For some people, living in a big city like Edmonton just isn’t all that appealing. The hustle and bustle of every day business, rush hour traffic, high-density living… it can get to be too much.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the city’s attractions have to be far away. Lying adjacent to Edmonton’s north end is St. Albert, a city with a population of just under 60,000.

Weighing in as Alberta’s fifth largest city, it is also one of the safest in Canada.

“It’s small and there are a lot of parks,” St. Albert resident Elyse Dussault said. “It’s easy to get to your job, and you can walk everywhere.”

The city, which was founded in 1861 by Father Albert Lacombe, was originally a mission that found its roots in Lac Ste. Anne.

However, the soil in Lac Ste. Anne was infertile, and Lacombe asked Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché for permission to establish the mission in what would become St. Albert.

In 1904, St. Albert was granted town status and by January 1977, the town had become a city.

“For the most part, everybody is really friendly,” Dussault said. “They keep an eye out for each other on their houses.”

She noted that St. Albert is a great place for new families because of the parks, abundance of schools and the overall safety of the city.

“There are a lot of parks to bring the kids to; there are a lot of kids in St. Albert, so they can make friends easily,” she said. “Depending on the neighbourhood, there are people who are willing to keep an eye out for your kids when they’re outside.”

St. Albert is served by two school divisions, the Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division, which is also the public system, and St. Albert Protestant Schools.

The city also accommodates the North Central Francophone School Board.

St. Albert also has a strong background in the arts, and is home to many guilds and organizations, including a painters’ guild, a potters’ guild and the internationally acclaimed St. Albert Children’s Theatre.

A short history of time
• 1861 – St. Albert is founded by Father Albert Lacombe and Bishop Alexandre Taché.
• 1884 – Electricity and telephone poles are erected in St. Albert.
• 1904 – With a population of 700, St. Albert achieves town status.
• 1907 – First railroad station is built.
• 1960 – A four-lane highway is graded and completed from Edmonton to St. Albert.
• 1964 – At 10,000 people, St. Albert is the largest town in Alberta.
• 1977 – St. Albert becomes a city with a population of 28,000.
• 1984 – St. Albert Place is built.