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Red Deer is ready to host out-of-towners while helping its citizens beat the heat.
"We're ready for business, businesses have been ready for a long time," said Rene Rondeau, executive director of Tourism Red Deer.
"There's so many things that are vibrant in this community, in this area, in this region, that those in Edmonton and those in Calgary may not have experienced in a long time or at all."
Rondeau is hoping Albertans can see beyond Gasoline Alley and consider a hotel stay in Red Deer this summer, as the city's hospitality industry has suffered significantly over the past 16 months.
Tourism Red Deer's hospitality partners recognize that Albertans are in a time of transition after living under pandemic restrictions for so long, so they've been working to make places such as restaurants feel safe for visitors, said Rondeau.
Safety is also top-of-mind for city-run facilities, said Red Deer recreation superintendent Barb McKee.
Anyone visiting Red Deer should consider going to indoor places during non-peak times, while taking advantage of the city's vast park and trail system, said McKee.
"We just have unlimited opportunity outside for play," she said.
Meanwhile, there is plenty of opportunity to beat the summer heat in Red Deer. The city's free public water park, Discovery Canyon, reopened July 1 after being closed last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its waterfall and lazy river are now running again.
There are also the outdoor splash park and paddle boats at Bower Ponds.
Each option has been enthusiastically used this month as central Albertans seek out summer fun, said McKee.
"Those things that are heavily invested in and supported through taxpayers are just really what make quality of life in Red Deer what it is," she said.
"It's a great community with so many things to do."
She noted that, due to capacity limits, people may need patience or planning before entering city recreation facilities, she said.