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Edmonton

Edmonton has earned the title of festival City and it is home to North America largest mall...

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Edmonton > Alberta > Canada

 
 

Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta. The city is located on the North Saskatchewan River in the central region of the province, an area with some of the most fertile farmland on the prairies. It is the second largest city in Alberta, with a population of 752,412 (2008), and is the hub of Canada's sixth-largest census metropolitan area, 1,081,300 making it the northernmost North American city with a metropolitan population over one million.

At 684 km2 (264 sq mi), the city of Edmonton covers an area larger than Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, or Montreal. Edmonton has one of the lowest population densities in North America, about 9.4% that of New York City. A resident of Edmonton is known as an Edmontonian.

Edmonton serves as the northern anchor of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor (one of four regions that together comprise 50% of Canada's population) and is a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects occurring in northern Alberta and large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest territories.

Edmonton is Canada's second most populous provincial capital (after Toronto) and is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It plays host to a year-round slate of world-class festivals, earning it the title of "The Festival City." It is home to North America's largest mall, West Edmonton Mall (which was the world's largest mall for a 23 year period from 1981 until 2004.), and Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest living history museum. In 2004, Edmonton celebrated the centennial of its incorporation as a city.

History
The first inhabitants settled in the area that is now Edmonton around 3,000 BC and perhaps as early as 12,000 BC, when an ice-free corridor opened up as the last ice age ended and timber, water, and wildlife became available in the region.

In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer working for the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), may have been the first European to enter the Edmonton area. His expeditions across the Canadian Prairies were mainly to seek contact with the aboriginal population for the purpose of establishing the fur trade, as competition was fierce between the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. By 1795, Fort Edmonton was established on the north bank of the river, as a major trading post for the Hudson's Bay company.

The name of the new fort was suggested by John Peter Pruden after Edmonton, London, the home town of both the HBC deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake, and Pruden. In the late 19th century, the highly fertile soils surrounding Edmonton helped attract settlers, further establishing Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre. Edmonton was also a stopping point for people hoping to cash in on the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897, although the majority of people doing so chose to take a steamship north to the Yukon from Vancouver.

Incorporated as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350, Edmonton became the capital of Alberta as the province joined Confederation a year later, on September 1, 1905. In November 1905, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) arrived in Edmonton, accelerating growth.

Alberta Legislature Building and old Fort Edmonton from High Level Bridge, 1914.During the early 1910s, Edmonton grew very rapidly, causing rising speculation in real estate prices. In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with the city of Strathcona, south of the North Saskatchewan River; as a result, the city extended south of the river.

Just prior to World War I, the real estate boom ended suddenly, causing the city's population to decline sharply—from over 72,500 in 1914 to under 54,000 only two years later., Recruitment to the Canadian military during the war also contributed to the drop in population. Afterwards, the city was slow to recover in population and economy during the 1920s and 1930s, until World War II.

The first licensed airfield in Canada, Blatchford Field (now Edmonton City Centre (Blatchford Field) Airport), commenced operation in 1929. Pioneering aviators such as Wilfrid R. "Wop" May and Max Ward used Blatchford Field as a major base for the distribution of mail, food, and medicine to Northern Canada; hence Edmonton's role as the "Gateway to the North" was strengthened. During World War II saw Edmonton's becoming a major base for the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Northwest Staging Route.

Best Time to Visit Edmonton:

May to October

Edmonton Travel Attractions:

West Edmonton Mall, Alberta Legislature, Budweiser Motor Sports Park, Cinema Ride, Commonwealth Stadium, Crystal Centre, Deep Sea Derby, Edmonton Corn Maze, Edmonton Queen Riverboat, Elk Island National Park, Sea Lions Rock and Sea Life Caverns, Galaxyland, Hermitage Park, Kinsmen Park, Laurier Park, McDougall United Church, Mill Creek Ravine Park, Northlands Park, Old Strathcona, Professor Wems Adventure Golf, William Hawrelak Park, Rexall Place, Rundle Park, Terwillegar Park, Valley Zoo, Victoria Park, Westbury Theatre / Transalta Arts Barns, Whitemud Park and Ravine, Windship Aviation, Cryptogamic Herbarium, Fort Edmonton Park, John Janzen Nature Centre, Muttart Conservatory, Victoria Park, Devonian Botanic Garden, Classic Outfitters Ltd, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

Edmonton Travel Attractions:

West Edmonton Mall: It is North America's largest shopping and entertainment centre, featuring more than 800 stores and services, over 100 eating establishments and nine world-class parks & attractions. It's the only mall of its kind - a shopper's paradise and a world of adventure and excitement. This amazing structure & often called the "8th Wonder of the World" & spans the equivalent of 48 city blocks in the west end of the City of Edmonton (metro population over 995,000), in the province of Alberta.

West Edmonton's Mall's waterpark covers over two hectares (five acres) and incorporates 20 water activities. The waterslides are miles long, there are kids pools and bungy jumps, and the water is kept at a pleasant 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Sharky, the mall's mascot for this attraction, is available for private functions.

Alberta Legislature: The Alberta Legislature is the seat of Alberta's provincial government and the province's foremost historical building. This stately Edwardian building was built in 1912 on the site of the original Fort Edmonton. It overlooks the river. Guided, informative Legislature Building tours are free. The interpretive center will help you understand the intricacies of the Canadian systems of government. Take a few moments to enjoy the beautiful landscaped grounds of the Alberta Legislature where you’ll find flowers, fountains and pools in summer and a skating rink in the winter.

Budweiser Motor Sports Park: Some of Canada's fastest dragsters perform here at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Drag racing and oval track race meetings are held weekends and evenings, mostly during the summer. The oval track race meetings include sprint cars, stock cars, and econo-stock car racing. The gates open approximately two hours before the events start, and it is best to get there early.

Cinema Ride: Strap yourself into a seat powered by military flight simulator technology, don 3-D glasses, and go on the ride of your life. There are currently six movie experiences, including two on a roller coaster theme, one in deep space, another a submarine race, an exhilarating ski run, and a scary journey through a haunted house.

Commonwealth Stadium: The Commonwealth Stadium is located just to the northeast of downtown Edmonton; it is hard to miss the biggest stadium in Canada. It was built for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, which Edmonton hosted. Now, the natural grass surface is home to the Edmonton Eskimos Football Team, the Canadian National Soccer Team, and host to major concerts throughout the year; seating capacity exceeds 60,000.

Crystal Centre: The Crystal Centre in Grand Prairie is the perfect venue for sports or entertainment events. The centre can hold over 4,000 spectators which makes it ideal for concerts and sporting events that require space for a large amount of people. And if visitors wish to hold a special event at the Crystal Centre, large banquet halls or more intimate dining areas are offered in addition to packages designed to make events a breezy success.

Deep Sea Derby: Deep Sea Derby is fun for kids and adults alike. Board your own bumper boat on an indoor lake and bump and splash your way to some wet fun for the whole family. Each boat has its own water gun so no one will stay dry. CAD 4 adults, CAD 2 children 3-7 years).

Edmonton Corn Maze: Every year this 15-acre maze features 5kms of trails and a unique design of challenges, checkpoints, bridges, and passports to help you through. For some added fun, try the maze in the dark. While you’re here you can also enjoy Bale Mountain (a playground made of bales of hay), farm animals, the pedal cart race track, picnic area, concessions, and mini mazes.

Edmonton Queen Riverboat: The Edmonton Queen Riverboat is a 170ft paddle wheeler boat, departing from Rafter’s Landing (within walking distance of downtown). Choose from brunch and dinner cruises, or afternoon leisure rides. The ship is available for special functions accommodating 375 passengers, dining, entertainment, and a fully licensed bar. Special sailings depart for fireworks, holidays, and monthly seafood extravaganzas.

Elk Island National Park: Elk Island National Park is 120 square kilometers (46 square miles) of fenced-in forest and prairie located about 32 kilometers (19 miles) east of Edmonton. Established in 1906 to protect dwindling wildlife stocks, it is now a prime attraction with a fine herd of bison as well as elk, wapiti, deer, beaver, coyotes, and a few bears.

Sea Lions Rock and Sea Life Caverns: Sea Life Caverns is home to over 200 species of colorful fish, sharks, penguins, reptiles, and a rare Giant Pacific Octopus. An interactive "touch pool" exhibit lets you get up close and personal with exotic sea life. Also check out Sea Lions' Rock, an interactive and educational show featuring friendly sea lions. Crowd members even have an opportunity to have their picture taken with the animals after the show!

Galaxyland: One of many superlatives at the West Edmonton Mall, Galaxyland is currently the world's largest indoor amusement park. The mascot is the inevitable man in a suit, named Cosmo, and is a big hit with the little ones. There are 25 rides to choose from, including Mindbender, Autosled, and Drop of Doom. If you want to organize a children's party, be sure to call the party launch pad.

Hermitage Park: Hermitage Park is located in the northeastern section of the city, near the Yellowhead Trail. It is part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which form the largest area of parkland in North America today. The park is a mixture of trees and open grassland as it follows the line of the river. There is a pond stocked with trout if you fancy some fishing, as well as numerous trails for hikers and bikers.

Kinsmen Park: Located along the south bank of the Saskatchewan river just off Walterdale Road, this park is part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which form the largest area of parkland in North America today. There is plenty to occupy visitors, including picnic sites, tennis courts, a sports field, and pitch and putt golf course. Check out the two kilometres of hiking trails that are used for cross-country skiing in the wintertime.

Laurier Park: Laurier Park is located next to the Valley Zoo. It is part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which forms the largest area of park land in North America today. It is very much a playground, with lots of open grassland. You will find baseball diamonds, a boat launching station, plenty of picnic and barbecue facilities, and some nature trails. The park is just as popular in the winter for cross-country skiing.

McDougall United Church: McDougall United Church hosts devotional services and programs to instill humanity and encourage spiritual growth. Events organized in the church include Bible study, Spiritual Fitness, Norwood Extended Care Worship Services, Adopt-A-Block City Spring Clean up, Community Supper and Speaker Series, Book Group, Celebration of Youth Sunday. Besides these, the church also conducts regular sermons and worship services.

Mill Creek Ravine Park: The Mill Creek Ravine Park is a well-known place for hikers, with its selection of chipped and paved trails. The park is mostly wooded and is located just across the river from Edmonton's downtown district. Like all the valley parks, you will find plenty of barbecue facilities. You can cool off during the summer in the park's outdoor swimming pool. It is part of Edmonton's group of River Valley parks, which form the largest area of parkland in North America today.

Northlands Park: Northlands Park, located just minutes northeast of downtown Edmonton, is second only to West Edmonton Mall in visitor numbers. On average, over 3.5 million people come through the gates annually. The park primarily consists of three main components: the Skyreach Centre (a multi-sport spectator facility), Northlands Agricom (one of the largest exhibition centres in Canada), and the Spectrum (a top horse-racing stadium).

Old Strathcona: From an indoor farmers market, to the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, to 100-year-old architecture that remains intact, Edmonton's Old Strathcona District is as fascinating as it is diverse. For a fine dining experience, try the locally popular Continental Treat. For visitors looking for rare finds, antiques and random souvenirs, be sure to stop by The Junque Cellar. The more time you spend here, the more discoveries you will make.

Professor Wems Adventure Golf: This fun attraction at the West Edmonton Mall was recently refurbished and redesigned by a top artist. It is a cartoon-style, 18-hole miniature golf course, decorated in flashy reds, yellows, greens, and purples. It may be designed to appeal to children, but adults will have a great time too. Professor Wem, the mascot of this mini-golf course, has a party room for children's celebration parties.

William Hawrelak Park: There is always something happening in William Hawrelak Park; the Edmonton Heritage Festival and the Symphony Under the Sky are held here. When there are no scheduled events or festivals, take a paddleboat out on the man-made lake or enjoy it as an outdoor skating rink in the winter. There are heated changing facilities nearby. It is part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which form the largest area of urban parkland in North America today.

Rexall Place: This large arena is home to the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers and the National Soccer League's Edmonton Drillers. The Skyreach Centre has a capacity of nearly 19,000 and is part of the Northlands Park complex, just northeast of Edmonton's downtown district. In addition to hosting sports events like basketball and boxing, there are rodeos, exhibitions, and concerts that are easy to host because of the large amount of column-free space.

Rundle Park: The Saskatchewan River flows south and east of Rundle Park, which is located in the northeastern sector of Edmonton. You can hire a paddleboat, go skating, or try your hand on the 18-hole executive par three golf course. You can also try out the cult appeal of Frisbee golf (sometimes known as "frolf"). Pre-booking is a good idea. Rundle Park is part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which form the largest area of urban parkland in North America.

Terwillegar Park: This park is a favorite for wildlife watchers because of its quiet setting. It is an ideal place to see some of the province's famous nature up close. If you want to let your dog run off the leash, then Terwillegar is for you. There are also hiking and skiing trails. Terwillegar Park is on the western city limits and its seven square kilometres form part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which is the largest area of parkland in North America today.

Valley Zoo: This park is a favorite for wildlife watchers because of its quiet setting. It is an ideal place to see some of the province's famous nature up close. If you want to let your dog run off the leash, then Terwillegar is for you. There are also hiking and skiing trails. Terwillegar Park is on the western city limits and its seven square kilometres form part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which is the largest area of parkland in North America today.

Victoria Park: Boasting an 18-hole golf course with a driving range, this park hosts Edmonton's oldest municipal course. Played over 6,027 yards and open daily, it is an ideal escape from the city. You will also find a cricket pitch and horseshoe pit. There are plenty of places to have a picnic. The park is popular with cross-country skiers in winter. Victoria Park is part of Edmonton's group of River Valley parks, which form the largest area of parkland in North America today.

Westbury Theatre / Transalta Arts Barns: Venue to a myriad of events, Transalta Arts Barns is a very well known place in Edmonton. With a capacity to hold around 400 people, it is one of the most dynamic venues in the city. It has a boardroom, studio spaces and a PCL Studio Theatre. It even has a multiform theater known as the Westbury Theater. This theater has the capacity of changing its form from a theater to a cabaret seating.

Whitemud Park and Ravine: Walkers and runners frequent this park for the peace and the wildlife in the adjacent Whitemud Nature Reserve. The park is surrounded by trees and is located north west of the University of Alberta's experimental farm. During the winter, the hill is used for tobogganing and a fire ring is provided for warmth. It is part of Edmonton's group of river valley parks, which form the largest area of parkland in North America today.

Windship Aviation: Soaring high above the scenic panorama of Edmonton in a hot-air balloon is a beautiful, exciting, and luxurious way to see the city. Your three hour experience includes a one hour flight from one of three centrally-located launch sites (weather dependent), and finishes with a traditional champagne toast upon landing. The balloon holds 4 to 8 passengers plus the pilot, and group rates are available. Flights depart twice daily, in the early morning and evening, weather dependent of course.

Cryptogamic Herbarium: Cryptogamic plants are the mosses, fungi, liverworts, and lichens that we see around us everyday, but often fail to notice. About 200,000 different specimens of this facinating plantlife are on display at the Univeristy of Alberta Cryptogamic Herbarium. Research into this group of plants, which are particularly sensitive to environmental changes, has taken on a new importance in an age of rapid ecological damage.

Fort Edmonton Park: Explore Edmonton's beginnings as a fur trading post at Canada's largest living museum. Walk around recreations of life in Edmonton as it was in 1846, 1885, 1905, and during the Depression. Learn how a beaver hat is made, see the way children lived on the homestead, get your picture taken in the historical style, and visit an old-fashioned soda fountain. There are also annual and special events like the children's Easter candy hunt.

John Janzen Nature Centre: A pond, nature trails, and colonies of friendly squirrels are just a small part of this nature centre. It is a fun place for the children, with regular scheduled events and programs to help them understand the nature and wildlife. Dirt cake making is a highlight; now there is a skill to learn. The centre is next to Fort Edmonton Park. There are about four kilometres of nature trails to explore on your own.

Muttart Conservatory: Like Fort Edmonton Park, the Muttart Conservatory is operated by the city and is a top city attraction. Over 700 varieties of plants from three very different climates are on display: arid, temperate, and tropical species. Seasonal displays are presented in the show pavilion, and school visits are actively encouraged. Facilities can be rented for special events, business conferences and weddings. Catered banquets are also available.

Victoria Park: Boasting an 18-hole golf course with a driving range, this park hosts Edmonton's oldest municipal course. Played over 6,027 yards and open daily, it is an ideal escape from the city. You will also find a cricket pitch and horseshoe pit. There are plenty of places to have a picnic. The park is popular with cross-country skiers in winter. Victoria Park is part of Edmonton's group of River Valley parks, which form the largest area of parkland in North America today.

Devonian Botanic Garden: These lush grounds include 80 acres of formal gardens and 110 acres of open area. It also serves as a serious research and education centre for the faculty of agriculture, forestry, and home economics. Courses for the public are run year round on arts, crafts, and horticulture; there are day camps for school children during the summer months. There are 10 separate themed gardens, as well as a butterfly collection. For gifts and souvenirs, check out the on-site shop.

Classic Outfitters Ltd: Operating from Seba Beach, which is located 65 kilometres west of Edmonton along Highway 16, Classic Outfitters have been running bowhunting and flyfishing trips since 1984. Trips run between May and September; accommodation, food and transport are included. Purchase of a valid hunting or fishing licence is required. Six-day hunting trips and five-day fishing trips for rainbow and brown trout are the most popular of the lot.

Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village: This fun little village tells the story of the Bloc settlement that existed in Edmonton from 1892 to 1930. Characters dressed in period costume re-enact daily life as it was in that time period. Guided tours are available and visitors can even ride on horse-drawn grain wagons. Bring a lunch and relax in the picnic area afterwards. Feasts, music festivals, special days, and garden tours are featured throughout the year.

How to reach Edmonton:

By air
By far the fastest and most comfortable way to get to Edmonton from outside Alberta is by flying. Most major airlines service Edmonton. General travel times to Edmonton are 45 minutes from Calgary, 1 1/2 hours from Vancouver, 4 1/2 hours from Montreal, and 4 hours from Toronto. Edmonton's main airport is the western hub to Canada's North.

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.

By train
VIA Rail, 12360-121 Street, provides passenger train services for Edmonton, and is linked to several major cities along the Canadian National Railroad. The VIA train station is now located a short distance from downtown just a couple of blocks north of the yellowhead highway and near the northwest corner of city centre airport.

Where to stay in Edmonton:

Glenora Bed and Breakfast Inn, Hostelling International - Edmonton Hostel, Aladdin Motel, Coliseum Inn, Continental Inn, Eastglen Motor Inn, Jockey Motel, Mayfair Hotel, Sandman Hotel, Rosslyn Inn and Suites, Howard Johnson Hotel, Edmonton South Travelodge, Econo Lodge Downtown, Alberta Place Suite Hotel, Signature Suites Edmonton House, West Edmonton Mall Inn, Sutton Place Hotel

 

Canada, West Edmonton Mall, Alberta Legislature, Budweiser Motor Sports Park, Cinema Ride, Commonwealth Stadium, Crystal Centre, Deep Sea Derby, Edmonton Corn Maze, Edmonton Queen Riverboat, Elk Island National Park, Galaxyland, Hermitage Park, Kinsmen Park, Laurier Park, McDougall United Church, Mill Creek Ravine Park, Northlands Park, Old Strathcona, Professor Wems Adventure Golf, Rexall Place, Rundle Park, Sea Lions Rock and Sea Life Caverns, Terwillegar Park, Valley Zoo, Victoria Park, Westbury Theatre / Transalta Arts Barns, Whitemud Park and Ravine, William Hawrelak Park, Windship Aviation, World Waterpark, Cryptogamic Herbarium, Devonian Botanic Garden, Fort Edmonton Park, John Janzen Nature Centre, Muttart Conservatory, Victoria Park, Classic Outfitters Ltd, Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village