Tuesday, July 19, 2022 (Wetaskiwin, Alberta) — Wetaskiwinites are being asked to have patience and plan ahead in anticipation of a busy weekend on the highways around the city.
Pope Francis will be visiting Maskwacis on Monday, July 25 as part of his Walking Together tour. Alberta was home to the largest number of residential schools in Canada, which included Ermineskin Residential School. The Holy Father will visit the site of the former residential school and meet with Indigenous Peoples as part of the ongoing journey toward truth and reconciliation.
The Pope’s visit is expected to attract more than 15,000 people to the area. The province has identified three park-and-ride sites in the Wetaskiwin area to help accommodate visitors.
In addition to the Pope’s visit, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series BAYER 300 race will be taking place Saturday, July 23. Edmonton International Raceway in Wetaskiwin is the only quarter-mile NASCAR track in western Canada and is a popular stop on the circuit, bringing hundreds of visitors to the city.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of this weekend:
- Pope Francis in Alberta
- For more detailed information on the tour, visit papalvisit.ca.
- Pope Francis will be in Maskwacis July 25 to meet with Indigenous Peoples and visit the former site of Ermineskin Residential School.
- This is a free, ticketed event for Indigenous Peoples, residential school or day school survivors, their families and those accompanying them for support.
- Traffic impact: Rolling closures are planned for Alberta highways as the Pope tours the province. Here are the closures that will affect Wetaskiwinites:
- Sunday, July 24: The Pope arrives at Edmonton International Airport. The QEII Highway northbound between the airport and City of Edmonton will be closed until the motorcade passes.
- Monday, July 25: As the Pope travels from Edmonton to Maskwacis on Monday morning, the QEII Highway southbound and Highway 611 west of Highway 2A will be closed. These roads will also be closed when he returns to Edmonton in the afternoon. Travellers can expect closures, limited access, and significant delays along portions of Highway 2A (northbound and southbound) and Highway 611 (eastbound and westbound) between Wetaskiwin, Maskwacis, and Ponoka all day on July 25.
- Additional traffic disruption information will be posted to 511 Alberta. General information will be tweeted out daily at 12 p.m at @511Alberta. For the Maskwacis event specifically, tweets will go out two (2) days prior at 10 a.m. and also day of at 6 a.m.
- NASCAR Week 2022
- For more detailed information, visit edmontonraceway.com.
- Mayor Tyler Gandam signed a proclamation declaring July 18–23 to be NASCAR Week.
- Events will be taking place throughout the week with the main event — the NASCAR Pinty’s Series BAYER 300 — taking place on Saturday, July 23.
- Traffic impact: Prior to the race, participants will be travelling by convoy from Nisku to Edmonton International Raceway in Wetaskiwin via Highway 2A. This event is being dubbed the NASCAR Pinty’s Series Hauler Parade. The parade will leave Nisku at 8 a.m., travelling south on Highway 2 to Highway 2A, continuing south through Millet to Wetaskiwin before turning west on Township Road 646 toward the raceway. If you are driving on Highway 2A early Saturday morning, expect to encounter heavy traffic.
The City’s website and social media channels will be updated as more details become available. Subscribe to text or email alerts with Notify Me to receive updates as they are posted.
About the City of Wetaskiwin
Wetaskiwin is a secure, connected, and inclusive community, home to a diverse population of nearly 13,000 people. Located only 30 minutes south of Edmonton International Airport, the City of Wetaskiwin provides a high quality of life through ample recreation opportunities, diverse cultural activities, and a modernized, business-friendly downtown.
Kristen Hewlett, Interim Communications Manager
City of Wetaskiwin
(p) 780.361.4415 (c) 780.335.2742