The Famous Hanging Chair
Oh that historical hanging chair laying out there on Confederation road, many memories captured by the “Hanging Chair”, as it is now becoming one of Fort McMurray’s famous landmarks. It is very common to spot well known celebrities making the trip to this part of town to get a glimpse of the chair. A collective agreement has been passed recently by the Fort McMurray municipality which approved the 2006 proposal to start the construction for a SECOND HANGING CHAIR!! I know I was shocked to hear it myself but the excitement just took over, if all goes well the 2nd hanging chair should be up and running by mid-late 2009.
Exquisite Choice of Alcohol
Enjoy a cool evening by the liquor store as the delightful breeze passes by, one cannot help but enjoy a sip of Fort McMurray’s superb selection of alcoholic beverages. The already charming work of art that is noticed in the streets will only become more lovely.
Luckily for the tourists you will not only find one but 2 liquor stores in every square kilometer, that means no matter where you are it's less than a 5 minute walk, so get out there and enjoy this great offer.
A fantastic high class restaurant with everything to offer, an unbelievably extraordinary crowd brings a lively experience that is enjoyed by all visitors and tourists. It’s become a very common saying amongst Boston Pizza loyalists and other visitors that once you go to Boston Pizza in Fort McMurray you never want to leave town and are they ever right, this amazing place brings a vibe into your blood that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
The Famous Disposal System
One cannot pass by and not remember the remarkable and illustrious disposal facilities brought upon all tourists in Fort McMurray. The impressive design and placement of the bins is majestic and skillful work of art distinctly unique to this beautiful town.
Mind-boggling Construction (Absolute work of art)
Astonishing to see a miraculous display of construction taking place all around town, surprising enough watching the construction take place is totally FREE!! Yup you heard right you can bring on your daily six-pack and sit by and watch the cranes go up and down carrying immense loads. An experience enjoyed by all ages and cultural backgrounds, you will find yourself losing track of the time as you spend time enjoying such a fantastic activity
Fort McMurray Art Gallery
The tremendous display of art that fills this place is one that has lasting memories. A recent report estimated the average value of each piece was worth over $670,400!! Visitors can enjoy the gallery for an unbelievably low cost of $25 for adults, $20 for students, children and seniors can enter for only $5.
World First Ever "Ramp Across the Road"
Although still under construction, this ramp will become famous world wide, it represents a fantastic display of art, where pedestrians and vehicles can enjoy being suspended in the air as they roll from one side to the other with a 12.5 m opening between the two sides of the ramp.
Pictures below show the construction that has begun, it is estimated that the "Fort McMurray Ramp Up" will be underway by early 2009.
The Magnificent Stone Wall
This historical building has been around for ages, what is usually observed by all tourists is the incrdible design of the stones put into this building. An apartment, which some lucky residents even call home!!!
The facinating design has visitors coming back for more because it simply cannot be denied!
If you are going to visit Fort McMurray you have to travel just another 30 minutes outside of town and get a true glimpse of what Fort McMurray is all about and that is the Oil Sands!!!
It truly is an engineering marvel and lots to see, I would plug your nose at the Suncor plant but certainly worth the look if you are in that nic of the woods!
I went on an unofficial tour but if you look into it there are public tours as well of the sites. At the web site address I have provided with this tip you will find more information.
- Business Travel
- Road Trip
The Wood Bison Viewpoint and the Wood Bison Trails are located off Hwy 63, approximately 35 km (21 mi) north of the city at the entrance to Syncrude Self-guided trails on reclaimed land feature local plants, wildlife and a her of more than 300 wood bison, a species that was reintroduced to the area.
I beleive Syncrude committed to preserving a certain percentage of land. This is very close to the actual oil sand developments. I can't imagine any Bison in this area without this protection area.
The Wood Bison is the largest Canadian terrestrial mammal. It is dark brown, with a massive head, a high hump on its large shoulders, and long shaggy hair on its shoulders and front legs. The short legs end in rounded hooves. The short and black horns curve inward on the males, but are straight on the females. There are two moults every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. The males are larger than the females; an adult male measures 3.04 to 3.8 m in length and 1.67 to 1.82 m in height (at the shoulders), and weighs between 350 and 1000 kg. Wood Bison are generally taller and less stocky than plains bison. Both wood and plains bison are considered by some to be subspecies of the American bison, but their actual systematic status is unclear and controversial. Source: http://www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca
- Adventure Travel
Walking Trails - Athabasca River
There are some nice walking trails in Fort McMurray where you can enjoy the outdoors. Some of the go along the Athabasca River where you get a little bit of a cool breeze.
The river itself don't look the cleanest, I wouldn't take any spontaneous dips in the river but as you can see from this picture you can get some nice views.
- Adventure Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Learn about the oil industry
I've just visited Fort McMurray for the first time, and I can say there's not a ton to do there unless you're into outdoor activities. I was only there for the weekend with my siblings-in-law who live there, so we decided to check out the Discovery Centre as they hadn't been there either.
The museum isn't very big, and the display areas are laid out in a circle in the centre of the building. The displays are great. There is tons of information to take in and tons of interactive components like videos and examples of oil sands, bitumen, etc. They also have the front end of one of the giant trucks that you can climb up and sit in the cab of. It took us about an hour to go through the whole exhibit. There is a theatre that plays a 45 minute movie about the oil sands as well. I also took a peek into the kids play area, which was pretty fun!
They also have a great gift shop with post cards, magnets, t-shirts, mini dump trucks, books and a lot more.
The only disappointment was the Industrial Equipment Garden. I visited in March, and it wasn't open! There was no way for us to drive through. I was really looking forward to getting my picture taken with some giant trucks. I don't know if it's just a case of nobody shoveling the lot, but that's something that they should really do. I don't know when I'll be back to Ft Mac, but considering this was the first time I've been there in my life (and I'm a lifelong Albertan), I don't know that it will be very soon.
I still don't have my head 100% wrapped around what they do up there, but I have a much better idea now thanks to the Discovery Centre. Worth a visit if you're in Fort Mac.
Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for kids, and $20 for families.
- Museum Visits
Oil Sands Discovery Centre
Warning! You need to book your spot for this tour two weeks in advance. Fort McMurray Tourism runs the tour which will take you from the Oil Sands Discovery Centre which is just south of downtown Fort McMurray to the Syncrude plant at Mildred Lake about 40km north of the town.
You will visit the Wood Buffalo viewing area where a herd of 300 Wood Buffalo have been released onto former oil sands land that has since been replanted with trees and reclaimed as usuable land. Buffalo are not trained to respond to cameras; they are as active as cattle. We saw about 8 of them and they never moved. I was told this is pretty normal.
You will visit the Giants of Mining exhibit which is just outside the Syncrude plant. You can see some of the giant machines that have been used in the past to mine the oil.
You will be taken into the main plant area which is part of Syncrude's active oil sands operation. We saw the North Mine where work does not stop. Workers are on 12 hours shifts, two a day, for every day of the year, even Christmas!
Bring outdoor clothes to match the weather -- you will be outside several times for 15-20 minutes at a time. Bring water or something to keep your throat wet, it's a very dry area and there are no snack shops available on the tour.
Wood Buffalo Viewing Point
The land you are looking at from this spot was never mined, but it was the retaining pool for the Syncrude mine. This is Syncrude's first attempt to return land to the community. All the trees you see here were planted twice. Why? After they planted the first time, the buffalos ate all the trees. So the fenced off the forest area and planted them again.
There are a total of 300 buffalo in this herd. However, you'll probably only see about 10 of them from the viewing point. There are plans to move Hwy 63 in 2007. Once the highway is re-routed, Syncrude plans to put a new viewing point where much more of the buffalo herd will be seen.
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Stretching from north central Alberta to the borders of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo ranks, by area, among the largest municipalities in North America. It was established April 1, 1995, through amalgamation of the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143. Within its 68,454 square kilometers, the municipality is a region of startling contrasts, encompassing both vast stretches of pristine wilderness and one of the fastest growing industrial communities in Canada.
Bolstered by the rich oil sands deposits which underlie the region, the dynamic economy of Wood Buffalo is slated for even more aggressive growth in the future. Expanding energy developments create exceptional opportunities for businesses and even broader lifestyle choices for the region’s 58,317 residents (2002 Municipal Census). Source: Municipal Web Site
Communities include Fort McMurray, Anzac, Conklin, Draper, Fort Chipewyan, Fort Fitzgerald, Fort MacKay, Gregiore Lake Estates, Janvier, Mariana Lake, Saprae Creek Estates.
As a thing to do you should try to see some of the smaller rural locations outside of the city. Happy day tripping!
I personally went to Fort MacKay one morning for a little trip. Located 55 kms north of Fort McMurray on the Athabasca River’s west bank with approximatly 200 residents.
Fort MacKay is completely surrounded by oil sands activity, an industry that serves as the community’s primary employment source, besides seasonal forestry work, hunting and trapping.
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