Reasons to Support the Use of the Wedding Planning Checklist

Weddings of any kind are a momentous occasion. Despite being a union between two people on a single day, the reality is that the entire wedding ceremony takes place over several months and is just the start of a timeless story about joining one family to another.

All the nuances that have fostered a relationship can be wonderfully represented during wedding ceremonies — if planned, prepared, and executed correctly. Thankfully, using a wedding checklist can help separate, reorganize, and sequester many of the last-minute stresses that seem to plague nearly every planning process into easily digestible portions spaced out over a year before the wedding.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty details about the modern aspects of planning a wedding in such an analytical manner, it would be useful to look at the traditional aspects of marriage.

The Traditions of Weddings

From rice showering the newlyweds from above to the glass that breaks below their feet, wedding traditions come in many forms, each one representing a cultural significance.

The African ritual Yorùbá may be one of the most interactive and sobering means of introducing newlyweds to the varying aspects that a life together can bring. Through the ingestion of ‘The Four Flavors’ — spicy, sour, bitter, and sweet — found in cayenne, lemon, vinegar, and honey, the oko ati aya (translation: husband and wife) experience a veritable crash course in the reality of the often-spoken vow of loving someone ‘for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health’.

With the intention of avoiding the grasp of evil spirits that lurk below, the groom in many western societies will often carry his wife ‘across the threshold’ into their home. Luckily for both of them, this ritual is a one-time event!

Jewish weddings culminate in the stomping on glass to remind the newlyweds of the fragility of humans, specifically, the struggles that their people have endured.

The wedding day for those of the Métis culture is no different than that of typical western unities, as the traditional values and notions of love are equally prominent.  It is a joyous occasion in which both parties can revel in their Indigenous ancestry that has lived harmoniously with the wilds of Canada for centuries. Many of these weddings were between two individuals that were a part of Métis heritage already, but an interesting tradition developed during the early seventeenth century between European fur traders and Indigenous Métis women called “marriage à la façon du pays”. In contrast to other Euro-centric ceremonies that sidelined the values of Métis culture, these unions both established the fur trade throughout North America and thoroughly respected the practices of Métis culture. These ideals would, unfortunately, not go unchallenged during the coming 18th and 19th centuries, but they strengthened the natural bond between indigenous cultures instead of creating tension. To this day, the sacred excitement surrounding any form of marriage at Métis Crossing is unlike any other as it keeps centuries-old traditions alive while welcoming newer, progressive ideals to keep with the modern age.

Embrace the Métis Way of Life by Conducting Your Wedding at Métis Crossing

Booking a wedding at Métis Crossing will, above all else, be a celebration of the Métis way of life coupled with the joys of becoming a newly joined couple.

There are several amazing (and practical) aspects that make Métis Crossing the perfect venue for a wedding, but the sheer history of this location draws the attention of anyone interested. The aforementioned men of the European fur trade were deeply, and generally respectfully, involved with the Métis women of the region and created a lasting impact between both societies. In fact, many of the unions formed between First Nations peoples and European fur traders occurred right on the property of Métis Crossing itself.

Put more spiritually, Métis Crossing has acted as an intersection between diverse ancestries that has strengthened relations even through today. Quite impressively, the influence of Métis Crossing has done more than join families — it has helped bring together people of all backgrounds for several centuries, making it a fulfilling and meaningful location to be joined with a significant other even today.

Appropriately, it will be expected that all guests will exhibit the core Métis values of pa iksitii (patience), aanjeurii(tolerance), shaakihiwayhk (love), and kishchitaytamik (respect).

A Wedding Checklist that Spans the Course of a Year

Although the festivities of traditional western weddings are localized to one day, there are plenty of things to take care of before the wedding day arrives. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, the planning of a traditional wedding does not come swiftly. Organizing a large event like this would be impossible without the assistance of a form of planning. For this reason, it is highly suggested to create an extensive checklist that lays out the entirety of how the planning process will progress.

The primary reason behind creating a checklist like this is to simplify a process that can often seem overwhelming. Although it is possible to hire a wedding planner, this is not always a viable option for everyone. By using a sequential checklist method, a lot of pressure can be taken off the families involved and can be spread out over the course of a year instead. This also has the added benefit of focusing on just a few major decisions at a time instead of trying to make several at once in rapid succession without any guidance.

Below, the finer details of each of the three main periods — a year to 8 months, the halfway point, and the final stages — are laid out. 

Let the Games Begin!

Between a year and 8 months before the wedding, there are plenty of important decisions to be made. A year prior to the wedding is the best time to firmly outline a budget and draw up a guest list — this could take some time but should be a good first step.

At the eleven- and ten-month marks, the theme/design, venue, and caterer can be chosen, the wedding dress can be bought, and guest accommodations can be made. Around nine months before the wedding, the wedding website can be made along with engagement photos being shot and ‘save the date’ invites being sent.

As we can see, within just the first four months, a large chunk of the work has already been finished with plenty of time to spare.

You’ve Nearly Reached the Halfway Mark

The halfway mark (between 8 months and 4 months prior) starts to ramp up what events need to unfold. The eight- and seven-month marks will include gift registrations and meetings with florists. Bridesmaids’ dresses and fittings will also be chosen and performed around 7 months out while the rehearsal dinner is booked shortly after.

The sixth-month mark before the wedding should be focused on hiring musicians and lighting crews, ordering rental items (chairs, linens, draping, lounge furniture, etc.), and hiring an officiant.

As the fifth-month approaches, it’s time for reservation of the newlywed/guest transportation if necessary, booking the honeymoon, buying, or renting the groom’s tuxedo, and finally, arranging for premarital counseling. With all this done, the last leg has been reached and there are just a few loose ends left to tie up. The stress may not be fully gone, yet without a plan such as this, there is no telling what would be popping up at this point.

You’re Almost There

Finally, the four months leading up to the wedding will be the busiest, involving a wide arrangement of tasks. With four months remaining, the final tastings with the caterer should be completed, the cake should be chosen, wedding bands purchased, groomsmen’s attire chosen and fitted, and all hair and makeup choices should be trialed.

At the three-month mark, the invitations need to be generated, the menu should be established, ideas for guest favors/gift bags outlined, the photo booth should be rented, vows written, ceremonial readings selected, officiant chosen (along with inviting them to the rehearsal dinner), and DIY items for tables crafted. Several ideas for these crafts can be found through the Métis Crossing traditional workshop.

During the penultimate month, wedding invitations should be sent (RSVPs received a month before), rehearsal invitations sent, dresses fitted, application for a marriage license filled out, wedding party gifts bought, a floral mock-up has been tested with the florist, and song selections should be provided to the band and/or DJ.

In the final month before the wedding, gift bags need to be assembled, vendors should be fully paid, seating charts finalized, an order for escort cards has been made, a final venue walkthrough should be done, and the planner tipped.

Final Thoughts

Though the world grows increasingly complex with each passing year, the simplicity of a wedding checklist like this can negate any worries about your special day. Not every section will be as straightforward as it has been laid out here, however, the process will progress much more smoothly with a developed plan. The ways of the Métis — held close to the heart at Métis Crossing — will surely help newlyweds align their thoughts as they begin this journey together.

A wedding of any caliber is one of the most intimate and intricate human experiences that someone can attain. At Métis Crossing, a site that offers history and modernity together, the core values of pa iksitii, aanjeurii,shaakihiwayhk, kishchitaytamik, and kwayesh chi totamik (patience, tolerance, love, respect, and honesty) prove that the foundation of any positive relationship is built upon four pillars — love, respect, sacrifice, and equality.

The Wedding Day is Drawing Closer

Métis words of wisdom and core values: love (shaakihiwayhk) – An open loving heart is highly valued in the traditional Métis way of life. Developing unconditional love for yourself, your family, community, nation, and for all of creation is important in order to create a healthy Métis community. Serving as role models and teachers, elders teach their grandchildrenhow to live in a loving way. The grandchildren will then know who they are and where they come from. Plan your wedding with love in your heart!


The To-Do List: 4 Months to the Wedding Day

You’re almost there! This journey can be both exciting and exhausting, which can result in you and your loved ones finding yourselves at odds with one another. It is a time that can reveal the true nature of those around you and stresses the importance of expressing feelings in a positive manner. Take this opportunity to show your gratitude for one another.


4 Months Out

Have Your Final Tasting with the Caterer

The final tasting provides you and your caterer with a final thumbs-up. This is especially important when you have culinary delights that are brought to life with locally sourced ingredients — a staple in Chef Brad Lazarenko’s kitchen.


Choose Your Cake

Sign me up! We’re sure that most individuals won’t have to be reminded to carry out this important task, however, for those without a sweet tooth, do consider the cake connoisseurs who will attend the wedding.


Buy Wedding Bands

You have now reached the stage where wedding bands should be selected. This is one of the most important purchases that you will make on your wedding planning journey, as the rings are perhaps the only items from your wedding that will be prominently displayed for years to come.


Select the Groomsmen’s Attire and Schedule Fittings Within the Month

Last, but certainly not least, are the fittings for the groomsmen. Similar to the bridesmaids’ dresses, their attire should be fitted within a month from now.


Hair and Makeup Trial

You do not want to see your beautiful white dress elegantly extend from the floor up to an outdated beehive perched atop an unnaturally painted face! We suggest you take this time to perform a hair and makeup test run.

3 Months Out

Order the Invitations and Hire a Calligrapher

The enduring beauty of exquisitely written invitations proves that these two steps are a must.


Create or Plan Your Menu


Wild Game Dinner | Métis Week Menu | Wild Feast (Mé


Brainstorm Guest Favors and Gift Bags

If you’re looking for something truly unique to give to your guests, then you may want to consider the workshops that Métis Crossing offers. The hands-on craft-making experiences are a fun way to show your appreciation.


Book a Photo-Booth Rental

Since its inception, the photo booth has served as a beacon for capturing a moment. As time has progressed, this simple-shaped cubby has become a cultural staple that has provided friends and families with a space to pile on top of one another while making goofy faces, sharing a kiss, or showcasing their pearly whites, forever captured in memorable photos. Let your guests capture the sentiment of your wedding by reserving a booth today.


Write Your Vows

It’s time to write your vows. Thoughts can be sporadic, so this most certainly is a step that should not be left to the last minute.


Select Readings

Readings are passages from books — either religious or not — that are read to your guests during the wedding ceremony. This is an intimate selection that should be carried out with your fiancé to ensure that it represents both of your values.


Meet with the Officiant and Invite them to the Rehearsal Dinner

This is a good time to meet with the officiant to formally introduce yourselves and undergo a practice run before the main event.


Start Crafting Any DIY Items if You Haven’t Already Done So

As mentioned previously, Métis Crossing offers one-of-a-kind workshops that foster its participants’ creative spirits while creating items such as moss bags, trapper hats, and Métis ribbon skirts.


2 Months Out

Send the Wedding Invitations with RSVPs Due One Month Before the Wedding

The doors open, the music is playing, and as you walk down the aisle you realize that something is missing — your guests. Now, while this is an unlikely scenario, you could find that all the allotted seats have not been filled if you wait until the last minute to invite your friends and family.So, send out those wedding invitations in a timely manner.


Send Out Rehearsal-Dinner Invitations — They Can be Included with the Wedding Invitations If You Like

You’ve orchestrated this masterpiece and the rehearsal dinner ensures that everyone is on the same page, but only if you invite them.


First Dress Fitting

That’s correct, the FIRST dress fitting. A wedding dress is often the most talked about topic in any wedding, so you want to make sure that it has been designed and tailored properly, which means multiple fittings will more than likely be necessary.


Apply for and Get Your Marriage License

This is a crucial step in the wedding planning process, as the license provides the officiant with evidence that you are legally permitted to get married.


Buy Wedding-Party Gifts

There is not a pre-set definition of what wedding party gifts should be, so use your imagination.


Do a Floral Mock-Up with Your Florist

The day is here, your dress is elegant, your hair is just right, and your makeup WAS perfect until your mascara began to run down your cheeks while you sneezed from the allergy you didn’t know you had to tulips. If only you had performed a floral mock-up before the actual event. Now is the time.


Give the Song Selections to Your Band, DJ, or Ceremony

If you want to have that moment where you look at your spouse and say “This is our song”, then make sure the music players know what song that is.


1 Month Out

Assemble Gift Bags

Gather your bridesmaids and start assembling, as this, depending on the number of guests that you have, could take a while.


Pay Your Vendors in Full

Paying a deposit without rendering the rest of the payment for vendor supplies and services leaves you in a precarious situation that may result in one or more of them not following through on the big day. The best thing you can do is pay them in full today.


Create a Seating Chart

Creating a seating chart avoids the confusion and awkward moment when your Great Aunt Beth finds out that she is sitting next to her arch-enemy, Phyllis. Don’t do that to them — be prepared!


Order or Make Your Escort Cards and Place Cards

Remember Great Aunt Beth? Ordering or making your escort and place cards now ensures that your seating chart is adhered to.


Have a Final Venue Walk-Through

This is the stage where you confirm that everything meets muster —making any last-minute adjustments as you see fit.


Put Cash in Tip Envelopes for Your Planner/Delegate to Distribute

The image of a bride pulling a wallet out from somewhere inside her dress just doesn’t seem appropriate, so leave the tipping to the planner by providing them with envelopes with varying quantities of cash.


Final Week

The last threads of your wedding plans are coming together, so this the perfect opportunity to either finish your wedding vows or make any last-minute modifications.


Night Before and Day of the Wedding

Okay, now you can start panicking. Wait, no, you’ve got this under control. You followed your wedding plan which has led to these surreal moments — ones that will be filled with joy.


Métis words of wisdom and core values: respect (kishchitaytamik) – respect is integrated into all areas of life. Respect for the creator, mother earth, the living world, and oneself is paramount towards living in a good Métis way. Your wedding is the start of your life as a couple, living with respect for each other and building family values for future generations to follow.

Approaching the Halfway Mark of the Wedding Planning Timeline

Métis words of wisdom and core values: tolerance (aanjeurii) – being non-judgmental of others is highly valued by the Métis community. Learning how to debate and discuss matters with others in a good way is always fun and exciting. Children are encouraged to be critical thinkers and to question the world around them for the betterment of themselves and the rest of the community. Searching out other peoples’ opinions and points of view is a practice encouraged by Métis elders. Learning to agree to disagree is an important Métis tradition.


The To-Do List: 8 Months – 4 Months Before the Wedding Day

Keep calm and stay on top of it! You’re nearly at the halfway point in your wedding planning journey, which may feel like an accomplishment or an undue burden —depending on whether you’re a “glass is half full” or “half empty” kind-of-person, but it’s important to remain calm and remember what this all for.


8 Months Out

Register for Gifts and Meet with Potential Florists

Registering for gifts is easier than it used to be.Many websites offer a gift registry section, and you can provide links to the various sites through your wedding’s dedicated website.


Select the Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Schedule Fittings Within the Month

Now that you have selected your wedding gown, it is time to pick bridesmaids’ dresses that complement its style. Make sure that you schedule the fittings so that they take place within a month from today.


7 Months Out


Wild Game Dinner | Métis Week Menu | Wild Feast (Mé


6 Months out

Hire the Ceremony Musicians and Lighting Technician

These two aspects of the wedding work in tandem with one another; hiring them now is critical to ensuring that their planning is spot-on before the big day.


Order Rental Items (Specialty Chairs, Linens, White Dance Floor, etc.)

At this point, you have already chosen a theme for the wedding, so it’s time to put your interior decorating skills and aspirations to good use.


Hire an Officiant

This one is a no-brainer, however, it is important that you verify your chosen officiant’s license before retaining their services.


5 Months Out

Book the Newlyweds’ Transportation and Transportation for Guests if Needed

Whether it’s a limo, town car, motorcycle, or scooter, make sure that you, your soon to be spouse, and guests exit in the manner that you see fit — the ‘Just Married’ cans are optional!


Book the Honeymoon

A honeymoon is like the mother of all vacations, so plan it accordingly. If you haven’t been fantasizing about this stage since you were six — carefully crafting your itinerary —, then you may want to consider visiting Canada.With its scenic outdoors and bustling cities, there are so many unique options to choose from.


Buy or Rent the Groom’s Tuxedo

Now it’s time for the groom to shine. At this point, you should determine whether you are going to rent or purchase the groom’s tuxedo. Once that decision is made, selecting a design that complements the bride and bridesmaids’ dresses is a must.


Begin Premarital Counseling

Okay, so you’re thinking, “We’re not even married yet, and we already need counseling?” Well … yes. Counseling is a great opportunity to set reasonable expectations of what married life will be like.


Métis words of wisdom and core values: respect (kishchitaytamik) – respect is integrated into all areas of life. Respect for the creator, Mother Earth, the living world, and oneself is paramount towards living in a good Métis way.

Reasons to Support the Use of the Wedding Planning Checklist

Métis words of wisdom and core value: patience (pa iksitii) – taking time to enjoy the processes of life, is a common Métis tradition. Learning to look, listen, and learn is a highly valued skill. Taking the time to think before acting and using prayer before making important decisions is a common aspect of the Métis way. Doing things carefully, mindfully, and purposefully the first time is encouraged. Métis carpenters always said, “measure twice – cut once.”


The To-Do List: 12 Months – 8 Months Before the Wedding Day

Although many engagements can result in varying wedding dates — some may even be the same day as the proposal —, the ideal wedding is one that has been planned far enough in advance that you’re able to make all the preparations without feeling rushed. Proper planning for a successful wedding celebration should begin at least 12 months before the main event.  


12 Months Out

Establish Your Budget and Draw Up a Guest List

Your budget will dictate almost every facet of your planning — from the facility in which your wedding will take place to the bouquet in your hands as you walk down the aisle, so this step is paramount. Once you determine who will be paying for the wedding and the total budget, then you can create a realistic guest list.


Hire a Wedding Planner, Photographer, Band, DJ, and Videographer

It is important that you find and reserve all the professionals that will take part in your wedding, as soon as possible. If your budget allows you to hire a wedding planner, then make it a priority to book their services. Your planner should have experience in locating the other professionals on their list.


11 Months Out

Decide on the Overall Theme

From southern classic to boho-chic, the theme and its accompanying design elements should be outlined before you make any other decisions. This affect everything from your attire to the choice of weddingvenue.


Select the Venue

Speaking of venues, this is obviously an integral component and one that should be researched thoroughly. Designed by Métis Architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge of Manasc Isaac Architects, the new Cultural Gathering Centre at Métis Crossing offers a beautiful “state-of-the-art” facility amidst Alberta’s scenic wilderness.


Select the Caterer

Staying true to its roots while offering first-class catering, Métis Crossing serves up Chef Brad Lazarenko and his staff of indigenous youth. With over 15 years of experience in the field of catering and dining, Brad embraces his Métis background and uses its principles to infuse each of his acclaimed dishes.


10 Months Out

Buy Your Wedding Dress

Although a wedding signifies the unity of two individuals, the bride’s wedding dress seems to garner most of the attention. This is a good time to either pick one off the rack or have one custom made.


Book Accommodations for Your Guests

Métis Crossing currently offers and is constructing a wide range of accommodation options for your guests, from eco-friendly glass pods to the cozy atmosphere of a traditional lodge.


9 Months Out

Create a Wedding Website

There is a bevy of websites that are dedicated to providing everything you need to share your wedding details with friends and family.


Take Engagement Photos

Now is the time to take the picture that will reside on the refrigerator doors of your family friends!


Send Your ‘Save the Date’ Invites

Phew, you’re a third of the way to your goal — the wedding aisle!


Keep calm and stay on top of things. Follow these Métis words of wisdom and core values: respect (kishchitaytamik) – respect is integrated into all areas of life. Respect for the creator, Mother Earth, the living world, and oneself is paramount towards living in a good Métis way.

The Greatest Northern Alberta Outdoor Camping Adventure Activities

Northern Alberta is a camper’s paradise. With lofty peaks to hike, deep waters to swim and paddle, as well as plenty of woodlands to set up your camp, Northern Alberta is a fantastic place to visit for both groups and solo campers.


North Alberta – A Family-Friendly Vacation Region

Camping is a great vacation option for families of all sizes and ages. With dozens of options for activities, experiences, and relaxation, camping can lead to lifelong memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.


Take a break from modern life through a relaxing stay in beautiful Northern Alberta. Surround yourself with natural wonder and indulge in the enriching lifestyle of the Métis people as you take part in traditional activities that rekindle your connection to our environment.


Spring &Summer Family Activities

Summer is a vibrant and energetic time at Métis Crossing for families. With tons of activities for young and old, we host events that help families bond through traditional First Nations experiences. One of our most popular events is our Métis Archery Program, where actual Métis grandparents teach the way of the land and survival techniques in a combination of hunting, foraging, and cooking.


Fall &Winter Family Activities

With a proud background in Hivernant living, there’s no better place to stay in fall and winter than Métis Crossing. With a culture of log cabins, fur clothing, and season-appropriate entertainment, families can enjoy fun days outdoors, no matter the weather. Colder season events include tobogganing, ice skating, story time around the fire, snowshoeing, and even seasonal food at the Métis Crossing Bistro.


Solo Summer Adventures

With woodland canopies and lakes to cool down in, summer in Alberta is a match made in heaven. Solo adventurers can pitch their tents wherever their heart desires in a variety of stunning locations with plenty of opportunities for hiking, canoeing, and fishing.

Winter Adventures You Can Enjoy Alone

There’s no place to experience winter quite like Alberta. With an idyllic landscape for snowfall, there are plenty of seasonal activities for solo explorers to enjoy. Whether it’s the Great White North Pumpkin Fair in October or dog sledding at Seppala Siberian Tours, there’s a lot to discover.


Paddling into Métis Heritage

Birchbark canoes have become a symbol of Métis heritage and cultural preservation. Canoes have been a vital part of transport and travel for Indigenous communities for thousands of years. Métis canoes are remarkable for their sole use of organic materials, with no extra help from nails or tools. Learn how these boats are intricately made by expert craftspeople using raw materials such as spruce roots and birchbark.Learn how the birchbark canoe passed on to French-Europeans at the start of Métis culture.


Download Your Official Alberta Travel Planner

Are you looking for a quick and simple way to discover the absolute best that Alberta has to offer? Download your free copy of the official Alberta travel planner. The planner is the perfect tool for pinpointing the best tourist locations and offers everything you need to create your preferred style of exploration and adventure.

Reconnect to Heritage, Traditions, and Each Other

Technology can distract us from the relationships and connections that matter to us as humans. We believe strongly in the tenets passed down in Métis culture — and we know first-hand how camping can reset our perspective to the people around us. Métis Crossing is the ideal location to socialize with others, strengthen existing relationships, and even build new kinships. Whether it’s friends, families, or fellow campers, there are plenty of opportunities to reconnect through shared experiences and activities.


Even the smell of crackling firewood can conjure up feelings of spirituality, tranquility, and relaxation. We believe that it is important to facilitate a place where people can reconnect with the natural world and re-learn how to live harmoniously with nature. Visitors will discover the advantages of ancestral knowledge and a respectful approach to modern living.


Passing Down Knowledge to Younger Generations

Storytelling and generational knowledge is an important part of First Nations culture. We think it’s just as important to pass on traditions to those outside our culture as it is to those within. Non-Indigenous people can explore this unique relationship between elders and younger generations through many on-site activities, whether it’s through campfire stories, hands-on traditions, or ancestral knowledge.


Listen and Discover the MichifLanguage

Michif is a language that is spoken exclusively by Métis that continues to exist among Métis communities. Developed from French nouns and Cree verbs, Michif came into existence through the marriage of French fur traders and First Nations women. Despite emerging in the early 19th century, Michif continues to be a unique language amongst the Indigenous people.


Download and Listen to an mp3 Copy of “Proud to be Métis”

Recording and preserving the Michif language is a key goal of Métis anthropology into the future. You can hear their anthem here. Curious to know more and wondering what it sounds like? You can listen to an example of spoken Michif and learn to count like the Métis.

Attending Traditional Workshops for Hands-On Experiences

At Métis Crossing we have several traditional workshops available all-year-round. Through tactile and first-hand activities, visitors get hands-on experience in a number of different areas. From cuisine to canoeing, campers can enjoy everything including hiking, foraging, and even traditional dancing.


Dancing the Métis Jig

Jigging makes up a significant portion of Métis culture. In the same way that many other Indigenous activities and games require extensive physical fitness, jigging is an energetic form of entertainment and self-expression. Historically, the Métis jig has promoted strength and vitality as well as a sense of community and culture. 


Indigenous Memorable Tourism Experiences in Canada

Métis Crossing is the perfect destination to experience an authentic and memorable Indigenous lifestyle. Whether it’s national or international tourists, families or solo adventurers, people from across the globe can explore Métis Crossing’s preservation of First Nations culture. By taking your first steps into understanding Indigenous tradition, you’ll form memories that will last a lifetime.

Camping – ACultural Experience in Northern Alberta

The Northern Alberta camping terrainis a point of access to some of Canada’s most breathtaking natural treasures. Built on the values of local Indigenous heritage and culture, Métis Crossing offers a camping experience that is truly unmatched.


Discover the lives and ancestry of the Métis people as you step into a world gone by that is made up of time-honored traditions. Learn the values and moral structure of the Métis and come to understand the dynamics of Indigenous society. Through many different activities and events, campers will have the chance to enjoyfirst-hand experience of our customs, cuisine, and music.


Camping is the most effective way to reconnect with nature. The same applies to cultural understanding. Rather than simply read or hear about the experience of Indigenous communities, our camping services give people a tangible way to explore our culture, our traditions, and our way of life, in a way that’s not only entertaining but educational. 


The Heritage Cycle Rediscovered through Camping

Cultural heritage is an important part of the Métis Crossing experience. We invite people both nationally and internationally to come and enjoy the natural and cultural experiencesthat we have to offer.


Our approach to teaching Métis culture stems from the heritage cycle. Focusing on the built environment (tents, homesteads), natural environment (forests, lakes), and artifacts (clothing, instruments, photographs), we provide a window into the past as well as the present.


Visit and Camp at World Heritage Sites in Alberta

Alberta is lucky to be home to several World Heritage Sites. Known for their outstanding natural beauty and historical significance, these sites are valuable places to elevateyour cultural exploration. 


Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

The Rockies host multiple mountain parks that are made up of breathtaking mountain views and stunning craggy peaks. Surrounded by tranquil lakes and lush forests, there are plenty of activities to enjoy.


Dinosaur Provincial Park

Instantly recognizable for its iconic badland geology, Dinosaur Provincial Park has been a discovery site for more than fifty-eight species of dinosaurs.


Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Holding the title for the world’s oldest, largest, and best-preserved buffalo jump, this site is a must-visit destination. Buffalo hunting was and continues to be a vital part of indigenous culture, and this buffalo jump is a testimony to ancient life and Native American society.


Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Featuring the biggest unspoiled collection of natural land in North America, Waterton-Glacier is truly a perfect preservation of the raw landscape and ecology that indigenous cultures have lived in harmony with for thousands of years.


Wood Buffalo National Park

As the largest National Park in Canada (even bigger than Switzerland!), Wood Buffalo attracts millions of visitors seeking a natural and escapist experience in rural Alberta.


Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park

Writing-on-Stone is home to one of the most impressive pieces of indigenous art found anywhere in the world. Dated to time before the introduction of the horse to North America, its collection of aboriginal rock art is truly something to behold.

Why choose road trips as a family excursion?

Have you ever seen those motorcyclists rolling down the road, carefree? Where are they going? Where have they been? They just seem to embody the essence of what it means to be adventurous.

Now, before you break out your leather jacket and head to the Harley Davidson dealer, take a moment to put things into perspective — the potential adventures of a road trip can be enjoyed by anyone, in any vehicle.

Whether you’re a solo traveler, a family, or a group of friends, whisking away for the weekend — or longer — to visit beautiful landscapes and unfamiliar places can be one of the most satisfying experiences. Road trips allow you to skip the lines, crowds, and bossy tour guides, and forge your own path through the stunning wilderness while visiting quaint areas along the way.


Planning your road trips around highways

As the name implies, every road trip begins with choosing the best route, and when traveling through Edmonton, the highway selections are plentiful. With this in mind, let’s look at activities that are dotted along five of Edmonton’s highways. 


  • Highway 14

Home of the world’s largest softball, the town of Chauvin is a must for those looking to cross this sighting off their bucket lists.When you’ve finished snapping pictures of “Suzie” — a big girl with a waist that is 6-feet in diameter, then you can continue the sports theme by catching a local hockey game at Repsol Community Centre.


  • Highway 16

If you like Easter egg hunting, then Vegreville maybe a little town that you should add to your road trip itinerary. Located in Elks/Kinsmen Park, the uniquely designed Pysanka — Ukrainian Easter Egg — was brought to life in 1974 by Paul Maxum Sembaliuk, who used two-dimensional anodized aluminum tiles to create this wonderful piece of art. Now, while it may not be that difficult to find, and most certainly would not fit in a traditional Easter basket, this egg would definitely make the highway 16 route an alluring one.


  • Highway 28

With a name like Town of Smokey Lake, you might expect that the main attraction would be aquatic in nature, however, this town has something more conspicuous to share. Known as the pumpkin capital of Alberta, The Great White North Pumpkin Fair is held every year in October and draws in growers and spectators alike. Perhaps your next road trip will lead you to this event. 


  • Highway 45

Whether or not your road trip takes place in a classic car, you may want to roll on over to the village of Chipman. The Show and Shine event is held annually and features classic vehicles that range from cars and trucks to tractors and buses.


  • Highway 55

Where’s the food? One of the best things a road trip offers is the opportunity to find local fare. Whether you’re looking for a quiet diner or a lively festival, the Athabasca Region serves it up. The month of July sees the Athabasca Regional Airport Fly-In BBQ while August ushers in the Boyle Wildberry Festival and Jamboree.  


Road tripping to destination sites like Métis Crossing

Residing in Canada, Métis Crossing is a huge embankment and river that helped cultivate the vast former indigenous settlement. Founded in the late 1800s by Métis settlers who sought refuge, the flourishing land supplied beautiful wildlife and forestry as well as a proportionately sized natural water source.

Over time, Métis Crossing has become an indigenous cultural staple, boasting the first Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta, thus remaining true to the heritage of the site and bringing a lesser discussed culture to the attention of visitors. Alongside this centre, Métis Crossing offers a getaway experience focused on integrating the extensive history and the arboricultural grounds, to provide both an enjoyable and educational experience that is unparalleled by any comparative road trip destination.


What can Métis crossing offer you and your fellow road trippers?

When road-tripping to Métis Crossing, you’ll find an extensively packed calendar of events throughout the year that range from festivals to experience days — people even hire out specific regions of the venue for events such as weddings and birthdays. The 512-acre site is home to an expansive roster of amenities that are ideal for couples, families, and simply those choosing to travel to Métis Crossing to immerse themselves in the rich cultural history. With an abundance of unusual plants and stunning wild animals, Métis Crossing is an environmentalist’s paradise.

The archery facilities offer plenty of fun that puts your hand-eye coordination to the test. Next, continue your indulgence in nature by strolling down the historic trails and stopping by one of the designated wildlife viewing stations. For those who prefer aquatic outdoor activities, the North Saskatchewan River is a picturesque site that facilitates fishing for visitors — as it did centuries agofor the Métis people. Additionally, there is the opportunity to hire out a boat or canoe and sail down the river.


Adding a bit of structure to your Métis Crossing road trip

Experience days are often categorised by ‘signature experiences’, ‘traditional workshops’ and ‘daily experiences’. The first being an active participant experience, in which guides provide an immersive and informative insight into indigenous culture through an entirely interactive storytelling of the development of the Métis Crossing and the Métis people.

Traditional workshops allow visitors to invest their time in learning more about the relevance of various artistic mediums within the lives of the Métis people. During the winter season, arts and crafts become even more prominent within the events calendar — there are facilities open to budding artists of all skill levels!

However, if arts and crafts don’t pique your interest during the winter months, the tobogganing, skating, and snowshoeing facilities will allow you to experience the Métis wonderland during the height of winter. For those that are summer travelers, the riding experiences will allow you to experience riding through some of the most stunning landscapes in Canada and to truly connect with the Métis people and how they used to navigate the landscape. No matter what season you visit Métis Crossing, there is always a shift in seasonal activities to ensure that your experience is enriching and memorable.

Similar to the events provided by the signature experience, the daily experience is focused on providing a broad array of activities for visitors that are included in the basic admission fee. Whether families want to visit the fantastic displays of art and cultural pieces or dive into an interpretive experience about Métis culture, there is an option available for just about anyone.

Those that have dubbed themselves the indoor type can visit the historic village, which includes the cultural centre, alongside gift shops and other retail stores — translation: you can stay in the warmth whilst still taking advantage of the immense level of culture and history that runs deep through the veins of Métis Crossing!

Places to stay during your road trip

You may be wondering where exactly you can stay in Métis Crossing with it being a historically preserved area.That’swhere the immense size of the grounds comes into play; there is an array of camping sites that facilitate RVs, campervans, and tents.


Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on your next road trip

Since 2006, Métis Crossing has held an annual summer celebration to commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day, with particular emphasis on the Métis people. When this event arrives each year, there is no shortage of activities, food, culture, entertainment, and a lively community of people that all engross themselves in this beautiful celebration of the people that founded the Crossing. 

The event is often started by having visitors sing and dance collectively to traditional Métis music and enjoy the entertainment provided by guest bands and dance entertainers who emulate this style. This is often followed by talent shows, tours, and races, where every visitor can actively participate in what is the biggest calendar event for Métis Crossing.

Alongside the current festivities, many visitors may choose to involve themselves in the intimate and traditional practices of the Métis people by learning how to weave, create beaded jewelry and resistant canoes, and cook bannock over a huge open fire to feed the visitors. For children, there is a live petting zoo with animals that keep them entertained.


Start a tradition of making Métis Crossing an annual road trip destination

When considering your next road trip, consider whether your ideal destination would be a culturally enriched indigenous site that has been preserved to maintain its authenticity. With Métis Crossing priding itself on that very principle, it appeals to a wide range of potential visitors by bringing the story of the Métis people to the forefront.

With the extensive availability of beautiful forestry and the multitude of facilities that provide activities and enjoyment, Métis Crossing can become a staple destination for any groups to enjoy road trips. So, if you ever intend to travel through the beautiful Canadian landscape on a road trip, perhaps you should consider adding Métis Crossing to your itinerary of must-seedestinations.

Discover the Best Birding, Wildlife Viewing, and Hiking Trails just a Stone’s Throw Away from Edmonton

Are you planning a wilderness adventure? Want to trade the hustle and bustle of the city for a secluded hike through some of Canada’s most majestic landscapes? Want to learn more about the indigenous Métis settlers? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s time to engulf yourself with the immense history, culture, wildlife, and outdoor adventures here in Edmonton, Alberta.


Identify plants, animals, and learn how to track animals at MétisCrossing

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

Nestled on 512 acres and bordering the Saskatchewan River Valley, Métis Crossing is a premier visitor attraction. Step into a 19th-century time capsule with Métis Crossing’s “Walk in Our Mocs: Archery Program.” This immersive experience will introduce you to the traditional ways that the Métis identified plant and wildlife species. Authentic, cultural cuisine will also be provided, all while taking in a beautiful riverfront landscape.


Hike and view wildlife in the Elk Island National Park

Time from Edmonton: 40 minutes

Have you ever encountered a wood bison in the wild? Elk Island National Park has one of the only hiking trails that allows you to gaze at nature’s most beautiful animals up close. (Following safety procedures, of course!) With 11 hiking trails in total, you can take a path through boardwalks over wetlands, walk along the beach on Astotin Lake, or venture into the secluded grasslands packed with wildlife. Elk Island can accommodate all levels of experience in its hiking trails, providing enjoyment for the whole family! Dusk and dawn offer the highest level of sightings, allowing you to witness over 250 species of birds, elk, moose, deer, bison, and more!  

Learning about traditional plants and harvesting at Métis Crossing

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

Situatedalongside a glacier-fed river known as the Saskatchewan River Valley, the indigenous Métis settled there in the mid-19th century. Learn how to harvest and identify plant life from the Métis ancestors in Métis Crossing’s “Walk in Our Mocs: Métis Archery Program.”


Join the archery program at MétisCrossing

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

Are you a history buff wanting to dive deep into the culture and traditions of the indigenous Métis settlers? Sign up for Métis Crossing’s “Walk in Our Mocs: Métis Archery Program.” This program will supply visitors with a wealth of knowledge that has been passed down from ancestral generations! Learn the traditional way Métis used a bow and arrow to hunt for food, and at the end of the program, you can enjoy a taste of the past with authentic Métis cuisine.  


Discovery Wildlife Park offers a unique way to experience wildlife

Time from Edmonton: 40 minutes 

Are you searching for a family-fun-packed wildlife attraction? Look no further! At the Discovery Wildlife Park, you can walk with wolves, take pictures with bears, hang out with camels and raccoons, and even feed African cats! Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh yes! Discovery Wildlife Park offers daily passes, yearly packages, and educational school programs. Want to know the coolest part about Discovery Park? They have a campground and cabin rentals offering you insider access to the zoo at night. Talk about a unique experience! 


Birding at Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary as you hike a trail

Time from Edmonton: 40 minutes

Do you wish to escape the busy crowds and reconnect with nature? Perhaps you are a teacher searching for the perfect field trip? Discover Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary’s 348 acres of protected land, wildlife, and bird species that call this sanctuary home. With four hiking trails, spread across marshland, rolling meadows, and the Aspen forest, you can sightmany local bird species. Woodpeckers, birds of prey, jaybirds, crows, pheasants, songbirds, waterfowl, and more can be sighted along these hiking trails! The sanctuary also becomes a popular destination for migrating birds such as the American Tree Sparrow, Long-billed Dowitcher, and Tundra Swan during the fall and spring. Grab your binoculars and get to birding!

Go East of Edmonton and Find New Outdoor Adventures

It doesn’t take long on a highway east from Edmonton to reach your next exciting outdoor adventure destination. Whether you are road-tripping with friends or day-tripping with family, there’s a mid-Alberta activity waiting to be enjoyed during any season. From dog-sledding on the Iron Horse Trail in winter, river kayaking in summer, to a range of year-round activities, luscious scenery and welcoming communities are around every corner. Read on to learn about some great activities on offer.


Skating, Tobogganing, and Snowshoeing at Métis Crossing

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

Métis Crossing hosts “Winter Fun Days,” where you can enjoy a range of family-friendly activities set amidsta natural winter wonderland. Ice skate with views of the North Saskatchewan River, toboggan in the nearby river valley, or snowshoe through tree-lined trails. Warm-up with Métis story time around the fire with some home-made treats.


Canoeing at Métis Crossing — Paddling an Authentic Voyageur Canoe

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

“Paddle Into The Past” experiences combine history and fun while canoeing along the North Saskatchewan River. You can try your hand at making Métis crafts, cooking traditional bannock over an open fire, dancing the Métis jig, and learning about local plant life.


Riding at Métis Crossing

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail provides the perfect conditions for bicycle, horseback, or ATV riding. Named for the railroad which used to carry people and goods across the land, indigenous people had used the even, straight trails for hundreds of years before locomotives were built. The trail now treats riders to diverse views of rolling plains, pine forests, lakes, wetlands, and more.  


Change of Season Signature Experiences at Métis Crossing

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

Métis Crossing offers interactive cultural experiences that change according to the season. Knowledgeable guides share the indigenous history and lifestyle of the Métis people through a range of immersive activities. Experience summer, winter, spring, and autumn the way traditional Métis people do. 


Experience and Explore Métis Traditional Winter Activities

Time from Edmonton: 1 hour 30 minutes

Learn how to build a shelter in the snow, set a game trap, and carry out traditional art techniques during the “Tales from the Trapline” experience. The four-hour, small-group tour lets you walk in the snowshoes of traditional Métis people for a day, experiencing the skills required to thrive in the winter. Taught by Métis interpretive guides, you get to take home your own unique, crafted keepsake. 


Download the Go East of Edmonton Campground Guide for Fantastic Adventures

If camping is your preferred way to adventure, or it’s about time to give it a go, you’ll find loads of helpful information in the Go East of Edmonton Campground Guide – available to download for free.

Enjoy these Go East of Edmonton outdoor adventures

  • Bonnyville Cold Lake hosts winter adventures such as skiing, snowboarding, and a tube park.
  • Bodo Archaeological Centre provides a hands-on experience centered around bison bone and ancient artifact excavation.
  • Elk Island National Park, a year-round natural marvel, is home to roaming bison, moose, and more than 250 bird species.
  • Miquelon Hills Golf Course caters to both the novice and expert — the ninth hole offers a Par 27 toward the front while the back provides a Par 37.
  • Victoria Settlement Provincial Historic Site will entertain history buffs at this authentic former pioneer settlement.