The Northern Alberta Heritage Trail

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Written by Madison Valois posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

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This exciting journey starts in Edmonton and covers some of the best sights in the Canadian Rockies.

This exciting journey starts in Edmonton and covers some of the best sights in the Canadian Rockies.

Begin this vacation trip in Edmonton and plan to stay for a day or two to enjoy all the sites and attractions.  Start by head north on Highway 2 to the Morinville Historical and Cultural Centre and the St. Jean Baptiste Church.  Then stop in Legal where you’ll see 28 murals illustrating the lives of the local settlers.  Go on to Athabasca where you can spend the day walking the Riverfront Trail on your own or under the guidance of local historians.

From here, take Highway 63 north to Fort McMurray where you can enjoy the Mission Tour, Heritage Park with its historic settlement structures, and the Kak Ki Yaw Aboriginal Culture Camp.  Head west and then north on Highway 2, passing through Slave Lake and on to the border of the Northwest Territories. Enjoy a stop at Lesser Slave Lake to visit Grouard’s Native Cultural Arts Museum, High Prairie’s Museum and the Northshore Homestead Museum.

You can also take the northwesterly route from Althabasca to High Prairie (177 miles) and then on to Peace River (79 miles).  From Peace River, continue on to Fort Vermilion (233 miles), the oldest settlement in Alberta.  From here, get on the Mackenzie Highway going through La Crete, home to a large Mennonite community.  Take some time in the Mennonite Heritage Village where you will see the old structures that are still standing, as well as farming artifacts from the time of the early settlers.  On this route you can also cross the Peace River via ferry, which is lovely during the spring, summer and fall months.

South on Highway 2 you will pass from Grimshaw to Grande Prairie.  Visit the RCMP Centennial Celebration Museum at Fairview, the original fur trading post at Dunvegan and the beautifully restored wooden buildings at Sexsmith along with the 1916 blacksmith museum.

In Grande Prairie, visit the post office, firehouse, church and school, which have all been restored to highlight the history of the town.  Only moments away, visit the Heritage Discovery Centre where you can learn about Peace Country’s evolution from prehistoric times to the present.  Then finish up your Canadian Rockies vacation with a trip back to Edmonton or go on to Jasper, only 248 miles from Grande Prairie.

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