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Barrhead

Trip Planner Canada  /  Alberta  /  Barrhead
Barrhead is a town in central Alberta, Canada, within the County of Barrhead No. 11. It is located along the Paddle River and at the intersection of Highway 33 (Grizzly Trail) and Highway 18, approximately 120km northwest of the City of Edmonton. It is also located along the route of the Express Trail, used by the North West Company. Originally a First Nations trail that was widened by George Simpson and John Rowand to save the North West Company over $5,000.The town was named after the Scottish town Barrhead, the birthplace of one of the children of the area's early settlers, James McGuire. Barrhead's official bird is the great blue heron.HistoryDuring the late 19th century and the early 20th century, Barrhead played an important role in the settlement of northwest Alberta. Highway 33, known as the Grizzly Trail, follows the original Express Trail, which was the shortest route to the Yukon during the Gold Rush years. Once established, this route was key to the settlement of the Peace River region. The old Barrhead town site, 3 km north of the present Town Centre, was a frequent stop over for the few Klondikers and others who needed supplies for the rigorous journey north.Originally established in 1906, Barrhead's position as a major trade centre on the historic Express Trail gave it a significant role in the settlement of north-western Alberta. It was a vital link in the trade route from Fort Edmonton to the Yukon. James McGuire, the child of one of the first settlers in the area, named Barrhead after his hometown in Scotland. Today, the community's rich history can be revisited through a collection of artifacts at the Barrhead and District Museum. The museum also houses a large display of African taxidermy, as well as the Barrhead Visitor Information Centre, which is open from May to September. The great blue heron is another prominent figure in local lore, is often spotted along the shores of the Paddle River and local lakes, and is the town's official animal. A statue of the bird is situated next to the Community Gazebo that marks the town centre and miniatures of the bird adorn the street posts.
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