Fort Vermilion

Fort Vermilion is a hamlet within Mackenzie County and is located in Northern Alberta approximately 780 km. north of Edmonton.  Fort Vermilion is Alberta's oldest community and has a population of approximately 800 including the surrounding area.  There is a hospital, medical clinic, health unit, drugstore, post office, RCMP detachment, recreational complex, museum, 9 hole golf course and hotel.  As well there are grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses.  Fort Vermilion is a friendly community and a great place to live!

Fort Vermilion is surrounded by a boreal forest and an abundance of wildlife.  Local wildlife includes bear, moose, deer, beaver, fox, coyote and Canada Geese.  Mosquitoes are very very abundant during the summer months, but are only appreciated by the animals that feast on them!  The community's name originates from the vermilion coloured clay of the river banks on the Peace River.  The mighty Peace River flows alongside the main road entering into Fort Vermilion.  Both visitors and townspeople enjoy breathtaking views of the river year round.  The Northern Lights are most active during the autumn months.

Many diverse cultural groups including Beaver, Dene, Cree, Metis and Mennonites live in this area.  As well other cultural groups are represented by those who have also moved into the area.  This cultural diversity makes our area a unique and exciting place to live.

Weather in Fort Vermilion can be extreme in the winter with temperatures dropping as low as -40 to -50 degrees Celsius.  Average winter temperatures are similar to those of the towns and cities further south and our summers are bright and sunny with long hours of daylight.  Many people living in our community enjoy outdoor pursuits including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hockey, curling, golf, gardening, photography and more.

The original fort was built in 1877 and later moved to it's present location.  By 1930 the Hudson's Bay Company had established a prosperous trading post at the present site of the hamlet.   Fort Vermilion has another key note in Alberta's history.  A famous War pilot named Captain Wilfred Reid (Wop) May flew his plane in 1928 to the Fort Vermilion area to deliver serum for a serious outbreak of diphtheria.  Residents in Little Red River and Fort Vermilion were grateful for the heroic efforts of "Wop" May, who flew in -40C weather to deliver the serum.  "Wop" May was also known for his part in the taking down of the famous German pilot "The Red Baron" during World War I.    

For many years local residents depended on the river as a means of transportation.  In the spring and summer months river boats, and later ferries brought materials to the area and shipped products out.  In 1974 a bridge was built across the Peace River allowing for easier access to surrounding communities and ending the seasonal isolation.

Alberta Facts

Alberta was inaugurated as a province on September 1, 1905. 

Alberta was named in honor of Princess Louise Caroline Alberta who was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria.

The capital city is Edmonton.

From north to south Alberta is 1223 km (764 miles) and from east to west it is 660 km (412 miles).

Alberta is known as Canada's sunniest province.

The provincial flower is the Alberta Rose.

In 2006 the provincial population was estimated at 3,306,000.

Canada's largest National Park is located in Alberta and the NWT - Wood Buffalo National Park.  This park has the world's largest herd of free roaming bison.


More about Fort Vermilion - All about Alberta's Oldest Community.

Travel Alberta - A great site to visit before planning a trip to Alberta.

The Alberta World Web - Another on-line travel planner for visiting Alberta

The Canada World Web - A travel and Tourism Site to help you plan a visit to Canada