Locals are quick to speak with pride about Edmonton’s many great amenities and attractions—from its farmer’s markets to its famously massive shopping mall—but for people outside the city, sometimes the place can seem like a bore. Well, we’re here to tell you that it’s simply not true. Edmonton is as vibrant, bustling, and diverse as any other great Canadian city. If you’re considering a move to Edmonton, or simply looking to visit, these are five facts that may surprise and even entice you about life in E-Town.
1. Edmonton is home to the largest urban park in North America
With more than 160 kilometers of pathways stretching across 20 major parks, Edmonton’s famous North Saskatchewan River Valley crosses the city in an eye-catching “Ribbon of Green” from southwest to northeast. More than 20 times larger than Vancouver’s Stanley Park, the Valley makes Edmonton one of Canada’s greenest city, promoting active living with its network of interconnected walking trails, urban parks, campsites, and golf courses. No matter where you live in Edmonton, you’re always close to nature.
2. There are over 80 golf courses in the metro Edmonton area
Speaking of the out-of-doors, when the weather’s fair, many Edmontonians love to hit the greens and fairways. Not surprisingly, the Edmonton region is home to dozens of public, semi-private, and exclusive golf clubs, ranging from simple pitch and putt courses that are great for beginners to learn the game to some of the most challenging Championship fairways in North America. What all of these courses share, regardless of difficulty, are picturesque views of the astonishing natural landscape. You’ll want to put down your clubs, now and then, just to take it all in.
3. Edmonton celebrates over 30 annual festivals
Edmonton is home to so many local celebrations and festivals that the city has taken to calling itself the “Festival City.” These include Pride, Ice on Whyte, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, the Edmonton Fringe Festival, the Edmonton International Jazz Festival, and K-Days, an annual exhibition that attracts more than 700,000 visitors each year. As an extremely multicultural city, Edmonton has many smaller local festivals that represent and celebrate people of all walks of life too. And they’re always a great chance to get out and meet your neighbours.
4. Edmonton is one of Canada’s sunniest cities
Listen, we know… it can get extremely cold in Edmonton, and the snow season is very long. But locals take solace in the fact that Edmonton is also one of the nation’s sunniest cities, with an average of more than 2,300 hours of sunlight per year. For comparison’s sake, Halifax gets about 1,962 days and Toronto just over 2,000. The same northern latitude that can make winter seem so extreme also gifts Edmonton with long days during the summer months, including 17 hours and three minutes of daylight on the first day. The sun rises at 5:04 a.m. and doesn’t go down until 10:07.
5. Edmonton began as a Hudson’s Bay Company fur-trading post
These days, Edmontonians mostly know Anthony Henday as the busy freeway that encircles the city, but, in fact, he was the 18th century explorer who established Fort Edmonton as a fur-trading post on the Northern Saskatchewan River. Locals and visitors alike can learn more about this heritage by visiting Fort Edmonton Park, which is Canada’s largest living history museum. The park depicts the evolution of Edmonton from 1846 to 1920, and includes unlimited rides on a fully functional 1919 steam engine.
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