Fort Saskatchewan

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Fort Saskatchewan
City
City of Fort Saskatchewan
Fort Saskatchewan City Hall and Public Library in December, 2016
Fort Saskatchewan City Hall and Public Library in December, 2016
Flag of Fort Saskatchewan
Flag
Official logo of Fort Saskatchewan
Motto(s): 
Gotta Love It!
Location with Strathcona County
Location with Strathcona County
Fort Saskatchewan is located in Alberta
Fort Saskatchewan
Fort Saskatchewan
Location of Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta
Coordinates: 53°42′46″N 113°12′48″W / 53.71278°N 113.21333°W / 53.71278; -113.21333Coordinates: 53°42′46″N 113°12′48″W / 53.71278°N 113.21333°W / 53.71278; -113.21333
CountryCanada
ProvinceAlberta
RegionEdmonton Metropolitan Region
Census division11
Incorporated[1] 
 • VillageMarch 1, 1899
 • TownJuly 1, 1907
 • CityJuly 1, 1985
Named forNorth Saskatchewan River
Government
 • MayorGale Katchur
(Past mayors)
 • Governing body
 • ManagerTroy Fleming
 • MPGarnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan-Conservative)
 • MLAJackie Armstrong Homeniuk (Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville-UCP)
Area
 (2016)[3]
 • Land48.18 km2 (18.60 sq mi)
Elevation610 m (2,000 ft)
Population
 (2016)[3]
 • Total24,149
 • Density501.3/km2 (1,298/sq mi)
 • Municipal census (2019)
26,942[5]
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)+1-780
HighwaysHighway 15
Highway 21
WaterwaysNorth Saskatchewan River
WebsiteOfficial website

Fort Saskatchewan is a city in Alberta, Canada, 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of Edmonton, Alberta's capital city, along the North Saskatchewan River. Fort Saskatchewan is part of the Edmonton census metropolitan area and is one of 24 municipalities that constitute the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board (EMRB).[6] Fort Saskatchewan's population in the 2016 federal census was 24,149. Its population has since increased to 26,942 according to the city's 2019 municipal census.

Fort Saskatchewan is bordered by Strathcona County to the south and east, Sturgeon County to the north and west, and the City of Edmonton to the southwest. Sturgeon County and Edmonton are across the North Saskatchewan River. The original fort was located one kilometer north-east of Lamoureux.

The city is most well known for its proximity to petrochemical facilities, including Dow Chemical, Sherritt International, Agrium and Shell Canada. It is also known for its flock of 50 sheep that roam the Fort Heritage Precinct throughout the summer months eating the grass.[7] The city mascot is a sheep named Auggie.[8]

History[edit]

In 1875, under the command of Inspector W.D. Jarvis, the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) established Fort Saskatchewan as a fort on the North Saskatchewan River.[9] The community was incorporated as a village in 1899, a town in 1904, and a city in 1985.[1]

The Canadian Northern Railway reached Fort Saskatchewan in 1905, placing the town on a transcontinental rail line.[10] The C.N.R. station is a 100-19 model, which is a "special station" that was only used by C.N.R. on the most significant stops along their line.[11] It is longer than other third class stations built by C.N.R. and has several unique features, including hip roofs on either side of the building, and a large interior that contains a vestibule, a kitchen, a living room, a large general waiting room, a separate waiting room for women, an office, and a small freight shed. An addition was built on the West side of the station in 1911; a sign of the growth in population and rail traffic that Fort Saskatchewan experienced. It is the only surviving model 100-19 railway station in Alberta.

The first bridge across the river was also built at this time. The rail company paying for it in exchange for free land for its station in Fort Saskatchewan.[12] Prior to the bridge, the only method to cross the river at Fort Saskatchewan was via ferry.[12] In the decade after the railway arrived, the town's population nearly doubled to 993.[13]

A new $200,000 provincial jail opened in 1915 at the end of what is now 100th Avenue to replace the 34-cell guard house that had been used to hold prisoners since the NWMP fort was constructed in 1875.[14] There were various additions to the jail throughout the next 70 years, including the construction of more cell blocks and a stand-alone power plant.[14] By 1973, the jail employed 220 residents[14] and housed both male and female offenders. The jail was replaced in 1988 when a new provincial correctional centre was built south of Highway 15 on 101st Street. The jail cell blocks were demolished in 1994. The Warden's House is the only remaining structure linked to the old goal; the last building on the actual prison grounds, the facility workshop, was demolished in 2014.[15]. Using various historical and archaeological techniques, some of these structural artifacts can be dated as existing more than 100 years.

In 1952, Sherritt Gordon Mines started construction on a $25-million nickel refinery in Fort Saskatchewan, which started production in 1954.[16] Following Sherritt Gordon's locating in Fort Saskatchewan, more industries constructed plants in the town. Between 1951 and 1956, the town's population doubled from 1,076 to 2,582.[17]

Dow Chemical acquired 700 acres in Fort Saskatchewan in 1959, opening its plant in 1961 and further expanding it in 1967.[18] Within five years of beginning operation at Dow, the population increased to 4,152 in 1966, from 2,972 in 1961.[18]

On January 1, 2020, the city annexed 952 hectares of land from Strathcona County.[19] The land is mainly located south of the city's old boundaries. Fort Saskatchewan had originally requested 2,000 hectares from Strathcona County, including industrial land to the north, but the county refused to include this additional land in the final deal.

Since Fort Saskatchewan was incorporated as a town in 1904, it has had 29 residents serve as its mayor.

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Fort Saskatchewan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.0
(50.0)
15.0
(59.0)
18.9
(66.0)
31.1
(88.0)
33.5
(92.3)
33.4
(92.1)
36.5
(97.7)
36.0
(96.8)
33.3
(91.9)
29.5
(85.1)
19.0
(66.2)
12.5
(54.5)
36.5
(97.7)
Average high °C (°F) −6.5
(20.3)
−3.6
(25.5)
1.7
(35.1)
11.3
(52.3)
17.9
(64.2)
21.2
(70.2)
23.3
(73.9)
22.4
(72.3)
17.2
(63.0)
10.3
(50.5)
−0.4
(31.3)
−5.1
(22.8)
9.1
(48.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.9
(10.6)
−9.3
(15.3)
−3.7
(25.3)
4.9
(40.8)
11.1
(52.0)
15.0
(59.0)
17.1
(62.8)
15.9
(60.6)
10.9
(51.6)
4.4
(39.9)
−5.3
(22.5)
−10.4
(13.3)
3.2
(37.8)
Average low °C (°F) −17.3
(0.9)
−15.0
(5.0)
−9.0
(15.8)
−1.5
(29.3)
4.3
(39.7)
8.8
(47.8)
10.8
(51.4)
9.4
(48.9)
4.5
(40.1)
−1.6
(29.1)
−10.2
(13.6)
−15.7
(3.7)
−2.7
(27.1)
Record low °C (°F) −45.0
(−49.0)
−47.5
(−53.5)
−45.6
(−50.1)
−28.0
(−18.4)
−9.5
(14.9)
−3.3
(26.1)
0.5
(32.9)
−1.0
(30.2)
−10.0
(14.0)
−24.5
(−12.1)
−38.5
(−37.3)
−43.9
(−47.0)
−47.5
(−53.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 24.0
(0.94)
12.4
(0.49)
18.7
(0.74)
24.3
(0.96)
43.1
(1.70)
80.0
(3.15)
92.0
(3.62)
55.4
(2.18)
40.8
(1.61)
20.6
(0.81)
23.3
(0.92)
20.2
(0.80)
454.6
(17.90)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0.6
(0.02)
0.8
(0.03)
0.5
(0.02)
16.2
(0.64)
41.1
(1.62)
80.0
(3.15)
92.0
(3.62)
55.4
(2.18)
40.8
(1.61)
14.3
(0.56)
2.8
(0.11)
0.7
(0.03)
345.2
(13.59)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 23.4
(9.2)
11.6
(4.6)
18.1
(7.1)
8.1
(3.2)
2.0
(0.8)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
6.3
(2.5)
20.5
(8.1)
19.8
(7.8)
109.7
(43.2)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 6.6 5 4.3 6.3 10.2 13.3 14.2 13.5 10.2 6.8 6.4 5.9 102.6
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.14 0.21 0.66 5.1 10.1 13.3 14.2 13.5 10.2 6 1.5 0.18 75
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 6.5 4.8 3.7 1.5 0.35 0 0 0 0.07 1 4.9 5.8 28.6
Source #1: Environment Canada[20][21]
Source #2: Precipitation Days Only[22]

Demographics[edit]

Federal census
population history
YearPop.±%
1901306—    
1906585+91.2%
1911782+33.7%
1916993+27.0%
1921982−1.1%
1926943−4.0%
19311,001+6.2%
1936899−10.2%
1941903+0.4%
1946921+2.0%
19511,076+16.8%
19562,582+140.0%
19612,972+15.1%
19664,152+39.7%
19715,726+37.9%
19768,304+45.0%
198112,169+46.5%
198611,983−1.5%
199112,078+0.8%
199612,408+2.7%
200113,121+5.7%
200614,957+14.0%
201119,051+27.4%
201624,149+26.8%
Sources: Statistics Canada and
City of Fort Saskatchewan

[23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]
[34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][3]

The population of the City of Fort Saskatchewan according to its 2019 municipal census is 26,942,[5] a change of 2.3% from its 2018 municipal census population of 26,328.[45]

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Fort Saskatchewan recorded a population of 24,149 living in 9,261 of its 9,939 total private dwellings, a change of 26.8% from its 2011 population of 19,051. With a land area of 48.18 km2 (18.60 sq mi), it had a population density of 501.2/km2 (1,298.2/sq mi) in 2016.[3]

In the 2011 Census, the City of Fort Saskatchewan had a population of 19,051 living in 7,333 of its 8,109 total dwellings, a change of 27.4% from its 2006 population of 14,957. With a land area of 48.12 km2 (18.58 sq mi), it had a population density of 395.9/km2 (1,025.4/sq mi) in 2011.[44]

Residents work mostly in trades (2,130), retail (1,840) or business/finance (1,575).[46]

According to the 2006 census, the largest visible minorities in the community were Chinese with 95 residents followed by Filipino with 55 residents.[46]

English is the first language of 91.7% of the population. French (2.2%) is the second most common first language.[46]

Economy[edit]

Sherritt International Corporation

Fort Saskatchewan's main industries are commercial and heavy industry. Fort Saskatchewan is part of Alberta's Industrial Heartland,[47] the largest Canadian industrial area west of Toronto. Companies with operations in the area include Dow Chemical, Sherritt International, Agrium and Shell Canada. These plants are major employers for residents of Fort Saskatchewan and the surrounding area.[48]

With the city's growth in recent years, the commercial service sector has also grown. Multi-national corporations with stores in Fort Saskatchewan include Wal-Mart and The Home Depot, with Canadian Tire, Safeway and Federated CO-OP acting as some of the other major employers.[48]

Fort Station Mall[edit]

The original Fort Mall was located on a 12-acre parcel on the east side of downtown, and contained 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2) of retail space.[49][50] In February 2003, a new purchaser promised renovations,[51] but the opening of nearby larger Cornerstone Mall that year only worsened the mall's situation.[52][53] The planned renovations were never completed, and a new owner came in[54][55] and in 2007 proposed to demolish part of the mall to construct apartments or condominiums.[54] Foreclosure proceedings began in 2008, and the mall was listed for judicial sale.[50][56] The initial asking price was $8 million,[57] and a $4 million bid from the city in the fall of 2009 was rejected.[58] In February 2010, the mall was relisted for sale at $5 million,[49][59] and a $4.35 million offer accepted by the court in April.[49][60][61]

On September 15th, 2015, Haro Developments opened phase one of its redevelopment of the site, which it renamed Fort Station Mall.[62] The majority of the old mall was demolished and replaced with outward-facing commercial units. The site, which is still under development, is now home to a mix of retail, commercial, and residential units. Commercial tenants include a cannabis shop, a gym, and a walk-in clinic that includes a pharmacy. Future plans for development include the construction of additional commercial units, apartments, and an assisted-living facility for seniors.[63] A recent report commissioned by the City of Fort Saskatchewan noted: "As of 2019, there is another phase of the site, yet to be redeveloped, but the project continues to progress towards completion." [64]

Attractions[edit]

Recreational[edit]

The centerpiece of Fort Saskatchewan's recreation and culture is the Dow Centennial Centre (DCC), a multi-use facility that includes an ice arena, gymnasium, field house, indoor track and fitness centre.[65] The facility, which opened in September 2004, also features a 550-seat performing arts theatre, a permanent art gallery with monthly shows, a banquet hall and the local Pottery Guild.

The city also has two other indoor ice arenas: the Jubilee Recreation Centre and the Sportsplex, that are used during the winter months by hockey, ringette and figure skating associations. In the summer months, the lacrosse association uses them. Fort Saskatchewan also has the Harbour Pool, which is an indoor swimming pool that includes a hot tub, sauna and slide. The city recently opened Taurus Field: A FIFA-certified artificial turf field for soccer and football matches. It features seating for more than 1000 people, a press box, four large dressing rooms, and lights surrounding the field.[66]

A map of Fort Saskatchewan's trail network.

Over 19 km (12 mi) of paved trails offer access through the river valley and the city's parks,[67] including Legacy Park, which is the city's main gathering place and hosts festivals in the summer. A pedestrian bridge is currently being built over the North Saskatchewan River to connect Fort Saskatchewan's trail network to Sturgeon County's trails. This is part of the Trans Canada Trail network.[68] There is one nine-hole golf course located within the city's boundaries with three others nearby. The city's west end features a boat launch into the North Saskatchewan River, called Red Coat Landing, and a provincially preserved natural area, called the Fort Saskatchewan Prairie.

The Elk Island National Park, which is famous for its bison, is located southeast of the city.

Cultural[edit]

The Fort Saskatchewan Museum (c. 1909) is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.[69] The museum, which is located in the city's Fort Heritage Precinct near Legacy Park, features a red brick courthouse, a historic school, church and house that were relocated to the site from their respective locations around the region. It also features a full-scale replica of the original Northwest Mounted Police fort which can be explored in the museum's guided tours.[70] Every May, the Historical Society hosts a two day event called "The Peoples of the North Saskatchewan."[71] This event allows local students to experience what life was like for residents in the early days of settlement. Activities include butter making, tug-of-war, and weaving. There are also opportunities to learn about Indigenous cultures, and students are able to ride a replica Red River Cart. Fort Saskatchewan is served by the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library located on 102 Street, in the same building as City Hall. The city is also home to a local theatre group, called The Sheeptown Players Drama Society, which regularly performs throughout the community.[72]

The historical court house
Markers indicate the original west entrance to the old Northwest Mounted Police Fort, with the replica fort in the background.
Markers indicate the original fort's West entrance, with the replica fort seen in the background.


Sports[edit]

The Pyramid Corp. Hawks of the Capital Junior Hockey League play out of the Jubilee Recreation Centre.[73]. The Fort Saskatchewan Traders, of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, were long a part of the city. After the 2006-07 season, the team relocated to St. Albert and was renamed the St. Albert Steel.[74]

Fort Saskatchewan is home to Heartland Roller Derby Association, the first flat track roller derby league in the city. HRDA was formed in 2016.[75]

Fort Saskatchewan has a youth sports association for hockey, soccer (indoor and outdoor), baseball, ringette, indoor lacrosse, figure skating, as well as sports associations for cross-country skiing and swimming.[76]

Infrastructure[edit]

Healthcare[edit]

The main entrance to the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital

Fort Saskatchewan has one hospital—the 38 bed Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital.[77] It was opened in 2012 to replace the city's aging health facility.

The city also has a 58-bed, public-operated, supportive-living seniors lodge, called Dr. Turner Lodge. Southfort Bend, a privately operated facility, also has supportive living for seniors. The lone assisted-living facility in Fort Saskatchewan, the Rivercrest Care Centre, is also home to a hospice.[78]

Public Transit[edit]

Fort Sask Transit's current routes.

The city launched a pilot transit service on April 26, 2014, with prices being introduced a few days later, at the beginning of May.[79] The success of pilot program proved that there was demand for local transit, and the city launched its full transit service, called Fort Sask Transit, in September, 2016.[80] It originally consisted of two routes: Route 582 (The "Blue Route"), and Route 583 (The "Red Route").[81] Since then, the city has launched a specialized semiweekly route for seniors (Route 584/The "Green Route"),[82] purchased an electric bus,[83] constructed a park-and-ride, and joined the Regional Transit Services Commission.[84] Its membership in the Commission is subject to another vote once its cost model is altered to reflect Strathcona County's refusal to join. Membership in the Commission would allow for weekend transit service in Fort Saskatchewan, and add bus services to Sherwood Park, NAIT, and the West Edmonton Mall.[85]

Government[edit]

Fort Saskatchewan is directly governed by a city council consisting of one mayor and six councillors. Municipal elections occur every four years on the third Monday in October. The last election was held on October 16, 2017 where Gale Katchur was re-elected for a third term as mayor. The mayor is elected separately from the councillors, who are elected at-large (as opposed to the ward system).[86]

On the provincial level of government, Fort Saskatchewan is part of the riding called Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville. It is represented by Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk (United Conservative Party).[87]

On the federal level, Fort Saskatchewan is part of the Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan riding and is represented by Garnett Genuis (Conservative Party of Canada).[88]

Education[edit]

Fort Saskatchewan currently has no post-secondary schools. Most residents commute or move into Edmonton to attend post-secondary classes at the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, or Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.[89] Fort Saskatchewan's schools are governed by two different school boards—Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) and Elk Island Catholic Schools (EICS). Both school boards have their head offices located in Sherwood Park. Fort Saskatchewan's elected trustees on the EIPS board are Heather Wall and Harvey Stadnick.[90] Al Stewart is the lone Fort Saskatchewan trustee on the EICS board.[91]

The following schools are located in Fort Saskatchewan:[92] [93]

Elementary Schools
  • École Parc Élémentaire (K-6)
  • Fort Saskatchewan Christian School (Grades K-9)
  • Fort Saskatchewan Elementary School (Grades K-6)
  • James Mowat Elementary School (Grades K-6)
Southpointe School in November 2016, around a year before opening
  • Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School (Grades K-4)
  • Saint John XXIII Catholic School (Grades K-4)
  • Southpointe School (Grades K-8)
  • Win Ferguson Community School (Grades K-6)


Junior High Schools
  • Fort Saskatchewan Christian School (Grades K-9)
  • Rudolph Hennig Junior High (7-9)
  • St. John Paul II Catholic School (5-8)
High Schools

Media[edit]

Fort Saskatchewan has two local newspapers. The Fort Saskatchewan Record (The Fort Record) is a weekly home-delivered newspaper published on Thursdays. It took over the offices and plant of The Conservator, the previous weekly newspaper, and was first published on Wednesday, April 5, 1922.[94] The Sturgeon Creek Post, established in 1996, is a weekly newspaper published on Wednesdays that is available at local businesses and newsstands. The Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun are also distributed in the community.

Fort Saskatchewan has one local radio station that broadcasts live on air. It is branded Mix 107.9 FM, and it is owned by Golden West Broadcasting[95] Fort Saskatchewan also had an internet radio station named FortRadio.com, which came online in November 2010[96] but has since shut down.

Notable people[edit]

Henry Louis Norwest in 1915

References[edit]

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