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City of St. Albert
—  City  —

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City of St. Albert is located in Edmonton
City of St. Albert
Location of St. Albert near Edmonton
Coordinates: 53°37′49″N 113°37′33″W / 53.63028°N 113.62583°W / 53.63028; -113.62583
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Edmonton Region
Census division 11
Founded 1861
Government [1]
 - Mayor Nolan Crouse
 - Manager Bill Holtby
 - Governing body St. Albert City Council
 - MP Brent Rathgeber (Edmonton—St. Albert-Cons)
 - MLA Ken Allred (St. Albert-PC)
Doug Horner (Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert-PC)
Area
 - Total 35.04 km2 (13.5 sq mi)
Elevation 665 m (2,182 ft)
Population (2006)[2]
 - Total 57,719
 - Density 1,647/km2 (4,265.7/sq mi)
Population rank 88
Postal code span T8N
Area code(s) +1-780
Website City of St. Albert

St. Albert is a city in Alberta, located northwest of Edmonton, on the Sturgeon River. It was originally settled as a Métis community, and is now, other than Edmonton itself, the largest city in the Edmonton area. St. Albert first received its town status in 1904 and was reached by the Canadian Northern Railway in 1907.

Originally separated from Edmonton by several miles of farmland, the 1980s expansion of Edmonton's city limits placed St. Albert immediately adjacent to the larger city on St. Albert's south and east sides.

Contents

History

St. Albert was founded in 1861 by Father Albert Lacombe, OMI, who built a small chapel: the Father Lacombe Chapel in the Sturgeon River valley. This chapel still stands to this day on Mission Hill in St. Albert and is the oldest building in Western Canada. The original settlement was named Saint Albert by Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché O.M.I. after Lacombe's name saint; Saint Albert of Louvain. Although Lacombe had originally intended to found the mission at Lac Ste. Anne, the soil proved infertile and he moved the settlement to what would become St. Albert. The location offered several advantages, notably its easy access to supplies of wood and water, its excellent soil, it being a regular stopping point for First Nations peoples on their travels, and its proximity to Fort Edmonton, where the priests could purchase necessary supplies and minister to Catholic workers. A few years later, a group of Grey Nuns would follow Lacombe from Lac Ste. Anne.

During the late 20th and early 21st century it was mistakenly assumed that the community had been named after St. Albert the Great. This was due to incorrect information in the 1985 history of St. Albert; The Black Robe's Vision, published by the amateur historians of the St. Albert Historical Society. This led to the City of St. Albert erroneously promoting St. Albert the Great as the community's patron saint and even erecting a statue of the wrong saint in the downtown area. This misconception was not corrected until 2008.[3] The original chapel has since become an historic site staffed with historical interpreters and is open to the public in the summer season.

Also in St. Albert is the St. Albert Grain Elevators Park. There are two historic Grain Elevators there; one constructed in 1906 by the Alberta Grain Company, the other was built later in 1929 by The Alberta Wheat Pool company. There is also a reproduction of the original 1909 railway station housed at the Grain Elevators Park, the reproduction was constructed in 2005. On Madonna Drive stands the Little White School House which is open to the public. Arts and Heritage - St. Albert maintain this site as well as the Grain Elevators and other heritage buildings and sites under restoration in the City. In June 2009, the City Council approved a multi-staged plan for the heritage sites. The plan features the restoration of the grain elevators and the opening of both a Métis and French Canadian farm on adjacent lots by the River.

Demographics

The population of the City of St. Albert according to its 2008 municipal census is 58,501.[4]

In 2006, St. Albert had a population of 57,719 living in 20,938 dwellings, an 8.7% increase from 2001. The city has a land area of 35.04 km2 (13.5 sq mi) and a population density of 1,647.4 /km2 (4,266.7/sq mi).[2] St. Albert has placed in the top 5 of "Most Wealthy Cities in Canada" based on average net income per citizen, since 2000.

According to Statistics Canada 2001 Census,[5] St. Albert had a population of 53,081 (subsequently it grew to 54,588 in 2003 and 56,310 in 2005).[6] The growth rate from 1998 to 2003 was 10.8%. A total of 19,037 private dwellings were enumerated in the city, which has a land area of 34.61 km2 (13.36 sq mi), resulting in a population density of 1,335 people per km² (3,457.6/sq mi).

Media

The two widely distributed newspapers published in St. Albert are The St. Albert Gazette and The Saint City News.

Politics

St. Albert has traditionally elected members of the Conservative Party of Canada to the federal legislature. After the rise of the Reform Party of Canada and its subsequent change to the Canadian Alliance, John G. Williams was elected and served five terms as the city's Member of Parliament, becoming a Conservative MP after the Alliance's 2003 merger with the Progressive Conservative Party, before stepping down in 2008. Brent Rathgeber of the Conservative Party of Canada is the current Member of Parliament.

Provincially, St. Albert is currently represented by the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta in the legislature. In previous elections, however, it has alternated between Liberal and Conservative representatives.

St. Albert's governing body is composed of a mayor (currently Nolan Crouse) and six city councillors.

Arts and culture

Located in the heart of downtown, St. Albert Place is the focal point of many community events and activities. Designed by world-renowned Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal, its sculptural symmetry mimics the curves of the Sturgeon River that runs behind it. There are no corners; only curves. Built in 1984, St. Albert Place was designed as a "people place", housing a unique combination of civic government and cultural activity. Currently it houses the St. Albert Public Library, Musée Héritage Museum, Visual Arts Studio and Arden Theatre, as well as City Hall and associated city government services. The Musée Héritage Museum celebrates and explores the story of St. Albert through a variety of programs which seek to preserve the community's history for the future. The Museum houses both permanent and temporary exhibits and also contains a Children’s Discovery Room and gift shop. The Archives at the Museum consist of over 6,500 artifacts, 1,100 programming objects, 38 linear metres of textual record, around 3,000 pre-1948 photographs and thousands of post-1948 photographs. The Museum is operated by Arts and Heritage - St. Albert.

St. Albert has a rich arts scene. St. Albert is home to a writers' guild and painters' guild and renowned bands like Social Code and Tupelo Honey hail from St. Albert. The Arden Theatre is a popular venue for many plays and musical performances.

The St. Albert public art gallery, Profiles Public Art Gallery is a focal point of St. Albert’s downtown. The gallery is housed in the historical Banque d'Hochelaga building in the heart of downtown St. Albert. The Gallery features monthly exhibitions, a variety of public programs and also runs an annual art auction in St Albert. Profiles Public Art Gallery is one of the stops on the St. Albert ArtWalk. Profiles Public Art Gallery is operated by Arts and Heritage - St. Albert.

St. Albert is also notable for its Aboriginal heritage. The city is home to the Michif Institute founded by former Senator Thelma Chalifoux, dedicated to preserving and spreading knowledge of the city's Métis background. The Musée Héritage Museum contains many Métis artifacts. Many of the street signs in the city's downtown core are also trilingual, written in French and Cree in addition to English, as a tribute to the city's multiracial and multilinguistic origins. A current city project is to replace English-only signs with trilingual versions as the English-only versions wear out.

In 2008, NBC decided to film portions of its new horror/suspense anthology series Fear Itself in St. Albert's downtown and river valley.[7]

St. Albert also has a St. Albert Children's Theatre group putting on two large musicals a year with many summer camps to participate in.

Festivals and events

The Northern Alberta International Children's Festival in St. Albert is one of the longest-running children's festivals in North America, attracting over 40,000 participants over 5 days, at the end of May. During the five days of the Festival, children experience sights and sounds of many different cultures while learning through the medium nearest and dearest to their hearts - by playing! The mainstage events feature a host of international artists from Scotland, Netherlands, USA, Mexico, Cuba, New Zealand, and (of course) Canada offering performances of puppetry, music, dance, acrobatics, clowning and theatre that will amaze and delight.

The Kinsmen Rainmaker Rodeo starts with a parade that winds its way through the heart of St. Albert. After the parade, the rodeo begins, with exciting rodeo events, midway, and musical performances.

The Outdoor Farmers' Market, held in downtown St. Albert, is Western Canada’s largest outdoor farmer's market, attracting over 10,000 people every Saturday from July to September. You can find locally-grown fresh produce, hand made products and crafts and listen to the music of the buskers.

As many as 6,000 participants come to St. Albert to enjoy Rock'n August, a week-long festival held to celebrate the rumbles of chrome pipes and the rim shots of classic Rock and Roll music. Hotrodders come from kilometres around with their masterpieces to show them off and look at the creations of others as well.

Other annual events include the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival, and Mambos & Mocktails, a 3 hour jazz concert played every December at Bellerose Composite High School by the jazz band and choir.

Arts and Heritage - St. Albert also host an annual Harvest Festival at the St. Albert Grain Elevator Park.

The Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Festival, held at the Arden Theatre is one of the largest dance festivals of its kind in North America. It is hosted annually by the Cheremosh Ukrainian Dance Company and generally takes place during the second weekend in May.[8]

Education

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K-12 education

St. Albert is an anomaly in that the Catholic school district is the public system, and the Protestant school district is separate. In all other areas of Alberta this is reversed, the public system is either Protestant or non-religious.

School districts

St. Albert is also home to the North Central Francophone School Board. Their school's name is "La Mission" located in the Heritage Lakes sub-division.

Post-secondary education

Athabasca University has its Centre for Innovative Management in St. Albert.

Continuing education

The St. Albert and District Further Education Association ["Further Ed"] is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing life-long learning opportunities to citizens. Through Further Ed a wide range of courses are offered by members.

The STAR Literacy Program matches volunteer tutors with adults who wish to improve their reading and writing skills.

Library services

The St. Albert Public Library (SAPL) is located in St. Albert Place in the heart of downtown.

Chapters is located near St. Albert trail not far from the Safeway grocery store.

Sports and recreation

Parks

The Red Willow park trail system winds its way all through St. Albert.

Facilities

In September 2006, a $42.77-million multi-purpose leisure centre, Servus Credit Union Place, was built. Included are a recreational aquatic centre, kid's play area, the already exisitng Troy Murray and Mark Messier hockey rinks, a 2000-seat performance rink, two soccer fields, 3 basketball courts, a large exercise room featuring state of the art equipment, a running track and more. This was a highly controversial building as many of St. Albert residents thought it was unnecessary, the vote was barely 50/50; however most of the voters in the civic election favoured the construction of this facility. Since that time, it has been revealed that Servus Place will lose $2.2 million in its first year of operations, which has led to considerable debate and controversy among the city's residents.

There was some controversy in 2006 when the city announced that they were renaming the Mark Messier and Troy Murray hockey rinks, and were going to offer these rights for sale. The two rinks, which together were known as Campbell Arena, were originally named after these local hockey stars shortly after the arena opened in 1992. There was such a controversy, which included an article in Sports Illustrated that mayor Paul Chalifoux decided to repeal the decision. The Campbell twin arena has since been added onto as part of the creation of the St. Albert Multi-Purpose Leisure Centre (now Servus Credit Union Place).

There is also Fountain Park pool, offering a variety of pools, tennis courts, racketball courts and a child play area.

Hockey

The St. Albert Steel play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Their home games are played at Servus Credit Union Placee. In 2004, the city's previous Alberta Junior Hockey League team, the St. Albert Saints, which had been one of the most prestigious teams in the league during its life and produced players such as Mark Messier and Mike Comrie, moved to nearby Spruce Grove.

NHL hockey star Jarome Iginla, captain of the Calgary Flames, is originally from St. Albert. He played his entire minor hockey career in the St. Albert Minor Hockey Association, which included stints with the Bantam AAA Sabres and the Midget AAA Raiders. It was during the 1992-93 season with the Raiders that Iginla, then an under-age midget player, scored 87 points to lead the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey league in scoring. Following this season Iginla joined the Kamloops Blazers as a 16 year old.

Other hockey players that have played in St. Albert are Mark Messier, Rob Brown, Geoff Sanderson, Fernando Pisani, Paul Comrie, Mike Comrie, Troy Murray, Stu Barnes, Brian Benning, Steven Goertzen, René Bourque, Jamie Lundmark, Steve Reinprecht, Todd Ewen and Drew Stafford.

See also

References

External links


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