Edmonton – Gateway to Western Canada’s Splendor
The North Saskatchewan River runs through the city, separating it from the rolling prairies to the west. The area’s rich petroleum stocks have helped bolster the economy, with other industries also gaining strength.
The city follows a largely gridded street and avenue system, with even-numbered addresses on the west side of streets and odd-numbered address numbers on the east side of avenues. The downtown core is a bustling hub of activity.
Edmonton: The Gateway to Western Canada
Edmonton’s central location within Alberta makes it one of the most important hubs in Canada. Easily accessible by road, rail, and air, it serves as the northernmost stop on the TransCanada Highway, connecting travelers to destinations across the province.
The city’s proximity to spectacular natural scenery also draws visitors, and the locals are incredibly friendly and welcoming. They’re also very passionate about their sports teams, cheering on the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL and the Edmonton Oilers in the NHL.
With its booming energy sector, the city is a major supply and service centre for a region that extends from central Alberta to the Arctic Ocean. Its economy is based on resource wealth. Including the development of petroleum (oil and natural gas), conventional oilfields, forestry, and mining.
While sectors like education, health care, and technology have grown in importance. The University of Alberta contributes to a culture of research and innovation. One of the most popular attractions in Edmonton is the Muttart Conservatory, home to three climate-regulated pyramids — an Arid Pyramid, a Temperate Pyramid, and a steamy Tropical Pyramid — that showcase plants from around the world.
Provincial Capital: Edmonton’s Importance in Alberta
Edmonton’s location, within a river valley on the edge of the Canadian prairies, has attracted settlement for thousands of years. Archeological evidence suggests that the area around the North Saskatchewan River was a seasonal gathering spot for bands of nomadic Indigenous hunters and gatherers. After the fur-trading era, Europeans chose the site as the natural service centre for the fertile agricultural region that was becoming known as Alberta.
Incorporated as a city in 1904, Edmonton is the capital of the province of Alberta and is Canada’s second largest city. A provincial government, cultural and educational center, it is host to a year round slate of world class festivals earning the city its nickname as “The Festival City.
A city of high-rise office buildings and residential condominiums, Edmonton offers shopping (including the continent’s largest mall), established theatre, excellent nightlife, spectacular parks, and a wide range of culinary options. A major oil and gas centre. It also serves as the administrative, financial, transportation, and communications hub of northwestern Alberta. The city is a leader in advancing urban sustainability and is at the forefront of clean technologies.
Exploring Edmonton’s Natural Surroundings
Edmonton has a rich natural environment and a great many attractions. The city lies in the North Saskatchewan River valley, surrounded by farmland and the aspen parkland of the Canadian Rockies. Several rivers run through the city, and the area is home to numerous parks and hiking trails.
The natural setting profoundly affects life in the city, which is a working metropolis with an extraordinary level of access to the great outdoors. The city has long been an industrial center, and the downtown core of the city features high-rise apartments and luxury residential areas.
However, the city also boasts a “Ribbon of Green” that includes a network of paved walking and biking paths. Many urbanites need to drive for hours outside the city to see a leafy tree or hear the trickle of a stream. But in Edmonton they never have far to go.
The North Saskatchewan River, known locally as the “Edmonton River,” bisects the city. This is both a barrier, crossed by bridges, and a magnificent amenity: high-rise apartments and the modernist Shaw Conference Centre compete with parks and golf courses along the banks.
Getting to Know Edmonton’s Neighboring Cities
Edmonton is the most northerly major city in North America with a population exceeding a million. Its location, along the North Saskatchewan River near the boundary between prairie and boreal forest, attracted hunting tribes for thousands of years.
Its valley location was a natural hub for transportation. And the arrival of railways in the early 1900s helped transform it into the transport, service and petrochemical centre for western Canada. In addition to the railway, highways, oil and gas pipelines and an international airport make it a vital regional transportation hub.
The city’s urban fabric is diverse. And the city’s council-commission board form of government has resulted in a well-designed system of municipal planning. This has been particularly successful in ensuring that the suburbs around the city are planned. And developed to be both attractive and sustainable.
This explains the quality of many of the area’s parks and the pristine condition of its rivers and lakes. The shopping is also impressive, with the Southgate Centre a particular highlight. Here you’ll find upscale brands such as Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel alongside local favourites.
Exploring Edmonton’s Access to Western Wonders
The city’s valley location with access to timber, water and wildlife has attracted human settlement for several thousand years. The first inhabitants were hunting tribes, whose nomadic lifestyle suited the rough landscape. Archaeological sites have been found dating back to the Middle Prehistoric period (3000 – 500 BCE). After European settlers arrived, the landscape became a battleground between two rival fur trading companies. The Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company.
Today, Edmonton remains a transportation hub with a central railway station on the Canadian National (CN) system. And major highways leading to Calgary and Vancouver. The CN has long held the reputation of having one of the safest and cleanest railway systems in the world. While VIA Rail serves the southern provinces of Canada.
A visit to the city is not complete without exploring its many cultural and historical attractions. The Royal Alberta Museum is a major attraction located in the heart of the downtown core at the North City Hall building. It chronicles the history of both natural and human activity in the region with exhibitions. That range from aboriginal culture to the fossils of some of the most fierce creatures that ever walked the planet.