Difference between revisions of "Edmonton"
Revision as of 00:57, 21 December 2008
Edmonton  is the capital city of Alberta. Its metro area is home to 1.1 million people and is the northernmost city in North America of at least one million people. The city is home to North America's largest mall: West Edmonton Mall, Canada's largest historic park: Fort Edmonton, and North America's largest urban parkland network. It has brilliant spectator sports, and is Canada's Festival City, home to a growing and established retail market, variety of different nightlife, and a large number of high end golf courses.
Edmonton is currently presenting a bid to hold the World's Fair 2017. It is also home to the Edmonton Indy, the only Indy race in Canada. Despite it's reputation as a low-rise city, Edmonton has quite the urban core. Edmonton (though not exactly known for it) also has a wide variety of architectural styles. The city is home to a fast growing population and a diversifying economy which is doing well for the metro area.
Edmonton was first founded as a fort in 1795 and grew into a major fort in the fur trade. In 1894, the town of Edmonton was founded and the city quickly grew. By 1904, Edmonton was incorporated as a city and had over 1000 people. The next ten years saw a rise in population to 74,000, but following the end of a real-estate boom the population decline within two years to 53,000. At this time the city's growth was being driven in part by the arrival of the railways, making the town a major transportation hub. The city grew in area during this time by acquiring land that was owned as a reserve which eventually became downtown. In 1912, the town south of the city that held the University of Alberta, Strathcona, was annexed. By 1905 Edmonton had become Alberta's capital. The 1920s saw slow growth for the city and by the 30s, Edmonton reached 79,000 people but was still growing slowly due to the depression.
By 1947, just after World War II, oil was discovered just south of the city and it rapidly became the fastest growing area in Canada. During this time, neighbourhoods sprawled all around and neighbourhoods planned before World War II were completed. The city surged from 83,000 to 134,000 in 1953. During this time, there was also architectural excellence going on as new styles were being developed and Canada's first curtain wall tower and planetarium were done. There was a housing shortage unlike ever seen and freeways and arterials were going nuts as the suburban expanse developed (mostly with Belgravia, Capilano, Westmount, Northgate, and Crestwood setting the grounds) and there was such a shortage in housing development. The city was a modern metropolis.
By the 1970s, there was an oil shortage, which made Edmonton boom like crazy as there was a lot in the area. This was Edmonton's skyscraper boom where residential and office towers springed up everywhere. Also, there was a lot of suburban development and concepts of strip malls were liked further. Edmonton was the place to be in Alberta. This was also when the last annexing was, which is the northeast and mostly still not developed.
Things changed in the 1980s. One would say the city began "growing up" from the oil boom. Oil prices went low low low and made Edmonton grow very little. Despite that, there was office tower development that was light years ahead of it's time and suburban development. Major offices for oil co.'s moved to Calgary. In the 1980s, West Edmonton Mall was completed which killed the downtown. Also, the LRT was started with an underground part downtown.
In the 1990s, nothing much happened in Edmonton. Edmonton started embracing "Festival City" and getting world class events but there was not much actually going on. Whyte Avenue started to become a shopping area and there was suburban housing. This was when a lot of American stores went into the Canadian market, creating a strong retail market.
In the past ten years, Edmonton has diversified its economy and it started branding it's sustainability. Edmonton hosted high end games like World Masters and has brought in a lot of new festivals. Suburban development spurred a lot, especially in the 2006 boom which soared housing prices. Downtown redevelopment started to take place and it is finally becoming a viable option. A lot of attractions are getting expansions and/or new buildings. The city's education area has grown in so many different directions making it host the "National Institute of Nanotechnology" along with great heart facilities. The economy diversified quick, but still having oil as a big part. All in all, Edmonton is growing up and is finally a great place to live and do stuff, the first time since the 60s. In 2006, a job market shortage left many businesses asking 20 dollars an hour just to waitress.
In more recent times, with the economic downturn, Edmonton has turned surprisingly well. Many high rise developments are still going, unlike Calgary. There is still talk of more stuff going under construction. The job market is kind of odd. On one hand, it still has the shortage and people still are paying high, but in some areas, there are job cuts or people who aren't hiring, despite them needing more workers.
Edmonton's climate is "northern continental", with a wide range of weather all four distinct seasons. The city is located at the same latitude as Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England, and experiences similarly warm summer days and cool nights. In total Edmonton receives 2,289 hours of sunshine per year, making it one of Canada's sunniest cities. Rainfall is low to moderate, and entire weeks can pass without clouds or precipitation through the late spring and summer.
Bright green foliage appears in May, signaling spring. Even as the city shakes off its winter chill, cold snaps and the occasional snowfall can still occur. The region's golf courses are generally open by this time, and other summer sports like soccer and softball begin to operate in the city's public sports facilities.
Summer days generally bring temperatures up to 21-25°C (70-77°F) in June, July, and August, though temperatures will often rise over 30°C (85°F) for a few days. Thunderstorms sweep in from time to time during the summer months, usually in the evening. Humidity is relatively low, so warm days are more comfortable than they are in humid climates. At the height of summer, Edmonton enjoys more than 17 hours of daylight, with twilight extending past 11PM in June and July.
Fall starts in mid September and is highlighted by bright yellow and orange foliage in Edmonton's extensive river valley parks. This season ushers in cooler temperatures ranging between 10-20°C during the day. Many tourists visit Edmonton and region for fall celebrations. For some, Edmonton acts as the gateway to the fall hunting season.
Edmonton winters are not as harsh as those further east on the Canadian Prairies. Periods of mild temperatures with daytime highs over 0°C (32°F) can occur. Such mild weather makes outdoor winter sports extremely popular with the locals. Stop by a local outdoor ice rink to catch the fever of children and adults alike taking part in community hockey. Colder days in Edmonton are kept reasonably comfortable by the low humidity index, but it's wise to have some lip balm and hand cream with you, as the skin and lips can get cracked and chapped quickly in this dry environment.
Edmonton gets much less snowfall than many other Canadian cities and even American cities further south. Winter walking and driving are not often affected. But cold snaps with temperatures down to and beyond -40°C/F may occur a couple of times during the winter (though it's unusual for these frigid spells to last more than 3 or 4 days). Extremely cold temperatures are usually accompanied by the crisp blue skies and bright sunshine of a prairie high-pressure zone. Even regular winter temperatures can become annoying in the rare occasion that there is a noticeable wind, so be prepared if you are visiting from a more temperate climate between December and March.
Edmonton is pretty great all-year-round, but the best time to go is in the summer months, particularly July and August. Visiting in summer guarantees great festivals, all farmers' markets to be open, more people out and about, better walks, and not freezin' your tooshie off.
Winter is great too, but for people from more southerly climates it can be very cold. If coming from a city like Montréal or Winnipeg, Edmonton isn't that much colder. Edmonton has a lot of festivals in wintertime too, just not as many as in summer.
By far the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Edmonton from outside Alberta is by flying. Most major airlines service Edmonton. General travel times to Edmonton are 45 minutes from Calgary, 1 1/2 hours from Vancouver, 4 1/2 hours from Montreal, and 4 hours from Toronto. Edmonton's main airport is the western hub to Canada's North.
To Europe, Edmonton has daily service to London on Air Canada. To the United States, Edmonton has scheduled departures to 10 United States airports: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
Edmonton is located on flat to rolling parkland in the plains east of the Canadian Rockies, with a deep river valley extending from the southwest to the northeast. Edmonton is the gateway to the Canadian North and Jasper National Park. Edmonton is such a large transportation hub because it is the only city that is big that far north. Jasper is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Edmonton via the Yellowhead Hwy. Edmonton is the starting point for many outdoors people, and RV'ers on their way to the Canadian Rockies (i.e. Jasper), the Yukon, and Alaska. Edmonton is 3 hours north of Calgary on the Queen Elizabeth II highway (formerly Highway 2), and 3 1/2 hours east of Jasper on highway 16.
From Vancouver, take the Trans-Canada (Highway 1) east to Hope, then the #5 (Coquihalla Highway) from Hope to the Yellowhead (Highway 16) eastbound junction just east of Tete Jaune Cache and north of Valemount. The average travel time in summer is 12-13 hours - assuming you do not plan on staying overnight along the way, which most traveling by road often do anyways. If you want, you can also (from Van) take Highway 1 to Calgary, and at Calgary go northbound on the QEII highway. If you do choose to stay overnight along the way, there is no shortage of hotels and motels in BC's highway towns.
It is not recommended to take the routes from British Columbia in a personal vehicle during the winter months of November to March. Although this major trucking route is well-maintained, severe winter storms can arise suddenly, particularly on the major inclines between Hope and Kamloops in British Columbia. Even regular bad weather can produce impassable roads, and communities are few and far between north of Kamloops. If you do want to make this trip during winter, stick to days without snowfall and try to travel during daylight (roughly 8AM to 5PM). Please note that all these travel times are based on good driving conditions, and can vary significantly based on weather and highway conditions.
From Saskatchewan, Saskatoon is only 5 hours away via Yellowhead Highway. It is usually quite easy to get to Edmonton from Saskatchewan due to Saskatchewans geography and therefore there are many great routes.
Greyhound,  services Edmonton from all major Canadian cities. There is also a premium service between Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer, and Fort McMurray with Red Arrow Motorcoach,  which feature more spacious seating (only three seats to a row) and "workstation" seats with electrical connections for business travelers and their computers.
Greyhound Canada is nicer than Greyhound USA. There are on-board movie services and the seats are more comfortable. Your fellow passengers are generally interesting people from differing backgrounds. It is actually quite enjoyable.
VIA Rail, 12360-121 Street,  provides passenger train services for Edmonton, and is linked to several major cities along the Canadian National Railroad. The VIA train station is now located a short distance from downtown just a couple of blocks north of the Yellowhead Highway and near the northwest corner of City Centre Airport. The station has free wifi, just ask a staff member for the passkey (as of Jan. '08, is 7804482575).
VIA Rail prices are higher than train prices generally in Europe. Passenger trains arrive through Edmonton numerous times during week. Passengers experience leisurely travel through some of the most amazing scenery in the world. Though somewhat more expensive than bus travel, service on a VIA Rail train even in the lowest class is superior to any bus. You can get up and walk around the carriages, dine conveniently, and you will find plenty of legroom in the comfortable seats. If you can afford the extra cost, it is generally worthwhile to take the train rather than the bus.
A large part of the city, built before and during the Second World War, is laid out in a grid-like system of straight streets, which makes for easy navigation by car. Most areas of the city built within the last 30 to 40 years have more chaotically arranged streets with loops and cul-de-sacs. And there are a number of bridges open only to one-way traffic going in and out of the downtown core. It is wise to consult a city map if you're not familiar with the city.
Edmonton's downtown core is fairly dense, with many office towers and condominium towers. Inner-city neighborhoods with low to medium density residential areas surround the immideate core for a few kilometers in all directions. Beyond the core, the city has developed suburban residential areas with urban sprawl and shopping malls typical of many North American cities that have experienced high growth during the postwar period.
Edmonton's neighbourhoods and areas are generally continuously developed, with the empty area on the outskirts, and there are very few gaps between areas as opposed to Calgary.
Edmonton's roads follow similarily cities like Saskatoon, Minneapolis, and (to an extent) Calgary (although each city still has many differences). Edmonton's housing built before 1950 was built on a grid mostly, with streets N/S and aves E/W, but some areas like Boyle have a grid network diagonally, with streets NW/SE and aves SW/NE. Edmonton's pre war area is overall small, but yet charming. It is easy to navigate through these areas, as for the most part, if one street is backed up, you can turn onto the next block and still pretty much end up where you need to go. Starting in the 1950s and 1960s, roads started having more curves, but they are still generally easily navigable as they have major roads all around them and still were kind of semi-grid. In the 1970s and 1980s developments, roads usually had wavy curves, cul de sacs, and were generally not so easily navigable. It is recommended to have a map for sure of these areas. This is the same for the modern development, if anything, it's worse to navigate.
Edmonton is filled with major roads all over the place. The Southeast area has 66 Street (75 Street/Wayne Gretzky Dr), Ellerslie Road SW, 50 St., and 63 Ave to name a few. The Southwest has Ellerslie Road SW, Fox Drive, Belgravia Rd, 34 Avenue to name a few, most of which are in residential areas. The Central area has the least major roads as a lot of roads were originally smaller and it's hard to widen. Some major ones include: Jasper Avenue, 124 Street, 111 Avenue, 97 Street, and Wayne Gretzky Dr. South Central is mostly centred with Whyte Avenue, 114 Street, 109 Street, and Groat Road as the major roads. The West End has a bunch, like 170 Street; 178 St; 90 Ave; Stony Plain Rd; and 118 Avenue. The Northside has a bunch like 167 Ave, 137 ave, 97 Street and Ft Road. East Central has 118 Avenue and Vic. Trail mostly.
Edmonton currently has one freeway that is entirely a freeway, Whitemud Drive. It is east-west and goes through the West/South areas of the city from Anthony Henday Drive in the west to Anthony Henday in the east.
Currently, Anthony Henday Drive is a highway-in-progress with a number of four-way intersections still present. By 2016, it is planned to be the ring-road of Metro Edmonton. Currently West, SW, SE, and East legs are done.
Yellowhead Trail (HWY 16/Transcanada Yellowhead) is is a high-traffic route through the north-end of the city. It isn't a freeway as there are still still intersections in parts and pedestrians DO cross. Yellowhead is not a good way to view the city as it is mostly dirty and industrial.
Other semi-freeways include: Wayne Gretzky Dr., Sherwood Park Dr., Saint Albert Trail, Manning Dr., Groat Road, Calgary Trail (s. of 23 Ave.), and Stony Plain Road (west of 179 St.).
For people unfamiliar with the city, you may see some of the freeways, most notably Whitemud Drive, are surrounded by trees and houses instead of asphalt and bigboxes like many other cities. This is because a lot of the big box development is just off the highways and the parts bordering the freeways are actually residential and full of trees. It adds natural beauty but means a lot of stuff is off the main highways.
Edmonton is served by a number of taxi services small and large. The major ones are:
All Edmonton taxi services offer a 24 hours per day, seven days a week service. There is service also for people with special access requirements.
Edmonton has a safe, efficient and inexpensive public transportation system: the Edmonton Transit System . With hundreds of different bus routes, you can get nearly anywhere you need to go usually with few transfers .
During peak hours, buses run as frequently as every 15 minutes. Outside of peak, the frequency drops to every 30 minutes and on some routes to industrial areas or far-flung suburbs as infrequent as one service per hour. Many major bus routes will operate as early as 5 am to as late as 1 am, but there are a number which stop running at 8PM-9PM or only run only during peak hours (6AM-9AM and 3PM-6PM). Some bus routes simply do not run on Sundays. For more information or to plan your bus trip, you can call Transit Information at 780-496-1611 or check out the Trip Planner . For where routes go and their names which is essential, go to .
The transit system in the greater metropolitan area is not unified, so if you wish to visit the suburbs be prepared for more transfers and increased fares.
Edmonton was the first North American city with a population of under 1 million (Edmonton today has over 1 million) to have developed a Light Rail Transit (LRT)  system. It stretches as a single line from the University of Alberta Hospital on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River to the Clareview area in the Northeast section of the city. It is extremely useful if your destination is on or near the LRT route because it is convinient and quick, but otherwise stick to the buses. The LRT line is currently being expanded all the way to Southgate Mall and eventually to Century Park in the far south part area of the city, with an estimated completion date of 2010. As well, another LRT leg has begun construction. It will go from Churchill Stn (built) to NAIT with stops at 105 Ave and Kingsway Mall.
During peak hours on weekdays, the LRT trains run every 6 minutes. Outside of that and on Saturdays, it's every 10-15 minutes depending on the time of day. On Sundays and holidays, the trains run every 15 minutes throughout the day. The trains also operate generally from about 5:26am(slightly later on Saturdays) to 1:26am on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays and holidays, the LRT stops running past 12:26am. There are no turnstiles or mechanical barriers to prevent fare evaders, but be warned: transit officers do patrol the lines, and if you fail to show proof of payment you will be hit with a $110 fine.
Fares are $2.50 for adults and $2 for youths and seniors (as of April 2008), with "special events" running you $4 for a round trip. Day passes can be bought for $7.50 regardless of age group. A pack of 10 tickets can be bought for up to $21.50 (adults) at many convenience stores, drug stores or the ETS online store.
Edmonton has fairly good cycling routes which allow for all-year cycling, though winter cycling can be challenging for those unused to Edmonton weather. These marked routes, combined with a lack of freeways to traverse and relatively low traffic compared to other major cities, low snow or rainfall, and a fairly flat terrain, make Edmonton an easy city to travel by bicycle. The City of Edmonton provides free maps  of the bike routes.
Edmonton has a street system that is mostly numbered, although it does have named streets: usually major roads and roads in the newer residential areas. Streets in Edmonton run north-south, while avenues run east-west. The downtown core of the city is centered near 101 St and Jasper Ave (which corresponds to 101 Ave), with streets increasing in number to the west, and avenues increasing to the north.
Addresses are generally easy to find in Edmonton, since they are logically arranged so that even-numbered building/house numbers are on the north side of avenues and west side of streets. The first two or three digits of a building or house number will tell you which street it lies just west of, or which particular avenue it lies north of. For example, 10219-101 Street would be located on the east side of 101 Street, just north of 102 Avenue.
The vast majority of the city lies in the NW quadrant with the counterpoint near the southeast corner of the city proper, and it is common to omit the "NW" from street addresses in the NW quadrant. The grid's official "zeros" are called Meridian Street (what would be 0 St) and Quadrant Avenue (what would be 0 Ave), but they are not important streets for any other reason. Meridian & Quadrant do not even intersect as of yet - Quadrant only exists between 199 St NW/SW and 207 St NW/SW - and if they did, residents would generally consider their intersection to be far outside the city. There is also a NE quadrant but very few addresses are there and should not be a problem.
Here is some of the stuff to see in Edmonton:
For more information on these neighbourhoods or to see information on more neighbourhoods, see the districts.
North Saskatchewan River Parks
Wonderful walking, jogging and cycling paths through the River Valley. There are over a hundred kilometers of walking, biking, and skiing trails joining them along the banks and flood plains of the North Saskatchewan river. Altogether, the city's trails and parks make up the largest connected urban parkland in North America.
One of the most popular parks is Hawrelak Park, located just off Groat Road near the University of Alberta. It encircles a large pond, home to a variety of ducks and geese in summer. It's the site of a variety of different festivals, including Shakespeare in the Park and Symphony Under the Sky. In winter after the ice has frozen thick enough it is a popular venue for outdoor ice skating.
Another good one is Louise McKeeney Park just outside downtown. Still under construction, but even now it is pretty darn good. It has gazebos, benches, sculptures and is right on the river. When complete it will be a great urban park. It is just below Shaw Conference Centre.
Edmonton has a lot of very beautiful architecture, even though you may not think of Edmonton in terms of architectural design.
If you are into pre-war styles, there isn't too much in Edmonton, but what it's got is glamourous. The Alberta Legislature is Alberta's most iconic structure and is built with high quality items that serve every detail. Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is a beautiful Chateau building from the '10s with beautiful arched roofs. Union Bank inn is a cute little building with world class details and is tucked in among modern buildings. If you like old style houses, check out Mill Creek, Glenora, Downtown (very small), Oliver, Old Strathcona, Belgravia, Queen Mary Park, Alberta Avenue, Highlands. Also, if you like the tiny, dense classic structures that were formerly small shops and warehouses (now lofts and retail), check out 104th Street between Jasper and 104 Avenue NW or Jasper Avenue between 97 and 92 St. NW. Also, you might as well check out Fort Edmonton Park, though most buildings aren't original, it's neat to see the buildings in a "just built" look.
If you love the brutalist and utilitarian 1947-1983 styles-Edmonton has a wide range. Coronation Park has an aged, bold, modest, clean, design with funky curves and sought after colour palettes. The TELUS Towers' downtown are a very prominent piece of the brutalist era-and at the time of completion-was the tallest buildings west of Toronto. There are also a lot of other prominent brutalist towers like SunLife Towers, ATB Centre, and almost every building in the Government Core (an area of downtown). In the deep south side, Edmonton Research and Development Park is a very funky interpretation on brutalism and is very unique. Back downtown, Chateau Lacombe is a hotel tower in a circular shape and is a very neat "retro" building from the 50s. The Downtown Milner building on 104 St NW is a very good example of beautiful utilitarian style with the International Style, elegant lines, and raised podiums. Other than that, just explore mostly central areas for brutalist-utilitarian styles. They're everywhere.
For 1980s modern styles, Edmonton is in a high league. Commerce Place and ManuLife Place are the most iconic structures of Canadian 80s Architecture, as they were very ahead of their time. They used teal glass and fine steel and curved it into unique shapes. Other than that, the City Centre Mall towers show simple 1980s towers typical of the time. Canada Place is one of the best examples of large scale, glassy, low rise 80s architecture with it's unique pink glass and elegant lines.
For modern styles, Edmonton is more quiet. Despite having good modern architecture, most people think the only modern buildings are the strip malls and cookie-cutter housing. That's not the case-although you might have to search a bit. Mill Creek and Crestwood are nice residential neighbourhoods that offer modern houses using elegant lines and of course posh windows among subtle unique details. Aside from residential neighbourhoods, Shaw Conference Centre is a beautiful glass/concret structure in the river valley that has unforgettable vistas. City Hall uses a clean glass pyramid with beautiful steel accents and a base that is beige and kept clean. The fountains definitely complete it. Robbins Health Centre is a recently built buidling that uses very high end product steel, and, unlike most modern structures, uses less glass (the steel does the job). Makes a very "industrial" yet clean look.
Edmonton is a surprisingly lively city for an area covered in snow 6 months of the year. The summer brings many festivals into the city, and with Canada's most impressive mountain parks a half-day's drive away, Edmonton is fun year-round.
Edmonton and Area is served by seven large casinos: Casino Yellowhead, Casino Edmonton, Bacarrat Casino, Palace Casino, St Albert Casino, Celebration's Casino, Marriot Enoch Resort & Casino.
For theatre, Edmonton is a paradise. Although mostly unknown, Edmonton has a very vibrant arts community dedicated to plays and shows. In the central area, there is the Winspear which focuses on concerts, the Citadel which is a play mecca, the City Centre Theatre with its Hollywood flicks and the Roxy Theatre with hidden gem films and plays. Outside the central area, the south central area is home to the theatre district and the Jubilee Auditorium. It includes many independent places like the Varscona and Garneau. In the west end, there are mega movie theatres and the smaller unique ones (most commonly dinner theatres) of Jubilation's and Mayfield. Also scattered in the north and south are the big movie theatres with the mainstream flicks.
There are a number of big movie theatres that hold the high budget movies that're mainstream. For information on what is showing see the Edmonton Movie Guide .
Edmonton's river valley and Mill Creek area have an extensive network of trails, good for walking, biking and cross-country skiing. As you travel through the extensive stretches of linked ravines and forested areas in the river valley, at many points you can't even tell you're in a city.
There are a variety of bike shops, including a non-profit bicycle co-op . You can drop in on their workshop hours and wrench your own bike for cheap. Mechanics are on hand to help and answer your questions.
Bike maps are freely available at many places, such as City Hall and the University, in addition to most bike shops, eg. Revolution Cycle , United Cycle , Hardcore Mountain Bike Store  and others.
For skiing, Edmonton has a number of ski hills including Edmonton Ski, Sunridge Ski Area, and Snow Valley.
Albertans have a keen fascination with golf, based on the province's sunny summers, large number of developed courses and connecting roadways, and relatively low prices. Edmonton contains or being within a quick drive of dozens of excellent courses, some to the quality of California and the American Southwest. Most are public, and the few private courses are not spectacular enough that you will feel you're missing much by sticking to the public courses.
The best quality ones are in the river valley as they offer scenic vistas whilst you golf on world class courses. Victoria (see: central) and Riverside (see: east) are probably the best golf courses. Kinsmen is best for beginners or people who want to take it easy.
Edmonton is full of all kinds of spectator sports. The most known, The Edmonton Oilers, is a part of the National Hockey League and has won numerous Stanley Cups and plays at Rexall Place. Edmonton is also home to the Canadian Football ream, Edmonton Eskimos which perform well against other cities and play at Commonwealth Stadium. For basketball, the recently formed Edmonton Chill plays at Grant MacEwan against smaller US cities and other Canadian cities. There is also the Edmonton Rush (lacrosse), Golden Bears (Hockey from University of Alberta), and the Edmonton Cracker Cats (baseball). The Cracker Cats play at TELUS Field and the Golden Bears at the Butterdome, the Rush is at Rexall. There is also the Oil Kings which is a small league hockey team at Rexall Place.
Major events and festivals
Edmonton is home to many regular festivals and special events during the spring and summer months. It is hailed, "Canada's Festival City" due to the wide range of festivals that other cities have a lack of.
If you are into art and music, there is a wide array of all kinds of stuff. The Works features neat art from paintings, drawings, sculptures and much more. The Whyte Ave Artwalk is a nice way to stroll the trendy street looking at local art. Edmonton also hosts the larges Fringe Theatre Fest in the country which holds unique acts and mini plays. There is also the Canoe Fest which tells stories about morals and history. For music, Symphony Under the sky is a nice way to listen to some fine music in the great outisde. The Folk Fest is a very large festival and is where great musicians play folk music.
For culture, Edmonton has a few nice festivals. Heritage Days involves food, dance, and local ornaments from many different cultures. Edmonton Cariwest is a carribean festival that takes over downtown with colour ful dances. Gay Pride is a large festival that closes Jasper Ave for people to be proud of gay rights.
In food, Edmonton has some festivals to keep you salivating. Heritage Days hosts food from all kinds of countries and Taste of Edmonton has food from Edmonton's best restaurants collaborated in one little place in downtown.
Other than the ones mentioned, be sure to check the districts for more festivals because in Edmonton, there is a festival for everyone.
Edmonton is full of all kinds of shopping opportunities, with a lot of beautiful independent, high quality stores. Highlights include:
See the district articles for specific listings of different restaurants and fast food joints. Edmonton is definitely world class when it comes to dining. For the traveller, there is a wide variety of options.
Edmonton is the birthplace of two major Canadian restaurant chains: Boston Pizza (Italian), and earl's (Canadiana). These two have major locations across Canada despite their roots of Edmonton. Boston Pizza is probably the largest because it's the only one that has a large amounts locations in the U.S., although down there it's called Boston's.
The city is also home to a lot of good quality fast food chains like Burger Baron and Fatburger. These places make the burgers right when you order, so no pre-cooking, just made right when you order.
Italian food is very high quality in Edmonton. Famoso Pizza in Oliver is the best pizzaria, no doubt about that. Chianti's, Sicilian Kitchen, Sorrentino's, Fiore Cantina, and Tony's Pizza offer the best in regular pasta that is both hearty and filling. All in all the Italian restaurants are pretty good. The best ones are Whyte Ave, Downtown, or in Little Italy.
Edmonton has it's fair share of cheap Chinese food, most of which is concentrated in Chinatown. Edmonton is the city where WokBox was founded, which is a Chinese chain that has offered fair priced Chinese food in a quick fast food environment. There is a large amount of them in Edmonton.
Back to dining, Edmonton has two major dining centres:
Edmonton is home to a wide range of alcohol places. The best microbrewery is Alley Kat whereas there are a lot of pubs, lounges, and bars mostly clustered on Jasper Avenue and Whyte Avenue. Some of the most popular include: Filthy McNasty's, Black Dog, Ceili's Irish Pub, Vintage Lounge, Suede, and O Bryne's.
There are two main areas for good coffee places. The Coffee Block refers to a block of really nice independent coffee shops between 103 St. and 104 St. on Jasper Avenue. Although there are only 3 cafés, they are all very good and the block seems to be attracting a lot of coffee shops with more and more popping up. Another area is Whyte Avenue which has more spread out coffee shops but pretty much each one is very good. Transcend in Argyll is a very classy coffee shop that not only makes coffee, will sell you the beans (if you want to take home). Other than that, just do some exploring, you might just find something that is just for you.
Edmonton has a lot of good smoothies. The mega chain Booster Juice was founded in Edmonton and is quite good. Also, there is Jugo Juice and some independants that you just need to keep your eyes open for!
Most of the budget hotels in the city are concentrated in and around the south (e.g. Derrick Hotel, Holiday Inn the Palace) end of the city or in the deep east central area. There is also a lot in the nearby suburbs, see Edmonton's area.
There is such a wide range of the mid range hotels in every part of town.
Closer to the core, Delta:Downtown Edmonton and the Comfort Inn are the best bet. These two offer great views along with easy access to the benefits of downtown. In the north end, the Prospector's Gaming Room and North Inn and Suites are some great examples of some modern and simple good priced hotels at that part of the city. In the West End, with the closeness of West Edmonton Mall, there are a ton of hotels to choose from, most of which are on 100 Ave.
South of the river, in South Central the Campus Suites is your best bet with nice service and proximity to the University. Also on Gateway Boulevard there is a lot of hotels like Delta:South Edmonton, Ramada South, Travelodge South, Econo Lodge, and Ceder Park Inn are the highest quality and friendliness. In the east, there is a lovely Four Points hotel with easy access to the city.
Edmonton has a good variety of high end hotels in different locations in the city. Some of the most popular locations are:
Edmonton is served by the Edmonton Police Service that helps make the city very safe. The headquarters are just NE of Downtown in McCauley. There are 6 big stations that serve Edmonton:
Police effectiveness in areas vary. Clareview and Mayfield have very good stations and very little occurs there. Southeast is overall pretty good, but some crimes still occur frequently, as the West end and Northside. Southwest is the most effective as there has not been any crimes in the past 2 months. The Headquarters does okay, in that it's immideate area and the Downtown Core is well served. Overall EPS does well.
Areas requiring care
Edmonton's inner city crime has been on the rise, but it's crime suburban is decreasing. Overall the Edmonton crime is lowering. There are some areas where increased caution is advised, particularly after dark:
Edmonton's panhandling has increased in recent years. Depending on your experience, you may not be asked for money, others may be asked 5 times in 2 days. So long as you know what to do, you should be fine. Though Edmonton has aggressive panhandling, it rarely gets to the point of abuse. You could try and ignore them, as a lot of times they will just think you didn't hear and move onto someone else. If you are with someone, you are less likely to be actually asked. If the beggar follows you or asks for money and you don't want to ignore, just say, sympathetically and calmly: "No, not today" or "No, sorry, maybe some other time" or "No, I can't help you buddy" instead of "Get a job", "Get off crack", "Loser", "Screw off you idiot", etc. which can aggrivate them to being violent. Usually being nice is the way to go as they will normally politely respond - that's the trick. In recent months, areas with panhandling have been getting police cruisers and police patrolling which has significantly decreased panhandling. Still, don't be surprised if you're asked. Areas in downtown and the Old Strathcona area are usually the areas with panhandling. In daytime, you are least likely to get asked. Try to avoid parking lots above/under ground that aren't gated shut, as there is a clear enterance for people to get in and corner you and be more aggresive - again less likely before the sun goes down.
Navigation in Edmonton is generally made easier by city's gridded street system (mostly in the areas built before World War II) and relative lack of traffic compared to most other major North American cities. Visitors should also note that additional hazards are presented by winter driving in the city, especially during and after the first few snowfalls of the winter and during any subsequent bad winter weather. Ice can be a problem, especially on bridges. Ice on roadways can be almost invisible, which is where the commonly used - and dreaded - term "black ice" comes from. A lack of effective post-snowfall sanding and snow clearance exacerbates these additional hazards.
Hospitals and major health centres
If you are on the north end, central, or in east central, the Royal Alexandra Hospital is the best. For the west, Miseracordia is probably the best due to proximity. In the south side of the river, you may choose from Grey Nun's or University. Some people in central might go to University as well.
Nearby Banff and Jasper are both well-known national parks. They include world-class ski areas, hiking, boating, hostels, and many other outdoor attractions. Jasper is roughly 4 hours from Edmonton by the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16). Banff is only slightly further away.