Explore Alberta’s Rich Métis History at Métis Crossing

Posted on: November 15, 2022

@Metis Crossing – Paddle into the Past is a Metis Crossing Signature Experience

“Now, slowly release the arrow.” 

This was said by a guide helping a visitor during the Walk in our Mocs: Métis Archery Program at Métis Crossing Interpretive Centre, a hub of culture and activity on the wide North Saskatchewan River Valley northeast of Edmonton. 

Officially opened in 2022, Métis Crossing Interpretive Centre—built on the original river lots of Métis settlers—is an ideal place to explore Alberta’s—and Canada’s— Métis history. National Geographic has recognized the centre as one of Alberta’s top Indigenous tourism destinations. 

Métis Crossing offers a range of experiences. Paint with Indigenous artists through the arts program. Camp in tipis. After a shot at archery, dine on bison burgers with a side of bannock. Plan a business meeting or wedding with a Métis touch. 

Everyone is welcome to learn about and from this robust, thriving community. On more than 600 acres of riverbank land, the site consists of a 40-room lodge, cultural gathering centre, boat launch, and river access, various barns, gardens and dwellings, camping area, playground, outdoor stage, and fire circle classroom. 

Read on for: 

  • Who are the Métis? 
  • Experiences to Try 
  • Métis Cuisine 
  • Accommodation and Event Space 
  • Where is Métis Crossing?

Who are the Métis?

Métis people were born from the unions of European fur traders and First Nations women in the 18th century. Descendants of these marriages, the Métis would form a distinct culture and strong Nationhood primarily in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta but also in parts of BC, Ontario, the NWT and the northern US. 

Experiences to Try 

Experiences are divided into Signature experiences, which are guided cultural immersive experiences; daily experiences, which are self guided visits with unlimited time to explore the centre; and finally, traditional workshops—longer hands on learning experiences. 

For all experiences, check online for dates and times, booking, appropriate ages, costs and additional details. The experiences below are just a few of many. 

Signature Experience—Walk in Our Mocs: Métis Archery Program

Blending different aspects of Métis culture—hearing stories of life on the land and trying to shoot a bow—in an outdoor environment makes this a great choice to:  

  • Be immersed in Métis culture and ways of knowing on an historic Métis river lot 
  • Practice skills with a bow and arrows 
  • Identify plants, animals and animal signs 
  • Explore the boreal forest of the North Saskatchewan River Valley 
  • Try Indigenous inspired cuisine (extra cost)

Signature Experience—Paddle into the Past

Voyage on a traditional canoe to Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site, take in arts and crafts, and enjoy an end of the day dance! As you take in the day’s Métis traditions, try bannock and, over an open fire, learn even more about the Métis. You may get wet, but you will learn while having a ton of fun. 

Workshop – Métis Traditional Art Programs 

@Metis Crossing offers workshops to make your own capote

The Centre offers a roster of arts or crafts programs, led by Métis artists and hosts. Different five hour workshops run to learn how to make traditional Métis Christmas crafts, warm capotes, or colourful skirts and shawls. Prices include all art materials, lunch, instruction and guidance.

Métis Cuisine 

The Centre’s restaurant upholds the Métis tradition of living off the land by procuring all of its ingredients from either their own “food forest” or other local producers. Living off Alberta’s land is a unique culinary experience of wild fowl (chicken, duck or goose), berries, local meats such as deer and elk, and homemade bannock.   

The seasonal menus were designed and inspired by award-winning Culinary Director, Brad Lazarenko. They also offer Lunch or “Grub” boxes to go!  

A bistro on the main floor with access to the riverfront patio has snacks, boxed lunches, coffee and refreshments. Enjoy drinks and dining options in the second-floor lounge with sweeping views of the North Saskatchewan River or next to the two storey rock fireplace.

Accommodation and Event Space

@Metis Crossing has suites with traditional Metis touches such as this quilt.


The Lodge at Métis Crossing has 40 boutique luxury rooms on two levels overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. King suites include a private patio. Six accessible suites are available. Family suites include one queen bed, a bunk with a double bed and a twin, a private deck, and substantial open shelving and closet space. 

If you’re an RVer, you can park your vehicle and camp on the banks of the wide North Saskatchewan River. You may also book an authentic Trappers Tent. Other camping options are available at the nearby Smoky Lake RV Park and Golf Course or at Hanmore Lake. 

Click here to view all of Travel Lakeland’s campsites.

@Metis Crossing Camping in an authentic Trappers Tent is an epic camping option

Event Space 

@Metis Crossing has a stunning venue for large events such as weddings and cultural gatherings

Métis Crossing added a cultural gathering centre in 2020, designed by Metis architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge to hint at traditional fur trade era river lot homes. The naturally lit wood beamed building is bookable online for annual general meetings, conferences, workshops and weddings. A culinary team is on hand to create menu choices including a Métis inspired banquet. Book the entire centre, covered terrace and lodge for your upcoming event. 

Where is Métis Crossing?

@Metis Crossing sits on more than 600 acres of river bank land

Métis Crossing is a 1.5 hour drive east of Edmonton, making it accessible either for day trips or weekend stops. The town of Smoky Lake is 10 minutes north of Métis Crossing, another Alberta Lakeland gem to explore. 

Métis Crossing Interpretive Centre in Alberta’s Lakeland near Edmonton makes exploring Canada’s Indigenous history interesting and fun at the country’s first Métis cultural destination. 

Learn about other Lakeland Indigenous and cultural experiences

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