Canada Day: 15 places to make your holiday Wednesday awesome

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What do you do when Canada Day happens mid-week? You make it the best Wednesday of the year! A few suggestions: snap a selfie by an 850-tonne bucket-wheel excavator, dig for dinosaurs, get as close as you dare to a truly colossal natural disaster or wrap your head around the science and art of a buffalo jump.

For all this and more on Canada Day, we recommend Alberta’s excellent historic sites and museums.

1. Alberta Legislature
Canada Day at the Alberta Legislature– Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Always a gorgeous place to visit, the Alberta Legislature is even better on Canada Day. You’ll find free entertainment and activities for the entire family, starting with the Alberta Family Fun Zone. The traditional 21-gun salute leads into the Canada Day welcome ceremony. The Royal Canadian Artillery Band will stir your soul with their stately sound while the Alberta Diversity stage celebrates our cultural richness. Check out the Alberta Discovered stage for some of our country’s best singer/songwriters. Canada Day at the Alberta Legislature is one of the largest birthday celebrations in the country!

2. Historic Dunvegan
Canada Day Celebrations – Wednesday, July 1, noon to 4 p.m.
Flags have played a big part in the history of Historic Dunvegan (which is 62 years older than Canada itself, by the way), so get ready for FLAGtastic fun this Canada Day. Visit the site’s four exquisite historic buildings and collect flags to earn a treat. Join in a big game of Capture the Flag and create your own flag to take home. With entertainment and games for all, a great Canada Day is a piece of cake at Historic Dunvegan. And yes, there will be cake.

3. Father Lacombe Chapel
Oh Canada! – Wednesday, July 1, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Celebrate “Oh Canada!” on Mission Hill with Father Lacombe Chapel and the City of St. Albert. Take a tour – in English or French – of the charming 1861 chapel (Alberta’s oldest building), the Crypt, the Grotto and the picturesque historic cemetery. Enjoy crafts and games and sample some seriously delicious home-made ice cream!

4. Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village
Open Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Renowned for its commitment to authenticity, the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village marks Canada Day – sorry, Dominion Day – with a school lesson on the importance of the holiday, a brief history of Confederation, and the importance of citizenship. Kids can make festive paper chains and draw and colour their own Union Jack while absorbing a lesson on Canada’s pre-maple leaf flag. Plus, five newly restored buildings are yours to explore this year, including a post office, two-room schoolhouse, teacherage, granary and barn dating from the 1920s.

5. Royal Alberta Museum
Open Wednesday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When you visit, remember that the bridge on 102 Avenue east of the Royal Alberta Museum is completely closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Check out alternate driving routes.

Once you get to RAM, explore Glimpses of the Grasslands: The Artistic Vision of Colin Starkevich. In this world première exhibit, wildlife artist Starkevich captures the uniqueness of the southern Alberta Grasslands and their wild inhabitants. The Grand Tour, which opened on June 28, examines the ‘lure of the exotic’, taking the viewer to China, France, India, Italy and North Africa.

6. Reynolds-Alberta Museum
Open Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Who was Stan Reynolds, and why is there is a magnificent museum named after him? Discover the incredible legacy of the museum’s primary benefactor, a one-of-a-kind businessman, collector, aviator, and philanthropist through the feature exhibit, Stan Reynolds: the Original Canadian Picker. The exhibit offers special White Glove and Behind-the-Scenes Tours, the “Are you a Canadian Picker?” family activity sheet, the Farm House Play Zone and more.

7. Remington Carriage Museum
Open Wednesday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What did we do before cars? See the largest collection of horse drawn vehicles in the world at the Remington Carriage Museum: over 300 carriages, buggies, wagons and sleighs. Visit the carriage factory, “shop” for a new model at the dealer and see the blacksmith shop and livery stable. And check out the “engines” – the museum’s marvellous herd of Clydesdales, Quarter Horses and Canadians. Carriage rides are available, weather permitting.

8. Frank Slide Interpretive Centre
Open Wednesday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Breathtaking mountain beauty and a disaster beyond belief – explore both at the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre. Hike through the rocks of the 1903 slide for an up-close look at the destructive power of nature. Enjoy two award-winning presentations in the high definition theatre: “On the Edge of Destruction,” a powerful recreation of the night Turtle Mountain came down, and “In the Mountain’s Shadow,” a visually stunning history of the spectacular Crowsnest Pass.

9. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Open Wednesday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A thousand years before the Egyptians built the great pyramids, the Plains People invented the greatest food gathering system ever known. Head-Smashed-In, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an archaeological treasure known around the world for its remarkable testimony to the ingenuity of the Plains People, who used it for nearly 6,000 years.

10.Royal Tyrrell Museum

Open Wednesday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Everyone loves our Alberta jewel, the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Canada’s only museum dedicated exclusively to palaeontology is a hotbed of scientific discovery and a fun place to meet prehistoric creatures face to face. This Canada Day, explore the Fossils in Focus exhibit, highlighting some of the Royal Tyrrell’s most remarkable and significant specimens.

11. Stephansson House

Open Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Stephan G. Stephansson brought his family from their native Iceland in 1889 to an Alberta homestead. With an enchanting view of far-off peaks to inspire him, Stephansson became the Poet of the Rocky Mountains, one of the greatest poets in the western world. Stephansson House presents a snapshot of the family’s daily existence in 1927, through wool spinning, baking, household chores and leisurely poetry readings.

12. Fort George and Buckingham House

Open Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Born in the midst of a bitter rivalry that lasted nearly half a century, two fur trade posts, Fort George and Buckingham House, arose on the north side of the North Saskatchewan River in the early 1790s. Discover the original sites of the now-vanished posts, and meet, through modern technology in the interpretive centre, three personalities of the fur trade: Louis, the voyageur, William Tomison, Chief Factor of Buckingham House, and the Aboriginal “Country Wife”, a vital link between cultures.

13. Victoria Settlement
Open Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Once a bustling Métis community, with a mission, a trading post and farms stretching six miles along the river, Victoria Settlement suddenly declined and all but disappeared. Explore the restored 1864 Hudson’s Bay Company Clerk’s Quarters and the 1906 Methodist Church, and let the past suffuse your imagination.

14.Rutherford House

Open Wednesday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Amid the steel and concrete of the University of Alberta campus you’ll find a gracious Edwardian oasis at Rutherford House. Home of Alberta’s first premier Alexander Cameron Rutherford and his family, the fully restored red brick mansion, set in magnificent gardens, is a world away from today. Rutherford House maintains the family’s legendary tradition of hospitality and brings the past to life with costumed interpreters, tours and historical activities.

15. Oil Sands Discovery Centre
Open Tuesday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Alberta is home to the world’s biggest single oil deposit, the Athabasca Oil Sands. What are the oil sands exactly? How do you get the oil out of the sand? Head to the Oil Sands Discovery Centre for a fun-filled crash course in the history, science, and technology of the oil sands. Films and demonstrations complement the interactive gallery, and the outdoor equipment garden boasts “Cyrus,” a gargantuan, 850-tonne bucket-wheel excavator once used in oil sand mining

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