Wetaskiwin, Alberta Canada

Discover Wetaskiwin, Alberta: A City of History and Peace

Wetaskiwin, Alberta, is a city steeped in history and culture. Located 70 kilometres south of Edmonton, the provincial capital of Alberta, Canada, Wetaskiwin is a city that celebrates its past while looking forward to the future. The city's name originates from the Cree word wītaskiwinihk, meaning "the hills where peace was made".

Wetaskiwin, Alberta: A Historical Overview

The future location of Wetaskiwin was once the site of a battle between the Cree and the Blackfoot, known as Wee-Tas-Ki-Win-Spatinow for "the place where peace was made". In 1890, it became a whistle-stop, known as Siding 16, when the Calgary and Edmonton Railway was built. The area was named Wetaskiwin in 1892 to commemorate the battle. Shortly after, a group of Scandinavian immigrants settled at the townsite, establishing businesses and a newspaper, the Free Lance.

In 1900, a Baptist church was organized, and by 1901, the village was officially incorporated with a population of over 500. By 1908, Wetaskiwin had a town hall and several churches. The town's courthouse was built in 1909, and the water tower was built around the same time. After World War II, the Wetaskiwin airport was founded, which later became the site of the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.

The Geography of Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Wetaskiwin sits on what was formerly the coast of a large sea that covered much of Alberta millions of years ago. The northwest end of Wetaskiwin is characterized by hills with sandy soil, while the southeast end of the city is very flat with more silty soil. The city lies at an elevation of 760 m and is located near several waterways, including Coal Lake, Pipestone Creek, Bigstone Creek, Bittern Lake, and Bearhills Lake. Wetaskiwin is at the junction of Highway 2A, Highway 13, and the Canadian Pacific Kansas City railway, and was a stagecoach stop between Calgary and Edmonton.

Wetaskiwin, Alberta: Climate and Demographics

Wetaskiwin has a humid continental climate with warm summers that retain cool nights, and cold winters. It falls into zone 3b under Plant hardiness zones. As of the 2021 Census, the City of Wetaskiwin had a population of 12,594. Almost 12% of the population identified as aboriginal at the time of the 2006 census. Almost 90% of residents identified English as their first language, and about 75 percent of residents identified as Christian at the time of the 2001 census.

Attractions in Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Wetaskiwin's Water Tower

Built in 1909, Wetaskiwin's water tower is one of the oldest municipal water towers in Canada. In 2004, Wetaskiwin City Council considered demolishing the water tower, but concerned citizens convinced them the old tower was worth saving. By 2006, the water tower was completely restored.

The Wetaskiwin Peace Cairn

The Wetaskiwin Peace Cairn commemorates 60 years of peace between the Blackfoot and Cree First Nations. The cairn was dedicated during the celebrations for Canada's Diamond Jubilee on 2 July 1927.

The Manluk Centre

The Manluk Centre is a 44,756 square foot facility that opened on 13 September 2014. The facility includes a 25-metre pool, a leisure pool, a lazy river, wave machine, slides, whirlpool, and a steam room.

By-the-Lake Park

Wetaskiwin's By-the-Lake Park is a day-use facility featuring a 2.5-kilometre paved trail surrounding a 17-acre man-made lake and a large picnic area. The lake is stocked with fish for summer and winter fishing and is used by school and community groups for canoeing and watersports.

Infrastructure in Wetaskiwin, Alberta

The Wetaskiwin Regional Airport is located within Wetaskiwin city limits. The city is also home to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum, a museum dedicated to celebrating "the spirit of the machine", and the Wetaskiwin and District Heritage Museum, which documents the pioneer arrival and lifestyle in Wetaskiwin's early years. The Alberta Central Railway Museum, located southeast of Wetaskiwin, acknowledges the impact that the railway had on Central Alberta.