Fort McMurray Heritage
We have a collection of buildings, some dating back a century, each one inviting visitors to experience a different aspect of Fort McMurray’s past. Walk through history and explore the stories of those who came before. It’s a vibrant and captivating destination, and an essential part of our community.
The Catholic Mission was built in 1911 and was originally located on the eastern side of Franklin Avenue and Main Street. In 1958 the building was sold for firewood, but fortunately it was saved and moved to Heritage Village, where it now is home to the stories of work of the Catholic Church in the early 1900s.
The Chateau Gai building was constructed by Father Bern Will Brown and the Oblate Missionaries, and opened in 1960. It provided the Grey Nuns a retreat from their nursing and teaching duties. The building was moved to Heritage Village in 1983 and now is home to the stories of the Grey Nuns who touched the hearts and minds of the people of Fort McMurray as nurses and teachers.
In 1930, the Alberta Forest Service implemented a network of lookout towers, now called the fire towers. There were 16 fire lookout towers in the Waterways Ranger District, staffed by seasonal Lookout Observers. The tower views cover a 5,027 square kilometre area, allowing rangers to spot fires as far away as 40 kilometres.
Built in 2009 at Heritage Village, this cabin represents the Clausen stopover cabin, named for Edwin Clausen who built the original cabin at Clausen’s Landing in the 1930s. The building is typical of the cabins used for overnight stays by Forest Service officers when they travelled by dogsled or boat, and later by snowmobile, to check timber operations and trap lines.
The Forest Service Shed was constructed in 2015 to house large artifacts related to forest management in the Fort McMurray area. This building houses two large artifacts essential for forest protection: a Bombardier snow machine, which transported forest service rangers to remote parts of the forest, and a boat that moved the rangers by river to the forests.
The Golosky House was built on what is now Marshall Street in 1921, along with barns, a shed, and a workshop. The house had no electricity. For many years, the family kept food cool by putting it into a bucket and lowering it into the well. Sometimes they built an icehouse and eventually they kept an icebox on the back porch to refrigerate food.
Built in 1916 by Reverend D.C. McTavish, this was the first Presbyterian Church in Fort McMurray. Everything in the church was hand crafted. Reverend McTavish’s wife, Cassia, started the first Sunday school, as well as the first school in town.
The Church is used for various programs and is not open to the public for viewing. The Church also serves as a vital storage facility for our artifacts and collections.
The Schoolhouse was built in 1938. Frank and Simone Goodwin rented the house from about 1948 until 1980. The building was donated to Heritage Village after the Goodwin family vacated it. It now is home to our schoolhouse exhibit.