Cold Lake, Canada

Cold Lake, located near the provincial border of Alberta-Saskatchewan, Canada, is sparsely populated, consisting primarily of farm land and forested regions. The growth of the economy is attributed to military spending at Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, also known as CFB. CFB is one of two military bases in the country utilizing sophisticated CF-18 Flornet fighter/interceptor aircraft, used in the defense of the western half of Canadian air space and the expansive arctic territory. Each year Cold Lake hosts military forces from around the world for Exercise Maple Flag, an extensive training program designed for pilots and personnel of NATO allies. The program, which begins in May, lasts between four to six weeks. The event is open to visitors for viewing sophisticated military aircraft and manuevers conducted in rural air spaces. The program contributes significant income to the hotel and hospitality industries in the region, as most accommodations are booked during the month of May.

Cold Lake offers a wealth of summer and winter outdoor recreational activities, many of which are centered around the dazzling waters of the lake that borders the city. Visitors are attracted to water sports activities, such as canoeing, kayaking, sailing, pleasure boating and fishing. Home to approximately 25 known species of fish, the lake provides outstanding fishing opportunities year around. There are several first-class campgrounds in the area, including Cold Lake Provincial Park, which offers spacious camp sites in a partially secluded lakeside area with access to a wilderness hiking trail system, a private beach and several boat launching areas. The M.D. Campground, with spectacular views of the lake and surrounding forest lands, includes a large covered picnic area with outdoor cooking facilities. Kinosoo Beach, which spans approximately three city blocks, is a splendid area for relaxation, sunbathing and swimming.

Hiking trails are abundant, vary in length, and are graded according to difficulty. The Iron Horse Trail is a multi-purpose trail that traverses through mixed forests and farm lands. Winding along rivers, waterfalls and lakes, the trail is popular for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding during the summer season, and for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling during the winter season. The Millennium Trail is a paved, multi-purpose trail, ideal for mountain biking, hiking and rollerblading in the summer. It is perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. The African Lake Trail, one of the most rugged in the area, is an un-groomed, narrow trail that spirals through a densely forested area, leading to Cold Lake Provincial Park.

Although many visitors choose camping at Cold Lake, several accommodations are available, including small hotels, bed and breakfast inns and short-term rentals. The Hamilton House Bed & Breakfast Inn, situated on five acres, surrounded by spacious lawns and colorful flower gardens, is one of the most popular in the area. Other charming inns include the Villa on the Hill Bed & Breakfast, the Harbour House Bed & Breakfast Inn and the Lakeshore Inn.

The Cold Lake recreational region includes two spectacular golf courses, the Palm Springs Golf Club and the Grand Centre Golf & Country Club. Both courses feature manicured greens, water hazards and sand traps. Cold Lake is a marvelous holiday getaway for outdoor enthusiasts of every type. The summer months are warm and sunny, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, walking, swimming, golfing, fishing, and water sports activities. Transformed into a spectacular wonderland of icy waterways and dazzling white forest trails, the winter season is perfectly suited for cross country skiing, winter hiking, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. When the frigid cold climate begins, the ice-encrusted lake becomes a sweeping outdoor rink, ideal for figure skating, ice hockey and ice fishing. Cold Lake is one of the few wilderness areas in Canada amenable to outdoor activities spanning all seasons.


Calgary, Canada

Calgary, Canada is beautiful and exciting city that draws visitors from around the world. With a population of nearly a million people, Calgary is the fourth largest city in Canada and largest in the Province of Alberta. Located on the banks of the Bow River and situated close to the Rocky Mountain system, the city of Calgary was formally established in 1875. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of people poured into the city lured by the promise of homestead land. This frontier spirit gives Calgary much of its character and has made it into one of the world’s most dynamic and diverse cities.

Calgary’s expansion was fueled by the discovery of large oil reserves in 1947. Although the city experienced a prolonged decline in revenue when energy prices bottomed out during the 1980s, city planners who worked to diversify the economy, coupled with the rising oil prices of the 2000s, spurred the economy’s resurgence. Calgary became such a renowned city that it was chosen to host the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. As a world-class city, Calgary receives nearly four million visitors a year, with over a million people flocking to the city for the annual Calgary Stampede.

The Calgary Stampede boasts a huge parade and features what is widely considered the largest rodeo in the world. The Stampede is a ten-day event that also features fairs, concerts, and chuckwagon racing. The winter climate makes Calgary and ideal locale for winter sports. The Canada Olympic Park hosts many winter sports events including luge, downhill skiing, and snowboarding among many others. With considerably mild summers and abundant sunshine, Calgary also provides many opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Golfing, water skiing, fly-fishing, and mountain biking are popular throughout the region.

The economic boom has also helped the city develop a thriving cultural scene that has something for every taste. Expansive shopping centers such as The Core Shopping Centre and the Eau Claire Market form the backbone of a flourishing downtown that boasts a diverse array of restaurants, public spaces, and nightlife. In addition, the Calgary Zoo, the Telus World of Science, Glenbow Museum, and the Art Gallery of Calgary all attract thousands of visitors every year. In addition, the Heritage Park Historical Village and Spruce Meadows provide a reprieve for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city.

Calgary is a beautiful, unique city that not only provides a plethora of activities for sports and outdoors enthusiasts, but it also has a number of must-see cultural and public landmarks. From its hardscrabble origins, Calgary has grown to become one of the highest ranked cities on earth in terms of quality of life and cleanliness.


Edmonton Canada

Edmonton Canada is in a scenic setting on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River in the province of Alberta. This large city surrounded by acres of wilderness has something of interest for all types of visitors. Visitors will find things to do outdoors and indoors all years long. There are historic sites, museums, parks, a huge mall and other attractions here. Edmonton can be reached by car, plane or train.

The city of Edmonton had its beginning as a trading post known as Fort Edmonton. This trading post was established in 1801. It became an important supply center on the Hudson’s Bay Company’s route across Canada. The company was given a land grant around the trading post and the first important building in the city of Edmonton was built in 1871. The city was incorporated in 1904. Edmonton was named as the official capital of the province of Alberta in 1906. The city had a population of over 70,000 by 1914. An oil boom increased Edmonton’s population during the 1960s and 1970s. The city’s population continued to grow during the 1980s and 1990s. Over 750,000 people lived in Edmonton in 2008.

People who like the outdoors will enjoy Edmonton. The city has more than 460 parks. Many of these parks are along the river. Visitors can bike, walk or jog along the trails in Dawson Park. There are picnic areas and a lake at William Hawrelak Park. Hermitage Park has areas where visitors can fish. Some of the city’s parks have places to go cross country skiing during the winter. People who enjoy winter sports can go skiing and snowboarding at Snow Valley.

Fort Edmonton Park and Rutherford House are two of the city’s historic sites. Streets in the park show how Edmonton looked during 1885, 1905 and 1920. Visitors can ride buggies, streetcars and stagecoaches. The Rutherford House was built in 1911. Visitors can take guided tours of the home.

Museums in the city include the Alberta Railway Museum, the Telephone Historical Centre and the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum.

There are over 800 stores in the West Edmonton Mall. Places to visit in the mall besides stores include World Waterpark and the Galaxyland amusement park.

Restaurants in Edmonton serve a variety of cuisine. The Creperie is a French restaurant in the downtown area. Crepes, escargot, mussels and duck are some of the items on the menu here. Col. Mustard’s Canteen in central Edmonton has over 30 kinds of sandwiches on the menu. Acqua Marina Italian Restaurant is in the northwest area.

Edmonton visitors will find hotels near many of the city’s attractions. The Fantasyland Hotel adjoins the West Edmonton Mall. The Westin Edmonton and the Days Inn are in downtown Edmonton. The Delta Edmonton Centre Suite Hotel is in the City Centre Shopping Mall in the downtown area.

Annual festivals in Edmonton include the Historic Festival, the International Jazz Festival and the International Film Festival.


Alberta Canada

The province of Alberta, located in the western part of Canada, is a land full of extreme topography. Although it’s known as the prairie province, Alberta is the home of some of the tallest peaks of the Canadian Rockies. The diversity of Alberta’s landscape continues from these majestic mountains to the bright yellow canola fields of the Grande Prairie, the dense wilderness of the Boreal Forests, and the rugged fossil-filled Canadian Badlands. Because of these extremes, Alberta is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. In addition to outdoor activities, Alberta has many exciting attractions to offer travelers of all ages.

The crystal clear lakes, snow-capped mountains, and dazzling waterfalls of the Canadian Rockies, located in the Alberta’s south western region, bring skiers, hikers, and anglers from around the world. Challenging slopes can be found in this region’s top ski and snow boarding destinations of Castle Mountain and Marmot Basin. These resorts not only offer world-class ski runs, but accommodations and restaurants to satisfy the most discerning traveler. The Canadian Rockies is also the home of Banff National Park, Canada’s oldest national park. Here visitors can enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful vistas, explore glaciers and ice fields, and catch sight of over 50 species of mammals including grizzlies, elk, bighorn sheep, and moose. For hikers, the Canadian Rockies provide vast network of trails suitable for both experts and novices. Anglers can enjoy pristine rivers and turquoise lakes such as Lake Louise and Lake Moraine.

The Grande Prairie of Alberta, located in the heartland of the province, is home to many attractions. Red Deer, Alberta’s third largest city, offers travelers a wide choice of shopping, dining, and night life. While in the area, enjoy other worth-while sites such as the Historic Fort Normandeau, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, or travel to the nearby town of Stettler to take a full-day excursion across the prairie on the Alberta Prairie Railway, a historic steam locomotive.

The southern region of Alberta contains both prairies and mountains. One of the most beautiful attractions in this area is Waterton Lakes National Park. Sharing a border with Montana’s Glacier National Park, these majestic peaks attract thousands of tourists yearly. North east of the park, the topography changes to barren ravines, rocky towers, and the jagged ridges of the Canadian Badlands. This area earned its “badland” reputation from accounts of outlaws that hid from the law amidst the deep gulches and rocky landscape. Here visitors can visit the town of Drumheller and tour the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which contains one of Canada’s most extensive collections of dinosaur skeletons and fossils. Also in this region, lies one of Canada’s most famous cities, Calgary. Known mostly as the home of the 1988 Winter Olympics, Calgary offers a myriad of attractions including theaters, parks, and the Calgary Zoo. Its also the home of the famous Calgary Stampede which consists of 10 days packed with rodeos, concerts, and festivals. Travelers come from all over the world to enjoy this famous event.

The spacious northern region of Alberta is where visitors can unwind and escape the hectic pace of daily life. This wide-open, sparsely populated region, is the location of Canada’s Boreal Forest. Known as the “green crown of the world,” the Boreal Forest is an evergreen paradise and the largest terrestrial ecosystem in the world. Larger than even the Amazon Rainforest, the Boreal Forest remains wilderness, free of roads and industrial development.

If you’d much rather peruse isles of merchandise than roam the wilds, then look no further than the city of Edmonton, Alberta’s capital. This city features the West Edmonton Mall, Canada’s largest shopping and entertainment center. With hundreds of shops and restaurants, an indoor golf course, ice rink, water park, and amusement park, visitors need not ever leave the confines of the mall. However, if you do venture outside the mall, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the nearby attractions of historic Fort Saskatchewan and the quaint towns of St. Albert and Leduc.

Alberta is a destination that holds something for every traveler. Visitors can experience soaring mountains, rolling prairies, badlands, and explore one of the Earth’s few remaining wildernesses as well as enjoy all the major metropolitan experiences of museums, restaurants, and shopping extravaganzas. All in all, each visit to Alberta offers an opportunity to create an enjoyable and unique memory.