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Edmonton

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Edmonton Capital Region : Edmonton
Revision as of 19:53, 11 July 2012 by 68.149.35.85 (Talk)

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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, Canada. Its metro area is home to 1.1 million people and is the northernmost city in North America of at least one million people. Edmonton is famous for its beautiful river valley park system, the North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, and city views. The river valley also contains many parks, including Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest historical park. If the great outdoors is not your target, the city also offers West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America. On top of that, Edmonton has a vibrant theater community, a busy cycle of annual festivals, national sports teams active year-round, and wonderful winter recreational opportunities.

Districts

City of Edmonton (click to enlarge).
Central
This is Edmonton's oldest area. Shiny office towers populate the downtown core, just blocks away from well-treed streets and lovely old homes. This is the heart of the city, with much of the city's attractions. Enjoy world class festivals in Churchill Square, hit one of the sunny patios on Rice Howard Way, then shop for some Italian food in Little Italy, and finish the day off walking through the beautiful homes of Glenora.
South Central
Once the community of Strathcona, this in another well-established area. It's just south of the river, with views of downtown and the river valley. It is home to the University of Alberta, bringing a college community's youthfulness and excitement. The city's hottest strip, Whyte Avenue, offers dining, drinking, live music, live theater, and funky shopping.
West End
The west end combines a considerable residential area, light industrial and commercial areas, and shopping destinations like the famous West Edmonton Mall.
South
Another sprawling region of Edmonton. The area just recently got Light Rail Transit, and the eastern parts around Capilano and Ottewell are 50s styled mature neighbourhoods. The area is home to the Fort Edmonton Park as well as Southgate Mall and some beautiful parks in the river valley.
North
This area of the city has many layers. Mature, pre WWII neighbourhoods like Delton and the Highlands, somewhat mature 1950s/1960s neighbourhoods like Rosslyn and Calder, 80s suburbs like Clareview, and modern suburbs like Castle Downs.

In addition, Greater Edmonton also features several large communities outside Edmonton's city limits:

  • St. Albert on the northwest is a French-themed community with a popular city farmers market.
  • Sherwood Park on the southeast is a suburban area that despite having a population approaching 90,000 still retains its status as a hamlet, making it the largest such community in Canada.
  • Fort Saskatchewan on the northeast.
  • Leduc and Beaumont are bedroom communities a few kilometers south of Edmonton; Leduc, a city in its own right, is located next to the Edmonton International Airport.
  • Spruce Grove and Stony Plain are bedroom communities just west of Edmonton, accessible via the Yellowhead Highway.
  • CFB Edmonton. Also known as the "Superbase", this is one of Canada's largest military reservations; it is located immediately north of Edmonton off Highway 28 (97 Street).

Understand

History

The area around Edmonton, which sits in the geographic centre of the province, was home to native populations for thousands 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 1830.

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 outside of Edmonton in Leduc county, 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 and condos that dominate that downtown landscape today were mostly constructed in the 1970s.

Today, Edmonton is the hub for energy development & petrochemicals for Alberta. As well, it has become a centre of excellence in research through the University of Alberta and the high technology industries located in the region like the National Institute for Nanotechnology.

Climate

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
Precipitation (mm) 23 15 17 26 49 87 92 69 44 18 18 21

See the Edmonton 7 day forecast at Environment Canada
Edmonton skyline in winter.

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

  • Thick jacket
  • Sweaters
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Trousers, jeans, pants

On the colder days you need to maintain your core temperature, but your extremities will be where you feel the cold first. Bring the following:

  • Toque (knit hat)
  • Ear Muffs
  • Scarf
  • Woolen Socks
  • Boots
  • Gloves, Mittens

If you want to spend time outdoors, the summer months offer the most opportunities for recreation and entertainment. In the summer, Edmonton offers great outdoor festivals, street entertainment, open-air concerts, and many other world-class entertainment opportunities. Winter is equally exciting, with snow sports for the outdoorsy, extensive indoors shopping in the many malls, and live sports, theater, and music throughout the city.

Edmonton's climate is "northern continental", with a wide range of weather over all four distinct seasons. Edmonton receives 2,300 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, bringing bright yellow and orange foliage to Edmonton's treed neighborhoods and river valley parks. This season ushers in cooler temperatures ranging between 10-20°C during the day.

Winters are long, but 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.

Winter walking and driving are not often affected. Cold snaps with temperatures down to and beyond -30°C (-22F) can occur during the winter, although it's unusual for these frigid spells to last more than 1 or 2 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 feel very cold if there is a noticeable wind: if you are visiting between December and March, be prepared.

Tourist Centres

  • Downtown Business Association of Edmonton, 10121 Jasper Avenue (Located on the west side of the Royal Bank building), 780-424-4085, [2]. 8:30AM-5PM M-F, closed weekends and statutory holidays. Every year, the Downtown Business Association publishes Guide to Downtown - a free, pocket-sized resource for everything happening downtown all year round. Download it online, email info@edmontondowntown.com for a copy, or pick it up in person at the DBA office or either of Edmonton Tourism's two visitor information centres.
  • Edmonton Tourism - Downtown Visitor Information Centre, World Trade Centre, 9990 Jasper Avenue (Corner of Jasper Avenue and 100 Street), 1-800-463-4667, [3]. 7AM - 7PM, M-F; Closed weekends. Located on the main floor of the historic World Trade Centre building.
  • Edmonton Tourism - Gateway Park Visitor Information Centre, 2404 Gateway Boulevard (South entrance to the city on Highway 2), 1-800-463-4667, [4]. Open year round. 8:30AM - 4:30PM M-F; 9AM - 5PM Sa; Closed Su. Excellent for recreational vehicle (RV) owners and visitors coming in to Edmonton from the south. Not convenient for unless driving.

Get in

By plane

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 western Canada's hub to the Northwest Territories.

  • Edmonton International Airport (IATA: YEG), [5]. Edmonton International is located 10 km south of Edmonton in Leduc County. Edmonton International Airport is the fastest growing large 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). Public transit (route 747) begins April 29, 2012. The bus will run every 30 minutes from the airport to Century Park LRT station. Fares will cost $5 one-way, no change will be given and there is nowhere to purchase a ticket. [6]. An airport shuttle travels between the airport and downtown 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 takes about half an hour. 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, [7]. Canada's main discount airline services most western cities out of Edmonton, as well as most major Canadian centers.
  • Air Canada, [8]. 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 the United States, Edmonton has scheduled departures to 10 United States airports: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Maui, Orlando, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Houston, 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 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 divided 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, which is divided for the entire route between the two cities.

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. The QE II is likewise a generally reliable winter road, though it is occasionally closed at points if winter storms create dangerous road conditions; fortunately there are many towns and cities located along the route from Calgary to Edmonton where one can shelter if necessary.

By bus

Greyhound buses [9] service 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 [10], which feature spacious seating (only three seats to a row) and workstation seats with electrical connections for business travelers and their computers.

Executive Express, [11] (info@executiveexpresscanada.ca) runs a daily scheduled service from Calgary to Edmonton departing Calgary in the morning and returning to Calgary in the Afternoon. Seats sell for $129.00 one way and compartments of four seats for $299.00. The vehicle is configured in such a way as to allow groups of commuters or even single individuals who require privacy to work or hold meetings while on the road. Wireless internet amoung other ammenities is included. Travel time is just under 3 hours. Morning departures right now are from the Foothills Hospital, Hotel Alma ( U of C), and the Westin Hotel. Edmonton arrivals are at the U of A, Matrix Hotel and Westin Hotel.

By train

VIA Rail, 12360-121 Street, [12] provides passenger train services for Edmonton, and is linked to several major cities along the Canadian National Railroad: west to Vancouver and east to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montréal, and onwards. The VIA train station is located a short distance from downtown, near the northwest corner of City Centre Airport. The station has free wifi - ask a staff member for the passkey.

VIA Rail prices are higher than train prices generally in Europe (or even short distances by Amtrak in the States). 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.

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. Edmonton contains some of the most architecturally significant buildings in the province, including the crimson-coloured Citadel Theatre and the church-like spires of Grant MacEwan University.

By car

Areas of Edmonton built before 1950 (and even a few post-1950) place roadways on a grid, with streets N/S and avenues E/W. 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 became less grid-like, but they are still easily navigable (although less easy to follow than the earlier counterparts). Almost all new neighborhood developments such as Windermere in the southside and the Village at 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.

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 north, northwest, west, southwest, southeast 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 quickly 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

The most prominent cab companies are:

  • Yellow Cab, 780-462-3456, [13].
  • Capital Taxi, 780-423-2425, [14]
  • Co-op Taxi, 780-425-2525, [15].
  • Barrel Taxi, 780-489-7777, [16].

All Edmonton taxi companies offer 24/7 service. From the last weekend in November to New Year's Eve on weekends, Operation Red Nose offers cab rides for drivers who have been partying and prefer not to drive themselves (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 [17]. Hundreds of different bus routes cover the city, traveling nearly anywhere you need to go.

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 5AM to as late as 1AM, 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 [18], or Google Maps. For where routes go and their names which is essential, go to [19].

Edmonton's transit system is not unified with those of the nearby communities, 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 to have developed a Light Rail Transit (LRT) [20] system. (Metro Edmonton population is now over 1 million.) It is a part of the Edmonton Transit System (ETS), which also manages the buses. The track stretches from Clareview Station in the northeast section of the city to the Century Park Station (formerly known as Heritage), going past the University of Alberta main and South Campuses.

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 5:26AM to 1:26AM. On Sundays and holidays, the LRT stops running past 12:26AM.

Fares are $2.85 with children under 6 riding free. Day passes can be bought for $8.25 regardless of age group. A pack of 10 tickets can be purchased for $22.00 (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. [21]

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 [22] of the bike routes.

Finding addresses

Edmonton streets are mostly numbered, although there are some named streets: usually major roadways 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 follow a regular system throughout Edmonton, with even-numbered address 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 identify the street it lies just west of, or the 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 center-point near the southeast corner of the city proper. It is common to omit the "NW" from street addresses in the NW quadrant. The grid's official "zeros" are called Meridian Street (at 0 Street) and Quadrant Avenue (at 0 Avenue), but they are not yet important streets for travel. Meridian & Quadrant do not even intersect at this time.

See

Here are some of the most popular attractions:

  • Alberta Legislature - This beautiful colonial-style building dates back to 1911, built following Edmonton's selection as the provincial capital. Free tours are available. There are wading pools too cool off in during the summer and skating rinks beside walkways light up with tons of Christmas lights during the Christmas season. See Central. It is a beautiful area to relax in any time of the year and is patrolled at night.
  • Art Gallery of Alberta (formerly the Edmonton Art Gallery) - This modern facility explores all forms of art. The gallery has a unique selection of Canadian and international pieces and regularly brings in traveling exhibitions. 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 South Central.
  • TELUS World of Science - Edmonton's largest science museum has a unique architectural design and houses many science exhibits, a planetarium, and an IMAX theatre. See West End.
  • Royal Alberta Museum presents Alberta's history through paintings, statues, and more. Exhibits include the Syncrude Gallery of Aboriginal Culture, Wild Alberta, and the Natural History Gallery. See West End.
  • West Edmonton Mall is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America, with copious opportunities for shopping, a built-in hotel, restaurants and food courts, an amusement park, an artificial beach and indoor wave pool, casino, movie theatres, indoor lake and Santa Maria ship replica, and lots of visitors to share it with. See West End.
  • Fort Edmonton Park is living history at its best! Join the costumed historical interpreters at Fort Edmonton Park - Canada's largest living history museum - and try your hand at living life as an early pioneer. You'll experience life as it was at the 1846 fort and on the streets of 1885, 1905 and 1920. See South
  • Elk Island National Park of Canada. With the exception of the Serengeti Plains of Africa, tiny Elk Island National Park, located less than 20 minutes east of Edmonton on the Yellowhead Highway, has higher densities of hoofed mammals per square kilometer than any other wild area in the world. Visitors can see over 40 species of mammals including plains and wood bison, elk and moose; and over 250 species of birds. Located less than an hour away from Edmonton, Elk Island National Park of Canada protects the wilderness of the aspen parkland, one of the most endangered habitats in Canada. Open year-round, park visitors can enjoy hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, golfing, camping, and more.
  • Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. [23] The award-winning Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is located 25 minutes east of Edmonton along Highway 16, or 3 km east of the Elk Island National Park entrance. This provincial historic site showcases Ukrainian settlement in East Central Alberta. There are over 30 historic buildings including three churches, a fully-functioning grain elevator, blacksmith shop, and sod hut. The idea is that you explore the wide outdoor area going between the buildings in the 'town' while there are costumed workers acting as Ukrainian settlers who re-tell stories based on real accounts of early settlers. They go about the everyday events like baking bread (you can even taste it if you're lucky!), tending to the gardens, working the blacksmith shop, etc. There are often special events with performances and agricultural shows. The weekends are busier however the crowds can be worth it with more interpreters on hand and often more things are going on to see. The trip can take a good part of a day including travel from Edmonton.
  • Aurora Borealis. The northern lights are harder to see in Edmonton than in Northern Canada and eastern cities of Canada. However if you travel outside the downtown area the lights can slightly be seen from December to late February.

North Saskatchewan River Valley

One of Edmonton’s greatest attractions, the North Saskatchewan River Valley park system provides a natural corridor for all-season recreation and relaxation. The river valley is the longest expanse of urban parkland in North America at 7,400 hectares – 22 times the size of New York’s Central Park – with golf courses, 22 major parks and over 160 kilometres of maintained multi-use trails for walking, cross-country skiing, cycling, and more. Several attractions are located along the river valley including Fort Edmonton Park, the Valley Zoo, and the Muttart Conservatory.

One of the most popular parks is Hawrelak Park, located just off Groat Road near the University of Alberta. It encircles a large pond, summer home to a variety of ducks and geese. It's the site of several Edmonton festivals, including Shakespeare in the Park and Symphony Under the Sky. In winter it is a popular venue for outdoor ice skating and cross-country skiing.

Architecture

One of Edmonton's many historic churches.

A young city, Edmonton's historic structures are still relatively new. The City of Edmonton's Municipal Historic Resources are buildings or structures that have been designated by Bylaw as buildings or structures which are legally protected from demolition and from inappropriate changes and alterations.[24].

Built from 1907 to 1912, the province's foremost historic structure - the Alberta Legislature - is set amidst beautiful gardens and water displays. Inside and out, the Legislature offers a rich experience in exploring Alberta’s past and present as the focal point of the province’s democratic process. Alberta’s premier architectural attraction overlooks Edmonton’s river valley and is steps away from the heart of downtown Edmonton. Free tours of the building are offered year-round. [25]

Opening January 31, 2010, the new Art Gallery of Alberta is an 85,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility and a premiere presentation venue. Designed by Randall Stout Architects, Inc. of Los Angeles, the building will itself be a work of art. Located in the heart of Edmonton's Arts District on Sir Winston Churchill Square, the gallery will secure Edmonton's reputation as a world class city and centre for visual art. [26].

For further reading about Edmonton's architecture from 1940-1969, Capital Modern is a book available from the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Do

Edmonton's summer brings many festivals, and with Canada's most impressive mountain parks 3.5-hr drive away, Edmonton is fun year-round. You can expect to find some kind of festival any weekend during the summer months and they are usually located in the central region either around Whyte Ave or downtown at the Legislature grounds or in front of City Hall.

Theatre and Music

Winspear on a cold morning.

Edmonton has a vibrant performing arts community with notable accomplishments in live theatre and live music. The central area contains the Winspear or Francis Winspear Centre for Music, a new concert hall with stellar acoustics, and the Citadel Theatre, which has hosted major live theatre performances for over forty years.

South Central area is home to the theatre district with a number of venues, and the Jubilee Auditorium, a large concert hall. The west end has two dinner theatres, 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. At many points in the extensive ravines and forested areas in the river valley, you can't even tell you're in a city.

There are a variety of bike shops, including a non-profit bicycle co-op [27]. 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, Edmonton Tourism's Visitor Information Centres, the University, in addition to most bike shops, eg. Revolution Cycle [28], United Cycle [29], Hardcore Mountain Bike Store [30] and others.

Edmonton has small ski hills in or near the city, including Edmonton Ski, Sunridge Ski Area, and Snow Valley. Natural and artificial snow cover their slopes from early winter to early spring, offering city skiers an easy way to learn, amuse families, and tone up for the big Rocky Mountain ski opportunities in Jasper and Banff.

Golf

Albertans are keen golfers, based on the province's sunny summers, large number of developed courses, and relatively low prices. Within city limits, the City of Edmonton operates three public courses, including Canada's oldest municipal golf course: Victoria (central), Riverside (South) both of which are located close to downtown (though difficult to access without a vehicle), and the par-three Rundle Park (Edmonton/North).

There are over 70 golf courses located in the Edmonton region.

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 Energy of the International Basketball League play at Grant MacEwan Gymnasium against smaller American 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 Capitals of the Golden League of Baseball, who play at TELUS Field.

Major events and festivals

Edmonton, hailed as "Canada's Festival City" [31], is home to over 30 annual festivals and special events throughout the year.

Attracting over 500,000 visitors each year, the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is the largest in North America, second largest in the world, offering some 1,000 performances, primarily in venues in Old Strathcona. The Works Art & Design Festival features new works of painting, drawing, sculpture, and much more. The Whyte Ave Artwalk lets viewers stroll the avenue looking at local art. 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. One of the world’s leading Folk festivals, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is a four-day outdoor music extravaganza that attracts more than 80,000 music lovers. Situated in Gallagher Park in Edmonton's scenic river valley, the festival offers an eclectic mix of music for all tastes.

For culture, Edmonton rolls out the red carpet. Heritage Days puts the spotlight on the food, dance, and local goods from over 60 cultural backgrounds. Edmonton Cariwest is a Caribbean 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. One of the most popular is A Taste of Edmonton. Purchase tickets and sample culinary delights from 40 of Edmonton’s leading restaurants at Sir Winston Churchill Square.

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.

Some of the best shopping opportunities are...

  • Whyte Avenue (in South Central) is the stretch of 82 Avenue west of 75 St. You'll tend to want to focus on the strip between Gateway Boulevard and 109 Street. Whyte Avenue is Edmonton's main retail district on the urban side and certainly should not be missed. It's edgy, funky, mainstream, indie, quirky, and nerdy. Stroll through bookstores, clothing shops, and little gift shops while amidst the wonderful crowd of people.
  • 124th Street (in Central) is Edmonton's quieter urban shopping experience. Outside the downtown, this strip has just recently become a good place to stop. The place is mainly home to boutiques and designer shops for stuff like fashion, furniture and home improvement. The area is also home to the Gallery Walk - the first of its kind in Canada. The member galleries are easily accessible within walking distance. There are two self-guided gallery walks organized each spring and fall.
  • West Edmonton Mall (in West End) ... few can miss the largest mall in the continent, at 8882 170 St (NW). Over 800 shops fill the suburban mega shopping and entertainment centre. Pretty much any style can be found here. Browse the shops for art, books, gifts, lingerie, soaps, groceries, clothing, watches, jewelry and what ever else you can think of!
  • Kingsway (Garden) Mall (in North) is Edmonton's second largest mall, and recently completed expansion.
  • Downtown (in Central) you will find Edmonton City Centre, which transforms three city blocks into a retail destination of more than 170 stores and services. Adjacent to Edmonton City Centre are Commerce Place and Manulife Place, where you’ll find a selection of high-end retailers such as Escada and Holt Renfrew. </buy>

Eat

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

There are two major dining centres:

  • Downtown and Oliver - many 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, Niche, Corso 32, Moriartys and La Tapa.
  • Whyte Ave. - restaurants that offer gourmet food of every variety. It's easy to just look around and pick a restaurant you'll be satisfied with.
  • West Edmonton - whether in West Edmonton Mall or nearby, there are lots of familiar and unique restaurants to chose from.

Edmonton is the birthplace of two major Canadian restaurant chains: Boston Pizza[32] (Italian), and earl's[33] (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. 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 some excellent ethnic restaurants. "Langano Skies" is a fabulous ethiopian restaurant on Whyte Ave, "Syphay" offers spicy Thai cuisine on Calgary Trail and 62 Ave and "Padmanadi's" is a delicious Indonesian vegan restaurant in downtown.

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.

For the cheapest, and best tasting, pizza in the city, check out Steel Wheels a block north of Whyte Avenue. $3 for 2 slices, as well as an assortment of Chinese and Asian cuisine, and alcohol.

For a healthy alternative, check out HealthFare[34], which got its start in Edmonton in 2008. A new location opened downtown on Jasper Avenue in 2009. They display the calorie count of their items, and the restaurants employ green initiatives including: chairs are made of recycled plastic and aluminum; tables are made of reclaimed wood from local sources; eco-friendly take-out materials are made from renewable resources; and more.

Try locally grown and produced food: EatLocalFirst.com includes a list of all members with information on what they sell and produce and where to find them. [35]

Drink

Alcohol

The three local microbreweries are Alley Kat,Ambers's Brewing, and Yellowhead Brewery.

There are many pubs, clubs, lounges, and bars clustered on Jasper Avenue (downtown) and Whyte Avenue (Old Strathcona). Some of the most popular in Old Strathcona include Hudson's', Lucky 13, Filthy McNasty's, The Rack, Funky Buddha, and O'Byrne's.

For those looking for a more indie experience should journey to Black Dog Pub and Empress Ale House who provide visitors with a less mainstream outing.

Downtown you will find a range of places to serve your drinking desires. Contemporary resto-lounges, such as Suede, The Hat, Sherlock Holmes, Red Star Pub, and The Pint.

A variety of dance clubs can be located in the downtown area and these include: Vinyl Retro Dance Lounge (Retro Classics/Top 40), Oil City Roadhouse (Country), Treasury Vodka Bar (Top 40/Electronic), and Warehouse (Top 40)

Edmonton also has a prominent LGBT community and offers several establishments that cater to this particular group; Buddy's Nightclub, Flash, and Junction. In addition, on the last thursday of every month Empress Ale House hosts a special 'Beers for Queers' night.

Further afield Edmonton also offers nighttime spots in less centralized locations. The Ranch Roadhouse is a country music nightclub located in South Edmonton at 6107 104 Street and has long been a favorite of country music enthusiasts. West Edmonton Mall located in West Edmonton provides visitors with a number of bars including Empire Ballroom a large vegas-style club, Whisky Jack's Urban Saloon yet another country music club, and Hudsons the west end location of the Edmonton pub chain.

Coffee

There are two main areas for good coffee. The Coffee Block refers to a block of independent coffee shops between 103 St. and 104 St. on Jasper Avenue. Although there are only 3 cafés, they are all very good. Three Bananas Cafe is another perfect stop; it's on the way to the Churchill LRT station at Churchill Square (102 Avenue between 99 and 100 Street). Another area is Whyte Avenue which has more spread out coffee shops but pretty much each one is very good. Luzzara Coffee Bar is an Italian style espresso bar (100th St & Whyte Ave) Java Jive is a 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. 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.

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.

There are also hostels located downtown, by Jekyll & Hyde's Pub, and just off of Whyte Avenue.

Mid Range

Closer to the core, Holiday Inn Express Downtown and the Comfort Inn & Suites are good options. 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 a great option for nice service and its proximity to the University. Days Inn Edmonton South is a recent addition to Old Strathcona, just a few blocks off Whyte Avenue. Also on Gateway Boulevard there is a lot of hotels like Greenwood Inn & Suites, Ramada South, Ramada Edmonton, Mayfield Inn, Travelodge South, Econo Lodge, Sawridge Inn Edmonton South and Cedar Park Inn are the highest quality. 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 number of high end hotels in the city. One can choose from hotels with river valley views including Crowne Plaza - Chateau Lacombe and the Courtyard Marriott and ones that have good views of the city such as the Sutton Place Hotel and the Westin Edmonton. There are also beautiful boutique hotels like Matrix Hotel and the Union Bank Inn. Either way, all of these posh empires have good access to downtown, friendly service, nice architecture, and luxury suites. For the extravagant traveller, the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald is a classic, chateau-like building built in 1912 and is the most expensive in the city, overlooking the river valley in elegant style.
  • West Edmonton. The area is full of higher-class hotels due to the proximity of West Edmonton Mall. One can choose from Fantasyland Hotel that's right in the mall or further out ones like Hampton Inn & Suites and the Hilton Garden Inn.

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

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, 97 Street on the west, and around 85th Street on the east - has parts that are best avoided. 118 Avenue and 107 Avenue feature numerous signs asking visitors to report prostitution by calling a 1-800 number. There is a large homeless and transient population in this area which has been followed with a serious drug and alcohol issue and gang violence. As well as the inner city, Stony Plain Road on the west side, 107 Avenue north of downtown, and a few areas in the city's northeast, particularly around 66th Street and Fort Road, and Abbotsfield (around 118 Ave and 34 Street) have higher crime rates and gang problems.
  • 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.

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.

The murder rate in Edmonton has spiked during 2011, with a record number of killings that is being seen as an anomaly. In most cases, however, the killings have involved people who know each other, drug-related, and gang violence. Visiting Edmonton is otherwise no more risky than it is visiting any other large city.

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. Stay tuned to local radio stations, several of which have regular road reports, and be prepared to find alternate routes should weather conditions or accidents shut down some routes.

Cope

Maps

  • The Map Depot, 10344 105 Street (2 blocks West of Greyhound terminal, Downtown), 780 429 2600 (fax: 780 426 7573), [36]. M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-5PM. Large selection of travel maps, county maps, world maps, globes, guide books and related products.

Newspapers

  • Edmonton Journal [37] A traditional journalistic newspaper tied to facts and less opinionated
  • Edmonton Sun [38] A more tabloid style newspaper focused on news reporting but also more opinionated and tilted in views.
  • Vue Weekly [39] A free, artsy and more controversial newspaper talking about events surrounding the city.
  • Metro Edmonton [40] Free daily newspaper given out at most Light Rail Transit stations and in paper boxes across the city.
  • 24 Hours Edmonton [41] Free daily newspaper similar to Metro and available across the city from paper boxes.

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, [42]. Centrally located with very good, young doctors. Best for people in South Central or Central. Most comprehensive, doctors will often recommend patients to this location since "they can handle anything there". World renowned facility!
  • Royal Alexandra Hospital, 10240 Kingsway NW, (780) 735-4111, [43].
  • Misericordia Community Hospital, 16940 87 Avenue NW, (780) 735-2000‎.
  • Grey Nun's Hospital, 2927 66 Street NW, [44]. The most modern looking and fancy of the city's hospitals.
  • Edmonton General, 11111 Jasper Avenue NW, (780) 482-8111.
  • Hys Centre, 11010 - 101 Street, Edmonton, [45]. Not a hospital but a major medical center which is located right next to the Royal Alex and provides diagnostic and other private services.

Get out

Edmonton skyscrapers from an aerial view.
  • Calgary This bustling city, Alberta's largest metropolis, is just 300 km south of Edmonton.
  • Jasper Jasper is the less-developed, less-commercial national park, beautiful in all seasons.
  • Banff Banff National Park, approximately 5 hours from Edmonton, attracts a globe-spanning population of tourists to its mountains, lakes, and shopping districts.
  • 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 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.


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






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