Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta Canada

Discover Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta: A Blend of History and Modernity

Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, is a vibrant city nestled along the North Saskatchewan River in Canada. Located just 25 kilometres northeast of Edmonton, the provincial capital, it forms part of the Edmonton census metropolitan area. As one of the 24 municipalities that make up the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board, Fort Saskatchewan is home to a population of 27,088, according to the 2021 federal census.

The Rich History of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Pre-colonization and Founding

Before colonization, the area around Fort Saskatchewan was a gathering place for many Indigenous nations, including the Cree and Métis. The region, known in Cree as waskwayâhtik ispatinaw (Birch Hills), was a hub for canoe construction due to the abundance of birch bark, a crucial component for making canoes and scrolls with Cree syllabics inscribed on them.

The city's roots trace back to 1875 when Inspector William D. Jarvis established the Sturgeon Creek Post, a North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) fort. The fort, later renamed "Fort (on the) Saskatchewan," became a key northern police garrison. Despite protests from Edmonton residents, the fort remained at its original location due to its strategic position for a future railway crossing.

Early Growth and Provincial Jail

Fort Saskatchewan underwent significant expansion in the late 19th century, hosting patrols that extended as far as Fort Simpson and Chesterfield Inlet. In 1911, the NWMP transferred the property to the Alberta government for the construction of a provincial jail, leading to the fort's demolition. The city was incorporated as a village in 1899, a town in 1904, and a city in 1985.

The provincial jail, opened in 1915, replaced the old guard house and underwent various additions over the next 70 years. The jail was primarily used to house people awaiting their trials or serving sentences of under two years. It was replaced in 1988 by a new provincial correctional centre.

Industrial Growth: 1950–Present

The mid-20th century saw the construction of several chemical plants, including Dow Chemical, Sherritt International, Nutrien (formerly Agrium), Linde (Praxair), and Shell Canada. The city's population doubled from 1,076 to 2,582 between 1951 and 1956 due to the industrial growth.

In 1978, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Fort Saskatchewan as part of a royal tour during the XI Commonwealth Games. Muriel Abdurahman, the city's first female mayor, was elected in 1980 and served two terms. In 2020, Fort Saskatchewan annexed 952 hectares of land from Strathcona County.

The Geography and Climate of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Fort Saskatchewan experiences a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters. Precipitation peaks during the summer, while snowfall is most common from November to January.

The city is divided into seven residential neighbourhoods and two industrial parks. Downtown is the city's oldest neighbourhood, while Westpark and Southfort, the city's newest neighbourhoods, are still under development as of 2021.

The Demographics and Ethnicity of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

According to the 2021 Census of Population, Fort Saskatchewan had a population of 27,088. The largest visible minority populations are Filipino and South Asian. As of 2016, the top three areas of employment are trades, transport and equipment operators, sales and service occupations, and business, finance and administration occupations.

Attractions in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Recreational Attractions

Fort Saskatchewan boasts a variety of recreational facilities, including the Dow Centennial Centre, a multi-use facility featuring an ice arena, gymnasium, field house, indoor track, and fitness centre. The city also has a nine-hole golf course, a six-sheet curling club, and a boat launch into the North Saskatchewan River.

Cultural Attractions

The Fort Heritage Precinct, a municipally operated museum and historic site, features a full-scale replica of the original NWMP fort. The city also hosts a two-day event called "The Peoples of the North Saskatchewan" every May, which educates students about Métis and settler cultures.

Infrastructure in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta

Public Health and Transit

Fort Saskatchewan is home to the 38-bed Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital and a 58-bed, publicly operated, supportive-living seniors lodge. The city also has a public transit system, Fort Sask Transit (FST), which operates two daily routes.

Utilities and Waste Management

The city's water is supplied by the Capital Region Northeast Water Services Commission, while waste water is treated at a facility in Strathcona County. The city's residents separate their household waste into three categories: organic waste, garbage, and recycling.

Discover the blend of history and modernity that is Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, a city that offers a unique blend of industrial growth, rich history, and modern amenities.