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In addition to being the home of Ya'Gotta and it's publisher, Ya'Gotta Communications & Marketing, Edmonton is the Capital of the Province of Alberta and is North America's largest, northern city with a population over 1 million. Edmonton offers ample opportunities for enjoying year-round outdoors recreation and adventure tourism activities in central and northern Alberta. According to 2004 tourism statistics (by Alberta Economic Development), Edmonton is the number one destination in overall person-visits to Alberta and the number one destination in person-visits from other provinces. Edmonton is also Alberta’s number one metropolitan destination for U.S. visitations and revenues.
Edmonton also offers excellent access to adventure tourism and trekking because the city:
All of these, plus Ft. Edmonton being on the main waterway of the western prairies, the North Saskatchewan River, made it the major centre in the Hudson's Bay Company's fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.
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Edmonton is truly the Gateway to the north! Any direction traveled from Edmonton provides a variety of terrain ranging through prairie, aspen parkland, boreal forests, foothills, mountain and mountains. As stated by Economic Development Edmonton "Located on the 53rd latitude, Edmonton is a haven for summer and winter activities, with 17 hours of daylight in mid-summer and the magical, night aurora borealis (Northern Lights) during the peak activity period in mid-winter."
Edmonton also has easy access to the Canadian Rockies. Within a few hours drive, west, on the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway (#16), travelers can go to the great Rocky Mountain trekking opportunities at Jasper National Park, William Switzer Provincial Park and Wilmore Willderness Area, between the towns of Hinton and Grande Cache, on the Ram Highway (#40).
The Trans-Canada Yellowhead route through the mountains and on to British Coumbia. With about 1/2 hour drive the route will also take travelers to the MacKenzie Highway.
Going south on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (Hwy.#2), travelers can reach Calgary and Banff National Park. Going west from Red Deer is the David Thompson Pass, which also leads in the mountains, in the north end of Banff.
To the east of Edmonton you can also find the Strathcona Willderness Centre, Cooking Lake – Blackfoot Grazing, Wildlife & Provincial Recreation Area and the Beaver Hills. A trip not to miss, is to Elk Island National Park, with its herds of prairie and wood bison, about ˝ hour east of Edmonton. The night sky in Elk Island National Park and the Cooking Lake-Blackfoot Provincial Recreation Area will now be protected, as part of The Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve.
All of these areas, offer excellent opportunities for camping, hiking, backpacking, cycling, trail riding and nature watching. During winter downhill and cross country skiing, as well as snowshoeing all within close proximity.
The Edmonton area is also a nature watching and birding paradise. In addition to the specatacular river valley and its ravines, within close proximity to the city are the Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary, the Wagner Natural Area, Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park, Ministik Bird Sanctuary, and the Beaverhill Bird Observatory.
The city of Edmonton is a great example of outdoor use by an urban area, having the most parkland, per capita, than any city in North America! The Capital City Recreation Park, comprises the entire North Saskatchewan River Valley and its many tributary ravines with 29 kilometers of biking and hiking trails! A favourite, with many outdoor enthusiasts, is the Whitemud Creek Nature Preserve. This area is often used for presentations and outings by the John Janzen Nature Centre.
A major initiative, within the Edmonton region, is to develop the largest river valley park in the word! The River Valley Alliance, which comprises the Town of Devon, Parkland County, Leduc County, City of Edmonton Strathcona County, Sturgeon County and the City of Fort Saskatchewan and will encompass 88 kilometers of the river valley.
Edmonton is easy to get around by the Edmonton Transit System (ETS). The ETS is becoming very environmentally conscious by replacing their ageing diesel buses with Canadian made low emmission deisel buses, huge expansion of the south Light Rail Transit route and planning express bus routes. They are also buying hybrid diesel buses.
For cyclists there is also an extensive number of bicycle paths and marked routes through the city. Keep in mind that the trails, through the valley, ravines, etc. are multi-use trails. They are for pedestrians, pet walking, cyclists, inline skaters and skate boarders and no motorized vehicles are allowed.
If it's niche shopping, restaurants and nightlife, that you're seeking, then head off to historic Old Strathcona. You can even ride a turn of 20th the century streetcar, across the High Level Bridge, between Old Strathcona and Downtown. In downtown Downtown you'll find cosmopolitan shopping and some of the cities finest hotels and restaurants.
The faboulous "glass pyramid" City Hall, Stanley Milner (main branch) of the , the modern, new Art Gallery of Alberta, Citadel Theatre and Winspear Centre Centre (home of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra) are located on Sir Winston Churchill Square. This area is also known as the Arts District and during the summer the Square is a focal point for many of the Edmonton Festival City events, that include: International Street Pefomrers Festival, The Works Arts Festival, A Taste of Edmonton (for food lovers).
Festivals in Edmonton, don't end with the fall. On New Year's Eve, Churchill Square, becomes Western Canada's largest free New Year's celebration. This family event features both indoor and outdoor venues offering activities, entertainment and fireworks. Later, in January Edmonton has its brand new Winter Light Festival, with a combination of community bonfires, skating, latern parades and other festivals (Deep Freeze, Ice on Whyte Festival, Silver Skate Festival, winter film and Star Parties in Elk Island Park and the Coronation Park Observatory).
Sir Winston Churchill Square is also the final destination, for the Cariwest Parade, featuring musical floats, dancers and food from Edmonton's Carribean community, and the Sunday Social for of thie lively Cariwest Festival. Having a diversity of cultures and being "The Festival City", Edmonton also has it's annual Heritage Festival in the river valley William Hawrelak Park during the August 1st Hertage Day long weekend. Vistors to the festival can wander this large park and enjoy the dress, music, dance, art and of course...food of the over 60 cultural groups represented. The Edmonton Hertage Festival has been noted many times by the American Bus Association's list of events.
Many of the cultures (e.g. Chinese, Vietnamese, Italian) of Edmonton have developed their own distinct districts. There are also many great ethnic restraunts thoughout the city and you could have a differnt type of international cuisine every night of the week.
West along Jasper Avenue, from downtown is the 124th Street Area, where you will find a fine selection of Edmonton's boutiques and bistros, as well the area's art galleries are home to the Edmonton Gallery Walk.
Edmonton also has a strong arts community, with an excellent Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Alberta, many art galleries, live theatres and has some of the best folk music in Canada. Edmonton is also the home of the 80 year old CKUA radio. This province-wide, listener supported radio network, with its original AM transformer and 16 FM transformers throughout the province, can also be heard online at ckua.com and on channel 828 on the StarChoice satellite system. The main studio is located in the historical Alberta Block, which the Provincial Government sold to CKUA for $1.00 and there is also Calgary studio located in Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts. The station plays Blues, Jazz, Classical, Celtic, Folk, Contemporary, Bluegrass, World Beat and Alternative music. In addition to playing the music world-wide performers, CKUA plays an amazing role in broadcasting Alberta and other Canadian performers in each of the genres featured. Donations of support are always apprecited by the station.
Plans are now, in place, for CKUA to relocate to the recently, rebuild Alberta Hotel! Although not being used as a hotel, in its reincarnation, it was once the city's most luxurious, boasting the city's first elevator and shower bath. Sir Wilfrid Laurier stayed there when he visited for the proclamation of Alberta as a province in 1905.
If your looking for sports, Edmonton is the home of the National Hockey League's, Edmonton Oilers, who play at Rexall Place. Rexall Place, also home to the Western Hockey League's, Edmonton Oil Kings and each year's Canadian Finals Rodeo. Rexall Place has also hosted many international figure skating competitions.
Rexall Place, is part of the larger Northlands which also hosts Capital EX, the biggest event of each summer, in the 3rd and 4th week of July. Northlands also has The Spectrum, the only horse race track in Alberta and host to the Canadian Derby, thoroughbred race, each August.
Plans are now, in place to build a new Downtown arena, which will become the future home of the Edmonton Oliers. As well the project will bring a revitalization to the downtown core.
Edmonton is also the home of the Canadian Football League, Edmonton Eskimos. The "Esks" have been the Grey Cup Champions, winning on 13 of 22 appearance in the annual national football playoff game, each November.
Commonwealth Stadium, where the Eskimos play is also Canada's national soccer stadium and the home for the 1978 Commonwealth Games, 2001 World Championships in Athletics and the 2005 World Masters Games. In November 2003, Commonwealth Stadium was also home to the National Hockey Hockey League's first outdoor hockey game, the Molson Canadian Heritage Classic.
Other professional sports in the Edmonton area are the Edmonton Rush lacross and Edmonton Energy basketball teams.
If golf is your game...The Greater Edmonton area is home to over 70 golf courses where the public can swing a club.
Edmonton has a very rich and interesting history and even has the Historic Edmonton Festival. Recent archaeological discoveries have found aboriginal tool making grounds and campsites, in various areas of the valley. There was also Papaschase burials discoverd east of the site of the actual Ft. Edmonton (north of the Walterdale Bridge by the power plant). There is now a large memorial, for the grave site, on the spot.
The area was well visited by travalling aboriginal peoples, because of a river ford west of the High Level Bridge. The Royal Alberta Museum has an excellent aboriginal gallery and Ft. Edmonton Park has developed a small Plains Cree camp, outdide the walls of the fort. The area and interaction between European traders and the Aboriginals, also played a major role during the fur trade and being on the North Saskatchewan River, main river route during that time.
Being on the North Saskatchewan River, from its very beginning, as fur trade post, Edmonton has played a major role in the development of western Canada's transportation system, it also has several related museums and tourist attreactions. For a look at early airplains visit the Alberta Aviation Museum. Rail buffs will enjoy the Alberta Railway Museum, or can take a "High Level" view of the river valley by riding a old fashioned streetcar, over the rail bridge joining north to southside Edmonton. Besides the early 20th century steel bridge, being called the High Level Bridge, the streetcar ride, is the highest in the world. Get your cameras ready!
Another interesting historical and architectural tour, in Edmonton, is the Provincial Legislative Building. The Alberta Legislature Building was built between 1907 and 1913 in the Beaux Arts style, similar to those of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Tours are offered 362 days a year, and the knowledgeable tour guides are always pleased to welcome you. Tours of the Legislature Building are offered to all ages. Be sure to ask if you're going to the "Magic Spot"!
On Canada Day (July 1st) over 30,000 individuals normally gather on the Legislature grounds, during the afternoon, for the free family entertainment, including musical and dance performance and games for children.
If you want to see more traditional western canadian activities, Edmonton is a great destination to travel to rodeos and visit an aboriginal Powwow.
Other excellent museums and places on interest in the Edmonton area are: the Royal Alberta Museum, Fort Edmonton Park and the TELUS World of Science. If you don't mind a short drive out of Edmonton, some must see attractions are: Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village (east on the Yellowhead Trans Canada Highway 16), also near to Elk Island National Park (Where yo can see Bison). For a day trip, going south on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, will take you to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum (Wetaskiwin) A must see trip should be; further southeast from the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, to the "land of the dinosaurs" and visit the world famous Royal Tyrrell Museum, at Drumheller, where you'll want stay for more than a day!
For information about outdoors tourism opportunities, in the Edmonton region go to the Edmonton Tourism. For information about tourism opportunities throughout the province, Travel Alberta is a great source of information.
If you're looking for information about outdoor clubs and activities in the Edmonton area many are listed on our Alberta Links Page has links to many related clubs and associations, parks, wilderness areas, as well as urban and rural tourism organizations.
To visit Edmonton book fights, hotels and car rentals go to Ya'Gotta Travel.
Please support the local businesses, musicians and organizations that are part of the Edmonton Ya'Gotta Network.
Travelling to the Edmonton area, the Edmonton Ya'Gotta Network recommends:
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