Ever since the days when stage-coaches travelled back and forth on the old Calgary-Edmonton Stage-Coach trail, Innisfail has been a favored stopping place. A century later, Innisfail continues to be a town flavored with western hospitality, but it is now complemented by industries employing the latest technology.
The humble cabins and workplaces of the pioneers have given way to contemporary facilities and industrial development. Now 100 years old and with a population nearing 7000, Innisfail is a prosperous community offering many attractive amenities.
Innisfail is situated on the major north/south Highway 2, and 118 km north of Calgary, 173 km south of Edmonton, and only a few minutes drive south of Red Deer. It has excellent air and rail transport service too. Red Deer Airport and Innisfail Airport are just minutes away, and CP Rail's main line passes through town.
Companies operating out of Innisfail span the entire spectrum of manufacturing, taking advantage of the economical and abundant land and the state-of-the-art waste disposal and recycling system. Innisfail is also a major service centre for one of western Canada's finest agricultural regions. Many of the major grain companies operate large elevators in the Innisfail area.
Tourists and residents alike enjoy the nearby area's lush scenery and attractive camping, hiking and fishing spots. The town boasts a curling rink, twin ice arena, indoor swimming pool, 8 baseball diamonds, a bowling alley, ski hill, hiking trails, cross-country ski trails, 12 horseshoe pits, 3 asphalt tennis courts and one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in Alberta. The community has an advanced life support ambulance service, volunteer fire department, contracted RCMP policing service, and excellent education system and modern health care facilities.
By supporting local businesses and attracting vibrant new industries, Innisfail puts into action its slogan "Pride in Our Past, Faith in Our Future". Above all else, though, Innisfail's future is its people.
Long before manufacturers were attracted to Innisfail, it served as a major service centre for one of Canada's finest agricultural regions. Rich soil conditions and mild weather make the area ideal for growing various types of grain, grass, and hay as well as raising cattle, hogs and sheep.
Agriculture continues to be a major industry in the Innisfail area, but it is well complemented by a mix of other industrial growth. Oil & gas wells dot the picturesque countryside, contributing economically to the prosperity and high quality of life in the region.
About 50 km west of town is one of the largest sour gas developments in the world [without doubt the largest in Alberta for the last 20 years]. The Caroline Gas Field has been estimated to contain 2 trillion cubic feet of reservoir fluids composed of roughly equal amounts of natural gas natural gas liquids and hydrogen sulphide.
Shell Canada is spearheading this development. Other oil and gas companies in the area include Amoco Petroleum, G.N.E. Resources, Kerr-McGhee, Czar Resources, and Nova.
A major part of Innisfail's economic base is the Johns Manville Canada Inc. fiberglass insulation manufacturing plant. 170 employees, mostly local residents, work at the plant. The firm recently received the Emerald Award by the Alberta Foundation for Environmental Excellence for recycling glass bottles and utilizing the crushed glass as a major component for its insulation.
Another major firm operating here is Nestle Purina Petcare, a manufacturer of a variety of pet foods. Most of the ingredients of the pet foods are produced locally, and local trucking firms do much of the transporting to major distribution centers. A key to this firm's success has been it strategic location in western Canada.
Sepp's Fine Foods Ltd. manufactures a variety of processed foods. The plant employs approximately 60-70 people when in full production.
Sunterra Foods Inc. is an Alberta based, family owned business, and is the only federally inspected lamb and veal slaughter/processing plant in Western Canada. Sunterra's Innisfail location processes about 1300-1700 lambs, 60 veal calves, and 900 hogs per week for world-wide markets. They are currently expanding to include a beef slaughter floor.
Innisfail Meat Packers has grown from a small 3-4 employee business to a thriving operation now employing 28 people.
Another thriving business is the Innisfail Auction Market, a family owned and operated business. Some $60-70 million worth of livestock go through the auction each year. As many as 4,000 head of cattle sometimes pass through the auction ring in one day, with an average sold of around 2,000.
Laden Industrial has been in Innisfail since 1996 and has expanded to include custom steel fabrication, installation and service, an environmental product line and commercial handling systems. In addition to their manufactured products, their companion software provides management tools for their system users.
Bilton Welding and Manufacturing provide a wide range of service involving welding, machining and repairs, equipment installation, and fabrication.
Octane Energy Services Corp specializes in 8" and under steel, fiberglass, plastic, zaplok and epoxy lined types of line pipe using conventional and progressive plowing techniques. They are able to build from grass roots to a fully commissioned facility, and have a fully equipped fabrication facility.
The pride and joy of Innisfail residents is their 18-hole golf course - with expansion to 27 holes in progress, rated as one of the finest in the province. The Alberta Golf Guide describes this magnificent and challenging course in glowing terms, saying: "The designers have taken full advantage of the sharp changes in elevation offered by the natural hills. Standing on the tee at No. 14 the golfer has a marvelous view over the town and over miles of surrounding parkland countryside. A moment to stop and enjoy the view will be welcomed by most golfers, because playing this course can be a "humbling experience." The course offers a good selection of water hazards, sand traps and doglegs as well as several tiered greens. The Town has upgraded all of its major facilities since 1984. A curling rink with 4 sheets of ice has proven to be very popular with all age groups and a new twin-ice arena is serving the needs of youth, adults and seniors. A new modern 25-metre indoor swimming pool with hot tub and sauna is open year-round. Other facilities include 3 asphalt tennis courts, outdoor water park, skateboard park, BMX course, 12 horseshoe pits, 8 baseball diamonds, soccer pitches, hiking trails, x-country ski trails, wildlife viewing platform, water-skiing on Dodds Lake, ski hill with rope tow, and numerous neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and paved biking trails.
Dodds Lake located in the heart of the community has been the site of many premier water-skiing events including Canadian Championships, Western Canadian Championships and 8 Provincial Championships. Adjacent to the lake is a 40 stall campground, all of which are serviced with electricity. Power sites are $15.00/night, and tenting sites are $10.00/night. There is a camp kitchen, horseshoe pits, day use area and playground facilities on site. Hot showers, washroom facilities, and firewood are available as well.
Other camping areas include Pine Lake, 32 km. east of Innisfail, and Red Lodge Provincial Park, 28 km southwest of Innisfail on the Red Deer River. Gleniffer Lake created by the construction of the Dickson Dam has become a tourist hot bed for boat and fishing enthusiasts.
Innisfail's Historical Village is a unique tourist attraction and provides visitors and residents a glimpse into the community's past. The Village includes the "Stopping House" for stage coaches and wagon trains that travelled the Calgary-Edmonton Trail a century ago. Other historical sites in the area include the Markerville Creamery, Stephansson House and Dickson Store.
Our 100 year celebration in 2004 saw the inception of Centennial Park - park within the center of town which will enhance a 200 acre natural site to include walking trails, wildlife viewing and amenities for all ages.
Visitors are encouraged to "take a walk on the wild side" and visit the Discovery Wildlife Park which is home to many exotic animals featured in movies and documentaries.
Visitors can also hike on the Destiny Trail System, or attend the annual Daines Rodeo in June, Country Music Picnic in August or the Scarecrow Festival in October. Check out why we're wild about Innisfail!
Innisfail has numerous active community and service groups, and church organizations, as well as recreational and sports clubs that are active in the town.
The Innisfail Health Care Centre is a fully modern active and extended care facility. The facility has 20 acute care beds and 80 extended care beds. The facility has an emergency ward, day surgery, x-ray and laboratory departments. The hospital was built in 1984 and underwent an expansion in 1992/93. Innisfail has 2 medical clinics with 9 medical doctors serving the community and surrounding area. Also, there are 3 dental offices with 4 dentists providing services from cleaning to dental surgery. Other services include 1 optometrist, 4 chiropractors, 2 reflexologists, 1 physiotherapist and 4 massage therapists.
The David Thompson Regional Health Authority provides community based services in community health nursing, home care, health promotion, environmental health and speech-language-hearing programs. Dodd's Lake Manor, Innisfail Country Lodge, Snowberry Downs Condominium, Poplar Grove Court and Autumn Glen Lodge provide seniors who are no longer interested in maintaining their own homes with an alternative housing choice. Education
Innisfail is part of the Chinook's Edge Regional Division #5, with headquarters in Innisfail and has two Public Schools including John Wilson Elementary School [K-4], Middle School [5-7], Innisfail Junior/Senior High School [8-12] and Chinook Centre School.
Red Deer Catholic Regional Division established the Innisfail Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 604 in October 2001.
- Innisfail Day Nursery Ltd.
- Innisfail Family Day Home Society
Innisfail residents have access to Edmonton and Calgary based post-secondary institutions as well as Red Deer College. Red Deer College, located in Red Deer, offers programs including 1-year certificate programs, 2-year diplomas, university transfer, apprenticeship and training in technological areas, academic upgrading and continuing education. RDC also has an outstanding arts program which puts on many impressive and professional performances throughout the year.
Sources: Information in this profile has been provided from a variety of sources including AlbertaFirst.com Ltd. and each community’s website. If you find inaccuracies or information you feel needs changing, please contact us directly stating the correction and the source of your information. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy, currency and reliability of the content and data, it is not warranted to be correct.