Vermilion by The Water


How did a community in central-east Alberta score a manmade lake that would go on to make the region a prime spot for a Provincial Park? It all started with a purpose-built dam in 1953 generating the lake that would create Vermilion Provincial Park, the seventh of the now 76 provincial parks scattered across Alberta. Sure, Vermilion’s Park may not be the biggest, but it’s a magnet of an adventure hub where people flock to, just a two-hour drive from Edmonton and 45 minutes from Lloydminster.

“We hear a lot about why, or even how, does our community have a rowing club,” says Kati White, Lakeland Rowing Club member. “The main question is, where the heck do you guys row?”

Watch Vermilion by The Water on YouTube.

This farming-based community with a population of 4,100 is seeing an influx of people, creative entrepreneurial types, who are cashing out of the big city, for a more affordable and relaxed way of life, escaping traffic jams and spending more time outdoors. Some of them are opening their own businesses.

A behind-the-scenes look at paddling around Vermilion Provincial Park.

Jenny McGuinness is a fairly recent addition to town and a two-year member of the Lakeland Rowing Club. As an environmental sciences teacher at Lakeland College, it’s her job to know the lay of the land.

It's very Vermilion to love summer, #TakeItToTheLake and start your 2020 planing here.

“What I love about Vermilion is that you know everybody. I can take my students out of town and into nature in less than five minutes, she says. “Being out here at 6 a.m on the water, and then after rowing practice within minutes I am at my desk - by bike - minus the rush-hour stress is something really special to me.”

Photo: Doc Pow
The Lakeland Rowing Club is 22 years strong in Vermilion Provincial Park.

When you visit Vermilion, McGuinness suggests you pack your fishing rod, a tent, and your watercraft of choice, because the park located in the Vermilion River Valley stretching for 14 kilometres, includes a fully-serviced campground with 98 sites and a stocked trout pond. Then there’s also the lake located in the park, the perfect spot for rowing. Some lucky folks have houses that back onto the park entrance.

Photo: Doc Pow
Paddling up Vermilion Provincial Park.

Multiple Olympic medalist Becky Scott earned her cross-country skiing chops in this park, using the 23 kilometres of trails as her training ground. It’s another reason people love this area, having the all-season park right on their doorstep.

The water in Vermilion is being used in creative new ways, including at Copper Cork Distillery.

The water’s so good here that Vermilion will be home to the new Copper Cork Distillery. “We’re making spirits, clear neutral spirits made from grains, mostly vodka but then (we) add different things to it, berry flavoured or savoury vodka,” says Todd Ree, Copper Cork co-founder.

Ree has been taking advantage of the quality water in the community for many years – as one of the founders of the Lakeland Rowing club 22 years ago. He’s also one of the chief motivators of the Vermilion Nordic Ski Club.

“If I hear the words take it to the lake, that means a lot of things to me. When I first moved here 20 odd years ago, we helped start the rowing club and now have a very successful club here. I’ve stepped back from that now, but my #TakeItToTheLake moments mean cross-country skiing around the lake,” says Ree.

Photo: Doc Pow
The Vermilion Aquatic Centre is the perfect spot after a day of adventures.

Another popular spot for water-based activities is the Vermilion Aquatic Centre at Lakeland College. With its huge hot tub, rope swing and lap swimming options it’s great for winding down or working out your muscles to get ready for the next adventure.

But it's the surrounding prairie landscape of this region that sisters Kyra and Della Stefanuk, authors and owners of Prairie Sisters Productions (featured in the video above,) have a deep love for. They’ve even written a book about it. It’s called Ramble, A Smidge of Blue, an ode in poetry and photography of their love of the prairies.

Though now living close by in Lloydminster they’ve both seen a tremendous difference in Vermilion where they lived four years ago. “They’ve really picked it up,” says Kyra. “There has been a whole bunch of new things going on and building new shops, it’s cool to see,” says Della.


Check out Vermilion’s home page to get a copy of their business and community guide, which will make planning your visit here a snap.

How many communities do you know that have a Good Life Institute? This community hub produces a ton of events and programs to keep their citizens and visitor engaged on everything from learning workshops to sporting events.

Vermilion Provincial Park directions and descriptions are found here.

But if camping isn’t your thing – the community offers tons of other accommodation options.

For more on how to #TakeItToTheLake this summer, either search the tag on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or read more here.

Our friends at Travel Alberta want you to #ExploreAlberta this summer - get going by visiting

Be sure to let us know what you find, share your adventures with the hashtag #TakeItToTheLake and #ExploreVermilion because you might be featured on ZenSeekers and our partners social media channels.

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