As a precursor to the Recreation section, the Red Deer Athletic Association was formed in 1945 as a volunteer society with the mandate to organize sports and recreational activities and facilities in Red Deer. In October 1951, the functions moved to the Red Deer Recreation Commission who was funded and supported by the City of Red Deer.
In 1970, the responsibility moved from the City Commissioner to the Director of Finance and Services (City Treasurer). During this period, the Waskasoo Urban Park Project was a primary focus.
In 1985, the Community Services directorate was created, taking responsibility for Recreation, Parks, and Family and Community Support Services departments. Within this structure, in 1985 the Recreation Board changed to the Recreation and Parks Board, although the departments stayed separate.
In 1988, the Recreation department became the Recreation and Culture department, which oversaw the Recreation section and the Culture section at the City of Red Deer. In 1995, the department was again revised to the Recreation, Parks, and Culture department. The department continued to oversee the Recreation section and its various business units and reported to the renamed Community Services division.