"This thriving city home to 65,000-150,000 people (depending on who/how you count [Census Data Here]), is nestled on the confluence of two rivers:
The mighty Athabasca springs up in Jasper National Park and flows north (eventually) into the Arctic Ocean. Joining it behind our beloved MacDonald Island Park, the (National Heritage) Clearwater River has its origins in Saskatewan.
From modest beginnings over a hundred years ago, the town is fast assuming a metropolitan feel, as the array of services begins to diversify away from Oil-intensive industry.
That is not to say that oil extraction is not still expanding apace, but that with increased residential capacity, non-oil businesses are growing in number daily as the fight for labour becomes slightly less intense.
When I leave town and come back I am always shocked by the energy the place has; everyone has somewhere to go and something to do; the active community is tight and well networked.
This is a place where risk-takers come (costs of living are relatively high), and are for a large part successful in their goals. Fort McMurray, seems to give back what you put into it, more than most cities.
It is important to arrive with a significant float (I arrived with $20 but was lucky), as often managers of businesses without HR departments are too busy with the thriving economy to take the time to hire new employees. They need you, but they are just too busy to hire you.
Due to significant (per capita Canada record-breaking) donations from wealthy corporations and individuals (through say, the United way), residents are blessed with an enormous array of opportunities to participate in sports and activities throughout the community.
Macdonald Island Park, Western Canada’s largest recreation centre (phase I completed 2009; and still growing) has fast become the epicentre of this type of activity. It is impossible to swim in the Olympic pool, or go curling, take the kids to Hockey or the library without meeting several people you know.
Thousands go dirtbiking, quadding or sledding depending on the time of year; taking advantage of miles of well maintained/used trails through the boreal forest. In the summer, I kayak some of the smaller rivers, and play one of Alberta’s nicest golf courses. Fort McMurray is the home to the Oils Barons (AJHL) and the future home of professional sports teams.
If you don’t like the line-up at Tim Hortons, go to Wendy’s.
Welcome to Fort McMurray."
-Tom Albrecht, Wood Buffalo (WBUFF) Resident and RE/MAX® REALTOR®