A time to think big and bold . . .
Recent initiatives by the city of Red Deer and Red Deer County have
presented an unusual opportunity for a world-class visitor and
community destination in or close to the city.
From the Greater Downtown Red Deer Action Plan and the Red Deer River Valley
and Tributaries Park Concept Plan to Red Deer County's Open Spaces
Master Plan, the time is right for a bold and significant visitor
destination centre based on Central Alberta's
railway network that for 100 years was the centre for the
distribution of incoming and outgoing goods in the region and for 60
years was the heart of communication,
social interaction and the movement of people.
Red Deer celebrated its 100th anniversary as a city in 2013, the
area has been looking for a unique, authentic and sustainable visitor
magnet to compliment its valued river valley and trail system.
Already preserved in the city are the downtown CPR station, the CPR
downtown river bridge and the ACR bridge pier along Taylor Drive.
the county, the historic landmark Mintlaw trestle and the former ACR
rail right of way between Gasoline Alley and Benalto has been
purchased by the municipality. Several other preserved railway
structures and equipment are scattered around Central Alberta. An
hour's drive from Red Deer will present visitors with a heritage
train ride from Stettler to Big Valley.
In downtown Red Deer, a pedestrian-friendly cultural corridor called Alexander Way is
being developed with a railway theme linking the historic downtown
with the east-side recreation park and eventually to the future
redevelopment of the Riverlands and Railyards districts that were
once the home of the downtown CPR railyards and plant.
Central Alberta Historical Society has created 'The Arches', shaped
in the form of a railway roundhouse, that
highlights and describes the city's railway history.
The city parkade over the Red Deer Transit downtown terminal
along Alexander Way has been named Sorensen Station in honour of
Central Alberta's most significant transit pioneer.
Red Deer County will eventually move toward enhanced outdoor recreational
facilities featuring a regional trail network and celebration of its
Therefore, there is a logical opportunity to co-ordinate existing
railway, trail and transit features throughout the city and Central
Alberta, expand those features, market an integrated regional ground
transportation theme and create a major world-class focal point
landmark in the heart of Central Alberta's railway network in or
near Red Deer that celebrates the significance of the railway in
the economic development and settlement of Western Canada.
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