1796 fur trade history at Fort George and Buckingham House, one of many Alberta history experiences at heritage facilities across the province.
From the Province of Alberta
Sites, museums and archives open for summer
Everyone can enjoy affordable adventures over the May long weekend and all summer at Alberta’s heritage facilities.
The summer season begins May 15 as provincial historic sites, museums and archives open the doors or start summer hours. From antique vehicles, Ukrainian dancing and vintage food, to dinosaurs and ancient bison-hunting culture, there is something for people of all ages.
“We are opening our doors and calling all Albertans to discover our beautiful province through our historic sites, museums and archives. I know you will be inspired and moved by the stories and people that have shaped Alberta.”
New and favourite experiences
There are many different things to do at Alberta’s 20 provincially owned and operated historic sites, museums and Provincial Archives. From special events and one-time exhibits to new programs and old favourites, here is a sample of what is happening:
The Vikings are here at the new Royal Alberta Museum
Check out the museum’s first international travelling exhibition, Vikings: Beyond the Legend, and then relax at the outdoor café, now open with the museum’s summer hours.
Vintage food at the Provincial Archives of Alberta
Food and Community, the newest gallery exhibit, features historic images of how food brings people together. It opens May 22.
Tea time at Victoria Settlement
On May 19, celebrate Queen Victoria’s 200th birthday over tea and cake, and continue the tradition with Tea and Tales Tuesdays in July and August.
Hike an ancient trail at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump
Starting May 18, and every other Saturday throughout the summer, travel the ancient drive lanes and hear the stories of how the plains people hunted the mighty buffalo from Blackfoot guides.
Full week of fun at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre
Still looking for summer activities for your children? Summer science camps are now weeklong.
Spotlight on the past at Historic Dunvegan
Behind the Scenes exhibit includes an archeological dig experience. On May 18, you can join interpreters for a humorous and interactive outdoor show.
Feats with feet at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Step into an authentic early 1900s pioneer experience when the village opens its doors on May 18 and enjoy Ukrainian dancing at the Celebration of Spring on May 20.
Fast and furious at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum
Sports car enthusiasts will want to see the two new exhibits: Our Checkered Past: Racing in Alberta and Honda Motorcycles of the ’70s & ’80s.
Plan your summer in Alberta
Explore and discover our common heritage with the Experience Alberta’s History annual pass. Pay one fee and enjoy access to all the provincial historic sites and museums, and stay at a nearby Alberta Parks’ campground for an authentic Alberta experience.
Share your moments during #MuseumWeek
May 13-19 is #MuseumWeek, a worldwide celebration of culture on social networks, and International Museum Day is on May 18. Share your favourite moments at Alberta’s historic sites, museums and archives throughout the week using #ABhistory.
‘Just went crazy:’ Group gets lots of interest in random camping on public land
EDMONTON — Ryan Epp started a Facebook group in early April to find some new camping buddies and meet some new friends.
Two months later, his group named Crown Land Camping Alberta has more than 31,000 members.
“I was hoping for maybe 50, 60 people to join up,” Epp, who lives in Calgary, said in an interview this week. “I had over a thousand by the third day — and it just went crazy from that.
“It’s been growing for the last while between 500 and 1,000 new members a day.”
Group members share tips on where and how to camp on public land in Alberta — a longtime practice that’s commonly known as random camping.
Epp, 46, said he created the group after the COVID-19 pandemic led to closures at national and provincial campgrounds.
Parks Canada has said campgrounds in national parks will remain closed until at least June 21, while Alberta Parks reopened its campgrounds earlier this month, but at half capacity.
“It’s hard enough to find spots when all of the sites are available,” said Epp. “With Crown-land camping, there’s a million sites and you just pick one … and it’s free.”
Alberta Environment and Parks said its staff did see an increase in public-land use — including hikers, mountain bikers and families picnicking — in parts of southern and central Alberta on the May long weekend.
“It remains to be seen if campers that traditionally use our provincial parks will increasingly move onto public land for their fill of outdoor recreation,” spokeswoman Christine King said in an email. “Camping in provincial parks versus public land is a different experience in terms of amenities and services.”
Mounties, who patrol public land along with Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers, say they haven’t noticed a major difference in the already popular Ghost-Waiparous area near Cochrane, northwest of Calgary, but officers further to the north in Rocky Mountain House are preparing for a busier summer.
“We predict we will see an increase in the numbers of people involved in this activity this summer due to the restrictions in organized campgrounds and the out-of-province restrictions still in place,” said a statement from the detachment.
Several provinces, including British Columbia and Saskatchewan, have restricted campsite bookings to residents only.
Police remind people heading into Alberta’s random camping areas to be prepared because there are few services and not much cellphone coverage.
“People should also know how to describe where they are to emergency services if they are needed.”
Epp said random campers need more equipment than regular campers because there are no washroom facilities, no running water and no power.
“You have to be set up to be able to handle that.”
The province notes there’s also a 14-day limit on how long a camper can stay in the same spot.
The potential increase in random camping has raised some concern about the areas becoming too busy.
“We encourage people to be out and using our public land responsibly and enjoying nature,” said Katie Morrison of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “But … it’s something that can have a heavier impact on land and water, even other users, if folks … aren’t as experienced.”
Some concerns include damage to the landscape if campers remove trees for fires or make ruts with vehicles. There’s also potential for conflicts with wildlife if campers don’t pack out their garbage or leave human waste, she said.
Morrison said many random camping areas are already busy, and she expects that will increase as the province fully or partially closes 20 provincial parks and hands off 164 others to third-party managers.
“It’s something that should be a sign to the government that removing more of these areas … is contrary to what Albertans want.”
Epp said he’s heard similar concerns from some members in his Facebook group, but he and the other moderators are doing their best to keep political debates off the page.
Instead, he said, they’re trying to teach new random campers how to be respectful on public land — even organizing some weekend trips with first-timers.
“We want to teach people the right way to do it.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 6, 2020
Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press
Alberta’s COVID-19 breakthrough – Highest number of tests and lowest number of new cases in one day
It certainly appears to be a sign that the first wave of COVID-19 is abating. Friday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer reported 6,455 people were tested over the last 24 hours and there were only 7 new positive cases. This resulted in a very interesting video update from Dr. Deena Hinshaw as the province announced several changes that will be resulting from the success of Alberta’s battle with COVID-19.
Albertans will soon be able to visit loved ones in hospital. The province will continue to move toward protecting Albertans at the highest risk of severe outcomes. That means more freedoms for the majority of Albertans as the province prepares to announce Stage 2 details early next week.
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