Click your heels and find yourself in Camrose
Like Our Facebook Page
Join ZenSeekers as we go on expedition across the #BoomTownTrail. Learn more on what several communities across this region have in store. You’ll find inspiration and education to explore Alberta via our #BoomTownTrail expedition hub.
Two swans are swimming in Mirror Lake as I longboard down the bike trail. I pull off at a dock to get a closer look. This confirms it: Camrose is picture perfect. Just the right amount of raw at the edges and polish at the centre.
Mainstreet marquees, heritage buildings, boutique shops, craft stores, cafes and good restaurants anchor downtown, the Camrose County Nature Conservation Centre and Miquelon Lake Provincial Park give reign to the wilds just beyond town limits.
At just an hour from Edmonton, it’s amazing this town has flown under the radar. Camrose is at the vanguard of the rural modern renaissance, a magical Oz on the prairies.
A quiet paddle through the wetlands at the Camrose County Nature Conservation Centre does the soul good.
It’s also a good place to bring the rod and reel, although locals tell me you have to be there early to catch the trout that swim these waters. Side tip here: throw a line in any time and it’s a good excuse to just sit and relax.
The Southern State BBQ fires up a mean grill that turns out tasty brisket and all the traditional fixings.
Speaking of which, afternoons in Camrose are for chilling. Time to hit main street. For lunch, Southern State BBQ fires up a mean grill. Brisket, slaw, fresh cucumber salad — all the fixings. It’s the kind of place you may find yourself enjoying so much, you’ll visit twice in the same trip (I did).
Follow it up with a coffee or maybe even an ice cream at Mainstreet 1908, and you’ve got the makings of a most satisfying afternoon.
For a change of pace, play some board games at the newly opened Fox & Fable Book and Game Cafe, or try the latest trendsetting crafts like diamond embroidery at Crafty Crafters, where you can also meet Camrose’s resident YouTube dog celebrity, Lily.
“It started as a fluke,” explains Tanya Fox, who owns and runs the store. “We started a YouTube channel and she appeared in a few of the videos. All of a sudden, if she wasn’t in the video, people began asking, where is she?”
In-person meetings with Lily are all but guaranteed at the shop. It’s all just part of the friendly main street vibe.
Here's a date night idea. Hit the Hart House for a cocktail and appetizers or dinner, followed by a show at the historic Baily theatre.
In the evening, you can combine a meal at Hart House and a show at the Bailey Theatre for the best dinner date combo around. The 100-year old Hart House, a beautifully restored and maintained heritage building, still has its original light fixtures, crown molding, floors and more.
Pairs well with: smoky cocktails, local charcuterie and the inspired creations of Chef Madison Huseby. Think ingredients like black mission figs, Saskatoon jam, herb-infused mushrooms, micro-greens, wild boar bacon and regional preserves.
With such an alluring setting, I find myself lingering on the views, the flavours and the conversations, the way I might if I lived in a place like this. Just as if I’ve found my very own pair of ruby slippers and returned to a technicolour rural paradise.
If You Go
Vinesations infuses unique flavours into its pressed olive oils and vinegars. Try the strawberry/chili combo for a sweet kick.
Shop main street boutiques like Tish’s, Unique Boutique and Sole City Shoes for fine apparel and colourful fashion, without the hustle and bustle of a big city mall.
Get out on the trails, winding over 37 kilometres through the lake valley system with various access points and attractions en route; you’ll soon discover the beauty of the place.
Make it a road trip - discover seven destinations brimming with unique experiences - start here by visiting ZenSeekers’ #BoomTownTrail expedition page.