Return to: NE of Calgary, towns around Calgary
Located Red Deer's 60,000 residents live 159 km north of Calgary, in the center for Alberta's oil production and agriculture. The city is named for the Red Deer River which flows through the center of town. Because of the populous elk herds, the Cree Indians called the river "Waskasoo Seepee" or Elk River. The first white men thought the elk were related to the Scottish red deer, and therefore renamed the river.
The town began in 1885 at a shallow ford across the river, three miles upstream from the current downtown. The town became a major stopping point on the trail between Calgary and Edmonton. When the railroad arrived in 1891, the town moved to its current location when Dr. Leonard Gaetz offered half of his homestead to the railroad company. Red Deer grew to be a town in 1901 and became a city in 1913.
During the Second World War, Red Deer became the location of a large military training camp,plus two major air bases to the south at Penhold and Bowden. After the war, the town boomed following the discovery of oil and natural gas fields in the area. In the 1970s, another boom was caused by the construction of world-scale petrochemical plants east of the city at Joffre and at Prentiss.
Red Deer Attractions...