The site on which Edmonton stands had been populated by the Cree and Blackfoot peoples more than 5,000 years before Western Europeans were drawn by its rich prospects for hunting. A trading post was established there in 1795 by the Hudson’s Bay Company and it was named Edmonton after the English birthplace of the Company’s deputy governor, Sir James Winter Lake. The post became very successful, partly because of the way in which the Westerners cooperated and traded with the aboriginal peoples. By the late nineteenth century, Edmonton boasted a population of more than 8,000 and several technological achievements including a railway connecting it to Calgary.

The discovery of gold in the Yukon in 1897 accelerated Edmonton’s economic development and the town became incorporated as a city in 1904. Edmonton was especially prized for its excellent location as the base of a supply route to Alaska and many hunters and explorers stopped there before heading north. From 1947 when oil was found south of Edmonton, millions flocked to the city to take advantage of this precious commodity. So Edmonton flourished and oil remains one of the city’s staple industries. Today it is the capital of Alberta and Canada’s sixth largest city, boasting all the amenities of a large conurbation whilst retaining a reputation for its friendly and outgoing people. The city is prized by locals for its vast number of open green spaces and its proximity to the Jasper and Banff national parks.


Amongst Edmonton’s 70 museums, visitors can explore the city’s fascinating history at the [http://www.royalalbertamuseum.ca/ Royal Alberta Museum], which contains exhibits on everything from aboriginal culture to that of the late twentieth century. The [http://www.gov.edmonton.ab.ca/fort Alberta Legislature], occupies the original Fort Edmonton site, and features a reconstruction of the nineteenth century trading post. It also brings various vehicles of the early twentieth century back to life, including an early steam train and a street car. Set in 60 acres of beautiful surroundings, this particular attraction makes for a great day out. The Alberta Railway Museum also contains a range of early railway cars and rolling stock used from late nineteenth century onwards, with some working engines.

Of more general interest are the [http://www.odyssium.com Edmonton Space and Science Foundation], [http://www.edmonton.ca/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_261_208_0_43/http%3B/CMSServer/COEWeb/arts+culture+and+attractions/attractions/valley+zoo/ Valley Zoo] and [http://www.edmonton.ca/muttart Muttart Conservatory], the latter of which contains a variety of tropical plants and wildlife. More obscure are the Telephone Historical Centre and Edmonton Police Museum and Archives; nevertheless, their existence is testament to the city’s eclectic culture. There has always been a broad international community in Edmonton, which has contributed to the city's cultural diversity. The Al Rashid Mosque, for example, represents the heritage of Muslim farmers who came from the eighteenth century onwards to seek their fortunes. There are also various sites built by the fathers of the present Ukranian community, such as St Josaphat’s Ukranian Catholic Cathedral, and the Ukranian Museum of Canada.

Edmonton’s cultural vitality is also celebrated through its many festivals. Known by some as ‘Festival City’, in June it hosts extravaganzas dedicated to jazz and visual arts, in July to street performers and the memory of the Klondike gold rush, and in August to fringe theatre, heritage, folk and country music.


The breathtakingly huge [http://www.westedmontonmall.com West Edmonton Mall] is one of the most powerful magnets for domestic visitors to Edmonton. Although it contains more than 800 stores over more than 5.2 million square feet of land, it is far more than an ordinary shopping mall. Its leisure attractions rival any large theme park, and visitors can snorkel, scuba dive, bungee jump, take a submarine ride, go on one of 20 waterslides, or visit the bingo hall, casino, golf course, ice-skating rink or zoo. Furthermore, there are bars, nightclubs and even a hotel. Not surprising then, that it bills itself as the largest shopping and entertainment centre in the world.

There are several other shopping malls around the city, including the Edmonton Centre, Eaton Centre and Mannlife Place. For original and more unusual shops, the area around Old Strathcona contains many small boutiques in addition to the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning and the Old Strathcona Antique Mall.

Nightlife and Eating Out

An abundance of bars and clubs lies around the Old Strathcona district. From sophisticated Martini bars to English and Irish-style pubs to live music venues, there is something to cater for every conceivable taste, from a thriving jazz scene, to a strong gay and lesbian community. There are many cinemas such as the grand Princess Theatre Cinema, and a ‘Theatre District’, which contains, amongst others, the [http://www.varsconatheatre.com Varscona Theatre], the Walterdale Playhouse and the Catalyst Theatre. The [http://www.citadeltheatre.com Citadel Theatre] is Edmonton’s biggest, containing five separate performance spaces. For other performing arts, the Francis Winspear Centre for Music gives a regular platform to the [http://www.edmontonsymphony.com Edmonton Symphony Orchestra], whilst the [http://www.edmontonopera.com Edmonton Opera] and the [http://www.albertaballet.com Alberta Ballet] companies make their home at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

Edmonton’s restaurants have similarly diverse influences, from American and English, to French, Italian and Cajun cuisine. Eateries range from the humble steakhouse to the stunning revolving restaurant, La Ronde, at the top of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Tourist Information

  • Edmonton Tourism, World Trade Centre Edmonton, 9990 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada, T5J 1P7
  • Telephone: +1 780 426 4715
  • Website: [http://www.edmonton.com/tourism/portal.asp?page=4 www.edmonton.com]


[http://www.edmontonairports.com Edmonton International Airport] is situated 30 kilometres south of the city, and is serviced by most of the major national airlines. A Sky Shuttle Airport Service offers a bus connection with the city centre.

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