Spirit River, Alberta

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For the municipal district, see Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133.
Spirit River
Town of Spirit River
Spirit River is located in Alberta
Spirit River
Spirit River
Location of Spirit River in Alberta
Coordinates: 55°46′46″N 118°50′11″W / 55.77944°N 118.83639°W / 55.77944; -118.83639Coordinates: 55°46′46″N 118°50′11″W / 55.77944°N 118.83639°W / 55.77944; -118.83639
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Northern Alberta
Census division 19
Municipal district Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133
 • Mayor Allan J. Georget
 • Governing body Spirit River Town Council
Area (2011)[2]
 • Total 2.81 km2 (1.08 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 640 m (2,100 ft)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total 1,025
 • Density 365.4/km2 (946/sq mi)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
Area code(s) 1-780
Highways Highway 49
Highway 731
Waterways Spirit River
Dunvegan Creek
Website Official website

Spirit River is a town in northern Alberta, Canada. It is located 78 km (48 mi) north of Grande Prairie at the junction of Highway 49 and Highway 731. The first school opened in 1910 and the railroad arrived in 1916.[4]


In the 2011 Census, the Town of Spirit River had a population of 1,025 living in 425 of its 471 total dwellings, a -10.7% change from its 2006 population of 1,148. With a land area of 2.81 km2 (1.08 sq mi), it had a population density of 364.8/km2 (944.7/sq mi) in 2011.[2]

In 2006, Spirit River had a:

  • population of 1,148 living in 466 dwellings (a 4.4% increase from 2001),
  • a land area of 2.81 km2 (1.08 sq mi), and
  • a population density of 409.2/km2 (1,060/sq mi).[5]


The community is largely agricultural, being located in the fertile Peace Country. It also features an active oil and gas industry. Together with Rycroft, Spirit River services an area of approximately 10,000 people.[6]


The town features the Richardson Pioneer Central Peace Aquatic Centre[7] and the Spirit River and District Museum.[8]


In 1891, a trading post became the original settlement along the banks of the Spirit River. Ranching in the area started as early as the 1840s and farming in the 1880s.[9] In 1915, to the northwest, on Section 22, the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway subdivided a townsite called Spirit River Station. The residents and storekeepers at the old settlement then moved, creating a village in 1916.[10] On February 16 of that year, the Herald Tribune reported that McRae & Co. opened a general store.[10] Spirit River was incorporated as a town in 1951.[6]

In October 2013, a pipeline inspection crew working in the Saddle Hills area southwest of Spirit River unearthed a 10-metre long dinosaur fossil.[11] It was later confirmed to be that of the duck-billed hadrosaur.[12]

The name Spirit River comes from the Cree Chepe Sepe, or Ghost River.[9]

The Town of Spirit River, along with the Municipal District of Spirit River will be celebrating its centennial anniversary in August 2016.[13]


The Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133's municipal office is located in Spirit River. It is also home to the Peace-Wapiti School Board and provincial offices for Alberta Agriculture and Fish and Wildlife.



A paved airport accommodates medical emergency flights and private aircraft.


The town features a curling rink, arena, outdoor pool, library, museum and community hall.

Health care

Spirit River is home to a hospital, the Central Peace Health Complex. A new medical clinic is scheduled for completion in 2017.


The town is home to two schools – Ste. Marie Catholic School[14] (elementary) and Spirit River Regional Academy[15] (K-12).

See also[edit]


External links[edit]