Mounties to build a barracks nearby. The infamous origins of Lethbridge are now celebrated with an annual party.

Just over two hours southeast of Calgary lies this vibrant city steeped in history, culture and green spaces. The Oldman River winds through Lethbridge, and along its banks is an immense network of urban parks. Spanning the river is the longest and tallest railway bridge in the world, an impressive 1909 engineering feat.

Spend an evening at the theatre, ball game or rockin’ out to the live music scene. Grab your clubs and swing into action on a Lethbridge golf course. Join the locals for a barn dance, or get lost in a corn maze. Connect with Alberta’s Wild West, then and now.

EDMONTON

Edmonton knows how to have fun! Canada’s “Festival City” is always celebrating something, from music, film, and theatre, to heritage, food, accordions, dragon boats, and even winter. With over 30 festivals throughout the year, it’s easy to find a reason to celebrate.

Also the capital of Alberta, Edmonton began as a Hudson’s Bay fur trading post in 1795. Today, it’s a major hub for our energy, mining and biotech industries. Smack in the centre of the province, Edmonton’s flat prairie landscape is bisected by the deep river valleys of the North Saskatchewan.

Escape the urban bustle without leaving the city in the parks and pathways winding along the river – the longest stretch of urban parkland on the continent. In the summer, check out an outdoor festival, or hike, bike or blade along 150 km (93 mi) of trails. Tee off on one of the valley’s golf courses. When the snow falls, embrace Edmonton’s passion for winter and go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Carve some powder on four downhill ski slopes right here in the valley.

MEDICINE HAT

Get off the beaten path and into the genuine Alberta lifestyle of Medicine Hat. Marvel at the unusual landscape of cliffs and rifts, with a lush river valley meandering through it. Over 100 km (62 mi) of trails wind through “The Hat,” the prefect way to get the lay of the land. Beyond the city, the wide open plains unfold under big prairie skies.

Medicine Hat has always been a gathering place. Discover the valley and its waterways that attracted the Aboriginal peoples and the bison since ancient times. When the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1883, the town of Medicine Hat was born – supposedly named after a Cree medicine man’s lost headdress.

Tucked into the southeastern corner of Alberta on the Trans-Canada Highway, the prairie oasis of Medicine Hat is two and a half hours from Calgary. Don’t forget your sunglasses, you’re entering the sunniest city in Canada!

FORT MCMURRAY

Adventurers who wander north are seduced by the unrivalled expanse of natural treasures. At the junction of four rivers and surrounded by boreal forest, Fort McMurray offers endless outdoor thrills.

A steady stream of workers in the “oil patch” has contributed to Fort McMurray’s undeniable energy. Long before “Fort Mac” was established as a Hudson’s Bay trading post in 1870, the Cree were using the oily sand to waterproof their canoes.

A scenic four hour drive north of Edmonton brings you to one of the best places on earth to experience the northern lights. From a lookout just north of town, observe a herd of over 300 rare wood bison. Throw a line in the water – the area’s bountiful lakes and rivers are teeming with big, hungry fish that have never seen a hook. Now for the region’s best kept secret – 12m (36ft) high waves of sand in a unique northern desert, the 8,000 year old Athabasca sand dunes.

RED DEER

The bison and the Aboriginals have always known the shallow crossing in the Red Deer River was the passage between Alberta’s north and south. A trading post was built on this strategic spot and a permanent settlement mushroomed around it. The old river crossing grew to become Red Deer, Alberta’s third largest city.

Smack in the middle between Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer is teeming with nature, culture and outdoor adventure. Rolling hills of aspen parkland are carved into deep canyons by the timeless forces of the Red Deer River. Wander along its banks on 100 km (62 mi) of trails, or uphold the local summer tradition of floating down the river on a tube.

Check out Red Deer’s vibrant arts scene of galleries, theatres and live music. Savour the local delicacies of farm raised bison or elk. Get ready to revel – there’s always a party in Red Deer, celebrating local history, heritage or asparagus.

GRAND PRAIRIE

Leaving the beaten track far behind, intrepid explorers who venture north are rewarded with an Alberta experience as authentic as it gets. Grande Prairie, 460 km (290 mi) northwest of Edmonton, is the biggest city between Edmonton and Fairbanks, Alaska. From its humble beginnings as a Hudson Bay trading post in 1881, Grande Prairie has prospered to become the economic heart of the region. If you are heading further north, this is the last best place to provision before you leave Alberta.

Witness the dazzling brightness of canola fields in full bloom, or the flight of the biggest bird in North America, the trumpeter swan. Savour the impossibly pure air along the hiking trails of a forest in a sea of farmland. Visit a working bison ranch and discover a lean and yummy beef alternative. See for yourself why locals call this region “The Peace Country”.

CALGARY

Set dramatically between prairies and peaks, Calgary is a chic urban landscape surrounded by incomparable natural grandeur. It’s a place where you can savour the Rocky Mountain wilderness by day and world class cuisine and entertainment by night, a place buzzing with entrepreneurial energy while embracing its rich western heritage.

Calgarians have a need for speed, like seeing chuckwagon teams pound madly towards the finish line or four guys in a sleigh zipping down a frozen track at 120 km/h (75 mph). The legacy of the 1988 Winter Olympics burns brightly, with top notch facilities where Olympic hopefuls train for gold. Immerse yourself in Calgary’s wild west spirit at the Calgary Stampede, the biggest rodeo on the planet. Grab your cowboy hat and join one million revellers for ten days of non-stop action, and help us celebrate the Stampede’s centennial in 2012.

Designated a Cultural Capital of Canada for 2012 means Calgary has a significant voice in the Canadian cultural landscape. Year-long celebrations begin in April – join us!

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