Getting up for it at Sled Island (photo: Tourism Calgary)

Things to Do in Alberta: June 2019

By Sandra Sperounes

Welcome to June—a month of tunes, team sports and taking time to savour Alberta.

June is the start of music festival season in Alberta. The Lethbridge Jazz & Blues Festival stars Dawn Pemberton & Sweet Inspiration Gospel Choir, Grammy-winning drummer Larnell Lewis, and the Dirty Catfish Brass Band (June 7 to 15). Calgary’s Sled Island features more than 250 eclectic acts, including Julien Baker, Cass McCombs and Man or Astro-Man, at 30-plus venues (June 19 to 23). Hawksley Workman, Scenic Route to Alaska and Carolyn Mark headline the 41st annual North Country Fair (June 21 to 23), while the Joshua Redman Quartet, Cecile McLorin Salvant, and Jacob Collier head up the Edmonton International Jazz Festival (June 21 to 30).

Across the prairies, grain elevators are on the verge of extinction. In 1934, Alberta boasted 1,781 of the mighty wood giants. Today, there are less than 150, with only four in the north of the province. The town of Sexsmith almost tore down its remaining elevator, but residents voted to save it in 2017. On June 2, the town will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the start of restoration efforts—including reshingling the roof and repainting the exterior. The goal? To turn it into a museum.

If you missed ELA on its recent visits to Calgary and Edmonton, you’re in luck! The 12-person electric autonomous vehicle, supervised by an operator, will be shuttling passengers in Beaumont from May 16 until October 1. Sign up to take a spin along 50th Street—between Ken Nicol Regional Recreation Centre and Coloniale Way—for a total of about 700 metres.

things to do in Alberta June 2019 red deer river
Take an idyllic tour of the Red Deer River this month (photo: Tourism Red Deer)

How idyllic does this sound? Float down the Red Deer River for 90 minutes, then take a tour of Troubled Monk Breweries as part of a Rafts + Craft Beer Tour. Red Deer’s Pursuit Adventures also offers several other rafting options—including an early morning float, ideal for spotting birds and wildlife, and an evening float.

Learn about the importance of bees and how Beaverlodge’s National Bee Diagnostic Centre is protecting the health of hives across Canada at the 66th annual Beekeepers’ Field Day on June 21. Take a tour of the centre, get the latest buzz from bee experts, and enjoy a free barbecue lunch.

Celebrate indigenous culture with hand games, music, traditional dancers, and fireworks during Fort McKay’s Treaty Days (June 21 to 23). The three-day event marks the anniversary of the signing of Treaty 8 between the Fort McKay First Nation and the Canadian government. Now in its 120th year, Treaty Days might just be Alberta’s oldest festival.

Grab your pom-poms and cheer on some of Alberta’s professional sports franchises, including the Edmonton Stingers. They’re one of six teams in the Canadian Elite Basketball League, which kicked (or dunked) off its first season in May. Catch the Stingers as they take on the Guelph Nighthawks (May 24), Saskatchewan Rattlers (May 31), and Fraser Valley Bandits (June 7) at the Edmonton Expo Centre. If you’re more of a soccer fan, FC Edmonton is back on the pitch after an 18-month absence. The 11-man team is part of the new seven-team Canadian Premiere League, which also features Calgary’s Cavalry FC.   Revel in a new battle of Alberta as the two teams play May 18 at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows, then June 15 at Edmonton’s Clarke Field.

Take in the thrills and spills of professional bull riding on June 22 at Medicine Hat’s Canalta Centre. Hold on to the edge of your seats as cowboys try to hang on to bucking bulls for eight seconds. Thunderbuck in the Badlands, sponsored the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), also features a pig roast and afterparty.