THE FESTIVAL CITY OF EDMONTON
Edmonton is located at the center of Alberta and is the province's capital city. The North Saskatchewan River dominates its landscape and goes through the center of the city. It has a very dry climate and there were 812,201 people living in Edmonton in 2011, the majority of which are white. Most of the populace are of European descent and come from families who were originally from England, Scotland, Germany, and Ireland. More than one-half of the population is Christians, most of whom are Protestants.
Edmonton is considered one of the most important regions for the country's petroleum industry. In fact, it was referred to as the oil capital of Canada during the 1940s. Although the energy sector is a major part of Edmonton's income, the city also has the reputation of being the most economically diverse in Canada. Many Edmontonians have jobs in the industrial sector with employers like Telus, IBM, Intuit Canada and Canadian Western Bank. The city is also one of the top centers for research and education in the country. Private sectors and the government are currently sponsoring research initiatives in the city.
HOW IT BEGAN
Although Edmonton was founded earlier on, the area's population and its economy received a boost with the coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 19th century. The railway made it easy for people from areas such as Eastern Canada, the United States and Europe to take advantage of Edmonton's fertile and affordable land. The area was also one of the stopping points for Klondikers, people who are going to the Klondike region in the northwestern territory of the Yukon to prospect for gold. This influx of people contributed to Edmonton's reputation as a commercial and agricultural area even in the early 1900s.
Edmonton merged with Strathcona in 1912, making the city expand to the southern region of the North Saskatchewan River but the city's economy and population declined before the start of World War I. From the 1920s to the 1930s, however, the city saw its commercial prospects rise again, especially with development of Edmonton as a major component for the construction of the Alaska-Canada Highway.
YOU MIGHT WANT TO CHECK OUT...
╣Edmonton International Fringe Theater Festival. This is an event celebrated in Edmonton every August and is considered the largest festival of its kind in North America. It features various live performances in theaters and other venues throughout the city. This is one of the largest among the 30+ festivals that get celebrated in Edmonton throughout the year.
╣John Janzen Nature Center. It showcases the natural wonders of Edmonton with permanent displays of insects, fish, amphibians and reptiles. It also features interactive exhibits, self-guided tours and hiking trails where you can encounter various wildlife.
╣Valley Zoo. It has the reputation of being an intimate zoo. It houses over 100 species of exotic and native animals, as opposed to the thousands that can be found in bigger zoos. This also means that visitors can have a closer contact with wild animals than usual. The zoo opened its doors to the public in 1959 with plans to unveil renovations and expansions in 2012.
╣Muttart Conservatory. It is hard to mistake this botanical garden because of its four giant pyramid-shaped greenhouses. It is situated in the rich North Saskatchewan River Valley and is already considered as one of the city's major landmarks. The conservatory features hundreds of plant species that grow in desert-like environments as well as tropical and temperate climates.
╣Telus World of Science (formerly the Odyssium). It is one of the Edmonton's premier landmarks located at the city's Woodcroft area. It features a planetarium and an observatory as well as a wide variety of themed science exhibits and galleries. The center attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year since its launch in 1984.
╣Rexall Place (formerly the Skyreach Center). This is an indoor arena located on the northern side of the city's Northlands area. The arena is home for the hockey teams Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Oil Kings, as well as the Edmonton Rush national lacrosse team. It currently has the seating capacity of around 17,000.
╣Northlands Park (formerly Northlands Spectrum). It is located at the city's Northlands area and is considered as one of the province's premiere horse racing facility. It also houses restaurants and a gaming room filled with slot machines.
╣Old Strathcona. It is a district located at the south part in Edmonton's central area. It is considered as the city's main entertainment and arts area. It is actually one of the province's premier historic sites and is made up of five blocks of shops, bars and restaurants. It also has many of the city's theaters and venues for live performances.
╣West Edmonton Mall. It is the biggest mall in North America and is rank five in the entire world. It has more than 800 shops with a wide variety of goods and services and has a parking lot for over 20,000 vehicles. It services thousands of shoppers every day and can average to more than 28 million visitors a year.
╣World Waterpark. It is located in West Edmonton Mall and is the world's biggest indoor amusement park meant for water sports and games. It features one of the biggest indoor wave generators in the world. It also has a wide variety of water slides and a very high tower meant for rock climbing and bungee jumping over water.
╣Elk Island National Park. This area is actually an hour's ride away from Edmonton and is situated in the Beaverhills area. It features a wide range of landscapes typical of the ecosystem found in the northern prairies. It also hosts a variety of plants and wildlife. The park is open 24/7 throughout the year.
TOURISTS SHOULD KNOW
Edmonton has bus services operated by Greyhound Canada and Red Arrow. For people who would like to drive their own vehicle, there are car rental companies have branch offices throughout the city and at the city airport.