St. Paul, Alberta Canada

Discovering St. Paul, Alberta: A Blend of History, Culture, and Uniqueness

St. Paul, Alberta, originally known as St-Paul-de-Métis or St-Paul-des-Métis, is a town steeped in history and cultural significance. Nestled in East-Northern Alberta, Canada, and surrounded by the County of St. Paul No. 19, this community has a rich heritage tied to the Métis people who played a crucial role in the region's early development.

The Historical Significance of St. Paul, Alberta

Between 1912 and 1936, the community was known as St. Paul de(s) Métis, a testament to its Métis roots. The Métis, with their mixed Indigenous and European ancestry, established themselves in the area, contributing significantly to its cultural heritage. The community's name is derived from the Catholic mission and parish established in the late 19th century, dedicated to Saint Paul the Apostle. This parish became a focal point for religious, social, and cultural activities for the local Métis population.

The Founding of St. Paul, Alberta

The community was founded as a Métis colony in 1896 after missionary Albert Lacombe petitioned the Canadian government for a land grant reserved for the Métis people to farm. The colony, known as Saint-Paul-des-Métis, was established on four townships of federal government property leased for 99 years at a rate of $1 per year. Each Métis family settling in the area received 80 acres of land, livestock, farming equipment, and access to collective land. Soon after, a chapel, boarding school, sawmill, and windmill were constructed in the colony.

Despite significant hardships due to storms and a fire in 1905, the community persevered. One of the original structures, the Old St. Paul Rectory, a mission site built as the administrative centre for the Oblate priests, remains standing today and is designated an Alberta Provincial Historical Resource.

Following the failure of the Métis colony, the area was opened up to other Canadians. Under the care of Father Thérien, 450 people, including French-Catholic Canadian homesteads, were registered in the area in just two days in 1909. The community was incorporated as the Village of St. Paul de Métis on June 14, 1912, and later as the Town of St. Paul on December 15, 1936.

Demographics of St. Paul, Alberta

As of the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of St. Paul had a population of 5,863 living in 2,284 of its 2,466 total private dwellings. The population density was 678.6/km2 (1,757.5/sq mi) in 2021. As of the 2016 Canada Census, 71% of the population is of European descent, with Indigenous people making up the next largest ethnic group at 16%. Most of the town's Indigenous residents are Cree or Métis. Visible minorities make up 12.3% of St. Paul's population, with Filipino Canadians (6.1%) forming the largest group.

Unique Attractions in St. Paul, Alberta

St. Paul is home to the world's first UFO landing pad, built as part of the 1967 Canadian Centennial celebrations. This unique attraction was designed to attract both tourists and Martians to the community. The pad consists of a 30-tonne raised platform with a map of Canada embossed on the back stop, consisting of stones provided by each province of Canada.

The UFO landing pad was officially opened by Paul Hellyer, Minister of National Defence, on June 3, 1967. The idea for the UFO landing pad is credited to former town Mayor Jules Van Brabant and a couple of local business owners. The pad was visited by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip during their 1978 tour of Canada.

St. Paul, Alberta, is a community that beautifully blends history, culture, and uniqueness, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique Canadian experience.