Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada

Discover Grande Prairie, Alberta: A City of History and Natural Beauty

Grande Prairie, Alberta, is a city nestled in the southern part of Peace River Country in northwest Canada. It's a city that has grown rapidly over the years, earning the nickname "Swan City" due to its proximity to the migration route and summer nesting grounds of the trumpeter swan. Grande Prairie is also known for its rich history and stunning geography, making it a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

The Rich History of Grande Prairie, Alberta

Grande Prairie's history dates back to when it was known as Buffalo Plains, named after the buffalo that roamed the large prairie to its north, east, and west. The first recorded reference to the prairie was by Hudson Bay trader Samuel Black in 1824. The area was occupied by bands of the Dane-zaa (Beaver) peoples, who began trading with the North West Company at Dunvegan in the early 19th century.

In 1880, a Hudson's Bay Company outpost called La Grande Prairie was established by George Kennedy. This was a result of the fur trade war between the Hudson Bay Company and independent fur traders. The post was established south of Dunvegan and 21 km northwest of the present-day city of Grande Prairie.

The late 19th century saw the prairie settled by Cree and Iroquois from around Jasper and Lac Ste. Anne. A land rush soon followed when 17 townships were surveyed for homesteading in 1909. By 1912, Grande Prairie had a bank, hotel, post office, and land office, making it a district metropolis. In 1916, it became the terminus of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway from Edmonton.

The Stunning Geography of Grande Prairie, Alberta

Grande Prairie is located just north of the 55th parallel north, and is 465 km northwest of Edmonton. The city is surrounded by farmland to the north, east, and west. To the south lies a vast boreal forest with aspen, tamarack, lodgepole pine, jack pine, and black spruce extending well into the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.

Bear Creek runs through the city from the northwest to the south end and is a tributary of the Wapiti River to the south. The Bear Creek Reservoir is the small body of water by Grande Prairie Regional College in the northwest part of the city, and is ringed by marshy wetland.

The Climate of Grande Prairie, Alberta

Grande Prairie has a northern continental climate typical of northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia. Winters are generally very cold with some mild spells. Summers are often fairly cool to pleasantly warm in the daytime, but nights can be cool despite the long summer days typical for its latitude.

The Demographics of Grande Prairie, Alberta

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Grande Prairie had a population of 64,141 living in 24,816 of its 27,551 total private dwellings. The largest visible minority groups were Filipino (6.9%), South Asian (2.9%), Black (2.2%), Latin American (0.8%), Chinese (0.8%) and Arab (0.6%).

The Language of Grande Prairie, Alberta

As of 2021, 83.8% of residents claimed English as their first language. Other common mother tongues were Tagalog (3.4%), French (2.1%), Punjabi (0.8%), Spanish (0.8%), and German (0.6%).

The Crime Rate in Grande Prairie, Alberta

In the 2016 report published by Maclean's, the city was in 12th place for the national average for the Crime Severity Index. The Crime Severity Index was 150 per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 70.96.

The Arts and Culture Scene in Grande Prairie, Alberta

Grande Prairie is home to a vibrant arts and culture scene. Live music can be found in several downtown bars and at all-ages locations such as Tito's Restaurant and the GP Curling Club. The city also hosts summer-long music festivals organized by community-minded individuals and charitable organizations.

The Sports and Recreation in Grande Prairie, Alberta

Grande Prairie has a number of parks, including the large Muskoseepi Park in the Bear Creek valley which winds its way throughout the city. The city also has three 18-hole golf courses, The Dunes Golf and Winter Club, the Bear Creek Golf Club, and the Grande Prairie Golf and Country Club.

Transportation in Grande Prairie, Alberta

Grande Prairie is served by the Grande Prairie Airport, which offers daily scheduled flights to Calgary and Edmonton. The city also has a small public transit system, Grande Prairie Transit, with modern buses and a route system integrated throughout the city. For road travel, Highway 43 is the main east–west highway through the city, providing a connection from Edmonton to the southeast through to British Columbia to the west.