Let's Go Road Tripping through History
Posted on Monday July 23, 2018 at 04:07PM
Fancy taking a road trip through time? We put together a list of some of the coolest museums and heritage areas East of Edmonton you can visit if you’re fiending some local knowledge and cool facts. Pack your things, jump in the car and let’s go - east!
Bonnyville & Cold Lake - The Bonnyville & District Museum has an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia relevant to the town's history. You’ll have a blast exploring through numerous buildings and acres of space. Some of the buildings include two churches, a school, a general store, a hospital display and a replica of the Northwest Trading post that served as one of the major destination points in settlement-era Bonnyville.
Head up the road and check out the the Cold Lake Museum, offering a lot of interesting things for just about anyone. If you’re into military and aviation, the Air Force Museum houses flight simulations and historical displays of our military past. You can discover just how oil extraction works in the Oil & Gas Museum, learn about the history of the Indigenous communities that settled along Cold Lake in the Aboriginal Museum and find out about the first European settlers who arrived in the region at the Heritage Museum.
Elk Island National Park - Nestled deep in the Astotin Lake Area is the Ukrainian Pioneer Home, built in the early 1950s to honour the Ukrainian-Canadians who settled in the area. It was the first museum in the country dedicated to Ukrainian immigration and today, this one-story replica stands as an example of how homes were built in the era.
East Central Alberta - If you haven't been on the Central Rural East Alberta museums tour, consider this summer your opportunity to cross it off your bucket list. The CREAM tour has something for everyone in the family, with 16 museums alongside highways 13 thru 16 set to take you on a crash course through rural history. One of these museums, The Iron Creek Museum, is comprised of several heritage buildings full of items from founding families in the Lougheed region. There’s a grain elevator worth exploring as it houses several displays you can check out. Meanwhile, you can expect plenty of local history exhibits, heritage demonstrations, archives & local art and classic farm machinery at any one of the great stops along the way.
Lamont County Region - The self-described “Church Capital of North America,” Lamont is home to more churches per capita than anywhere else on the continent. Stop in at the County Office to pick up a self-guided tour information and let the adventure begin!
History comes to life at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. This open-air museum, found in the heart of the largest Ukrainian settlement area in Canada, recreates 35 restored buildings that were part of the first major Ukrainian bloc settlement in Central Alberta. Learn all about the history of Ukrainian immigration, brought to life with the help of interpreters found throughout the park.
Redwater - The Redwater and District Museum is a living time capsule of the region’s homesteading roots. You’ll get to take in some thought-provoking artifacts and displays all tied to the history of one-room schools and when oil was discovered in Redwater, bringing serious changes to the area. But you’ll want to be quick – the museum is open between 1 and 3 PM on Saturdays.
Smoky Lake County Region - Fancy a trip to settlement times? The Victoria Settlement Historic Site is home to the oldest building in Alberta, still standing on its original foundation! You can get a real dose of pioneer history here and thanks to working interpreters, tour the former fort.
You won’t find a spot quite like Metis Crossing in Western Canada. Dedicated to documenting Metis culture, it’s 512 acres filled with plenty of rich history, a gorgeous riverfront view, boat launch and a gift shop. We mean it when we say you’ll be standing on history; the area has been an important river crossing for centuries and the campsites were originally used by the Metis people, fur traders, missionaries, voyagers and farmers for over 6000 years.
Strathcona County - Intended to enrich the lives of residents in Strathcona County, the Strathcona County Art Gallery @ 501 features exhibits from artists around the area. The displays change each month so make sure to check in often!
Meanwhile, the Strathcona County Museum is a venerable source of riches for all things Strathcona County-related. The archives is home to Sherwood Park’s original fire hall and a RCMP jail cell. Both pioneer and Indigenous-related exhibits are on display, and there’s more to visit such as a train station, a general store and a grain elevator.
Thorhild County - Thorhild Library is home to the Thorhild Museum, open to the public upon request. Check out great displays, items and artifacts detailing the past of Thorhild and its unique culture. It is also home to a general store that replicates what it would have been like in the time of the pioneers.
Vegreville - The Vegreville Regional Museum, located on the site of a former renowned research station, is where to go to learn more about the four distinct pioneer groups that all came to the region in the 1890s to help form Vegreville. It’s a slice of local history and it pulls double duty serving as a home for the Vegreville & District Sports Hall of Fame. Talk about a 2 for 1!
For a complete listing of Museums and Historic sites click here.
Looking for a place to stay on your next roadtrip?!
For a campground? See our blog here!
If a hotel is more your style, here’s a few great places to stay.
Lamont Heartland Hotel
Smoky Lake Super 8
Redwater - Paradise Inn
Cold Lake Waterfront Harbour Bed & Breakfast
Cold Lake Hamilton House
Cold Lake Marriott Hotel at Casino Dene
Sherwood Park Hotels
Sherwood Park - Park Centre & Hotel
Need more info?
Hi I'm Jenni! I am happy to help you plan a trip. Please feel free to contact our Go East of Edmonton team at 1-888-632-8755 or message us on Facebook.
Author: Go East of Edmonton
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