Six On/Six Off
Off: There is nothing to do in Fort McMurray.
On: This must be the most common and also the most nonsensical lament heard in relation to living in this part of northern Alberta; with an abundance of sport and recreation opportunities, both indoor and outdoor, how anyone can actually claim this to be true is beyond belief.
Off: There is nothing outdoors but mosquitoes in the summer and snow in the winter.
On: Slap on some bug spray or a toque and buckle up; the array of outdoor sport and recreation options is nothing short of astonishing. From motorsports like snowmobiling along some of the fantastic trails in the winter to quadding when the snow has melted to water fun on the regional rivers and lakes, there is no shortage of outdoor entertainment to be found! And even if motorsports aren’t your style there are options like cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, hiking…when the boreal forest is your backyard, you can take every chance to enjoy it!
Off: There are few options for indoor sport and recreation.
On: The Wood Buffalo region is host to some of the most spectacular indoor sport and recreation options in the province – and possibly in the entire country. The heart of the community at MacDonald Island Park is home to sport user groups and amenities ranging from aquatics to ice sports to rock climbing to badminton...but the fun doesn’t end at MIP. There’s also the Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre, and in Anzac, the Anzac Recreation Centre offers several sport and recreation options. In Fort Chipewyan, the new aquatic centre complements the already existing options at the Archie Simpson Arena.
Off: What if someone wants to participate in an organized sport?
On: Then you are in the right place! Volunteer-driven and organized sport options abound in this community, with everything from hockey to cricket. Flag football, shinny ice hockey, rugby, soccer, volleyball, basketball; you name it and you will likely find it. And if it doesn’t exist, leagues are often started by individuals passionate about an individual sport and who find themselves joined by others with a similar passion, so dive right in!
Off: I’m not really into organized sports.
On: One of the best parts of this community and region is the variety of interests you see as people have come here from all over the world; maybe your recreation is more in line with book clubs and international cuisine cooking classes, and if so you are in luck as you will find those here too. Whether your recreation ideal is athletics or arts, you can explore your passion in Wood Buffalo.
Off: Okay maybe there are things to do but I can’t find any of them.
On: Start with this magazine, the local radio outlets, local newspapers and even online social media groups; the information on sport and recreation is out there just waiting for you to find it! And while you are getting active, you are doing something else without even realizing it: building community. The connections you are making and the time you are spending help to strengthen our community ties. Pretty soon you will find yourself being the one astonished when someone laments “But there’s nothing to do here!” because you will know the truth: the sport and recreation fun never ends in Wood Buffalo.