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And That's The Scoop: Fuel prices too high? – Roam at home in your own backyard
for Smoky River Express
With the price of vehicle fuel remaining high and no end in sight, it will surely cut into vacation and tourism times for Albertans, including those of us in the Smoky River region.
Take this time to play tourist – roam at home – in your own community and region.
All too often, residents don’t realize the countless opportunities to visit and explore the many opportunities of the culture and history right here in our own backyard – the Smoky River region and the broader Peace Country region.
Starting in the honey capital of Canada, Falher boasts the world’s largest honey bee statue that is the focus of many photographs for visitors, residents and former area residents.
As thousands of people – tourists and former residents – flock to the region in July 2012 to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the area when it was first settled, let’s be prepared to showcase our rich and diverse heritage, history and culture.
Many buildings and features reflect the deep and rich francophone history in the immediate region.
Right in Falher is Ecole Heritage school that opened in 1951 as a boys’ school known as College Notre Dame and was eventually converted into a co-ed francophone school in 1997. When the region was settled 100 years ago by francophone Catholics, stately churches were the centre and heart of each community of Falher, Girouxville, Donnelly and McLennan.
As you leave Falher in a southward direction, stop in at the Smoky River Visitor Information Centre housed in the former Northern Alberta Railway train station built in 1930 and eventually relocated to the current site along Highway 49 about eight years ago to promote and showcase the region to visitors and residents.
St. Jean Baptiste Mission Church remains a strong landmark south of Falher, built in 1914 in an area where the town was originally settled.
Musee Girouxville Museum ranks as one of the best small-town rural museums in northern Alberta with over 6,000 artifacts of francophone and native history, pioneer life, education, agriculture, communications, health and domestic life over the century.
For anyone interested in digging into their francophone roots and heritage Societe Historique et Genealogique in Donnelly is known as one of the best resources in western Canada for this information.
Out in the far east, visit McLennan as the bird capital of Canada that features the Kimiwan Birdwalk on Kimiwan Lake.
Inside, the tour the birdwalk and the local museum in a room that features a variety of artifacts that reflect the history and days gone by. A few railway cars on the site also pay tribute to a great mode of transportation of decades ago.
This is just a small portion of the great historical and cultural sites of the region. But there’s plenty more to see and do in the vast region with opportunities for a variety of recreation.
Tour your region and be a valuable ambassador far beyond this territory as we promote our valuable tourist gems to the rest of the world.
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