With green and lively springs and white and snow-covered winters, Alberta hosts thousands of guests year-round for seasonal activities. It boasts from multiple world heritage sites, geological calcified phenomenon, to rivers, lakes, and highland summits and pastures- that once accommodated the Canadian First Nation tribes.
Costumes and traditions of the Aboriginal residence, and later European inhabitants, indicate the regional culture of Alberta, or the “Wild Rose Country” as described by the Victorian-decent rulers. Noted as the richest Canadian province, Alberta offers posh tourism and numerous well-maintained recreational facilities.
To discover more about the originating land of “trick and treat”, we have gathered the top 15 attractions and must-visit destinations in Alberta Province.
On the verdant boundaries of North Saskatchewan River Valley, Edmonton marks the capital city of Alberta province and the youngest capital of the country. Encircled by kilometers of preserved wilderness, it is one of the greenest cities across the country and northern America, including; Botanic Garden of Alberta university within the urban confines, the Nordic animal species conservatory in Elk Island National Park in the east, and the northern collective parks in the River Valley- often frequented for winter sports activities.
Fort Edmonton Park stands as the oldest living museum of Canada, which displays the town’s historic past since 1800, as an important commercial station. While there are countless historic and new attractions, the most eminent structure of Edmonton is perhaps the Legislature; a colossal architecture that hints to both Romanesque and Gothic styles, and cloaks a wealth of historic illustrations and art.
Edmontonians have a flair for festive atmosphere, hosting over sixty festivals throughout the year; winter ice sculptures, canoeing and gazing at the fascinating dance of northern lights, while sipping a cup of masterfully brewed Caribou.
2. Banff National Park
To immerse oneself in the wilderness of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, there is no place better than Banff National Park. It is Canada’s oldest national Park and registered as a World Heritage Site for the footpaths of First Nation residents dating over 10,000 years. From snow-capped summits, streams of melted glaciers roll down the cragged peaks to alpine pastures and ultimately reach to the two of the most elegant glacier lakes in the world; Louise and Moraine Lakes.
The entire region shelters regional animal species, hence a popular destination for wildlife spotting, particularly throughout the warmer months. Winters are prosperous in Banff; covered in a thick blanket of snow, the national park is a renowned winter sports destination.
From helicopter skiing and snowshoeing, ice canoeing, icefall climbing, and world-famous ski resorts including the heritage castle of Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise which harbors a posh ski resort.
3. Sunshine Village
While the attractions and natural beauty of Banff National Park are abundant, yet it embodies settlements adorned with man-made refinements. The cozy mountaintop town of Banff itself is best known for fine restaurants, souvenir shops, and castle-resembling hotels that overlook the magnificence of Mt. Rundle and Mt. Cascade, and the skirting valleys.
A few kilometers away, Sunshine village marks a world-class ski resort known as Sunshine Mountain Resort with intriguing amenities, that covers from family ski pistes to champion level ski runs and the world-famous Delirium Dive.
Calgary city is encircled by the rugged summits of Eastern Canadian Rockies, pinpointing a treasure trove of cultural and recreational activities. The most renowned feature of this city marks the largest living museum in the country, at Calgary’s Heritage Park; with impressive displays of shops and artifacts, dating back to the 19th century.
The lands between the rivers of Bow and Elbow were home to indigenous people of southern Alberta, Niitsitapi tribes, from 11,000 years ago. Since the foundation of the modern city from 1900 forward, it has gathered a rich array of cultural aspects that reflect the historic growth of this township. Calgary Stampede, each July celebrates the longstanding rodeo tradition of the first modern inhabitants and ranch farmers.
Museum of Canadian National Hall of Fame in National Music Center and the distinguished conservation center and zoo, with a vast assortment of animal species from four continents, and art exhibitions at Glenbow Museum are other notable intellectual highlights. For sports and outdoor activities, the ski resort of Olympics encompasses the fastest zip line of northern America. It offers an array of winter sports activities and a delightful paddling loop around the city.
5. Jasper National Park
From the heights of an ancient glacier- the spring source of Athabasca Falls-and the depths of Maligne Canyon, Jasper National Park identifies a unique terrain. Recognized as a World Heritage Site, the earth here testifies to the thriving life, evolved through millions of years; displayed in countless fossils and calcified thumbprints.
Through the summer, the park vibrates with life, newly born bear cobs or deer fawns, verdant nature, and silver cascades, pouring into sparkling lakes. Winters, on the other hand, reign over an ice-covered territory; icefalls, frozen lakes, and spectacles of surreal and snow-blanket valleys. The park is generally known as Dark-Sky reserve or optimum stargazing and sighting of the northern lights.
The most prominent feature of Canmore is perhaps the vista of the Three Sisters Summits of Rocky mountains, and the ringing landscape of Kananaskis Country. While the town is regarded as a worldwide popular recreational sports destination, the municipality harbors five renowned ski-resorts, several finely groomed golf courses, and a number of hiking routes for cyclists to mountain climbers.
For a quick glance over the history of the town and pre-existing coal-mining center, Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre demonstrates a wide range of exhibits, comprising scriptures and artifacts, from the mid-19th century forward.
Canmore Recreation Center combines both recreational activities including boulder climbing and hiking with art exhibitions and intellectual events at the center’s galley and library. After a tour around the delightful urbanscape, following the Spray Lakes Reservoir, the way leads to the breathtaking Upper and Lower Grassi Lakes with two hiking options; one relatively easy, while other crossed rugged hills and steep climbs.
A brief drive from Calgary, the small town of Lethbridge was once settled by the First Nation tribes, European new-comers, and coal mining industrialists and later, one of the most eminent cultural centers of the country; a city dedicated to promotion and creation of art in all forms. The highest steel trestle bridge in northern America lies here across the Oldman River, built-in 1909.
Besides the multicultural promotion center of Southern Alberta Ethnic Association, Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Galt Museum functioning as a former hospital, and a large museum archive today, Helen Schuler Nature Centre and a military museum conclude the significant cultural attractions of Lethbridge. Identified as a verdant city, Oldman River valley parks system encircles the urban confines, housing mini-golf courses, ski resorts, skate parks, and stadiums- and needless to mention, hectares of greenery lined with spectacular hikes.
8. Waterton Lakes National Park
Embraced by the rugged summits of Canadian Rockies, Waterton Lakes National park reveals a chain of glistening lakes, dramatic valleys, and exceptional wildlife. Registered as a World Heritage Park, it accommodates several playgrounds, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park a UNESCO established Biosphere Reserve, and dramatic alpine hikes. At the heart of National park, the charming hamlet of Waterton rises on the cragged summits, embodying the cultural elements and ethnicity of the region.
Once home to Aboriginal Canadian tribes, the town is ladened with posh tourist and recreational sports facilities today, and serve as a base camp for natural gravitation of the national reserve. For a better acquaintance with the town’s contemporary history, Heritage Center illustrates the story of the establishment and development of Waterton from 1850 and developments through the following years.
9. Elk National Park
Canadian bison have existed since the existence of the primary mammals in the region, even prior to the initial homo sapiens. These creatures have coexisted among the Elk National Park’s several Aboriginal residents since at least 11,000 years ago. Many heritage sites and ancient tool-making areas of indigenous tribes, including Sarcee and Blackfoot First Nation people, testify the regional ethnicity in Beaver Hills Moraine. Noted as a significant wildlife reserve, Elk National Park has contributed greatly to the conservation of the Bison population.
Elks, Black, and Grizzly bears, deers, and several other species are other permanent inhabitants of the park. This national reserve is recommended for wildlife sighting and camping under the light pollution-free sky, besides the cross-country ski trails, hiking, and cycling routes, and enjoying nature in all forms year-round.
10. Dinosaur Provincial Park
Sprawling on the side of Red Deer River valley, Dinosaur Provincial Park portraits astonishing and comprehensive displays of the ancient giant reptilians. Broad displays of calcified structures and fossils shine a light on the existence, life, and evolution of these creatures. This provincial park is regarded as a unique and one of the richest collections across the globe; yet, for the initial 30 years after the discovery, unearthed specimens were shipped off to various Museums.
The very first fossils were discovered by a local farmer and fossil collector in the early 20th century, subsequent to the establishment of this area as a protected reserve in 1955. Two decades after, the park was announced as a World Heritage site and gained international significance.
11. Fort Vermilion
Fort Vermilion, implying the scarlet shores of the Peace River, stands as the oldest European settlement in Alberta province, with a European ethnicity dating to the 17th century. Dane-zaa or the Beaver tribes were the initial inhabitants, who dwelled in small villages and survived by hunting and gathering wild plants.
The eminent historic elements of the town are best featured at Heritage Centre Museum of Fort Vermilion comprising detailed archives of handwritten documents, photographs, and artifacts, together with monumental structures such as the Old Bay House and Bourassa heritage site. Stories of First Nations’ tribal ceremonies, to the first European settlers, and the formation of the industrial trade of fur and farming at proximity- are among the museum’s depictions.
12. Bon Accord
Only a few kilometers from the provincial capital, the Town of Bon Accord, as indicated by the name, was settled by Scottish migrants; the 18th-century migrants from Aberdeen. To see the most prominent aspect of this hearty township, spectators must await the nightfall. Bon Accord was the first Canadian city to carry the title of “International Dark-Sky Association“, which contributes to the preservation of dark sky and reduction of light pollution in the region.
Heritage Rose Garden covers a vast area of Suburbans of Bon Accord, with enthralling aroma and remarkably groomed passages lined around the hybrid rose bushes and Grevillea shrubs. Just paces from the garden, a pottery studio displays the earthy art and magnificent masterwork exhibitions- largely inspired by Heater Celtic art.
The ghost town of ‘Boo’n Accord, farming villa accommodations, and an exceptional 18-hole golf course underline other notable attractions of this locale.
13. Red Deer
Red Deer County once held the ancient footpath of aboriginal tribes to cattle pastures and the ancient settlement of several First Nation populations. Consequent to the European settlement and establishment of the city, Red Deer has evolved into a cultural and industrial pole in the country. In 2013, it received the honorable label of Canada’s Cultural Capital, while housing the Central Alberta Theatre center, a Symphony Orchestra, an Art Museum, and Gallery of Red Deer, besides countless independent intellectual associations and art performance centers.
Besides art, the city holds high regard for sports and recreational activities. It is home to Alberta’s Sports Hall of Fame, Enmax Centrium Sports Arena, and an extensive range of outdoor sports facilities; such as the world-famous Canyon Ski Resort, hiking, and cycling amid the wilderness of Waskasoo Park, and relaxing steam pools and hot baths at the Recreation Center.
Nicknamed as the Land of the Mighty Moose, Manning lounges on the northern territory of Alberta in Notikewin Provincial Park, and amid the County of Northern Lights. September through mid-May, the night sky lights up with aurora borealis, visited each year by innumerable admirers of this celestial phenomenon. The town itself was established as a result of a veteran settlement program after the first World War, epitomized around agriculture and forestry.
At Battle River Pioneer Museum, the farming history of the region is displayed in antique farming tools, primary agriculture technique demonstrations, and exceptional artifacts with ethnic origins. In accordance with the sportive spirit of the country, Manning presents two outdoor ice rinks, skating arenas, champion-level ski resorts and ample hiking routes over kind meadows and stern peaks, and many other recreational facilities.
Located within the metropolitan territory of Edmonton and Sturgeon County, the formation of Legal as a town dates back to the mid-19th century, dwelled by a French Speaking community. Honored as the French Mural Capital of Canada, the urbanscape resembles a living art gallery, adorned with mural masterpieces by eminent artists.
The living art on the surface of the city and many art galleries has turned this locale into an intellectual hub; L’Association Canadienne offers a bilingual tour guide to all 35 Mural Art masterworks. A three-kilometer long runner trail of tree-arched passages, it ultimately leads to Legal’s campsite- with a children’s playground and RV facilities.
After visiting Calgary, a short drive to the northwest reaches to the charming town of Drumheller, most distinguished for Royal Tyrrell Museum and the world’s largest artificial Dinosaur, with a breathtaking viewing deck. The museum is located in Midland Provincial Park, encompassing the Coal Mining Heritage site and an exceptional landscape of barren mountain setting and odd formations.
When it comes to food, Alberta is a meat lover’s haven and a home to authentic Canadian recipes, often hinting to French cuisine influences; Alberta Beef’s taste and tenderness is fabled both in Canada and internationally. Additionally, farmed Bison and game meat are prepared either braised or barbecued sided with potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and other vegetables.
This province has a knack for beer brewing, offering microbreweries with distinct specialties from American Lager to England Blonde Ale and American Amber- particular to each locale.