At just over sixty thousand people, Medicine Hat is a fairly unassuming community with a quiet charm. Nestled in a beautiful river valley, bordered by stunning cliffs and vast prairies, this city is in an undeniably gorgeous part of southeastern Alberta. You might expect that the Hat wouldn't have much to offer in its relative isolation, but in my humble opinion you'd be wrong. These are 7 significant landmarks unique to the area - the "7 Wonders" of Medicine Hat, Alberta.
All photography in this post is original and part of my Around the Hat photo series.
St. Patrick's Church - 7 Wonders of Medicine Hat, Alberta
Constructed between 1912 to 1914 in the French inspired Gothic Revival Style, today St. Patrick's Church is recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada. Featuring twin spires, stunning rose windows, and bronze bells that were cast in France in 1914, this structure is still as impressive as ever a century on. Expanded image gallery here.
Saamis Teepee | World's Largest Teepee - 7 Wonders of Medicine Hat, Alberta
The Saamis Teepee is easily Medicine Hat's most recognizable landmark. Originally constructed for the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, the structure was purchased by Rick Filanti and donated to the City of Medicine Hat in the early 1990s. Visible from the Trans Canada Highway, the teepee celebrates aboriginal culture and marks the site of a former buffalo camp. And not to be outdone, the Saamis Teepee puts Medicine Hat on the map for "world's largest" seekers. Expanded image gallery here.
Echo Dale Regional Park - 7 Wonders of Medicine Hat, Alberta
From a beautiful beach and swimming lake to a historic farm and coal mine, Echo Dale is a local gem that you have to see for yourself. Whether you're having a cookout, going to explore the old homestead, enjoying the sun and sand, or are simply looking for some picturesque trails to take in views of the South Saskatchewan River, Echo Dale is a great place to spend an afternoon soaking up some epic prairie scenery. Expanded image gallery here.
Ewart Duggan House - 7 Wonders of Medicine Hat, Alberta
Constructed in 1887 using locally produced brick, the Ewart Duggan House is recognized as the oldest brick residence in Alberta. Today the structure is a Provincial Historic Site and is maintained as part of the Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre - which itself features a theatre, museum and gallery. In addition to touring the home and gardens, the property is a great introduction to Medicine Hat's historic downtown and many of the civic landmarks along First Street. Expanded image gallery here.
Monarch Theatre - 7 Wonders of Medicine Hat, Alberta
Recognized as one of the very first movie theatres (if not the first) in Canada, the Monarch Theatre is pretty special in that regard. Opened in 1911, the Monarch was originally constructed in the Beaux-Arts Style but was later remodeled with an Art Deco facade that remains today. After closing and reopening in 2007-2008, the Monarch has undergone a significant transformation including both cosmetic and technical upgrades. With so many collective memories surrounding it, this small movie theatre has a distinctly local charm. Expanded image gallery here.
Police Point Park - 7 Wonders of Medicine Hat, Alberta
Stunning beauty describes the wonder of the nearly 400 acre natural reserve known as Police Point Park. Surrounded by the South Saskatchewan River on three sides and lined with extensive trails, Police Point is a great place to wander in the summer, snowshoe or cross country ski in the winter, and see local wildlife year round. The Plains Cottonwoods found here are some of the oldest trees in the area, and their gnarled stature gives the park some brilliant character. Fittingly, Police Point Park derives its name from a North West Mounted Police outpost that existed here in the 1880s. Expanded image gallery here.
Medalta Potteries | Historic Clay District - 7 Wonders of Medicine Hat, Alberta
For a city built on natural gas and the clay industry, Medalta Potteries is a pretty spectacular place to explore. Today this former industrial site is a museum and community centre complete with gallery space, a weekly market, and even the occasional concert in one of the historic beehive kilns. Medicine Hat's clay district is also a National Historic Site and in the late 1920s roughly 75% of all the pottery in Canada was coming out of this factory. From industrial ruins to world class artists working and collaborating in a state of the art studio facility on site, Medalta is in a league of its own. Expanded image gallery here.