Along highway 14, just over 60 km southeast of Edmonton, is the tiny town of Tofield, Alberta. Here, the locals are friendly and eager to show travelers around their scenic community.
Tofield History Museum
5020 48th Avenue (780-662-3269, town of Tofield, AB)
This stop along the highway is great for curious kids and those wanting an up close and personal look at birds (the town is known as the “Bird Capital of Alberta”). It’s also the home of the Beaverhill Lake Nature Centre, a birder’s heaven.
Call ahead to make sure a guide is available, who will take visitors out into the marsh behind the building. Adults can identify the over 270 bird species in the area around Beaver Lake, while kids can book hands-on activities to do in the marsh.
Honey Bees on a Honey Farm
Verry Berry Honey, 19225 TWP 504 (780-662-3577)
Seeing honey bees is all well and dandy, but the benefit of making the trek to a rural honey farm is to taste what they produce. Sam and Sandra Thiessen have got a sweet thing going on in Tofield.
Flavored honey- think cranberry, blueberry, cinnamon, key lime, orange fudge, peppermint and tangerine- are drool-worthy (personally tested, ahem). Best of all, they are 100% natural and:
Contain no artificial additives
Are 25% sweeter than table sugar
Contain vitamins and antioxidants
Don’t contain fat, cholesterol or sodium
Are ultra smooth
A Train Hotel and Railroad Caboose
Footloose Caboose Lodge, 20234 Twp. Road 502 (780-662-2372 or 1-888-308-6776)
Train travel has always been such an important part of Canada’s history. It’s fitting, then, that someone would turn a railroad caboose into a restaurant and accommodation.
There are many such properties throughout North America, but here in small town Tofield, Eva and Ray Loranger are making the idea their own. The dining car serves large portions of favorites like cinnamon banana pancakes, peach crepes, king sized omelettes, beef or pork cutlets and stir-fried chicken breast.
The two railroad cabooses are old CN and BC Rail cars, decked out in some pretty funky interiors. The furnishings are pretty luxurious for a train, but unconventional touches like a clamshell bathtub and a tree branch-as-curtain-holder make the accommodation completely endearing.
Elk Island National Park of Canada
Site 4, RR 1, Fort Saskatchewan (780-992-2950)
Hopping up to highway 16 is Elk Island National Park, just northwest of Tofield. Covering 194 square km (76 square mi), it’s almost guaranteed travelers will see wild bison, moose, deer, elk and over 250 bird species.
Bison Loop Road takes visitors through a plains bison habitat (in the Fall, sometimes herds of up to 200 gather). There are also scenic viewpoints, hiking trails, cross country skiing in the winter, golfing, camping, boating and cycling options (swimming not recommended).
Plan a Trip to Alberta, Canada
For all the nitty gritty travel details, the folks at Travel Alberta (1-800-ALBERTA) can help out.