Alberta is home to many cities and towns with a wide array of things to do, places to explore, and gorgeous locations to check out. One place that’s absolutely worth a visit is Fort McMurray. In fact, there are plenty of cool facts about Fort McMurray that’ll further convince you that it’s a place you need to check out for yourself.
Fort McMurray Isn’t Technically a City
Fort McMurray wasn’t even a “fort.” The name was changed in 1962 to Fort McMurray as it was simply known as “McMurray” before that. Originally classified as a city, the region was technically changed to an “urban service area” on August 14, 1996, removing its city status. However, it’s still regularly referred to as a city by both residents and the popular media.
Since the Devastating Wildfire of 2016, the City Has Been Almost Completely Rebuilt
The wildfire that ripped through Fort McMurray was one of the most devastating fires in Canada when it happened in May of 2016. To date, it’s been Canada’s largest wildfire evacuation with 88,000 people evacuated. Although the property damage caused close to $4 billion in damage, efforts and support from the surrounding communities, the government, and fundraising efforts have since helped both the residents and the community to rebuild quickly. WestJet even hosted a special Christmas event in 2016 that gave residents of the affected city presents and a free Westjet flight.
In the 5 years since the fire happened the city has almost been completely rebuilt with additional measures put into place to ensure a terrible event like that from ever occurring again.
Fort McMurray Is Known as Boomtown, but Also Gave the World Several Celebrities
As with many Alberta cities, oil is a major factor in the economy and Fort McMurray is no different. In fact, the city is often widely referred to as “the heart of Canadian oil production.” The region is well-known for the Athabasca Oil Sands, but although the city has been made into a boomtown because of this, that’s not the only thing the area is known for.
Several notable hockey players including Chris Phillips, Scottie Upshall, Nolan Pratt, and Scott Lehman all were born in Fort McMurray as was celebrity aboriginal actor Tantoo Cardinal.
Overall Fort McMurray may seem like a relatively unassuming town, but there’s plenty more to it than meets the eye with plenty of interesting facts and features about it.