Once upon a time, Big Island, just outside of Edmonton’s city limits, was an immensely popular tourist destination. Now, over a hundred years later, one Edmonton company will start offering trips to this accessible yet remote area. Here’s the rundown.

At the turn of the 20th century, things were looking a little different around the city. The North Saskatchewan River was the primary driver of industry, and tourism usually meant a weekend trip to Calgary or something. So, the 70-acre island, rich in timber, coal and gold, was a proverbial (and literal) goldmine. Timber was especially worthwhile, since it could be floated downstream to a sawmill in Walterdale.

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Well, word of this island spread, and by the late 1900s it was a popular tourist destination. So popular, in fact, that steamboats full of Edmontonians would make trips there weekly for picnics and (early 1900s word coming up) revelries. Unfortunately, a major flood in 1915 and the First World War decimated this type of luxury, and the water access only island has since returned to nature (well, sort of).

But now, one company is offering all sorts of expeditions to the island, from overnight glamping to panning for gold. Urban River Adventures recently announced they got the go-ahead to take people there, starting this summer!

If you want to experience a crazy blast from Edmonton’s past, we recommend checking out all they have to offer! See something you like? Reservations are open as well! Enjoy this new travel option, folks!

Big Island from Urban Rivers Adventures

When: Starting May, 2021
Where: Big Island, Alberta