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Edmonton, Alberta

City of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Motto: Industry Integrity Progress
Area: 683.88 sq. km.

 - Total (2004)
 - Metropolitan (2005)
 - Cdn. Mun. Rank:
 - Cdn. CMA Rank:

 - Density

Ranked 5th
Ranked 6th

Time zone Mountain: UTC-7
Rona Ambrose, Ken Epp, Peter Goldring, Rahim Jaffer, David Kilgour, Anne McLellan, James Rajotte, John G. Williams

Bharat Agnihotri , Dan Backs , Bill Bonko , Laurie Blakeman , David Eggen, Mo Elsalhy , Dave Hancock , Thomas Lukaszuk , Hugh MacDonald , Ray Martin, Brian Mason, Weslyn Mather , Bruce Miller , Rick Miller , Raj Pannu, Kevin Taft, Maurice Tougas , Gene Zwozdesky

Mayor Stephen Mandel
Governing body Edmonton City Council
City of Edmonton

Edmonton, (53°34′ N 113°30′ W Elevation: 668 m or 2192 feet), a Canadian city, is the capital of the province of Alberta. It is the second largest city in Alberta (after Calgary) and has a metropolitan population of 1,000,500 (2005 est.). Edmonton is Canada's second most populous provincial capital (after Toronto). Edmonton is a cultural, government, and educational centre. It hosts numerous festivals and is home to the world's largest mall, West Edmonton Mall and Canada's largest historical park, Fort Edmonton. In 2004, Edmonton celebrated the centennial of its incorporation as a city (1904).

Edmonton city centre, viewed from across the river valley
Edmonton city centre, viewed from across the river valley

Geography and location

At 670 kmē, Edmonton is one of the largest cities in North America, by area — larger in area than Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. However, Edmonton also has the one of the lowest population densities in North America — about 67 times less than New York.

Edmonton boasts the longest stretch of urban parkland in North America, the North Saskatchewan River valley, and has the highest per capita amount of parkland of any Canadian city.


Edmonton was founded in 1795 when a Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post was established with the construction of Fort Edmonton. The fort was named for the town of Edmonton (now a part of London, England), the hometown of Sir James Winter Lake , then director of the Company. John Rowand, a fur trader for the North West Company, arrived in Edmonton in 1804 and became respected and accepted as a leader by the Plains Indians, managing Edmonton's fur trade with the Cree and Blackfoot in Edmonton for about 30 years. Fort Edmonton became a local economic centre, the major stopping point before pioneers headed up north or farther west.

More people began settling in the vicinity of Fort Edmonton in the 1870s after the government offered the land to settlers at a good price. Edmonton officially became a town in 1892 with a population of 700. The city boomed during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897 as thousands of eager prospectors heading north via the "All Canadian Route," stopping in Edmonton for supplies. By 1904 Edmonton had 9,000 residents, and a year later it became incorporated as a city and declared the provincial capital. Initially the Alberta Legislative was located in a local school, while the Alberta Legislative building was built on the north shore of the North Saskatchewan River. Alberta became a province in 1905.

In 1912 Edmonton, which was located on the north shore of the North Saskatchewan River, amalgamated with its sister city of Strathcona on the southern shore to attain a combined population of 53,000. The High Level Rail Bridge across the river was completed in 1913, cementing the link between the north and south sides of Edmonton. In the 1930s Edmonton continued to thrive as a northern business centre, and an aviation shipping point for food and medical supplies using the new bush planes. In 1942 the construction of the Alaska Highway made the city into a major ground transportation and supply centre to the far north. It was at about this time that Edmonton officially became known as "Gateway to the North."

The 1987 tornado
The 1987 tornado

Shortly after World War II oil was discovered near the nearby towns of Leduc, Redwater, and Pembina. The area around Edmonton became home to most of Alberta's oil production, and the subsequent oil boom gave Edmonton new status as the Oil Capital of Canada. The city began growing even more dramatically after the Arab Oil Boycott of 1973, and combined with satellite municipalities such as St. Albert and Sherwood Park, Edmonton's metropolitan population now sits just over 1,000,500 (2005 census est.). Oil production and refining remains the basis of many Edmonton jobs, but other industries have also risen in prominence as the population grew and diversified.

In 1981, the largest shopping mall in the world, West Edmonton Mall, opened. The mall is Alberta's most popular tourist attraction, and contains an amusement park, waterpark, and luxury hotel in addition to the usual shops and services.

Edmonton was hit by a deadly tornado in 1987, which ranked as an F4 on the Fujita scale and killed 27 people.


Edmonton is served by Edmonton International Airport. Air passenger service from the Municipal Airport downtown was consolidated to the International Airport in 1996 and now is mostly used for charter planes and flight training.

Edmonton is connected to British Columbia and Saskatchewan via the Yellowhead Highway (called Highway 16, or Yellowhead Trail within city limits), and to Calgary and Red Deer via Highway 2 (Calgary Trail, or Gateway Boulevard). Edmonton is also served by VIA Rail passenger trains.

The Edmonton Transit System operates numerous bus routes as well as a Light rail transit (LRT) line running from Clareview in the northeast to the University of Alberta on the south side.

In 1914 Edmonton adopted a new numbered street and avenue system, which with a few small modifications is still in use. The centre of the city, Jasper Avenue and 101 Street, was set as the starting point. Jasper Avenue was one of the few streets that was not given a number, but the other avenues were numbered as if Jasper Avenue had been 101 Avenue.

Avenues run east and west; Streets run north and south. Avenue numbers increase to the north; street numbers increase to the west. When a street lies between two numbered streets, letters are used, for example, 107A Avenue lies between 107 Avenue and 108 Avenue.

Houses with odd numbers are on the east side of a street or the south side of an avenue. Dropping the last two digits of a house number tells you what two streets or avenues the house lies between, for example 8023 135A Avenue is between 80 Street and 81 Street, and 10004 104 Avenue is between 100 Street and 101 Street.

In the 1980s as the city grew, it began to run out of street numbers in the east and avenue numbers in the south. Therefore, in 1982 a quadrant system was adopted. Quadrant Avenue (1 Avenue; not yet built) and Meridian Street (1 Street) divide the city into four quadrants: northeast, northwest, southwest and, most recently, southeast. The vast majority of the city falls within the northwest quadrant.

All Edmonton streets now officially have their quadrant included at the end of their names, but it is usual to omit "northwest," especially when there is no possibility of confusion with a street in another quadrant. However, the city's emergency services have begun to encourage residents to get into the habit of using quadrants in all addresses.


The University of Alberta, whose main campus is situated on the south side of Edmonton's river valley, is a board-governed, public institution with external funding in 2002/03 of more than $300 million. See also University of Alberta Facts Index.

Other Edmonton post-secondary institutions include Grant MacEwan College , Concordia University College, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

City life and culture

An aerial view of the West Edmonton Mall
An aerial view of the West Edmonton Mall

Restaurants and nightlife

Nightlife in Edmonton is mostly limited to the Whyte Avenue (82 Avenue) strip. Whyte Avenue is southeast of the University of Alberta and is comprised of popular bars, restaurants, clubs, and eclectic shops, some of which are listed at See Magazine or Vue Weekly. Edmonton is also home to several independent movie theatres in the Whyte Avenue area, the Garneau and Princess theatres, and Metro Cinema, showing a variety of underground or alternative films every week. The Yardbird Suite features live jazz music and is entirely volunteer operated. For nightclub addresses and event dates, check Edmonton Event Listings in See Magazine.


Edmonton plays host to several large festivals each year, hence its nickname as 'the Festival City.'

  • The Edmonton International Fringe Festival [1], which takes place in mid-August, is the largest Fringe Theatre Festival in North America, second only to Edinburgh's festival in size.
  • The Heritage Days Festival is an ethnocultural food festival that takes place in Hawrelak Park on the Heritage Day long weekend (which includes the first Monday in August).
  • The Edmonton International Street Performer's Festival [2], taking place in mid-July, showcases street performance artists from around the world.
  • For two weeks in July, Klondike Days [3] provides rides, music and other entertainment. Originally, Klondike Days (or K-Days) was an annual fair and exhibition which eventually adopted a gold rush theme. Attendance can exceed 750,000 over the festival. Activities include chuckwagon races, carnival rides and fairways, music, trade shows and daily fireworks.
  • In August, Edmonton is also host to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, one of the most successful and popular folk music festivals in North America.

Other festivals and events include the Jazz City International Music Festival and the Dragon Boat Festival.

Sports and recreation

The Edmonton Oilers, originally one of the founding franchises of the World Hockey Association, joined the National Hockey League in 1979. They quickly became one of the great hockey dynasties, winning five Stanley Cup Championships between 1984 and 1990. The Oilers have retired the jerseys of Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Grant Fuhr, and Al Hamilton. Rexall Place is home to both the Oilers and their farm team, the Edmonton Roadrunners of the American Hockey League.

Commonwealth Stadium is home to the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League. The Eskimos hold the North American pro sports record for most consecutive playoff appearances (33 consecutive seasons, as of 2004), and have won the Grey Cup (the CFL championship trophy) 12 times since 1921. In addition to the Eskimos, Edmonton is host to two Canadian Junior Football League teams: the Edmonton Huskies and the Edmonton Wildcats.

The city had a minor-league baseball team in the Class AAA Pacific Coast League, the Edmonton Trappers, playing at Telus Field, until the end of the 2004 season. The team moved to the Austin, Texas suburb of Round Rock, becoming the Round Rock Express. Beginning in 2005, the Edmonton Cracker-Cats will begin play in the independent Northern League.

Edmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games, the 2001 IAAF World Championships in Athletics [4], and the 2005 World Master Games.

Edmonton also has a circuit on the Champ Car World Series.


Edmonton has 5 broadcast television stations:

Network programming from the United States is available on Cable television from Spokane, Washington.

Edmonton has 2 main newspapers:

The free daily Dose magazine is also distributed in Edmonton. It is owned by CanWest Global Communications.

Metropolitan area

Edmonton is at the heart of a metropolitan area that includes a number of towns and cities either adjacent to Edmonton's city limits, or within a few kilometres of it. These communities include Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Nisku , and Beaumont .


St. Albert | Sturgeon Municipal District


← West
Parkland County
Stony Plain
Spruce Grove


East →
Fort Saskatchewan   Strathcona County


Leduc County    Leduc  


Also known as

Officially, Edmonton is nicknamed "Gateway to the North", "City of Champions" (which is not in reference to the success of the Oilers and Eskimos, but originally said by the mayor in the aftermath of the tornado of '87) and "Canada's Festival City" (for the Fringe Festival, Folk Festival, Street Performer's Festival and more.)

Over the past few decades, Edmonton's downtown core has slowly lost its vitality to the suburbs, and thus has obtained the unfortunate moniker of "Deadmonton" from some. This trend is reversing, however, as development in the downtown district has recently boomed with new condominium high-rises, and luxurious loft spaces rapidly replacing derelict warehouses and industrial space. It is also sometimes referred to as "Edmonchuk" (in reference to the large Ukrainian-Canadian community), or "Redmonton" (in reference to its politics which tend to be slightly to the left of other parts of Alberta.)


Edmonton is home to 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG). Units in 1 CMBG include Lord Strathcona's Horse and two of the three battalions of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. As well Edmonton has a large army reserve element from 41 Canadian Brigade Group (41 CBG) including B Squadron of The South Alberta Light Horse (SALH). The SALH is one of Alberta's oldest and most prestigious army reserve units.

Despite being far from Canada's coasts, Edmonton is the home of HMCS Nonsuch, a Naval Reserve unit.

Edmonton is also home to 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, for the Air Reserve.

Within Edmonton there are numerous Cadet Corps of the different elements.(Sea, Army, and Air Force) Click here for a list of these corps with contact information and location.

Sister Cities

Edmonton is an official sister city of several cities worldwide, including Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China; Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Hull, Quebec.

See also

External links

Last updated: 06-02-2005 13:22:35
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