Getting Citizens Active: An Easy Municipal Solution


Strathcona County uses Guidebook to to connect its residents to fun

Strathcona County is nestled in Alberta, Canada near the province’s capital city of Edmonton. The county is a recreation-seeker’s dream with four separate recreation centers and a wilderness center. It’s 92,000 residents are never at a loss for engaging activities – from swimming to snowshoeing, there is quite literally something for everyone.

There’s a mighty effort just to keep county residents apprised of Strathcona County, Recreation, Parks and Culture’s massive schedule. The department oversees everything from facility rentals, to fitness classes, to indoor playgrounds – and each space and activity has its place on the master schedule.

Strathcona County's Wilderness Center

The Strathcona County Wilderness Centre hosts outdoor adventures year-round.

Make it mobile

For a county that’s giving so many opportunities to its residents, the department wanted to be sure that everyone was able to take advantage of the offerings. Residents were able to view the schedules in traditional paper formats and on the department’s website, but staff began to look for a more efficient and convenient delivery method.

A mobile app seemed like the logical choice because many of the county’s residents have come to expect mobile content. Whitney Henderson, Marketing and Communications Projects, says that her staff considered several mobile options, but chose Guidebook for its “ease of use.”

“It’s just so user-friendly. That’s what we really enjoy.”

The central Strathcona County recreation guide houses the schedule for their drop-in recreation opportunities. Once this guide had been created, it wasn’t too much of leap to find other uses for guides. Now Strathcona hosts several guides on Guidebook, including a guide to its parks and guides for special events like its Canada Day and New Year’s Eve festivals.

A perfect fit

The Strathcona County guide for drop-in recreation schedules simplifies a complicated, multi-location schedule for residents by listing events in an easy-to-read format. A resident can find recreational events broken out by type or venue, or by looking at the master schedule that color codes events for easy identification.

For active residents planning on truly maximizing Strathcona’s offerings, they also have the convenience of adding classes and events to a personalized schedule with the My Schedule feature. Any activity added to My Schedule will populate a custom list that only shows events the user has chosen themselves.

Group Cycling at Millennium Place

Millenium Place Recreation Centre features group cycling, an aquatic and fitness centre, indoor track, twin arena and field house, children’s playground, and leisure ice for recreational skating.

One feature that Whitney loves is push notifications. With a few clicks of the mouse, she can simultaneously message each and every user of a guide. When it looked like Canada Day would be a scorcher, Whitney was able to remind festival attendees to bring sunscreen and a water bottle.

In addition, once a guide has been downloaded it will continue to work offline. If anyone ever finds themselves without cell service or conserving battery with airplane mode while on their snow trek – they can still rely on their guide regardless.

As simple as it gets

For Whitney, Guidebook’s winning feature is how easy it is for both her staff and the residents to use. Best of all, once a user has downloaded Guidebook, it’s very simple for them to find other Strathcona County guides within the app. And because the app is maintained by Guidebook, Whitney never worries about keeping anything up-to-date but her guides.

“It’s really nice to have all our guides in one place.”

The pricing structure also makes Whitney’s life easier. With Guidebook’s yearly subscription model Strathcona has a set number of guides each year they can build. Whitney has found that this has allowed her to be more creative and flexible with when and for what purpose she is creating guides. And creating a new guide is so simple, that it doesn’t eat up time and resources.

“Guides are really quick and easy to put together.”

If for some reason Whitney has ever finds herself stuck, she knows that Guidebook’s award-winning customer support is never more than a phone call or email away. “Any time I’ve had any issue I’ve either called or emailed for support and get the answers solved right away.”

“The Guidebook team is really, really great to work with.”

New Year's Eve at Strathcona County

The Strathcona County New Year’s Eve Festival is an annual favorite.

Ensuring success

Whitney finds that Strathcona County residents have been eager to adopt the mobile technology. With over 4,500 downloads of the drop-in recreation guide and 4,700 downloads of the Canada Day guide, Strathcona is enjoying great adoption among its residents.

Whitney says that promoting the Guides before the event is essential. Available guides are listed on the Strathcona County, Recreation, Parks and Culture’s website, promoted on social media, and QR codes are available on promotional posters before and during the event.

Guidebook has provided an extremely accessible mobile solution for Whitney and her staff at Strathcona County, Recreation, Parks and Culture. Complicated schedules have been simplified, residents are being connected with all that’s available to them, and county-wide events now have their own dedicated mobile guides. It’s a good time to be a Strathcona County resident!