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Edmonton

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Revision as of 17:47, 5 October 2006

Edmonton [1] is the capital city of Alberta and home to much of that province's industry. It is well known as the cultural centre of Alberta, and has been nicknamed Festival City of Canada. Events and attractions like The Edmonton Fringe Festival (North America's Largest), West Edmonton Mall (World's Largest Shopping and Entertainment Centre) and Fort Edmonton Park make Edmonton the largest tourist destination in the province of Alberta.

Edmonton is the northernmost North American city with a metropolitan population of over 1 million. With over 17 hours of sun light at the peak of summer.

File:SkylineDusk.jpg
Edmonton's downtown skyline at dusk.
File:Railtown.gif
Downtown towers as seen through the gates of Railtown Park.
File:Edmonton Queen.jpg
The Edmonton Queen Riverboat as it paddles its way along the North Saskatchewan River.

Understand

Climate

Edmonton's climate is described as continental year-round, with a wide range of weather in all four distinct seasons. Summers are generally pleasantly warm with cool nights, as the city is located at the same latitude as Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England. At the height of summer, Edmonton baths in more than 17 hours of daylight, with twilight extending past 2300hrs. In total Edmonton receives 2,289 hours of sunshine per year, making it one of Canada's sunniest cities.

Bright green foliage is the sign spring has arrived in this northern community. As the climate awakens from a winter slumber, extreme shifts in weather can occur. Many locals will state that May is one of their favourite times of the year as the city's population seems to celebrate the coming summer months through a variety of festivals.

Summer months generally see tempertures up to around 21-25°C (70-77°F), but can see temperatures up to 35°C (95°F). Thunderstorms can be frequent during the summer months. Humidity is relatively low, making warm days much more comfortable. Again the extended summer sun light extends Edmonton's hours of activity past 2300hrs.

Fall starts arriving in mid September and is highlighted by bright yellow and orange colours of the local foliage. This season ushers in another change of venue for the population as they shift to the cooler temperatures in the ranging in from 12-20°C during the day. Many tourist visit Edmonton and region for culture fall celebrations. For some, Edmonton acts as the gateway to the fall hunting season.

Edmonton winters are usually not as harsh as those further east on the Canadian Prairies. Periods of mild temperatures with daytime highs of over 0°C (32°F) can occur frequently. Such mild weather makes outdoor winter sports extremely popular with the locals. Stop by a local outdoor ice rink to catch the fever of children and adults alike taking part in community hockey. Colder days in Edmonton are kept reasonably comfortable by the low humidity index, but it's wise to have some lip balm and hand cream with you, as the skin and lips can get cracked and chapped quickly in this dry environment. Edmonton gets much less snowfall than many other Canadian cities and even American cities further south. Usually it's the cold rather than the snow one has to worry about, as high wind chills may become very unpleasant and cold snaps with temperatures down to -40°C/F can occur (but usually do not last more than 2-4 days). Extremely cold temperatures are usually accompanied by extremely blue skies.

Get in

By plane

  • Edmonton International Airport, [2]. Edmonton International has two terminals. Its central hall is the security point for all domestic and international traffic (excluding travel to the US that uses the South Terminal)
    • WestJet, [3]. Canada's main discount airline services most western cities out of Edmonton, as well as most major Canadian centres.
    • Air Canada, [4]. The national carrier uses Edmonton International as a gateway to the Canadian North.

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, and 4 hours from Toronto Edmonton is main Airport is the hub to Northern Canada. From Europe Edmonton has service from London on Air Canada (starting October 2006). From 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, Chicago.

Edmonton International Airport has seasonal charter service to/from: Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hiroshima, London, Mexico City, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Varadero, Cancun, Punta Cana, Puerto Plata.

Edmonton International Airport is located outside of Edmonton in Leduc County to the south. 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 ($11 one way; $20 return). Taxi service is also available, but can be costly.

The drive between Edmonton International airport and downtown is about half an hour, southbound on the Queen Elizabeth Hwy 2 - allow yourself extra time during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Car Rentals Companies are located in the parkade directly across for the terminal making for easy pick-up and returns.

By car

Edmonton is 3 hours north of Calgary on the Queen Elizabeth II highway (formerly Highway 2), and 3 1/2 hours east of Jasper on highway 16. From Vancouver, take the Trans-Canada (Highway 1) east to Hope, then the #5 (Coquihalla Highway) from Hope to the Yellowhead (Highway 16) eastbound junction just east of Tete Jaune Cache and north of Valemount. The average travel time in summer is 12-13 hours - assuming you don't plan on staying overnight along the way.

It is not recommended to take this route during the winter months of October to March. Although this major trucking route is well-maintained, severe winter storms can arise suddenly, particularly on the severe inclines between Hope and Kamloops. Even regular bad weather can produce impassable roads, and communities are few and far in between north of Kamloops. If you do want to make this trip during winter, stick to days without snowfall and try to travel during daylight (roughly 8 AM to 5 PM). Please note that all these travel times are based on good/ideal driving conditions, and can vary wildly due to ice, snow, and inclement weather.

By bus

Greyhound services Edmonton from all major Canadian cities. There is also a premium service between Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer, and Fort McMurray with Red Arrow Motorcoach, which feature more spacious seating (only three seats to a row) and "workstation" seats with electrical connections for business travelers and their computers.

Note for Americans: Greyhound Canada is much nicer than Greyhound USA; there are movie services, seats are more comfortable, and your fellow passengers are generally quite interesting people from very differing backgrounds. It's actually quite enjoyable.

By train

VIA Rail provides passenger train services to Edmonton, and is linked to several major cities. The VIA train station is now located a short distance from the downtown core being located at 12360-121 Street, which is just a couple of blocks north of the Yellowhead Highway and near the northwest corner of City Centre Airport.

VIA Rails prices are higher than train prices generally in Europe. Passenger trains arrive through Edmonton numerous times during week. Generally most passengers are expecting a leisurely, luxury experience through some of the most amazing scenery in the world.

Get around

Taxi

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

  • Alberta Co-op Taxi Line Ltd
  • Barrel Taxi
  • Yellow Cab
  • Capital Taxi *

All Edmonton taxi services offer, by law, 24 hours per day, seven days a week service. There is service also for people with special access requirements.

Public Transit

Edmonton hosts a safe, efficient and inexpensive public transportation system known as the Edmonton Transit System [5]. With hundreds of different bus routes, you can get nearly anywhere you need to go with minimal bus transfers, provided that you are travelling into or out of downtown during the morning or evening rush hour. Bus routes are numbered, along with the destination name (often a major bus transfer centre or suburb name).

Especially during peak hours, buses will run as frequently as every 15 minutes, otherwise the frequency will drop to once every 30 minutes and sometimes as low as once per hour (usually more the case for buses going into industrial areas and far-flung suburbs, so 30 minutes is the lowest for most bus routes even on weekends and holidays). Although many major bus routes will operate as early as 5 am to as late as 1 am, there are a number which stop running at 8-9 pm or only during peak hours (~6-9 am and 3-6 pm). And some bus routes simply do not run on Sundays. For more information or to plan your bus trip, you can call Transit Information at 496-1611 or check out the Trip Planner in the ETS's website [6]. Note that the transit system in the greater metropolitan area is not unified, so if you wish to visit the suburbs be prepared for transfers and drastically increased fares.

Edmonton was the first North American city with a population of under 1 million to have developed a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. It stretches as a single line from the University of Alberta Hospital to the Clareview area in the Northeast section of the city. It is useful if your destination is on or near the LRT route, but otherwise stick to the buses. The LRT line is currently being expanded all the way to Southgate Mall and evetually to Century Park in the deep, south central area of the city, with an estimated completion date of 2010.

During peak hours on weekdays, the LRT trains run every 6 minutes. Outside of that and on Saturdays, it's every 10-15 minutes depending on the time of day. On Sundays and holidays, the trains run every 15 minutes throughout the day. The trains also operate generally from about 5:26 am (slightly later on Saturdays) to 1:26 am on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays and holidays, the LRT stops running past 12:26 am. There are no turnstiles or mechanical barriers to prevent fare evaders, but be warned: by transit officers do patrol the lines, and if you fail to show proof of payment you will be hit with a $110 fine.

Fares are $2.25 for adults and $2.00 for youths and seniors, with "special events" running you $4 for a round trip. Day passes can be bought for $6.75 regardless of age group. A pack of 10 tickets can be bought for up to $18.50 (adults) at many convenience stores and drug stores.

Bicycle

Edmonton has fairly good cycling routes which allow for all-year cycling, though winter cycling can be challenging for those unused to Edmonton weather. Combined with a lack of freeways to traverse, relatively low traffic compared to other major cities, low snow or rainfall, and a fairly flat terrain, Edmonton is an easy city to travel by bicycle. The City of Edmonton provides free maps of the bike system.

City Layout and Navigation

Located in the plains east of the Canadian Rockies, Edmonton is placed on rolling prarie with a deep river valley. Edmonton is the gateway to the Canadian North and Jasper National Park. Jasper is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Edmonton via the Yellowhead Hwy. Edmonton is the starting point for many outdoors people, and RV'ers on their way to the Canadian Rockies (i.e. Jasper), the Yukon and Alaska.

A large part of the city built before and during the Second World War is laid out in a grid-like system of straight streets, which makes for rather easy navigation by car, but most areas of the city built within the last 30 to 40 years have more chaotically arranged streets with loops and cul-de-sacs. And there are a number of bridges open only to one-way traffic going in and out of the downtown core. For these reasons, it's wise to consult a city map if you're not familiar with the city.

Major roadways include the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16 - also known as Yellowhead Trail within the city) and Whitemud Drive in the southside and west end. The largest north-south roadway is Calgary Trail/Gateway Boulevard, both of which serve as the southern gateway into Edmonton. Even though these are all major divided roadways with at least 2-3 lanes in each direction, there are no large stretches of true freeways in Edmonton. However, there are plans to eventually turn them into such. A major ring road known as Anthony Henday Drive is currently under construction and portions of it in southwest Edmonton are now open to traffic.

Edmonton's downtown core is fairly dense, with many office towers and condominium towers. Inner-city neighbourhoods with low- to medium-density residential areas surround the downtown core for up to a few kilometres in all directions. Beyond the core, the city has developed suburban residential areas with urban sprawl and shopping malls typical of most large North American cities that have experienced high growth during the postwar period.

Finding Addresses

Edmonton is one of the few major cities in North America to have a street system that is mostly numbered rather than named, although it does have named streets: usually major roadways and in the newer residential areas, especially in southwest Edmonton. Streets in Edmonton run north-south, while avenues run east-west. The downtown core of the city is centered near 100 St and 100 Ave, with streets increasing in number as one travels west, and avenues increasing as one heads 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 thee 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 centrepoint near the southeast corner of the city proper, it's 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 in terms of residences.


See

  • Alberta Railway Museum, 24215 34 St.
  • Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square.
  • Devonian Botanic Garden.
  • Muttart Conservatories, 9626 96A St.
  • TELUS World of Science (formerly the Odyssium), 11211 142 St, [7]. Edmonton's largest science museum with an architectural design that is out of this world, with lots of science exhibits, a planeterium, and an IMAX theatre.
  • Alberta Legislature Building.
  • Royal Alberta Museum, 12845 102 Ave.
  • River Valley Parks.
  • Valley Zoo, 13315 Buena Vista Rd.
  • West Edmonton Mall[8], 170 Street and 87 Avenue. Is the Largest shopping and entertainment centre in the world. There are more than 900 stores/services, as well as the Galaxyland amusement park, the World Waterpark, the Fantasyland hotel, the Europa shopping district, Chinatown, an exotic flamingo wading pool, sea lion shows, a realistic replica of the Santa Maria ship, casino, nightclubs, two movie theatres and an IMAX theatre, a dinner theatre, two mini golf centres, a skating rink, many restaurants, and much, much more!

Fort Edmonton Park

Fort Edmonton Park is Canada's largest living historic park, and one of Edmonton's premier tourist attractions. Located in the middle of Edmonton, this reconstructed fort lies five kilometres upstream from its orignal location, representing it as it stood in 1846.

The Fort Edmonton Park represents four distinct time periods, exploring Edmonton's development from a fur trade post in the vast Northwest, to a booming metropolitan centre after the First World War.

  • 1885 Street represents the settlement era from 1871 to 1891, with historic buildings and reconstructions of that period. These buildings are from around the greater Edmonton area. The North West Mounted Police outpost building is just that, an outpost, for the main post at that time was downstream at Fort Saskatchewan. A gun shed and jail have also been reconstructed.
  • 1905 Street receives its name from the year that Alberta became a province of the Dominion of Canada. Edmonton itself had became a city the year prior. The buildings are from that period, and include the reconstruction of the Masonic Hall, with the open museum on the second floor.
  • 1920 Street is the newest area, both in construction and time period, including the Hotel Selkirk, Blatchford Field Air Hangar, and the 1920's Midway.

The park features over 75 structures, many of which are the originals. Costumed interpreters operate the site and live the way of the past. Visitors enjoy exploring each building and each room, and talking to the role-playing interpreters.

The price of admission includes free steam engine train and streetcar rides, and period rides such as wagon, stagecoach, pony and buggy are also available with a small charge.

Enjoy special events at this venue on occasion like Canada Day (July 1, Canada's independance celebrations) that compare to none across Canada

Do

Edmonton is a surprisingly lively city for an area covered in snow 6 months of the year. The summer brings many festivals into the city, and with Canada's most impressive mountain parks a half-day's drive away, Edmonton is fun year-round.

Places to go

The best place to go for general day and night life in Edmonton is Whyte (82nd) Avenue. Bounded on one end by the University of Alberta, the section of Whyte Avenue from 99th Street to 112th Street is home to many shops, restaurants, and bars, and is the most concentrated core of the city's social scene.

  • The Yardbird Suite, 11 Tommy Banks Way (corner of 102 Street & 86 Avenue), [9]. Edmonton non-profit jazz club with acts every weekend. The Tuesday jam is $2, and has some good talent. Closed during the summer.

Recreation

Edmonton's river valley has 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 [10]. 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 [11], United Cycle [12], Hardcore Mountain Bike Store [13] and others.

Downhill skiing

Edmonton is fairly flat, so the city's ski hills are mostly to keep the locals amused until they can get away to the Rockies. However, if you can't wait that long, Rabbit Hill is the best of the local hills.

Golf

Alberta has a keen fascination with golf, based to a great degree on the province's sunny summers, vast number of developed courses and connecting roadways, and low prices. Edmonton benefits by containing or being within a quick drive of dozens of excellent courses. Most are public, and the few private courses are not spectacular enough that you will feel you're missing much by sticking to the public courses.

Spectator Sports

  • Edmonton Oilers, [14]. The local National Hockey League (NHL) team plays at Rexall Place. They are, by far, the most popular sports team in the city, and prices to get a ticket reflect this. The Oilers are also the only major Edmonton sports team to regularly sell out their venue, so tickets must sometimes be acquired through unofficial means.
  • Edmonton Rush, [15]. The local National Lacrosse League (NLL) club plays at Rexall Place.
  • Edmonton Eskimos, the local Canadian Football League (CFL) team plays at Commonwealth Stadium.
  • Edmonton Cracker Cats, the local Northern League Baseball Team plays minor baseball at Telus Field

In the city

  • Kinsmen Pitch'n'Putt
  • Lewis Estates Golf Club 8700 207 St.
  • Riverside 8630 Rowland Rd (in the river valley) (Public: 6306 yards, par 71) This delightful club is the most attractive of the three city-owned courses. It is heavily treed, cooler on hot summer days than most courses within an hour's drive. It takes good advantage of its placement in an elbow of the river by setting raised tee boxes and raised greens up on the high banks for several fairways.
  • Rundle Park Par Three 2909 118th Ave. (Public: 3018 yards, par 54) Another city-owned course, this executive par-three gives a surprisingly good workout. Holes range from around 100 to over 200 yards, greens are fairly small, and your shot-making ability is fairly tested. By the nature of the course, it is busy (although you can walk on almost any time): there will be waiting time on weekends, and the course is not kept to the same level of repair the other city courses are. Nevertheless, it's a great way to warm up in the spring, and a good introduction to golf if you're entertaining non-golfers.
  • Victoria 12130 River Road (in the river valley) (Public: 6027 yards, par 71)This is another city-owned public course. It's situated in the river valley a couple of minutes from downtown, and has a large driving range on site. The setting is very attractive, although the course is less treed than Riverside with a more-open feel, particularly on the back nine.

Major Events & Festivals

Edmonton is home to many events and festivals during the spring and summer months. Highlights include:

  • Capital EX, [16]. July 20-29. Formerly known as the Klondike Days and now renamed as of 2006, this will still be Edmonton's main exhibition event, complete with a parade on the first day and fair at Northlands Park. Other exhibition events such as Global Connections, showcasing wares and foods of other countires, and Ed Fest, the 10-day rock festivals with up to 3 bands per night.
  • Grand Prix of Edmonton, [17]. July 21-23 (2006). Edmonton's main car racing event first held in 2005. The first year was a great success and is held at the Finning International Speedway, which is actually a temporary conversion of the runways at City Centre Airport.
  • Fringe Festival, [18]. August 17-27 (2006). North America's largest theatre festival showcases some of the most innovative stagework to be seen anywhere in Canada. In addition to staged events, dozens of street performers mob the festival site to entertain you between shows. Great for kids and adults alike.
  • River City Shakespeare Festival, Hawrelak Park, [19]. June 27-July 23. Another summer theatre festival, this event is put on by the Free Will Players in Hawrelak Park in mid-summer. They usually put on two different plays over the course of 3 weeks. Tickets are usually around $12.
  • Edmonton Labatt's Blues Festival, [20]. August 25-27 (2006). Western Canada's Premier Blues Event, every August in Edmonton's scenic River Valley in Hawrelak Park at The Heritage Amphitheatre. Park ’n’ Ride service is available from the Stadium Parkade at the University of Alberta as parking is limited. Beer Garden, food vendors and the "Blues Store" are all on site. 3 days of "Blues and Nothin’ but the Blues".
  • Yardbird Jazz Festival, [21]. June 23-July 2 (2006). International jazz festival. Many clubs open their doors to jazz musicians and fans, as well as a variety of larger concerts in the city's main halls.
  • Heritage Days, [22]. August 5-7, 2006 (August long weekend). Hundreds of community groups converge on Hawrelak Park to celebrate Canada's diversity with cultural exhibits, dance, and food pavilions. Definitely go on an empty stomach.
  • Taste of Edmonton, Churchill Square. July 20-29. Several of Edmonton's finest eateries show off their wares. Coincides with Capital EX (formerly the Klondike Days). Restaurants have a booth and the opportunity to showcase two dishes that can be 'purchsed' with tickets. These dishes are small portions and require a various number of tickets. Individual tickets are purchased in one of the ticket booths found at the entrances to Churchill Square.
  • Folk Music Festival, [23]. August 10-13 (2006). This immensely popular festival sells out long before it opens, even though your ticket buys you nothing but the option to sit on a grassy hillside. World-class acts attend every year, with an emphasis on folk and roots performers but with sufficient variety to satisfy anyone - even the whole family. Hope for good weather, though: all seating is outdoors.
  • Edmonton International Street Performers Festival, Churchill Square, [24]. July 7-16 (2006). Canada's best street performers converge on Edmonton to show off their skill. Great for kids.
  • Cariwest Parade, [25]. August 11-13 (2006). Parade route ends in Churchill Square. Caribbean food, and item vendors. Parade has many wonderful costumes. This tradition comes from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Symphony Under the Sky, [26]. Sept 1-5, 2006. A series of concerts put on by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The performances take place in Hawrelak park, and consist of both classical and popular music.

Learn

Edmonton is home to the University of Alberta, which has consistently ranked in the top five universities in Canada. Annual attendance exceeds 30,000 students, and the campus sprawls over a number of blocks on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan river, a few minutes drive from downtown.

There are a number of major colleges as well:

  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)
  • Grant MacEwan College
  • Concordia University College
  • King's University College
  • Alberta College (now part of MacEwan, mostly ESL and upgrading)

Edmonton also attracts a number of ESL students, due to its reasonable cost of living, available homestays, and variety of ESL schools, which include:

  • CCI Lex 10621 - 100 Ave. Mostly volunteer-operated, low tuitions, and extremely painless visa sponsoring. A bit small though.

Work

Buy

  • If it's just shopping you crave, you can head to the premiere temple of consumerism, West Edmonton Mall, one of the world's largest shopping centres and the biggest in North America. There, you can find anything your wallet desires, then take a ride on the indoor roller coaster or check out the largest indoor waterpark you've ever seen or....
  • Don't forget the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market [27], open Saturdays 8am-3pm, year round. You can find it a block north of Whyte Avenue and 104 St.
  • Whyte Avenue (Whyte Ave) found on 82 Avenue, from 99th street to 109th street offers many independent shopping stores.
  • Downtown city centre offers a quieter, upscale shopping experience, usually catered to the business crowd. City Centre Mall east and west (east and west being split by 101 St but joined by a new large skybridge that has a few shops and a Tim Horton's in it) offer the standard food courts, popular clothing chains (e.g. Gap, Club Monaco, Aldo, etc.), and the Hudson Bay Company department store. Connected to the City Centre west building is the swankier Manulife Place with the posh Holt Renfrew department store, Henry Singer, Alligator Pie (designer labels for children), and gourmet chocolatier Bernard Callebaut. A pedway from Manulife leads to Commerce Place, which offers yet more designer shopping such as Sam Abouhassan, Plaza Escada, and Diamori, not to mention many delicious dining options from quick, healthy lunches at Sunterra market to high-end dining at Lux Steakhouse.

Eat

Quality

These are restaurants, bars, and other spots that have a quality not completely defined by their food type or location. They are each outstanding in their own ways, which we try to capture in their descriptions. For further information on Edmonton's restaraunts, go to http://www.edmontondining.com/

  • Sidetrack Cafe 10238 104 St. (new location - old one is now closed) The Sidetrack is one of Edmonton's premier live music venues, but it also serves food and drink from 4:00 PM onwards. Food is sensibly "Canadian", not too simple, not too extreme, and comes in good quantity. In summer, the shaded patio adds an enjoyable spot to enjoy your beer and newspaper. The dining room has a stage right in the middle, and the live acts it hosts are uniformly interesting, high-quality, and danceable.

Value

These places may not serve the best food or drink of their type, but they suit the economy-minded. If you're traveling on a tight budget, you won't be disappointed.

  • Commercial Hotel - Blues on Whyte 10329 82 Ave. Rock-bottom prices on beer, with a crowd to match. The bar serves all the low-brow beers, and has a surprisingly good selection at the opposite end of the spectrum - at the best prices in town. You can get Guinness on tap at Edmonton's best price, as well as Strongbow cider and several of the Big Rock brews. Exotic micro-brews in the bottle include Quebec's power-packed Maudite (8% alcohol - beware) and the redoubtable La Fin du Monde (French for "The End of the World" - at an incredible 9% alcohol, so be careful!). Live blues music on stage weekday evenings, with a locally-famous open stage on Saturday afternoons (arrive early if you want your own seat).

Asian

Chinese

  • Spicy Garden Restaurant 9700 105 Ave Great Chinese food at great prices.
  • Garden Bakery and Restaurant 10019-106 Ave Skip the restaurant but stock up on sweet pork buns and other baked treats. No GST if you buy more than a dozen.
  • Together Restaurant 10582 100 St. Hole-in-the-wall with great eats. The soups and sizzling platters are highly recommended. Save room for a bubble tea from Tea Cottage next door.

Japanese

  • Furusato 10012 82 Ave. The interior of this attractive Japanese restaurant is lined with wooden panels and roofed with thatch. Wooden floors and tasteful Japanese wall decorations round out the decor, which complements the family-run kitchen's fine food. Sample the special Volcano Rolls (a spicy, oven-hot sushi roll), or the Ika Kara-Age (breaded fried squid with a tangy ginger sauce), the best in town. All dishes are delivered quickly by friendly and competent staff. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, so try to avoid the frequent line-ups by visiting outside of the main dinner hours (5:30 - 7:30 PM). Visitors I've known from Vancouver claim it's better than most Lower Mainland Japanese restaurants, high praise from people who have a broad choice of Japanese restaurants at home.
  • Japanese Village 10126 100 St. The Japanese Village is an unusual three-story building in the heart of downtown. The main floor houses the sushi bar, tables, and a number of tatami rooms. Upstairs, a series of teppan-style cooking tables provide entertaining and tasty full dinners.
  • Mikado 2 locations - 10350 109 St and 1903 98 St (In South Edmonton Common). The original Mikado was the first Japanese restaurant in Alberta. Their new downtown location is a high-ceilinged modern room, both noisy and energizing. Food is excellent, but quantities are a little smaller and prices a little higher than they used to be in Mikado's previous off-downtown location. Mikado has also recently opened a second restaurant in South Edmonton Common.
  • Shogun 10125 121 St. Shogun is a comfortable restaurant, low-ceilinged and pleasantly lined with dark panelling. The sushi and teppan-style cooking are as good as anywhere in the city, but Shogun is generally less busy than the restaurants right downtown and can almost always accommodate you without reservations.
  • Osaka Skip. The owners have obviously never been to Japan, or even to any of their competitors'. Miso soup sans dashi, rubbery donburi lunch fare. $20 all you can eat sushi would be better spent on a reasonable amount of quality sushi at Furusato or Mikado.
  • Wasabi 5714 111 Street. Primarily take-out. Mr. Yoshida makes great sushi.

Korean

  • Bul-Go-Gi House 8813 92 St. This Korean restaurant was Edmonton's first, and has deservedly outlived several competitors with its consistent good quality and reasonable prices. The dining room's style is no better than functional, but you don't visit for the decor. Try bulgogi, bibimbap, and the homemade kimchi at a minimum, and feel comfortable that you'll enjoy pretty near anything on the menu - even if you've never heard of it.
  • Korean Beauty 6516 118 Ave.
  • Korean Village 7729 85 St. All you can eat Korean BBQ for $20. Secret tip: ask them to change the grill after yours gets black and horrible.

Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian

  • Ban Thai 15726 100 Ave.
  • Bua Thai 10049 113 St. Located across the street from St. Joseph's Basilica, Bua Thai serves up high-quality Thai food at competitive prices. Particularly good is their Beef with Basil, but nothing disappoints.
  • Krua Wilai 9940 106 St. Edmonton's most authentic Thai food. Incredible service at a reasonable price.
  • Padmanadi 10626 97 St. Excellent vegetarian Malaysian food.
  • The King and I 8208 107 St. Good Thai food, but it's always been a bit pricey, and the portions are somewhat small. You won't be disappointed in the flavours, though, and it still serves the best coconut rice in the city.
  • Tropika 6004 104 St. Malaysian food done right, with good portions and intense flavours, though some people find some of the dishes a little oily (but that's authentic...). Located in a strip mall with plenty of parking on Calgary Trail South. Fridays and Saturdays can be busy, especially around holidays, so phone ahead those times. Otherwise, there always seem to be one or two empty tables...

Vietnamese

  • Doan's 2 locations - 10130 107 St and 7909 104 St. Doan's runs two establishments in town. The downtown one occupies a fancy space (for a Vietnamese restaurant) and is popular with businesspeople at lunch. The south-side restaurant, a couple blocks south of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, is more conventional in its interior and layout. Both restaurants serve good quality Vietnamese food at good prices, and both are popular. They don't stand ahead of the other restaurants in this section, but they are reliably good.
  • Golden Bird 10544 97 St. Operated to high standards by a single family, this restaurant serves some of the best crispy spring rolls in town. Mom runs the kitchen, Dad and son will serve you in this colorful room. The menu has dishes not found at other Vietnamese restaurants in town; notable items include peppered squid and those served with sugar cane.
  • Lemongrass Cafe 10417 51 Ave. This restaurant is newer than most of the others, with a clean, crisp interior design. It's still friendly, though, and the food is prepared with care and attention to details.
  • Pagolac, 2 locations - 10566 97 St and 9642 54 Ave. Situated in the heart of Chinatown, this restaurant serves a wide variety of hearty Vietnamese dishes. The fare is a little cruder than Thanh Thanh's, but the prices are a little lower as well. A bowl of duck soup with noodles, gently spiced and swimming in a rich brown broth, will fill you for the rest of the day. Come early for lunch or be prepared to share a table.
  • Thanh Thanh Oriental Noodle House 10718 101 St. This cheerful restaurant serves some of the best Vietnamese food in the city (a Vietnamese friend of mine claims it's the "most authentic" in Edmonton). Prices have gone up in recent years, but quantities are still large and two can dine well for $20. The spicy satay beef noodle soup is a terrific cure for winter, and the extensive menu ranges from spice-free to mild to lively curries and satay dishes. There's a crush most lunch hours, so head over early.

Breakfast and brunch

  • High Level Diner 10912 88 Ave. This is a wonderful restaurant, a nice cosy atmosphere with a fine selection of food that comes well presented. In summer there is a small patio area which gives a nice view of the surrounding area, good for people watching. The best long island iced tea in the city (made from scratch).
  • Silk Hat 10251 Jasper Ave. This restaurant, one of Edmonton's oldest, is a proud promoter of the almost-vanished "greasy spoon" style of dining: booths down one side, a long bar with stools down the other, and good cheap food.
  • Barb & Ernie's 9906 72 Ave. This German restaurant is family-owned and operated by husband and wife duo, Barb & Ernie, and serves hearty portions of delicious breakfasts. Be sure to order the Eggs Benedict, the best in the city!
  • Cafe De Ville 10137 124 Street. They have their own pastry chef. (www.cafedeville.com)
  • The Harvest Room 10065 100 Street NW. This is one of the swankiest places to dine in Edmonton. Located in the historic Fairmont Hotel MacDonald.

Burgers

  • Garage Burger Bar 10242 106 Street. Located in the downtown core, Garage Burger Bar serves some of the best burgers in Edmonton.
  • Marco's Famous 10526 (Whyte) 82 Ave. SKIP - used to be the best in town but lost their way somewhere.

Coffee shops

  • Block 1912 10361 82 Ave. Located in the heart of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, this coffee shop is a favourite for late night dates, chatting with old friends, and family gatherings, and offers a variety of home-made desserts, gourmet coffees, and healthy lunch and dinner items. There's even a built-in gelateria for those who crave a delicious taste of Italy. If you've got a sweet tooth, you will find some of the best desserts in the city including chocolate cheesecakes. The excellent chai lattés are made from scratch. You'll love the eclectic décor; you can't miss the enormous desert painting in the back corner.

Eastern European

  • Bistro Praha 10168 100A Street, 424-4218. The Bistro is one of the longest-established restaurants in Edmonton. Its menu and ambience have remained as they were when it opened in the mid-1970's: really - why change? Business people in the lunch hour, and the arts crowd from local theatres and concert spots in the evening, fill this wood-paneled room enjoying crisp wiener schnitzel, roast goose, terrific steak tartare, and other eastern-European treats. The liquor markup is reasonable, beer selection features hard-to-find European brews, service is professional, and food is consistently excellent. $6-$10 (lunch), $12-$20(dinner).
  • Milan's Restaurant Bar 8223 104 St. Located a half-block north of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, this bistro has a warm, wood-paneled main room with a small bar for those awaiting company or a table. There's also a cheerful west-facing (sunny!) four-table patio in the summer. The menu features wiener schnitzel, other Eastern European meat dishes, and hearty salads at good prices. European beers on tap and the busy street scene make this the perfect Fringe Festival patio break.
  • Continental Treat 10560 Whyte (82) Avenue North West. Top-notch escargot, mussels, dill pickle soup, french onion soup.

Indian

  • Jewel of Kashmir 7219 104 St.
  • Khazana 10177-107 St. At one time a few years back (late 90s), Khazana was *the* East Indian tandoori restaurant in the city, but its high-style, high-quality presentation and delivery has been its undoing. Still competent in many respects, its amazing lunchtime buffet has been replaced by a much more lacklustre offering (sweet-and-sour chicken? are you kidding me?), and there is no menu service at lunchtime. Still, the decor is outstanding and the evening meal, with careful selection, can be quite good.
  • New Asian Village 10143 Saskatchewan Drive. One of the "old men" of East Indian cuisine in Edmonton. The food is excellent, the lunchtime buffet, while limited in selection, is adequate, but the à la carte portions are rather meagre for the price.
  • Haweli Fine East Indian Cuisine 10220 103 St. Good deal on the weekday lunch buffet. Try the butter chicken and the naan bread.

French

  • Creperie 111, 10220 103 St. A warm and cozy French-style eatery specializing in crepes, true to its name. The crepes there come with interesting (and tasty) fillings such as seafood Americane, jambalaya, beef stroganoff, and salmon. Other fine foods can also be had there, such as filet mignon and cedar baked salmon. Popular with romantic couples, it has won several awards for being the most romantic restaurant in Edmonton. They also have several vegetarian options. http://www.thecreperie.com/

Greek and Eastern Mediterranean

  • Koutouki 10704 124th St.
  • Symposium 2nd Floor, 10439 82nd Ave. *Symposium changed to the "Thirsty Turtle" bar at least two years ago*
  • Yiannis Taverna 10444 82nd Ave.

Italian

  • Chianti's 10501 82 Ave. Chianti's is housed in an attractive space (the recycled shell of the historical former Post Office), and offers cheap and cheerful Italian pasta and meat dishes. Service and ambience are professional enough to impress your boss, but prices low enough to allow treating your friends to dinner. The patio is very pleasant on warm summer evenings.
  • Il Portico 10012 107 St. Situated downtown, a block south of Jasper Avenue at 107th Street, this restaurant has first-class food, service, and setting. The wine cellar is extensive, as is the menu, and you may be able to celebrity-spot in this popular room.
  • Sorrentino's Bistro-Bar 3 locations - Sorrentino's Downtown 10162 100 St, Sorrentino's west 6867 170 St, Sorrentino's little Italy 10844 95 St. These local restaurants are an Edmonton tradition. Each of them offers a slightly different variation on comfortable Italian fare. Some are more formal settings than others, but all of the restaurants offer competent cuisine at pretty good prices. http://www.sorrentinos.com
  • Piccolino Bistro 9112 142 St. The personable staff, headed by the owner/operator Lino, complete the personable atmosphere of this restaurant. The food is awesome, featuring daily specials including risotto. And the homemade tiramisu is the best to be found anywhere. Reservations on Friday and Saturday are recommended.
  • Sicilian Pasta Kitchen 2 locations - 805 Saddleback Road and 11239 Jasper Ave. Great atmosphere, generous portions, scrumptious appetizers, and to-die-for desserts. For seafood lovers, try the Linguini Granchio or the Penne Alla Diavola. Make reservations well in advance, especially on the weekend.
  • La Spiga 10133 125 Street. Upscale italian in a historic Edmonton building.

Mexican, Latin American

  • Acajutla 11302 107 Ave. Acajutla is a Salvadorean/Central American eatery with functional decor, good food and low prices. If you're expecting a variation on Mexican, you may not recognize the menu -- sausages, for example, play a prominent role, and we're not talking chorizo! Nevertheless, the food is good and the prices are suitable for the starving-student crowd.
  • Julio's Barrio 2 locations - 10450 82 (Whyte) Ave and West Edmonton Mall(Bourbon Street). Julio's serves good Mexican food and lots of it. The menu is extensive, the servings are generous, and the food is the best Mexican fare in town. The restaurant's interior is colorful, although the tables and chairs - authentic equipale furniture made from roswood and palm slat frames with stretched pig skin-- are somewhat eccentric, but authentic, as this furniture is hand crafted in mountain villages outside of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Fresh home-made salsas, in every temperature from mild to "salsa of mass destruction", accompany free bowls of corn chips before dinner. The bar stocks several Mexican beers as well as the usual domestic brands, and has noticeable automation in place to speed the creation of margueritas. With friendly but professional service, Julio's is one of Whyte Avenue's busiest eateries, and justifiably so. There's also a Julio's in West Edmonton Mall's Bourbon Street.

Vegetarian

  • Padmanadi 10626 97 Street Phone: 780-428-8899 Entirely vegan. Even meat eaters can appreciate the 'fake' meat and veggie dishes.
  • Café Mosaics 10844-82 Ave.
  • Oriental Veggie House 10586-100 St.

Fancy Food

  • Gini's 10706 142 St.
  • Hardware Grill 9698 Jasper Ave. [28]
  • Jack's Grill 5842 - 111 St. [29]
  • La Boheme 6427 112th Ave.
  • Madison's Grill 10052 Jasper Ave (in the Union Bank Inn). [30]
  • Normand's 11639A Jasper Ave. [31]
  • Red Ox Inn 9420 - 91 St.
  • Unheardof 9602–82 Ave. Probably one of Edmonton's finest food establashments, although be wary of the high price attached. The meal will cost you a flat $60 per person, but if you are looking for excellent eating, and the price does not faze you, look no no further than Unheardof. [32]
  • La Ronde (Chateau-Lacome Crown Plaza Hotel Restaurant) Edmonton's secret version of the Calgary tower. The rotating restaurant features fine dining with "authentic" Alberta cuisine and a view of the river valley and downtown. Dinners $30+
  • The Blue Pear 10643 123 street. Fixed tasting menu. [33]
  • Characters 10257 105 street. [34]

Drink

The majority of drinking establishments and places to go for the evening are cetered around a few areas in the city. There is the Whyte Ave area that is 82 Ave starting at about 99th Street to 109th Street, Downtown, and West Edmonton Mall (a.k.a. 'West Ed')

Pubs

  • Black Dog 10524 82 Ave. Frequently rated Edmonton's best neighborhood pub by SEE Magazine polls, this friendly drinking spot caters to the young and body-modified (pierced and tattoed) crowd as well as any place on Whyte Avenue. It serves a wide selection of imported and micro-brewed beer at middle-of-the-road prices, features live music on Saturday afternoons, and has one of the city's favorite pub "patios" on their roof - a terrific place to waste a summer afternoon.
  • O’Byrnes 10616 82 Ave. An excellent Irish pub, rather roomy in size with two levels, and an outdoor patio in summer. Generally O'Byrnes is regarded as 'the' place to be on St. Particks day in Edmonton, although you will want to get there plenty early for that day as there is usually a long line form 4pm onwards. O'Byrnes also plays excellent Celtic music on Tuesdays.
  • The Druid 2 locations - 11606 Jasper Ave and 2940 Calgary Trail. This Irish pub comes with a rustic Irish pub-style interior and a wide selection of different beers on tap. The Druid hosts live music on certain days of the week and dance music with DJs on weekends. It can be crowded with partygoers on Fridays and Saturdays, so it's a good idea to come early should you decide to go there on these days.

Clubs

  • Purple Onion 8032 104 St. No one knows exactly where the hordes of people that press the flesh at the "P.O." every weekend come from. But come they do, as they have for close to 15 years now. And for anyone who wasn't already that way courtesy of Happy Hour, the DJ helps out with current dance hits and classic rock. Various drink and shooter specials are available, seemingly all the time. And unlike most of the licensed establishments in the area, you probably stand a better chance of getting your beverage faster from one of the numerous waitresses than you will from going to the bar.
  • The Roost 10345 104 St. It helps to have an open mind if you happen to walk through the doors of this two-storey alternative-lifestyles hangout. Often lauded as the best gay club west of Toronto, to the uninitiated, it's an eye-opening experience. Depending on your musical inclination, you can check out the main floor, where DJs allow patrons to sweat to the oldies or open the stage for its regular drag shows and karaoke nights. Upstairs, revelers let it all hang out on the checkered dance floor, grooving to the rhythms of everything from Madonna to Dusk to Dawn.
  • The One on Whyte 10544 82 Ave. Located in the space occupied by the old Roxy club on the second floor of what used to be Old Strathcona¹s favourite bowling alley, the One on Whyte sports an attitude that tones down the nightclub aspect a bit and emphasizes an expanded food menu and more live music. Yes, there are still plenty of opportunities to shake it until closing time, just like the old Roxy, but there is no shaking the feel that the owners are shooting for an entirely new image.
  • Union Hall 9920 62 Ave. Most nightclubs have a feel of snobbery to them. Depending on the clientele to which they cater, there is a feeling that the patron needs to be "in" to feel comfortable in the club environment. But the owners of the Standard, the successful Calgary Trail operation, decided that a spot was needed that would cater to those who wanted to simply go and have a good time without worrying about trends or fashions. Aimed at the classic-rock loving thirtysomething set, the Union Hall boasts that it is a spot about having an attitude-free good time. The Union Hall advertises itself as a place "where the only labels you'll find are on the bottles."

Wine stores

  • Cristall’s Wine Market 5854-111 St.
  • deVine Wines & Spirits 10111-104 St. [35]
  • Grapes and Grains 9500-170 St.
  • Wine Cellar 12421-102 Ave.

Sleep

  • The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald Known as Edmonton's most elegant grand old hotel, construction for this Chateau-like building began in 1911 and was completed in 1915. Located in the heart of downtown, the breathtaking view of the river valley, fine dining from the Harvest Room, and beautiful suites, makes it the inn-of-choice for the rich and famous. It is also an ideal venue for meetings and banquets.

Stay safe

Edmonton, like most Canadian cities, can be considered safe throughout. Nevertheless, there are some areas where increased caution is advised, particularly after dark:

  • The "inner city" area to the east of downtown, a square bounded by Jasper Avenue (corresponds to 101 Avenue) on the south, 118 Avenue on the north, 99th Street on the west, and around 85th Street on the east - parts of this area are well-traveled and safe, but other areas are pretty rough, at least by Edmonton's standards.
  • 118 Avenue between about 75th street and 99th Street.
  • Some will disagree that there's a real safety issue, but in recent years there has been an increase in alcohol-fueled disturbances on weekends near 82nd (Whyte) Avenue between 103 Street and 109 Street (which forms the city's most concentrated party zone). Whyte Avenue's actually a very safe area in all other respects, but be somewhat wary of the closing-time outflow after midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. In recent years, police have vastly increased foot patrols in the area, which has calmed things down a bit.
  • Police in recent years have been very heavy handed and there have been some high profile cases of corruption (The Overtime Affair, Photo Radar Contract, Stanley Cup 2006) and excessive use of force and/or Tazers. It is advised to use common sense caution when dealing with the police in Edmonton, although this kind of problem with police forces is by no means unique to Edmonton. (Many other large cities in North America have had similar problem with their police forces)

Driving in Edmonton is generally made easier by Edmonton's gridded street system (mostly in areas built before World War II) and relative lack of traffic compared to most other major North American cities. But exercise caution during the winter, especially during and after the first few snowfalls of the winter and during bad winter weather. Ice can be a problem, as it can be almost invisible, which is where the commonly used - and dreaded - term "black ice" comes from. Although ice will lose some of its slipperiness below -10°C, it is still wise to be careful.

Get out

From Edmonton, you can travel relatively quickly to Calgary, Drumheller, the Rocky Mountains and Jasper.

Nearby Banff and Jasper are both well-known national parks. They include world-class ski areas, hiking, boating, hostels, and many other outdoor attractions. Jasper is roughly 4 hours from Edmonton by the Yellowhead Highway (Hwy 16). Banff is only slightly further away.

Elk Island National Park 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 in Elk Island National Park, 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.

Camping, cross country skiing, hiking and other outdoor activities that can be done in Elk Island National Park. As in most Canadian national parks, a fee is required for entry into Elk Island National Park.




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!