Photos courtesy of Mighty Peace Tourism
As you make your way across the prairies, the ground suddenly drops away as the mighty Peace River carves its way northward. The valley makes a deep cleft in the otherwise even ground, and the river flows nearly 1,000 feet below the flat surrounding terrain. At the confluence of Smoky River, Heart River, and Pat’s Creek, about 436 kilometres or a six hours’ drive northwest of Edmonton, is the Town of Peace River.
A twelve-foot statue of Henry Fuller Davis, or “12-Foot Davis,” a local historical figure oversees Riverfront Park, which hosts community activities throughout the year. Davis, who struck it rich on his twelve-foot claim during the Caribou Gold Rush, was an influential figure in the development of the town. The area’s history was also forged by local Indigenous peoples, explorers, fur traders, missionaries, and pioneers.
As of 2016, 6,842 people call the peaceful, family-friendly community Peace River home. With neighboring French-Canadian towns to the south and east, and German Mennonite and Hutterite farming communities to the north and northwest, Peace River itself has grown in multicultural energy and influences. The major local employers include oil and gas, forestry, agriculture, government, retail, and other services.
Available within the town is a range of sports, arts, and social activities for all ages year-round. There’s a recreation centre, yoga studio, and indoor pool with a water slide. Golf at one of three nine-hole courses or the 18-hole Mighty Peace Golf Club. The local ski hill, Misery Mountain, features 26 slopes for all skill levels, and wraps up the season with the annual “Slush Cup.”
Love hockey? Discover three local hockey leagues with teams for all ages – from the smallest skaters to an old timer’s league. Every march, the Alberta Pond Hockey Championships are held annually at Lac Cardinal as a qualifier the world championship.
There are plenty of ways to participate or enjoy the arts through annual festivals, such as visual arts, performing arts, and jazz, blues, and folk music through the underground music society or the local theatre troupe, Peace Players. Each summer, Peacefest brings a street fair, family-friendly activities, pancake breakfast, and musical acts from all across North America.
With the natural beauty of the river valley and the surrounding area, people in the Peace Region love to get outside. There are eight parks and natural areas to enjoy locally and another five within 100 kilometres. Camping, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding and riding ATVs are popular pastimes. You can take a ride across the Shaftsbury Ferry free of charge – bring a picnic to the park on the eastern landing. Don’t miss the annual jet boat races!
Families with school-age children can expect small class sizes at both the public and Catholic schools in Peace River, with the option for French Immersion at Ecole des Quatre-Vents that continues through junior high at TA Norris, and each of the two high schools. There are two outreach campuses, an adult literacy program, and a variety of course options through the Peace River campus of Northern Lakes College and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).
The Peace River Community Health Centre provides a wide range of services to patients from diagnosis through treatment, active acute care, long term care, pharmacy and rehabilitation services. It features an operating room, an eight-bed, 24-hour emergency room, six restorative care beds, 30 acute care beds, and 34 long term care beds. In addition, the Health Centre is home to the Peace River Community Cancer centre, providing local treatment to oncology patients.
The hospital houses community home care, mother and baby classes, public health and immunization for all ages, including travel vaccines. It’s also a site for the Rural Alberta North & Rural Family Medical Training Program for University of Alberta. When very specialized care is required, patients are often transferred to Edmonton via air ambulance.
Peace River Mental Health Clinic is located in downtown Peace River and provides psychiatric care for patients in the region.
The comprehensive range of services enables healthcare professionals to work to their full scope of practice, while the smaller facility allows you the chance to get to know your teammates on a more personal level. This enables a cohesive interdisciplinary team while also creating a friendly atmosphere at social events and within the community. Throughout the year, there are a number of staff events, including breakfasts for the end of night shift, an annual lobster festival, and a special supper for nurses during National Nursing Week.
You’ll hear about the well-advertised professional development opportunities and continuing education. On-site educators provide learning opportunities on a weekly basis. AHS provides a variety of training opportunities through in-person seminars, online webinars, or a combination of the two to support staff in keeping up-to-date with best practices and new developments.
If you enjoy a friendly, family-oriented community and outdoor activity while taking in the changing seasons, Peace River might be the perfect community for you. To learn more about the Town of Peace River, please visit the town’s website or Mighty Peace Tourism’s website for more information. You can also follow @peaceriverab on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Discover current opportunities on the AHS job board.