Our next stop on the Heartland Tour is in Gibbons.
 
Located along the Sturgeon River, the area where Gibbons now lies was first settled in 1894 by William R. Gibbons, which the town is now named after. Gibbons was incorporated as a town in 1977 and has a population of just over 3,000 according to a recent census count.
 
Gibbons originally developed as a stopping place on the Athabasca Landing Trail, an old long-distance portage route between Fort Edmonton and Athabasca Landing, now known as the town of Athabasca.
 
Today, Gibbons is a town "rich in history and rooted in family," with plenty to do within its borders, including walks through the river valley, a visit to the Gibbons museum or enjoying the outdoors at one of their many parks.
 
The Echo Glen Fishpond is a staple gathering area for the town. The popular fishing spot is stocked annually with trout, although it is currently being revitalized.
 
"We're partway through that project, and it's going to be fantastic for our young anglers. We have our Kids Can Catch events as well as everyone who just comes and sits around that beautiful green space and water in town," said Stephanie Peters, community service director for the town.
 
Memorial Park in Gibbons is also being revitalized, recently starting phase one of a new inclusive and accessible playground which will be installed near the end of summer.
 
"To be out in nature is so important these days, especially after we've gone through this pandemic," she continued. "We really learned how nice it is to have those great parks and those great green spaces and be connected to nature and to each other."
 
Gibbons is also host to several events, including Pioneer Days in which the town throws a party with a parade, fireworks and tons of events to celebrate its pioneer history.
 
The event goes on July 9 and 10 this year. 
 
Another big draw to the town is its annual Town Wide Garage Sale, which is touted as the biggest garage sale in the province. The town nearly doubles its population on the day of the sale, with vendors and shoppers coming from as far as Grande Prairie. The sale was cancelled last year, however, it will go on this year on September 11.
 
Peters said she's excited to see the growth of the town of Gibbons in the next five to ten years, adding that the town is rooted in family and it's the driving force for businesses and the community.