Peace River Museum, Archives, and Mackenzie Centre
The site of the Museum holds diverse significance in the history of the Town of Peace River and the Mighty Peace River. The land on which the Museum sits was owned in the mid-1900’s by a man of Cree decent – Felix Akernum Shaw. He was a trapper, guide, and hauler of freight for the Hudson’s Bay Company. It is believed, but not confirmed, that members of his family are buried in the little cemetery on the Museum grounds. The town’s ferry crossing (1908) was here when Peace River was called either Peace River Crossing or Peace River Landing.
12 Foot Davis Gravesite
Henry Fuller Davis’ gravesite is on a hill overlooking the Smoky, Peace, and Heart Rivers. Although he died near what is now Grouard in 1900, at his request his body was moved, about a dozen years later, to its current site by friend (Peace River) Jim Cornwall.
Dr. William Greene Cairn
Dr. William Greene was a renowned pioneer aviator, designer and manufacturer, as well as a medical doctor and dentist. Some say he held an engineering degree as well. A model of one of the early biplanes he designed and manufactured is on display in the Peace River Museum and Archives. There is a layby on the road up to 12 Foot Davis gravesite and a historic sign on the path to the Green cairn that provides more information.
Sagitawa Lookout (Judah Hill)
The Cree named the lookout from where they could see the meeting of the Smoky and Peace Rivers – Sakitawahk (saakitawwahk) – at the mouth of the river – where the rivers meet. The rivers provided a well-traveled pathway for First Nations people, explorers, adventurers, and homesteaders to the Peace River area. They reached the area on foot and by dog team on the rivers’ frozen waters and by various forms of water craft during the warmer seasons.
Riverfront Park (Twelve Foot Davis Statue)
The area comprising Riverfront Park in the 21 Century has gone through several transitions since the days of explorers and fur traders and the use of Peace River as a nautical highway. Prior to the area becoming a park in 1989, it was a landing spot for sternwheelers and scows carrying people and freight up and down the mighty river and most recently was used as the Town’s Public Works.
Athabasca Hall/St. James Cathedral and Synod Office
The buildings are all on land donated to the Anglican Church by Pat Wesley, a Metis, who asked that his body be laid to rest in the shadow of the church to be built on the land he had donated. In 1936, Athabasca Hall and St. James Cathedral were built with the help of funds from an anonymous British donor. Builder George Clarke helped to construct these buildings.
Third Mission Heritage Suites
The Mission (1888) stood on River Lots 21, 22, and 23, where the Correctional Centre has been since 1968. The cemetery, church, and barn are all that remains of the Mission. The priests’ house was moved by CAT over the ice to Peace River in 1958. It is now the Third Mission Heritage Suited at 100 Avenue and 98 Street, across from the original Hudson’s Bay Factor’s House (1904).
Normand Boucher Community Arboretum
The arboretum built at 70 Street and 71 Avenue, across from Good Shepherd School, took root in 1990 in celebration of Peace River’s designation as Alberta’s Provincial Forest Capital. Since then, each May during Alberta Forest Week, school children, assisted by Alberta Sustainable Resource Development staff, plant several varieties of tree to add to the beautifully forested area.
Although Misery Mountain is where skiing is at now, it wasn’t always. As early as the 1920s-1930s, ski jumpers soared from a jump on what then was know as Peace River’s Welcome Hill – off a campground near Twelve Foot Davis gravesite. In the 1950s, innovative downhill ski enthusiasts established a tow rope driven by a fire truck engine and then a Massey-Harris tractor. In 1980, the venue changed to its current site off of Shaftsbury Trail.
On River Lot 32, there is a layby. Near the fence, there is an obelisk with a brass plaque commemorating Fort McLeod. There is also a large provincial sign telling of the many important forts along this stretch of the Peace River.
St. Augustine Mission
The Mission (1888) stood on River Lots 21, 22, and 23, where the Correctional Centre has been since 1968. The cemetery, church, and barn are all that remains of the Mission.
On River Lot 19 on the river side of Shaftsbury Trail is the Mackenzie Cairn unveiled in 1929 to honor Sir Alexander Mackenzie, explorer, fur trader – the first to cross North America North of Mexico, 1792-1793.
The Bridge View Gardens on Shaftsbury Trail is on land once farmed by the Brick Family in the late 1880s and early 1900s. A crusty old barn, circa 1900, stands on River Lot 12, somewhat stooped in greeting. It is thought to be the oldest barn in the area. Make sure to stop by and pick some of the best strawberries around.
Everett Thomas Bailey (1886-1970) was the man who provided, way back, the means to traverse the Peace River from Shaftsbury Trail to Tangent Landing. The cairn at the ferry landing entrance tells more of the story.
Sagitawa Friendship Centre
The Hide N’ Seek Native Handicraft Store is one of the many hidden treasures of the Peace Country. The store carries a large inventory of traditional native handicrafts made by artisans from various regional communities. Every item is authentic, handcrafted, and significant to the Aboriginal culture and traditions.