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Edmonton: a city full of culture and surprises

Thinking of Canada, one thinks of cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. However, Canada’s fifth city, Edmonton, packs quite a punch and is full of surprises!

Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta. The city has a population of more than 800,000 people. At 684 square kilometres (264 square miles), the city of Edmonton covers an area larger than cities such as Chicago or Toronto. This makes Edmonton one of North America’s less densely populated cities. It makes a welcome change from New York’s busy streets! In fact, Edmonton is a much more desirable city than New York if you’re in the mood for shopping since the city is home to the largest shopping mall in North America, the West Edmonton Mall. You’ll find hundreds of shops here as well as an indoor amusements park, the world’s second largest indoor waterpark, cinemas, an ice-skating rink, hotels and many other amenities. 

Edmonton’s appeal is not limited to shopping alone. Fans of both history and culture will be delighted to know that the city is home to Canada’s largest living history museum: Fort Edmonton Park. Step back in time and see for yourself what life was like in the days of fur trade and during the pioneering years of 1885, 1905 and 1920! Don’t forget to visit the Muttart Conservatory and the impressive Francis Winspear Centre for Music as well. Next, take a break at the William Hawrelak Park. The park’s lakes and large open fields situated in the midst of the River Valley are ideal for some well-deserved R&R (rest & relaxation). 

In addition, Edmonton is bustling with cultural activities. The Canadian city is known as a true city of festivals: the city itself is home to in between 40 and 50 annual festivals whereas the Alberta Capital Region sees a few hundred festivals a year as well. Food lovers will relish ‘A Taste of Edmonton’, theatre lovers will applaud the ‘Edmonton International Street Performers Festival’ and the ‘Edmonton Fringe Festival’ is as popular as its sister festivals in Amsterdam and Edinburgh. The Edmonton Fringe Festival is the world’s largest Fringe Festival after the one held in the Scottish capital.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines offers non-stop service to this bustling Canadian city four times a week. Are you ready to discover Edmonton?
 

History

In 1754, Anthony Henday may have been the first European to enter the Edmonton area. Being an explorer, his mission was to meet with local tribes on the Canadian prairies in order to establish the trade of fur and hides. At the beginning of the 19th century, and in cooperation with the Hudson’s Bay company, Henday established several trading posts at what is now Edmonton’s city centre. One of these trading posts was given the name Fort Edmonton and was named after the former London borough of Edmonton in London, England. In 1804, another fur trader made Fort Edmonton into the most important trade centre of what was then known as Rupertland, present day North and West Canada. A couple of years later saw land and housing being offered at reasonable prices which meant an increase in the number of people settling here. The period between 1947 and 1973 brought great prosperity to Edmonton which saw the city grow into a major centre for the oil and gas industry. The city overcame the oil crisis of the 1970s as well as the devastating tornado of 1987. The resilient city recovered and Edmonton grew into a bustling city amidst breathtaking countryside. In Edmonton, normal things are done in unique ways which is something you’ll get to experience first-hand when visiting this extraordinary city. Whether it’s the continent’s first, biggest and wildest Fringe theatre festival or a nocturnal winter walk through the valley that interests you, this city has it all. Edmonton is an ideal destination for people that are in search of that perfect balance between city life and countryside.