Athabasca, Alberta

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Athabasca Landing (1877–1912)
Town of Athabasca
Town of Athabasca, Alberta photograph.jpg
Gateway to the Great New North
Location in Athabasca County
Location in Athabasca County
Athabasca is located in Alberta
Location of Athabasca in Alberta
Coordinates: 54°43′11″N 113°17′08″W / 54.71972°N 113.28556°W / 54.71972; -113.28556Coordinates: 54°43′11″N 113°17′08″W / 54.71972°N 113.28556°W / 54.71972; -113.28556
RegionNorthern Alberta
Planning regionUpper Athabasca
Municipal districtAthabasca
 • VillageMay 18, 1905 (as Athabasca Landing)
 • TownSeptember 19, 1911
 • Name changeAugust 4, 1913
 • MayorColleen Powell
 • Governing bodyAthabasca Town Council
 • CAORobert Jorgensen
 • MPShannon Stubbs (Conservative - Lakeland)
 • MLAGlenn van Dijken (UCP - Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock)
 • Land17.65 km2 (6.81 sq mi)
533 m (1,750 ft)
 • Total2,965
 • Density168/km2 (440/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s)+1-780
WebsiteOfficial website

Athabasca /ˌæθəˈbæskə/ (2016 population 2,965), originally named Athabasca Landing, is a town in northern Alberta, Canada. It is located 145 km (90 mi) north of Edmonton at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 55, on the banks of the Athabasca River. It is the centre of Athabasca County. It was known as Athabasca Landing prior to August 4, 1913.[5]


Unlike many other towns in Alberta, Athabasca predates the railway. It was the terminus of the Edmonton to Athabasca Landing trail. Athabasca lies on a southern protrusion of the Athabasca River. During the fur trade era, when rivers were the principal means of transportation, the Athabasca–Edmonton trail connected two different drainage basins. The Athabasca River flows north and is part of the Mackenzie River watershed, which leads to the Arctic Ocean. Edmonton lies across a height-of-land on the North Saskatchewan River in the Nelson River drainage basin, which empties into Hudson Bay. Edmonton was in Rupert's Land but not Athabasca. The trail allowed goods to be portaged back and forth between river systems. Once agricultural settlement occurred, the trail served a similar purpose. Eventually, road and rail links would trace the same path.

A massive forest fire in August 1913 destroyed a good portion of the town, including 30 businesses. There was no loss of life. Rebuilding of the town began immediately. [6]

The Athabasca Heritage Society put up signs through the downtown as well as along the riverfront that explain and depict the history. It has also published a historical walking tour that is available from the town office, library and visitor information centre.


In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Athabasca recorded a population of 2,965 living in 1,194 of its 1,313 total private dwellings, a −0.8% change from its 2011 population of 2,990. With a land area of 17.65 km2 (6.81 sq mi), it had a population density of 168.0/km2 (435.1/sq mi) in 2016.[4]

In the 2011 Census, the Town of Athabasca had a population of 2,990 living in 1,175 of its 1,283 total dwellings, a 15.9% change from its 2006 adjusted population of 2,580. With a land area of 17.48 km2 (6.75 sq mi), it had a population density of 171.1/km2 (443.0/sq mi) in 2011.[7]

The population of the Town of Athabasca according to its 2008 municipal census is 2,734.[8]


The town is home to Athabasca University, a major centre for distance education and the town's largest employer.[9]

The town has three public schools under the jurisdiction of Aspen View Public School Division No. 78:

  • Whispering Hills Primary School (WHPS) – Kindergarten to Grade 3
  • Landing Trail Intermediate School (LTIS) – Grades 4 to 6
  • Edwin Parr Composite School (EPC) – Grades 7 to 12


Local news is provided by the Athabasca Advocate, a weekly newspaper.[10] Athabasca's local radio station is 94.1 CKBA-FM, Boom.


Athabasca experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) that borders on a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). The highest temperature ever recorded in Athabasca was 38.3 °C (101 °F) on July 18, 1941.[11] The coldest temperature ever recorded was −54.4 °C (−66 °F) on January 11, 1911.[12]


Health care[edit]

Health care is provided at the Athabasca Healthcare Centre.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Brief History". Town of Athabasca. Archived from the original on March 20, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  2. ^ "Location and History Profile: Town of Athabasca" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. October 7, 2016. p. 1. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  3. ^ "Municipal Officials Search". Alberta Municipal Affairs. September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  5. ^ "Location and History Profile: Town of Athabasca". Alberta Municipal Affairs. June 14, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  6. ^ The Edmonton Bulletin, August 6, 1913
  7. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2011 and 2006 censuses (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  8. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs (September 15, 2009). "Alberta 2009 Official Population List" (PDF). Retrieved September 14, 2010.
  9. ^ "AUPE News - Alberta Union of Provincial Employees". March 16, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  10. ^ "About Us: The Athabasca Advocate". Great West Newspapers LP. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "July 1941". Environment Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  12. ^ a b "January 1911". Environment Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  13. ^ "Climate Normals 1981-2010". Environment Canada. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  14. ^ "Athabasca". Environment Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  15. ^ "Athabasca Landing". Environment Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2016.
  16. ^ "June 2002". Environment Canada. Retrieved May 22, 2016.

External links[edit]