Directions: Exit Edmonton on Hwy 2 south, take exit 525 to Hwy 19 west, stay right at the fork, and follow the signs to Devon, merging onto Hwy 19 and turning north at Hwy 60. Distance: 41.2 km, or about 41 minutes, from Edmonton.

Info: 780-987-8300;

Situated on the scenic banks of the North Saskatchewan River, Devon was established to accommodate the oil boom after the Imperial Oil discovery of the Leduc-Woodbend Oilfield. The

famous Discovery Well is located 1 kilometre south of the town, which takes its name from the 1,500-metre underground strata called the Devonian rock formation.

Before Devon was established, people working for oil companies typically lived in two-room housesskid shacks that could be loaded onto a trailer and moved from site to site. Needing houses and services for oil field workers, Imperial Oil purchased 49 hectares of barley fields, bordered on two sides by the North Saskatchewan River. House building started in January 1948, and 123 homes were occupied by the end of January the following year. Families moving to Devon were thrilled to have a home with at least three roomsnot to mention a foundation. Though most of these houses have been renovated, some original Esso homes can still be seen in Devona town now home to 6,534 residents.

Incorporated by 1950, Devon is called Canada’s Model Town because it was the first community in Canada to be designed from scratch with the approval of a regional planning commission. Today the town promotes itself as Bike Town and hosts myriad cycling-related events. Bring a bike and explore the scenic river valley trails on two wheels or practise your skills at the Riverview Mountain Bike Skills Park.

The town’s location on the North Saskatchewan River provides a multitude of opportunities for independent exploration. A number of local businesses provide guided canoeing, jet boating, and fishing opportunities. The beautiful river valley accommodates hiking, berry picking, wildlife viewing, fishing, boating, gold panning, and birdwatching, while cross-country ski trails in the Devon river valley will tempt skiers of all ages and abilities. Devon Days are held annually on the weekend after the Victoria Day weekend. Other annual events include the East of 60 Dinner Theatre in early March, the 5 Peaks Trail Running Series, the Grand Prix of Cycling in June, the Turkey Chase on Thanksgiving Monday, and Christmas in the Park on the last Saturday of November.

Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre

Location: 50339 Hwy 60, 2 km south of Devon at the junction of Hwy 60 and Hwy 19.

Info: Open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., May 15 to Labour Day weekend. Closed mid-December to early February. Admission is charged. 780-987-4323; 1-866-987-4323; www.leducnumber1 .com.

From 1912 to the time oil was discovered in Leduc, Imperial drilled 133 dry holes in a row. Toronto headquarters authorized workers to attempt a series of last-chance wells, and the Leduc well made history on February 13, 1947. The Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre recognizes struggles and triumphs in the Alberta oil patch and showcases Canada’s oil industry. The 200-plus exhibitions bring you from discovery to recovery to alternative energy sources.

Visitors can stand on the floor of a 1940s drilling rig and imagine the excitement when oil was discovered at this very spot, as well as browse artifacts, scale models, and indoor and outdoor interpretive displays that present the rich history and progress of Alberta’s petroleum heritage. Enjoy a virtual experience in the nose of a drill bit that takes you into the oil of the Devonian reef. This attraction was given an award in 2013 for being one of the top Alberta sites for Growing Rural Tourism


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