Photo Credit: Edmonton Tourism
Rich history from the fur trade to the oil boom
Discover the fascinating heritage of North America’s largest northern city, beginning with settlement by indigenous peoples thousands of years ago. The Royal Alberta Museum is a good place to start your historical tour — it has one of the finest cultural and natural history collections in the country.
The Edmonton area was first settled by Europeans in 1795, when the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Northwest Company established the first of several fur trading posts along the North Saskatchewan River. You can see some of this past brought to life at Fort Edmonton Park, where the city of Edmonton operates a reconstructed fort, with costumed historical interpreters. The park also showcases Edmonton’s history in 1885, 1905, and 1920.
A short drive out of the city takes you to the Musée Héritage Museum of St. Albert, site of a Metis community founded in 1861. Here you can get a sense of earlier times by exploring a grain elevator park and train station, a one-room school house, and many other attractions.
Another must-see near Edmonton is the town of Leduc, site of the first big oil strike in Alberta. Visit the Leduc No. 1 Energy Discovery Centre to learn about the history behind Alberta’s booming petroleum industry.
Within the city, there are many museums to choose from. The University of Alberta alone has twenty-nine museums and collections spanning a variety of subject areas. Interested in heritage houses? The John Walter Museum has three of them, plus an artifact collection. Curious about telephones? The Telephone Historical Centre is the largest of its kind in North America. The city also has museums dedicated to railways, aviation, police, and the military.