Slave Lake Region

After a fire devastated the Slave Lake region, Twirling Umbrellas designed a website to help boost growth in the affected area.

From the ashes…

In May 2011, the northern Alberta town of Slave Lake was evacuated due to an aggressive wildfire. By the time the evacuation order was lifted, a third of the town had burned down, including hundreds of homes, government buildings, and businesses. The community came together and began to rebuild. Three years later, as part of the region’s economic development plan, Twirling Umbrellas was commissioned with the development of a new website to attract tourism, residents, and businesses to the revitalized Slave Lake region.
  • The Slave Lake Region is a rural area of northern Alberta with a population of nearly 10,000
  • In 2011, a wildfire devastated their community
  • Since then, they’ve rebuilt the region and invested heavily in economic development
  • Twirling Umbrellas was contracted to design and launch their new regional website, as well as the related Live FireSmart initiative
  • The Live FireSmart initiative instructs and enforces fire safety in their community

Embracing opportunity.

In the fire’s aftermath, Slave Lake faced social and economic challenges. As part of the town’s revitalization, they created an economic development plan. Part of their plan was the design and implementation of a new website to attract residents and commercial activity to the region. Twirling Umbrellas was selected to complete this important project, which included a business directory, maps and photo galleries of local events and facilities, and information about nearby communities. The site functions as both a promotional tool and a rallying point for the community, a place for residents and visitors alike to be kept informed of recent developments, access community services, and more.

Location, location, location.

The Slave Lake Region website isn’t just informational; it needs to sell the region to potential new residents and businesses. For that reason, it couldn’t be just another government website – it needed to be a beautiful sales platform, something to encourage investment and growth in the community. A large part of Twirling Umbrellas’ involvement was in crafting an aesthetic that promoted the best parts of the area: adventure, opportunity, and community. This was achieved by striking a balance between a clean, professional look suitable for any community portal, and the inherent ruggedness of a small northern community. The Slave Lake region offers economic opportunity in the heart of northern Alberta’s pristine wilderness. Twirling Umbrellas ensured the dual experience of economic security and country living were evident across each page.

Of course, what attracts people to the region might not be the same as what attracts business. Businesses want to know they can thrive before they move to a new region, and that means statistics and data. Fortunately, Twirling Umbrellas loves data. They ensured businesses had one-click access to economic overviews, features on hot economic sectors in the region, and community business resources. Twirling Umbrellas also implemented a contact form to book guided tours of the region for businesses and prospective new residents alike.

Connecting a community.

Twirling Umbrellas is proud of the custom member directory they developed for the Slave Lake region site. Featuring a large, fully integrated GPS enabled map and a text directory of nearly every service offered in the region, all sortable by service type, it’s an easy way for visitors and new residents to connect with local business and get the services they need. Expertly coded from scratch, the directory is as stable and fast as everything Twirling Umbrellas builds.

To promote tourism, Twirling Umbrellas packed the site full of visitor information. From events calendars to photo galleries and videos, the many outdoor attractions of the Slave Lake region are beautifully presented and easily accessible.

Be prepared.

After launching the Slave Lake Region site, Twirling Umbrellas was commissioned for a related project: Live FireSmart, an initiative promoting the prevention and mitigation of future wildfires in the region. In order to prevent the widespread devastation of the 2011 fire from ever happening again, the FireSmart initiative is full of easy-to-implement safety tips to reduce the risk of fires starting and spreading out of control. Aimed at Slave Lake region residents, the initiative includes outreach for schoolchildren, professional fire safety assessments, resources for teachers and community leaders, and more.