RED DEER, Alta. — A popular travel website could help put the central Alberta city of Red Deer on the map.
Expedia has named it one of the most breathtaking spots in North America, up there with Old Montreal and Niagara Falls.
The website recently published its top 34 picks for the designation, and while many might be expected — Banff, Alta., Mexico City and Lafayette, La. — more than a few might be a surprise.
Coronach, Sask., made the list for its "sense of the Wild West;" La Ronge, Sask., was lauded for its views of the night skies and Northern Lights; while Peterborough, Ont., got the nod for its Lock 21 restaurant, located underneath the world’s tallest hydraulic lift lock, which takes boats out of the water.
Expedia lauded Red Deer for its lively downtown area and its access to the outdoors, including Maskepetoon Park and Bower Ponds, a serenity garden and natural amphitheatre.
The list also ranks it ahead of Havana, Cuba, and Tulum, Mexico.
“The walking paths, and biking paths, the river valley, there’s a lot to enjoy,” said resident Joe Rioux of Red Deer's charms.
Debbie Olsen of Tourism Red Deer said she believes her community is "one of those best-kept secrets."
“There are places in the park system where you feel like you’re in the foothills, you wouldn’t even guess that you’re in the middle of the city,” said Olsen.
She said the ever-growing, changing and connecting trails in the city are thanks in part to the population of young families.
"We have a lot of people that want to be active, and want to be outdoors. And that has led to the continued development of this amazing park system and all of the recreational opportunities that we have.”
The Canadian Press