Vilna and Bellis Special for Time Travel and Outdoor Quests

A look around tiny hamlets can be a trip. One look at the oldest operating pool hall in Alberta and you’ll just have to see inside. Once inside, try and resist a game. The whole place has you feeling like you’ve stepped into a movie set in Unforgiven. Except, here, the people are award winning welcomers. You’ll be snapping shots like crazy. Add in rich wild berry and mushroom picking spots at some of Alberta’s prettiest little spots and you have your crew the niftiest of excursions.


Bellis and Vilna are on Highway 28 northeast of Edmonton. Stop at the Waskatenau turn off at Pepper’s Highway Service for coffee and fresh baked goodies for your onward journey.

Browse in Bellis

Appreciate the bounty—including antiques, art, furniture, and collectibles—at the massive Heritage Corner Shoppe. You just may find that must have analog clock or elaborately framed mirror, perfect for the landing at home.


If Bellis made you hungry, and the locals won’t reveal their top berry picking spots, stop in at Porky’s Side Street Cafe in Vilna to pick up burgers and blueberry pie. Head over to picnic under the giant mushrooms landmark.

Time Travel

Rack ‘em up in Vilna, population 300, for a glimpse of captivating history. Time travel back to 1921 at Alberta’s oldest operating Pool Hall & Barbershop on Historic Main Street (open Wed., Fri. & Sat.). The place is family friendly now but back then, when a game of snooker was a dime, fights broke out among the men who frequented the place.

Today, visitors play on one of two 12 foot Brunswick Balke Collender snooker tables or one of two 8 foot Samuel May billiard tables. Those four turn of the century pool tables, as well as cues, balls, coal heater, oiled wood floors, advertisements and barber chair are all original. Call Leroy 780 656 0553 to book.

Rumble Alberta named Vilna as Alberta’s Most Welcoming Community in 2022.

Fish and Float

Unstrap the kayak and put in to tiny 48 acre Bellis Beach Lake for a quiet paddle. Just two km south of the Bellis turnoff, this shallow lake is known for good perch and rainbow trout fishing, best in May or September when the water is cooler. Stocked annually with 15,000 rainbow trout, the lake is textbook perfect for teaching kids how to fish or practicing catch and release or both. Don’t forget to clean one for shore lunch*. Wrap with butter in tinfoil and cook up over an open fire. Nab a few raspberries from along the trails at the campground and dinner is done! Note: electric motors or self propelled craft only.

*Don’t forget to check the Alberta Fishing Regulations for up to date rules.

Make extra time:

Camp at Garner Lake Provincial Park just past Vilna

Kubasa Canyon - Detour south from Bellis on Hwy 857. Visit the historic Dickie Bush church on the hill overlooking a valley. Continue south one mile, east on Range Road 584, over a slight rise then ride down into a scenic Kubasa Canyon. Need another reason to go? See if you can find this namesake geocache.

Detour nine kms north of Waskatenau to The Gathering Place, to buy pre made meals from a cooperative of small farmers and neighbours with a vision to “gather and grow together.” Order the Ukrainian Plate to go—10 perogies fried with butter, onions & bacon, as well as garlic sausage, sour cabbage rolls and a garnish of sour cream & green onions. Should feed the family!

Alberta’s 300 km Iron Horse Trail runs right through the village, so ATVers, cyclists and horse riders can access the trail from here.