This central Alberta city is surrounded by picturesque farmland and built around the beautiful Red Deer River valley, where more than 110 kilometres of paved pathways allow people to cycle, walk or rollerblade to all quadrants of the city — or even visit small communities outside the city’s borders. Red Deer’s extensive parks and recreation system also features impressive family-friendly outdoor recreation spaces like Bower Ponds, the Kerry Wood Nature Centre and Discovery Canyon.

Red Deer at a Glance

  • Population: 106,024
  • Median Family Income: $98,320
  • Unemployment Rate: 10.2%
  • Residential Vacancy Rate: 10%
  • Life Stress: 20.2%
  • Sense of Belonging: 67.8%

Source: Government of Alberta

“I like to say we are community within the parks,” says René Rondeau, executive director of Tourism Red Deer.

But what really sets Red Deer apart, says Rondeau, is the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and businesses which often think outside the box, looking to fill a niche. For example, instead of taking a simple stroll through the pathway system, individuals can choose a carriage or pony ride thanks to Heritage Ranch.

Before or after all the outdoor adventures, Red Deer offers a diverse selection of independent dining establishments in the city’s downtown, numerous food trucks and the new, indoor Gasoline Alley Farmer’s Market, which is open on weekends year-round.

“It’s all about capitalizing on our resources and providing great experiences,” says Rondeau.

According to Andrew Wiebe, co-owner of Red Hart Brewing, capitalizing on high-quality local ingredients and providing great experiences has been a key to success for craft brewers in Red Deer and the surrounding area.

“You can’t underestimate being so close to the ingredient maker,” says Wiebe. “There is a growing connection between farm and glass.”