Updated: Dec 28, 2020
The Alberta Legislature
This great northern city of Edmonton deserves a spot as one of Canada’s premier destinations. This is not hyperbole – I really mean it!
I like the environment, I like the mix of people, I enjoy the city’s many activities and I appreciate Edmonton has been built around quality of life.
A late northern sunset behind the pyramids of the Muttart Conservatory. The glass pyramids reflect sunlight IN during the winter months
Distant, extreme, vibrantly green (or white), wealthy and oddly exciting, this so-called City of Champions is one of my favourite cities anywhere.
There is no doubt I have learned some of this love for Edmonton, but as a student of the north and of the Americas, Edmonton is fascinating.
As a capital city, Edmonton is appropriately located roughly in the middle of the province of Alberta. It is a prairie city defined by its impressive valley carved by the North Saskatchewan River. The population of the greater area is around 1.2 million, making Edmonton one of the most isolated large cities in the developed world. Although its latitude is only 53 degrees north (equivalent to Ushuaia in Tierra Del Fuego and only slightly north of Amsterdam), the continental effect makes Edmonton one of the coldest major cities in the world.
Part of Edmonton’s cityscape across the lush river valley
If this fact has not won you over :), summers up north are defined by very long, often sunny days and an eruption of green throughout the region’s deciduous forests. 30° C (86F) summer days are common and many houses even have air conditioning!
I also love winter in the region. Several years ago my brother-in-law visited from Australia over Christmas. He had very little experience with snow and loved the white, clean environment. He also was thrilled to ice-fish and even drive on a frozen lake. Winter starry nights are magical and because of Edmonton’s lower latitude, days remain fairly long, even in December when lights and colours festoon the city.
A common statistic claims 80% of Canada’s population live within 200 km’s of the US border. Looking to the largest cities; Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver – this statistic is most certainly true, yet the two large Alberta cities; Calgary and Edmonton are distinctly isolated.
Edmonton’s special place as a large, northern city is interesting on its own, but for any connoisseur of the North, Edmonton is wonderful.