The capital of Alberta, the city of Edmonton is home to over 812,201 Edmontonians with 1,159,869 residents living in the total Metro Edmonton area. Among cities with a population of over 1 million, Edmonton is the most northern city in North America.
Edmonton’s main industry is within the oil and gas sector and has an estimated project value of $34.4 billion dollars in 2014. Edmonton is the planning point for large-scale projects in Alberta’s northern oil sands, as well as diamond mining operations in Canada’s Northwest Territories.1 Northern Alberta is home to the world’s second largest oil, gas and oil sand reserves, next to Saudi Arabia.
The largest age groups in Edmonton are between 25 to 29, 20 to 24 and 30 to 34 respectively. Between 2006 and 2011, Edmonton grew faster (12.1%) than the average Canadian city (5.9%). While Edmonton is predominately an English-speaking province, other languages spoken include Tagalog, Punjabi and Chinese.3
Arts and Culture
Often referred to as “The Festival City,” Edmonton is home to many events throughout the year. The majority of events take place in or around Churchill Square which is bordered by Harbin Road (102 Avenue) on the south, 102A Avenue to the north, 100 Street on the west and Rue Hull Street (99 Street) on the east.
Edmonton is home to the Francis Winspear Centre for Music, which boasts the most acoustically perfect design in Canada, and the Citadel Theatre which has become of one Canada’ largest theatre complexes with five different halls that each pursue their own unique productions.
On campus, students can take advantage of the campus’ proximity to the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium where the Edmonton Opera who frequently rehearses. Near the University is the neighborhood of Old Strathcona which serves as Edmonton’s Theatre District. Old Strathcona is home to The Walterdale Playhouse, Varscona Theatre, Catalyst Theatre and the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.
Some of Edmonton’s most notable festivals include the Canadian Finals Rodeo, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Edmonton International Film Festival and K-Days. The Sourdough River Festival is one of the city’s most unique events and includes a giant water fight while boating down the river. Edmonton is also home to festivals that aim to entertain those with more specific interests.
There is the Pure Speculation festival that caters to fans of science fiction, pop culture, gaming, comic books and fantasy. The Pure Speculation event happens in November and is located at the MacEwan University.4 The Animethon is Edmonton’s longest running Japanese animation convention which attracts as many as 8,700 people. The Animethon is hosted at the Ramada Conference Center in Downtown Edmonton and takes place on February 20th and 21st. 5
Edmonton offers a wide variety of pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafés, making it easy to find things to do on any given evening. The University of Alberta has two pubs of its own, Dewey’s Pub and the Room At The Top.
Dewey’s is located in the Old Power Plant and offers live music, pool tables, cheap food and cheap drinks.
Room At The Top (RATT) is a restaurant style pub located on the 7th floor of the Students’ Union Building on campus and offers scenic views of the city, as well as big screen TVs that play all the Oilers and Eskimos games. The pub also offers Karaoke night on Wednesdays after 9pm and is sometimes referred to as the unofficial University of Alberta sports bar.
There are plenty of pubs to visit in the Old Strathcona neighborhood. This historic area of south-central Alberta is close to the University and is also home to the city’s exciting theatre district. Close by is Edmonton’s most popular strip for nightlife, Whyte Avenue, which offers dancing, live music and live theatre. Whyte Avenue is also referred to as “82 Avenue northwest” and vice versa.
Within the area there is Suite 69 located at 8232 Gateway Boulevard Northwest, which is a two-storey dance club that, aside from dancing, offers billiards and plenty of booths to enjoy drinks with friends. Just down the street at 8010 Gateway Boulevard Northwest is the Cook County Saloon. The Saloon is a country bar known for its line dancing and mechanical bull. The Saloon also hosts Canadian musicians and attracts crowds both young and old.
One of Edmonton’s natural attractions is the North Saskatchewan River, which runs through the center of the city. The river valley of Edmonton is the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America. Edmonton actually has the largest span of parkland per capita than any of Canada’s major cities. The river valley parkland is 22 times larger than New York’s famous Central Park. 2
Edmonton has a humid continental climate and is known for its low precipitation. Winters are cold, but surprisingly Winnipeg and Regina are both known to have even colder winters than Edmonton. The winters in Edmonton can be long, beginning in mid-October and lasting until April.
During the middle of October, the temperature starts dipping below freezing overnight and in the early mornings. The average daytime temperature for the winter months is roughly -5 °C (41 °F) with a low of roughly -15 °C (59 °F). However, these temperatures do not include the wind chill factor, which can easily bring these temperatures below -20 °C or even -30 °C in more rare occasions.6 Picking up a durable winter jacket or parka with appropriate gloves and toque is highly recommended before winter sets in.
During mid-March, the temperature will begin to show subtle signs of the warmth to come. The daytime temperatures will crawl above the freezing point and average out at roughly 2 °C (35.6° F). The average low for spring in Edmonton is around -8 °C (17.6 °F).
During April, Edmontonians welcome the warmth with daytime averages of 12 °C (53.6 °F ). The low during April is usually very close to the freezing point averaging in at -1 °C (30.2 °F). However, don’t pack away your winter clothes until the warmer weather is sure to stay because snowfall during the spring isn’t unheard of in Edmonton.
The summers are sunny and warm with occasional thunderstorms. The thunderstorms are stunning and are usually followed with sunshine. July has an average temperature of 23 °C (73.4 °F ) and a low of 11 °C (51.8 °F). The longest day of the summer boasts 17 hours of sunshine.
The weather begins to get cooler during mid-September and early October. The leaves begin to change colour and daytime averages dip to 19 °C (66.2 °F) with a low of 6 °C (42.8 °F). Snow flurries can occur during October when average temperatures fall to 11 °C (52 °F) and 0 °C (32 °F).7