Prince Albert is the third-largest city in Saskatchewan, Canada. It is situated near the centre of the province on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The city is known as the "Gateway to the North" because it is the last major centre along the route to the resources of northern Saskatchewan. Prince Albert National Park is located just north of the city and contains a huge wealth of lakes, forest, and wildlife. The city itself is located in a transition zone between the aspen parkland and boreal forest biomes. Prince Albert is bordered by the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert No. 461 and the Rural Municipality of Buckland No. 491. Prince Albert and Area have many great provincial parks including Great Blue heron Provincial Park, Narrow Hills Provincial Park and Candle Lake Provincial Park. Candle Lake has many attractions including the Candle Lake sand dunes located within Minnawakaw, Purple Sands beach (purple sand that is created from Garnet stone), Geoff's Beach, Candle Lake Golf Course and many venues. Prince Albert National Park is world known and serves a variety of great tourist favorites including Waskaseiu lake, Creen lake and Hanging Hearts lake. It also offers many great restaurants, beautiful beaches in the town site, luxurious cabins, a golf course, a marina and as of 2014 a zip line.
The first white man to travel through the area that is now Prince Albert was Henry Kelsey in 1692. The first establishment in the area was a trading post set up in 1776 by Peter Pond. James Isbister, an Anglo-Métis employee of the Hudson's Bay Company, settled on the site of the current city in 1862. He farmed there until 1866, and had been joined by a number of families who called the site Isbister's Settlement.
The community received a boost in 1866 when Reverend James Nisbet, a Canada Presbyterian Church minister arrived to establish a mission for the Cree. Nisbet named the mission after Albert, Prince Consort, husband of Queen Victoria, who had died in 1861, from which the present city derives its name. In 1879 the Presbyterian Church brought out Lucy Margaret Baker to run the local mission school. During the same year, the local Freemasons established the first lodge in what is now the province of Saskatchewan: Kinistino Lodge No. 1, which still exists. "The Mission", the settlement centrally located, and "Porter Town", located to the west, were the two communities that would come together to form what is now Prince Albert. The settlement east of Prince Albert was termed Goschen before finally amalgamated, however East Prince Albert still appears on a 1924 map.
In 1884, Honore Jaxon and James Isbister were involved in the movement which brought Louis Riel back to Canada. Riel returned from the United States following a political exile resulting from the Red River Rebellion that had occurred in 1869–1870. Five hundred people gathered to hear Riel speak one month after his return.
In the Northwest Rebellion of the 1885, Prince Albert Volunteers bore the heaviest casualties of the fighting at the Battle of Duck Lake. Surrounding settlers took refuge with the North-West Mounted Police in a hastily improvised stockade at Prince Albert, fearing an attack by Gabriel Dumont, which never came. After the Battle of Batoche, Major General Frederick Middleton marched to Prince Albert to relieve the town. Prince Albert was incorporated as a town the same year under its first mayor, Thomas McKay. Although Prince Albert never saw a battle, it was a key strategic area for the Metis to conquer as it led to many of the northern areas of which key and final battles took place which in example, the last battle of the North-West Rebellion was at Steele Narrows.
The first recorded stagecoach robbery in what is now Saskatchewan occurred in 1886, when a lone outlaw held up a carriage near Prince Albert.
Prince Albert has a number of small rural communities that at one time where small towns connected via the railroad or a trail. The regions in the south include Davis, Fenton and Red Deer Hill as well as many others. The old school house, hotel, convent and graveyard and many other buildings that are now private property to the people of the Davis Road community can still be observed.
In 1904, the settlement was incorporated as the City of Prince Albert. Its government is of a council-mayor type.
Prince Albert was the capital of the District of Saskatchewan, a regional administrative division of what then constituted the Northwest Territories. The District of Saskatchewan was formed on May 8, 1882, and named Prince Albert as its capital. This ended in 1905 when Saskatchewan became a province and Regina was designated the new provincial capital.
Prince Albert was one of the rival candidates to house either the University of Saskatchewan or the Saskatchewan Federal Penitentiary. The university was built in Saskatoon and the penitentiary was built in Prince Albert in 1911.
In the summer of 2002 the Crutwell fire burned its way to the outer limits of the small town of Crutwell just west of Prince Albert. It was stopped just in time and although much forest was burnt, very little property damage occurred. The fire is believed to have been started by natural causes.