Spirit River, Alberta Canada

Discover Spirit River, Alberta: A Blend of History and Modernity

Spirit River, a charming town nestled in northern Alberta, Canada, is a place where history and modernity coexist. Located approximately 78 km north of Grande Prairie at the junction of Highway 49 and Highway 731, Spirit River offers a unique blend of small-town charm and essential amenities.

Spirit River, Alberta: A Snapshot of Demographics

As per the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Spirit River, Alberta, had a population of 849 living in 378 of its 432 total private dwellings. This represented a change of -14.7% from its 2016 population of 995. The town, with a land area of 3.11 km2, had a population density of 273.0/km2 in 2021. In the 2016 Census, Spirit River recorded a population of 995 living in 442 of its 487 total private dwellings, a -2.9% change from its 2011 population of 1,025. The population density in 2016 was 316.9/km2.

The Rich History of Spirit River, Alberta

Spirit River, originally known as Chepe Sepe or Ghost River in Cree, has a rich history dating back to 1891 when a trading post was established along the banks of the Spirit River. Ranching in the area started as early as the 1840s, and farming began in the 1880s. The first school opened its doors in 1910.

In 1915, the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway subdivided a townsite called Spirit River Station to the northwest, on Section 22. This led to the relocation of residents and storekeepers from the old settlement, creating a village in 1916. On February 16 of that year, McRae & Co. opened a general store. Spirit River was incorporated as a town in 1951.

In 1923, the wheat pool was established. In October 2013, a pipeline inspection crew working in the Saddle Hills area southwest of Spirit River unearthed a 10-metre long dinosaur fossil, later confirmed to be that of the duck-billed hadrosaur. The Town of Spirit River, along with the Municipal District of Spirit River, celebrated its 100th anniversary in August 2016.

Infrastructure in Spirit River, Alberta


Spirit River boasts a paved airport that accommodates medical emergency flights and private aircraft.


The town offers a variety of recreational facilities, including a curling rink, arena, outdoor pool, library, museum, and community hall.

Health Care

Spirit River is home to a hospital and the Central Peace Health Centre, a newly constructed clinic that houses physician, dentist, physiotherapist, and massage therapist offices. A new 92-bed seniors care home is set to open in 2024, further enhancing the town's healthcare infrastructure.