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Athabasca, Alberta facts for kids

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Athabasca Landing (1877–1912)
Town of Athabasca
Town of Athabasca, Alberta photograph.jpg
Gateway to the Great New North
Town boundaries
Town boundaries
Athabasca is located in Athabasca County
Location in Athabasca County
Athabasca is located in Alberta
Location in Alberta
Country Canada
Province Alberta
Region Northern Alberta
Planning region Upper Athabasca
Municipal district Athabasca County
Founded 1877
 • Village May 18, 1905 (as Athabasca Landing)
 • Town September 19, 1911
 • Name change August 4, 1913
 • Land 17.79 km2 (6.87 sq mi)
533 m (1,750 ft)
 • Total 2,759
 • Density 155.1/km2 (402/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Forward sortation area
Area codes 780, 587, 825

Athabasca (2016 population 2,965), originally named Athabasca Landing, is a town in northern Alberta, Canada. It is located 145 km (90 mi) north of Edmonton at the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 55, on the banks of the Athabasca River. It is the centre of Athabasca County. It was known as Athabasca Landing prior to August 4, 1913.


Unlike many other towns in Alberta, Athabasca predates the railway. It was the terminus of the Edmonton to Athabasca Landing trail. Athabasca lies on a southern protrusion of the Athabasca River. During the fur trade era, when rivers were the principal means of transportation, the Athabasca–Edmonton trail connected two different drainage basins. The Athabasca River flows north and is part of the Mackenzie River watershed, which leads to the Arctic Ocean. Edmonton lies across a height-of-land on the North Saskatchewan River in the Nelson River drainage basin, which empties into Hudson Bay. Edmonton was in Rupert's Land but not Athabasca. The trail allowed goods to be portaged back and forth between river systems. Once agricultural settlement occurred, the trail served a similar purpose. Eventually, road and rail links would trace the same path.

The Athabasca Heritage Society put up signs through the downtown as well as along the riverfront that explain and depict the history. It has also published a historical walking tour that is available from the town office, library and visitor information centre.


In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Athabasca recorded a population of &&&&&&&&&&&02759.&&&&&02,759 living in &&&&&&&&&&&01155.&&&&&01,155 of its &&&&&&&&&&&01325.&&&&&01,325 total private dwellings, a change of -6.9% from its 2016 population of &&&&&&&&&&&02965.&&&&&02,965. With a land area of 17.79 km2 (6.87 sq mi), it had a population density of 155.1/km2 (402/sq mi) in 2021.

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Athabasca recorded a population of 2,965 living in 1,194 of its 1,313 total private dwellings, a -0.8% change from its 2011 population of 2,990. With a land area of 17.65 km2 (6.81 sq mi), it had a population density of 168.0/km2 (435/sq mi) in 2016.


Athabasca experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) that borders on a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc). The highest temperature ever recorded in Athabasca was 38.3 °C (101 °F) on July 18, 1941. The coldest temperature ever recorded was −54.4 °C (−66 °F) on January 11, 1911.


Athabasca University

The town is home to Athabasca University, a major centre for distance education and the town's largest employer.

The town has three public schools under the jurisdiction of Aspen View Public School Division No. 78:

  • Whispering Hills Primary School (WHPS) – Kindergarten to Grade 3
  • Landing Trail Intermediate School (LTIS) – Grades 4 to 6
  • Edwin Parr Composite School (EPC) – Grades 7 to 12


Notable people

  • Bryan Mudryk – TSN TV personality
  • Jay Onrait – TSN TV personality
  • George Ryga – playwright, poet

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