Red Deer, located in Central Alberta, Canada, is almost halfway between Edmonton and Calgary. Queen Elizabeth II (QE II) Route cuts through the Red Deer region and connects it to Edmonton and Calgary. As a result, the Red Deer area and the municipalities along the QE II Highway are frequently referred to as the “Red Deer Corridor.” Its diverse cultural offerings attract many visitors.

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Red Deer has a diverse economy, with over 4,000 enterprises providing 62,224 jobs. Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade, Construction, Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas Extraction, Accommodation and Food Services, Manufacturing, and Educational Services are vital industries when measured by the labor force. In addition, the City is a significant oil distribution center and a historically and culturally important location. It was even designated as Canada’s Cultural Capital in 2003 by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Red Deer has a population of 100,418 people, according to the 2016 Census data released by Statistics Canada.    

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Red Deer_©https://www.watercanada.net/north-red-deer-regional-wastewater-system-has-been-commissioned/

From indoor arts and entertainment to outdoor pleasure, Red Deer has something for everyone. Whether you enjoy sports, nature, shopping, or eating, there will be plenty to keep you entertained while visiting the lovely city.

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Bower Ponds_ ©Arlene Grace Evangelista / Shutterstock

Heritage 

Historical and cultural attractions abound in Red Deer and the surrounding area, all of which are fascinating and enjoyable to visit. Downtown Red Deer has numerous heritage buildings and art, and it’s an excellent place to start learning about the City’s past. Cronquist House, Sunnybrook Farm & Museum, and Historic Fort Normandeau are all magnificent stops along the way. At places like the Markerville Creamery museum and Stephansson House, the home of one of Canada’s greatest poets, the history and stories of Danish and Icelandic settlers come to life.

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Fort Normandeau_© https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g154921-d3731582-r210665822-Fort_Normandeau-Red_Deer_Alberta.html

Fort Normandeau 

Fort Normandeau is the birthplace of Red Deer and part of the City’s rich cultural history. The fort was formerly the only means to cross the river between northern and southern Alberta, and it was known as the safest place to do so. As a result, a halting house was built in 1884, and the 65th Mount Royal Rifles strengthened it a year later.

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Fort Normandeau is now a park and an informative center with displays on the City’s natural and human history. It also has a boat launch where guests can begin their canoeing journey down the river.

Kerry Wood Nature Centre

Kerry Wood is a nature center located on the Red Deer River’s south bank. The region is open all year, offering visitors breathtaking beauty no matter when they visit.

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One of its main attractions is the nature center’s five-kilometer trail system, which goes through a 118-acre protected bird sanctuary. 

The Kerry Wood Nature Centre is also a hands-on center with displays highlighting the area’s natural history. There’s also a music garden with various outdoor instruments where guests can come together to make some incredible music.

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Kerry Wood Nature Center_© mastermaq / Flickr

Downtown 

Downtown Red Deer has a vibrant mix of retail stores, coffee shops, restaurants, ethnic cuisine, professional services, and arts and entertainment, making it a one-of-a-kind destination for residents and visitors alike. Downtown Red Deer is evolving into a diversified, beautiful, and appealing community core, with numerous new redevelopment projects, specialty retail possibilities, and unique events.

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Historic Downtown, Capstone, and Railyards are the three central districts in Red Deer’s Greater Downtown Area. There is a distinct combination of living, working, and playing in these districts. 

Both private and municipal downtown regeneration projects have contributed to the existing business and retail environment, enhancing the commercial district and attracting new firms, jobs, and improved visibility.

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City Hall_©Tourism Red Deer

Old Court House 

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The Old Court House is a two-story Classic Revival masonry structure with a terrazzo stairway and a 1,300-square-foot courtroom. The Red Deer Court House was completed in 1931, after being planned in 1907. It was a symbol of renewed hope for the local economy and Red Deer’s future development. As well, the United Farmers of Alberta’s government goal of decentralizing public buildings outside of Calgary and Edmonton is strongly tied with the Old Court House.

The Old Court House also held court offices, a law library, and judges’ chambers in addition to the courtroom that served both the Provincial Court and the Court of Queen’s Bench until 1983. Since then, the structure has served as an arts center, a private company office, and commercial space.

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Old Court House, 1987_ ©City of Red Deer

The Old Court House’s imposing brick walls and Tyndall limestone columns inspire awe. This was done on purpose, as the building’s classical revival architecture was intended to convey a sense of strength and sophistication, qualities that would help the newborn province of Alberta and its new court system gain widespread respect.

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Urban Planning 

Great neighborhoods aren’t created by chance. Instead, they result from meticulous planning and intelligent design that results in sustainable, walkable, dynamic, social, and livable places for people of all ages and income levels.

To help determine how Red Deer looks and feels, the Planning Department works with Council-approved policy papers and Provincial and Federal legislation. 

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Capstone, a master-planned multi-family, mixed-use community, is an excellent example of the type of investment Red Deer is making to define its future better. The 91-acre Capstone development is located on the Red Deer riverbank, close to downtown, shopping, offices, and entertainment. The master plan’s forward-thinking, people-first concepts benefit the 18 acres of developable, city-owned land in Capstone, which sets the benchmark for development in the region and makes Capstone a prime opportunity.

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Capstone Development Map_  ©https://www.liveincapstone.ca/media/capstone/capstone-pdfs/Capstone-Parcel-Map-Update-March-2021-V3.pdf

Land Use 

According to the Municipal Government Act, every municipality in Alberta must have a Land Use Bylaw. Within the City of Red Deer, the Land Use Bylaw defines rules and regulations for land development and the procedure for making decisions on development permit applications.

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Land use districts (zones) such as the R1 – Residential (Low Density) District, the C4 – Commercial (Major Arterial) District, and the I1 – Industrial (Business Service) District are included in the Land Use Bylaw to distinguish residential, commercial, and industrial land development and to regulate specific land use and buildings.

Specific land uses are permitted outright in each land use district (zone), while others are conditional on approval, and others are forbidden. A detached residence, retail sale, a restaurant, or manufacturing are all examples of land uses.

Neighborhood Area Structure Plan 

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A Neighborhood Area Structure Plan (NASP) is a legally required land use concept plan that must be submitted by a developer for any significant undeveloped parcel of land that is at least one-quarter section (160 acres).

The local government collaborated with MODUS, an Urban Planning firm, to establish a neighborhood area plan model to improve neighborhood design and sustainability performance. As a result, city officials, the public, and critical partners developed a thorough proposal for better land use, parks and open spaces, transportation, stormwater networks, and service.

Finally, this plan will assist the City of Red Deer and Council create unique, livable, and resilient neighborhoods via improved design and sustainability. 

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Red Deer Neighborhood Area Structure Plan_© Modus

Community & City Initiatives 

Red Deer is known for the hospitality of the people, who are known to be friendly and welcoming. The community’s common goal and willingness to preserve its age-old buildings have played an important role in shaping the overall built environment. 

The City supports the community’s built, cultural, and natural history through a variety of projects, such as:

  • Assist in the designation, safety, and healing of ancient resources, sites, cultural landscapes, and historic districts
  • Bolster history training and cognizance via heritage signage, culture walks, and tours.  
  • Provide advice, help, and assist on history-associated matters to network groups, people, and assets owners 
  • Keep track of Red Deer’s historic resources.

The city officials and community members work together in nurturing the rich history, culture, and natural resources in the region. 

Landscape

The first federal migratory bird sanctuary in Alberta was established on 118 hectares of protected territory within the municipal limits of Red Deer in 1924. Green spaces, the environment, and animals are still protected in the region today. There are more than 100 kilometers of trails within the municipal borders, with about 3,000 kilometers in the surrounding area.

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Sanctuary _https://www.reddeer.ca/recreation-and-culture/outdoor-recreation/year-round-activities/trail-map/

Red Deer’s economy is diversifying, according to MoneySense, with the arts, culture, recreation, and sports industries accounting for the most job growth in recent years. The affluence and economy and the demographics and amenities were critical factors in Red Deer’s high ranking.

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Red Deer, Alberta, CA_ © SnelsonStock / shutterstock

Citation

MODUS Planning, Design & Engagement. (n.d.). Red Deer Neighbourhood Area Structure Plan — MODUS Planning, Design & Engagement – From Insight to Impact. [online] Available at: https://thinkmodus.ca/current-projects/2016/7/26/city-of-red-deer-neighbourhood-area-structure-plan-section-13 [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

MoneySense. (2018). Best Places to Live in Alberta 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/best-places-to-live-canada-2018-alberta/ [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

Ponoka News. (2018). Red Deer ranks 12th place in Canada’s Best Places to Live 2018. [online] Available at: https://www.ponokanews.com/news/red-deer-ranks-12th-place-in-canadas-best-places-to-live-2018/ [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

The Crazy Tourist. (2020). 15 Best Things to Do in Red Deer (Alberta, Canada). [online] Available at: https://www.thecrazytourist.com/15-best-things-to-do-in-red-deer-alberta-canada/ [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

Reddeer.ca. (2018). Downtown Heritage Sites Gallery – The City of Red Deer. [online] Available at: https://www.reddeer.ca/about-red-deer/history/heritage/community-heritage-planning/red-deers-inventory-of-heritage-sites/downtown-heritage-sites-gallery/cul—old-court-house—heritage-site.html [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

Reddeer.ca. (2018). Downtown Heritage Sites Gallery – The City of Red Deer. [online] Available at: https://www.reddeer.ca/about-red-deer/history/heritage/community-heritage-planning/red-deers-inventory-of-heritage-sites/downtown-heritage-sites-gallery/cul—old-court-house—heritage-site.html.

Visit Red Deer. (n.d.). About Red Deer. [online] Available at: https://visitreddeer.com/about-red-deer/ [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

www.reddeer.ca. (n.d.). Moving to Red Deer – The City of Red Deer. [online] Available at: https://www.reddeer.ca/about-red-deer/moving-to-red-deer/ [Accessed 11 Sep. 2021].

www.reddeer.ca. (n.d.). Statistics and Demographics (Federal Census) – The City of Red Deer. [online] Available at: https://www.reddeer.ca/about-red-deer/population-and-demographics/statistics-and-demographics-federal-census/ [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

www.reddeer.ca. (n.d.). Land Use Bylaw – The City of Red Deer. [online] Available at: https://www.reddeer.ca/business/planning/land-use-bylaw/ [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

www.waymarking.com. (n.d.). Old Red Deer Courthouse – Red Deer, AB Image. [online] Available at: https://www.waymarking.com/gallery/image.aspx?f=1&guid=4f5371f5-3b5a-40be-98cd-e838e91841e4 [Accessed 12 Sep. 2021].

Author

Abhiri is an Architecture Professional and Sustainable Designer with a penchant for writing, illustrating and traveling. She is interested in educating and raising awareness about Sustainable practices and strives to be a steward of nature in her designs and daily actions. Coffee, books, watercolors,and a walk in the woods are some of the things that keep her going.

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