Fort McMurray isn’t all about business for Mark Hartigan and his wife Melissa. As a busy parent of three young children who is involved in almost every community activity one can imagine, Mark knows how important it is to give back. He focuses his charitable giving primarily on youth sports and healthcare and volunteers at, attends, and contributes to community fundraisers.
Here are some local businesses and points of interest that may be helpful to you as a new or existing Fort McMurray resident.
Located in the south end of town, this area is mixed-use and includes industrial, commercial, and residential areas. Many of Fort McMurray’s hotels are located in this area, and many big companies have their warehouses and offices in Gregoire. With hotels comes restaurants! Some of the best restaurants in Fort McMurray are here, including Prime Social Kitchen and the kid’s favourite place, McDonalds. This state-of-the-art McDonalds has a large indoor play area. This community was relatively unaffected by the Fort McMurray Fire and faces minimal damage.
Located 48km southeast of downtown, you will find a brand new, state-of-the-art leisure facility (http://www.anzacrec.ca). Opened in March 2014, Anzac has an ice rink, field houses, meeting rooms, and a gym with exercise classes. Anzac has both small and large homes at every price range. Anzac also offers condo style living in the Hamlets downtown area for buyers who don’t want huge yards. During the fire, 12 structures were lost in Anzac.
Located in the downtown sector, Waterways is the oldest area of town. Well known for its rail days, at one point it was the northernmost point of the rail system. Waterways is also known for cargo being shipped and put onto barges where tug boats then transport it to the more northern towns. Waterways has a great outdoor museum of the old town. This community has always been a desired place to live, with many properties that feature half to full acreage and condominium style living with beautiful baseball fields and easy access to downtown. Unfortunately, the Waterways community was extremely impacted by the fire. Over 90% of the area was destroyed. Issues with flood plain guidelines have caused delays on rebuild and demolition permits.
Welcome to the heart of Fort McMurray where great restaurants, great amenities, and all the shops one would need are right at your fingertips! The east end of downtown is the newer side of town and features many new apartment buildings and restaurants/shops. In the heart of downtown you will find many single family homes that were built between 1960 and 1985. These are older homes; however, you will find that you will get a huge yard/lot on the property. In the northwest section of downtown is the jewel of Fort McMurray—the MacDonald Island Leisure Centre. This is the biggest leisure center in all of Western Canada (http://www.macdonaldisland.ca/). This place is incredible! It features a huge indoor water park and slides, two ice rinks, multiple field houses, curling, golf, dance, art programs, track, a gym, football, and baseball. You name it, Mac Island has it. It’s a must-see facility. The great part of being downtown is the location, as it’s only a short walk to all amenities. Luckily, the Downtown area was relatively unaffected by the fire and faced no major damage. Only one home was lost.
Located in the northwest section of Fort McMurray 10km from downtown, otherwise known as “up on the hill” or “north of the bridge”, this area of town attracts many buyers with families, as they are 5-25 year old homes with nice sized yards and really nice homes in a mature neighbourhood. I chose this area myself, as its great for my kids. It is a very family-friendly area with lots of parks, schools, and young families. North of the bridge also offers many amenities, including downtown, many grocery stores, restaurants, and banks. Timberlea was relatively unaffected by the Fort McMurray wildfires; however, the community of Stonecreek was severely impacted, losing approximately 200 structures. In addition, 13 mobile homes in another Timberlea community were lost.
Fire Update - Other Fort McMurray Communities
The Fort McMurray fire burnt 1.5 million acres of land. Authorities are still unsure how the fire started, but it has been confirmed that it is the costliest disaster in Canadian history. Overall, 2,400 structures were damaged in the fire, leading to billions of dollars in insurance claims. Many of the structures that survived have been impacted through related issues (such as smoke and embers), requiring complete remediation to clean homes and ensure the safety of all structures.
Here is an update on the extent to which other communities in Fort McMurray were affected:
The community is still inaccessible for residents. Over 50% of the area was destroyed. Luckily, all major infrastructure was undamaged. Owners are still waiting on demolition permits for the homes that were lost.
Over 70% of the community was destroyed, yet major infrastructure (such as the arena and schools) did not experience any damage. Though the area is still inaccessible, demolition permits have been processed.
Four homes were lost.
Two homes were completely destroyed due to a post-fire gas explosion. Approximately, 40 to 50 other homes experienced moderate to severe damage.
Minimal damage was caused.
Surrounded by areas decimated by the fire, it is a miracle that most of this community survived. Four homes were lost and six were damaged.
Parsons North (Blackburn Drive)
The newly developed school was partially burnt. Fortunately the damage is not severe, and it will be able to be rebuilt easily. The rest of the community faced minimal damage.
Minimally damaged, this area was relatively unaffected by the fire.
Approximately 35% of homes were destroyed. Demolition is almost complete, and the rebuild process will begin as soon as possible.
Minimally damaged, one home was lost. The golf course clubhouse was completely destroyed, but the course is up and running from temporary structures.
Over 100 homes were destroyed, and many areas were severely damaged or destroyed.
Fifteen homes were lost.