Earlier this month I had an opportunity to see a part of the province I've only traveled to once before a number of years ago. I paid a long overdue visit to a friend of mine in Grande Prairie. I had only ever been to the northeastern part of Alberta once before and that was a dozen years ago and mostly in darkness as I was took an epic bus trip from Edmonton up to Fort Smith, NT where I was living at the time. Last week however, was my first visit to Grande Prairie itself.
Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie are northern cousins in a way, being Alberta's two largest northern centres. It was probably inevitable that I spent much of time there comparing them in the back of my mind. And of course my friend and I got into a show of "one-upmanship". I had to point out that I thought Fort McMurray had the much better recreation centre, (I'm rather biased toward MacDonald Island here, what can I say.) I did have to concede that unlike last year, the Grande Prairie Storm will likely finish higher in the standings than the Oil Barons. Also, being able to go through a Tim Horton's drive-thru and be the only vehicle in the queue was quite novelty and seeing absolutely zero rush hour traffic at 5am was a completely foreign concept to me (especially after the epic traffic jam I blogged about in my last post).
Grande Prairie welcome sign upon entering the city from the south.
214 Place in the background.....the city's tallest building.
Though Grande Prairie is a couple hours away from Dawson City, BC, the start of the Alaska Highway I just had get a photo of one of the many signs pointing towards Alaska.
Naturally the history geek in me found the Heritage Park located in Muskoseepi Park. Sadly I wasn't able to explore it more.
I had to really fight against the glare of the sun for many of photos, late in the day as it was, but managed a half-decent shot of a rather striking Catholic Church (St. Joseph's if I'm not mistaken), taken again from Muskoseepi Park.
I was so taken by the sight of a Mallard along this small creek I almost didn't notice the shore bird right in front of me. Initially, I thought it was a sandpiper but it would have to be awfully late in the season for that. More likely, it's either a Greater or Lesser Yellowlegs.