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Brief History

1877 – First Hudson’s Bay Company seasonal trading post was built in Athabasca.

1888 – Sternwheelers and scows began to be built in Athabasca to trade and travel along the Athabasca River.

1892 – North West Mounted Police were stationed at Athabasca which at the time it was known as "The Last Point North”

1898 to 1899 – A number of adventurers and gold seekers travelled through Athabasca to the Yukon goldfields.

1905 to 1913 – The population tripled in size: from 250 people in 1905 to 450 people in 1911, and then 2,000 by the end of 1913.

1906 – The first ferry was put across the Athabasca River.

1911 – The Landing was incorporated into a Town named Athabasca Landing. The name was changed to Athabasca in 1913.

1912 – On May 25 the Canadian Northern Railway completed its line to Athabasca.  

1913 – August 5 a large fire destroyed most of the downtown business core, most businesses were rebuilt after the fire.

1914 – First World War in the summer of 1914 changed future development in Athabasca.

1914 – The railroads to the Peace River country and to Fort McMurray made the river transport obsolete and the major rail lines bypassed Athabasca. The town declined rapidly from 2000 in 1913 to 497 in 1916 and then 425 in 1926.

1920 – The town of Athabasca went bankrupt in 1920 and would not enjoy full financial autonomy again until the 1970s.

1920s & 1930s – Throughout the 1920s and 1930s survival depended on the trapping and lumbering industries, and homesteaders who arrived from the United States, Great Britain, Quebec, Ontario and Eastern Europe.

1934 to 1952 – A cable cage system carried passengers across the Athabasca River in the spring and fall.

1952 – The bridge over the Athabasca River was completed.

1955 – Dr. Josephine Brown, who served as a general practitioner in Athabasca for over forty years, opened her practice, The Athabasca Medical Centre, in the fall of 1955.

1984- The "new” hospital, Athabasca Health Care Centre was built.

1984 – Athabasca University relocated from Edmonton, Alberta and opened their central building in Athabasca. The university is an accredited research institution that also offers distance education and courses.  

1986 – The Town of Athabasca celebrated its 75th Anniversary

1991 - In 1991 Alberta Pacific Forest Industries (ALPAC) began construction in the Athabasca County and officially opened in September 1993. ALPAC employs close to 1,100 employees and contractors.

2008 – The Athabasca Regional Multiplex opened in February, 2008. The Athabasca Multiplex has an ice arena, curling rink, field house, exercise room, and meeting rooms.

2011 – The Town of Athabasca celebrated its 100 Year Centennial.

 2019 - The Athabasca Regional Multiplex added a new Fitness and Aquatic Centre.

References were taken from Athabasca Historical Walking Tour Book. If you would like to purchase a copy, the books are available at the Town of Athabasca Office, or Visit Alice. B Donahue Library and Archives Collection through the Athabasca University digital port: Click on the link