Red Deer's first inhabitants were the aboriginal tribes, like the Stoney, Plains Cree and Blackfoot. It was only during the late 18th century that fur traders from Europe started to pass through the area. Amongst the original settlers, Reverend Leonard Gaetz, gave half-share of 1,240 acres he acquired to the Edmonton and Calgary Railway to be able to develop a bridge over the town site and river. As a result, the first train from Calgary to Edmonton went through Red Deer during 1891. Red Deer was incorporated as a town in the year 1901, and it developed mostly its agricultural distribution and service centre. It became more developed during 1907, when it was selected as the divisional point for the Canadian Pacific Railway. During 1911, two other railways joined Red Deer: Canadian Northern Railway and Alberta Central Railway. Red Deer was incorporated as a city on the 25 th of March, the year 1913.
Waskasoo Park within Red Deer, gives the city an alternate name of the "Park City." The more well-known attractions and parks are the Waskasoo Park, Collicutt Centre, Canyon Ski and recreation Centre, Recreation Centre, Enmax Centrium, Westerner Exposition Grounds, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, G.H. Dawe Community centre and Greater Red Deer Visitor Centre. It is an eighty kilometer multi-use trails used for biking, rollerblading, cross-county skiing, walking, horseback riding and snowshoeing. The park has is perfect for wildlife and bird watching, and it also has other attractions, such as: Heritage Ranch, Fort Normandeau, Great Chief (Maskeptoon) Park, Bower Ponds and Cronquist Heritage Centre, Great Chief Athletic Park, Coronation Park, Kin kanyon, Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, Lions Campground, Three Mile Bend, Kiwanis Picnic Ground, Discovery Canyon, BMX Park and Great West Adventure Park. The Collicutt Centre is a huge, state of the art facility that comprises an indoor running track, swimming pools, field houses, a hockey rink, basketball courts, gymnastic centre, lacrosse, fitness and training rooms, and climbing walls.
There are various interpretive centres and museums in Red Deer. They comprise: Red Deer & District Archives, Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery, Tourism Red Deer, Sunnybrook Farm Museum & Interpretive Centre, Fort Normandeau, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Kerry Wood Nature Centre. Red Deer Museum + Art aims to create memorable experiences for its toursts in order to help them understand the history, culture and people of Central Alberta. Sunnybrook Farm Museum celebrates the early days of Alberta farming. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is an interactive, hands-on celebration of Alberta's sporting history. It likewise provides group activities, an education program, party. The Kerry Wood Nature Centre is Red Deer's year-round home of entertaining nature activities, exhibits, and information-giving.
The city of Red Deer has a growing manufacturing business, while still retaining a strong base in oil, petrochemicals, agriculture, wholesale and retail distribution and service business. Within Red Deer, the service and manufacturing industries are lucrative, with metal fabrication being the largest sector, whereas food processing, machinery and wood cabinetry are the 2nd largest sectors within the manufacturing trade. Distribution is likewise a strong part, since Red Deer's site makes it an ideal distribution centre for businesses in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The most reputable company under this particular industry is Daimler Chrysler Canada, which has always won efficiency awards under this category. Food processing and agriculture is likewise a lucrative endeavor, with Olymel and Nossack Fine Meats leading the business. Tourism is likewise a featured sector, since Red Deer boasts of several hotels which differ in size and price ranges. Wholesale and retail services are likewise doing very well, and numerous new malls are opening, such as: Michael's Arts & Crafts, Winners, Future Shop, Chapters and Wal-Mart (two sites) to Red Deer, as well as Home Depot and London Drugs.