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The Catholic Mission: The South of the North Pioneers
Heritage Park
Fort McMurray , Alberta

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   For the past century, Fort
McMurray has been a dynamic
community. Starting out as a
stop-over in the Athabasca
riverway and growing into the
flourishing region it is now,
the city has experienced
significant change. The
Catholic Church played an
important role in this

development, bringing a
number of brave individuals
to this frontier community,
from the clergy who risked
their lives traveling to
northern Missions to the nuns
who saved lives in surgery,
from the lay brothers who
constructed schools and
hospitals to the young women

who journeyed north as
teachers and nurses. These
individuals' personalities
and dedication shed light on
the history of Fort McMurray
and the Old Catholic Mission
that served it.
   Since the Mission's
opening in 1914, the Catholic
community provided services

that eased the town's growing
pains. The priests and
brothers played important
roles in the community,
bridging divides between
European-descended settlers
and Aboriginal inhabitants,
easing social transitions,
and otherwise aiding a
rapidly changing community.

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