Learn more about the communities in our region.
Fort McMurray is the largest urban community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and is located within the Wood Buffalo National Park and the heart of the Athabasca oil sands. The city rests near the confluence of the Athabasca and Clearwater rivers in northeastern Alberta. In 1870 the community was established as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.
According to the 2021 municipal census, there are 72,917 permanent residents in Fort McMurray.
Fort Chipewyan, the most northern community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, is a hamlet located to the north of Lake Athabasca. The community rests within the Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest National park in Canada, and is entirely isolated, accessible only by plane or boat in the summer and by a winter road in the winter.
Fort Chipewyan is the second-largest community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Many of the residents are members of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and Fort Chipewyan Métis.
It is the oldest settlement in all of Alberta, having formed as a trading post in 1788 by the North West Trading Company.
According to Statistics Canada, 798 people called Fort Chipewyan home in 2021.
The hamlet of Fort McKay is located 58 kilometres north of Fort McMurray on the west bank of the Athabasca River and is situated amongst many oil sands operational sites. Fort McKay can be accessed from Highway 63 or an airstrip located in Mildred Lake, three kilometres south.
Fort McKay was established in 1820 by the Hudson Bay Company as a trading post but was not known as Fort McKay until it was named after Dr. Williams Morrison McKay in 1917. While the oil sands industry is the primary employer in Fort McKay, forestry, hunting and trapping remain to be a part of the local economy.
According to the 2018 municipal census, there are 59 people living in Fort McKay, but the census did not account for transient oil sands workers or residents living on the nearby First Nation community. Many residents are active members of the Fort McKay First Nation which is part of the Athabasca Tribal Council. The community is also the home of the Fort McKay Métis Nation.
Located on the Alberta/ Northwest Territories border on the Slave River, Fort Fitzgerald is the most northern hamlet in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The nearest urban centre is Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, which is 25 kilometres to the north. Fort Fitzgerald can be accessed from the south along the Fort Chipewyan Winter Road, from the northwest on Highway 5 and by the Slave River waterway.
Fort Fitzgerald was originally named Smith’s Landing until 1915 when it was renamed to honour the late Inspector Francis Joseph Fitzgerald of the North-West Mounted Police. Situated at the beginning of four sets of impassable rapids, Fort Fitzgerald was once a major portage point for barges transporting goods to Fort Smith and the north. The Fort Fitzgerald region is also home to Smith’s Landing First Nation.
According to the 2018 municipal census, there are eight people currently residing in Fort Fitzgerald. Residents of this remote community must travel to Fort Smith to shop or attend school, as there are no supporting services except electricity. Even phone services were non-existent until 2003. Residents seeking employment opportunities outside of hunting and trapping must travel to Fort Smith.
The hamlet of Anzac is on the western shore of Willow Lake in the southern region of the Municipality and is near Gregoire Lake Provincial Park. Located approximately 45 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, Anzac can be accessed from Highways 63 and 881.
The community was originally named Willow Lake but was renamed to Anzac in 1917 as a stopping point on the Alberta Great Waterways Railway Line. The name Anzac is after the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.
According to the 2018 census, there are 659 residents currently living in Anzac. The Anzac surrounding area is also home to Fort McMurray First Nation and the Willow Lake Métis. Community services include a volunteer fire department, a community meeting hall, several outdoor recreational facilities and the Anzac Community School.
Conklin is the most southern community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. It is a quiet, rural community located approximately 155 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray on scenic Christina Lake and can be accessed from Alberta Highways 63 and 881.
According to the 2018 census, there are 229 residents currently living in Conklin, the majority of which are of Métis descent. Commercial facilities in Conklin include a gas bar, a post office, a store and a cafe and lounge. The Conklin Multiplex is a popular recreation facility. Students in Conklin attend the Conklin Community School from Kindergarten to Grade 9.
Christina Lake Recreation Resort is a popular destination for many visitors and residents of Conklin.
Situated on the flood plains of the Clearwater River, Draper is only 12 kilometres south of Fort McMurray. The easiest way to and from Draper is through Waterways, a suburban area of Fort McMurray.
Draper was established in 1922 by Thomas Draper who opened a quarry in the area and began to conduct business as the McMurray Asphaltum and Oil Company. Today the community is primarily made up of acreages built along the banks of the Clearwater River.
The 2018 Municipal Census put the population of Draper at 187. Residents of Draper utilize the services in the neighbouring city of Fort McMurray.
Gregoire Lake Estates
Located on the shores of Willow Lake, the hamlet of Gregoire Lake Estates is in close proximity to Anzac and Gregoire Lake Provincial Park. It is located approximately 35 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray and can be accessed from Alberta Highway 881.
According to the 2018 municipal census, there are currently 204 people living in Gregoire Lake Estates. There are no commercial developments or community services for Gregoire Lake Estates, but residents utilize these services in the neighbouring hamlet of Anzac or in the urban service centre of Fort McMurray.
Situated on the shores of Bohn Lake, the hamlet of Janvier is in the southern region of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. It is approximately 120 kilometres south of Fort McMurray and can be accessed from Alberta Highway 881 as well as a small airstrip located in the community.
There is a large Métis population in Janvier and it is home to the Chard Métis and the Chipewyan Prairie Dene First Nation. Community assets and supports include the Janvier Dene Wood Buffalo Community Association, and the Sekewha youth centre, and a Volunteer Fire Department.
According to the 2018 municipal census, there are 141 people living in Janvier. Students attend Father R. Perin from Kindergarten to Grade 9.
Saprae Creek Estates
The hamlet of Saprae Creek is located 25 kilometres south of Fort McMurray and is the third-largest community in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. It is situated on the crest of the Clearwater River Valley and can be accessed from Alberta Highway 69.
Established in 1987, Saprae Creek is a forested acreage hamlet that serves as a bedroom community to Fort McMurray. Saprae Creek is home to Vista Ridge, a popular winter recreation facility that offers skiing, snowboarding and downhill tubing, an outdoor skate park, playground, ropes course, and golf course,
According to the 2018 municipal census, there are 715 residents currently living in Saprae Creek. Commercial and community services are in nearby Fort McMurray.