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The town of Athabasca (2006 population 2,575) is located in northern Albertamarker, Canadamarker. It lies north of Edmontonmarker on Highway 2, on the banks of the Athabasca River. It is the centre of Athabasca Countymarker.

Until 1913 it was known as Athabasca Landing.


Unlike so many other towns in Alberta, Athabasca predates the railway. It was the terminus of the Edmonton to Athabasca Landing trail. Athabasca lies on a southern protrusion of the Athabasca River. During the fur trade era, when rivers were the principal means of transportation, the Athabasca–Edmonton trail connected two different drainage basins. The Athabasca River flows north and is part of the Mackenzie Rivermarker watershed, which leads to the Arctic Oceanmarker. Edmonton lies across a height-of-land on the North Saskatchewan River in the Nelson Rivermarker drainage basin, which empties into Hudson Bay. Edmonton was in Rupert's Land, Athabasca was not. The trail allowed goods to be portaged back and forth between river systems. Once agricultural settlement occurred the trail served a similar purpose. Eventually road and rail links would trace the same path.

The Athabasca Heritage Society has put up signs through the downtown as well as along the riverfront that explains and depicts the history. It has also published a Historical Walking Tour that is available from the Town Office, Library and Visitor Information centre.


According to the Canada 2006 Census:
* Population: 2,575 (+6.6% from 2001)
* Land area:
* Population density:
* National population rank (Out of 5,008): Ranked 1,115th
* Median age: 36.2 (males: 33.4, females: 37.8)
* Total private dwellings: 1,117
* Dwellings occupied by permanent residents: 1,062
* Mean household income: $51,310
  • 2006 Community Profile

Footnotes: The data has not yet been released and is based on 2001 Census.

Notable native


The town is home to Athabasca Universitymarker, a major centre for distance education.

The town has three schools:

WHPS Whispering Hills Primary School) Kindergarten to grade 3

LTIS (Landing Trail Intermediate School) Grade 4 to 7

Edwin Parr Composite High School (EPC) Grade 8 to 12


Athabasca is served by one newspaper, the Athabasca Advocate, and one radio station, 94.1 CKBA-FM, currently known as The River.


* Alberta First - Athabasca Facts and Statistics

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