Discover Barrhead, Alberta: A Historical and Touristic Gem
Nestled in the heart of central Alberta, Canada, Barrhead is a charming town surrounded by the County of Barrhead No. 11. This picturesque town is situated along the Paddle River and at the intersection of Highway 33 (Grizzly Trail) and Highway 18, approximately 120 km northwest of the bustling City of Edmonton. Barrhead, Alberta is also located along the route of the historic Express Trail, used by the North West Company, which was originally a First Nations trail. The town was named after the Scottish town Barrhead, the birthplace of one of the children of the area's early settlers, James McGuire. The great blue heron, a prominent figure in local lore, is Barrhead's official bird.
The Rich History of Barrhead, Alberta
During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, Barrhead played a pivotal role in the settlement of northwest Alberta. Highway 33, known as the Grizzly Trail, follows the original Klondike Trail, which was the shortest route to the Yukon during the Gold Rush years. This route was key to the settlement of the Peace River region. The old Barrhead town site, 3 km north of the present Town Centre, was a frequent stopover for the few Klondikers and others who needed supplies for the rigorous journey north.
Barrhead was originally established in 1906 and its position as a major trade centre on the historic Klondike Trail gave it a significant role in the settlement of north-western Alberta. It was a vital link in the trade route from Fort Edmonton to the Yukon. Today, the community's rich history can be revisited through a collection of artifacts at the Barrhead and District Museum. The museum also houses a large display of African taxidermy, as well as the Barrhead Visitor Information Centre, which is open from May to September.
The Beautiful Geography of Barrhead, Alberta
The area is characterized by dense stands of spruce, birch, pine, and poplar. It also boasts some of the most fertile farmland in the province and is located between two major rivers, the Athabasca River and Pembina River. The Paddle River, a tributary of the Pembina River, flows directly through the town Barrhead. The region is home to Thunder Lake Provincial Park, approximately 16 kilometres west of the town, which is very popular for boating, fishing, and camping. Wildlife in the Barrhead area includes deer, moose, coyote, black bear, grizzly bear, mountain lion, wolves, and the county emblem, the great blue heron.
The Climate of Barrhead, Alberta
Barrhead has a borderline humid continental/subarctic climate. It lies in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 3a and is characterized by pleasant summers and frigid winters. There are four distinct seasons. Temperatures can reach upwards of 35 °C or 95 °F during June, July, and August and can drop as low as −50 °C or −58 °F. Rainfall is moderate, with the majority falling during the summer months. The area is noticeably wetter than in surrounding regions, particularly to the south and east. Around a metre of snow falls on the region during winter.
The Demographics of Barrhead, Alberta
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Barrhead had a population of 4,320 living in 1,833 of its 1,983 total private dwellings, a change of -5.7% from its 2016 population of 4,579. With a land area of 8.2 km2, it had a population density of 526.8/km2 in 2021.
Infrastructure in Barrhead, Alberta
The town houses the province's correspondence school, which in 1991 was renamed the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.
Sister Cities of Barrhead, Alberta
Barrhead is twinned with Drouin, Victoria, Australia; Tokoro, Hokkaido, Japan; and Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico.