Central Alberta is one of the fastest growing regions in Canada and Red Deer is its main hub. With an average age of under 35 years, Alberta’s third-largest city is young and vibrant with plenty of great activities, historical and natural attractions and experiences to enjoy.
Red Deer gets its name from the river that flows through it. First Nations called it “Elk River,” but British fur traders thought the elk were a kind of European red deer and mistranslated the Cree name to “Red Deer River.” The city began as a river crossing for fur traders traveling between Fort Edmonton and Fort Calgary. Visit Fort Normandeau to the west of town to see the site of the original river crossing and learn about life in the days of the fur traders.
More history can be explored at Sunnybrook Farm Museum and the nearby Icelandic hamlet of Markerville where you can visit Stephansson House, a historic creamery and the home of one of Iceland’s greatest poets, Stephan G. Stephansson.
Red Deer has more than 62 miles (100 kilometres) of scenic trails inside its boundaries and more trails that connect it with neighboring communities. You can enjoy the trails by walking, renting a bike in town or participating in a trail ride at Heritage Ranch. Visit the Kerry Wood Nature Centre to learn about local flora and fauna you’ll see along the trails. Birders will want to check out the nature center’s bird blind, visit nearby Ellis Bird Farm and make a stop at the Gaetz Lake Sanctuary, Alberta’s oldest federal migratory bird sanctuary.
There are seven golf courses within an hour’s drive of Red Deer as well as some of Alberta’s nicest swimming and boating lakes. Hotels cost less in Red Deer than many of Alberta’s other cities, so it makes a good hub for exploring all the attractions in Central Alberta.
Reach Red Deer by car, bus or plane with three daily flights into Red Deer Regional Airport from Calgary International Airport.