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Edmonton

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Revision as of 19:25, 8 November 2007 by Aienan (talk | contribs) (Touch up of Grammar and Style. Phone numbers added (10 digit dialing included due to planned addition in 2008) Completed up to Major Festivals & Events.)
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Edmonton

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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 (North America's Largest Shopping and Entertainment Centre) and Fort Edmonton Park make Edmonton the largest tourist destination in the province of Alberta.

Edmonton is a northern North American city with a metro population of over 1,040,000 (2006), and one of the largest northern cities in the world. Its location makes for long winters, but the compensating rewards include sunny comfortable summers with daylight and dusk stretching as late as 11 pm in June and July.

Understand

Climate

Edmonton's climate is described as continental year-round, with a wide range of weather in all four distinct seasons. The city is located at the same latitude as Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England, and experiences similarly warm summer days and cooler nights. In total Edmonton receives 2,289 hours of sunshine per year, making it one of Canada's sunniest cities. Rainfall is low to moderate, and you can experience entire weeks without clouds or precipitation through the late spring and summer.

Bright green foliage appear in May signaling spring though even as the climate awakens from a winter slumber, cold snaps and the occasional snowfall can still occur. The region's golf courses are generally open by this time, and other summer sports like soccer and softball begin to operate in the city's public sports facilities.

Summer days generally bring temperatures up to 21-25°C (70-77°F) in June, July, and August, but you may see temperatures over 30°C (85°F). Thunderstorms sweep in from time to time during the summer months, usually in the evening. Humidity is relatively low, making warm days much 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 2300hrs in June and July.

Fall starts in mid September and is highlighted by bright yellow and orange foliage in Edmonton's extensive river valley parks. This season ushers in cooler temperatures ranging between 10-20°C during the day. Many tourists visit Edmonton and region for fall celebrations. For some, Edmonton acts as the gateway to the fall hunting season.

Edmonton winters are not as harsh as those further east on the Canadian Prairies. Periods of mild temperatures with daytime highs over 0°C (32°F) can occur. Such mild weather makes outdoor winter sports extremely popular with the locals. Stop by a local outdoor ice rink to catch the fever of children and adults alike taking part in community hockey. Colder days in Edmonton are kept reasonably comfortable by the low humidity index, but it's wise to have some lip balm and hand cream with you, as the skin and lips can get cracked and chapped quickly in this dry environment.

Edmonton gets much less snowfall than many other Canadian cities and even American cities further south. Usually it is the cold rather than the snow one has to worry about. High wind chills may become very unpleasant and cold snaps with temperatures down to and beyond -40°C/F can occur (usual to last more than 2-4 days). Extremely cold temperatures are usually accompanied by the crisp blue skies and bright sunshine of a high-pressure zone.

Get in

By plane

By far the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Edmonton from outside Alberta is by flying. Most major airlines service Edmonton. General travel times to Edmonton are 45 minutes from Calgary, 1 1/2 hours from Vancouver, and 4 hours from Toronto. Edmonton's main Airport is the hub to Northern Canada. To Europe, Edmonton has daily service to London on Air Canada. To the United States, Edmonton has scheduled departures to 10 United States airports: Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago.

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

  • Edmonton International Airport, [2]. Edmonton International is located south of Edmonton in Leduc County. It has two terminals, with a central hall that is the security point for all domestic and international traffic (excluding travel to the US, which uses the South Terminal). Transportation to and from the airport will need to be arranged as there is no public transportation available to the airport. There is an airport shuttle available at an affordable cost ($15 one way; $25 return). Taxi service is also available, but can be costly (around $40 to or from downtown as of 2006). The drive between Edmonton International airport and downtown is about half an hour, using the Queen Elizabeth Hwy 2. 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, [3]. Canada's main discount airline services most western cities out of Edmonton, as well as most major Canadian centers.
    • Air Canada, [4]. The national carrier uses Edmonton International as a gateway to the Canadian North.

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 do not plan on staying overnight along the way, which most traveling by road often do anyways. If you do choose to stay overnight along the way, there is no shortage of hotels and motels along the way.

It is not recommended to take this route in a personal vehicle 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 major inclines between Hope and Kamloops in British Columbia. Even regular bad weather can produce impassable roads, and communities are few and far between north of Kamloops. If you do want to make this trip during winter, stick to days without snowfall and try to travel during daylight (roughly 8 AM to 5 PM). Please note that all these travel times are based on good driving conditions, and can vary significantly based on weather and highway conditions.

By bus

Greyhound, [5] 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, [6] 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 is actually quite enjoyable.

By train

VIA Rail [7] provides passenger train services for Edmonton, and is linked to several major cities along the Canadian National Railroad. The VIA train station is now located a short distance from downtown. You will find it 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 Rail prices are higher than train prices generally in Europe. Passenger trains arrive through Edmonton numerous times during week. Passengers experience leisurely travel through some of the most amazing scenery in the world. Though somewhat more expensive than bus travel, service on a VIA Rail train even in the lowest class is superior to any bus. You can get up and walk around the carriages, dine conveniently, and you will find plenty of legroom in the comfortable seats. If you can afford the extra cost, it is generally worthwhile to take the train rather than the bus.

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, [8] - 780-425-2525
  • Barrel Taxi, [9] - 780-489-7777
  • Yellow Cab, [10] - 780-462-3456
  • Capital Taxi, [11] - 780-423-2425

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, the Edmonton Transit System [12]. With hundreds of different bus routes, you can get nearly anywhere you need to go usually with minimal bus transfers, provided that you are traveling 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 center 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 780-496-1611 or check out the Trip Planner in the ETS's website [13]. 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 increased fares.

Edmonton was the first North American city with a population of under 1 million to have developed a Light Rail Transit (LRT) [14] system. It stretches as a single line from the University of Alberta Hospital on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River to the Clareview area in the Northeast section of the city. It is 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 eventually to Century Park in the far 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: transit officers do patrol the lines, and if you fail to show proof of payment you will be hit with a $110 fine.

Fares are $2.50 for adults and $2.00 for youths and seniors (as of 2007), with "special events" running you $4 for a round trip. Day passes can be bought for $7.50 regardless of age group. A pack of 10 tickets can be bought for up to $21.50 (adults) at many convenience stores, drug stores or the ETS online store.

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. 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 [15] of the bike routes.

City Layout and Navigation

In the plains east of the Canadian Rockies, Edmonton is located on flat to rolling parkland with a deep river valley splitting the north and south parts of the city. 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. 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) on the north side and Whitemud Drive in the south side 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 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 counterpoint 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 Legislature Building Beautiful to visit any time of the year at any time of the day. In December the grounds are lit with thousands of lights and there is a skating pond one can use. In the summer you can wade in the pools and play in the fountains that are just north of the building. There is security walking around and it is quite safe even later in the evening. [16]
  • Alberta Railway Museum, 24215 34 St. [17] - 780-472-6229
  • Art Gallery of Alberta, (formerly the Edmonton Art Gallery) 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square. [18] - 780-422-6223
  • Devonian Botanic Garden. About 30 minutes out of downtown. Map to location: [19]. More information [20] - 780-987-3054
  • Muttart Conservatories, 9626 96A St. [21] - 496-8755
  • TELUS World of Science (formerly the Odyssium), 11211 142 St [22] - 780-452-9100

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.

  • Royal Alberta Museum, 12845 102 Ave. [23] - 780-453-9100
  • River Valley Parks, Wonderful walking, jogging and cycling paths through the River Valley. One of the most popular being Hawrelak Park which is located just off Groat Road and contains a pond home to various species of ducks and geese in summer along with a paddleboat rentals. The site of a variety of different festivals including Shakespeare in the Park and Symphony Under the Sky. In winter after the ice has frozen thick enough it is a popular venue for outdoor ice skating.
  • Valley Zoo, 13315 Buena Vista Rd. [24] - 780-496-6924
  • West Edmonton Mall 170 Street and 87 Avenue. [25] With the dubious distinction of being the largest indoor shopping and entertainment center in North America, this is definitely one of Edmonton's unique attractions. There are more than 900 stores and 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 theaters and an IMAX theater, a dinner theater, two mini golf centers, a skating rink, shooting range, many restaurants, and much, much more! It's a bit tacky and tourist-y, but even its detractors can't argue its ability to serve shoppers. Particularly in winter, it provides a comfortable smorgasbord of shops and entertainment well away from the chilly outdoors.

Fort Edmonton Park

Fort Edmonton Park, [26], [27], Contact Information

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 kilometers upstream from its original 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 center 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 independence 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. Called the "Vegas of the North" by some, due to the numerous opportunities for gambling in the area. 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) [28] 780-432-0428

Edmonton non-profit jazz club with acts every weekend. The Tuesday jam is $2, and has some good talent. Closed during the summer.

  • The Citadel Theatre 9828 - 101A Ave. [29] 780-425-1820
  • The Mayfield Dinner Theatre 16615 109 Ave. [30] 780-483-4051
  • The Winspear Theatre 4 Sir Winston Churchill Square NW. [31] 780-429-1992

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 [32]. 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 [33], United Cycle [34], Hardcore Mountain Bike Store [35] and others.

Downhill skiing

Edmonton is home to many avid skiers, and as such, several ski hills can be found within the city limits. They help keep locals amused until they can get away to the Rockies. However, if you can't wait that long, Rabbit Hill [36] (780-955-2440) is the best ski resorts close by. Situated on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, it is located about twenty minutes southwest of Edmonton. Within city limits, Snow Valley Edmonton [37] (780-434-3991) is easily accessible off the 122 St. exit from the Whitemud Freeway (Map). Quite small it is an excellent place for beginners, for any somewhat difficult terrain consider Rabbit Hill or a trip to the Rockies.

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.

In the city

  • Kinsmen Pitch'n'Putt 10661-91st Avenue [38] 780-432-1626 - behind the Kinsmen Sport Centre, on the south bank of the river valley (Public: par 54, 1222 yards) This is a true pitch-and-putt, with the holes averaging about 65 yards, and none over 100 yards. You can enjoy a pleasant two-hour walk with two or three clubs in your bag. Greens fees are low, club rentals are available, and the course is friendly for families looking for a spot to golf with the kids.
  • Lewis Estates Golf Club 8700 207 St. [39] 780-489-4653 (Public: 6220 yards, par 72) This course is embedded in the Lewis Estates housing development, and most of the fairways snake between rows of homes. Some "wild" fairways cut through natural forest still exist in the middle of the first nine holes, and they are a welcome respite from the fences, yards, and all-too-vulnerable windows of the remaining holes.
  • Riverside 8630 Rowland Rd (in the river valley) [40] 780-496-4914 (Pro Shop - April-October) (Public: 6306 yards, par 71) This delightful club is the most attractive of the three city-owned courses. It is heavily treed, cool on hot summer days and beautiful in any weather. 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. Riverside is very popular and booking a tee time requires fast fingers (or an auto-dial function on your phone) to book through the City's automated telephone booking system (780-496-8700 - call at 6 PM sharp two or three days in advance to reserve a tee time).
  • Rundle Park Par Three, 2909 118th Ave. [41] 780-944-4426 (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) [42] 780-496-4914 (Pro Shop - April-October) (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. As with Riverside, tee times are booked by phone starting 6:00 PM sharp two or three days ahead of the date of the reservation (call the automated system at 780-496-4900 to book).

Near the city

  • The Ranch, 52516 Range Rd., 262 Spruce Grove [43] 780-470-4700 (Public: 5708 yards from the white tees, 6100 from the blues, 6506 from the golds, par 71) The Ranch is a short drive west of Edmonton, set in a quiet and undeveloped area that combines a number of level "prairie" fairways with some beautiful multi-tiered ravine holes. It's a challenging layout, though by no means unfair, and the course concludes with three attractive water holes cut out of the forest.

Spectator Sports

  • Edmonton Oilers, [44], Ticket Office 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 Oil Kings, [45] The Local Western Hockey League (WHL) hockey team plays at Rexall Place.
  • Edmonton Rush, [46], Ticket Office The local National Lacrosse League (NLL) club plays at Rexall Place.
  • Edmonton Eskimos, [47] 780-448-3757 (Ticket Office). The local Canadian Football League (CFL) team plays at Commonwealth Stadium.
  • Edmonton Cracker Cats, [48] 780-423-2255. The local Northern League Baseball Team plays minor baseball at Telus Field.

Major Events & Festivals

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

  • Capital EX, [49]. July 19-28, 2007. Formerly known as 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 countries, and Ed Fest, the 10-day rock festivals with up to 3 bands per night.
  • Edmonton International Jazz Festival, [50]. June 22-July 1, 2007. A "new" festival taking up where the 25-year summer tradition of the Jazz City festival left off in 2005. (The Yardbird Jazz Festival (see below) ably filled in for summer 2005 and 2006.) National and international acts such as Oliver Jones and Madeleine Peyroux will be presented in the city's concert halls and clubs over 10 days.
  • Grand Prix of Edmonton, [51]. 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.
  • Edmonton Gay Pride,Celebrate Edmonton's GLBT Community with Edmonton Pride Every June, Complete with Parade and Festival at Churchill Square
  • Fringe Festival, [52]. 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, [53]. 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, [54]. 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, [55]. Nov. 7-10, 2007. Focusing on Canadian acts as it transitions from the temporary "bridge" between the old summer Jazz City and the new Edmonton International Jazz festivals, this festival will take place in Edmonton's volunteer-run jewel of a jazz club.
  • Heritage Festival, [56]. August 4-6, 2007 (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 19-28, 2007. 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, [57]. August 9-12, 2007. 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, [58]. July 6-15 (2007). Canada's best street performers converge on Edmonton to show off their skill. Great for kids.
  • Cariwest Parade, [59]. August 10-12 (2007). Parade route ends in Churchill Square. Caribbean food, and item vendors. Parade has many wonderful costumes. This tradition comes from the Caribbean nations of Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Symphony Under the Sky, [60]. Aug 31 - Sept 3, 2007. 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) [61]
  • 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[62], 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 eat or drink or . . .
  • Don't forget the Old Strathcona Farmer's Market [63], 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 stores and shops. This area has the greatest concentration of used book stores in the city, and also one of the premiere magazine shops in Alberta (Hub Cigar and Newstand, with above 6000 titles, is just south of Whyte Avenue on 103 Street).
  • Downtown city centre offers a quieter, upscale shopping experience, usually catering 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

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 a good price (for Edmonton), as well as Strongbow cider and several of the Big Rock brews. Live blues music on stage weekday evenings, with a locally-famous open stage on Saturday afternoons (arrive early if you want your own seat).
  • The Garage Burger Bar, 10244-106 Street (downtown). Although aficianados argue about the best burger in town, this little restaurant has been appearing as one of the top two or three in city-wide reviews for years. It has a full liquor license and a good variety of inexpensive, high-quality burger meals. The prices are low and the staff friendly.
  • Chicken for Lunch, 10060 Jasper Avenue NW (downtown, lower level Scotia Place). Good cheap chicken stir-fry served with a smile by Amy who will remember your name and your order the next time. Get there AT LEAST by 11:30AM, as the lines easily reach 50 people at peak. There are other empty kiosks if you run out of waiting time.

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). 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 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.
  • Mt Fuji Teppanyaki Japan Ltd, 9635 167 Ave. This northside secret won't stay hidden for long. The sushi is meticulously prepared, while the beef and chicken dishes satisfy the less adventurous. Try the elegant-looking chirashi, which offers a variety of the freshest fish in the city. Call ahead for take-out, available for any item on their extensive menu. The homemade sesame sauce used on some of the rice dishes is so popular, they now sell it by the bottle. Due to its proximity to the nearby military base, Mt. Fuji is always packed full of uniformed patrons at lunch. Try arriving early, or wait until after 1pm. Open everyday until 9pm (except Sundays, when they're closed).
  • Japanese Village, 10126 100 St. The Japanese Village is located in an unusual vintage 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. The food is good and the atmosphere very pleasant.
  • Mikado, 10350 109 St (downtown) and 1903 98 St (South Edmonton Common), [64]. The original was the first Japanese restaurant in Alberta. Both locations have modern decor, sushi bar, tables and tatami rooms; food style is a mix of traditional Japanese (try the Bento boxes for a sampling) with some offerings of nouveau Japanese cuisine (try the Dragon Eyes, baked oysters or the Red Rose Roll and you won't be disappointed). Reservations are the way to go on key nights, otherwise be prepared to wait quite a while to be seated. Atmosphere is pleasant and food is generally excellent, but quantities are a little smaller and prices a little higher than one would expect. Prices suggest top-notch sushi, but Mikado is on par with other local sushi restaurants.
  • Shogun, 10125 121 Street. 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. More reminiscent of Chinese food than Japanese, and not particularly authentic Chinese food at that. It's cheap, I guess. Avoid the sushi. More damaging, Sam Wok is just down the street.
  • Wasabi, 5714 111 Street. Cozy atmosphere, lots of parking. Primarily take-out. Mr. Yoshida makes great sushi.

Korean

  • Bul-Go-Gi House, 8813 92 Street. 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 Street. All you can eat Korean BBQ for $20. Secret tip: ask them to change the grill after yours gets black and horrible. This restaurant is run by a small Korean family that take great pride in their food and service. It is the most tasty, authentic Korean food you will find in Edmonton.

Thai, Malaysian, and Indonesian

  • Ban Thai, 15726 100 Ave. A local favorite, this family-run restaurant claims to be the oldest Thai kitchen in Edmonton. It has a comfortable, homey atmosphere and boasts well-prepared dishes that emphasize fresh ingredients. The Pad Thai has a good reputation among regular diners. This is one of the more expensive Thai restaurants in town, but the quality of the food and the friendly service make it a worthwhile stop.
  • Bua Thai, 10049 113 Street. 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 Street. Edmonton's most authentic Thai food. Incredible service at a reasonable price. The value, in terms of large portions, is hard to beat.
  • Padmanadi, 10626 97 Street. Excellent vegetarian Malaysian food.
  • The King and I, 8208 107 Street. A stand-by for good Thai food, it's always been a bit pricey, and often the portions are somewhat small. Those looking for an authentic experience might consider a different Thai restaurant, as this one is known to cater to "cautious" diners. It's a great introduction to Thai food, however, and beginners won't be disappointed by the flavors. It still serves, by far, the best coconut rice in the city.
  • Tropika, 6004 104 Street. and 14921 Stony Plain Road (approx. 101 Avenue) This is authentic Malaysian food done right, with good-sized portions and intense flavors. Some may find the occasional dish a little oily, but that's authentic. Located in a strip mall with plenty of parking on Calgary Trail South, or in another strip mall off Stony Plain Road in the west end. Fridays and Saturdays can be busy, especially around holidays, so phone ahead if you're planning to dine then.

Vietnamese

  • Calgary Trail Noodle House, 5730 104 Street. An inexpensive, cozy place to meet for lunch or dinner. Chinese items are served alongside tasty and authentic Vietnamese dishes. The most expensive offerings are all less than $13. Fully licensed. Friendly staff.
  • 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 prepares 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. The room is packed at lunchtime during the week - try to come before 11:45 to get a table.
  • Lemongrass Cafe, 10417 51 Ave. This restaurant is newer than many of the others, with a clean, crisp interior design. It's friendly and the food is prepared with care and attention to detail.
  • Pagolac, Northside - 10566 97 St and Southside - 9642 54 Ave. With two locations, one on either side of the river, this restaurant serves hundreds of hearty Vietnamese dishes. The fare is a little less fancy than elsewhere, but contributes to a more authentic experience, and 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 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 lively curries and satay dishes. Perennial favorites include the lightly-spicy lemon-grass chicken, which arrives in a quantity to feed two or three if you add a bowl of rice to the order. There's a crush most lunch hours, so head over early.

Breakfast and brunch

  • High Level Diner, 10912 88 Ave. (University district) This is a long-time Edmonton favorite, known for its cozy atmosphere and a broad selection of food. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner equally well. For breakfast, try the self-branded hot cereal, a bowl brimming with a half-dozen or more types of hot, flavorful grains. The cereal mixture is also available dry for taking home - it's a great gift to out-of-town Edmontonians pining for a taste of home. The main menu's bias is towards simple but hearty Mediterranean cuisine, but it includes robust dishes from other cultures as well. The Diner serves a number of flavorful vegetarian dishes, and the menu also includes sufficient meat meals to amply satisfy the family carnivore. 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). On Sunday mornings, arrive early or be prepared for a line at the door.
  • Silk Hat, 10251 Jasper Ave. This restaurant, one of Edmonton's oldest, was 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. Unfortunately, it closed almost without warning as of June 2007.
  • Barb & Ernie's, 9906 72 Ave. This German restaurant is family-owned and operated by husband and wife duo, Barb and Ernie. It serves hearty portions of delicious breakfasts. Be sure to order the Eggs Benedict, the best in the city!
  • The Harvest Room, 10065 100 Street NW. Located in the historic Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, this is one of the finest places to dine in Edmonton. Expect orange juice with champagne, and the best brunch you've ever had. Bring big bucks, though - this may be the most expensive restaurant in the city.

Burgers

  • Garage Burger Bar, 10242 106 Street. Located in the downtown core, Garage Burger Bar serves some of the best burgers in Edmonton. Prices are great, too.
  • Burger Baron Various locations throughout the city. Locally owned and operated, this longtime favorite serves delicious food at reasonable prices.


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 cool but professional, and food is consistently excellent. $6-$10 (lunch), $12-$20(dinner).
  • Accent European Lounge, 8223 104 Street. Located a half-block north of Whyte (82nd) Avenue, this bistro/bar has a warm, wood-paneled main room with a welcoming 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, steak a la tartare, other European dishes, and hearty salads at good prices. An excellent European beer selection and a 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 Street.
  • Punjab Sweets and Restaurant, 9393 34 Avenue. This down-to-earth favorite has a twice-daily buffet as well as numerous affordable menu selections. Don't be fooled by the decor in this renovated Arby's restaurant; the food is very tasty. The location also serves as a bakery and take-out restaurant.
  • Khazana, 10177-107 Street. 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. Prices are fairly high for a-la-carte dishes in the evening, and it generally takes several dishes to satisfy your appetite, as each is quite small. 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 and the decor is always a feast for the eyes. Prices for food on the regular menu are quite high. In general à la carte portions are rather meagre for the price. One notable aspect of this restuarant is its incredible beer list, reputedly the largest in Alberta. The lunchtime buffet, while limited in selection, is adequate. The evening buffet, on the other hand, is a real treat. Check with the restaurant for the nights it's available, then go over early (say, by 5:30) to enjoy for a pittance a dinner that would severely lighten your wallet if ordered a la carte. The buffet dishes are flavorful and fresh, including naan bread that's made in front of you by one of the chefs, and the quality is as good as the regular menu.
  • Haweli Fine East Indian Cuisine, 10220 103 Street. This sizeable restaurant is close to Edmonton's downtown office towers, which makes it an easy walk for most downtowners. You get a very good deal on the weekday lunch buffet. Try the butter chicken and the naan bread. Very authentic.

French

  • Creperie, 111, 10220 103 Street. A warm and cozy French-style eatery specializing in crepes. The crepes 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. It also has several vegetarian options on the menu. Popular with couples, it has won several awards for being the most romantic restaurant in Edmonton - though knowledeable diners will also support the Red Ox Inn for this title. http://www.thecreperie.com/

Greek and Eastern Mediterranean

  • Koutouki, 10704 124th Street. Not cheap, but likely the best Greek food and restuarant atmosphere in town.
  • Yiannis Taverna, 10444 82nd(Whyte) Ave. Fun place, especially in the summer when the large garage doors in the front open onto the bustling streets of the funky Old Strathcona neighborhood. Loud and busy.

Italian

  • Chianti's, 10501 82nd Ave. Chianti's is housed in an attractive space (the recycled shell of the historic 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 are low enough to allow treating your friends to dinner. The patio is very, very pleasant on warm summer evenings.
  • Il Portico, 10012 107th Street. Situated downtown, just a block off Jasper Avenue, 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.
  • La Spiga, 10133 125 Street. Upscale Italian in a historic Edmonton residence.
  • Piccolino Bistro, 9112 142nd Street. The personable staff, headed by the owner/operator Lino, complete the comfortable 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.
  • Sorrentino's Bistro-Bar, 3 locations - Sorrentino's Downtown 10162 100 St, Sorrentino's west-end 6867 170 St, and Sorrentino's in little Italy at 10844 95 St., [65]. 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.
  • Tony’s Pizza Palace, 9605 111 Avenue. Tony's makes an art form of the uncommon (in Edmonton) thin-crust pizza in three huge ovens, serving hot and tasty pizzas to a cheerful dining room and lounge. The pizza is thin, crunchy, and decorated with just the right amount of tasty and authentic toppings - no sodden mess of mozzarella here. Try the appetizer "pretzel" as well - it's a sizeable spiral of pizza dough trimmings topped with anchovies and garlic, and baked into a crisp, sparky treat. The wine list is brief but economical, service friendly, and you can order for take-out if you want to enjoy dinner at home.

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 82nd (Whyte) Ave and 170th Street at 100 Ave. 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. 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 notable 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.

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

  • The Blue Pear, 10643 123 street. Fixed tasting menu. [66].
  • Characters, 10257 105 street. [67].
  • Gini's, 10706 142 Street.
  • Hardware Grill, 9698 Jasper Ave., [68]. This restaurant is housed in the refurbished shell of the W. W. Arcade. a venerable Edmonton hardware store, hence the name. The interior is contemporary and tables are well-spaced, enhancing privacy and lending a sense of intimacy to evening dining. The food is among the most expensive in Edmonton, but may not seem so to diners from other large cities. Food quality is high, the wine list is extensive, and service is good, although not as consistent and well-trained as (for example) the Harvest Room's service. It's definitely one of the ten top restaurants in the city, although its exact placement depends - as always - on your tastes and expectations.
  • Jack's Grill, 5842 111th St., [69]. Jack's is another "top ten" restaurant, and a long-standing favorite of Edmonton's fancy diners. The menu is creative, and execution is generally faultless. Portions are not large, and prices are high, but in neither case is Jack's much different from other "haute cuisine" in town. The space may seem a little unusual: the Lendrum location is in a strip mall, and the tables are decorated with crayons for your amusement. But in general the dining experience lives up to expectations for Alberta fine dining - perhaps less formal than Toronto or San Francisco, but also more approachable.
  • La Boheme, 6427 112th Ave.
  • La Ronde (Chateau Lacombe 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+
  • Normand's, 11639A Jasper Ave., [70]. This well-established restaurant offers a broad range of exceptional dishes. The menu features wild game of various types, including (with some seasonal variations) bison, ostrich, muskox, wapiti (elk), and other uncommon treats. The food is prepared in what might be called a Canadian - Continental style, with an emphasis on unique flavors from western Canada. Local berries, wild Alberta mushrooms, and a good selection of Canadian wines makes a meal here a uniquely Canadian experience if you wish. The restaurant itself is small and beautifully decorated, and it's a favored destination for Edmonton's power elite - you may see the Premier dining there some evenings. Prices are moderate considering the quality of the restaurant, making Normand's one of the best bargains in the top echelon of Edmonton restaurants.
  • Red Ox Inn, 9420 91st Street. This restaurant is one of Edmonton's hidden gems. Situated in a residential neighborhood a few blocks north of Whyte Avenue, it has been quietly developing an enviable reputation, a few customers at a time. The room is small but well-organized, and it's reputed to be one of the most romantic restaurants in town. The menu is fairly brief, but the dishes are original and come in hearty portions.
  • Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, 10103 100th St NW (downtown). Ruth's Chris is an upscale chain restaurant originating in New Orleans. As its name indicates, the menu is primarily beefsteak, although it also has a small number of chicken, fish, and other dishes. This location is a converted bank building, with high ceilings that help build atmosphere in a pleasant, dark restaurant and bar. The food is more than adequate in quality and quantity, the service is fawningly professional, and the wine list provides lots of high-quality choices. On the other hand, food prices are very high, the menu lacks variety, and the dishes are unimaginative in flavor and presentation. If you dine out to find new foods and flavors exquisitely presented in posh settings, you may be better off across the street at the Hotel MacDonald's Harvest Room, or visiting one of the other restaurants in this section. If you just want a good steak, there are many Edmonton chefs who can give you one, and few would charge as much for it as Ruth does.
  • Unheardof, 9602–82 Ave., [71]. One of Edmonton's finest food establishments, although be aware that this quality comes at a price. The menu is a prix-fixe style, with one or two choices for each course. The meal costs about $60 per person (as of 2006), but if you are looking for excellent eating, and the price does not faze you, look no no further than Unheardof.

Drink

The majority of high-activity drinking establishments and night spots are centered around a few areas in the city. The best-known is the Whyte Avenue area, on 82 Ave from about 99th Street to 109th Street, but there is also notable activity downtown near Jasper Avenue (roughly equivalent to 101 Avenue) from around 100 Street west, and also out in West Edmonton Mall (a.k.a. 'West Ed'). In addition, the far south of the city sports a number of clubs able to offer large interior spaces and parking not as easily available in the other locations.

Pubs

  • Black Dog, 10524 82 Ave. Frequently rated Edmonton's best neighborhood pub in city 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.
  • The Red Baron, 6108 28 Avenue. With friendly people and great atmosphere, this traditional pub is a perfect place to play billiards or darts, or catch up on Mill Woods gossip. There is a full menu featuring all types of food, as well as all-day breakfast. Saturday nights usually feature karaoke, but don't miss "Wing Wednesdays," when wings are cheap all night. Happy hour goes until 8pm every night, and all day on Sundays.
  • O’Byrnes, 10616 82 Ave. An excellent Irish pub, rather roomy inside with two levels, and an outdoor patio open in summer. O'Byrnes is one of 'the' places to be on St. Patrick's Day in Edmonton, although you will want to get there early for that day as there is usually a line out the door from 4pm onwards. O'Byrnes also plays excellent Celtic music on Tuesdays.
  • The Druid, 11606 Jasper Ave. 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.
  • Ceili's Irish Pub, 10338 109th Street NW. Another pub in the Irish style, Ceili's is the closest one to downtown. There is ample nearby parking, unlike the Druid a few blocks away, and it's a popular spot for a meal as well as for the usual tap beers and drink specials. Some evenings feature live music, and you may want to look for (or avoid) the unusual "jam-aoke" - would-be singers from the audience in front of a live band.

Clubs

  • Purple Onion, 8032 104 Street. 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 cheerful and dazed 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 104th Street. An open mind doesn't hurt when you walk through the doors of this two-storey alternative-lifestyles hangout. Often lauded as the best gay club west of Toronto, it's an eye-opening experience to the uninitiated. 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 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 82nd 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 it seems that the owners are shooting for an entirely new image.
  • Union Hall, 9920 62 Ave. Most nightclubs have a feel of snobbery to them - 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."
  • New City Suburbs, 10081 Jasper Ave. If you're looking for respite from the top 40, hip hop or classic rock fare of most clubs in Edmonton, New City Suburbs is the place to be. The music tends toward the "darker" side, featuring plenty of industrial, goth, metal, electronica, punk, some more recognizable alternative rock, new wave and classic 80s offerings (we're talking Depeche Mode, The Smiths and The Cure as opposed to retro dance party fare here). This club caters mostly to the pierced, tattooed and black-clad crowd, and it is not uncommon to find people wearing corsets, thigh-high patent leather platform boots, studded collars and leather pants. The club features an enormous dance floor with a raised stage, and a dancing cage. Regardless of whether yours is a truly "alternative lifestyle" or you are just interested in an alternative to the Black Eyed Peas and the Pussycat Dolls on the dance floor, this club is inclusive, fun and almost always packed on a Saturday night. Drink prices are not completely outrageous, commensurate with prices in clubs around the city, though there are not any of those crazy $1 highballs that some other places have. There is a sit-down lounge with a separate DJ called Likwid Lounge upstairs for taking a breather from the dancing.

Wine stores

  • Cristall’s Wine Market, 5854 111th Street.
  • deVine Wines & Spirits, 10111 104th Street, [72].
  • Grapes and Grains, 9500 170th St.
  • Wine Cellar, 12421 102nd Ave.

Noteworthy liquor stores

  • Chateau Louis Liquor Store, 11727 Kingsway Ave. This liquor store has one of the largest selections of single-malt Scotch in Edmonton. (In fact, it was the site of Canada's only whisky kidnapping - in 1999, a fabulously rare bottle of 1955 Bowmore malt was stolen and offered back for ransom!). The selection is good and the prices are better than many places in the city. The liquor store is now known not just for its Scotches but also for its wide selection of other hard liquors, many of them premium brands ranking well above the regular bar brands in quality and price: it's one of the few stores in town with a choice in Absinthes, as well as high-end tequilas, rums, and non-Scotch whiskys. The wine selection is limited, and while there's a good variety of premium beers, any true beer aficionado would head a few blocks west to the Sherbrooke Liquor Store. Just south of the City Centre Airport attached to the hotel of the same name.
  • Sherbrooke Liquor Store, 11819 Saint Albert Trail. This unassuming little liquor store carries a massive inventory of specialty beers. The collection allegedly contains every variety available in Alberta, which would make this the one-stop shopping spot for Edmonton's beer fans. There are beers you've only read about, beers from countries you have never heard of, and all of them can be found in a big walk-in cooler ready for immediate enjoyment.

Sleep

  • GO Backpackers Hostel, 10815 Jasper Avenue (corner of 108 Street and Jasper Avenue), +1 780 423-4146, toll-free +1 877 646-7835, [73]. Located in downtown Edmonton. Beds start at $22 per night, a private rooms are also available.
  • HI-Edmonton, 10647-81 Avenue, +1 780 988-6836, fax +1 780 988-8698, toll-free reservations +1 877 467-8336, [74]. Located near Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona. Beds start at $22 per night.
  • Fantasyland Hotel in the West Edmonton Mall is perhaps the one of the most unusual hotels in Canada, featuring exotically themed rooms such as Hollywood, African Safari, Polynesian, Trucks, Trains, and so on. It makes for the perfect resting place if you plan to spend several days inside the enormous shopping center.
  • 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.
  • The Union Bank Inn, 10053 Jasper Ave (downtown). This lovely boutique hotel inhabits a small converted bank building in the center of Edmonton's downtown. Converted relatively recently, the interior is modern and business-friendly (Internet connections in nearly every room), while keeping an updated "heritage" theme in its comfortable rooms. Its restaurant, the Madison Grill, is one of the city's finer dining establishments, and if it doesn't suffice, you are only a couple of blocks away from any of the major downtown restaurants.

Stay safe

Areas requiring care

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, 101 Street on the west, and around 85th Street on the east - has parts that are well-traveled and safe, but has other areas that are pretty rough, at least by Edmonton's standards. 118 Avenue features numerous signs asking visitors to report prostitution by calling a 1-800 number.
  • 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 (the city's most concentrated party zone). Whyte Avenue is 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. If you're concerned, 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.

Northern driving

Navigation in Edmonton is generally made easier by city's gridded street system (mostly in the areas built before World War II) and relative lack of traffic compared to most other major North American cities. Visitors should also note that additional hazards are presented by winter driving in the city, especially during and after the first few snowfalls of the winter and during any subsequent bad winter weather. Ice can be a problem, especially on bridges. Ice on roadways can be almost invisible, which is where the commonly used - and dreaded - term "black ice" comes from. A lack of effective post-snowfall sanding and snow clearance exacerbates these additional hazards.

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.




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