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Grande Prairie

Trip Planner Canada  /  Alberta  /  Grande Prairie
Grande Prairie is a city in northwest Alberta, Canada within the southern portion of an area known as Peace River Country. It is located at the intersection of Highway 43 (part of the CANAMEX Corridor) and Highway 40 (the Bighorn Highway), approximately 456km northwest of Edmonton. The city is surrounded by the County of Grande Prairie No. 1.Grande Prairie is the seventh-largest city in Alberta with a population 55,032 recorded by the 2011 Census, and was one of Canada's fastest growing cities between 2001 and 2006.The city adopted the trumpeter swan as an official symbol due to its proximity to the migration route and summer nesting grounds of this bird. For that reason, Grande Prairie is sometimes nicknamed the "Swan City". The dinosaur has emerged as an unofficial symbol of the city due to paleontology discoveries in the areas north and west of the Grande Prairie.HistoryGrande Prairie was named for the large prairie which lies to the north, east, and west of it. In the 18th century, the prairie was occupied by bands of the Beaver First Nation who began trading with the North West Company at Dunvegan in the early 19th century. The earliest recorded reference to the prairie was by trader Samuel Black in 1824. In 1880, a Hudson's Bay Company post called La Grand Prairie was established by George Kennedy 15mi northwest of the present city. In the late 19th century, the prairie was settled by Cree and Iroquois from around Jasper and Lac Ste. Anne. When 17 townships were surveyed for homesteading in 1909, a land rush soon followed, with many settlers arriving over the Edson Trail. In 1910, the Grande Prairie Townsite was sub-divided. By 1912, it included a bank, hotel, post office, and land office, making it a district metropolis. In 1916, it became the terminus of the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway from Edmonton.
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