Edmonton, Alberta is located astride the banks of the North Saskatchewan River. The provincial capital is Canada's sixth largest city and is often referred to as "Gateway to the North". Edmonton also holds the title "Canada's Festival City" as it celebrates a wide range of culture, music, theatre, visual arts and sports.
The vibrant city of Edmonton offers a blend of small-town friendliness and cosmopolitan sophistication in the geographic centre of Alberta and is blessed with more hours of sunshine than almost all other major Canadian cities.
"The Oil Capital of Canada" offers visitors an abundant choice of exciting indoor and outdoor activities year round. Edmonton hosted prestigious international events such as the 1996 World Figure Skating Championships, the 1999 Labatt Brier and the 2001 IAAF World Championship in Athletics. Sport Fans will be delighted by seeing a home game of the Edmonton Oilers at Northlands Coliseum during ice-hockey season (October to April). The Commonwealth Stadium is home to the Edmonton Eskimos, who play CFL football from July to October. If you are more into baseball, try a game of the Edmonton Trappers (Pacific Coast Baseball League) at Telus Park (April to August). Cycling and hiking enthusiasts will be thrilled by the city's vast network of park trails that are ideal for cross-country skiing in winter.
Edmonton is home to the Provincial Museum of Alberta that attracts more than 300.000 visitors each year with exhibitions and activities for every age level and interest. Fort Edmonton Park is Canada's largest living history park and lets you travel through 4 time periods in Edmonton's history. Art lovers can enjoy the city's more than 70 art galleries and dealers. The Arts District, located in Edmonton's downtown area, features the Edmonton Art Gallery with a superb collection of historical and contemporary artwork, the Citadel Theatre that houses five theatres, and The Francis Winspear Centre for Music, which is home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
The Guinness Book of Records states the West Edmonton Mall with its 800 shops and services as the world's largest shopping and entertainment centre. Edmonton is world renown for its great shopping opportunities including the Old Strathcona area with pubs, cafés, restaurants and more than 300 stores offering a unique selection.
Northern Lights (aurora borealis) is a spectacle that is worth seeing. They are caused primarily by energized electrons, which are accelerated towards the ionosphere from a region 5000-20 000 km above the Earth's surface. Lucky ones can catch a glimpse of this natural spectacle that have haunted the imagination of spectators for centuries by night.
Edmonton in Figures
The city of Edmonton features the longest stretch of urban parkland in Canada.
Edmonton has a population of 937,845 (2002 census).
Edmonton is the second largest city of the province of Alberta (after Calgary) and the country's sixth largest.
Edmonton encompasses an area of 70,152 hectares (270 sq. mi.).
Edmonton is situated at an altitude of 668 metres (2,192 feet).
The city of Edmonton is the starting point for the world's longest crude oil pipeline that connects the city with Buffalo, NY at a distance of 2856 km (1775 mi.).
Metro Edmonton boasts over 70 golf courses including Victoria Golf Course, Canada's oldest municipal golf course (1907).
There are almost 2,000 restaurants serving over 30 different types of cuisine in Edmonton.
Edmonton is accessible by air, rail and road. The Edmonton International Airport is situated 29 km (18 mi.) south of downtown (approx. 45 minutes). The airport offers non-stop services to cities in Canada, Europe and the US. Charter service is provided to destinations in Canada, the US, Mexico and Europe. There is a link between Edmonton and Jasper.
For more information on the airport click here.
Edmonton is linked to VIA Rail's Canadian route serving Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Toronto to the east and Jasper and Vancouver to the west. There is a terminal near the City Centre Airport located at 12360-121ST Street.
For more information on VIA Rail click here.
Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway connects Edmonton with Winnipeg to the east and British Columbia to the west.
Montana (USA) 514 km (320 mi.)
Calgary 294 km (184 mi.)
Jasper 362 km (226 mi.)
Banff 404 km (252 mi.)
Bus travelers are served by Greyhound that provides service from anywhere in North America. The Greyhound Bus Depot is centrally located at 10324 103 rd Street, on the corner of 103 rd. Avenue.
For more information call 780-421-4211
Red Arrow offers service to and from Calgary, Red Deer and Fort McMurray. The office is located in the Howard Johnson Hotel at 10010 104th St.
For more information call 780-424-3339
Traveling within Edmonton
The Edmonton Transit system encompasses a fleet of over 750 diesel and trolley buses and 26 community buses covering over 130 routes, including a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system with 37 light rail vehicles and 10 stations. Edmonton was the very first city with a population base less than one million to have a Light Rail Transit System. The system has grown to ETS also offers transportation for persons with disabilities, the Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS). ETS also includes in its fleet diesel powered low floor buses and community buses.
For more information on Edmonton Transit call (780) 496-1611 or click here
For information on transit service for the disabled, contact DATS at (780) 496-4570
Edmonton's climate is moderate, offering four distinct seasons. A persistent snow cover from November to mid March is typically for Edmonton's winter, with temperatures averaging - 15 º C. The generally dry and sunny summers bring average temperatures of 17 º C.
Health and Safety
In case of an emergency call 911 for ambulance, fire or police. For non-emergency police matters, dial 780-421-3333.
Parks and protected areas
River Valley Parks
Elk Island National Park
Located one hour east of Edmonton, off Highway 16 East (Yellowhead).
Elk Island National Park is located 48 km east of Edmonton. The park has a size of 194 square kilometers and marks Canada's only National Park completely surrounded by a fence. This wilderness paradise is home to some of Canada's most endangered species such as plains bison and wood bison. At least 230 species of birds, including the trumpeter swan can be found within the park's boundaries.
For more information call: (780) 922-5790
Located at both sides of the North Saskatchewan River.
The River Valley Parks is a series of parks joined together to build the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America with 7400 hectares. The lush greenery stretches over 28 km (17.3 mi.), on both sides of the North Saskatchewan River and is approx. 21 times larger than Central Park in New York City. You can walk, jog or cycle the parks all day long and enjoy picnicking, golfing, fishing, swimming, boating.
For more information call: 780-496-7275
Things to do
Markets & Shopping
City Market (Rice Street Market)
Edmonton is renown as shoppers' haven not just because Alberta is the only province in Canada without a provincial sales tax.
Shop till you drop in Edmonton's West Edmonton Mall or browse the locally owned stores in the Old Strathcona district. Don't miss to visit one of city's Farmer's Markets that have a long history in Edmonton.
Located at 97 Street and 102 Avenue.
The Rice Street Market was established even before Edmonton became a city. It served Edmontonians as meeting and shopping place for 64 years with up to 6,000 customers a day in its heydays before the market was relocated in 1965 to 97 Street and 102 Avenue, where it still stands today. Every Saturday morning you can shop this popular Edmonton farmer's market.
For more information call: 780-429-9001
Strathcona Farmer's Market
The Strathcona Farmer's Market is located at 10310-83 Avenue, in the heart of Old Strathcona.
Once a depot for city busses and trolley cars, the majestic brick building now houses one of the most successful indoor markets in Canada, with thousands of small producers and customers every Saturday. Shop for homegrown vegetables, seafood, jams and crafts and enjoy the unique atmosphere.
West Edmonton Mall
Located off the Whitemud Freeway at 170 Street, the West Edmonton Mall is the world's largest entertainment and shopping centre. There are over 800 stores, more than 110 eateries and 7 Theme Park attraction under one roof. It is a city itself, where you can find almost everything, including the world's largest indoor water park. Take some time to discover this gigantic complex.
For more information call 780-444-5304 or toll-free 1-800-661-8890.
Alberta Government House
Located at: 12845 - 102 Avenue.
The Government House is an impressive building and former residence of Alberta's Lieutenant Governors. Today it is used for government conferences. Tours are available. The building, which overlooks the river includes an remarkable collection of Canadian art.
For more information call 780-427-2281
Located at: 10800 - 97 Ave.
The Alberta Legislature is the seat of Alberta's provincial government and the province's foremost historical building. This beautiful Edwardian building was built in 1912 on the site of the original Fort Edmonton. Legislature Building tours are free, call for times. The beautiful landscaped grounds of the Alberta Legislature offer flowers, fountains and pools in summer and a skating rink in the winter.
For more information call 780-427-7362
Old Strathcona Historic Area
Fort Edmonton Park
Located on the southern side of the river at the corner of Fox Drive and Whitemud Drive.
Fort Edmonton Park is the largest living history park in Canada, reconstructing a old Hudson's Bay Company fort and the surrounding town, circa 1885. The fort contains the entire fur trading post of 1846. Outside the fort you will find a recreation of Edmonton's downtown of the late 1800s. There are special events throughout the season.
For more information call 780-496-8777
Located south of the river, by 82nd Avenue (Whyte Ave.) and 104th Street.
This unique historical area was once the town of Strathcona and boasts a variety of historical buildings dating from 1891. The residential district consists out of 75 houses built prior to 1926. The commercial core has about 40 buildings of note. Today, this area is known for its ambience and the variety of shopping, including 300 unique boutiques, 90 restaurants, pubs and coffee shops, farmers market, theatre venues, jazz clubs and bookstores.
For more information call 780-433-5866
Located on 11000 Stadium Rd. (86th St. and 111th Ave.).
The Commonwealth Stadium is home to the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. You can visit their games during season from July to November. The facility is venue for large concerts. There is a sports and fitness centre on the premises.
For more information call 780-496-6999. For tickets call 1-800-667-ESKS
Edmonton Art Gallery
Located in the heart of Edmonton's Arts District, at the corner of 99th Street and 102A Avenue.
The Edmonton Art Gallery offers a superb collection of over 5,000 historical and contemporary works of art showcasing regional, national and international artists. Kids enjoy the interactive Children's Gallery. A Coffee Bar and Gallery Shop are on site. Gallery tours are offered.
For more information call (780) 422-6223
Edmonton City Hall
Located at 1 Sir Winston Churchill Square.
The Edmonton City Hall is located in the downtown area of Edmonton and its design enhances the downtown core with its dramatic elongated, sloping pyramid roof that reaches 8 storeys high, its art collection, large outdoor reflective pool and the 200 ft. clock tower with a 23-bell carillon.
For more information call 780-496-8200
Odyssium (Edmonton Space & Science Centre)
Located at the corner of 111 Ave. and 142 Street in Coronation Park.
The Odyssium is a multi-purpose facility that houses 6 exhibit galleries, a state-of-the-art IMAX Theatre, Canada's largest planetarium dome, a gift shop and a café. It is an impressive and amazing facility in Edmonton's northwest.
For more information call 780-452-9100
Provincial Museum of Alberta
Located at 12845 - 102 Avenue, just west of downtown.
This excellent museum is one of Canada's most popular ones and is located in an attractive setting. Learn about Alberta's natural history with large displays of fossils and minerals. Discover the way of life of Native Indians of Alberta and find out how they used plants and animals for medicine, food and clothing. There are also feature exhibitions from museums all over the world.
For more information call 780-453-9100
Located at 9626-96A Street, south of the river off James Macdonald Bridge.
The Muttart Conservatory is nestled in the scenic North Saskatchewan River Valley and is comprised of four glass pyramids, each of which holds the botanical treasures of a distinctive climatic zone. Enjoy an exotic jungle, trek through a desert, experience changing seasons in a temperate forest. One of the pyramids houses a temporary exhibition that changes about 8 times a year.
For more information call (780) 496-8755
Located at the corner of 134th Street and Buena Vista Road, 10 minutes east of West Edmonton Mall.
Edmonton's Valley Zoo is a 28-ha (70 acres) zoological park with more than 100 exotic, endangered and native species. It is a kids paradise with a multitude of hands-on activities for all ages, including pony and camel rides, miniature train and Children's zoo.
For more information call (780) 496-6911
Out of town attractions
Canadian Petroleum Interpretive Centre
Located 20 minutes south of Edmonton, in #6-20 Haven Avenue, Devon
Learn all about the history of the oil industry in Alberta and beyond. There are interactive displays and games, indoor and outdoor equipment, video presentation, tour guides and a gift shop. Educational and fun for all ages.
For more information call 780-987-4323
Edmonton's entertainment scene is varied and exclusive, offering theatre companies, ballet, folk and modern dance, symphony and opera ensembles, as well as more than 70 art galleries and dealers, including the Edmonton Art Gallery.
To get the latest entertainment news, pick up a copy of the Culture Shock around town, a free entertainment newspaper. Nightlife, also free, publishes the latest drama, comedy and concerts.
Located at 9828-101A Ave.
The Citadel Theatre, founded in 1965, is one of Canada's top theatres. The Citadel houses 5 theatres - Shoctor Theatre, Maclab Theatre, Rice Theatre, Tucker Amphitheatre, and one cinema.
For more information call 780-426-4811. For Tickets call: 780-425-1820
Francis Winspear Centre for Music
Located at the corner of 99th Street and 102nd Avenue
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music is home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. This architecturally elegant building offers one of the finest acoustic halls in the world, with a 1,932 seat performance chamber, 240 seat rehearsal hall, several meeting rooms and three large lobbies.
For more information call (780) 428-1414 or toll-free 1-800-563-5081
Festivals and Events
More than 19 major festivals take place each year in Edmonton. Below we have listed some of the festivals. Please note that festivals are subject to change without notice!
Edmonton Comedy Arts Festival
Edmonton Celebrates Canada
Edmonton International Street Performers Festival
Edmonton's Klondike Days
Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival
Edmonton's International Fringe Theatre Festival
Edmonton's Labatt Blues Festival
Edmonton Boat & Sportsmen's Show
Northlands Farm & Ranch Show
Edmonton Festival Marathon
Northern Alberta International Children's Festival
Canadian Finals Rodeo
Next Generation Arts Festival
River City Shakespeare Festival
Jazz City International Music Festival
Edmonton First Night Festival
Edmonton's dining scene consists of nearly 2,000 restaurants offering over 30 different types of cuisine, including regional specialities such as Alberta beef and bison, Italian, French, Asian, Chinese, Japanese and Greek dishes. Even the most discriminating gourmet will be satisfied by the city's dining selection. Don't miss the world-famous Alberta beef while visiting Edmonton!
5.000 years before European explorers and fur traders were to arrive, the area was populated by the Cree and Blackfoot nations.
In 1795, the Hudson's Bay Company established its first trading post near the present site of Fort Saskatchewan in order to trade fur with First Nations. The fort should be moved several times to be settled permanently in 1830 on land that is today known as Alberta Legislature Grounds. The fur trade boomed for many decades.
In 1870, the Canadian government bought the land from the Hudson's Bay Company to open it for settlement. In 1892, Edmonton was incorporated as a town. At this time about 700 people called Edmonton their home. In 1898, the Gold Rush Edmonton became the outfitting centre for many prospectors heading for the Yukon.
By 1904, Edmonton was incorporated as a city with a population of 8,350. Soon after, when Alberta joined the Confederation, Edmonton was selected as provincial capital. In 1908, the University of Alberta opened its doors.
With Strathcona, Edmonton entered a frantic boom period. When both cities amalgamated in 1912, their combined population was over 40.000. In the 1930s Edmonton became the "Gateway to the North" flying medical supplies, food and mail to remote northern communities.
In 1947, Edmonton's face changed forever when oil was discovered in Leduc. Overnight Edmonton became the Oil Capital of Canada and Edmonton's population doubled within a decade. Still today, the oil and gas industry remains the city's economic cornerstone.
The 1960s brought the Edmonton International Airport, the Citadel Theatre, the 27-story CN Tower and the Provincial Museum of Alberta. The 1970s brought a further boost to development of Edmonton and the Northlands Coliseum (today Skyreach Centre) opened its doors to mark the NHL's best ice surface. In 1978, Edmonton became the first city with a population smaller than 1 million to have a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.
With the opening of West Edmonton Mall in 1981, Edmonton entered the Guinness Book of Records with the world's largest shopping and entertainment complex. In 1995, Edmonton celebrated its 200th year.