Soak up the small town charm, and enjoy a quite day in the country. Visit the Andrew Grain Elevator Interpretive Centre, and tour the centre that houses a fully operational prairie grain elevator. See the World’s Largest Mallard Duck, with a wingspan of 7.2m – one of the Giants of the Prairie Road Side Attractions of Alberta, before heading out to the Whitford Lake to see migratory birds and mallards.
Go: Located in Lamont County, Bruderheim is approximately an hour drive from Edmonton on Highway 45. Directions
Know: Founded byGerman speaking Russian immigrants, Bruderheim is a farming community. In 1960, a large meteorite fell near Bruderheim. Fragments from the Bruderheim meteorite is part of U of A meteorite collection.
From brass bands to meteorites, experience Bruderheim’s cultural and natural history by walking the Bruderheim Heritage Trail route.Learn about the Moravian Church in western Canada at theCanadian Moravian Museum, housed in the original 1896 log church. A replica of the four room school room, Walker School built in 1907, operates as a museum and is a a designated Provincial Historical Resource. Go for a walk at the Spring Creek Wetland, and see learn about native plants. Explore nature at North Bruderheim Provincial Recreation Area located north of town. Off-Highway Vehicles can be used here. Bruderheim also permits snowmobiles on Town roads.
Visit Bruderheim on Heartland Ag Days and enjoy professional chuck wagon and chariot races, children’s events, tractor pulls and more!
Elk Island National Park
Go: Situated just under 45 minutes from Edmonton downtown, Elk Island National Park can be reached easily through Yellowhead Highway. Directions
Know: In early 19th century, Federal government declared the land protected as an Elk Santuary and also bought Elk from Montana for $245, per bison as Bisons were near extinct in the region. In 1913, the park was designated as a national park and Elk Island National Park is Canada’s seventh smallest and only entirely-fenced national park.
Experience first-hand how bison was brought back from extinction at the at a bison handling facility. Enjoy a night out camping and relax under the starry skies. Explore the park through the trails and see bison, elk and more than 250 bird species. Go paddling at Astotin Lake or go on a full moon canoe tour. The park is also home to over 200 archaeological remains of campsites and stone toolmaking sites and historical buildings including Superintendent’s residence, and Ukrainian Pioneer Home.
The park is alos a great visit during winter. Enjoy snowshoeing and cross country skiing, winter wildlife watching, toboganning and more!
Get Elk Island National Park souvenirs and official Parks Canada merchandise from the Gift shop.
Celebrate Canada Day, enjoy Bison themed activities during the Bison Festival in August and join for Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve Star Party in September.
Go: About 35 minutes from Edmonton downtown, Fort Saskatchewan is located along the North Saskatchewan River. Directions
Know: The Fort Saskatchewan community began over 200 years ago with its original industry of canoe building. In the spring of 1875, the North West Mounted Police arrived to build a NWMP Fort and a community soon began to develop adjacent to the fort. With the arrival of the Canadian Northern Railway, the community became a town. Sherritt Gordon Mines established a nickel refinery in the early 1950s and the town grew as petrochemical industries moved into the area.
See Green Living in its truest sense! Do you know that the City of Fort Saskatchewan uses the living lawnmowers, to keep the grass trim in City parks. Enjoy a picnic at the Legacy Park, as your kids get close to the fuzzy sheep herded by shepherd as the sheep trims the grass. Visit Peter T. Ream Historic Park and see Fort Fort Heritage Precinct, the old Fort Site and the Wardens House . Take a guided tour of the Fort Heritage Precinct and learn about the role played by the North West Mounted Police in settling Fort Saskatchewan. Hike in the river valley trails.
Join for Legacy Park Family Festival in June, and the sheep leaving parade on Labour Day, and enjoy the Santa Claus Parade in late November.
Go: Located along Sturgeon River Valley, Gibbons is located approximately 40 km from Edmonton. Directions
Know: Named after its first settler, William Reynolds Gibbons, Gibbons was the starting point of Athabasca Landing Trail, built in 1876 by the Hudson’s Bay Company to improve transportation between Edmonton and northern communities.
Go on a short hike on the 2 km walking trail in Echo Glen Park that is part of the Athabasca and TransCanada Trails. Visit Gibbons Museumthat celebrates the local Pioneer history of Gibbons and the surrounding Sturgeon river area and explore Reverend Orlando Roberts log home, the McLean Brothers Store and the McWhirter house.
Dig for dinosaur bones, discover prehistoric creatures and take a ride on a dinosaur at Jurassic Forest.
Visit Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm is an award winning 35-acre adventure farm filled with over 50 good old-fashioned fun family farm (6311 Lily Lake Road, Bon Accord) and enjoy farm fun activities.
Join for Pioneer Days Festival in July or participate in the many family festivals held at Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm or enjoy Range Road Gourmet “Farm to Fork” Dinners at Prairie Gardens.
Go: Named after the first station master of the town, W. Mundare, the Town of Mundare is located approximately 1 hours drive from Edmonton. Directions
Know: Settled during the coming of railroad, Mundare was the missionary base for the Order at St. Basil the Great and Sister Servants of Mary Immaculate, Ukrainian Catholic Church established its first missionary centre in Canada.
Take a stroll around the town exploring the Murals that depicts Mundare’s Ukrainian history and see World’s Largest Ukrainian Sausage, a 12.8 m (42 feet) tall statue, made in s a tribute to Stawnichy’s Meat Processing, famous for its Ukranian sausages. Learn about the history of Ukrainian settlement and the Basilian Father’s Mission in Canada at theBasilian Fathers Museum, that houses a collection of 16th and 17th century liturgical books from Ukraine and other religious and Ukrainian folk artifacts. See Canada’s oldest Basilian Monastery, built in 1922 and the grotto nearby.
Get uniquely prepared meat and Ukrainian food products from Stawnichy’s Mundare or a souvenir from ‘a little bit of everything’ store, and handmade quilts from The Chicken Coop .
Join for three-day-long Agri Days Fair held in August.
Go: Located in Sturgeon County, Town of Redwater is just under an hour from Edmonton. Directions
Know: Named for an ochre-coloured Redwater River that drains into North Saskatchewan River, the town of Redwater was settled by Ukrainian settlers in 1907, closely followed by the English in 1908 and then the French in 1909. Oil boom of mid 19oos brought over night change to Red Water when oil was discovered in Red Water on August 30, 1948.
See Discovery Derrick No. 1which is North America’s Largest Free Standing Oil Derrick. Visit Redwater Museum that tells the story of how a sleepy little town changed overnight when oil was discovered on Hilton Cook farm.
Outdoor enthusiasts should head to The Redwater Sandhills Natural Area, situated 1o km east of the town, and explore 2225 acres of rolling sand hills on OHVs or on snow mobiles in winter. This natural area is great for hikes and you can see the varied geography that has parabolic and barchan sand dunes that mingles with diverse wetlands.
Get something to be treasured fromSue’s Teas & Treasures (4820 – 50th Avenue).
Celebrate Redwater heritage during Discovery Days in August, and welcome Christmas with Kris Kringle Celebration in early December.
Go: The pumpkin capital of Alberta is approximately 1 and a half hours from Edmonton. Directions
Know: Also know as the Birthday Town, Smoky Lake was inhabited by Cree about 6000 years ago. Method Church built a mission in 1862, followed by Hudson’s Bay Company.
Celebrate your birthdayat Smoky Lake and get free goodies.
Smoky Lake is the Gateway to Ironhorse trail (that enter the White Earth Valley with its’ numerous trestles crossing over the White Earth River) that stretches over 300 km across north-east Alberta. Ironhorse trail is open year round and you can explore the trail through mountain biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and snow-mobiling.
Road Side Attraction: Giant Pumpkins.
Visit the historical CN Station, which serves as the tourist information centre, and tour the Roman Catholic Church which is believed to be the only one in Canada built in the Byzantine style with the onion domed roof. There are 7 historic churches in Smoky Lake. The building used to be the Victoria School , serves as the Smoky Lake Museum that houses a number of interesting artefacts including a restored Victoria/Pakan ferry.
Take a scenic drive through the Victoria Trail that leads you to theVictoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site (10 km south of Smoky Lake on secondary highway #855, and 6 km east on the historic Victoria Trail) situated on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River to hear the story of a once bustling community, along the Victoria Trail.
Go: St Paul is a little over two hours drive (~190 km) from downtown Edmonton. Directions
Know: Known for its UFO landing site built as part of Canada’s centennial celebrations, the Town of St Paul was founded as Métis colony in late 1800s and was Village of St. Paul de Métis until it was incorporated as a town in 1936.
See the 130 ton concrete structure that was constructed as a symbol of the towns faith that mankind will maintain the outer universe free from national wars and strife. In addition to the structure itself that has an embossed map of Canada at the rear of the pad, there are exhibits that enumerates “other worldly” activities like crop circles and cattle mutilations.
See life as the rural pioneers saw it at Musée St. Paul Museumthat houses The Peoples’ Museum of/de St. Paul & District, dedicated to preserving the rich local farming heritage. St. Paul Historical Museum tells the story of the Metis settlement in the area and the significance St Paul played during the era of fur trade.
Enjoy a stroll at Lagasse Park bordering the Upper Therien Lake or have a picnic watching herons, pelicans and other birds. The upper and lower Therien lakes located south of St Paul are excellent locations for wildlife viewing. The lakes are used for staging by Arctic nesters such as the ruddy turnstone and other shorebirds. There are campgrounds at both the lakes.
Enjoy Rodeo week during late August/Early September.
Go: Located about 100 km east of Edmonton on Hwy 16. Directions
Know: Home to the world’s largest pysanka (Ukrainian Easter egg), constructed to commemorate the centennial of the RCMP, the Town of Vegreville was named after named after Father Valentin Vegreville, a Roman Catholic Oblate missionary in Western Canada. Vegreville’s first settlers were French Canadians from Kansas by French, Germans and Ukrainians.
Go on a historical walking tour, learning about the history of the community, see the mural at Rotary Rendevous Park which showcases the history of the town, have a picnic at the adjacent Elks/Kinsmen Park, explore railway history at the fully restored CN caboose. Also at the park is the egg, Vegreville is famous for – the 25.7 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 31 feet high intricately decorated Easter egg supported on a 27,000 pound base. Stop by Our Lady of the Highway, a seven feet high statue of Blessed Virgin Mary, located ~ 1km east of town on Highway 16A. The statue was sculpted in Italy from Carrara Marble. Surrounding the statue is marked stones displaying the Stations of the Cross.
Vegreville Regional Museum(14413 – Hwy 16A – 1 km east of the town of Vegreville on Hwy 16A) examines how the settlers contributed to the growth of the town. See agricultural machinery and tools of the bygone era. The musuem also houses Vegreville & District Sports Hall of Fame.
Shop in the Elks/Kinsmen Park every Friday from Victoria Day Weekend to Labour day weekend, get souvenirs from the gift shop at Elks/kinsmen Park or visit Ceramic Cottage(5017 50th St) for Ukrainian Gifts.
Enjoy Father’s Day Demolition Derby, Show & Shine, celebrate Ukrainian Pysanka Festival during July, and Country Fair in August.
Go: Located in the County of Vermilion River, the Town of Vermilion is about 200 km east of Edmonton at the intersection of Highway 16 and Highway 41. Directions
Know: Named after the red clay found in the river valley, the Town of Vermilion was settled in early 1900s by immigrants of British and Ukrainian descent. Lakeland College, then called Vermilion School of Agriculture is the oldest agricultural college in the province.
Go on a historical walking tour, exploring the buildings made from the bricks from Vermilion Brick Factory (one of the first enterprises in Vermilion 1906 – 1914) that used clay from the Vermilion valley that gave the town its name.
Located on the northwest side of the town, The Vermilion Provincial Park is an all season destination. Bountiful wildlife viewing in their natural habitats, more than 100 different species of birds, fishing in Claude N. Brennan Memorial Trout Pond, approx 23 kilometers of hiking trails, accessible paved trails that can also be used for rollerblading and biking, make the park a glorious summer visit. With 15 km of groomed cross-country ski trails that appeal to a variety of skill levels, ice fishing, and tobogganing, and winter camping, the park is also a great winter destination.
Shop at Vermilion Farm Market on Tuesdays at Elks Hall, 5018 – 49 Ave Mid Mar to late December.
Enjoy parade, trade show, pony chuckwagon and chariot races, and entertainment during the annual Vermilion Fair held during the last weekend of July.
Go: Located near highway 857 and 45 intersection, the village of Willingdon is approximately 120 km from Edmonton. Directions
Know: Settled by Ukrainian and Romanian in 1920s, the town is named for Lord Willingdon, Canada’s Governor General from 1926 – 1931.
Phone: (780) 367-2337
See the World’s Largest Lapel Pin located at the Willingdon Tourist Park along Hwy 45.
About 9 km north of Willingdon and located on Hwy 857 midway between Hwy 45 & Hwy 28 is the Historical Village & Pioneer Museum at Shandro. This outdoor museum recreates the pioneer life of early Ukrainian settlers. It contains Shandro’s thatched log home, a granary, blacksmith shop, a gristmill, a replica of a Boorday, and one of the province’s oldest Orthodox churches, St Mary’s, completed in 1904. Call (780) 603-1198 before visiting.