Jasper is a specialized municipality in western Alberta, Canada. It is the commercial centre of Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies within the Athabasca River valley. Jasper is approximately 362 kilometres (225 mi) west of Edmonton and 290 kilometres (180 mi) north of Banff, Alberta, at the intersection of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) and Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway).
The Municipality of Jasper, comprising the Jasper townsite known as the Town of Jasper and a surrounding rural service area, was established as a specialized municipality on July 20, 2001. Governance is shared between the municipality and the federal Parks Canada agency.
Established in 1813, Jasper House was first a North West Company, and later Hudson’s Bay Company, fur trade outpost on the York Factory Express trade route to what was then called “New Caledonia” (now British Columbia), and Fort Vancouver in Columbia District on the lower Columbia River.
Jasper National Park was established in 1907. The railway siding at the location of the future townsite was established by Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1911 and originally named Fitzhugh after a Grand Trunk vice president (along the Grand Trunk’s “alphabet” line). The Canadian Northern Railway began service to Fitzhugh in 1912. The townsite was surveyed in 1913 by H. Matheson. It was renamed Jasper after the former fur trade post. An internment camp was set up at Dominion Park in Jasper from February 1916 to August 1916.
Jasper is located in the Athabasca River valley, at the confluence with Miette River. It lies between the Victoria Cross Ranges (northwest), Pyramid Mountain (north), Maligne Range (southeast) and Indian Ridge (southwest).
Jasper is connected to the west via the Yellowhead Highway and the Yellowhead Pass to Prince George and to the east to Edmonton. Toward the south, the Icefields Parkway leads to Banff and Banff National Park.
Located near Jasper are Pyramid Lake and Patricia Lake, as well as Lake Annette, Lake Edith, Lac Beauvert, Maligne Lake, Medicine Lakeand other smaller lakes. The Jasper Skytram, which takes visitors to The Whistlers’ summit, and the Marmot Basin ski resort are located near the town, as is the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. The Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives is located in the Jasper town site, as is the Jasper Visitor Centre.