The rolling topography and rich farmland of the Red Deer area is bisected by the picturesque Red Deer River valley. The Rocky Mountains can be viewed on the south-west horizon. The continental climate of Central Alberta is typified by wide fluctuations in temperatures and precipitation. Red Deer experiences cold winters, modified by the occasional warm Chinook wind and warm, although short summers. Precipitation falls year round and is considered adequate for all needs. Prevailing winds blow from the west, warmer winds from the south-west and cooler winds from the Arctic air mass in the north-west.
Located midway between, and within 150 kilometers of both Calgary and Edmonton, Red Deer is Central Alberta's trading and distribution centre. Oil, natural gas, sulphur, coal, sand and gravel, timber and agricultural products are some of the raw resources found in the Red Deer vicinity. The proximity of Alberta's major cities creates a potential market of over 2 million people within a 160 kilometer radius. Red Deer is the only city within the Prairie Provinces which can claim such a distinction. The Red Deer area is one of the fastest growing markets in Canada. Low operating costs, advanced infrastructure, a young and educated workforce, as well as access to national and international transportation systems and a regional trade area of more than 200,000 people are just some of the factors that have fuelled Red Deer's strong and diversified economy. Key sectors include oil and gas, petrochemicals, agriculture, tourism and a number of broad-based services. (See The Red Deer Corridor… Canada's Economic Capital for more details.)
Close to 82,000 citizens make Red Deer their home and enjoy the city's many amenities. These include extensive health services and advanced emergency and protective services. Our first-rate education system offers both public and private schooling opportunities, and Red Deer's acclaimed community college continues to provide numerous post-secondary options.
Along with metropolitan comforts, Red Deer offers a strong sense of community. In 2003, Red Deer was named a "Cultural Capital of Canada," a tribute to the community's support for local art, theatre, dance and symphony. Recreation and sports also characterize Red Deer as citizens enjoy nearby lakes, Red Deer's parks and trails and more than 50 outdoor community skating rinks in the winter to name just a few. Special events, which range from the city's annual street festival to home games of The Red Deer Rebels, a WHL junior hockey team, continue to bring the community together. (See Red Deer's Community Events Calendar for information on upcoming events.) . Go to The City of Red Deer's Web site to discover all that Red Deer has to offer.
Take a drive down QEII through Red Deer and you will have just traveled through the centre of one of the hottest economic regions in the world says a recent report by TD Economics. With a per capita GDP only second to Luxembourg (located in Western Europe) and well ahead of the United States, Norway, Switzerland and Ireland, the Calgary-Red Deer-Edmonton Corridor continues to be a major economic force. In the heart of this Corridor and strategically nestled between Alberta’s two largest cities, the Red Deer Region remains one of the fastest growing markets in the nation. In fact, the Town of Sylvan Lake located within the Region, has been ranked the second fastest growing urban municipality in Canada. So what’s the big draw? Combine the Alberta advantage with the Region’s numerous benefits, the results are hard to pass by.
Businesses within the Red Deer Region share in the advantage of operating in a province blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, fresh air, clean water and the lowest taxes in Canada. Top this off with the Region’s low business operating costs, which are among the most competitive in the world, you’ll discover one of the key factors driving new business to the area.
In a study conducted by KPMG, released in 2006, the Red Deer Region ranked second best in Canada’s Midwest for having the lowest cost location to conduct business. Red Deer was the sixth most cost competitive city in Canada (out of 39) and sixth in the world (out of 139). Red Deer also measured better than its southern counterparts with a cost average 12.3 percent better than the U.S. In Canada, this cost average was 1.5 to 8.5 percent better than the national average in 17 different industry sectors. Catching the eye of those looking to set-up shop are the area’s competitive corporate taxes. The Region consistently ranks as having the lowest combined property tax and utility overhead costs for business in Canada. Add to the fact that there is no business tax within the Regions’ municipalities makes The Red Deer Region very attractive. But what would these advantages be without a ready, willing and skilled workforce to provide the backbone for businesses? The Red Deer Region continues to deliver in this sphere too.
With a median age of 35, the Region’s population is one of the youngest in Canada. Almost 35 percent of the Region’s employed population hold technical diplomas or certificates, approximately 10 percent higher than the national average. An additional 15 percent have some level of post-secondary training. Red Deer College continues to train professionals to meet the area’s workforce needs. While the Red Deer Region draws employees within an approximate 75 kilometer radius, it provides a distribution capacity to more than two million people within a 150 kilometer radius, giving the region yet another strategic advantage. Access is made easy with Queen Elizabeth Highway 2 running north and south directly through the centre of the Region. This connects businesses to suppliers and markets on the Canamex Corridor, a highway system that links Canada, the United States and Mexico. Red Deer is also only a 90-minute drive north of the world’s longest national highway, the TransCanada Highway. Canada’s two major railways, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railway travel through the Region, and two 24-hour international airports are just a 70-minute drive from Red Deer. The Red Deer Regional Airport provides passenger service within Alberta and future expansion is planned. These advantages, plus many more, have attracted and cultivated thriving businesses with a number of existing and emerging sectors expanding at record rates within the region. Examples of growth can be seen in nearly every area.
Manufacturer sales saw extraordinary growth in 2006 with an increase from 2005 sales of $517 million. Manufacturers in the region also paid out almost $ 382 million in salaries during 2006; this translates to an increase of 18.95 percent over the 2005 year! Oil and gas has remained an economic mainstay and Canada’s third largest petrochemical cluster lies within minutes of Red Deer. Over the past decade, the region’s agri-food industry has also grown by 8.4 percent, far outstripping the Canadian average of -1.1 per cent. Large retail companies as well as wholesale and distribution industries continue to expand to meet market demands. Small companies have found the Region to be an inviting and profitable location to conduct business, as confirmed by a BMO financial study. The study cites Red Deer as a hotbed for small businesses with a predominant number of these specializing in financial services.
Red Deer has some great nightspots featuring live entertainment. Local artists will wow you with their talent and out of town guest artists drop in from time to time just to get in on the fun. Many nightspots have pool tables and other games. Those who prefer games of chance can check out our casinos and bingo halls. Central Alberta’s largest trade show, agriculture, entertainment, sports and convention facility, Westerner Park hosts more than 1200 events each year, from trade shows to rodeos, concerts to sporting events and produces Westerner Days, Red Deer’s annual summer fair. The ENMAX Centrium, the 6,000-seat arena, is the home of the Red Deer Rebels a WHL junior hockey team.
The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is an interactive, hands-on celebration of Alberta’s sporting history. There is over 7,000 square feet of exhibit space and interactive areas. The interactive areas include a multi-sport Virtual Visual System with hockey, baseball, basketball, football and soccer; a baseball pitching area, Alpine Skiing machine, and 200m Wheelchair Challenge and “You Call the Play” press box, and also a climbing wall and a golf putting green. New gallery additions to the museum exhibits are “Ice and Snow, The Spirit of Winter” Gallery, and the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Gallery.
If you’re visiting Red Deer, make sure to stop by the Red Deer Public Library, either the Downtown Branch or the branch at the Dawe Community Centre. Both libraries offer free internet access to visitors wishing to check their email or surf online. And for the traveling family, both libraries offer lively drop-in story times for kids of all ages throughout the school year. The Library’s Summer Reading Program also offers weekly themed activities and events for the entire summer. A variety of programs aimed at kids and teens (check out the Mezz teen space) ensure there is something for everyone at the library.
Keep in shape at Red Deer’s excellent indoor community recreation facilities. The downtown Recreation Centre has a 25-metre indoor saltwater pool with a 1m diving platform, slide, Tarzan rope, a 20-person whirlpool and ladies’ and men’s’ saunas.
There’s tons of water fun for the whole family at Red Deer’s state-of-the-art 250,000 square foot fitness and wellness centre, the Collicutt Centre. The Water Park includes a wave pool with water slide, lazy river and interactive water playground, a tots pool, two hot tubs and a steam room. In addition to the 290-metre four-lane track, the soccer pavilion with 2 indoor pitches, an NHL-size ice arena, gymnastics facility and fitness and wellness Studio, in the field house are 3 courts, 6 swing cages and running long jump as well as 2 climbing walls. Visit Main Street at the Collicutt Centre and relax with coffee, read a book, take a stroll, browse through the shops or visit the food court, view the climbers, check out the gallery of local artists works or play a fun game of chess with over-size chess pieces.
The G.H. Dawe Community Centre is home to a 25-metre indoor salt-water swimming pool, children’s play pool with slide and fountain, a 15-person whirlpool, sauna, ice arena and library.
Great West Adventure Park is the site of an 1100 foot technical track for BMX biking complete with many obstacles including triple and double jumps, step ups and more. Local, regional and national championships have been held here and it is the home of the Red Deer BMX Club. The track is open to the public on Wednesday evenings. Spectators can watch races held on Thursday and Sunday evenings at 6pm.
Heritage Ranch is open year-round providing guided trail rides and pony rides from May to October and hay rides year-round. Near the Red Deer River, in the Lower Ranch area, there is a stocked trout pond, picnic shelter, fire pits and washroom. The Upper Ranch area has a playground, picnic area, ball diamond, viewing tower as well as coffee shop and gift shop.
Picturesque Bower Ponds is another popular destination within Waskasoo Park with interconnected ponds for boating and trout fishing, a concession with washrooms and equipment rentals - paddle boats and kayaks in summer and ice skates and tobogganing in winter. Overlooking the ponds is Cronquist House, a restored Victorian-style farmhouse, built in 1911. The outdoor stage area is used for special events including Family Winter Fest, and Canada Day celebrations.
Nearby Great Chief Park has hosted national level sports tournaments. The athletic park has three fastball diamonds, one baseball diamond, a combination soccer/football field with lights for night games, dressing rooms, washrooms and concession. Families can picnic under shelter at the Kiwanis Picnic Park and playground. Nearby you can play nine holes on the Pitch and Putt golf course or enjoy a game on the Horseshoe Pits. There is a powerboat launch area as well; launch area is also used in winter for snowmobilers to access the river.
First Class Health Services
Health services in Red Deer and the surrounding area include a wide range of first class health services. From home care, to emergency care, rehabilitation, health promotion, dental and eye care, and alternative therapies – you'll find it in Red Deer.
Red Deer Regional Hospital
As the referral centre for the David Thompson Health Region, The Red Deer Regional Hospital is the health care hub of Central Alberta. The hospital provides health services designed to meet the health needs of you and your family. Among an array of extensive health services, the hospital houses a Dialysis Clinic, a Cancer Clinic and a pediatric and special care nursery.
Community Health Centre
Red Deer's Community Health Centers offer programs and services that place a high emphasis on wellness, disease and injury prevention, and pediatric rehabilitation and support. Continuing Care placement services provide a single point of entry to more than 300 long-term care beds in Red Deer.
Health Link Alberta
Health Link Alberta is a toll-free telephone service now providing confidential health advice and service information 24-hours a day, seven days a week to the residents of the David Thompson Health Region. One phone call will connect you with a registered nurse who can answer health questions and provide information about local health services and programs. David Thompson Health Region residents can access Health Link Alberta by calling toll-free: 1-866-408-LINK (5465).
Home Care & Therapy
The region's growing home care program currently serves more than 2000 residents each month. A wide range of therapies including speech therapy, rehabilitation therapy, recreation therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy are also available through the David Thompson Health Region. For more information on health services or health facilities in the David Thompson Health Region, please phone their toll free number at 1-800-752-8957.
An Education System about Choice
Red Deer's education system is about excellence and about choice. With a public school district, a Catholic district, an array of private schools, and diverse and innovative programs including French Immersion, you are bound to find the right school for your child in Red Deer.
Red Deer Public School District
The Red Deer Public School District has over 520 educators serving close to 10,000 students from kindergarten to grade 12. It has 14 elementary schools, five middle schools, two high schools, 12 alternative schools, and a Christian Alternative Program.
For information on the wide range of alternative schools in the Red Deer Public School District phone (403) 343-1405.
Red Deer Catholic Schools
Approximately 280 teachers are serving more than 5,000 students in 14 schools throughout the Red Deer area. French Immersion, year round schooling and "virtual" school are just a few of the many choices that the Red Deer Regional Catholic Board offers. For more information on schools in the Red Deer Catholic Regional Division call (403) 343-1055.
Red Deer has many local private schools:
- Academic Express (403) 340-1930
- Destiny Christian School (403) 343-6510
- Koinonia Christian School (403) 346-1818
- Parkland School (403) 347-3911
- South Side Christian School (403) 886-2266
- Third Academy School (403) 314-9144
Ecole La Prairie is Red Deer's Francophone school within the Greater North Central Francophone School Board.
Post Secondary Education
Red Deer College
Red Deer College offers over 80 programs to suit students' academic and career goals. Whether students want to fast-track their way into the work force with a career certificate or diploma program, apprentice in a skilled trade or earn a university degree, Red Deer College is able to meet their academic needs. Continuing education, academic upgrading and literacy programs are also available. For more information, contact Red Deer College at (403) 342-3300.
If you choose a degree program not offered at Red Deer College, the proximity of Alberta universities makes it easy to stay close to home while pursuing your education.
- Athabasca University (Correspondence), main campus - Athabasca, Alberta
- University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta
- University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
- University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta
Colleges & Technical/Vocational Schools
Many degree granting or university transfer programs are available from the following post-secondary institutions:
- Academy of Learning Career & Business College - Alberta, Red Deer, Alberta
- Canadian University College, Lacombe, Alberta
- DeVry Institute of Technology, Calgary, Alberta
- Grant MacEwan College, Edmonton, Alberta
- Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta
- Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Edmonton, Alberta
- Olds College, Olds, Alberta
- Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Calgary, Alberta
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.