Medicine Hat is a city of 63,000 people (2016) in the Southern Alberta region of Alberta.
It's also known as the Gas City thanks to its vast reserves of natural gas. Rudyard Kipling famously described it as the city with "all hell for a basement".
Medicine Hat isn't a large metropolis, and downtown Medicine Hat does not offer megastores with an excellent variety at excellent prices. However, you'll find it to be funky, hip and small-town sincere.
The city's name comes from the word Saamis, which is a native word that means Medicine Man's Hat. According to the 1983 centennial song "Hats Off to 100 Years!":
- In eighteen-eighty-three, the Blackfoot fought the Cree
- in a battle raging on near the South Saskatchewan.
- In a ritual of defeat, the Medicine Man fell to the ground
- and laid his feathered headdress down as a legend for our town.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Medicine Hat experiences a semi-arid climate, and is one of the driest cities in Canada. Due to the aridity, it is also one of the sunniest in Canada, with an average of over 2,500 sunshine hours annually. Winters (November through March) are long and cold, but snowfall is low compared to the rest of Canada. Conditions usually alternate between mild and windy, due to chinook winds, and positively frigid temperatures frequently accompanied by clear blue skies and light winds. Spring (April and May) is short, variable and relatively wet. Snow often occurs in April, and is not unheard of even in late May. Summer (June through August) is typically hot and dry, often without a single cloud in the sky. However, thunderstorms often interrupt the bright, sunny weather late in the afternoon, and there are always a few days (particularly in June) with heavily overcast skies in which the temperature only reaches the mid teens °Celsius. Autumn (September and October) is short and generally mild, though September can bring scorching temperatures in the mid 30s °Celsius, and snow in October is usual. The season typically brings sunny and warm to cool days and cool, sometimes cold nights.
- 1 Medicine Hat Airport (YXH IATA), ☏ +1 403-502-8558, email@example.com. Flights to Medicine Hat from Calgary. Given the time that it takes to transfer within the airport, check in luggage and board (plus the inevitable delays that often accompany small planes), voyagers are almost always better off going by car, bus or shuttle.
- Westjet, toll-free: +1-877-952-0100. Canada's second largest airline services with hubs in Calgary and Toronto. It operates across Canada and services international destinations.
You'll probably arrive in Medicine Hat on Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway), which is the principal highway crossing Canada. If you're travelling across Canada by car, you're almost certain to pass through this city.
- Prairie Sprinter, ☏ +1 403-487-1312, toll-free: +1-877-333-3238, firstname.lastname@example.org. Shuttle service to Medicine Hat from Calgary, providing pick-up and drop-off at any address in Medicine Hat, and pick up and drop at multiple locations in Calgary. Travel time to Medicine Hat from Calgary is up to 45 minutes to pick up, plus 3 hours travel between the cities, plus 45 minutes to drop off.
- Rider Express. Once weekly from Calgary (via Fort Macleod and Lethbridge) or from Regina (via Moose Jaw and Swift Current.)
Medicine Hat Transit buses run regularly M-F 6:45AM-10:45PM, Sa 6:30AM-10:45PM, and Su 8AM-6:45PM. The routes do change when it is peak and non peak services, and not all buses run during the non peak service. Transit does not provide any services on holidays.
The Medicine Hat Tourism office can be reached at ☏ +1-800-481-2822.
- 1 Saamis Tepee (World's Largest Teepee), Eagle Birth Road. Like many smaller prairie towns, Medicine Hat has a "largest" something. The World's Largest Teepee was constructed for the 1988 Winter Olympic games in Calgary. The city has added original First Nations artwork to the interior panels.
- Downtown Medicine Hat is lit with 277 old-fashioned gas lightsthat burn around the clock.
- 2 Saint Patrick's Church, 238 2 Ave NE. One of the largest continuously-poured concrete structures in the world, and a Heritage Site. It's a good example of "Gothic Revival" architecture
- 3 The Esplanade, 401 1 St SE, ☏ +1 403 502-8777. M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa Su noon-5PM. A large multi-purpose cultural centre in downtown Medicine Hat. The facility features a more than 700 seat performing arts theatre, art gallery, museum, archives, gift shop, and café. Museum admission $7, child (5 and under) free, family (up to 5 people) $20.
- 4 Medalta Potteries (Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District), 713 Medalta Avenue, ☏ +1 403 529-1070, fax: +1 403 580-5868, email@example.com. mid-May to early Sep: Tu-Su 10AM-4PM. A rich abundance of fine clay made Medicine Hat a centre for industrial cermaics. Most of the businesses are gone but the area has been set aside as a historic district. The district features examples of over 20,000 pieces of ceramic and pottery. It offers guided tours, educational and arts programming, as well as experience through collections, exhibits, and interpretation. Adult $14, senior (60+) or youth (6-17) $12, child (5 & under) free, Family (2 adult, 2 children) $36.
- 5 Medicine Hat Chess Club's Giant Chess Set Project (near The Esplanade). The world's largest chess set, it features full-sized three-dimensional pieces. The tallest piece, the king, is 4 ft (1.2 m) tall, and the heaviest piece, the knight, weighs in at approximately 55 lb (25 kg) pounds. Passers-by are free to stop by for a game on this massive chess board.
- 6 Medicine Hat Brewing Company, 1366 Brier Park Dr NW, ☏ +1 403-525-1260, firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the Medicine Hat Brewing Company and learn more about their brewing process and some community history dating back to the early 1900s.
- 7 Medicine Hat Drag Racing Association (Medicine Hat Speedway), Box Springs Road (6 km N of the Trans-Canada Hwy), ☏ +1 403-548-7061. Alberta's only sanctioned National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) track and is a 1/4 mile in length. The seasons typically run from May till September, with events featuring jet and alcohol cars, bracket racing, and the NHRA National open, which attracts approximately 300 cars from all over North America.
- 8 Shannon House (Saamis Memorial Funeral Chapel & Crematorium), 1 Dunmore Road SE. A historical landmark built in 1906 by James Shannon for his wife and nine children. He had purchased the land and a team of horses for $40 in 1895. The family kept the property for three generations, using part of it as a campground in the early 20th century. In 1930, they built the Maple Leaf Motel on the property to generate some income. In 1990 a local family bought the property. With a view toward keeping the prominent property as part of the community, they adapted it as the Saamis Memorial Funeral Chapel & Crematorium.
- 9 Riverside Veterans' Memorial Park (Downtown; across River Road from the South Saskatchewan River and across 6th Avenue from City Hall). Contains the city's Cenotaph, a World War II-era Sherman tank, a brick mural by James Marshall, and two Canadian Pacific Railway locomotives.
- 1 Medicine Hat Tigers, 2802 Box Springs Way NW (Co-op Place), ☏ +1 403-905-0055, +1 403-502-8777, email@example.com. "Hatters" are proud supporters of their local WHL hockey team, the Medicine Hat Tigers. The games are fun and inexpensive, but tickets sell out within days of the season opener. An arena of 4006 seats houses some 3800 season ticket holders, leaving precious few remaining tickets to be snapped up.
- There is a permanent pottery exhibition at the Clay Products Interpretive Centre, which houses the "Great Wall of China" (referring to the ceramic China, as opposed to the country). Medicine Hat was the home of Medalta Pottery and Hycroft China, two of the most important industrial pottery factories in the early 20th century.
- Downtown Walking Tour: Maps for a self-guided walking tour can be found at the Tourism Office for free.
- During the spring/summer time there's always a chance to see many bison mating.
- 2 Medicine Hat Family Leisure Centre, 2000 Division Ave N, ☏ +1 403-502-8566. The Medicine Hat Family Leisure Centre is the largest indoor multi-purpose sports facility in the city. In the north end of the city, the facility includes an Olympic-sized ice rink, 50 m (160 ft) pool, waterslide, diving platforms, kiddies' pool, wave pool, indoor soccer facility, track, and fitness centre.
- There are over 100 km (62 mi) of walking trails in the city. All of the major parks are linked by the extensive trail system.
- 3 Police Point Park, 1001 Police Point Drive NE, ☏ +1 403-529-6225. Police Point Park was an early North-West Mounted Police outpost. It has 300-acre (1.2 km²) and shale paths next to the South Saskatchewan River. It is one of Southern Alberta's well-known birding destinations. The Medicine Hat Interpretive Program building is on-site, to run programs and inform the public about nature around the city.
- 4 Strathcona Island Park, 210 5 Street SE. Strathcona Island Park is along the south bank of the South Saskatchewan River. The park has 5 km (3.1 mi) of walking trails, playgrounds, a water park, ball diamonds, a pavilion centre, washrooms, ice skating, kitchens and fire pits. The park is heavily treed.
- 5 Kin Coulee Park, 104 South Kin Coulee Road SE. Kin Coulee Park is 100-acre (0.4 km²) park along the banks of Seven Persons Creek that is almost entirely manicured. The park features a skateboard park, two ball diamonds, beach volleyball courts, fire pits, a band shell, washrooms, and two playgrounds. It is the venue for the annual Canada Day festival and fireworks.
- 6 Echodale Regional Park, 1001 Echodale Road SW, ☏ +1 403-527-7344. Echodale Regional Park is a 650 km² (251 sq mi) park that has a swimming lake, beach, walking trails, fire pits, canoe rentals, paddle boats, snack bar, washrooms and historic ranch. Site of restored 1887 house, a blacksmith shop and a coal mine.
- 1 Medicine Hat Mall, 3292 Dunmore Rd SE, ☏ +1 403 526-4888, firstname.lastname@example.org. Anchored by The Bay. Also, the Galaxy Cinema and a large food court.
- Sweet Regards, 417 3rd St SE, ☏ +1 403-488-8063. Don't miss a visit to Medicine Hat's only candy store. Nostalgic candy and unique candy all make the stop worthwhile. Sweet Regards is also the Candy Bouquet Franchise for this area. The shelves are full of custom designed and creative candy arrangements.
- There is also a Wal-mart Supercentre, a Canadian Tire, and many independent specialty stores.
- The Cracked Peppercorn, 3216 13 Ave Southeast, ☏ +1 403 526-0829.
Medicine Hat has several dance bars, but certainly not the "megaclubs" you would find in larger cities like Calgary. The dance clubs in town are as follows:
- The Corona - Top 40 and dance music. Popular with younger adults (18-24) as well as adults.
- Liquid Concert Venue & Niteclub, 638-14th Street SW, ☏ +1 403-527-5170. Concert venue, bar, night club. A large club with a great sound & light system.
- Ralph's Texas Bar and Steakhouse - Very large bar with multiple floors, separate pool hall, and restaurant. Country-western, rock, and some Top 40 music.
- Temptation Nightclub (formerly Gringos; Hazzard County Roadhouse) Open Th-Su. Lingerie contest on Th. Featuring the only live Video DJ system in Medicine Hat. DJ-E spins live video mixes all weekend. 1,000 square foot dance floor.
- Whiskey Creek, 937-13th Street SW, ☏ +1 403-528-3140, email@example.com. Closed Sundays & holidays. Daily drink specials, live bands, and comedy from the Laugh Shop every Thursday night. Large dance floor.
There are no hotels in the downtown area: you'll be staying on the outskirts of town.
- Medicine Hat Comfort Inn & Suites, 1799 Trans Canada Way SE, ☏ +1 403 504-1700. Indoor pool, hot-tub, fitness centre, free Internet.
- Medicine Hat Lodge, 1051 Ross Glen Drive SE,, ☏ +1 403 529-2222. Indoor pool and waterslides, hot-tub, casino, spa, lounge, restaurants.
- Home Inn Express Medicine Hat, 20 Strachan Court SE, ☏ +1 403-527-1749, firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers guests a variety of comfortable accommodations, hotel services, hotel packages and a pet- and kid-friendly atmosphere.
- 1 Medicine Hat Visitor Information Centre (Tourism Medicine Hat), 330 Gehring Road SW (alongside the Trans Canada Highway at the Southridge Drive exit), ☏ +1 403-527-6422, toll-free: +1-800-481-2822, email@example.com. Open year-round with free WiFi and small gift shop with locally made products and cold beverages. The staff can help you plan your trip and advise visitors on things to do in the area. Dog run and lots of off-leash areas nearby.
- 2 Medicine Hat Public Library, 414 1 Street SE, ☏ +1 403-502-8525. M W F Sa 10AM-5PM, Tu Th 10AM-8PM.
- Elkwater, inside Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park; 65 km (40 mi) southwest of Medicine Hat on Highway 41
- Dinosaur Provincial Park; 125 km (78 mi) northwest of Medicine Hat on Trans-Canada Highway 1 and Highway 876; hiking and guided tours through fossil beds. The park is designated as a World Heritage Site. Adults $8, children (7-17) $6
|Routes through Medicine Hat|
|Calgary ← Brooks ←||W E||→ Maple Creek → Regina|
|Lethbridge ← Taber ←||W E||→ END|
|Bonnyville ← Oyen ←||N S||→ Cypress Hills → becomes → Havre|