Directions: Exit Edmonton on Manning Drive (Hwy 15) and turn left at 17th Street NE onto Hwy 28A. Continue on Hwy 28, turn left on Hwy 827, and turn left again to stay on Hwy 827 to Thorhild.
Distance: 85 km, or about 1 hour and 35 minutes, from Edmonton.
Info: 780-398-3741; www.thorhild.com.
Thorhild is a farming community just 45 minutes northeast of Edmonton. Home to around 500 people, it is called Alberta’s Sunflower Village. Consider planning your trip for the last Saturday or Sunday in August so you can witness the highly competitive Thorhild Sunflower Festival. This annual competition recognizes those who grow the tallest and smallest sunflower plants, and awards prizes for the largest sunflower head and the most flowers on one plant. While participants try to elevate their status in the sunflower-head throwing competition and seed-spitting contest, judges peruse sunflower arrangements and quilts and search the village for the yard with the most creative sunflower theme.
Thorhild and District Museum
Location: 210-7th Avenue.
Info: Open Tuesday to Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Admission is by donation. You can arrange to tour the museum at other times by calling the Thorhild Library at 780-398-3502.
View displays on the heritage of Thorhild’s Ukrainian, Polish, German, Slovak, and Finnish settlers. The museum contains farming antiques, a prairie general store with everyday items, photos of original settlers, a Ukrainian wedding exhibit, and German and Slovak clothes.
From Thorhild, head south on Highway 827. Turn right on Highway 28 (heading south) and turn left, at the turnoff to Redwater (Highway 38).
Making a loop of Legal, Thorhild, and Redwater offers a great day of sightseeing from Edmonton. Begin your excursion with a mural tour through Legal, where the town’s French heritage may make you feel like you are much farther than an hour’s drive from Edmonton. The drive to Thorhild from Legal, which is only 63 km, is a pleasant tour past farmland, cattle ranches, and the occasional weathered pioneer home. Tour the multicultural pioneer displays at the Thorhild & District Museum. Then head to the Redwater & District Museum, whose displays highlight early migration in the area.
From Legal, head west on Highway 651 (Township Road 574), turn north onto Highway 2, and then turn right onto Highway 18 (heading east) to reach Thorhild.