Top 6 Historical Sites in Alberta

Posted on: April 3, 2019

Take a moment and shift back to a time when triceratops roamed the earth. Touch sites older than Stonehenge itself and watch as the first railroad begins to boom.

Alberta heritage is really old but always interesting. There is no end to the historical sites in Alberta that can be uncovered. There is more than anyone can possibly see with just one trip. Don’t take that as a challenge. It’s not wise or fun to speed through it.

Here are six historical sites that no one should miss or rush their way through on their trip to beautiful and historical Alberta.

1. FROG LAKE MEMORIAL

What occurred at Frog Lake happened due to high tensions between the prairie First Nations and the Government of Canada.

The Plains Cree were faced with a severe food shortage brought on by the decline in bison herds and the Government’s Indian Agent, Thomas Quinn, who was providing inadequate food rations previously promised under Treaty 6.

Eventually, these tensions boiled over into violence that tragically killed nine people. Today, the Frog Lake Memorial marks this historic site that tells the story of hardship,  hunger and the history-altering events that came as a result of it all.

2. FORT GEORGE AND BUCKINGHAM HOUSE

This interpretive centre was opened by the Province of Alberta in 1992. The opening marked the bicentennial establishment of the two fur trade posts on the site.

It is operated by the Alberta Culture and Tourism, Heritage Division.

Friends of the Forts Society

The Friends of the Forts Society are a charitable organization who have made it their mission to support programming and operations of the site including,

  • Volunteering on site
  • Providing gift shop, concession services
  • Participating in special projects fundraising
  • Providing professional insight and expertise
  • Maintaining a positive relationship with the community

3. LAC LA BICHE MISSION

The Lac La Biche Mission is a Roman Catholic site located 16 kilometres northwest of Lac La Biche community. It was one of the first sites in Alberta where exchanges between Indigenous, Métis, Francophone and Anglophones took place. There are several different historical buildings just waiting to be explored.

Visitors can tour an 1894 convent and a 1922 church. Other outbuilding include a laundry house, garage and chicken coop and complementary highlights are a cemetery, grotto and the architectural remains of the Grey Nuns Convent and Rectory plus some landscape features.

The real heritage value with this site comes from its establishment of religious life in Alberta. Over the years, the Lac La Biche Mission centre of the Oblate’s territory.

4. MÉTIS CROSSING

The Métis crossing site is located near the Town of Smoky Lake and is the home of a cultural centre, and historical centre complete with costumed interpreters who share the history of the Métis community.

Here, visitors are surrounded by Métis values like self-sufficiency, respect for elders, the participation of youth and cultural pride. The purpose of the site is to excite its guests with programming that encourages participation. It is made up of river lot titles from original Métis settlers so it is absolutely rich in culture.

5. VICTORIA SETTLEMENT

The Victoria Settlement focuses on three main things: missionary activity, the fur trade, and of course, settlement. Many historical figures weaved their stories here.

When George McDougall first arrived in 1862, the site was occupied by temporary camps built by the Cree. The Hudson Bay Company trading post and Métis traders arrived a few years after and the community named itself Pakan after a local Cree Chief.

The coming of a railroad and a community north of Pakan, the Town of Smoky Lake, brought an end to the settlement. There are only a few remains left but you can tour the preserved 1864 Hudson’s Bay Company clerk’s quarters as well as the 1906 Methodist Church.

The historical site strives to preserve the historical, architectural, cultural, archaeological, and ecological aspects that it once held. The site uses costumed interpreters, tours of the site, educational programs, social media, and experiential activities to bring the once great settlement back alive.

6. ELK POINT HISTORICAL MURAL

In 1987, Elk Point marked the 80th anniversary of the arrival of the settlers to the region, and to celebrate the milestone, a mural project commenced that quickly began to grow. It started as a proposal to paint a historical scene on a downtown business wall. Fast forward to a year and a half later and there were 25 four-by-eight-foot sheets of crezon board depicting the people and places from that 80 years, and the First People who were in this land long before the newcomers came to break the sod and create a community. The project was coordinated by The Elk Point Historical Society.

They brought in Billie Milholland, a local artist and history buff. The rest of the community contributed to the project with old photos, anecdotes, memories and served as models for all the personalities in the mural.

It is protected by two finishes, one to seal it to the board, and one to protect it from the harsh UV rays. Guests will love walking through this artistic version of history!

VISIT HISTORICAL SITES IN ALBERTA TODAY

Alberta has many more historical sites than these to offer. Travel through historic houses and chapels, visit the erratic, and take a tour through the collieries. Get transported back in time with these beautiful landmarks, and talented interpretations.

Planning a trip to get lost in the rich Alberta heritage? Visit our contact page to get more information.

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