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Red Deer is a city in central Alberta, Canadamarker. It is located near the midpoint of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor, and is Alberta's third most populous city—after Calgarymarker and Edmontonmarker. Red Deer is located in aspen parkland, a region of rolling hills focused on oil, grain, and cattle production. The city is a centre for oil and agriculture distribution, and the surrounding region is a major centre for petrochemical production.

Red Deer Countymarker surrounds the city.

Red Deer Transit provides local bus service throughout the city.

Name origin

The Cree peoples called the river on which Red Deer now stands, Waskasoo Seepee. This can be translated "Wapiti River" or "Elk River". Some of the first British traders thought the wapiti were a type of European red deer and gave the river its current name. The fur traders' confusion is not surprising. North American elk or wapiti (Cervus canadensis) are different from European elk (Alces alces). European elk are the same species as the animal known as the moose in North America.

History

Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by aboriginal tribes including the (Blackfoot, Plains Cree, and Stoney). European fur traders began passing through the area in the late eighteenth century. Into this rich ethnic mix, the Métis peoples brought their special blend of cultural styles and traditions.

A native trail ran from Montana in the south across the Bow River near Calgary and on to Fort Edmonton. About half way between Calgary and Edmonton the trail crossed the Red Deer River at a wide, stony shallow used by First Nations peoples and bison since ancient times. The shallows, now known as the Old Red Deer Crossing, are about seven kilometres upstream from the present City of Red Deer.

With the establishment of Fort Calgary by the North-West Mounted Policemarker in 1875, traffic increased along what was by then known as the Calgary and Edmonton Trail. Fort Calgarymarker to Fort Edmontonmarker was called the Calgary and Edmonton Trail After the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Calgary, traffic along the "C & E" trail increased substantially. A trading post and stopping house were built at the Crossing in 1882 and a permanent settlement began to develop around it.

During the 1885 Riel Rebellion (also known as the North-West Rebellion), the Canadian militia constructed Fort Normandeau at the Crossing. The fort was later taken over by the North-West Mounted Police who used it until 1893.

With the decimation of the buffalo by white hunters, the aboriginal tribes who relied on them for food, clothing and shelter were also in decline. The fertile lands around the Red Deer River were attractive to farmers and ranchers. One early settler, the Reverend Leonard Gaetz, gave a half-share of he had acquired to the Calgary and Edmonton Railway to develop a bridge over the river and a town site. As a result, the Crossing was gradually abandoned. The first train from Calgary to Edmonton passed through Red Deer in 1891.

Leonard Gaetz

"Ghosts" statue of Reverend Leonard Gaetz
As a founding father of the City, the Reverend Dr. Leonard Gaetz (1841–1907) is memorialized in the name of Red Deer's major thouroughfare: Gaetz Avenue.

Leonard Gaetz was born at Musquodoboit, Nova Scotiamarker, in 1841. He married Caroline Blowers Hamilton in 1865. They had a family of 11 children. Gaetz was an ordained Methodist minister, serving the church until 1883. He left the ministry due to ill health and moved to the Red Deer Valley. He decided to homestead on the west half of a section on the Red Deer River, and one of his sons, Halley Gaetz, took up the other half section.

Leonard Gaetz acted as the local land agent for the Saskatchewan Colonization Company and purchased parts of three other sections from his employers. By 1890, the Gaetz family owned vast land holdings along the south bank of the Red Deer River around the mouth of the Waskasoo Creek. The holdings included parts of Sections 16, 17, 20 and 21. Leonard Gaetz's increasing wealth allowed his family to play a central role in the growth of Red Deer.

In 1895, Gaetz returned to the active ministry in Manitoba. Once again, this proved detrimental to his health. He retired back to Red Deer in 1901, and resided here for the remainder of his life. He was a strong promoter of the area, founding the Westerner showgrounds and annual "Westerner Days", akin to the Calgary Stampede. Gaetz also served as Red Deer's first mayor. He died in Red Deer in 1907.

1900 to 1929

Red Deer saw a massive influx of settlers in the early 1900s.

In 1901, when Red Deer was incorporated as a town, the population stood at 343. Through its location midway between Edmonton and Calgary and the fertile land that supported profitable mixed farming, Red Deer developed primarily as an agricultural service and distribution centre. A further boost came in 1907 when it was chosen as a major divisional point for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Two other railways, the Alberta Central Railway and the Canadian Northern Railway, entered the community in 1911. Red Deer underwent a large land boom.

On March 25, 1913, Red Deer was incorporated as a city and the population had jumped to nearly 2800.

The First World War brought a sharp end to the boom. Red Deer emerged as a small, quiet, but prosperous, prairie city. In 1922, the provincial institution for the care of the mentally handicapped, currently known as the Michener Centre, was established in the city. Prospects looked good for modest but sustainable growth.

1930 to 1945

The Depression of the 1930s was a major setback for Red Deer, though it fared better than some communities. Central Alberta was not hit by severe drought. The city was virtually debt-free and profited from its ownership of the local public utilities.

Growth returned to the city with the outbreak of the Second World War. Red Deer was chosen as the location of a large military training camp (the A-20 Camp). The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan built two air bases to the south of The City at Penholdmarker and Bowdenmarker.

Post Second World War

Red Deer City Hall and City Hall Park


The Old Court House from City Hall Park


In the late 1950s, Red Deer claimed to be the fastest-growing city in Canada.

By roughly 1991 the Canadian Pacific Railway had been removed from the inner city; the track currently runs parallel to the city outskirts. The most prominent landmark of the railway remaining is the CPR bridge spanning the Red Deer River, converted to a walking trail shortly after the track removal.

The city is now a major centre for oil and natural gas extraction and related industries and also for agriculture and agricultural services. It is also a regional centre for administration with a courthouse and provincial building. It is also well served with all major stores in malls such as Bower Place, Southpointe Common, Parkland Mall and many other locations.

Red Deer is also noted for its number of restaurants, economic resilience and youth demographic.

Attractions

Waskasoo Park

Bower Ponds in winter (with Cronquist House in the background
Red Deer's Rec Centre
Red Deer's Collicutt Centre
Part of Maskepetoon Park
The park runs right from the outskirts in the south west to the north east and through the heart of the city. It gives Red Deer its alternate name of "Park City". Over 80 km (50 mi.) of multi-use trails permit biking, rollerblading, horseback riding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and walking. Home to many birds and wild life, this unspoiled river valley park is well-loved, well used and undoubtedly a place of peace and beauty.

The park has a number of attractions including:

  • Fort Normandeau
  • Heritage Ranch
  • Bower Ponds and Cronquist Heritage Centre
  • Great Chief (Maskepetoon) Park
  • Great Chief Athletic Park
  • Coronation Park
  • Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary
  • Kin Kanyon
  • Lions Campground
  • Three Mile Bend
  • Discovery Canyon
  • Kiwanis Picnic Park
  • Great West Adventure Park and BMX track
  • McKenzie Trail Recreation Area
  • River Bend Golf & Recreation Area
  • Kerry Wood Nature Centre
  • Edgar Athletic Park
  • Rotary Skateboard Park


Collicutt Centre

This is a large, state of the art facility with swimming pools, flumes, an indoor running track, climbing walls, a hockey rink, lacrosse, soccer and basketball courts, field houses, gymnastics centre, fitness and training rooms.

Recreation Centre

This older facility has been upgraded to modern standards and has indoor and outdoor pools, steam rooms, hot tubs, etc..

Canyon Ski & Recreation Area

Located 10 minutes east of Red Deer, Canyon has 164 meter vertical, five lifts and thirteen runs with an extensive lighting system for evening skiing.

Enmax Centrium

The Centrium was completed in 1991 and hosts concerts, hockey, basketball, motor sports, ice shows, major curling events, circuses, boxing, rodeos, wrestling, trade shows and conventions.Seating configurations range from 2,000 to 6,828.
  • Hockey - 5,858 Full House
  • Concerts: 7,210 Full house (including floor seating)
  • Up to 3,357 Half House
  • 6,714 Full House (excluding floor seating)
The most up to date lighting, communications and acoustical systems are incorporated into the design enabling concert sound quality sound, rather than that normally associated with arenas.Area
  • Arena - 200' x 85' , 17,000 sq ft (1,759 sq m)
  • Arena Level, seating removed - 50,000 sq ft (7,626 sq m)
  • Concourse Level- 30,000 sq ft (2,790 sq m)
Exhibits
  • Arena - 100 (10' x 10')
  • Arena Level, seating removed - 250 (10' x 10')
  • Concourse Level - 100 (10' x 10')
Ceiling Height
  • 52 ft (17m) to roof truss


Westerner Exposition Grounds

This major complex encompasses:
  • The Agricentre
  • The Altaplex
  • The Centrium
  • The Chalet
  • The Harvest Centre
Events range from Westerner Days (rodeo, pony chuck-wagon racing, fair, exhibitions, etc.) in early July to Agricon,

G.H. Dawe Community Centre

This 12,000 square metre complex is shared by a number of partner organizations including:
  • St. Patrick's School
  • G.H. Dawe Community School
  • Red Deer Public Library, G.H. Dawe Branch
  • G.H. Dawe Centre recreation facility


Greater Red Deer Visitor Centre

Adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (Highway 2) the well appointed visitor centre is fully staffed and is adjacent to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

On the west edge of Red Deer, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is an interactive, hands-on celebration of Alberta's sporting history. Over 7,000 square feet of exhibit space includes a multisport interactive virtual system with hockey, baseball, soccer, basketball and football, a baseball pitching field, a 200 meter wheelchair challenge; a press box where visitors can "become" the sportscaster; a 40 seat theatre and the Honoured Members Gallery. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum also has over 7,000 artifacts of Alberta Sports history in its collection, showcasing many of these items in a number of displays.

Education

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12

Founded in 1887, the Red Deer Public School District serves 10,000 students in thirty schools. Offering a wide range of programming, the District not only meets the needs of children and youth from the City of Red Deer, but also welcomes hundreds of students from the surrounding region and international students from around the world. Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School and Hunting Hills High School, enrolling 1800 and 1400 students respectively, provide a large number of program options for students of high school age.

Post-secondary

Red Deer Collegemarker was founded in 1964 as Red Deer Junior College. Today, it offers some degrees, adult upgrading, certificate programs, diploma programs, university transfer courses, applied degree programs, and apprenticeship and trades training.

Demographics

In 2007, the population grew by 2 734 to a total of 85 705 living in the city. In 2006, Red Deer had a population of 82,772 living in 33,894 dwellings, a 22.0% increase from 2001. The city has a land area of and a population density of .

Nearly 90% of residents spoke English as a first language while 1.7% spoke Spanish and 1.6% spoke French. The next most common languages were Tagalog (Filipino) at 1.1%, German at 1.0%, and Chinese at 0.8%, followed by Dutch at 0.6%, Ukrainian at 0.4%, and Vietnamese at 0.3%.

About 4.4% of residents identified as aboriginal at the time of the 2006 census.

Red Deer is home to almost 1,800 recent immigrants (arriving between 2001 and 2006) who now make up just more than 2% of the population. About 16% of these immigrants came from the Philippinesmarker, while about 14% came from Colombiamarker, 8% came from Indiamarker, 7% came from the United Statesmarker, and about 5% from each of South Africa and the United Kingdommarker, and about 4% from El Salvadormarker.

Almost 72% of the residents are identified as Christian and over 26% said they had no religious affiliation for the 2001 Census. For specific denominations Statistics Canada counted 14,660 Roman Catholics (22%), and 10,970 United Church (16.5%), 3,720 Anglican (5.6%), 3,065 Lutherans (4.6%), as well as about 1,305 Baptists (2%), and about 1,200 Pentecostals (1.8%), about 1,060 Presbyterian (1.6%), about 905 for the Christian and Missionary Alliance (1.5%), and about 650 Jehovah's Witnesses (1.0%), as well as about 585 for the Evangelical Missionary Church (0.9%) and 455 Mormons (0.7%).

In a July 2007 analysis of demographic information from the 2006 Federal Census prepared by Environics Analytics, Red Deer was the city most closely resembling the country as a whole.

Climate

Red Deer has a semi-arid continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk). The hottest recorded temperature was on August 24, 1992. The coldest recorded temperature was on December 9, 1977.

Media

Sport

Red Deer is the hometown of several well-known sporting personalities, including former NHLer Ron Anderson, ex-NHLer Glen Wesley, Trent Hunter, Chris Mason and Mark Tinordi, and Olympic gold medallist Jamie Salé. Olympic medallist speed skater Jeremy Wotherspoon also spent most of his childhood in Red Deer after being born in Saskatchewan. Olympic bronze medallist Deidra Dion grew up in Red Deer.



Community bands



Gallery

Image:Red Deer - rail station.JPG|The old railway stationImage:Red Deer - Kerrywood Nature Centre.JPG|Kerrywood Nature CentreImage:Red Deer - Cyclists.jpg|Trails run throughout the park system for cycling, rollerblading, cross-country skiing and walkingImage:Red Deer - Bridge.JPG|The old railway bridge - now part of the trail system through the extensive parksImage:Red Deer - bower ponds fog.jpg|Though creating great photo opportunities at Bower ponds, foggy days are rare in Red DeerImage:Red Deer - Bower Ponds.JPG|Canoeing on Bower Ponds

Notes

  1. Red Deer Public School District
  2. In 2007, the population grew by 2 734 to a total of 85 705 living in the city.


External links




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