Cold Lake is a city in northeastern Alberta, Canada, named after the lake it is located near. The city is located within Alberta's "Lakeland" district, 300 km northeast of Edmonton, near the Saskatchewan-Alberta provincial border. The area neighboring the city is sparsely populated, and comprises mostly of farmland. The Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, situated to the north of the city, is the Canadian equivalent to the Air Force's Nellis Air Force Range of the US.
It was 1970 when the city of Cold Lake was first recorded on a map, under the name Coldwater Lake. More recently, on the 1st of October, 1996, the three original communities of the Town of Cold Lake, the Town of Grand Centre, and Medley (Canadian Forces Base 4 Wing) combined into Cold Lake. The original Cold Lake is known as Cold Lake North and Grand Centre was renamed Cold Lake South. Due to its origins, the area is also called the Tri-Town.
The economy of the city is greatly dependent upon the military and its base referred to as CFB Cold Lake. What's more, the region has an emerging gas and oil exploration sector. The Athabasca Oil Sands project within Fort McMurray is having a growing influence within the region as well. The Cold Lake oil sands may become a significant contributor to the economy of Cold Lake.
Each and every year Cold Lake hosts military forces from all-around the world for Exercise Maple Flag, a training exercise where support staff and pilots of NATO allies could take advantage of the Air Weapons Range and relatively open rural air space. Running from 4 to 6 weeks and beginning in May of each year, commercial accommodations within the whole region are left with little to no vacancy. This yearly exercise contributes a substantial amount of capital into these industries and other hospitality-related businesses.
Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake, often referred to as CFB Cold Lake, is a Canadian Forces Base located within the City of Cold Lake, Alberta. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force and is among two bases in Canada making use of the CF-18 Hornet fighter/interceptor. Its main lodger unit is 4 Wing.
On the periphery of the air base, there was a civilian passenger service that was accessible through the Medley passenger terminal. The regular air service from Calgary and the Medley terminal was officially canceled in June 2011. Unscheduled civilian air traffic is usually directed to the Cold Lake Regional Airport. Cold Lake/Group Captain R.W McNair Airport is the name of the facility. It is one of only three military aerodromes within Canada to be named after a person, Valcartier Heliport and Moose Jaw/Air Vice Marshal C.M. McEwen Airport being the others.