Historic Sites

Every city has its own unique feel and vibe, which is determined by a number of things. The local historic sites are no doubt one of the largest contributing factors to the aura that surrounds a city. When in Edmonton, users recommend paying a visit to Fort Edmonton Park, in the Airport - Yxd area to get a feel for what truly makes up the city.


Originally built to house Alberta's lieutenant governors, this lovely sandstone building made its premiere in 1913. By 1938, economic situations forced its closing, and the structure was leased to an airline. In succeeding years, the home became a veterans' hospital and then a veterans' home. In the mid-1970s, the Government House was refurbished and re-opened as a government conference center. Today, it retains its former architecture and beauty. The building's three stories currently house reception rooms and conference areas, six of which are named for the six lieutenant governors who actually resided in the Government House.

Read more about Alberta Government House →

Dr. Robert Woods was a popular local physician who lived and practiced in Leduc from 1907 until his death in 1936. He had this home built in 1927, and maintained his medical offices here as well. The house was quite modern at the time, with full indoor plumbing, a telephone, washing machine, and electricity provided by a generator in the basement. The house is furnished in the style of the day, and several items belonged to the doctor and his family. In the doctor's offices you can see the exam room and some of his medical instruments – and be thankful that medicine has come such a long way!

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Between 1874 and 1900, John Walter, an early Edmonton resident who began his career as a ferryman, built three homes. As he became more prosperous, his homes reflected his newly-acquired wealth. Located on their original site, these houses are a fascinating social and cultural commentary on the growth of Edmonton and the wealth that came with its development. On Sundays, domestic activities of the day, such as candlemaking, are demonstrated.

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Airport - Yxd

This gracious, red-brick home, marked with a colonnaded portico, was built in 1911 for Alberta's first premier. Following years of use as the official residence, the home was restored to its present-day appearance. It now offers visitors costumed guides who lead them through the mansion explaining history, architecture and décor. Arbour Restaurant on the premises serves lunch and tea; call 780-422-2697 to make the necessary reservations. The gift shop carries period-styled gifts and souvenirs.

Read more about Rutherford House →

Occupying the site where Fort Edmonton once stood, this Edwardian-style building is the seat of Alberta's government. Built of sandstone and furnished with mahogany and marble, the impressive building is an Edmonton landmark. A visitor center orients tourists on the history of the province and the workings of parliamentary procedure. Free tours of the building are available hourly each morning and every half-hour in the afternoon. The landscaped gardens, complete with flowers, greenery and fountains, are an ideal place to catch your breath or have a take-out lunch. The on-site gift shop sells film, postage stamps, Alberta crafts, and many other gift and specialty items.

Read more about Alberta Legislature Building →

Whether you're interested in education, history or architecture, this museum has something to offer. Housed in a stately brick building, erected in 1904, the museum features restored classrooms to illustrate the development of public education. The structure also houses a restored legislative chamber, which is where Alberta's policy-makers met in 1906 and 1907. Also on the grounds of the museum is Edmonton's first public school, a wood-framed building used from 1881 until 1904. A research room with photos, textbooks and other school-related data is available for public perusal.

Read more about Edmonton Public Schools Archives and Museum →

This historically significant bridge across the North Saskatchewan River was constructed in 1913, and was intended to carry foot, auto and rail traffic. Today, it's still completely functional, and vintage streetcars travel from downtown Edmonton over the top deck of the bridge to Old Strathcona. The bridge is also the site of the Great Divide Waterfall, a 1980 addition installed by artist Peter Lewis that sends 11,000 gallons of water through a series of nozzles to create an impressive cascade that's higher than Niagara Falls. The waterfall operates on summer weekends and some holidays.

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Father Albert Lacombe is known for establishing several Catholic parishes in the Edmonton area. This chapel was constructed in 1861, but was transformed into a museum in 1929. It has been fully restored and furnished in 1860s style, and the knowledgeable staff vividly describes the life and times of Father Lacombe. Tours are offered in English and French. Declared a provincial historic site n 1977, the chapel is Alberta's oldest building.

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Airport - Yxd

This outdoor park recreates various eras in Edmonton's history, down to period buildings and costumed guides. Visitors can tour a fort from the 19th-century fur-trading years and wander replicas of streets from 1885 (the frontier era), 1905 (the year Edmonton became Alberta's capital), and 1920 (a time of rapid growth). Transportation appropriate to each era (ponies, wagons, streetcars, trains) allows guests to ride in the style of the day, while games and shops offer diversions for kids and adults alike. Food is available, along with gifts and souvenirs. Great local flavor and fun for everyone.

Read more about Fort Edmonton Park →