|Town of Spirit River|
Location in the M.D. of Spirit River
Location in Alberta
|Planning region||Upper Peace|
|Municipal district||Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133|
|• Village||June 13, 1916|
|• Town||September 18, 1951|
|• Mayor||Tammy Yaremko|
|• Governing body||Spirit River Town Council|
|• Land||3.11 km2 (1.20 sq mi)|
|Elevation||640 m (2,100 ft)|
|• Density||272.8/km2 (707/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
Spirit River is a town in northern Alberta, Canada. It is approximately 78 km (48 mi) north of Grande Prairie at the junction of Highway 49 and Highway 731.
|Source: Statistics Canada|
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Spirit River had a population of 849 living in 378 of its 432 total private dwellings, a change of -14.7% from its 2016 population of 995. With a land area of 3.11 km2 (1.20 sq mi), it had a population density of 273.0/km2 (707.0/sq mi) in 2021.
In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the Town of Spirit River recorded a population of 995 living in 442 of its 487 total private dwellings, a -2.9% change from its 2011 population of 1,025. With a land area of 3.14 km2 (1.21 sq mi), it had a population density of 316.9/km2 (820.7/sq mi) in 2016.
The community is largely agricultural, being located in the fertile Peace Country. It also features an active oil and gas industry.
The name Spirit River comes from the Cree Chepe Sepe, or Ghost River.
In 1891, a trading post became the original settlement along the banks of the Spirit River. Ranching in the area started as early as the 1840s and farming in the 1880s. The first school opened in 1910. In 1915, to the northwest, on Section 22, the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway subdivided a townsite called Spirit River Station. The residents and storekeepers at the old settlement then moved, creating a village in 1916. On February 16 of that year, the Herald Tribune reported that McRae & Co. opened a general store. Spirit River was incorporated as a town in 1951.
In 1923, the wheat pool was established.
In October 2013, a pipeline inspection crew working in the Saddle Hills area southwest of Spirit River unearthed a 10-metre long dinosaur fossil. It was later confirmed to be that of the duck-billed hadrosaur.
The Town of Spirit River, along with the Municipal District of Spirit River celebrated its 100th anniversary in August 2016.
The Municipal District of Spirit River No. 133's municipal office is located in Spirit River. It is also home to the Peace-Wapiti School Board and provincial offices for Alberta Agriculture and Fish and Wildlife.
A paved airport accommodates medical emergency flights and private aircraft.
The town features a curling rink, arena, outdoor pool, library, museum and community hall.
Spirit River is home to a hospital and the Central Peace Health Centre, a newly constructed clinic that has physician, dentist, physiotherapist and massage therapist offices. A new 92-bed seniors care home is set to open in 2024.
The town is home to two schools – Ste. Marie Catholic School (elementary) and Spirit River Regional Academy (K-12).
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