Cold Lake Travel Guide

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Dog in the hills of cold lake south

Dog in the hills of cold lake south

Kaylee S.

  Cold Lake is a steadily growing city with a population constantly in flux; a good portion is made up of members of the Canadian Armed Forces due to the proximity of Canada's largest air base, 4 Wing.  There are also a large contingent of employees at Alberta oilwells in the area who constantly move in and out.  This summer will see the Cold Lake International Air Show along with the annual Maple Flag, an international exercise that brings airmen from all over the world.

Pride:   What you don't see about Cold Lake       right away is the pride long-term residents have for their little city.  Those who run the city and its businesses are all neighbors and this connection seems to ensure the needs of the city's people are being met - the needs of families in particular.  Cold Lake Libraries, Community Learning, daycare programs and a variety of clubs pull together to make Cold Lake a great place to raise children.

Recreation:   Ski-dooing and Quading are huge here, and Kinosoo Ridge Ski Resort boasts some truly picturesque runs.  The Base has a high class recreation facility called the JJ Parr Centre that allows service people and civilians alike access to their gyms, pool, rinks and instruction.  Fishing is another fun activity if you have a boat, and Cold Lake Provincial Park provides beautiful trails and campgrounds as well as an ampitheatre for tree canopied events.  

The movie theatre usually has five movies going at once.  The video stores are plentiful and many carry a good selection.  Internet cafes like The Bear Ridge in Cold Lake North and Beantrees in Cold Lake South are ambiant and comfortable.  Interesting places to eat include the Hoof and Anchor and Clark's right on Lakeshore Drive with a view of one of Canada's largest freshwater lakes, the town's namesake, Cold Lake.  Maybe you'll catch a glimpse of the famous Kinosoo Beast, reputed to be a gigantic fish creature able to swallow whole fishing boats.  

The night life here is something else.  Country two-steppers share the dancefloor with Britney-bopping teens and metal-heads, weekly cheap booze nights run as low as 50 cents a highball and the whole bar crowd seems to drift simulataneously from one venue to the next.  Unfortunately, as there isn't the selection of activities you'd find in a larger city to keep young people entertained there is a sad tradition here of early pregnancies, tattoos and body modification as entertainment, alcoholism and drug use that rarely gets spoken about.  Rumour milling is another popular activity, so watch what you say to whom.  On the other hand, it can be fun to run into friends everywhere, unlike a large city.  Cold Lake is a unique experience;  like other experiences, it's all about personal perspective.

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