PearlAnn Reichwein, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation - Academic Programs


Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation - Academic Programs
(780) 492-0579
2-130L University Hall
8840 - 114 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2J9




PhD History, Carleton University

MA History, Carleton University

BA Études canadiennes / Canadian Studies, University of Alberta


I am a historian and heritage specialist at the University of Alberta. My research program highlights Canada's social and environmental history, particularly in western Canada and mountain regions. Understanding the history of people, parks, and politics is the purpose of this research. I publish books and articles, and engage in creative research and heritage work.

Writing the first cultural resource management plan signed for Banff National Park and guiding hikes at the Plain of Six Glaciers are part of my practitioner experience in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. My early work with Parks Canada dealt with public history, cultural resource policy and planning, federal heritage resources, National Historic Sites, heritage communications, and interpretation in Banff and Yoho national parks. Past work with all levels of government and various community groups informs my approach.

Academic and Community Roles

  • University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria, Invited Lecturer
  • Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (Gustave Eiffel), Paris, France, Visiting Professor
  • International Graduate Summer School for Young Researchers in Physical Activity and Sport, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, Visiting Lecturer
  • North American Society for Sport History (NASSH), past executive board member
  • Sport History Review, editorial board member
  • Canadian Historical Association (CHA), Canadian Studies Network (CSN/REC), Canadian Mountain Network (CMN), NiCHE, member
  • North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society, board member
  • Sierra Club Canada Foundation, past National Urban Parks lead and National Board member

Awards and Recognition

International Awards and Honours

  • 2017 International Journal of the History of Sport, Finalist for Best Article Prize
  • 2015IndieFAB Book of the Year Awards, Honourable Mention for Environment and Ecology in Adult Non Fiction
  • 2014Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Mountain and Wilderness Literature Non Fiction Finalist
  • 2004Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, Canadian Rockies Finalist, (co-editor)

National and University Awards and Honours

  • 2015Canadian Historical Association, Clio Prize - The Prairies, Climber’s Paradise. A national prize awarded annually for scholarly work focused on the Prairie region.
  • 2015-2016U of A Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Award of Merit for Outstanding Research. 
  • 2000-2004University of Alberta Senate, Annual Community Service Recognition


I publish books and articles in leading journals, such as the Canadian Historical Review and the International Journal of the History of Sport, that advance arts and humanities scholarship to understand Canada's past and present. 

My recent book Uplift: Visual Culture at the Banff School of Fine Arts (University of British Columbia Press, 2020), co-authored with Dr. Karen Wall, explores art education and tourism in Banff National Park as influences on civil society and democracy connected to the formation of today's Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (see "Activities" for books). 

My book Climber's Paradise: Making Canada's Mountain Parks, 1906-1974 (University of Alberta Press, 2014) investigates the Alpine Club of Canada's role in mountaineering and the politics of parks. It was awarded the prestigious Canadian Historical Association’s Clio Prize. My first book was Mountain Diaries: The Alpine Adventures of Margaret Fleming, 1929-1980 (Historical Society of Alberta, 2004), co-edited with Karen Fox. Both titles were Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival finalists. 

Mountain parks and the Canadian national park idea are a key focus in my research. Cultural production of parks and landscapes through many means, from mountaineering and hydro dams to artwork and horse travel, is the compass of my exploration. Major institutions including the Banff School of Fine Arts, Alpine Club of Canada, and Parks Canada, as well as individuals, such as surveyor Arthur Oliver Wheeler and educator Donald Cameron, are central to my work. Writers Elizabeth Parker, Mary Schäffer, and Margaret Fleming figure in my expertise on women in alpine clubs, mountain travel, and conservation in Canada. Diverse topics of investigation have ranged from adult education and tourism to mapping and toponymy.

My recent research also focuses on people and parks in the environmental history and social history of the west. A new project focuses on a Canadian sport history of girls and women in Nordic skiing. The Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park and the Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival figure in this new work on skiing and sportscapes. Youth programs, outdoor swimming pools, Edmonton Gyro playgrounds, Mill Creek Park, children's history of play, and nature play are other topics of research. Winter cities are a focus of my Edmonton recreation work. Leisure studies of 'slow' movements also figure in my Edmonton adult education research. Urban biophilia and sustainability themes run through this work. Currently I am working with MA student Tyree McCrackin who is examining the life of Canadian Olympian David Rees in Nordic ski history. Linnea Bell recently completed her MA thesis study -- a history of lakeside resort landscapes at Cooking Lake in the Beaver Hills east of Edmonton, today encompassed within a UNESCO Biosphere site.

My scholarship examines cultural landscapes, governance, and commemoration. It historicizes people and parks as well as sense of place and heritage. Landscapes are temporally and cross-culturally discursive places of social memory. Reading cultural production through outdoor pursuits in landscapes suggests the complex constructions of identities, place, region, and nation synthesized through the historical movement of people and ideas. Voluntary sector roles among clubs and NGOs also emerge in my studies.

I am currently focused on efforts to create a new National Urban Park in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, contributing to advocacy and policy collaborations for Canadian heritage. I also work in public history with broader community advocacy for the preservation of the historic Ring Houses, a century-old Horse Barn, and other valuable heritage sites at the University of Alberta. Heritage, museums, and public history intrigue me. My heritage studies research and advocacy for public history involves many sites and persons. These encompass the UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere, Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Elizabeth Parker and A.O. Wheeler as Persons of National Historic Significance (HSMBC), the original Queen Elizabeth Outdoor Swimming Pool in Edmonton, and the historic Rossdale Power Plant in Edmonton's river valley. Commemoration and education are a special focus. I contributed to the Tipton Playground Exhibition community heritage initiative as a project co-funded by Kule Institute of Advanced Study (KIAS) and other public grants.


I am recruiting new graduate students for Fall 2023 and Fall 2024.

Students studying with me come from varied degree backgrounds. From the arts and humanities to social sciences, education and law, my students bring unique and often interdisciplinary backgrounds to their graduate studies of leisure, environment, and Canada. The main scope of my research work pertains to Canada, the West, and mountain regions in the period from the late 19th century through the 20th century. National parks and heritage in the Canadian Rockies are a key regional focus for research, along with related themes in Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. I'm also interested in sport and parks in urban history and on the prairies. National sport organizations, winter sports, winter cities, and club life are other areas of research. Feel free to contact me by email to discuss potential research and graduate work.

I teach undergraduate courses in recreation, sport, leisure, and tourism studies. My graduate seminar course PERLS 504 investigates the environmental history of nature, parks, and travel at the crossroads with cultural studies as well as mountain studies; the seminar is open to students from across the University of Alberta. Sustainability is a critical theme in my teaching.

KRLS 504/ KRLS 404/ DS 499 The History of Nature, Parks, and Travel

KRLS 323 Aboriginal Health and Physical Practices

KRLS 204 Canadian History of Leisure, Sport, and Health (Fall and Winter Terms, yearly)

RLS Public Policy in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism

Various Directed Studies (400 and 500 Levels) 

Social History of Sport and Recreation; Children in Nature and Outdoor Life; History of Recreation and Leisure; History of Nordic Skiing


Public Talk: Uplift - What happened when Alberta invested in arts and education in the Canadian Rockies? Canmore Public Library, Mar. 30, 2023.

Graduate Recruitment: I am currently recruiting new graduate students for Fall 2023 and Fall 2024. Recruits with a strong background in Canadian history and an interest in Nordic skiing are encouraged. Contact me by email if you are thinking about graduate work in sport history, mountain studies, or historical dimensions of parks and outdoor life in western Canada. I'd be pleased to hear from you.

Details: Dr. PearlAnn Reichwein (Principal Investigator), at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, calls for student applicants to join a research project entitled “Ski Like a Girl: Women’s Sport, Canmore Nordic Centre, and Olympic Legacy” funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Sport Canada.

The successful candidates will complete a Master of Arts or PhD in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation at the University of Alberta, beginning in 2023 and supervised by Dr. Reichwein. Applicants must have a degree in history, Canadian Studies, physical education, kinesiology (or related fields), or equivalent. Knowledge of Canadian history and sport history as well as interests in oral history, museums, public policy, and ski sports will be considered an asset.

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Reichwein by email ( with an unofficial copy of transcripts, a CV, and a brief statement of interest.


KRLS 204 - Canadian History of Leisure, Sport, and Health

An introductory examination of Canadian leisure, sport, physical cultures, recreation, tourism, and health, in a global world, since the 19th century. Topics are integrated to understand the past in order to think broadly and critically through historical study of culture and society. Prerequisite: KRLS 104. Credit will be granted for only one of KRLS 204 or PERLS 204.

RLS 325 - Public Policy in Recreation, Sport and Tourism

The course develops a critical understanding of public policy and governance in relation to sport, recreation and tourism. It is intended to help students to understand the rationale for public policy, the processes that form it, the governance context in which it is created and implemented, and its implications for the delivery of recreation, sport and tourism. Prerequisites: RLS 100 or KRLS 105.

Browse more courses taught by PearlAnn Reichwein

Scholarly Activities

Research - Book Titles

Book cover image for: Finding Directions West: Readings that Locate and Dislocate Western Canada’s Past


Reichwein, PearlAnn and Karen Wall. Uplift: Visual Culture at the Banff School of Fine Arts. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2020.


Reichwein, PearlAnn. Climber’s Paradise: Making Canada’s Mountain Parks, 1906 to 1974. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2014. Book awarded a national CHA Clio Prize – The Prairies for regional history, an Honourable Mention for Ecology and Environment Non Fiction in IndieFAB, Banff Mountain Book Festival Finalist, and design awards.


Reichwein, PearlAnn and Karen Fox, eds. Mountain Diaries: The Alpine Adventures of Margaret Fleming, 1929-1980. Calgary: Historical Society of Alberta, 2004. Book was a Banff Mountain Book Festival Finalist.

Peer Reviewed Book Chapters (selected)

Reichwein, PearlAnn. “Land and Love in the Rockies: The Poetic Politics of Sid Marty and Headwaters.” In Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta in the 1960s and 1970s. Edited by Leon Crane Bear, Larry Hannant, and Karissa Patton. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press, 2021.

Reichwein, PearlAnn and Jan Olson. “The Mill Creek Park Movement and Citizen Activism in Edmonton, 1964-1975.” In Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta in the 1960s and 1970s. Edited Leon Crane Bear, Larry Hannant, and Karissa Patton. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press, 2021.

Reichwein, Baldwin and PearlAnn Reichwein. “Drop In, Hang Out, and Crash: Outreach Programs for Transient Youth and War Resisters in Edmonton, 1969-1971.” In Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta in the 1960s and 1970s. Leon Crane Bear, Larry Hannant, and Karissa Patton. Edmonton: Athabasca University Press, 2021.

Reichwein PearlAnn and Karen Wall. “Mountain Capitalists, Space, and Modernity at the Banff School of Fine Arts.” In Finding Directions West: Readings that Locate and Dislocate Western Canada’s Past, 203-31. Edited by Heather Devine and George Colpitts. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2017.

Reichwein, PearlAnn and Lisa McDermott. “Opening the Secret Garden: Mary Schäffer, Jasper Park Conservation, and the 1911 Survey of Maligne Lake.” In Culturing Wilderness in Jasper National Park: Studies in Two Centuries of Human History in the Upper Athabasca River Watershed, 155-98. Edited by I.S. MacLaren. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2007.

Featured Publications

Reichwein PearlAnn and Karen Wall,

2017 January;

Chen, Qi and PearlAnn Reichwein.

2016 January;

PearlAnnReichwein, Baldwin Reichwein.

2016 January;

Retamales, Paulina and PearlAnn Reichwein.

2014 January;

Reichwein, PearlAnn.

2014 January;

Reichwein, PearlAnn and Karen Fox, eds.

2004 January;

Reichwein, PearlAnn.

The International Journal of the History of Sport. 34:14, (2017):1501-1520