The History of Camrose

Once rich in furs, the area in and around Camrose, Alberta was at one-time home to the Cree Indians. The Cree were a wandering people and often found along the banks of Stoney Creek down to the Battle River. In the early years of its existence, the Cree took up settlement in the environment around and along the shores of Dried Meat Lake. As one of the most commonly known Cree, PE-O-Kis, was present when the city of Camrose was established.

Originally known as Sparling, the first home built on the present site of Camrose was home to Dr. Sparling. Originally a physician coming from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Dr. Sparling had his home built in 1893 by Ole Bakken and always kept it in immaculate condition and welcoming to visitors.

Over the course of the next ten years, the Hamlet of Sparling would see small but subtle growth. In May of 1904, Duncan Sampson, who came from Ontario, would become the first merchant and set up shop with a small store near the Sparling school. Mail for all Sparling residents was left in a soap box within Sampson’s store.

In May of 1905, Sparling officially was incorporated as a Village. The name itself would change to what is known today as Camrose, because of the confusion with other towns Sperling and Stirling in Western Canada. Unfortunately, there is no factual evidence to prove why it was named Camrose, but history suggests that it’s named after a town in South Wales.

In the summer of 1905, the Canadian Pacific Railway had been completed creating rail travel from Wetaskiwin to Camrose, complete with a bridge being finished to allow access over Stoney Creek. Three times a week a train traveling from Wetaskiwin would come to Camrose stimulating growth in the region and town.

Today, Camrose is fortunate to continue having the Canadian National and Pacific railway providing facilities to business and industry. Other means of travel include bus services as well as easy access to the city of Edmonton and the Edmonton International Airport.

When the original survey of Camrose was completed, main street’s width came through the farsighted vision of planning pioneer Francois Adam. Francois was the first member of the Justice of the Peace and through historians is referred as the “Father of Camrose”. Through his vision, the main street of the city continues to be a source of great pride in the community. Downtown’s uncluttered look is a result of Adam’s foresight.

A beautiful downtown combined with an orderly development has helped the city of Camrose earn its reputation as one of the nicest cities scattered across Western Canada.

In 2000, the city was awarded the “National Communities in Bloom” award for its population category.

Since 2000, the city of Camrose has helped undertake, with the help from it’s owners, restoration and enhancement on more than a dozen buildings.

Every year the city helps celebrate the pioneers and settlers who helped found the city with Camrose Founders Days. The year 2007 seen it culminate with focus on 100 years since the first fire brigade and fire hall.

Parks and Facilities

One of the reasons that Camrose has been mentioned as one of the nicest cities in Western Canada is it’s incredible system of parks and natural (greenery) areas. Running through the heart of the city is the beautiful Stone Creek Valley which provides a beautiful and natural environment for city residents and local wildlife.

Our city takes great pride in keeping its reputation and special care is taken to help ensure that residents and visitors are able to visit its public areas in immaculate condition.

Jubilee Park is the heart of Camrose. Nestled in a sloping valley it is home to an ideal recreation area with it’s grassy areas, beautiful trees, and a wandering stream. In the Spring to Fall seasons you can use it’s sheltered barbecue and picnic facilities as well as the children’s playground.

As Jubilee Park is the heart, the focal point of the park system is Mirror Lake Park. On the south shore of the lake a play area exists along with Bill Fowler Centre, which is home to the Chamber of Commerce office and tourist information centre. For visitors, it is home to the cities famous Viking ship which is highlighted with a nature mural featuring much of the wildlife seen in the area. The Bill Fowler Centre overlooks an arbor next to the lake and helps connect many walking paths encircling as well as other elements of the urban park system.

21km of paved and shale trails along with 15km of natural grass trails laid out throughout the park system provides a scenic opportunity for walkers, joggers, and even skiers in the winter.

For those indoor enthusiasts, a national caliber track and field facility exists when it was constructed for Camrose when the city hosted the Alberta Games. The Camrose Sport Development Centre provides a wealth of athletics, complete with a 2500 seat arena which is home to the Camrose Kodiaks, an Alberta Junior Hockey League team. Aquatics, track, an indoor soccer field are just a few of the many amenities available.

In the cities warmer months, the Camrose Golf Course provides a quality CPGA public 18 hole challenge within city limits.

Cultural and Events

If you’re a country music fan, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Big Valley Jamboree. The country music festival continues to be one of the best and longest running music festivals in the country. A strong musical heritage has seen other concerts and events enjoy success as well.

The Camrose Kodiaks boast the biggest sports name within the city and play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League throughout the winter months. Since being founded in 1997-1998, the Kodiaks have gone on to win one national title and five AJHL championships.

A progressive community of 17,000+ residents the city and surrounding county are a stable district with strong traditions. Agriculture and developments in the oil and gas sector have sparked growth.

Camrosians can access preventative, emergency, acute and long-term health care; primary, secondary, post-secondary education and extended learning programs; and business, retail and professional services and opportunities.

Living and working in Camrose does mean you can have it all. Residents receive a high level of service and facilities while still being able to enjoy the safety of a small town.

If you’re looking for more information on the city or real estate in Camrose, then please contact us today!