St Albert was founded in 1861, which makes it the oldest community in Alberta. Father Lacombe, a Oblate priest brought his Metis parishioners here, to settle, on the advice of the 7th Earl of Southesk. These people were descendants of marriages of Cree, Ojibway, Algonquin, Saulteaux and Menominee aboriginals to Europeans, and are one of three recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada, along with the First Nations (Indians) and Inuit (Eskimo).
Father Lacombe named the community in honor of his chosen saint, St. Albert. Based on the Quebec method of allotting land he divided the area into river lots. Long tracts of farming land, fanning out from the Sturgeon River. Today there is only one original river lot remaining. It's now a nature reserve and cross country ski area.
Last Sunday, on a lovely sunny day, we went there for a walk. It's about 10 mins from our house. Although we have skied there often, we didn't walk there because you are not supposed to take dogs into the reserve and we never went for a walk without dear Cleo so this area was out of bounds.
The natural area we live in is not true prairie, although it is fairly flat, its actually called parkland and the photos of the riverlot show what is very typical scenery around here. It's a mix of aspen forests, grassslands and scrublands. The land to the east and south of Edmonton is prairie and further north is boreal forest.