Photo: Jeremy Fokkens/Travel Alberta

How to Celebrate Alberta Day on September 1

By Allison Bench

While it isn’t a statutory holiday, Alberta Day will be celebrated for the first time in 2022. The day is an opportunity to celebrate the beauty of our province and the richness of its history.

Our province joined Confederation in 1905; but Alberta history stretches back much farther than that. And no matter where you are in the province or when you started calling it home, take some time this day to enjoy some Alberta-focused activities.

Learn about Alberta’s history

People have been calling this place home for thousands of years; long before anyone called it Alberta! Across the province, spots that were once Indigenous gathering places now serve as educational hubs or museums.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump is perhaps one of Alberta’s most well-known historical spots. The UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site is home to over 6,000 years of Plains Buffalo culture. Indigenous people once used the cliff as a trap for group hunting buffalo, but now the spot educates visitors on the area’s rich history with interpretive exhibits and tours. Plus, AMA members save 10% on admission at the site.

Historic Dunvegan in northwestern Alberta was established as a fur trading post in 1805, after being long used by Indigenous people as a gathering place. The spot continued to be used for the fur trade until the early 1900s, then the area and its buildings were looked after by locals until being declared a provincial park in the 50s. Now, costumed interpreters help modern-day Albertans learn about life in the past through guided historical tours. In Edmonton, the 1911-built Rutherford House offers similar tours with a 10% AMA discount, and in the south, AMA members get 10% off admission to Fort Calgary.

If you’re looking to time travel even further, to a prehistoric state, of course there’s no better spot than the Royal Tyrell Museum. In Drumheller, the world-renowned museum is the only one in Canada that’s completely dedicated to ancient life. Dinosaurs, ancient plants and fossils of every shape and size await you in our province’s prehistoric hub.

Enjoy modern Alberta

While exploring our province’s history is a great way to learn about what came before, there’s also a lot of quintessentially Albertan activities that will connect you with our current culture.

The province is hosting official events in Calgary and Edmonton to celebrate Alberta Day. Events will take place on September 3 at Calgary’s Prince Island Park and the Legislature grounds in Edmonton. They will include concerts featuring Alberta talent, made-in-Alberta markets, and cultural workshops. Your own municipality may also be hosting events; check local websites to see if there’s anything going on near you.

A gastronomic experience

There’s nothing like an Alberta steak on the barbeque. Alberta is cattle country, with more than 18,000 beef producers living and working in the province. Learn some tips and tricks for the perfect grilled meal with your fellow AMA members in our Backyard BBQ community. And for those who don’t eat meat, we’ve got you covered with some interesting ways to grill veggies. These include using corn cobs as a rib substitute—don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

Lose yourself in Alberta

Speaking of corn—a great way to enjoy the crisp air of an early-autumn day is exploring a corn maze. Alberta farmers plant massive fields of puzzling paths that can be a great evening of fun to get lost in.

In the north, the Edmonton Corn Maze—this year sporting the Edmonton Elks logo as its aerial design—offers more than five kilometres of paths and dozens of twists and turns.

The Calgary Farmyard hosts another one of the province’s largest fall mazes at four hectares. This spot also hosts other farm activities like pig races, mini golf and hill slides. Lacombe’s Kraay Family Farm offers a similar experience.

Meanwhile, Bon Accord’s Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm has a slightly different twist with a sunflower maze option alongside the classic corn. The earlier you go in the season, the less crowded corn mazes tend to be. So, it’s the perfect Alberta Day family activity!