Medicine Hat is a city in southeast Alberta, Canada located along the South Saskatchewan River. It is approximately 169 km (105 mi) east of Lethbridge and 295 km (183 mi) southeast of Calgary. This city and the adjacent Town of Redcliff to the northwest are within Cypress County. Medicine Hat was the sixth-largest city in Alberta in 2016 with a population of 63,230.
Started as a railroad town, today Medicine Hat is served by the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1) and the eastern terminus of the Crowsnest Highway (Highway 3). Nearby communities considered part of the Medicine Hat area include the Town of Redcliff (abutting the city's northwest boundary) and the hamlets of Desert Blume, Dunmore, Irvine, Seven Persons, and Veinerville. The Cypress Hills (including Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park) is a relatively short distance (by car) to the southeast of the city.
Historically, Medicine Hat has been known for its large natural gas fields, being immortalized by Rudyard Kipling as having "all hell for a basement". Because of these reserves, the city is known as "The Gas City".
Located in the steppe region known as Palliser's Triangle, Medicine Hat has a semi-arid, continental climate (Köppen climate classificationBSk), with cold winters, and warm to hot, dry summers. Frequently, the winter cold is ameliorated by mild and dry Chinook winds blowing from the west, and hot summer daytime temperatures are made more tolerable by low humidity and rapid cooling in the evening hours. As Medicine Hat receives less precipitation annually than most other cities on the Canadian Prairies and plentiful sunshine (it is widely known as "The sunniest city in Canada"), it is a popular retirement city. Maximum precipitation typically occurs in the late spring and early summer.
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