Even though the 11,000 people that call Alberta's Special Area home come from all walks of life and age ranges, they have a lot in common. They like living in a place that gives them room to breathe and grow (lots of opportunities, few road blocks). They like to give back (community service and spirit is big here). They like raising their kids in a safe, quiet place (with lots of recreational facilities and other great resources). They like being globally connected (all the benefits of urban living without the rat race, lots of entrepreneurial promise). And, perhaps most of all, they like having really cool everyday adventures (every day is different here).
Want to map out your future in the Rural frontier? Alberta's Special Area is the new Rural: smart, connected, independent and affordable. If you're not afraid to work hard and dream big, maybe it's time to call this place home.
Stake a claim to your NEW life in our communties:
Village of Youngstown
Frequently asked questions:
The region contains public schools and distance learning options for grades K to 12, and boasts one of the lowest pupil/teacher ratios in the province. Post-secondary educational opportunities include Athabasca University (distance ed), Medicine Hat College, and community-based adult learning facilities (in Consort, Hanna and Oyen).
The communities of Alberta's Special Area offer a wide range of recreational and other facilities, including: hockey, skating and curling rinks, ball diamonds, tennis courts, playgrounds, parks and campgrounds, gun clubs, stocked lakes, skateboard park, motocross and bmx tracks, rodeo arena and grounds, libraries, youth centres, track and field facilities, water parks, bowling alleys, swimming pools, museums, community halls, and soccer fields. Detailed information about services available in each community services can be found by searching community profiles here.
A lot of people who live here like to explore the majestic landscape that makes up Alberta's Special Area. Imagine five million acres of land, filled with grasslands, rolling hills and badlands canyons as far as the eye can see, as well as breath-taking hoodoo cliffs, mud buttes, flowing rivers, and fresh, clear lakes.
Plus, there are a lot of organized activities going on around here, including clubs (book, drama, gardening, 4H, riding and roping, gymnastics, service, martial arts, theatre, dancing), farmers' markets, ice carnivals, fall and Christmas fairs, rodeos, tournaments (ball, golf, soccer, curling, football), and fishing derbies. Detailed information about these kinds of activities can be found on our community websites.
This region is considered semi-arid; our summers are warm and dry, with lots of sunshine, and our winters are equally sunny and fairly mild. Winter cold spells are usually balanced out by periods of warm Chinooks. Due to the size of this area, there is a bit of fluctuation in annual precipitation and temperatures. Here are the averages. Rainfall per year: 5cm to 32cm. Snowfall: 7cm to 139cm. Summer heat: average of 27, highs of 32 degrees Celsius. Winter cold: average of -20, lows of -40 degrees Celsius.
The short answer is: we're an amazing balance of rich opportunity and quiet living, so we deserve a special name. After all, where else do you find 11,000 people living great lives on 5,000,000 acres of productive, breath-taking land?
Here's the long answer: Parts of southeastern Alberta were hit particularly hard by the Depression and drought of the 1930s. In 1938, the Provincial Government established a special governing body – called the Special Areas Board - to provide municipal services and supports in place to enable this region to recover and thrive. Like a municipal government, the Special Areas Board looks after roads and parks, provides water and emergency services, manages public land and community pastures, and develops economic development and agricultural conservation strategies.
There are many little towns and villages that make up this region (and which are officially part of Special Areas No. 2, 3 and 4). These include: MD of Acadia, Bindloss, Buffalo, Cereal, Consort, Empress, Hanna, New Brigden, Oyen, Sedalia, Sibbald, Veteran, Youngstown. The total population for the entire area is just under 5,000. Oyen and Hanna are the biggest communities, with populations of 1,015 and 2,847 respectively. Complete community profiles can be found here: www.albertafirst.com
You can also visit community websites via our links page.
Alberta's First Nations have a long and rich history in this area – stretching back as far as 12,000 years. These First Peoples were nomadic bison hunters – a lifestyle they practiced until the European fur traders arrived in the mid 1700s. By the mid 1800s, ranchers began settling in the area, attracted by the availability of land. The region's population swelled even more with the arrival of the railroad toward the turn of the century. In the early 1900s, farming became a key part of the provincial economy, especially in Southeastern Alberta, where farmers found exceptional conditions for raising livestock and grain. In late 1940, oil was discovered in Leduc, and southeastern Alberta's economic base broadened to include the petroleum industry.
We've put together a guidebook of everything you need to know to make a smooth transition to your life. Plan it. Do it.
Need more information? Please click here and submit the form. We will do our best to answer your questions.