History of Athabasca
In the late 1800s Athabasca Landing was established at the elbow of the Athabasca River where it sweeps south and reaches within one hundred miles or 160 kilometeres of Edmonton. Between the years 1880 and 1914, Athabasca Landing, as the town of Athabasca was then called, became known as the "Gateway to the North," a jumping off point for travelers to the Peace River Country and for traders heading north on the Athabasca River to the Arctic.
The landing was a meeting place of First Nations, Métis, and Europeans, and Athabasca Landing gained the national stage by 1900 - as the key transportation centre linking the Hudson's Bay Company and other independent traders to Canada’s northwest and the Arctic. The Landing Trail, one of Alberta’s first highways, linked Fort Edmonton and the young city of Edmonton to Athabasca Landing and the Athabasca River.
Thousands of traders, missionaries, explorers, adventurers and settlers walked or rode wagons across the trail linking Athabasca to Edmonton – on their way to build this province’s future. A unique mix of people settled the region – First Nations and Métis,; British and French from Eastern Canada, many Western and Eastern Europeans, and some Americans - including a unique group of Oklahoma Blacks who put down roots to farm in Amber Valley in the early 1900s- escaping prejudice and seeking freedom in the early 1900s - like the many pioneers and settlers who came to find opportunity in Alberta.
David Thompson arrived at town site, as the legend goes, accompanied by two First nation guides, a prayer book and a sextant.
First Hudson's Bay Company post was established.
Beginning of trading posts and missions along Athabasca River.
NWMP first stationed at Athabasca Landing, which was known as "that Last Point North." Sternwheelers and scows were built here to trade and travel along the Athabasca River.
Bishop Young, an Anglican clergyman, took up residence in Athabasca Landing.
Gold seekers came up the Athabasca Landing Trail, crossed the river and went west along the Peace River Trail overland to the Yukon, or went up the river by boat from Athabasca Landing and on to the North Country
Big real estate boom in the Town of Athabasca.
The first ferry was put across the Athabasca River
The Landing was incorporated into a town named Athabasca Landing The name was changed to "Athabasca" in 1913.
The men of the town left for of World War I, and it is believed that the poet Robert W. Service, enlisted from here. He wrote poems about trappers, scow men, and the people of Athabasca.
European immigration began and Athabasca started to grow. Since this date, lumbering, farming, gas, and oil explorations have become very important in the area.
Alberta Vocational College (A.V.C.) started with 11 students, at Edwin Parr Composite Community School.
A.V.C. moved to the Provincial Building, and added upgrading. Royal Canadian Legion Branch #103 moved into a new building. The Athabasca Health Care Centre (hospital) and Aspen Health Services (health unit) were built.
Athabasca University relocated Athabasca.
The Town of Athabasca celebrated its 75th anniversary.
The County of Athabasca #12 moved into a new building in Cornwall.
A.V.C. moved to the former County office building north of the Community Centre.
Athabasca Civic Building (Anton J. Schinkinger Municipal Building) was built. Alberta Pacific Forest Industries (pulp mill) was built. It was officially opened in September.
Millar Western Industries was built in Boyle.
A.V.C. moved to the Duniece Building.
A.V.C. was renamed Portage College.