Resource riches, an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit, innovative research, major industry-leading employers, and a rapidly growing population help drive the County of Grande Prairie’s thriving economic growth. With the largest city in Northern Alberta, Grande Prairie’s full-service shopping, restaurant and cultural offerings draw regular shoppers and visitors from as far away as B.C., the Yukon, and Northwest Territories.
Within the city of Grande Prairie, consumer spending is highest in grocery and pharmacy; coffee, café, and fast food; full-service restaurants; and professional and financial services. Retail spending in Alberta has risen significantly between 2013 and 2014, at 6.5% to just over $6.4 billion. While some of this growth is due to inflation, higher wages and greater job opportunities have contributed to a notable rise in consumer confidence in the province
Baby boomers spend the most in nearly all retail categories within Grande Prairie, spending less only on entertainment, fitness and day spa, pet supplies and services, specialty retail, and sporting goods. The younger age cohorts (18-34 years, and 35-54 years) would like to see more offerings to increase spending.
A World-class Dinosaur Museum
The County of Grande Prairie’s Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is a world-class facility that is a popular regional attraction highlighting palaeontological history. Named after Canada’s leading Paleontologist, Dr. Philip Currie, this regional amenity honours Dr. Currie’s lifelong commitment to the discovery and study of paleo-heritage.
An accidental discovery in 1974 while on a walk along the riverbed, local schoolteacher Al Lakusta found some bones along the Pipestone Creek. This bone bed was found to have thousands of fossils and has led to years of research and archaeological digging to discover a site which is now known as The River of Death.
The Wembley area boasts one of the densest bone-bed sites in the world, that include hadrosaurs (duck billed dinosaurs), tyrannosaurs (predatory dinosaurs), nodosaurs (armoured dinosaurs), plesiosaurs (marine reptiles) and pterosaurs (flying reptiles), to name a few.
The bonebed has garnered the attention of Canadian actor Dan Aykroyd, who assisted with a number of fundraising events including Harley Davidson bike rides and annual balls which saw additional celebrities and notables such as Dan Aykroyds wife Donna Dixon, Lorne Michaels, Mathew Gray Gubler, Patricia Cornwall, Dr. Philip J. Currie, and Dr. Eva Kopplehus.
To show appreciation of support, the museum’s theatre was aptly named the Aykroyd Family Theatre and in partnership with the National Geographic Society is the only theatre in Canada licensed to show National Geographic films.
The opening of the 34.5 million dollar Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in 2015, was recognized as one of the top museum openings worldwide by Conde Nast Traveler. This distinction placed the museum in the company of other famous institutions such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern art and the Tate Modern in London, United Kingdom.
This merit was the gateway for the museum to win other prestigious national and international awards for innovation, design, and outstanding exhibit experience. Distinguishing awards include the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Canadian Museums Association.
In addition to the museum honours, there were multiple awards for the design and architecture of the building. Designed by Teeple Architects, Arndt Tkalcic Bengert (ATB), Fast and Epp, and Reitch and Petch Design, the structure has won the 2016 Prairie Wood Design Award – Award of Excellence and the 2015 Wood Works! Alberta – Engineer Wood Advocate Award to name two. The new technology and design have led to the building being featured in several architectural/design magazines including AZURE, NUVO and MUSE.
It is easy to see how the museum has garnered several awards and articles when you first set eyes of the triangulated structure, with the geometrically complex roof and exposed timber skeleton. Elaborate custom connections constructed of beetle-kill pine timber show off the innovative appearance while connecting the barn-like post and beam structure together. The features were designed to be a metaphoric reference to the dinosaur bones that populate the museum. Other features of this 29,200 square foot building include an extensive gallery, the 60 seat Aykroyd Family Theatre, research and collection areas, an open and bright restaurant, giftshop, an outdoor discovery fossil walk and a large outdoor playground.
The Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum continues to bring awareness and accessibility of the work of dinosaurs through educational programming, summer bone bed tours, helicopter tours, distance education and lecture series. It is also an international institute for experiential learning and a state-of-the-art lab for paleontology research.
We invite you to check out everything the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum has to offer.
Top Retail Categories in Demand By Shoppers:
Source: Environics Analytics 2013 and Cushing Terrell
Canamex Trade Corridor
Average Houshold Income:
Source: Environics Analytics 2013 and Cushing Terrell
The County of Grande Prairie Retail Market Analysis Summary
The County of Grande Prairie commissioned Cushing Terrell Architecture Inc. December 2014 to conduct a Retail Market Analysis for the County’s retail sector. Download the PDF for more details about the commercial opportunities in the County of Grande Prairie.
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Questions? Want to learn more?
Contact us using the form below to arrange a customized information package about our exciting and vibrant region. Or, call the County of Grande Prairie’s Economic Development Officer Chris King directly at 780-532-9722