Central Alberta


In Alberta, there’s no shortage of stops to make if you’re planning on taking some day trips this summer. Less than 2 hours south east of Edmonton, you’ll come across the Village of Heisler in Flagstaff County, with a population of just 160 Albertans and some must-see businesses and attractions.

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?

Growing up in a small prairie town in the ‘80s, like I did, you had to make your own fun. It was an era of fast cars, wild fashion and some pretty darn good rock and roll. Probably a good thing most of us were too young to drive. But that doesn’t mean we’re too old to party now. And Three Hills gives you licence to let loose.

As you head east through Central Alberta, through Red Deer County from Highway 2 to 2A to Highway 21, the towns seem to get progressively smaller and the space in between get wider. No — not wider, that doesn’t quite capture it. Bigger, broader, more open and expansive. I don’t know if there’s a single word that exists to explain the sensation: the feeling of leaving behind the urban buzz of modern life for the solitude of wind blowing through long grass. This is prairie-raised Alberta writer W.O. Mitchell’s territory, out beyond where the sidewalk ends.  

Mirror is place where you have to slow down, take your time and appreciate the finer things of rural living, like heirloom furniture, hardy vegetables, bright flowers, horse riding, fresh homemade baking and downhome rural Albertan hospitality.

Mainstreet marquees, heritage buildings, boutique shops, craft stores, cafes and good restaurants anchor downtown, the Camrose County Nature Conservation Centre and Miquelon Lake Provincial Park give reign to the wilds just beyond town limits.

Ask for recommendations on where to go for a quick romantic getaway in Alberta, and the town of Trochu probably won’t top the list. But somehow, like a hot prairie day that slow cooks a sultry evening tempest, the town has simmered into a romantic getaway destination.

In Clive, AB – a town of just 700 northeast of Red Deer – even the ghosts know how to have a good time — sometimes well past closing time. At least, that’s according to Dale Bright, co-owner of the Clive Hotel.

We are about to be robbed. Gunsmoke and pistol reports fill the prairie sky, as horses and riders bear down on us. Watching from the train car, my two sons and I are spellbound.