Fort Saskatchewan

Fort Saskatchewan is a city in Alberta, Canada, located 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of downtown Edmonton, Alberta's capital city, along the North Saskatchewan River. Fort Saskatchewan is part of the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area and is one of 24 municipalities on the Capital Region Board (CRB). According to the City of Fort Saskatchewan's 2010 municipal census, the city's population has grown to 18,653.

Fort Saskatchewan is bordered by Strathcona County to the south and east, Sturgeon County to the north and west, and the City of Edmonton to the southwest. Sturgeon County and Edmonton are both located across the North Saskatchewan River.

The city is most well known for its proximity to petrochemical facilities, including Dow Chemical, Sherritt International, Agrium and Shell Canada. It is also known for its flock of 50 sheep that roam its downtown park throughout the summer months eating the grass. The city mascot is a sheep named Auggie.


In 1875, under the command of Inspector W.D. Jarvis, the North West Mounted Police established Fort Saskatchewan as a fort on the North Saskatchewan River. The fort was later incorporated as a village in 1899, a town in 1904, and a city in 1985.

The Canadian Northern Railway reached Fort Saskatchewan in 1905, placing the town on a transcontinental rail line. The first bridge across the river was also built at this time, with the rail company paying for it in exchange for free land for its station in Fort Saskatchewan. Prior to the bridge, the only method to cross the river at Fort Saskatchewan was via ferry. In the decade after the railway arrived, the town's population nearly doubled to 993.

A new $200,000 provincial jail opened in 1915 at the end of what is now 100th Avenue to replace the 34-cell guard house that had been in used to hold prisoners since the NWMP fort was constructed in 1875. The jail would see various additions throughout the next 70 years, including the construction of more cell blocks and a stand-alone power plant. By 1973, the jail employed 220 residents and housed both male and female offenders. The jail was replaced in 1988 when a new provincial correctional centre was built south of Highway 15 on 101st Street. The original jail cell blocks was subsequently demolished in 1994. Only one building from the complex as well as the Warden's House still stand today.

In 1952, Sherritt Gordon Mines started construction on a $25-million nickel refinery in Fort Saskatchewan, which started production in 1954. Following Sherritt Gordon's locating in Fort Saskatchewan, more industries constructed plants in the town. Between 1951 and 1956, the town's population doubled from 1,076 to 2,582.

Dow Chemical acquired 700 acres in Fort Saskatchewan in 1959, opening its plant in 1961 and further expanding it in 1967. After Dow started operations, the population again saw a significant increase to 4,152 in 1966, up from 2,972 five years earlier.

Since Fort Saskatchewan was incorporated as a town in 1904, it has had 29 residents serve as its mayor.


The population of the City of Fort Saskatchewan according to its 2010 municipal census is 18,653, a 6.8% increase over its 2009 municipal census population of 17,469.

In 2006, Fort Saskatchewan had a population of 14,957 living in 5,825 dwellings, a 14.0% increase from 2001. The median income for private households in 2005 was $89,699 but the median earnings for individuals over the age of 15 was $33,947.

The city has a land area of 48.12 km2 (18.58 sq mi) and a population density of 310.8 /km2 (805 /sq mi).

Residents work mostly in trades (2,130), retail (1,840) or business/finance (1,575).

According to the 2006 census, the largest visible minorities in the community were Chinese with 95 residents followed by Filipino with 55 residents.

English is the first language of 91.7% of the population. French (2.2%) is the second most common first language.


Fort Saskatchewan is directly governed by a city council consisting of one mayor and six councillors.

Municipal elections occur every three years on the third Monday in October. The last election was October 18, 2010. The next election is scheduled for October 21, 2013. The mayor is elected separately from the councillors, who are elected at-large (as opposed to the ward system).

Currently the city council consists of:

  • Mayor Gale Katchur (first term as mayor)
  • Coun. Don Westman (fifth term)
  • Coun. Tom Hutchison (fourth term)
  • Coun. Stew Hennig (second term)
  • Coun. Ed van Delden (second term)
  • Coun. Frank Garritsen (first term)
  • Coun. John Mather (first term)

On the provincial level of government, Fort Saskatchewan is part of the riding called Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville. It is represented by Premier Ed Stelmach (Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta).

On the federal level, Fort Saskatchewan is part of the Edmonton—Sherwood Park riding and is represented by Tim Uppal (Conservative Party of Canada).


Fort Saskatchewan's main industries are commercial and heavy industry. Fort Saskatchewan is part of Alberta's Industrial Heartland, the largest Canadian industrial area west of Toronto. Companies with operations in the area include Dow Chemical, Sherritt International, Agrium and Shell Canada. These plants are major employers for residents of Fort Saskatchewan and the surrounding area.

With the city's growth in recent years, the commercial service sector has also grown. Multi-national corporations with stores in Fort Saskatchewan include Wal-Mart and The Home Depot, with Canadian Tire, Safeway and Sobeys acting as some of the other major employers.

Fort Mall

The Fort Mall is a mostly "dead mall" located on a 12-acre parcel on the east side of downtown, containing 170,000 square feet (16,000 m2) of retail space. In February 2003, a new purchaser promised renovations, but the opening of nearby larger Cornerstone Mall that year only worsened the mall's situation. The planned renovations were never completed, and a new owner came in and in 2007 proposed to demolish part of the mall to construct apartments or condominiums. Foreclosure proceedings began in 2008, and the mall was listed for judicial sale. The initial asking price was $8 million, and a $4 million bid from the city in the fall of 2009 was rejected. In February 2010, the mall was relisted for sale at $5 million dollars, and a $4.35 million offer accepted by the court in April.

Recreation and culture

The centrepiece of Fort Saskatchewan's recreation and culture is the Dow Centennial Centre (DCC), a multi-use facility that includes an ice arena, gymnasium, fieldhouse, indoor track and fitness centre. The facility, which opened in September 2004, also features a 550-seat performing arts theatre, a permanent art gallery with monthly shows, a banquet hall and the local Pottery Guild.

The city also has two other indoor ice arenas—the Jubilee Recreation Centre and the Sportsplex—that are used during the winter months by hockey, ringette and figure skating associations. In the summer months, the lacrosse association uses them.

Fort Saskatchewan also has Harbour Pool, which is an indoor swimming pool that includes a hot tub, sauna and slide.

Over 30 km of paved trails meander through the city's dozen parks, including Legacy Park, which is the city's main gathering place and hosts festivals in the summer.

There is one nine-hole golf course located within the city's boundaries with three others within a 10-minute drive.

The Fort Saskatchewan Museum (c. 1909) is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The museum, which sits adjacent to Legacy Park along 101 Street, features a red brick courthouse, a historic school, church and house that were relocated to the site from their respective locations around the region.

Fort Saskatchewan is served by the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library located on 102 Street next to City Hall.

The city's west end features a boat launch into the North Saskatchewan River, called Red Coat Landing, and a provincially preserved natural area, called the Fort Saskatchewan Prairie.

Elk Island National Park is located immediately southeast of the city.


Fort Saskatchewan currently has no post-secondary schools. Most residents commute or move into Edmonton to attend post-secondary classes at the University of Alberta, Grant MacEwan University, or Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Fort Saskatchewan's schools are governed by two different school boards -- Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) and Elk Island Catholic Schools (EICS). Both school boards have their head offices located in Sherwood Park.

Fort Saskatchewan's elected trustees on the EIPS board are Pat McLauchlan and Glen Buchan. Gerald Mykytiuk is the lone Fort Saskatchewan trustee on the EICS board.

The following schools are located in Fort Saskatchewan:

  • Fort Saskatchewan Elementary School (Grades K-6)
  • James Mowat Elementary School (Grades K-6)
  • École Rudolph Hennig (French Immersion K-9)
  • Win Ferguson Community School (Grades K-6)
  • Fort Saskatchewan Christian School (Grades K-9)
  • Pope John XXIII Catholic School (Grades K-4)
  • Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School (Grades 5-8)
  • Fort Saskatchewan Junior High (Grades 7-9)
  • École Rudolph Hennig School (Grades K-9, in either English or French)
  • Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School (Grades 5-8)
  • Fort Saskatchewan Christian School (Grades K-9)
  • Fort Saskatchewan High School (Grades 10-12)
  • John Paul II High School (Grades 9-12)
  • Next Step Senior High School (Grades 10-12; Alternative)
Health care

Fort Saskatchewan has one hospital—the 32-bed Fort Saskatchewan Health Centre. A new 38-bed hospital is currently under construction.

The city also has a 58-bed, public-operated, supportive-living seniors lodge, called Dr. Turner Lodge. Southfort Bend, a privately operated facility, also has supportive living for seniors. The lone assisted-living facility in Fort Saskatchewan is the Rivercrest Care Centre.


The Fort Saskatchewan Traders, of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, were long a part of the city. After the 2006-07 season, the team relocated to St. Albert and was renamed the St. Albert Steel.

The Pyramid Corp. Hawks of the Capital Junior Hockey League and the McEwen Chiefs of the Chinook Hockey League are currently the only professional hockey teams in the city. Both use the Jubilee Recreation Centre as their home rink. The Edmonton Chimos female hockey team of the Western Women's Hockey League also played some home games at the JRC during the 2008-09 season.

Fort Saskatchewan is also home to the Fort Saskatchewan Athletics of the Sunburst Baseball League. Former college and professional baseball players make up the core of the baseball club.

Fort Saskatchewan has a youth sports association for hockey, soccer (indoor and outdoor), baseball, ringette, indoor lacrosse, figure skating, as well as sports associations for cross-country skiing and swimming.


Fort Saskatchewan has three local newspapers.

The Fort Saskatchewan Record (The Fort Record) is a weekly home-delivered newspaper published on Thursdays. It took over the offices and plant of The Conservator, the previous weekly newspaper, and was first published on Wednesday, April 5, 1922.

The Sturgeon Creek Post, established in 1997, is a weekly newspaper published on Wednesdays that is available at local businesses and newsstands.

Over Easy, Please is a weekly newspaper published on Mondays that is available at local businesses in Fort Saskatchewan.

Other newspapers commonly read in Fort Saskatchewan are the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun. Fort Saskatchewan has no television of its own due to its close proximity to the Edmonton broadcasting market. It does have an online radio station what was founded in October 2010.

Fort Saskatchewan also has an internet radio station which came online in November 2010. has applied for a low-power FM license.

See also Media in Edmonton.

Notable residents
  • Mike Commodore, NHL player, Stanley Cup Champion (2006)
  • Evangeline Lilly, actress, notably from the television series Lost
  • Joffrey Lupul, NHL player
  • Richard Matvichuk, NHL player, Stanley Cup Champion (1999)
  • Carl Mokosak, retired NHL player
  • Allen Pedersen, retired NHL player
  • Ray Whitney, NHL player, Stanley Cup Champion (2006)

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 5 years ago via