Take a road trip with Ed this weekend and discover more about our favourite neighbour to the northwest! (We’re not sure if such a short drive still constitutes a “road trip," but, at this point, a drive to get groceries might fall into that category!)
It’s a misconception that St. Albert was named after St. Albert the Great – a saint known as one of the most universal thinkers during the Middle Ages. This tidbit of local folklore wasn’t corrected until the mid 1980s (well after a statue had been erected of said saint which still stands today!). The city was actually founded in 1861 by Father Albert Lacombe who started by building a small chapel and the moniker was likely a tribute to St. Albert of Louvain.
You can still visit the original chapel located on the north side of Mission Hill from June through to September – it’s the oldest building in Alberta and is now a Provincial Heritage Site.
2. Take a Hike
Part of St. Albert’s charm is definitely all the green space that intersects streets, homes and commercial spaces – but did you know there’s nearly 100 km of trails connecting the parks and neighbourhoods in the Red Willow Trail System?
While you likely won’t be exploring the entire trail system in one trip, you can use their handy trail map which provides start and stop locations, as well as distances for each leg so you can plan your hikes accordingly.
St. Albert is also one of Canada’s nine Tree Cities (along with Edmonton, Guelph, Halifax, Regina, Surrey, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Whitby), an international recognition by The Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations for having over 65,000 trees!
3. A Tour Through History
Museums and art galleries may be closed to the public (or with limited access), but you can still visit the over 250 pieces of art that make up the city’s impressive public art collection that started in the 1970s.
From pottery to paintings and sculpture to fibre arts, take a virtual tour of each piece located throughout the city. With descriptions and additional information on each piece and artist, you can take your time as you marvel and learn all from the comfort of your own home.
4. Music to Your Ears
The Arden Theatre is currently closed to the public and sadly had to cancel most of their 2020/2021 season (it normally hosts over 150 performances every year!), but everyone needs some live music in their lives, and the theatre is happy to fill that gap.
Tune into its monthly virtual concerts with the same calibre of Canadian musicians that you’d expect to see on-stage. Each concert comes with a special add-on, such as a downloadable cookbook or audience Q&A after the performance.
Fun fact: The Arden was so named by local resident, Shyamal Bagchee, who won a naming contest for the theatre. He was inspired by Shakespeare’s mother’s maiden name, which was also the name of a forest in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, coincidentally containing the quote, “All the world’s a stage.” Quite brilliant!
5. Get Spirited
Craft breweries and distilleries are reaching beyond city limits, and are not to be overlooked. Like the unique combinations of liqueurs and whiskeys from Black Diamond Distillery. Or try the Mexican flavours on Endeavour Brewing Company’s food menu that pair beautifully with their craft beers. If you’re looking for more traditional, head over to MD Distillery for its Still One premium vodkas.