Winter Wonderland: Embracing the Outdoors in Fort McMurray

By Aaron Chalmers

As the snow blankets the picturesque city of Fort McMurray, the landscape transforms into a winter wonderland, offering an array of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. For those of us at The Home Team YMM, this season is not just about finding cozy homes for our clients but also about sharing the joy and excitement the beautiful city offers during the winter months.

1. Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing Adventures

Embark on a serene journey through the snow-covered trails of Fort McMurray. The Birchwood Trails, with over 130 kilometres of groomed paths, are a haven for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing enthusiasts. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced skier, these trails provide a peaceful escape into nature.

2. Exciting Snowmobiling

For the thrill-seekers, snowmobiling in Fort McMurray is a must-try. The vast, open landscapes and the designated trails offer an exhilarating experience. It's a fantastic way to explore the region's breathtaking scenery and get an adrenaline rush.

3. Family-Friendly Ice Skating

Fort McMurray’s community rinks come alive in the winter. Whether at MacDonald Island Park or one of the many neighbourhood rinks, ice skating is a fun, family-friendly activity. It’s a delightful way to spend an afternoon, followed by a warm cup of hot chocolate.

4. Dog Sledding – A Unique Experience

Experience the traditional mode of transportation in the north. Dog sledding is not just an activity; it’s an adventure that gives you a glimpse into Northern Canadian culture. Feel the rush as you glide through the snowy landscape, led by a team of enthusiastic huskies.

5. Ski, Snowboard and Tube Park

Vista Ridge brings an exhilarating experience for those who seek big air, slopestyle, speed and the love of trail riding. You will have a great time out at Vista Ridge with ski runs for all ages and skill levels. Outside the ski hill, Vista Ridge also offers a tube park where you are bound to hit top speeds and find yourself smiling ear to ear. Vista Ridge is more than just a ski adventure as it also features an enclosed ice surface, endless snowmobile trails, and, for the summer, a golf course, aerial climbing park and skate park.

6. Hosting Prestigious Winter Sports Events

Fort McMurray is also known for hosting significant winter sports events. The city has proudly hosted events like the Alberta Winter Games and the Western Canada Summer Games. These events have showcased Fort McMurray’s capability to host large-scale sporting events and brought together athletes from various regions, highlighting the community's spirit and hospitality.

7. Winter Photography and Nature Walks

For those who prefer a quieter pace, the winter landscape of Fort McMurray is a photographer's paradise. The frosted trees, the Northern Lights, and the wildlife offer endless opportunities for breathtaking photography and peaceful nature walks.

8. Community and Warmth

Beyond the outdoor activities, what truly makes Fort McMurray special in winter is the sense of community. Neighbours come together to enjoy these activities, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that lasts all season.


Fort McMurray is more than just a place to live; it's a community where adventure and tranquillity coexist, especially in winter. As your trusted real estate team, we invite you to explore the beauty and excitement of our city. Whether you're looking for a new home or just seeking a winter adventure, Fort McMurray has something for everyone.

For more information on real estate opportunities or upcoming winter events in Fort McMurray, contact The Home Team Ymm today.


In Alberta, zoning codes dictate land use and development within different areas or zones. Each zone is designated for specific land use types, ranging from residential and commercial to industrial and agricultural. Understanding these zoning codes is crucial for property owners, developers, and investors. Below are some common zoning codes in Alberta and what they typically mean:

Residential Zoning (R):

R1 - Single Detached Residential: Primarily for single-family homes.

R2 - Semi-Detached Residential: Allows for duplexes and semi-detached homes.

R3 - Small Lot Residential: Intended for smaller lot sizes, often for townhouses.

R4 - Low-Rise Apartment Residential: Permits low-rise apartment buildings.

R5 - High-Rise Apartment Residential: Designed for high-rise apartment buildings.

Commercial Zoning (C):

C1 - Neighbourhood Commercial: Small-scale businesses like convenience stores.

C2 - General Commercial: Allows for various commercial uses, such as retail and restaurants.

C3 - Regional Commercial: Larger commercial areas, often found near highways.

C4 - Urban Commercial: Intended for mixed-use developments, including commercial and residential.

Industrial Zoning (I):

I1 - Light Industrial: Suitable for light manufacturing and warehousing.

I2 - Medium Industrial: Allows for more substantial industrial activities.

I3 - Heavy Industrial: Permits heavy industrial operations like manufacturing plants and heavy machinery.

Agricultural Zoning (AG):AG - Agricultural: Reserved for farming and related activities. Often, non-agricultural uses are restricted.

Mixed-Use Zoning (MU):

MU - Mixed Use: Promotes a combination of residential, commercial, and sometimes industrial uses in a single area.

Special-Purpose Zoning (SP):

SP: This category covers specific zoning designations created for unique purposes, such as educational institutions, healthcare facilities, or parks.

Direct Control Zoning (DC):

DC: Provides flexibility for municipalities to create customized zoning regulations for specific developments or areas that don't fit into traditional zoning categories.

Each of these zoning codes comes with its own set of regulations, including rules on building height, setbacks, lot size, parking requirements, and more. Property owners and developers must consult local zoning bylaws to understand the specific rules and restrictions that apply to their area.

It's important to note that zoning codes can vary from one municipality to another within Alberta. Therefore, consulting the local municipal zoning bylaws and planning departments for precise information and guidance regarding zoning regulations in a particular location is essential. Additionally, zoning regulations can change over time, so staying updated on any revisions or amendments that may affect your property or development plans is advisable.


Introduction: Welcome to our real estate blog, where we dive deep into the vibrant and dynamic Fort McMurray real estate market. If you're considering buying or selling property in this northern gem of Alberta, you're in the right place! In this post, we'll provide insights into the current market trends, showcase the unique features of Fort McMurray, and offer tips for buyers and sellers alike.

The Fort McMurray Advantage

Location, Location, Location: Fort McMurray's strategic location in the heart of the oil sands region makes it a hub for employment opportunities. Its proximity to the Athabasca Oil Sands ensures a steady job market, attracting a diverse and growing population.

Natural Beauty: Nestled in the boreal forest along the Athabasca River, Fort McMurray offers breathtaking natural scenery. Whether it's the stunning landscapes of Wood Buffalo National Park or the Northern Lights dancing in the night sky, this region is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Community Spirit: Fort McMurray is known for its resilient and tight-knit community. The people here come together in the face of challenges, creating a supportive and welcoming environment.

Current Market Trends

Steady Growth: The real estate market in Fort McMurray has shown continued growth over the past few years. While it's not as frenzied as major urban markets, it offers stability and investment potential.

Diverse Housing Options: From single-family homes in cozy neighbourhoods to modern condominiums in the city center, Fort McMurray offers diverse housing options to suit every lifestyle and budget.

Affordable Opportunities: Compared to many major cities in Canada, Fort McMurray still offers affordable housing options. This makes it an attractive destination for first-time homebuyers and those looking for a fresh start.

Tips for Buyers

1. Work with a Local Realtor: A knowledgeable local real estate agent can provide valuable insights into the market, ensuring you find the right property at the right price.

2. Assess Your Needs: Determine your priorities, such as proximity to work, schools, or outdoor activities, to narrow down your options.

3. Be Patient: Fort McMurray's market isn't as competitive as larger cities, so you can take your time and make informed decisions.

Tips for Sellers

1. Prepare Your Home: Make necessary repairs and improvements to increase your property's appeal to potential buyers.

2. Set the Right Price: Work with your realtor to set a competitive and realistic listing price based on current market conditions.

3. Showcase Local Amenities: Highlight nearby attractions, schools, and parks in your listing to attract potential buyers interested in the Fort McMurray lifestyle.


The Fort McMurray real estate market offers exciting opportunities for both buyers and sellers. Its unique blend of natural beauty, community spirit, and economic stability make it a fantastic place to call home.

If you're considering entering the Fort McMurray real estate market, be sure to partner with a local realtor who understands the nuances of this dynamic region. With proper guidance, you can confidently navigate this market and find your dream property in Fort McMurray.


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
Seasons Park.
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

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The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.