Directions: Exit Edmonton on Hwy 2 south.

Distance: 157 km, or about 1 hour and 42 minutes, from Edmonton.

Info: 403-342-8111;

The Red Deer region is a transition zone between the moister aspen parkland and the drier prairie. Blackfoot, Plains Cree, Sarcee, and Stoney nations lived here before Metis, fur traders, and European settlers came to the area. The countryside teemed with elk, and the Cree named the river Waskasoo Seepee, meaning Elk River. Mistaking the elk for the red deer of Scotland, early fur traders misinterpreted the name to mean Red Deer River.

Many people travelled through Red Deer on trips between Calgary and Edmonton. As the bison neared extinction, farmers came to the area to grow grain, set up ranches, and establish dairy farms. Eventually they heard talk of a railway that would join Edmonton and Calgary. Surveyors came looking for the least expensive place to bridge the Red Deer River. Farmer and land agent Reverend Leonard Gaetz directed them to a spot along his landoffering the Calgary and Edmonton Railway a half-share of about 502 hectares of his own land to develop as a townsite. They agreed, and the first train to travel from Calgary to Edmonton passed through Red Deer in 1891.

By 1901, Red Deer incorporated as a town of 323 residents. Settlers surged into the area, and Red Deer incorporated as a city of 2,800 people in 1913, but the boom ended with World War I. After World War II, oil and natural gas discoveries boosted growth, and by the late 1950s Red Deer was calling itself Canada’s fastest-growing city. Today it is Alberta’s third-largest city and home to more than 93,000 residents.

Get a feel for the community by strolling through Red Deer’s downtown. Include a visit to City Hall

Park and check out one of Canada’s largest bronze sculpture collections. Outdoor statues and other art honour the characters and events that shaped Red Deer history. These sculptures can be found downtown, along the trails, at Red Deer College, and on Alexander Way (48th Street). You will also find artwork by local, national, and international artists at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Red Deer College, Allied Arts Council, the Red Deer Public Library Kiwanis Gallery, and Harris-Warke Gallery.

In addition to numerous summer festivals, annual Red Deer events include the agricultural showcase of Albertathe Agri-Trade Exhibition, with exhibitors from Canada and abroad. Red Deer’s annual summer fair is called Westerner Days.

Consider taking one of Red Deer’s most interesting walking tours. The Ghost Tour illuminates stories about eight different ghosts as well as the legend of a pig on the lam Tours also take in three murals and various historical buildings and sites. St. Mary’s Church, completed in 1968, is an early work of architect Douglas Cardinal. Visit or the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery for self-guided ghost and mural walking tour information.

South of 43rd Street and next to the Red Deer Arena, the Red Deer Public Market includes buskers, musicians, and a wide variety of vendors from across Alberta, as well as fruit sellers from British Columbia. It opens on the Victoria Day weekend and runs on Saturday mornings until Thanksgiving, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Tourism Red Deer Visitor Centre, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum,

Location: North of the 32 nd Street overpass on Hwy 2, Red Deer.

Info: Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Holiday hours may fluctuate. 403-346-0180;; Admission charged at Sports Hall of Fame; group rates are available. 403-341-8614;;

Accessible from the highway, Heritage Ranch, just behind the Tourism Red Deer Visitor Centre has picnic and rest areas, washrooms, a playground, an equestrian centre, and trails.

The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame encompasses more than 65 square metres and more than 9,000 artifacts in its always growing collection. Themed exhibits include an art gallery with more than

1,000 items including sport paintings, sculptures, prints, posters, and photographs. The Ice and Snow Gallery celebrates winter sports, while the Hall of Fame Gallery features memorabilia relating to various inductees from as far back as 1957. Visit the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame to discover individuals in the province who have developed hockey through provincial, national, and international accomplishments. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame includes a multi-sport Virtual Visual System with hockey, baseball, basketball, football, and soccer, in addition to a baseball pitching area, alpine ski machine, 200-metre wheelchair challenge, climbing wall, and other activities.

Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery and Heritage Square Location: 4525-47A Avenue, Red Deer.

Info: Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and weekends from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please call for holiday hours. Admission is charged. 403-309-8405;;

Displays at the Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery portray the history of Red Deer’s Aboriginal

peoples, immigrants, rural life, and the town’s growth into a city. Local, national, and international touring exhibits on art and history change regularly. Themed events range from family-friendly activities to adult concerts. The Art Gallery collection encompasses paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures.

Next to the museum, Heritage Square contains historical buildings, including the Norwegian Laft Husa museum and cultural centre that preserves and interprets Norwegian-Canadian culture. You can see a wide variety of traditional Norwegian cooking equipment, books, crafts, and gift items you are unlikely to find elsewhere. The old Knox Presbyterian Church steeple, a replica of an 1887 log schoolhouse, and Red Deer’s oldest buildingthe Stevenson-Hall Block, which stood at the corner of Ross Street and Gaetz Avenue in the early 1890scan also be found here.


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