How to sell Alberta's south
By Steve Hartridge | July 2019 | 3 minute read
If your clients haven’t been to Alberta’s South, they are missing out on its unique scenery, western-style culture, fascinating dinosaur remains - and the province’s hidden jewel.
Families will love Alberta’s south, with its historic sights and mix of gentle prairie, unique badlands and majestic mountains.
Why sell it now?
Agents selling Alberta will be accustomed to interest in Banff and Jasper but consider sending your clients south, to experience the province’s Badlands, with western-style culture and dinosaur history, and Waterton Lakes National Park, the smallest of Alberta’s Rocky Mountain parks but considered by many to be the hidden jewel in the crown.
Travel trends are seeing people demanding undiscovered places which give them bragging rights, as well as authentic local experiences, best found when you head slightly off the beaten path. Be the one to offer something different and if you have clients returning to the province this is a good way to change things up.
The lesser-travelled south presents a stress-free option for families thanks to fewer crowds but equally distracting attractions.
What to sell
Drumheller is at the heart of Alberta’s Badlands – a lunar-like area of striped sandy hills and hoodoos – strange mushroom-shaped pinnacles carved by erosion. Your clients will feel like they’re in a western film with a trip through the swing doors of the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, while kids will enjoy visiting a bison farm.
The whimsical-looking region is prime fossil-hunting territory for dinosaur-obsessed children. The Royal Tyrrell Museum is home to 40 dinosaur skeletons while Dinosaur Provincial Park lets kids dig for their own fossils.
Fort Macleod Museum shows the history of the North West Mounted Police and First Nations, and close by is UNESCO World Heritage Site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, where visitors learn about the history, indigenous culture and geology of this ancient bison hunting ground.
The charming town of Waterton is surrounded by arresting mountain and lake scenery. Your clients can visit the beach or hike gentle trails that start from the town. Waterton Lakes National Park highlights include Red Rock Canyon and the chance to spot bears, take a canoe tour or cruise on the lake.
How to sell it
If your clients fly into Calgary they can take three days to explore the city's child-friendly attractions. They’ll love Calgary Tower’s panoramic views and glass floors dropping away beneath their feet to the street 535 feet below. Also fun is Calgary Zoo, the old fashioned carts and trains of Heritage Park and Stephen Avenue to shop for cowboy accessories. They can take in Drumheller and the Badlands in a day trip from Calgary.
After this, head south to stay in Waterton, stopping at Fort McLeod and Head- Smashed-In Buffalo Jump on the way. After a couple of days in Waterton they can head into cowboy country on Highway 22, stopping at the living museum at Bar U Ranch, and then onto Banff and the Rockies before flying back home from either Calgary or Edmonton.
When to sell it
South Alberta is generally warmer than the rest of the province, but it has comfortable summers with temperatures usually sitting in the low to mid-20s. Every July, Drumheller in the heart of the Badlands stages a series of passion plays featuring a cast of hundreds at its natural outdoor amphitheatre.
In July 2019 Writing-on-Stone, a provincial park that’s a refuge of spectacular badlands and hoodoos amid the prairies of southern Alberta, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Called Áísínai’pi in the Blackfoot language, and meaning ‘where the writings are’, the park gets its name from the petroglyphs carved into the rock and the pictographs painted there, many of which are at least 4,000 years old.
For generations, the park has been a sacred place for the region’s Indigenous Blackfoot people and the etchings, scattered across 138 rock-art locations throughout the park, depict sacred people, spirits, battles, journeys and moments.
Visitors who go now will be able to catch the latest Fossils in Focus exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, on until October 11.
Canadian Sky has a 13-night self-drive Ranchland and Prairies tour, which includes a couple of days at an authentic ranch. It also takes in Banff and Jasper.