Grande Prairie Travel Guide

Browse 4 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 31 travel photos from real travelers to Grande Prairie.

Grande Prairie Locals

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Grande Prairie Overview

Grande Prairie is a city of 55,000 (2011 figures although 2015 local figures suggest 68,000) in Northwest Alberta which makes it the seventh largest city in the Province. It lies 283 miles Northwest of Edmonton and straddles the intersection of Highways 43 and 40.

As the name implies it sits at the heart of a large prairie which was traditionally the home of the Beaver First Nations and the first establised European presence was the Hudson's Bay Company who set up a few miles distant in 1880. The area was surveyed for homesteading in 1909 and the landrush started the following year. Things moved quickly and within a further two years Grande Prairie boasted a bank, hotel, post office, and land office, making it a district metropolis. To enable this influx of settlers, the Edson Trail was cleared to here from the South in 1911 whichled to it's incorporation as a village in 1911. It was the arrival of the railway two years later that led to such rapid expansion that it incorporated as a town in 1919.

During World War Two, the town became an important staging post during the construction of the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek to Alaska. Post war, the population continued to expand steadily and the construction of Highway 43 from Edmonton accelerated this process to the point that it was able to incorporate as a city in 1958. The discovery of gas nearby led to an economic and population boom with the latter doubling in ten years. Today, Grande Prairie has a high percentage of immigrants with Polish, Philippinos and Ukrainians the most prominent groups.