St. Albert, Canada, might not be the biggest, showiest, or most famous destination for travelers, but that doesn’t mean its relatively small size doesn’t conceal a wealth of hidden gems. From lush animal habitats to eclectic open-air marketplaces, St. Albert has plenty to offer for keen-eyed tourists and locals alike.
Whether you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path vacation spot or just a nice place to spend a lazy weekend afternoon with the kids, here are four great reasons to visit St. Albert.
The John E. Poole Boardwalk
When many of us think “boardwalk,” we think of beachside amusements: sandcastles, rides, midway games, overpriced souvenir stands, etc. Snaking across 1.27 kilometers of marshy St. Albert real estate alongside the majestic Big Lake, the John E. Poole Boardwalk is something else entirely.
Built atop some of Canada’s most scenic and ecologically vital wetlands (the area is globally recognized as an Important Bird Area), the boardwalk offers visitors an experience both fun and educational.
The Enjoy Centre
If you’re less interested in the great outdoors and more attracted to the great indoors, St. Albert’s sprawling Enjoy Centre is for you. It’s part shopping, part luxury spa, part dining hall, and part greenhouse, and that’s just for starters.
Inside this 220,000 square foot building, you’ll find an enticing array of unique pop-up boutiques, craft beer vendors, yoga instructors, organic grocers, bakers, restaurants, florists, and more. Consider it your one-stop shop for leisure and recreation.
International Children’s Festival
The largest event of its kind in North America, St. Albert’s annual International Children’s Festival is a must-see attraction for visiting families. This nearly week-long celebration of art and imagination has been delighting little ones for 40 years and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon.
Previous festivals have featured close to 100 musical performances, plays, puppet shows, and cultural exhibitions. There are also hands-on craft-making events, so your kids can freely exercise their creativity.
The St. Albert Farmers Market
The International Children’s Festival may only happen once a year, but there’s another fun event in St. Albert that happens a lot more often. Every Saturday, starting in June and going all the way to October, the St. Albert Farmer’s Market gives 250+ vendors of all different kinds a chance to show their wares.
There’s more than just fruits and veggies for sale, too. As the largest outdoor market in Western Canada, you’ll find handmade jewelry, home décor, clothing, antiques, arts and crafts, and much, much more.