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Fort Saskatchewan
City of Fort Saskatchewan
Downtown Fort Saskatchewan
Downtown Fort Saskatchewan
Official seal of Fort Saskatchewan
Official logo of Fort Saskatchewan
Gotta Love It!
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Country Canada
Province Alberta
Region Edmonton Metropolitan Region
Planning region North Saskatchewan
Adjacent Specialized municipality Strathcona County
Adjacent municipal district Sturgeon County
 • Village March 1, 1899
 • Town July 1, 1904
 • City July 1, 1985
Named for North Saskatchewan River
 • Land 56.5 km2 (21.8 sq mi)
610 m (2,000 ft)
 • Total 27,088
 • Density 479.4/km2 (1,242/sq mi)
 • Municipal census (2019)
Time zone UTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
Forward sortation area
Area code(s) 780, 587, 825, 368
Highways Highway 15, Highway 21
Waterways North Saskatchewan River
Pointe-aux-Pins Creek
Ross Creek
Public Transit Service Fort Sask Transit

Fort Saskatchewan is a mid-sized city along the North Saskatchewan River in Alberta, Canada. It is 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of Edmonton, the provincial capital. It is part of the Edmonton census metropolitan area and one of 24 municipalities that constitute the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board. Its population in the 2021 federal census was 27,088.

The city was founded as a North-West Mounted Police fort and later home to a large provincial gaol. The original fort was located across the river from the hamlet of Lamoureux, and Fort Saskatchewan opened a replica of the fort next to its original site in 2011. Fort Saskatchewan is bordered by Strathcona County to the south and east, Sturgeon County to the north and west, and the City of Edmonton to the southwest. Sturgeon County is across the North Saskatchewan River.

The city is best known for its proximity to petrochemical facilities, including Dow Chemical, Sherritt International, Nutrien (formerly Agrium), and Shell Canada. It is also known for its flock of 50 sheep that roam the Fort Heritage Precinct throughout the summer months, eating the grass.


In 1875, under the command of Inspector W.D. Jarvis, the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) established Fort Saskatchewan as a fort on the North Saskatchewan River. The community was later incorporated as a village in 1899, a town in 1904, and a city in 1985.

Historic Fort Saskatchewan railway station

The Canadian Northern Railway reached Fort Saskatchewan in 1905, placing the town on a transcontinental rail line. The first bridge across the river was also built at this time, with the rail company paying for it in exchange for free land for its station in Fort Saskatchewan. Prior to the bridge, the only method to cross the river at Fort Saskatchewan was via ferry. In the decade after the railway arrived, the town's population nearly doubled to 993.

A new $200,000 provincial jail opened in 1915 at the end of what is now 100th Avenue to replace the 34-cell guard house that had been used to hold prisoners since the NWMP fort was constructed in 1875. The jail would see various additions throughout the next 70 years, including the construction of more cell blocks as well as a stand-alone power plant. By 1973, the jail employed 220 residents and housed both male and female offenders. The jail was replaced in 1988 when a new provincial correctional centre was built south of Highway 15 on 101st Street. The original jail cell blocks were subsequently demolished in 1994. Only one building from the complex, as well as the Warden's House, still stands today.

In 1952, Sherritt Gordon Mines started construction on a $25-million nickel refinery in Fort Saskatchewan, which started production in 1954. Following Sherritt Gordon's locating in Fort Saskatchewan, more industries constructed plants in the town. Between 1951 and 1956, the town's population doubled from 1,076 to 2,582.

Dow Chemical acquired 700 acres in Fort Saskatchewan in 1959, opening its plant in 1961 and further expanding it in 1967. Within five years of beginning operation at Dow, the population again saw a significant increase to 4,152 in 1966, up from 2,972 in 1961.

Since Fort Saskatchewan was incorporated as a town in 1904, it has had 29 residents serve as its mayor.



Climate data for Fort Saskatchewan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 10.0
Average high °C (°F) −6.5
Daily mean °C (°F) −11.9
Average low °C (°F) −17.3
Record low °C (°F) -45.0
Precipitation mm (inches) 24.0
Rainfall mm (inches) 0.6
Snowfall cm (inches) 23.4
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 6.6 5 4.3 6.3 10.2 13.3 14.2 13.5 10.2 6.8 6.4 5.9 102.6
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 0.14 0.21 0.66 5.1 10.1 13.3 14.2 13.5 10.2 6 1.5 0.18 75
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 6.5 4.8 3.7 1.5 0.35 0 0 0 0.07 1 4.9 5.8 28.6
Source #1: Environment Canada
Source #2: Precipitation Days Only


Federal census
population history
Year Pop. ±%
1901 306 —    
1906 585 +91.2%
1911 782 +33.7%
1916 993 +27.0%
1921 982 −1.1%
1926 943 −4.0%
1931 1,001 +6.2%
1936 899 −10.2%
1941 903 +0.4%
1946 921 +2.0%
1951 1,076 +16.8%
1956 2,582 +140.0%
1961 2,972 +15.1%
1966 4,152 +39.7%
1971 5,726 +37.9%
1976 8,304 +45.0%
1981 12,169 +46.5%
1986 11,983 −1.5%
1991 12,078 +0.8%
1996 12,408 +2.7%
2001 13,121 +5.7%
2006 14,957 +14.0%
2011 19,051 +27.4%
2016 24,149 +26.8%
2021 27,088 +12.2%
Sources: Statistics Canada and
City of Fort Saskatchewan

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Fort Saskatchewan had a population of 27,088 living in 10,420 of its 10,896 total private dwellings, a change of 12.1% from its 2016 population of 24,169. With a land area of 56.5 km2 (21.8 sq mi), it had a population density of 479.4/km2 (1,242/sq mi) in 2021.

Fort Saskatchewan's population, according to its 2019 municipal census, is 26,942; a change of 2.3% from its 2018 municipal census population of 26,328.

In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the city recorded a population of 24,149 living in 9,261 of its 9,939 total private dwellings, a change of 26.8% from its 2011 population of 19,051. With a land area of 48.18 km2 (18.60 sq mi), it had a population density of 501.2/km2 (1,298/sq mi) in 2016.

According to the 2016 census, the largest visible minority populations in the community are Filipino with 535 residents, followed by South Asian with 350 residents. 1,390 residents identified as Aboriginal in 2016: 415 as First Nations, 965 as Métis, and 15 as Inuk (Inuit). 15 residents also claimed multiple Aboriginal identities, bringing the total number of Aboriginal identity claims to 1,410. Regarding the official languages of Canada, 22,160 residents are proficient only in English, 15 are only proficient in French, 1,385 residents are bilingual, and 60 residents are not proficient in either official language.

As of 2016, the top three areas of employment are: Trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (3,140 residents), sales and service occupations (2,685), and business, finance and administration occupations (1,915 residents). The three most common levels of education are: Post secondary certificate, diploma or degree (10,420 residents), secondary (high) school diploma or equivalency certificate (5,735 residents), and college, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma (4,565 residents).


The centrepiece of Fort Saskatchewan's recreation and culture is the Dow Centennial Centre (DCC), a multi-use facility that includes an ice arena, gymnasium, fieldhouse, indoor track and fitness centre. The facility, which opened in September 2004, also features a 550-seat performing arts theatre, a permanent art gallery with monthly shows, a banquet hall and the local Pottery Guild.

The city also has two other indoor ice arenas   the Jubilee Recreation Centre and the Sportsplex   that are used during the winter months by hockey, ringette and figure skating associations. In the summer months, the lacrosse association uses them. Fort Saskatchewan also has the Harbour Pool, which is an indoor swimming pool that includes a hot tub, sauna and slide.

Over 30 km (19 mi) of paved trails meander through the city's dozen parks, including Legacy Park, which is the city's main gathering place and hosts festivals in the summer.

There is one nine-hole golf course located within the city's boundaries with three others nearby.

The Fort Saskatchewan Museum (c. 1909) is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The museum, which sits adjacent to Legacy Park along 101 Street, features a red brick courthouse, a historic school, church and house that were relocated to the site from their respective locations around the region.

Fort Saskatewan Public Library and City Hall - 31-Dec-2016
Fort Saskatewan Public Library and City Hall in December 2016.

Fort Saskatchewan is served by the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library located on 102 Street next to City Hall.

The city's west end features a boat launch into the North Saskatchewan River, called Red Coat Landing, and a provincially preserved natural area, called the Fort Saskatchewan Prairie.

The Elk Island National Park, which is famous for its bison, is located southeast of the city.


Fort Saskatchewan's main industries are commercial and heavy industry. It is part of Alberta's Industrial Heartland, the largest Canadian industrial area west of Toronto. Companies with operations in the area include Dow Chemical, Sherritt International, Nutrien (formerly Agrium) and Shell Canada. These plants are major employers for residents of Fort Saskatchewan and the surrounding area.

The city has attracted a number of major retailers including Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Safeway, Federated CO-OP, and Freson Bros. Fort Saskatchewan has also developed as a regional hub for stores and services; in 2019 it served a catchment area of approximately 75,000 people, both locally and from communities to its north and east, including Lamont, Bruderheim, and Redwater.

Fort Station Mall

Fort Station Mall Building
A commercial building at the Fort Station Mall

The original Fort Mall was located on a 49,000-square-metre (12-acre) parcel on the east side of downtown, and contained 16,000 square metres (170,000 sq ft) of retail space. On September 15, 2015, Haro Developments opened phase one of its redevelopment of the site, which it renamed Fort Station Mall. The majority of the old mall was demolished and replaced with outward-facing commercial units. Future plans for development include the construction of additional commercial units, apartments, and an assisted-living facility for seniors. A report commissioned by the City of Fort Saskatchewan noted: "As of 2019, there is another phase of the site, yet to be redeveloped, but the project continues to progress towards completion."


The Pyramid Corp. Hawks of the Capital Junior Hockey League play out of the Jubilee Recreation Centre. The Fort Saskatchewan Traders, of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, relocated to St. Albert in 2007, and renamed the St. Albert Steel.

Fort Saskatchewan is home to the Heartland Roller Derby Association, a flat-track roller-derby league formed in 2016. There are youth sports associations for hockey, soccer (indoor and outdoor), baseball, ringette, indoor lacrosse, and figure skating, and sports associations for cross-country skiing and swimming.


Fort Saskatchewan has no post-secondary schools that are open to the public, but its corrections centre partners with NorQuest College to provide academic upgrading, personal development courses, and employment training courses to inmates. Most residents of Fort Saskatchewan commute or move to Edmonton to attend post-secondary classes at the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, or NAIT.

Fort Saskatchewan's schools are governed by two different school boards – Elk Island Public Schools and Elk Island Catholic Schools. Both school boards have their head offices located in Sherwood Park. Fort Saskatchewan's elected trustees on the EIPS board are Heather Wall and Harvey Stadnick. Al Stewart is the lone Fort Saskatchewan trustee on the EICS board.


Emergency services

Fire department

Walter Thomas Station Fort Saskatchewan
Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department's Walter Thomas Station

The Fire Department (est. 1906), based at the Walter Thomas Fire Station, is staffed by 12 full-time firefighters who are supported by paid volunteers, and three full-time administrative staff. The full-time firefighters rotate between a 10-hour day shift and a 14-hour night shift.

The full-time staffing model was introduced in early 2020. Prior to its introduction, the fire station was vacant every evening, and paid on-call volunteers would have to travel to the station before they could respond to an emergency. The introduction of full-time staff has reduced response times from up to 15 minutes, to a standard of 105 seconds in 2019. New sleeping quarters were constructed at the fire station to accommodate the full-time staff.

The city purchased property for a second fire station in 2017, reflecting the increase in call volumes coming from its newer neighbourhoods.

Fort Saskatchewan was also home to Canada's longest serving firefighter: Walter Thomas (1922–2017). Walter joined the department on May 1, 1947, and served until May 2017, a few months before he died. Walter's last position in the department was as its official historian.

Public transit

Fort Sask Transit (FST) operates two daily routes, which mostly traverse the same parts of the city but go in opposite directions. To help facilitate regional travel, Edmonton Transit Service is contracted by Fort Saskatchewan to provide peak-hour service between Fort Saskatchewan and the Clareview Transit Centre in Edmonton. All three routes converge at the FST park and ride, and at a North Transfer Station on 99th Ave. All of FST's buses are accessible to riders with mobility issues, and the Special Transportation Service Society, a volunteer service operated by the Fort Saskatchewan Lions Club, offers a specialized minivan service for people who cannot use regular transit options because of physical disabilities.

Fort Saskatchewan is a member of the Edmonton Metropolitan Transit Services Commission, which will begin service in mid-2022.


Fort Saskatchewan's water is supplied by the Capital Region Northeast Water Services Commission. The commission purchases water from the Edmonton-based utilities company EPCOR, which supplies treated water from the North Saskatchewan River. Waste water is treated at a facility in Strathcona County, which is owned by the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission. EPCOR provides the Regulated Retail Offering for electricity in Fort Saskatchewan, and the wire service (distribution and transmission) is provided by Fortis Alberta. Direct Energy Regulated Services provides regulated natural gas to the city, and its distribution is provided by ATCO.

Waste management

Fort Saskatchewan's residents separate their household waste into three categories: organic waste is put into green bins, garbage is picked up in black bins, and recycling is collected in blue bags. The three-stream system was introduced in June 2018, after a successful pilot program. Garbage is collected bi-weekly, organics are collected weekly or bi-weekly depending on the time of year, and recycling is collected weekly. Blue bins were used for recycling in the pilot program, but the city reverted to blue bags when launching the new waste system city-wide. This was because objects could get jammed in the blue bins, and crews could not easily tell if the loads inside blue bins were contaminated like they could with blue bags. Prior to the introduction of this system, the municipality contracted out collection of garbage and recycling only; recycling was collected in blue bags, but garbage cans were not regulated by the city.

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