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Medicine Hat

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Medicine Hat

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Medicine Hat [4] is a city in the Alberta Badlands region of Alberta.

It's also known as the Gas City thanks to its vast reserves of natural gas. Rudyard Kipling famously described it as the city with "all hell for a basement".

Medicine Hat isn't a large metropolis, and downtown Medicine Hat does not offer megastores with an excellent variety at excellent prices. However, you'll find it to be funky, hip and small-town sincere.


The city's name comes from the word Saamis, which is a native word that means Medicine Man's Hat. According to the 1983 centennial song "Hats Off to 100 Years!":

In eighteen-eighty-three, the Blackfoot fought the Cree
in a battle raging on near the South Saskatchewan.
In a ritual of defeat, the Medicine Man fell to the ground
and laid his feathered headdress down as a legend for our town.


Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) -5 -1 6 14 19 24 27 27 21 14 4 -2
Nightly lows (°C) -16 -12 -7 0 6 10 12 11 6 0 -8 -14
Precipitation (mm) 14 9 18 25 46 63 41 33 36 19 15 16

See the Medicine Hat 7 day forecast at Environment Canada

Medicine Hat experiences a semi-arid climate, and is one of the driest cities in Canada. Due to the aridity, it is also one of the sunniest in Canada, with an average of over 2500 sunshine hours annually. Winters (November through March) are long and cold, but snowfall is low compared to the rest of Canada. Conditions usually alternate between mild and windy, due to chinook winds, and positively frigid temperatures frequently accompanied by clear blue skies and light winds. Spring (April and May) is short, variable and relatively wet. Snow often occurs in April, and is not unheard of even in late May. Summer (June through August) is typically hot and dry, often without a single cloud in the sky. However, thunderstorms often interrupt the bright, sunny weather late in the afternoon, and there are always a few days (particularly in June) with heavily overcast skies in which the temperature only reaches the mid teens °Celsius. Autumn (September and October) is short and generally mild, though September can bring scorching temperatures in the mid 30s °Celsius, and snow in October is usual. The season typically brings sunny and warm to cool days and cool, sometimes cold nights.

Get in[edit]

You'll probably arrive in Medicine Hat on the TransCanada Highway (the #1), which is the principal highway crossing Canada. If you're travelling across Canada by car, you're almost certain to pass through this city. Alternatively, you can fly into the city from Calgary. Given the time that it takes to transfer within the airport, check in luggage and board (plus the inevitable delays that often accompany small planes), voyagers are almost always better off going by car, bus or shuttle.

Prairie Sprinter Shuttle Service, +1 403 487-1312, Medicine Hat's newest shuttle service, with daily trips to Calgary and back.

Get around[edit]

Medicine Hat buses run regularly 6:45am to 10:45 pm Monday through Friday, 6:30am to 10:45pm Saturday and 8:00 am to 6:45 pm Sunday. The routes do change when it is peak and non peak services, and not all buses run during the non peak service. All passengers must wear shirts and shoes. You can also use J&L Shuttle offering daily trips to the city from Calgary. ( 528-8851 ) Prairie Sprinter Shuttle Service, +1 403 487-1312, Medicine Hat's newest shuttle service, with daily trips to Calgary and back. Transit does not provide any services on Holidays.

See[edit][add listing]

The Medicine Hat Tourism [5] office can be reached at 800-481-2822.

  • Like many smaller prairie towns, Medicine Hat has a "largest" something. The World's Largest Teepee was originally constructed for the 1988 Winter Olympic games in Calgary. The city has added original First Nations artwork to the interior panels. There was once a small gift shop adjacent to the site, which has been removed.
  • Downtown Medicine Hat is lit with 277 old-fashioned gas lights that burn around the clock.
  • Saint Patrick's Church is one of the largest continuously-poured concrete structures in the world, and a Heritage Site. It's a good example of "Gothic Revival" architecture
  • The city has opened a multi-million dollar arts and heritage center called The Esplanade, which houses the municipal museum, an art gallery, and a state-of-the-art performance space for touring and local productions, concerts, etc.
  • Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic District, 713 Medalta Avenue SE; 529–1070, Fax: 580–5868, e-mail:[email protected], [6]. May 14 Through September 5, 2005 9:30 To 5:00, daily. A rich abundance of fine clay made Medicine Hat a center for industrial ceramics. Most of the businesses are gone but the area has been set aside as a historic district. The district features examples of over 20,000 pieces of ceramic and pottery as well as a guided tour of the facilities and watching resident artists at work. Adults $6.00, Seniors 65 + $5.00, Youths 7 - 16 $5.00, Children 6 & under Free, Family Day Pass $25.00, 2005 Family Season Pass $45.00.
  • The Medicine Hat Chess Club's Giant Chess Set Project, located near The Esplanade, is the world's largest chess set featuring full-sized three-dimensional pieces. The tallest piece - the king - is 4 feet tall, and the heaviest piece - the knight - weighs in at approximately 55 pounds. Passers-by are free to stop by for a game on this massive chess board.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • "Hatters" are proud supporters of their local WHL hockey team, the Medicine Hat Tigers. The games are fun and inexpensive, but tickets sell out within days of the season opener. An arena of 4006 houses some 3800 season ticket holders, leaving precious few remaining tickets to be snapped up.
  • There is a permanent pottery exhibition at the Clay Products Interpretive Centre, which houses the "Great Wall of China" (referring to the ceramic China, as opposed to the country). Medicine Hat was the home of both Medalta Pottery and Hycroft China, two of the most important industrial pottery factories in the early twentieth century.
  • Downtown Walking Tour; Maps for a self-guided walking tour can be found at the Tourism Office for free.
  • During the spring/summer time there's always a chance to see many bison mating.

Buy[edit][add listing]

In Medicine Hat, you can find excellent values at second hand stores, which have yet to be picked over. There is also a large mall with big box stores such as Sears, The Bay, and Zellers as well as a Galaxy Cinema center and large food court.

In addition to the mall stores there is also a Canadian Tire and many independent specialty stores.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • The Cracked Peppercorn, 3216 13 Avenue Southeast, (403) 526-0829.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

Medicine Hat has several dance bars, but certainly not the "megaclubs" you would find in larger cities like Calgary. The dance clubs in town are as follows:

  • The Corona - Top 40 and dance music. Popular with younger adults (18-25).
  • Liquid Niteclub - Open 9 PM Wed - Sat. A large club with a great sound & light system. 3 Dance Poles and an elevated Dancing Cage. Wet T-Shirt contest on Wednesdays. Open for concert tours and private parties. 2 separate rooms available. The largest club in town. All genres of live music.
  • Ralph's Texas Bar and Steakhouse - Very large bar with multiple floors, separate pool hall, and restaurant. Country-western, rock, and some Top 40 music.
  • Temptation Nightclub (formerly Gringos; Hazzard County Roadhouse) Open Thurs-Sun. Lingerie contest on Thurs. Featuring the only live Video DJ system in Medicine Hat. DJ-E spins live video mixes all weekend. 1,000 square foot dance floor.
  • Whiskey Creek - Daily Drink Specials, live bands, and comedy from the Laugh Shop every Thursday night. Large dance floor.
  • Mario's

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Medicine Hat Comfort Inn & Suites, 1799 Trans Canada Way SE, +14035041700, [1]. Indoor pool, hot-tub, fitness centre, free Internet.  edit
  • Medicine Hat Lodge, 1051 Ross Glen Drive SE,, +14035292222, [2]. Indoor pool and waterslides, hot-tub, casino, spa, lounge, restaurants.  edit
  • Motel 6 Medicine Hat, 20 Strachan Court SE, 403-527-1749, [3]. A motel in Medicine Hat Alberta Canada that offers guests a variety of comfortable accommodations, hotel services, hotel packages and a pet and kid friendly atmosphere.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Elkwater, Cypress Hills Inter-Provincial Park , Alberta
  • Echo Dale Regional Park [7]; West of Medicine Hat; 527-7344; Site of restored 1887 house, a blacksmith shop and a coal mine. The park is an excellent stop with two artificial lakes. One for swimming with lifeguards and another one with canoe lake rentals. Picnic grounds, fireplaces, concession stand, free parking, beach volleyball are all available at this large park with walking trails. A must stop for travellers looking for an oasis on the prairie.
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park [8]; 107 kilometers northwest of Medicine Hat on Trans-Canada Highway 1; 378-4342; Hiking and guided tours through fossil beds. The Park is designated as a World Heritage Site. Adults - $8, Children (7-17) - $6

Routes through Medicine Hat
CalgaryBrooks  W noframe E  Swift CurrentRegina
LethbridgeTaber  W noframe E  END

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