The name of Medicine Hat originated from a great battle bweteen the Cree and the Blackfoot on the banks of a nearby river. The Cree fought bravely until their medicine man deserted them, losing his headdress in midstream. Seeing this as a bad omen the warriors put down their weapons and were slaughtered by the Blackfoot. The site was known thereafter as “Saamis,” which translates as the medicine man’s hat.
The city sites on an underground aquifer which provides the city unlimited cool water. The city also sits on 20 billion cubic metres of natural gas, which caused Rudyard Kimpling to comment that the community has “all hell for a basement”. The gas from this field supplied the fast-growing city of Calgary with gas (though a 300 kilometre pipeline built by Canadian Western Natural Gas Company, now ATCO Gas) until other reserves were found around the province.
Today, Medicine Hat has about 45,000 residents (they call themselves “Hatters”), with a diverse economy. The huge nearby Suffield military base (just tot he west of town) is used to train Canada’s and NATO allies’ tank forces. The city offers great recreation with the riverside parklands and Echo Dale Park. Medicine Hat also has waterslides (on the west end of town) as well as indoor ones at the Medicine Hat Lodge, and several other family amusements. The town hosts the Medicine Hat Stampede early each August. The city has two major shopping areas, Medicine Hat Mall on Dunsmore Rd S.E, and Southview Shopping Centre on 6th Ave S.E.
|Agventure and Pro Rodeo||mid March||Agricultural show and spring rodeo. 403-527-1234|
|Spectrum Festival||End May||Riverside Park|
|George Ross Memorial Rodeo||Early June||Foremost Rodeo Grounds|
|Redcliff Days||mid June||Town of Redcliff|
|Bow Island Bean Pot Festival & Rodeo||End June||Town of Bow Island|
|Bassano Amateur Roeo||End June||Bassano Rodeo Grounds|
|Western Stock Growers Centennial Cattle Drive||Late July||Buffalo to Medicine Hat|
|Statmpede Chili Cookoff||Late July||Downtown Medicine Hat|
|Medicine Hat Stampede||End July||Second largest rodeo in Canada, run since 1887. Complete with parade, evening shows, livestock and art shows, petting farm and midway. 403-527-1234|
|Antelope Country Fair||Early Aug||Town of Foremost|
|Patricia Rodeo||End Aug||Patricia Rodeo Grounds|
|Downtown Midinight Madness||Early Dec||Singing Christmas Tree, Choral Christmas Card & nativity pageant. Downtown Medicine Hat|
Here are the top attractions in & around Medicine Hat. Items marked * are free.
Historic Clay District
Medalta Site (Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District)
713 Medalta Avenue SE Hycroft Site (closed for development)
Administration Offices: 713 Medalta Avenue SE Medicine Hat, AB T1A 3K9
403-529-1070 fax: 403-580-5868
Discover why Medicine Hat’s Industrial past is one of Canada’s national historic treasures. Guided Tours Daily from Mid May through Labour Day,10am to 5 pm. Admission, under 12 Free. Fall & Winter: Office hours 9 am to 5 pm, Gift shop 10 am – 4 pm, closed between 12 pm and 1 pm. Thank you again for your assistance.
2-3rd St NE, Redcliff AB
(west of Medicine Hat on Trans-Canada)
This museum, a few km northwest of Medicine Hat, showcases industrial exhibits, an old-fashioned drug store, military exhibits, and a jail cell. Open mid-June to Aug 31 Tue-Sat 9 am to 4:40 pm, remainder of year Sundays 2 pm to 4 pm.
Historic Walking Tour*
Downtown Medicine Hat
The city features lots of 1880s brick and sandstone structures.
Echo Dale Regional Park
6 km west of Hwy 3, via Holsom Rd to Echo Dale Rd
West of Medicine Hat in the South Saskatchewan River Valley.
This park offers swimming lake with beach, boating rentals, concessions, and a turn of the century historic farm with an assortment of pet animals. Open May to September.
Police Point Park and Interpretive Centre*
1001 Police Point Dr NE, Medicine Hat, AB T1C 1S4
(NE end of Medicine Hat, off Parkview Drive)
800 acres of natural woodland, abundant in wildflowers and animals. Ecotours available.
Open year-round. Admission: Free
Medicine Hat Museum & Art Gallery
1302 Bomfod Crescent SW, Medicine Hat AB
See the region’s cultural heritage though a variety of Indian artifacts, pioneer items and art exhibits. Open Victoria Day to Labour Day: Mon – Fri 9am to 5 pm, Weekends & holidays 1 pm to 5 pm; remainder of year: 10:30 am to noon and 1 pm to 5pm and weekends & holidays 1 pm to 5pm. Allow 1 hour. Admission by donation.
Medicine Hat Wax Museum
703 Wood Street
Life size wax figures in display settings. Famous people, musicians, Phantom of the Opera and Dracula. Open: May 15 – Oct. 31, daily 10 am – 6 pm. Admission
Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District
703 Wood St SW, Medicine Hat, AB T1A 8S9
403-529-1070 fax: 403-580-5868
This area was the epicentre for clay pottery and ceramics in Canada. The interpretive centres shows rare beehive kilns that were used to make famouse Medalta and Hycroft pottery. Open May 15 to Sept 15, daily from 10 am to 5 pm.
Riverside Amusement Park
West end of town on southside of Trans-Canada Highway
2 large pools, 1 large children’s pool, 12 super smooth slides, Lazy River Ride, acres of picnic & sunning areas, lounge chairs. Volleyball court, horseshoe pit, gigantic barbeque pit, security lockers, 2 concession stands, soft ice cream, gift shop. Air conditioned arcade, awesome adult go karts, children’s go karts, 18 hole mini golf. Open summertime. Admission
Saamis World’s Tallest Teepee*
Junction Highway 1 and South Ridge Rd
(403) 527-6422 or 527-6773
This giant tepee was build for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics to commemorate the important role of the Native peoples in the history of Southern Alberta. The teepee stands 22 stories high and stood over Calgary’s Olympic Stadium (McMahon Stadium), used for the opening & closing ceremonies. The Saamis site, where it now stands, was the location of a well-documented 16th century buffalo camp, with the history of the area told on storyboards mounted inside the teepee frame. Open daily May – Oct from 9 am to 9 pm. Allow 1 hour. Admission by donation.