Blanketed at the northern tip of Alberta rests a region where innovators, opportunists and forward-
thinkers settle. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to explore its untouched territory, world athletes show up to
compete, and stargazers come to view some of the most dynamic cinematic light shows nature has to
Welcome to Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, located on Treaty 8 territory — the traditional and ancestral
territories of the Cree and Dene. Home to culturally diverse and close-knit communities, who thrive in
making it a prosperous place for their families and neighbours to live.
It’s a region where its surroundings offer a natural scope of adventure through the changing seasons on
land and water. With watercourses running throughout its urban areas and inside its provincial parks,
the lakes and rivers are always within reach.
In the summer, residents gather for beach volleyball and paddleboarding by the Snye River. Others
enjoy the afternoon floating down the clear waters on innertubes, taking in the scenic backdrop of the
forest and wildlife along its routes.
Travel 19 kilometres outside of city limits to Gregoire Lake Provincial Park and join the avid boaters, RV
campers and fishing enthusiasts who will catch many species from Northern Pike to Walleye. The lake is
part of the Athabasca River Basin and is a common area for residents to comb the lakeside, jet ski and
enjoy the late-night hours of summer’s sunshine.
Back in the city, a 130-kilometre trail system sits in the backyard of three of Fort McMurray’s central
subdivisions. The Birchwood Trails are footed by residents 365 days a year. In the winter, they cross-
country ski through the groomed trails. To warm up, they head into the newly-renovated Doug Barnes
Cabin. The cabin has been an event centre for the Ptarmigan Nordic Ski Club and other community
organizations since 1977.
Having a forest located steps away from their front doors makes it easy to escape the everyday hustle
and improve their health and wellness by working out at Fort McMurray’s Outdoor Green Gym. It’s
Canada’s largest outdoor exercise equipment circuit, stationed with 14 fitness centers and has 50 pieces
of all-season equipment, including air walkers, ellipticals, spinners, leg presses and hand bikes.
At the bottom of the neighbourhood hills, multi-million dollar recreation facilities sit on the historic
island. MacDonald Island Park allows people to swim in Olympic-sized pools, skate on NHL-sized rinks
and play football on fields large enough for CFL teams.
Beside the Park, Shell Place’s world-class stadium is on display around the clock. With its canopy
mimicking the undulating northern lights, some of the most iconic rock stars like KISS, Aerosmith, Bryan
Adams and Barenaked Ladies have performed underneath its luminous glow.
The stadium’s home turf has also been the prime location for special televised sporting events like the
CFL’s Northern Kickoff, exhibition games with the Edmonton Eskimos (now known as Edmonton Elks),
Toronto Argonauts and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, Rogers Hometown Hockey and a few of the
North American Soccer League’s FC Edmonton regular-season games.
The region is a well-known host community for high-profile sports competitions; including the Arctic
Winter Games, the Alberta Winter Games, the Northern Classic, Alberta Colleges Athletic League
Basketball Championships, World Curling Tour Championships and the Alberta Figure Skating Sections,
CCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship and PGA TOUR Canada’s Boreal Open to name a few of
the several dozens.
Although the climate is in most favour for winter activities, the summers in the north are euphoric as the
sun shines into the night with a few hours of darkness until mid-September. Golf fanatics hit holes from
daybreak until after dinner at one of the four courses available, including the Fort McMurray Golf Club,
Miskanaw Golf Club, RotaryLinks Golf @ Wood Buffalo and the newest course at Vista Ridge - All
Put on the map as Alberta’s best non-mountain recreation facilities for people to ski, snowboard and go
tubing, Vista Ridge is another hidden gem and only a short 20-minute drive from the city. Its latest
addition is the golf course and was made family-friendly with an aqua driving range. Guests also enjoy
Aerial Adventure Park, mini-putt and frisbee-golf.
Rich in history and culture, the growth of the region’s tourism industry is continuously branching out
with local entrepreneurs into new explorations for its residents and visitors to discover. The food and
entertainment industry consistently adds new flavours to their plates and colours to palettes.
The art scene attracts hundreds of artists from all disciplines and backgrounds, some born and raised,
others arriving from multiple places across the globe. They collaborate to create showstopping
performances on the theatre stages, hang masterpieces inside the local galleries and play their favourite
instruments inside restaurants and pubs.
The biggest show of all comes most often unexpectedly. And when it starts, the entire region shares the
news to head outdoors. Skywatchers travel the northern hemisphere to places like Norway, Finland and
Sweden to see them. But for locals, they only have to step outside and look up to view the natural
wonders of the Northern Lights.
For centuries, its people have been built on strength and continue to activate new avenues for the next
generations. They are motivated for those within their proximity and for the nation because it is here
where the economic engine runs 24 hours a day in the oilsands to build better investments for Canada’s