Heritage isn’t just memory, it’s culture. See the vibrant buildings, murals, parks, and art throughout Central Alberta’s communities. See it, touch it, and experience it all first hand as you make your way through the region.
Bronze Ghosts of Red Deer
Downtown Red Deer has many heritage spots, not to mention the Museum and Art Gallery. It’s a great place to begin learning about Red Deer’s history. Cronquist House, Sunnybrook Farm & Museum and Historic Fort Normandeau are all great additions to your journey of discovering Red Deer’s history.
The city is home to many ghosts: life-sized bronze sculptures. With one of the largest public collections in Canada, there are currently ten ghosts scattered throughout downtown. One of the most dramatic is “Sound the Alarm,” located at 49th Street and 48th Avenue. It depicts firefighters and their horses surging into action, and is a vibrant historical representation.
Right next to “Sound the Alarm” lies the former Armoury and Fire Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Red Deer, which now houses a portion of Red Deer’s Public Library. A map inside will offer you an excellent route for the heritage walking tours. Looking out from here, you will see many pieces of Red Deer’s history, all within a short walking distance.
One of the oldest streets in the city is Little Gaetz Ave. For decades, it has been the go-to spot for browsing, shopping, and visiting with friends. Enjoy a leisurely stroll up and down the picturesque street and learn about the people and businesses that helped shape Red Deer.
The Painted City of Lacombe
In Lacombe, you don’t need to search a buried textbook for history. It decorates the city’s proud walls. There are local street scenes drawn from archival photographs, and downtown boasts six designated Provincial Historic Buildings, including the most intact concentration of Edwardian Architecture in the province. Lacombe’s roots will amaze your eyes as you walk through the city, but you don’t need to wander on your own. You can book a guided tour to make sure that you not only see it all, but understand it all. These tours are offered for free in the summertime during festivals and special events. A costumed interpreter will take you back in time to experience Lacombe’s past through the historic downtown and learn about the beautifully unique buildings and murals. If you would rather make the trip yourself, pick up a self-guided walking tour brochure or booklet at the museums.
Lacombe has living history sites as well. The world’s largest fishing lure is a monument to the city’s history and the iconic family business, Len Thompson, with over 90 years of shaping the North American world of fishing right from Lacombe. There are several museums, including a blacksmith shop museum, and the remarkably fascinating Flatiron Building, which has defined the block’s culture and layout since 1904.