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This article is about the town in Alberta, Canada. For the community in England, see White Court.
Town of Whitecourt
Whitecourt's entrance sign on Highway 43
Whitecourt's entrance sign on Highway 43
Nickname(s): Snowmobile Capital of Alberta[1]
Motto: Let's Go...[2]
Whitecourt is located in Alberta
Coordinates: 54°08′34.1″N 115°41′06.9″W / 54.142806°N 115.685250°W / 54.142806; -115.685250Coordinates: 54°08′34.1″N 115°41′06.9″W / 54.142806°N 115.685250°W / 54.142806; -115.685250
Country  Canada
Province  Alberta
Region Central Alberta
Census division 13
Municipal district Woodlands County
Founded [3] 1910
Incorporated: [4]
 - Village 

January 1, 1959
 - New town August 15, 1961
 - Town December 20, 1971
 • Mayor Maryann Chichak
 • Governing body
 • CAO Peter Smyl
 • MP Arnold Viersen
 • MLA Oneil Carlier
Area (2011)[6]
 • Total 26.14 km2 (10.09 sq mi)
Elevation[7] 690 m (2,260 ft)
Population (2011)[6]
 • Total 9,605
 • Density 367.4/km2 (952/sq mi)
 • Municipal census (2013) 10,574[8]
Time zone MST (UTC−7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC−6)
Postal code span T7S
Area code(s) +1-780
Highways Highway 43
Highway 32
Waterways Athabasca River
McLeod River
Sakwatamau River
Beaver Creek
Website Official website

Whitecourt is a town in central Alberta, Canada within Woodlands County.[9] It is located approximately 177 km (110 mi) northwest of Edmonton and 279 km (173 mi) southeast of Grande Prairie at the junction of Highway 43 and Highway 32, and has an elevation of 690 m (2,260 ft). The Whitecourt meteor impact crater is found on nearby Whitecourt Mountain.

Whitecourt is also located at the confluence of four waterways – the Athabasca River, McLeod River, Sakwatamau River and Beaver Creek.[3] A Canadian National rail line runs through the town.

The Town has branded itself as the Snowmobile Capital of Alberta[1] and its motto is Let's Go....[2]


The community was formed in the place known by the Cree as Sagitawah (the place where the rivers meet). While the first Hudson's Bay Company trading post was established in 1897, the first permanent resident on the present day town site was John Goodwin, who settled here in 1905. In 1910, with the expansion of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, immigrants were encouraged by Premier Arthur Lewis Sifton to settle in the vast scarcely inhabited area between Edmonton and the Peace River Country.[10] The name "Whitecourt" was chosen in 1910 by Walter White, the postmaster of the young community. White was the son-in-law of former Kansas governor John W. Leedy who also settled in the community.


Whitecourt has three identifiable geographic components:

  • the Valley that includes the town centre, the Athabasca Flats residential area, Millar Western’s sawmill and pulp mill, and three manufactured home parks;
  • the Hilltop that includes the Hilltop and Southlands Estates residential areas, the Hilltop industrial area, a 2.5 km highway commercial strip along Highway 43 and two manufactured home parks; and
  • West Whitecourt, between the McLeod and Athabasca Rivers, includes an industrial area, a 1.0 km highway commercial strip along Highway 43, and a manufactured home park.


The population of the Town of Whitecourt according to its 2013 municipal census is 10,574,[8] a 14.9% increase over its 2008 municipal census population of 9,202.[26] At its current population, Whitecourt is one of the largest towns in the province and is eligible for city status. According to Alberta's Municipal Government Act, a town is eligible for city status when it reaches 10,000 residents.[27]

In the 2011 Census, the Town of Whitecourt had a population of 9,605 living in 3,629 of its 3,893 total dwellings, a 7.1% change from its 2006 population of 8,971. With a land area of 26.14 km2 (10.09 sq mi), it had a population density of 367.4/km2 (951.7/sq mi) in 2011.[6] The 2011 National Household Survey reported Whitecourt's average dwelling value as $287,110.[28]

In the 2001 Census, Whitecourt was among the 25 youngest municipalities in Canada with a population of 5,000 or more with a median age of 29.3 years. It also was among the top 25 with the highest men-to-women ratios at 110.2 men per 100 women.[29] By the 2006 census, the median age and men-to-women ratios increased to 30.1 years and 112.3 men to 100 women respectively.[30]


Whitecourt's economy is largely driven by three major industries – forestry, oil and gas industry and tourism.[31] With some farm land to the south and east of Whitecourt, agriculture plays a minor role in the town's economy.

Whitecourt is the site of three forestry-related mills:

  • Blue Ridge Lumber Sawmill / Ranger Board MDF (owned by West Fraser)
  • Millar Western Sawmill / Pulp Mill (owned by Millar Western Forest Products)
  • Alberta Newsprint Company Pulp & Paper Mill.

Due to Whitecourt and area's forestry heritage, the Canadian Forestry Association named Whitecourt and Woodlands County the "Forest Capital of Canada 2013".[32]

Whitecourt is also home to many service companies in the oil and gas industry.


The Allan & Jean Millar Centre
The Whitecourt River Slides overlooking the pond and fountain in Rotary Park
Whitecourt's Forest Interpretive Centre

Attractions within Whitecourt include the Allan & Jean Millar Centre, Rotary Park, the Forest Interpretive Centre and Heritage Park, and a variety of other facilities and parks.[33]

The Allan & Jean Millar Centre consists of both an aquatic facility, a fieldhouse, a fitness facility, a children's indoor playground area, and boardroom and classroom rental spaces. The aquatic facility comprises a main pool, a children's pool, a leisure pool, a lazy river, a water slide, a hot tub, and a steam room. The fieldhouse includes a configurable multi-sport area, a track, and racquetball and squash courts. The fitness centre provides cardio training equipment, weight training equipment, and a fitness studio. Overall, this recreation venue also provides a variety of programming including lessons, classes, and personal training.[34]

Rotary Park, located in the river valley adjacent to downtown, is a multi-use outdoor park facility consisting of a pond stocked with fish that is cleared for skating in the winter, trails, sports fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, an off-leash dog park, and a river slide attraction featuring two flowing artificial creeks with drops for tubing.[33] A splash park with 19 water features opened within Rotary Park in 2012.[35]

The Forest Interpretive Centre includes a multi-media museum that presents the forestry industry's role in Whitecourt's history.[33] It also features meeting rooms and hosts the local chamber of commerce, a tourist information centre, and town council meetings.[33][36] The Forest Interpretive Centre's associated Heritage Park includes antique vehicles and farm equipment, a barn, and an interpretive trail among other features.[33]


Club League Sport Venue Established League championships Provincial championships
Whitecourt Wolverines
Ice hockey Scott Safety Centre
Whitecourt Wolverines
Ice hockey Scott Safety Centre
Scott Safety Centre, home of the Whitecourt Wolverines of the AJHL

Travis Roche and Rocky Thompson are current and former professional hockey players that were raised in Whitecourt.[37][38] Roche played 60 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) between the Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes and now plays for SC Bern in Switzerland's National League A.[39] He has represented Team Canada at the Spengler Cup on numerous occasions, winning gold at the 2012 tournament.[40] Thompson played 25 games in the NHL between the Calgary Flames and Florida Panthers and is now an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers in the National Hockey League.[41]

Normand Lacombe is the strength and conditioning coach for the Whitecourt Wolverines of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL),[42] and was the head coach of the predecessor Wolverines of the North West Junior Hockey League prior to the AJHL's arrival.[43] Lacombe played 319 games in the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers,[44] winning the Stanley Cup with the Oilers in 1988.


Town office in downtown Whitecourt

Whitecourt Town Council consists of a mayor and six councillors that were elected in the 2013 municipal election. The current members of town council are Mayor Maryann Chichak and councillors Darlene Chartrand, Paul Chauvet, Norman Hodgson, Bill McAree, Eris Moncur, and Derek Schlosser.[5] The town's chief administrative officer is Peter Smyl.[5]

Division office of Northern Gateway Public Schools in downtown Whitecourt

The Northern Gateway Public Schools division office is located in Whitecourt. The school division is responsible for public schools within the geography comprising Lac Ste. Anne County and portions of Woodlands County and the Municipal District of Greenview No. 16, including the towns of Fox Creek, Mayerthorpe, Onoway and Valleyview in addition to Whitecourt.[45]

Whitecourt is located within the Whitecourt-Ste. Anne provincial electoral district, which is represented by Oneil Carlier of the Alberta New Democratic Party. Progressive Conservative George VanderBurg was a four-term MLA for the district until 2015. A resident of Whitecourt, VanderBurg was a businessman and the mayor of the town for nine years prior to his entry into provincial politics.[46]

At the federal level, Whitecourt is located within the Yellowhead electoral district, which is represented by Conservative Jim Eglinski. Conservative Rob Merrifield was a four-term MP for the district until 2014. Merrifield is a resident of Whitecourt and a farmer.[47] In the next federal election, Whitecourt will be part of the newly formed riding of Peace River—Westlock.[48]

Other former politicians that have lived in Whitecourt include Raj Pannu, Allen Sulatycky and Rod Fox. Pannu, former MLA for Edmonton-Strathcona and former leader of the Alberta New Democratic Party, taught high school in Whitecourt between 1962 and 1964.[49] Sulatycky, judge and former MP for Rocky Mountain, was a lawyer and was elected the first Liberal to represent Whitecourt's constituency in 1968.[50] Fox, former Wildrose Party MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, was born and raised in Whitecourt.[51]


Health care[edit]

The Whitecourt Healthcare Centre located on Sunset Boulevard

Acute and non-acute medical care is provided at the Whitecourt Healthcare Centre.[52]



The full air-service Whitecourt Airport is located west of Whitecourt on the north side of Highway 32, approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Highway 43. It is Alberta's ninth busiest airport with up to 32,000 aircraft using the airport annually. The airstrip is 5,800 ft (1,800 m) in length and 100 ft (30 m) wide and can accommodate 747 jets. Numerous carriers offer scheduled charter flights out of the airport.[53]


Greyhound Canada provides regular bus passenger services to Whitecourt on a daily basis.[53] The bus stop is located at the Dynamic Esso at the intersection of 52 Avenue and Dahl Drive.[54]


The CN Sangudo Subdivision provides rail service through Whitecourt from Edmonton to numerous gas plants south of Fox Creek. The Millar Western Sawmill / Pulp Mill and the Alberta Newsprint Company Pulp & Paper Mill are both served by rail.[55]


The Town of Whitecourt is served by two highways. Highway 43, which is part of the CANAMEX Corridor, is a twinned highway that provides connection to Edmonton to the southeast and Grande Prairie to the northwest.

Highway 32 provides Whitecourt with a direct link to the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) to the south, which connects the town to Edson and Hinton to the southwest. Another segment of Highway 32 begins approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) northwest of the town, providing a link from Highway 43 to Swan Hills and Slave Lake.

Numerous local roads provide connections from Whitecourt to surrounding rural areas within Woodlands County. Within the McLeod River valley, Govenlock Road feeds two rural roads – West Mountain Road (Range Road 122) and Tower Road (Range Road 121A) – that provide access to numerous country residential subdivisions and some agricultural operations to the south.

Within the Athabasca River valley, Flats Road (Township Road 600), which exits the town following its northern boundary, serves numerous agricultural operations to the east.

On the Hilltop, 41 Avenue (Township Road 594A), which was the original highway alignment into Whitecourt, exits the town eastbound for the Hamlet of Blue Ridge. This road is commonly referred to as Blue Ridge Road.


Hilltop High School main entrance



Whitecourt is served by two weekly papers, the Sun Media owned Whitecourt Star,[58] the independent Whitecourt Press,[59] and the monthly Community Advisor.[60]


Two FM radio stations broadcast from Whitecourt. The Rig (FM 96.7, CFXW-FM)[61] and XM 105 (FM 105.3, CIXM-FM)[62] broadcast active rock and contemporary country formats respectively.

Sister cities[edit]

Whitecourt has been twinned with Yūbetsu, Hokkaido, Japan, since 1998.[63][64]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pamela Roth (March 31, 2013). "Snowmobiler dead, another missing after icy plunge into Athabasca River in Whitecourt". Edmonton Sun (Canoe Sun Media). Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Town of Whitecourt (2009-05-26). "May 26, 2009 Whitecourt Town Council Update" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-06-24. 
  3. ^ a b Town of Whitecourt. "Whitecourt History". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  4. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-08-13). "Whitecourt Municipal Profile". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  5. ^ a b c "Municipal Officials Search". Alberta Municipal Affairs. February 5, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d "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. 
  7. ^ "Alberta Private Sewage Systems 2009 Standard of Practice Handbook: Appendix A.3 Alberta Design Data (A.3.A. Alberta Climate Design Data by Town)" (PDF) (PDF). Safety Codes Council. January 2012. pp. 212–215 (PDF pages 226–229). Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "2013 Municipal Census Results Are In". Town of Whitecourt. June 25, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ Alberta Municipal Affairs (2010-04-01). "Specialized and Rural Municipalities and Their Communities" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  10. ^ Olecko, Doreen - Sagitawah Saga - The story of Whitecourt, 2006, University of Calgary, Université Laval
  11. ^ "2011 Community Profiles". Canada 2011 Census. Statistics Canada. July 5, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ "2006 Community Profiles". Canada 2006 Census. Statistics Canada. March 30, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  13. ^ "2001 Community Profiles". Canada 2001 Census. Statistics Canada. February 17, 2012. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  14. ^ Ninth Census of Canada, 1951. SP-7, Population: Unincorporated villages and hamlets. Dominion Bureau of Statistics. pp. 55–57. 
  15. ^ "Table 6: Population by sex, for census subdivisions, 1956 and 1951". Census of Canada, 1956. Population, Counties and Subdivisions. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1957. p. 6.50–6.53. 
  16. ^ "Table 6: Population by census subdivisions, 1901–1961". 1961 Census of Canada. Series 1.1: Historical, 1901–1961. Volume I: Population. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1963. p. 6.77-6.83. 
  17. ^ "Population by specified age groups and sex, for census subdivisions, 1966". Census of Canada, 1966. Population, Specified Age Groups and Sex for Counties and Census Subdivisions, 1966. Ottawa: Dominion Bureau of Statistics. 1968. p. 6.50–6.53. 
  18. ^ "Table 2: Population of Census Subdivisions, 1921–1971". 1971 Census of Canada. Volume I: Population, Census Subdivisions (Historical). Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1973. p. 2.102-2.111. 
  19. ^ "Table 3: Population for census divisions and subdivisions, 1971 and 1976". 1976 Census of Canada. Census Divisions and Subdivisions, Western Provinces and the Territories. Volume I: Population, Geographic Distributions. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1977. p. 3.40–3.43. 
  20. ^ "Table 4: Population and Total Occupied Dwellings, for Census Divisions and Subdivisions, 1976 and 1981". 1981 Census of Canada. Volume II: Provincial series, Population, Geographic distributions (Alberta). Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1982. p. 4.1–4.10. ISBN 0-660-51095-2. 
  21. ^ "Table 2: Census Divisions and Subdivisions – Population and Occupied Private Dwellings, 1981 and 1986". Census Canada 1986. Population and Dwelling Counts – Provinces and Territories (Alberta). Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1987. p. 2.1–2.10. ISBN 0-660-53463-0. 
  22. ^ "Table 2: Population and Dwelling Counts, for Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions, 1986 and 1991 – 100% Data". 91 Census. Population and Dwelling Counts – Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1992. pp. 100–108. ISBN 0-660-57115-3. 
  23. ^ "Table 10: Population and Dwelling Counts, for Census Divisions, Census Subdivisions (Municipalities) and Designated Places, 1991 and 1996 Censuses – 100% Data". 96 Census. A National Overview – Population and Dwelling Counts. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. 1997. pp. 136–146. ISBN 0-660-59283-5. 
  24. ^ "Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories, and Census Divisions, 2001 and 1996 Censuses - 100% Data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  25. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2006 and 2001 censuses - 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2012-04-02. 
  26. ^ "2011 Municipal Affairs Population List" (PDF). Alberta Municipal Affairs. October 5, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Municipal Government Act". Alberta Queen's Printer. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Canada 2011 National Household Survey: NHS Profile, Whitecourt, T, Alberta". Statistics Canada. August 2, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Profile of the Canadian population by age and sex: Canada ages" (PDF). Statistics Canada. 2002. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  30. ^ "2006 Community Profiles: Whitecourt, Alberta (Town)". Statistics Canada. December 6, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  31. ^ Alberta First. "Whitecourt Community Profile". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  32. ^ "Presentation Ceremony for the Forest Capital of Canada 2013: Designation to be held on May 11". Town of Whitecourt. May 3, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b c d e "Facilities, Parks and Playgrounds". Town of Whitecourt. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  34. ^ "Facility Information". Town of Whitecourt. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  35. ^ "Whitecourt Splash Park To Open Saturday June 30". Town of Whitecourt. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  36. ^ "Council Meeting Information and Schedule". Town of Whitecourt. Retrieved 2012-08-11. 
  37. ^ "Whitecourt's Roche signs with Coyotes". Whitecourt Star (Canoe Sun Media). July 18, 2006. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  38. ^ "Rocky hangs up skates to coach with Oil Kings". Sherwood Park News (Canoe Sun Media). July 24, 2007. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Travis Roche". hockeydb.com. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  40. ^ Paul Romanuk (January 1, 2013). "Romanuk: Spengler Cup provided some great memories". TSN. Retrieved January 31, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Oilers hire Thompson as assistant coach". tsn.ca. July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Staff". Whitecourt Wolverines. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  43. ^ "Wolverines hire new coach". Whitecourt Star (Canoe Sun Media). December 28, 2011. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Normand Lacombe". hockeydb.com. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Our Schools". Northern Gateway Public Schools. September 2, 2014. 
  46. ^ "VanderBurg seeks third term". Whitecourt Star (Canoe Sun Media). February 13, 2008. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  47. ^ Brigette Jobin (September 17, 2008). "Meet your candidate — Rob Merrifield". Whitecourt Star (Canoe Sun Media). Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  48. ^ "Alberta Redistribution". Alberta Commission. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  49. ^ "Raj Pannu fonds". Archives Canada. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Businesses - 1950s to 1960s". Whitecourt Web. Retrieved July 2, 2013. 
  51. ^ "Rod Fox: Lacombe-Ponoka". Wildrose.ca. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  52. ^ "Whitecourt Healthcare Centre". Alberta Health Services. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  53. ^ a b Town of Whitecourt. "Connected to the World (Whitecourt Economic Development Package)". Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  54. ^ Greyhound Canada. "Greyhound Lines: Whitecourt AB". Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  55. ^ Town of Whitecourt (November 2008). "Imagine Whitecourt – Whitecourt's Municipal Development Plan (part 1 of 2)" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-09-05. 
  56. ^ Northern Gateway Public Schools (2010-07-26). "Northern Gateway's Schools". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  57. ^ Living Waters Catholic Schools Regional Division No. 42. "Living Waters Catholic Schools – Our Schools". Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  58. ^ "Whitecourt Star". Canoe Sun Media. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  59. ^ "Whitecourt Press". Whitecourt Press. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  60. ^ "Community Advisor". WhitecourtWeb.com. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  61. ^ "96.7 The Rig". 96.7 The Rig. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  62. ^ "XM 105 FM". Fabmar Communications Ltd. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  63. ^ "Alberta/Japan Twinned Municipalities Association – Whitecourt". Government of Alberta, International and Intergovernmental Affairs. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  64. ^ "Twin Town Agreement". Town of Whitecourt. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 

External links[edit]