Red Deer's first inhabitants were the aboriginal tribes, like for example the Plains Cree, Blackfoot, and Stoney. It was just in the late 18th century that fur traders from Europe started to pass through the area. Among the first settlers, Reverend Leonard Gaetz, gave half-share of 1,240 acres he acquired to the Edmonton and Calgary Railway to be able to develop a bridge over the town site and river. As a result, the very first train from Calgary to Edmonton went through Red Deer during the year 1891. Red Deer was incorporated as a town during 1901, and it developed mostly its agricultural service and distribution centre. It became more developed in the year 1907, when it was chosen as the divisional point for the Canadian Pacific Railway. During 1911, two other railways joined Red Deer: Alberta Central Railway and the Canadian Northern Railway. Red Deer was incorporated as a city on March 25, 1913.
Waskasoo Park in Red Deer, gives the city an alternate name of the "Park City." The most well-known attractions and parks are the Collicutt Centre, Waskasoo Park, Canyon Ski and recreation Centre, Recreation Centre, Enmax Centrium, Westerner Exposition Grounds, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, G.H. Dawe Community centre and Greater Red Deer Visitor Centre. It is an 80 kilometer multi-use trails utilized for biking, rollerblading, cross-county skiing, walking, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and rollerblading. The park has is perfect for bird and wildlife watching, and it likewise has different highlights, such as: Heritage Ranch, Fort Normandeau, Great Chief (Maskeptoon) Park, Bower Ponds and Cronquist Heritage Centre, Great Chief Athletic Park, Coronation Park, Gaetz Lakes Sanctuary, Kin Kanyon, Lions Campground, Three Mile Bend, Kiwanis Picnic Ground, Discovery Canyon, BMX Park and Great West Adventure Park. The Collicutt Centre is a big, state of the art facility which consists of swimming pools, indoor running track, field houses, a hockey rink, basketball courts, gymnastic centre, lacrosse, fitness and training rooms, and climbing walls.
Within the city of Red Deer, there are several interpretive centres and museums consisting of the Red Deer & District Archives, Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery, Sunnybrook Farm Museum & Interpretive Centre, Tourism Red Deer, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Kerry Wood Nature Centre, and Fort Normandeau. Working to create a more memorable experience for its tourists, the Red Deer Museum + Art aims to to help them understand the people, history and culture of Central Alberta. Sunnybrook Farm Museum celebrates the early days of Alberta farming. The Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is an interactive, hands-on celebration of Alberta's sporting history. It also provides an education program, group activities, reception facility rental, and meeting room rentals. The Kerry Wood Nature Centre is Red Deer's year-round home of entertaining nature activities, exhibits, and information-giving.
Red Deer City has a growing manufacturing trade, while still retaining a strong base in oil, petrochemicals, agriculture, wholesale and retail service and distribution business. In the city of red Deer, the manufacturing and service businesses are lucrative, with metal fabrication being the largest sector, whereas machinery, wood cabinetry, and food processing are the second biggest sectors within the manufacturing industry. Distribution is likewise a strong component, because Red Deer's location makes it a perfect distribution centre for companies within British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The more reputable business under this particular industry is Daimler Chrysler Canada, which has always won efficiency awards under this particular category. Agriculture and food processing is also a profitable venture, with Nossack Fine Meats and Olymel leading the business. Tourism is likewise a featured sector, since Red Deer boasts of many hotels which range in price range and size. Wholesale and retail services are also doing very well, and various new malls are opening, like for instance: Winners, Michael's Arts & Crafts, Chapters, Future Shop and Wal-Mart (two sites) to Red Deer, as well as Home Depot and London Drugs.