Message From The Mayor
Although perhaps best known for its proximity to Canada’s oil sands, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo extends to Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, offering more than 66,000 km2 of natural beauty to explore. We are a strong region, and the northern spirit runs through the people that live here. Our 10 communities offer unique opportunities to enjoy the bounty of our natural surroundings and the rich diversity of those who call this region home. With more than 130 km of trails, world class sport and entertainment facilities, extraordinary outdoor activities and adventures and, of course, stunning displays of Aurora Borealis or northern lights, our region truly has something for everyone.
Throughout history, people have come here in search of their dreams, and this winter is no different. From February 16 to 19, we’ll showcase the best of our region as we welcome over 2,800 athletes and coaches as they compete in 24 different sports in front of local fans, family and friends during the Alberta Winter Games. We’re excited to cheer on local youth as they compete against top athletes from across the province and wish the best of luck to all who are participating in this exciting event. The Alberta Winter Games, however, are not just a celebration of sport – they are also a celebration of culture. Residents and visitors can take in a musical performance or dance in Fort McKay, play Dene and Cree games in Anzac, or hear stories about the land on a guided tour of the Total Aboriginal Interpretive Trail with the McMurray Metis. You’ll also be able to contribute to a community art project, where your mark will become a part of the lasting legacy of the Games.
Sport is a core element of our culture no matter where you are in Canada, and each region has its own unique history. In our region, ice hockey has been played on frozen waterways for decades, going as far back as the 1930s. Back then, hockey teams from the communities of Fort McMurray and Waterways would compete for the Fairbairn Cup, which was donated by the owner of Imperial Oil, Jack Fairbairn. The annual WinterPLAY festival will be celebrating the spirit of winter sport during the Games weekend at Snye Park. I hope that you’re able to enjoy the beautiful ice sculptures, fireworks, family-friendly activities, and the renowned Shoutout on the Snye outdoor hockey tournament as we come together, embrace the magic of winter and honour the sporting spirit.
To our residents, I ask that you welcome our guests with open arms and join the celebration of sport and community. Share your knowledge and direct our guests to our local businesses, who continue to be amazing ambassadors for the region as they welcome visitors and show them the hospitality that Wood Buffalo’s people have to offer.
I want to thank all visitors for making the trip to Wood Buffalo. While you may arrive here with one impression of our region, I know you’ll leave with a much deeper appreciation of our communities and people. Enjoy your time in Wood Buffalo, and I hope to see you again soon.
- Don Scott, QC