About The Hamlet of Rosebud

The Hamlet of Rosebud could easily be mistaken for a typical prairie hamlet. Resting in a sheltered valley on the Rosebud River near the edge of the Canadian Badlands, Rosebud is a peacefully picturesque community, awash in expressions of creativity from the Akokiniskway Art Gallery and Recording Studio in the revitalized almost one hundred year old former United Church, to the half dozen Artisan shops that display and sell local and regional items bordering the main thoroughfare surrounding the Opera House and Rosebud Centennial Museum. There is no gas station, no convenience store, and fewer than 100 residents, but Rosebud is a vital tourist and fine arts attraction visited by over 40 thousand people every year.

What do you see in this space? How do people in the community enjoy it?:

  • The aesthetics of nearly every building in this small community hearkens back to a forgotten age, back to a time when being neighbourly and working together to make the community a better place was the norm
  • Organizations like the Rosebud Community Facility Enhancement Society join together with the students, instructors, and alumni of the Rosebud School of the Arts for weekends of work bees and volunteering, celebrating the creative spirit that is such a part of this town
  • The pace is slower and the people who live here have consciously embraced a lifestyle of resourcefulness not unlike the pioneers who settled this valley in 1883
  • When small communities throughout the prairies have dwindled and disappeared, Rosebud has created a home for a vibrant arts community
  • This atmosphere is enhanced by the Rosebud School of the Arts, Alberta’s only rural theatre school, and the Rosebud Theatre. Patrons of the theatre come from all over Alberta, and during the summer many tourists from across Canada and around the world find themselves in Rosebud, the artistic heart of the Canadian Badlands

Events and Festivals:

  • There is a centrally located green space for performances, with space to gather and shop at the local artisan’s shops while listening to music and enjoying the atmosphere
  • September 04, 2016: 11th Annual ‘15 Minutes of Fame – Rosebud Folk Festival’. This outdoor music festival had over twenty performances, and appealed to almost any musical taste
  • July 25-31, 2016: 4th Annual Rosebud Chamber Music Festival. The festival is a “grassroots project committed to bringing world class musical performance to the rural communities in the Canadian Badlands” and is a week-long event with concerts, musical workshops, culminating with the ‘Reading Party’, an intimate venue where the RCMF artists are able to get acquainted with members of the Rosebud community and is a wonderful opportunity for friends to come together to experience the joy of chamber music outside the concert hall
  • July 17, 2016: Summer Concert series hosted by Thorny Rose Cafe, presented its first concert. The concert, held in Rosebud’s outdoor festival space beside the cafe, featured several artists with a large variation of musical styles, and continued throughout the summer
  • Rosebud Theatre stages seven plays a year – five at the Opera House and two at the BMO Studio Stage, offering matinee and evening shows up to seven times a week. In addition, other performers and their acts are brought in Rosebud Centre School Retreat through the year to put on plays, concerts, and presentations as part of its Rosebud Presents series
  • The Rosebud Presents series featured music concerts, one-man shows, children’s programming and more

Economic and Retail Activities:

  • While Rosebud does not have a convenience store, fast food restaurant or even a gas station, there are many opportunities for visitors to shop and enjoy the eclectic offerings of the hamlet and its surrounding area
  • The Rosebud Art Village, half a dozen Artisan shops on either side of the main thoroughfare, display the works of local artists. There are numerous artists and crafts people within the community that offer their works through the two local art galleries and several gift shops in the town and local area. Visitors are allowed the opportunity to purchase selected works as they browse

Historic or Heritage Features:

  • European settlers began homesteading in Rosebud in 1883, laying the foundation for a strong farming and ranching community
  • The hamlet flourished in the early 1900s, reaching a population of 300 in the 1920s
  • By the early 1970s, however, the population dropped to less than thirty, and dozens of abandoned buildings awaited demolition just like countless other communities across the prairies
  • A few individuals built a theatre school and performance centre which hosts 40,000 visitors annually into its 33rd season! Rosebud Theatre began in 1983 when the now-established School of Arts was looking to raise funds through a little dinner theatre. This serendipitous event became the economic engine that would allow Rosebud to play host to tens of thousands of visitors each year
  • The Opera House began as a couple of granaries pieced together with wooden church pews for seats. Although it has been completely upgraded since, the intimate nature of the building remains. The historic mercantile building, built in 1911, now houses the ticket counter and buffet restaurant on the main floor, craft shop in the basement
  • The Rosebud Centennial Museum, like most of the buildings in town, was originally built for something else. In this case, first Mah Joe’s Laundry in the 1920s and ’30s, then a farm supply and bulk oil dealership, transforming into a coffee shop before sitting empty until the Lions Club renovated it for the museum
  • During the warmer months, you can discover Rosebud’s pioneer history through a self-guided walking tour around the hamlet, retelling the history of the community and drawing visitors in with stories about early prairie life


  • Development is encouraged to align with their Area Structure plan, which coordinates with the Community’s historic feel and the community remains small, despite the great interest in development
  • There was recent development of the site that had previously housed the Rosebud Fire Hall. A local artist purchased the property, and developed it into a pottery kiln and shop to sell his own as well as other regional and local artisan’s works. The shop is across from the Rosebud Mercantile, where guests of the Rosebud Theatre have their meal before heading down the street to a production at the Rosebud Opera House. The property has become part of the rustic nature of the artistic community. Even the building of the new Fire Hall paralleled the Area Structure plan, illustrating the historic nature of the hamlet


  • The hamlet has a population of just under 100 people, and as the hamlet has become more specialized as a creative hub, there have been a great many people interested in relocating here
  • Families with younger children send their kids to neighbouring communities to attend school, and young people are encouraged to express themselves artistically along with the rest of the town with volunteer working weekends, and by joining community groups, such as the Historical Society and one of the five local choirs
  • As a young person grows into university age, they may attend the Rosebud School of the Arts, Alberta’s only accredited rural theatre school, to better prepare themselves for future work in the theatre and in the Canadian artistic community. Local artisans have been known to take on younger apprentices to teach them their trade. This enables them as adults to be productive members of the community and to provide this same service to the interested people who follow them. Community-minded citizens (and that’s pretty much everyone in Rosebud) join the Rosebud Community Facility Enhancement Society to take part in promoting activities such as the Rosebud Public Bicycle Fleet and the Floral Beautification projects throughout the hamlet

Map: http://bit.ly/2eag0PH

Submitted By: Alan Parkin