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Grande Prairie, Alberta

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Grande Prairie in Alberta.

 

Grande Prairie is a city in the northwestern part of the province of Alberta in Western Canada. It is located on the southern edge of the Peace River Country (part of the Peace Region or simply "The Peace", as is often locally known, which encompasses much of northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia). The city is surrounded by the County of Grande Prairie No. 1.

The city boasts a number of parks and golf courses including the large Muskoseepi Park in the Bear Creek Valley and the Dunes Golf Course south of the city. Muskoseepi Park has excellent bike trails extending nearly the entire length of Bear Creek within the city. Muskoseepi Park also has an outdoor swimming pool and a pavilion with a cafeteria and an outdoor pond which converts into a skating rink in the winter. Crystal Lake in the northeast part of the city also has parkland, preserved wetlands (great for birdwatching) and walking/bike paths around its entire circumference.

Live music can be found in several downtown bars and intermittently at all-ages locations such as the Gaiety Theatre, Tito's Restaurant and the GP Curling Club. Summer-long music festivals have been organized by community-minded individuals and charitable organizations. Genre-wise the music scene is typically dominated by punk, rock and metal bands. Well attended shows tend to be high-energy and mosh-pits are usually expected from engaged audiences. More established acts include This Conviction, Calculating Collapse, Reject, The Damn Plastards, Stacy Lloyd Brown / The Goodbye Generation and Emerson Drive.

Cultural venues include the Bowes Family Crystal Centre (a concert hall and hockey rink — the local AJHL team, the Grande Prairie Storm, plays there), the Grande Prairie Museum, the Prairie Art Gallery (closed due to a structural disaster), The Rabbit Hole bookstore, Second Street Theatre and Studio "Y?". Grande Prairie is also home to a professional musical theatre company, "Broadway Live Broadway", which engages equity actors and performs on the college campus.

Golfing is possible as late as after 11 o'clock in the evening in early summer due to the northern latitude. Grande Prairie has three 18-hole golf courses nearby (Dunes, Bear Creek, and Grande Prairie Golf & Country Club) and a couple of 9-hole courses as well.

Cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are popular activities during the winter in the Grande Prairie area. There is a local ski hill called Nitehawk located south of the city on the south bank of the Wapiti River. Aside from skiing, Nitehawk also has the only North American natural luge track certified for international events and over the summer months freestyle ski jumpers can practice using the Northern Extreme water ramp facility. It is also active in luge as a naturally refrigerated venue, hosting the FIL World Luge Natural Track Championships in 2007.

The foothills south of Grande Prairie and around Grande Cache are popular year-round for hiking in the summer and for snowmobiling and other winter sports in the winter. Kakwa Wildland Park on the Alberta-BC border, about 180 km south of the city, is a beautiful and mountainous natural area and is known for a beautiful waterfall called Kakwa Falls.

The Leisure Centre — formerly, the "Rec-Plex" — is located in the northwest side near the Bear Creek Reservoir, features a pool, an indoor soccer pitch, fitness equipment, and aerobics facilities.

There is a lot for families to do in Grande Prairie for little to no cost. Many families enjoy the free entertainment offered at Muskoseepi Park, Studio Y?, The Public Library, and at other city-run organizations.

Some thirty churches of various denominations can be found in the city.

In 1995, the city hosted the Canada Winter Games. The event was televised nationally on CBC Television. Hundreds of performers competed in the events and the city gained status and recognition as a result. The city played host to the 2010 Arctic Winter Games from March 6–13, 2010.

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