For the past 9 months, Red Deer (or Rouge Deer, as we like to call it), has been our place of residence.
We have done our best to try to embrace what Rouge Deer offers, and although we may not have discovered all of its gems yet, here are our favorite places & aspects of this rural city of Central Alberta.
We will begin with what we consider the gem of The Deer: Dose Coffee Company. Dose has been Brendon’s haven and saving grace amidst his year of thesis writing. They alternate between serving Transcend and Phil & Sebastian coffees, and sell beans from a few reputable roasters. The owners, Roland and Alison, are great people whom we have really enjoyed getting to know.
What we would have done without Dose this year, I have no idea. I personally enjoy the Dulce’s, and they also have a nice selection of teas. Recently, Brendon began working Fridays at Dose and was featured in an article in the Red Deer Advocate earlier in May.
Auckland has its iconic Sky Tower, but towering above Red Deer’s skyline is this distinguished water tower. Painted an attractive seafoam green, isn’t it a beauty? Seeing this majestic structure peeking out from over the treeline brings me just a little bit of joy, every time.
Red Deer’s historic downtown quarters have quite a charm to them. The city has done a nice job preserving the historic aspects of buildings, and numerous statues and murals give glimpses of days passed.
The Dented Can is one shop that you must check out when wandering the downtown, especially if you are into antique/vintage wares.
We initially over-looked what enjoyment we would get from this mounted radio/cassette player upon first moving into our little apartment. Listening to the “Strombo Show” on CBC Radio 2 has become a favorite Sunday evening past-time. “The Signal” with Lori Brown at 10pm is another favourite.
The river valley trails in Red Deer are excellent. I feel fortunate to live very close to them, and utilize them frequently.
For fitness, I tend to do more interval-based training these days, rather than long distance running. This painted concrete pad looking over the river is a great little spot to get a bit of a workout in. I especially enjoy that it gets great late-afternoon sun.
So far, I have located one set of stairs next to the river valley which I have also enjoyed utilizing as part of my fitness regime. It recently became “closed for construction,” though, so if anyone else knows of another (perhaps longer) set of stairs within the city, I would love to hear about its whereabouts.
Galbraith Park. Just a block from our place, this is a nice spot to take an afternoon nap on a blanket, play some catch, do some wildlife watching, or just close your eyes and imagine you are on a beach (while ignoring the sound of the obnoxious motorcycles and trucks roaring by). Just last week, we spotted this young deer meandering through the park.
From May to October, Red Deer runs a pretty substantial farmer’s market- probably the most eclectic one we’ve seen.
A wide mix of produce, craft, packaged product, and antiques… you never quite know what kind of gems you will find.
To quote our friend Matthew Cairns, “The Red Deer Farmers Market is a great to place to go if you need: a new bag for your vacuum, hemp jewellery, Titanic on VHS, and sausage.” Truth you speak, Matthew.
The RD Farmers Market has grown to be quite immense in size, and is very well attended by central Alberta folk. Strolling this vibrant, diverse market is a truly lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.
Food Truck Fridays start up again in the summer, with a gathering of the local food vendors in the city’s central quarters. You can also find the food trucks at the Farmers Market on Saturday. Chedda’ Heads and The Stache are two of Red Deer’s most popular food trucks.
Bower Ponds is a lovely place for an afternoon promenade (or a skate in the wintertime).
We haven’t dined out a ton in Red Deer, but some local restaurants we have tried out and would like to recommend Addy’s (run by a sweet family from Syria, serving Middle Eastern cuisine), Reuon Thai, and Blue Dragon Thai & Cambodian.
Sylvan Star Cheese, a local cheese-making company from the heart of Alberta. We highly recommend the Old Grizzly. Available at many grocery stores around the city, or a trip out to the Sylvan Star Cheese Shop out in Sylvan Lake can be a nice excursion.
Did we mention that Red Deer has a couple of pretty great thrift (op) shops? Red Deer is well known for having one the best Value Villages around, but my personal favourite is the Bible For Missions Thrift Shop. BFM’s prices are quite a bit more reasonable than VV’s, and it is run entirely by volunteer. We have to admit, we have found some real steals there.
Our Red Deer Family. It’s been wonderful having Brendon’s sister, Nicole, and her family here in Red Deer. We have so loved being able to be there for our niece and nephews’ birthday parties, hockey games, and holidays… something that feels a bit novel after having been away for so long.
We have also shared some great times with the lovely Schultz’s, who have been good friends of ours for a long time.
Yep, so that’s pretty much The Deer… as experienced through our eyes.
We recognize that there are probably many other fantastic things in Red Deer aside from what we mentioned, but we wanted to moreso give you a glimpse of the Red Deer we have experienced over the past year.
Red Deer friends (who probably know the city MUCH better than we do), feel free to contribute your favourite spots and recommendations that we may have missed in our post.