Nicknamed The Gas City for the ample natural gas reserves that have formed the economic backbone of the city since even before its 1906 incorporation, Medicine Hat, Alta., is a must-stop for those travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The World’s Tallest Tepee
Medicine Hat’s most famous landmark is a tribute to the rich aboriginal history of the city itself and Canada as a whole.
The Saamis Tepee was originally built for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and was given to Medicine Hat following the Games. It sits just off the No. 1 Highway and draws thousands of visitors each year. The Olympic legacy of the tepee will grow on Jan. 16, when it will be the site of a community celebration to mark the Medicine Hat stop of the Olympic Torch Relay on the way to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Clay District a National Historic Site
In the city’s early years clay products became one of the most successful industries, due largely to the abundance of clay found along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River that snakes its way through Medicine Hat and the availability of cheap natural gas from the city-owned utility, which provided consistent heat at the extreme temperatures needed to fire the kilns. The area soon became home to some Canada’s most influential clay factories and at one time produced more than 75 per cent of all the pottery in Canada and distributed its wares all across the world.
Medalta Potteries – which has been declared a National Historic Site – remains as a working museum that shows visitors the industry’s history in Medicine Hat and gives the opportunity to see artists working today.
Fine Dining and Charm in Downtown Medicine Hat
Like many communities, Medicine Hat’s downtown fell on hard times as the city grew outward with big box stores. Community groups are working on bringing Medicine Hat downtown back to life as a destination for new business and visitors.
Quaint gas lamps light the streets at night and buildings, some of which date back to the turn of the twentieth century, house everything from high-end clothing to shoe repair to fine dining at Mario’s Restaurant, DeVine Grill and Twist Tapas Bistro and Wine Bar.
Howie Mandel, Village People Have Played the Esplanade
The Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre in downtown Medicine Hat has played host to productions from local theatre groups and in 2014 alone welcomed performers such as comedian Howie Mandel, hip-hop star Akon and disco legends The Village People. The centre is also home to Medicine Hat’s museum and archives, providing a wealth of information about the city’s past and present.