Grande Prairie, Alberta
the Gateway to the Alaska Highway, Grande Prairie is a thoroughly modern city of
over 55,000 people, with shopping and cultural amenities equal to those of much
larger centers. Recreation within the Grande Prairie area provide hiking,
golfing, bird watching, boating, swimming, as well as some of the best sport
fishing and hunting around. Located 450 kilometers northwest of Edmonton and 160
kilometers east of the Rocky Mountains, Grande Prairie
is just a short drive from some of the most picturesque scenery in the country.
You can explore Kakwa Falls, a 27 meter natural wonder southwest of Grande
Prairie. Or how about Kleskun Hills, a prehistoric river delta dating back 70
million years. What ever your interest Grande Prairie's hospitality is sure to
bring you back for more.
The Trumpeter Swan has been adopted as the wildlife symbol of Grande Prairie. That is why Grande Prairie is also known as the "Swan City". Numerous pristine lakes in the Grande Prairie region provide the breeding grounds for what is now one of the largest populations of Trumpeter Swans in North America. These extensive and fruitful nesting areas contribute significantly to the successful rearing of young, and to the resulting population recovery of this largest and most magnificent of all water birds.
Grande Prairie is located in Alberta's Peace Country, so named for the Peace River which flows through it. European settlement of the Peace Country dates back to 1770 when the first fur traders entered the region. In the mid-1800's, Father Emile Grouard was so impressed with the large expanse of untreed land around lake Saskatoon that he named the area 'la grande prairie. Originally a Hudson Bay trading post in 1881, the village of Grande Prairie was established in 1911.
A large surge of settlers arrived in the 1930's as farmers from the drought stricken southern prairies came north to farm the moister soils of the Peace. The region currently produces more grain, for example, than the entire province of Manitoba.
The discovery of oil at Leduc, Alberta, in 1947, ignited a series of explorations leading to the discovery of bountiful reserves of oil and natural gas in the Peace. As the reserves were exploited the economy expanded and the region's population increased dramatically. Grande Prairie's community was then incorporated as a City in 1958.
Strategically located in a vast expanse of fertile land to the north, east, and west, the settlement quickly grew into the most important wholesale and retail center for the Peace region.
Grande Prairie contains over 55,000 people. The County of Grande Prairie, and the smaller towns of Sexsmith, Wembley, Hythe, and Beaverlodge, contribute an additional 20,000+ people, for an overall total of over 60,000 people. As a service center to northwest Alberta, the City serves a market area in excess of 200,000 people within a 200 kilometer radius.
Grande Prairie is situated amidst rolling prairie and aspen-poplar forest. The prairie to the north, east, and west, contain good farmland. The aspen/poplar forest to the south and west becomes coniferous as the land rises to the foothills and mountains. The forest serves as a vast reservoir for the local pulp and lumber industries.
The mountains west of Grande Prairie are lower than in the rest of the province. This allows Pacific air to enter the region with less modification resulting in greater precipitation than is the case in southern and central Alberta. Grande Prairie is also subject to warm Chinook winds which moderate winter temperatures.
The combination of a longer than average (for its latitude) frost free periods, ample precipitation, and arable soils, explains why the Peace region is one of the most northerly and productive agricultural areas of North America.
To discover more about Grande Prairie and area, We highly recommend you check out a local website dedicated to the entire Peace Country. Developed by Ken Connors, this website is very informative and showcases the whole Peace Country Region on one site. www.discoverthepeacecountry.com