Strathcona County Community Heritage Legacy

2001 Sherwood Drive, Sherwood Park   T8A 3W7


The mission for Strathcona County’s Community Heritage Legacy Initiativeis to connect County residents (rural and urban) to the community through a sense of belonging, identity and place by capturing and conveying Strathcona’s history and heritage.Adopted by Council in December 2009, the Community Heritage Legacy Framework is built on the fundamental principle that an awareness and appreciation of community history and heritage are vital to the well-being, strength and continuity of the community. Roles of the program include providing a central hub and clearinghouse for communications relating to history and all forms of heritage (natural, tangible, intangible) in order to increase public awareness.


Strathcona County is a dynamic and vibrant community, a specialized municipality, made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. With a focus on social, environmental and economic sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of this diverse community.

Strathcona County’s unique cultural history is rooted in its natural heritage. Retreating glaciers 12,000 years ago created the hummocky “knob and kettle” terrain that makes up the Beaver Hills, one of a number of ecosystems within the County. This natural environment, covering the central-southeast half of the County, is significant to the human history that has unfolded in the entire capital region. The wetlands, lakes and dry mixed-wood boreal forest of the Beaver Hills (Cooking Lake Moraine) provided a perfect habitat for the diverse vegetation, animals, birds and fish on which the nomadic First Nations people subsisted for centuries.

Finding the area to have an abundance of wildlife, the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1795 established a trading post at Edmonton House, near the edge of the Beaver Hills. It would become the largest in Western Canada. After the Hudson’s Bay sold its land to the Dominion of Canada, the North West Mounted Police were established at Fort Edmonton in 1874 and at Fort Saskatchewan in 1875. Word spread quickly that soil in the region was rich and fertile, and with law and order in place, and the promise of a railway, settlers began to arrive to lay claim to land. Individuals and families of many cultural backgrounds came from across the North American continent and from Europe, and many Métis families took up land claims as well.

Strathcona County is home to the first rural self-governing body in what is now Alberta. Clover Bar was declared Statute Labour & Fire District Number Two in 1893 by the North-West Territorial government with the mandate to protect settlers' properties from the threat of fire, stray cattle and horses, and to establish trails.

As the population of Edmonton increased, the dairy farms of Clover Bar, Salisbury and Colchester expanded to meet the demand for dairy products. By the early 1900s the Colchester-Salisbury district was known as the Dairy Belt of Alberta.

After 1909, when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway opened, Cooking Lake became a popular draw for leisure, an easy day trip from Edmonton.

Despite several boundary changes and even with the development of the hamlet of Sherwood Park, Strathcona County has remained the municipality of its origin — no area within its borders has ever incorporated to form a village, town or city. The County's regional form of government has allowed it to retain the strong rural roots that gave rise to this unique community.

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Cultural Groups:
Area: Edmonton Region

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