Nordegg Discovery Centre

Hours of Operation 

The Nordegg Discovery Centre (NDC) is home to 

  • Visitor Information Desk
  • Redesigned Exhibit, Among Clear Waters: Stories of This Place (Grand Reopening May 22, 2024)
  • Nordegg Public Library (open all year)

The NDC is open for visitors seven days a week (9:00 am - 4:30 pm) from the May Long Weekend to September Long Weekend.

This centre showcases and celebrates history, culture, and the environment while also serving as an information hub that introduces visitors to the area and their next adventure.  The centre is a wheelchair-accessible facility and has wheelchair-accessible washrooms.

Brazeau Collieries Historic Mine Site Tours

Access to the mine site can only be permitted through our guided tours, in order to ensure the longevity of the site so more people can come enjoy and learn. 

Brazeau Collieries Historic Mine Site Tours are scheduled from Wednesday to Monday (except Tuesdays) as follows: 

  • 10:00 am - Upper and lower mine tour (duration approximately 2.5 hours)
  • 2:00 pm - Upper and lower mine tour (duration approximately 2.5 hours)

*Private group tours available upon request

Registration for tours can be taken at this time by drop-in or by phoning 403-721-COAL (2625).

Tour Checklist:

  • Dress for the weather
  • Wear sturdy shoes
  • Bring a water bottle - no water available at mine site
  • No pets
  • Cameras okay - no drones

Contact Information

  • Mailing address: PO Box 67, Nordegg, AB T0M 2H0 
  • Nordegg Discovery Centre Direct Phone: 403-721-COAL (2625) 
  • Clearwater County Main Administrative Phone: 403-845-4444
  • Email:

How was your tour?

Review us on Tripadvisor, visit this link to leave us a review.

During the summer of 2021, the Nordegg Discovery Centre (NDC) got a face lift with a new exterior. Prior to installation a test section of the stucco was removed and it was discovered that there was water damage and the walls still contained the original wood shaving insulation.  This changed the project to include replacement of water damaged wood and new insulation throughout.  The finished product is a beautiful exterior with better insulated and a stable structure.

Inside the building you will no longer find the Miners CafΓ© and Colliseum Gift Shop as they have relocated. With the vacant spaces on the lower level of the Discovery Centre, Clearwater County has engaged the services of the Hatlie Group to develop a new exhibit.The new exhibit will be expanded from the original room to encompass the old gift shop room as well. 

At Council’s Strategic Planning meeting on April 17, 2023, a report on the feedback heard from community engagement was presented to Council (click here to view the report). The NDC Exhibition Renewal Project began in October 2021 with a two-part phased approach. 

Phase 1: Planning & Development focused its efforts on strategy, business planning, and interpretation planning to set the stage for next steps. 

Phase 2: Development, fabrication, and installation of the renewed NDC exhibits - coming next year in 2024.

It is anticipated that the new exhibit will open in 2024. Included in this project is the mural recreation in an accessible location. 

Clearwater County has developed a strategy for the NDC that draws from the community feedback solicited in 2022. From this strategy the team highlighted values to set a foundation for the project through community, respect, history, and creativity.

Vision: β€œThe Nordegg Discovery Centre engages our visitors in the exploration of this place, the stories of its people, communities and history, and their enduring spirit.”

Mission: β€œThe Hub for experiences, education, and information, the Nordegg Discovery Centre connects visitors and residents with the natural, cultural, and industrial heritage of the region.”

Click here to view the complete strategy and approach document.

Please remember that as a National and Provincial Historic Site, Brazeau Collieries has been deemed as historically significant to Albertans and all Canadians. Access can only be permitted through our guided tours, in order to ensure the longevity of the site so that more people can come enjoy and learn from it. The briquette plant can be visited on a tour of the mine site. 

The briquette plant can be explored on a mine site tour.  

The Brazeau Collieries Ltd. was established in 1909 by Martin Nordegg of the German Development Company and Mackenzie, Mann and Company (major shareholders in the Canadian Northern Railway) in order to search for a large coal field for the use of the Canadian Northern Railway. In 1910, large coal fields were discovered along the North Saskatchewan River near Rocky Mountain House. In 1911, Brazeau Collieries Ltd. established its mine; and a town, Nordegg, had sprung up around it by 1913. At the peak of operations the mine produced over 250,000 tonnes of coal per year. In 1949 briquetting presses were added to produce more heating coal. As demand for coal declined so did the fortunes of Brazeau Collieries Ltd. In January 1955, the mine closed and the company went bankrupt.  

This is one of Canada’s largest industrial heritage sites and has stood abandoned since the mid 1950’s. Brazeau Collieries and the Nordegg Town Site thrived during the first half of this century before the trains that used the coal briquettes, after it switched from these briquettes to diesel power. In recent years, the Nordegg Historical Society has been involved with the restoration and stabilization of this site and the many structures still standing there.  Now Clearwater County manages the site with advice from the Clearwater County Heritage Board.

The Brazeau Collieries coal processing plant can be explored on a mine site tour.

The last seventeen years have seen the completion of restoration projects often ranging between one to two hundred thousand dollars per project. The funds are raised through the accessing of various provincial grants, financial contributions from the County and the Town, and dollars raised by volunteers through book sales, tours, and various fund raising endeavors. We work closely with the Alberta Historic Resources Foundation and the mine site was designated as a Provincial Historic Site in 1993. The site was later designated a National Historic Site in February of 2002.

On February 21, 2002 the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps designated the Nordegg coal mining landscape a National Historic Site of Canada. The Federal government had been looking at a number of sites since 1995, particularly in Alberta and British Columbia, which would best exemplify a number of pre-determined criteria. Among those criteria were those which best reflected their association with events that are of national importance, those which best related to the roles of entrepreneurship, technology, Labour, mining community and the state, and those which were exceptional examples of planning and/or technology connected to the development of coal mining.

The Nordegg site was chosen in part as it played a substantial role in the second stage of steam coal development, important in the growth of the coal industry as a whole in Alberta and southeastern British Columbia from the end of the First World War to the mid-1950’s. In addition, the Nordegg site was seen to contain elements relating to mine entries, powerhouse, preparation plant, and rail line, and represents the most complete example of a coal-mining surface plant in the region.

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada had looked at the Nordegg site twice in the past, in 1985 and 1987 but had not recommended designation. A plaque dedication ceremony was held on July 29th, 2005.

Visitors are invited on the site only as part of a guided tour due to its remote location and the fact that it was an abandoned industrial site. 

The Brazeau Collieries National Historic Site and the Nordegg Heritage Centre are both managed under the umbrella of the Clearwater County Heritage Board.  This volunteer board advises the Clearwater County Council and Administration on heritage matters throughout the county.

Previously these were managed by the Nordegg Historical Society. The County became involved with the historical group in Nordegg in 1992. The society was known as the Nordegg Historic Heritage Interest Group at that time, and was experiencing some financial difficulties in their attempts to protect and restore the remaining buildings in town and particularly on the Brazeau Collieries mine site. The Council at the time recognized the significance of the old mine site as an historical resource and consequently got involved. The County appointed a manager to operate the daily affairs of the Society and to look for opportunities to alleviate the debt and resume with the restoration of the site.

Over the last eighteen years, Clearwater County has been involved with the Society, providing management and some resources for the Society to continue in their efforts to restore and stabilize the site. In August 1993, the site was designated an Alberta Historic Resource by Alberta Community Development. In February 2002 the site was designated a National Historic Site by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.  The Nordegg Historical Society and Clearwater County were both recipients of Heritage Conservation Awards from Alberta Historical Resources Foundation in 2007.