Difference between revisions of "Edmonton"

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| region2description= Includes Garneau, Windsor Park, Ritchie, Strathcona, Mill Creek, Strathcona Junction, Belgravia, Kinsmen, and many more.  This area is the hottest area in the city and is composed of excellent shopping, nightlife, cuisine, and events.  The area has some nice architecture as well as excellent views of the downtown of the city.  The hottest strip, Whyte Ave, is here and is home to excellent urban shopping, nightlife, events, and cuisine.  It is considered Edmonton's artsy area.
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Revision as of 22:30, 25 May 2009

Edmonton is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.
Edmonton skyline on a warm winter day.

Edmonton [1] 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 plenty of stuff for travelers to check out whether you're into tourist traps or not. The city is home to West Edmonton Mall which is the largest mall in North America and Fort Edmonton Park which is an amazing opportunity to view Edmonton's history. On top of that Edmonton is famous for its beautiful river valley which is great for trails, city views, and going to some of the hundreds of festivals that call Edmonton home. The city has a vibrant cultural scene with many theatres, festivals, concerts, and much more. In winter, the city turns into a paradise of skiing and snow ball fights - a truly winter experience.

Districts

City of Edmonton (click to enlarge).
Central
South Central
West End
South
This area is basically the south side of the city. The Mill Woods district is a mostly residential suburbia, and Terwillegar is a modern cookie cutter development. The area is home to South Edmonton Common which is Canadas largest big box centre and Southgate mall which is a high fashion mall. The area is primarily suburban.
North

Understand

History

The area around Edmonton was home to native populations for hundreds of years before the arrival of European settlers. In 1795, Edmonton House was constructed and work on Fort Edmonton began. The original site was near Fort Saskatchewan, but was relocated near the present day Legislature in 1930.

The town developed around the fur trade, and in the early days there was little to distinguish it from other such settlements in the area. The first hotel and hospital were built in the 1870s. The latter part of the century saw an influx of wealthy families, and in 1892 the Town of Edmonton was officially founded.

Early developments were centered around the Quarters area. In 1905, Edmonton was declared the capital of the province of Alberta, and a year later was designated a city. The 1907-1914 period saw the city experience an unprecedented boom, with the population rising from around 6,000 to 78,000. During this period, the University of Alberta was founded

In 1947 oil was discovered just south of the city, which spurred a second period of growth, leading to urban sprawl and the development of US-style malls. The Royal Alberta Museum opened in 1967.

The utilitarian office buildings that dominate that downtown landscape today were mostly constructed in the 1970s.

Today the city is known a an up-coming place to live and do business. While it may lack the style of Vancouver, the city does offer multifaceted charms that attract both business and tourism.

Climate

Edmonton skyline in winter.

Must-haves for winter in Edmonton
Between November and March, pack the following:

  • Toque (knit hat)
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Thick jackets
  • Boots
  • Mittens
  • Scarf

The best time to visit is in the summer months, particularly July and August. Visiting in summer guarantees great festivals, more people out and about, and not freezin' your tooshie off. Winter can be great too, but people from more southerly climates will need to be prepared.

Edmonton's climate is "northern continental", with a wide range of weather all four distinct seasons. 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.

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. For some tourists, Edmonton acts as the gateway to the fall hunting season.

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 some American cities further south. Winter walking and driving are not often affected. But cold snaps with temperatures down to and beyond -40°C/F do occur during the winter although 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 very cold if there is a noticeable wind so if you are visiting between December and March, be prepared.

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) -7.3 -3.6 2.1 11.3 17.6 21 22.8 22.1 16.8 10.9 0 -5.4
Nightly lows (°C) -16 -13.1 -7.3 -0.3 5.7 10 12.1 11.1 5.8 0.3 -8.2 -13.9

Tourist Centres

  • Downtown Business Association of Edmonton, 10121 Jasper Avenue, 780-424-4085, [2]. Located on the west side of the Royal Bank building, this is Edmonton's best source for current pedway maps and hotspots of the city centre.
  • Edmonton Tourism, World Trade Centre building, 9990 Jasper Avenue, 1-800-463-4667, [3]. Located in a heritage building with the Ruth Chris Steakhouse on street level.
  • Gateway Park Visitor Information Centre, 2404 Gateway Boulevard, 1-800-463-4667. 8:30 am - 4:30 pm M to F; 9 am - 5 pm weekends; Summer Hours (Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day weekend): 8 am - 8 pm daily. While this is an official Alberta government VIC (Visitor Information Centre), for all intents and purposes, it remains 'outside' the city and is virtually inaccessible to pedestrians. Excellent for recreational vehicle (RV) owners and south-of-Edmonton residents, however.

Get in

By plane

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.

  • Edmonton International Airport (IATA: YEG), [4]. Edmonton International is located south 10km of Edmonton in Leduc County (though essentially it is in Edmonton). Edmonton International Airport is the fastest growing intl airport in Canada-with new parkades, services, terminals, planes, hotels, and shops popping up. It has two terminals, with a central hall that is the security point for all domestic and international traffic (excluding travel to the US, which uses the South Terminal). Transportation to and from the airport will need to be arranged as there is no public transportation available to the airport. There is an airport shuttle available at an affordable cost ($15 one way; $25 return). Taxi service is also available, but can be costly (around $60 to or from downtown as of 2006). The drive between Edmonton International airport and downtown is about half an hour, using the Queen Elizabeth Hwy 2, Gateway Boulevard, Walterdale Bridge and other parts of the city. Allow extra time during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Car rental companies are located in the parkade directly across for the terminal for easy pick-up and returns.
  • WestJet, [5]. Canada's main discount airline services most western cities out of Edmonton, as well as most major Canadian centers.
  • Air Canada, [6]. The national carrier uses Edmonton International as a gateway to the Canadian North.

To Europe, Edmonton has daily service to London-Heathrow on Air Canada. To Mexico City, Mexico Mexicana offers 3 times weekly flights. 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 International Airport has seasonal charter service to/from:

Acapulco, Bahias de Huatulco, Cozumel, Holguin, La Romana, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Liberia, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Montego Bay, Puerto Vallarta, Varadero, Cancun, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, Samana, and San Jose del Cabo.

There are also many flights to more American cities from Calgary, where someone can easily make a connection.

By car

Edmonton is located in Central Alberta east of the Canadian Rockies, with a deep river valley extending from the southwest to the northeast. Known as Gateway to the North, Edmonton is the largest city on the Yellowhead branch (Alberta Highway 16) of the Trans-Canada Highway system. Edmonton is 3 hours north of Calgary on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (formerly Highway 2) and 3.5 hours east of Jasper on Highway 16.

From Vancouver, Edmonton is best accessed using Highway 1 (the Trans-Canada) east to Hope, then Highway 5 (the Coquihalla) from Hope to the Highway 16 eastbound junction. The average travel time in summer is 12 to 13 hours. Travelers from Saskatoon will find Edmonton about 5 hours away using the Yellowhead Highway.

From British Columbia, average travel time during winter (November to March) can be much longer. International travelers are advised that while 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. Nevertheless, travelers cognizant of road conditions will find winter trips to Edmonton generally safe.

By bus

Greyhound, [7] 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, [8] which feature more spacious seating (only three seats to a row) and workstation seats with electrical connections for business travelers and their computers.

By train

VIA Rail, 12360-121 Street, [9] provides passenger train services for Edmonton, and is linked to several major cities along the Canadian National Railroad. The VIA train station is 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. Their 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.

Easy access directly from Edmonton via VIA Rail to: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Vancouver. If you go further, you can go to Toronto, Montréal, etc.

Get around

Jasper Avenue is at the heart of downtown Edmonton.

A large part of the city, built before and during the Second World War, is laid out in a grid pattern of straight streets, which makes for easy navigation by car or foot. There are a number of bridges, including the Walterdale Bridge and High Level Bridge, going in and out of the downtown core.

Edmonton's downtown is fairly eclectic, home to numerous Government of Alberta buildings as well as modern office towers, including the CN Tower near City Hall and the impressive, white marble-clad Bank of Montreal on 101 Street. Visitors from large metropolises such as Vancouver and Toronto will find much of Edmonton's downtown fairly dated-looking. Despite this fact, the 'minitropolis' of Edmonton contains some of the most architecturally significant buildings in the province, including the crimson-coloured Citadel Theatre and the church-like spires of MacEwan College.

By car

Edmonton's road system follows similar cities like Saskatoon, Minneapolis and Calgary. Edmonton's housing that was built before 1950 was built on a grid, with streets N/S and avenues E/W, but some older neighbourhoods like Boyle Street have a diagonal grid pattern, with streets NW/SE and avenues SW/NE. During the 1950s and 1960s, roads were designed less grid-like, but they are still easily navigable. New subdivisions such as Windermere in the southside and and the Village and Greisbach in the northwest are designed with more curves, cul-de-sacs and named streets. If visiting these newer areas, a current city map is highly recommended.

Major roads in Edmonton are as follows: Southeast: 50 Street, 66 Street, Ellerslie Road, 75 Street/Wayne Gretzky Drive Southwest: Ellerslie Road, Fox Drive, Belgravia Road, 34 Avenue City Centre: 97 Street, Jasper Avenue/101 Avenue, 107 Avenue, 111 Avenue, 118 Avenue, 124 Street Southside: Whyte Avenue, 114 Street, 109 Street West End: 170 Street, 178 Street, Stony Plain Road Northside: 137 Avenue, 167 Avenue, Fort Road, Mark Messier/St. Albert Trail

Highways

Edmonton's main east-west highway south of the North Saskatchewan River is Whitemud Drive. It goes through the West and South areas of the city.

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, southwest, southeast and east legs are complete.

Edmonton's main highway north of the river is known as Yellowhead Trail (Alberta Highway 16). Travelers wishing to discover Edmonton proper (and avoid the trendy, but tourist-clogged Old Strathcona on the southside) are strongly encouraged to take this route. Some of the city's greatest cultural landmarks, including Rexall Place (home of the Oilers) and Commonwealth Stadium are accessible from the Yellowhead.

Other major roads include Groat Road, Mark Messier/St. Albert Trail, the Sherwood Park Freeway, Stony Plain Road and Wayne Gretzky Drive.

By taxi

Edmonton is served by a number of taxi services small and large. The major ones are:

  • Yellow Cab, 780-462-3456, [10].
  • Capital Taxi, 780-423-2425, [11]
  • Co-op Taxi, 780-425-2525, [12].
  • Barrel Taxi, 780-489-7777, [13].

All Edmonton taxi companies offer 24/7 service and are highly recommended after a night of bar-hopping. From the last weekend in November to New Year's Eve on weekends, Operation Red Nose is in operation (780-421-4444).

By public transit

Edmonton's LRT map, click to enlarge.

Edmonton has a safe, efficient and inexpensive public transportation system: the Edmonton Transit System [14]. 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 [15], or Google Maps. For where routes go and their names which is essential, go to [16].

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 (Metro Edmonton today has over 1 million) to have developed a Light Rail Transit (LRT) [17] system. It is a part of the Edmonton Transit System (ETS), which also manages the buses. It stretches from Clareview Station in the northeast section of the city to the Health Sciences Station at the University of Alberta Hospital. The LRT line is currently being expanded to the University of Alberta South Campus (April 2009) and further yet to Southgate Centre and Century Park (2010).

During peak hours on weekdays, LRT trains run every 6 minutes. Outside of that and on Saturdays, frequency is every 7 to 12 minutes, depending on the time of day. Sundays and holidays, trains run every 15 minutes throughout the day. Trains operate from about 5:26 am to 1:26 am. On Sundays and holidays, the LRT stops running past 12:26 am.

Fares are $2.50 for adults and $2.25 for youths and seniors. Day passes can be bought for $7.50 regardless of age group. A pack of 10 tickets can be purchased for $21.50 (adults). Tickets can be purchased at the ETS online store, automated fare vending machines located at all LRT stations, or at the ETS Customer Information Centre located on the pedway level of Churchill Station. Note that Mac's convenience stores in Edmonton no longer sell adult bus tickets.

By bicycle

Edmonton has excellent cycling routes which allow for all-year cycling, though winter cycling can be challenging for those unaccustomed 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 [18] of the bike routes.

Finding addresses

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.

See

Edmonton has stunning art by great local talent, amazing architecture that gives a touch of Edmonton's history, and unique attractions like the Muttart (below).

  • Alberta Legislature - This beautiful colonial-style building dates back to 1911, built following Edmonton's selection as capital for the province. Tours are available, and the walls are lined with art. See Central.
  • Art Gallery of Alberta, (formerly the Edmonton Art Gallery). This modern facility explores all forms of art. The gallery recently added a new section called Edmonton Modern, a study of Edmonton's architecture of the 60's and 70's. There is always something different going on, like NHL paintings or cross Canada art gallery tours. It should not be missed. See Central.
  • Muttart Conservatory - These four glass pyramids rising out of the river valley are a unique Edmonton landmark. Inside, they house three distinct climate zones and a fourth seasonal display, packed with several hundred plant varieties. See Old Scona-U.
  • TELUS World of Science - Edmonton's largest science museum has a unique architectural design and houses many science exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theater. See West End.
  • Royal Alberta Museum is a cool way to view Alberta's history with paintings, statues, and more. There are always different kinds of exhibits. See West End.
  • West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping center in North America. Expect world-class shopping, a theme park, an enormous selection of movies, and fine cuisine. See West End.


North Saskatchewan River Parks

There are wonderful walking, jogging and cycling paths through the River Valley, and 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.

Architecture

Edmonton has a lot of very beautiful architecture. The Downtown Core, Old Strathcona, and University of Alberta are the places to look for pre-war styles. Old industrial buildings can be found in the warehouse district whereas old shops and hotels can be found more in the Central Business District. Old Strathcona has a number of old buildings that were influenced by the railway

Canada Place is an example of 80s architecture.

The city's real strength, though, is in early Modern styles. From 1947-1969, Edmonton experienced a large architecture boom with beautiful styles. These buildings are known for their clean lines, punched windows, plain colours, minimalism, and setbacks. The Downtown Core has a lot of these buildings, including the first curtainwall building in Canada. Westmount was the centre of attention of the era, and in that, it hosts the first strip mall in Edmonton, the first Canadian planetarium and the amazing Coronation Park. The University of Alberta also has a lot of these styles.

The 1980s were another high point for Edmonton architecture. Commerce Place and ManuLife Place are among Canada's most iconic structures from that era, using teal glass and fine steel, curved into unique shapes. Canada Place is one of the best examples of large scale, glassy, mid rise 80s architecture with its unique pink glass and elegant lines.

Among more recent work, the Downtown Core has a few beautiful structures like Robbins Health Center and City Hall.

Do

Offbeat stuff to do in Edmonton
Edmonton has a lot of great attractions, but there's a lot of neat small stuff to do that is worth a mention:

  • Pedway walk - Edmonton is famous for having a large amount of pedestrian walkways. Walk through them and get a little lost.
  • Statue hunt - Edmonton has a lot of statues. Try going out and looking for them-- just don't look in the suburbs.
  • Ride the Edmonton Queen
  • Ride Heritage Streetcar


Edmonton is a surprisingly lively city, considering it's 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.

Theatre

Winspear on a cold morning.

Although mostly unknown, Edmonton has a 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 good plays.

Outside the central area, the Old Strathcona-University area is home to the theatre district and the Jubilee Auditorium. It includes many independent venues like the Varscona and Garneau. In the west end, there are mega movie theatres and smaller, unique ones (most commonly dinner theatres) like Jubilation's and Mayfield.

Recreation

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 [19]. 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 [20], United Cycle [21], Hardcore Mountain Bike Store [22] and others.

For skiing, Edmonton has a number of ski hills including Edmonton Ski, Sunridge Ski Area, and Snow Valley.

Golf

Albertans have a keen interest in golf, based on the province's sunny summers, large number of developed courses, and relatively low prices. A few are private, but you won't feel you're missing much if you stick to the public courses.

The quality differs, as does difficulty, and are not necessarily linked. The City of Edmonton runs three public courses, Victoria (central), Riverside (South) both of which are located close to downtown (though difficult to access without a vehicle), and Rundle Park (Edmonton/North).

Spectator sports

Edmonton is home to a number of professional and amateur sport teams. The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League are the most recognized team and have won numerous Stanley Cups. They play at the 16,839 seat Rexall Place which was built in 1979. Minor league hockey is also part of the Edmonton sports scene with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.

Edmonton is also home to the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. The Eskimos have won 13 Grey Cups and play at the 60,000 seat Commonwealth Stadium. For basketball, the recently formed Edmonton Grads of the International Basketball League play at Grant MacEwan gymnasium against smaller US cities and other Canadian cities.

The University of Alberta Golden Bears (men's teams) and the University of Alberta Pandas (women's teams) participate in a number of sports including Hockey, Soccer, Football (men) Rugby and Track and Field. Other local entries include the Edmonton Rush of the National Lacrosse League and the Edmonton Cracker Cats of the Golden League of Baseball, who play at TELUS Field.

Major events and festivals

Edmonton is home to many regular festivals and special events during the spring and summer months. It is hailed as "Canada's Festival City" [[23]] due to the wide range of festivals.

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 largest Fringe Theatre Fest in the country, and second biggest in the world, 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 outdoors. The Folk Fest is a very large festival 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 colourful 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.

Casinos

The Edmonton area has seven large casinos: Casino Yellowhead, Casino Edmonton, Bacarrat Casino, Palace Casino, St Albert Casino, Celebration's Casino, and Marriot Enoch Resort & Casino.

Buy

Trendy Whyte Avenue on a winter day.

Edmonton is full of all kinds of shopping opportunities, with a lot of beautiful independent, high quality stores. Highlights include:

  • West Edmonton Mall, 8882 170th St. This place is something unforgettable, and being the North America's largest mall, it hums like no other in Alberta on a Saturday. This place has over 800 stores and a magnitude of Edmonton-only, Alberta-only, Canada-only, and North America-only stores like: Hollister Co., Abercrombie and Fitch, bebe, Urban Outfitters, and town shoes. As far as malls go, this is pretty high class. It's recommended to go more towards the end of your trip in Edmonton because a lot of people will just end up back at the mall and not tour the rest of the city, even though that's just as good. Have fun! For complete information, see west end.
  • Whyte Avenue, Whyte Avenue (or 82 Ave.) between 99 Street and 108 Street for the best selection. This is the city's most vibrant urban shopping destination. Whether it's furniture & decoration, lingerie, grocery, music stores (especially record and instrumnt), or fashion of any style for any age, Whyte Avenue will have at least one store to match what you are seeking for trendy and fashionable stuff. One can shop for cool guitars, vintage but stylish t-shirts, that dress for the formal party, a picture frame to hold that picture of you and a loved one forever, grab some new bras, and so much more. For the latest, hottest stuff, this is definitely a good place. The place's best shopping part is definitely the clothing. For complete information, see Old Strathcona-University.
  • Old Strathcona Farmers' Market is on 103 Street and 83rd Ave. This is the largest farmers' market in the city and is open all year on Saturdays between 8 and 3pm. The market includes fruit, pasta, Indian food, Chinese food, drinks, candy, stuffed animals, portraits, clothing, ornaments, Ukrainian food, and much much more. Definitely fill up on free samples they're good. For complete information, see Old Strathcona-University.
  • 124th St. and High Street. This area includes 102 Ave between 124 and 126 St, 124 St between Jasper and 111 Ave, and Jasper Ave between 124 and 123 St. It includes cool clothing boutiques, neat restaurants, funky cafés, nice interior design places, and galleries. It is very up and coming and lots of new stuff coming up. It is on its way to being a major shopping area, and it already is. For complete information, see central.
  • Southgate Mall, Whitemud Drive and 111 St. Southgate is a clean mall with one of the best food courts in the city and arguably Canada's best the Bay store. The mall is also undergoing a large expansion that will be complete in 2009. For complete information, see south.
  • South Edmonton Common, 23 Ave. and Gateway Boulevard NW. This is the largest open air retail centre in Western Canada with all the typical suburban outlets among some interesting shops. Includes IKEA, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, London Drugs, Superstore and many others which aren't too interesting but are good if you need the store(s). For complete information, see south.
Shoppers and market-goers shopping on 104th Street.
  • 104 St. Market, [24] 104 Street between Jasper and 103 Ave on Saturday's between May and October. This genuine farmers market is more formerly refered to as City Market and is Edmonton's oldest farmers market. Coming here you can expect fresh fruit, yummy juice, modest quilts, trendy clothing, fabulous pet toys, and much much more. This market is actually helping to evolve 104 Street into a shopping district. For complete information, see central.
  • 104 Street downtown Edmonton refers to 104 Street between Jasper Avenue and 103 Avenue. This is a cute little up and coming urban shopping destination. Beautiful, trendy shops line up in heritage buildings and modern condos with wide sidewalks and nice trees. The street is home to some of the best interior design shops in Edmonton giving you the hottest tips for decorating and furniture. On top of all that, the street is growing rapidly in the number of stores, with an expected ten more in the next year. For complete information, see central.
  • City Centre Mall, [25]101 Street and 102 Avenue, Mo - Wedn 10am - 6pm; Thu- Fr 10am - 8pm; Sat 10am - 6pm; Su & Holidays 12 Noon - 5:00pm.. This two part mall of multiple floors is home to some of the best Canadian retail chains like URBAN, The Gap, Aldo, BCBG, and the Bay. The mall is less busy, but that doesn't mean there's a lack of stores. It's great for very fine shopping in a quiet setting. For complete information, see central.
  • Kingsway Garden Mall, 109 Street & Princess Elizabeth Avenue, (780) 479-5955. This is the second largest mall in the city and was built in the '70s. It is on two levels and offers all kinds of big Canadian and (to an extent) American chains under one big roof. For complete information, see North.

Eat

See the district articles for specific listings of different restaurants and fast food joints.

Edmonton is definitely world class when it comes to dining. There are two major dining centres:

  • Downtown and Oliver - expect a humongous array of restaurants from chains to one-of-a-kind restaurants, from high to low prices. 103 St., 102nd Avenue, 100 St. and Jasper Avenue have the highest concentration. Some of the most popular include: Lux Steakhouse, Hundred, Sorrentino's, Famoso Neopolitan, Matahari, Japanese Village, Blue Plate Diner, La Ronde, Sabor Divinio, and La Tapa.
  • Whyte Ave. - this trendy dining spot is south of the river, with trendy, unique restaurants that offer gourmet food of every variety. It's easy to just look around and pick a restaurant you'll be satisfied with.

Edmonton is the birthplace of two major Canadian restaurant chains: Boston Pizza[26] (Italian), and earl's[27] (Canadiana). These two have major locations across Canada. The city is also home to a lot of good quality fast food chains like Burger Baron and Fatburger.

Italian food is very high quality in Edmonton. Famoso Pizza in Oliver is the best pizzeria, without a doubt. Chianti's, Sicilian Kitchen, Sorrentino's, Fiore Cantina, and Tony's Pizza offer hearty and filling pasta. The best are Whyte Ave, Downtown, or in Little Italy.

Edmonton has its fair share of cheap Chinese food, most of which is concentrated in Chinatown. WokBox is another Edmonton-based chain, offering fair priced Chinese food in a fast food environment.

Drink

Alcohol

Edmonton is home to a wide range of alcohol places. The two local microbreweries are Alley Kat and Ambers's Brewing. There are many pubs, clubs, 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'Byrne's.

Coffee

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. Java Jive is another local institution, having been around for more than thirty years and locally owned. There are three shops on the University of Alberta campus, and a warehouse on 77th Ave and 99th St. The Three Bananas Cafe is another perfect stop; it's on the way to the LRT station at Churchill Square. 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). Mandolin Books and Coffee Company on 112 Avenue is another fantastic find. Other than that, just do some exploring, you might just find something that is just for you.

Smoothies

Edmonton has a lot of good smoothies. The mega chain Booster Juice was founded in Edmonton and is quite good and is home to a variety of drinks, there are many locations in Edmonton. Also, there is Jugo Juice and some independents that you just need to keep your eyes open for!

Sleep

Budget

Most of the budget hotels in the city are concentrated in and around the south (e.g. Derrick Hotel) end of the city or in the deep east central area. There is also a lot in the nearby suburbs, see Edmonton's area.

Mid Range

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 Old Strathcona-University 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, Sawridge Inn Edmonton South and Cedar Park Inn are the highest quality and friendliness. In the east, there is a lovely Four Points hotel with easy access to the city.

Splurge

Edmonton has a good variety of high end hotels in different locations in the city. Some of the most popular locations are:

  • Downtown Edmonton. has the highest amount of high end hotels in the city. One can choose from hotels with river valley views like Chateau Lacombe and The Courtyard Marriott and one's that have good views of density like the Sutton Place Hotel and The Holiday Inn. There is also some very beautiful boutique hotels like The Matrix and Union Bank Inn. Either way, all of these posh empires have good access to the goods of downtown, friendly service, nice architecture, and awesome suites. Oh, for the extravagant traveller, the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald is a Chateau-like building built in 1912 and is the most expensive in the city, not to mention the most beautiful.
  • West Edmonton. This area is full of high-class hotels due to West Edmonton Mall. One can choose from Fantasyland Hotel that's right in the mall or further out ones like Edmonton Hampton and the Hilton Garden West Edmonton.

Contact

  • Area codes for phones in Edmonton are 780 and 587.
  • Wireless connection - most hotels offer wireless connection and for outdoor use-check out City Hall/Churchill Square or most parts of downtown, as they have good internet connection. Also there are some internet cafés that you can check out.
  • Emergency - If you have an emergency, call 911.

Police stations

Edmonton is patrolled by the Edmonton Police Service. In addition to the Police Headquarters/Downtown Division located east of City Hall, the EPS is separated into five operational Divisions (the name in brackets denotes the neighbourhood in which the Division station is located):

  • Downtown Division (Boyle Street)
  • North Division (Miller)
  • West Division (Glenwood)
  • Southwest (Papachase Industrial)
  • Southeast (Tawa)

Internet cafés

Edmonton has a small number of internet cafés, most being downtown or in Old Strathcona-University.

Stay safe

The overall crime rate is decreasing. There are some areas where increased caution is advised, particularly after dark:

  • The "inner city" area to the east of downtown (these neighbourhoods include: Boyle, Central McDougall, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Alberta Avenue)- a square bounded by Jasper Avenue (corresponds to 101 Avenue) on the south, 118 Avenue on the north, 91 Street on the west, and around 85th Street on the east - has parts that are best avoided. 118 Avenue features numerous signs asking visitors to report prostitution by calling a 1-800 number.
  • In recent years there has been an increase in alcohol-fueled disturbances on weekends near 82nd (Whyte) Avenue between 103 Street and 109 Street (the city's most concentrated party zone). Use caution and common sense here, be somewhat wary of the closing-time outflow after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Try to be out of the bar and on your way home by 1AM, or, at the very least, don't linger on the street after closing time, also travel in groups if possible. There are also drug gangs like the WBP (White Boy Posse).

Panhandling has increased in recent years, particularly downtown and in the Old Strathcona area. Just decline politely and it shouldn't be an issue. Try to avoid parking lots that aren't gated shut, as there is a clear entrance for panhandlers to get in and be more aggressive.

Northern driving

Navigation in Edmonton is made easier by city's street grid and relative lack of traffic compared to most other major North American cities. Visitors should note that additional hazards are presented by winter driving in the city, especially during and after the first few snowfalls of the winter. 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.

Cope

Newspapers

  • Edmonton Journal A traditional journalistic newspaper tied to facts and less opinionated
  • Edmonton Sun A more tabloid style newspaper focused on news reporting but also more opinionated and tilted in views.
  • Vue Weekly A free, artsy and more controversial newspaper talking about events surrounding the city.
  • SEE Magazine A free, artsy and editorial newspaper focused more on day to day events in Edmonton

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, Misericordia 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.

  • University of Alberta Hospital, 8440 112 Street NW, (780) 407-8822, [28]. Centrally located with very good, young doctors. Best for people in South Central or Central.
  • Royal Alexandra Hospital, 10240 Kingsway NW, (780) 735-4111, [29].
  • Misericordia Community Hospital, 16940 87 Avenue NW, (780) 735-2000‎.
  • Grey Nun's Hospital, 2927 66 Street NW, [30].
  • Edmonton General, 11111 Jasper Avenue NW, (780) 482-8111.
  • Hys Centre, 11010 - 101 Street, Edmonton, [31].

Get out

  • Calgary just a little bit south is Alberta's largest metropolis. Boasting beautiful rivers, the great Beltline district, the vibrant downtown, world class Calgary Zoo, and amazing sports institutions.
Edmonton skyscrapers from an aerial view.



  • Elk Island National Park is less than an hour's drive east of Edmonton along the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16). This national park is one of the last remaining large areas of natural aspen parkland undisturbed by man, as much of the aspen parkland in Alberta is now largely gone due to agriculture and other human activities. Elk Island National Park is home to a variety of wildlife indigenous to the region such as moose, wood bison, deer, elk, beaver, muskrat and various waterfowl. Over 250 species of birds make their home here, making it a good place for birdwatching. The Ukrainian Pioneer Home, located in the vicinity of Lake Astotin in Elk Island National Park, is Canada's oldest Ukrainian museum. There is camping, cross country skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities. As in most Canadian national parks, a fee is required for entry into Elk Island National Park.


See also Edmonton Capital Region


Routes through Edmonton
Turns into city road/Merges with 2-AB.png  N noframe S  → Edmonton International Airport - LeducCalgary
JasperSpruce Grove  W noframe E  Elk Island National ParkSaskatoon
Grande PrairieSaint Albert  W/N noframe SE/S  Change into MU qeii.png
ENDS at 2-AB.png  NW/N noframe SE/E  WainwrightNorth Battleford
END  SW noframe NE  Fort SaskatchewanLamont





This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!