2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: North American Geography

City of Edmonton

Edmonton City Hall.

( Coat of Arms of Edmonton, Alberta)

( Flag of Edmonton)

City of Edmonton
Location of Edmonton within census division number 11 in Alberta, Canada
Area 683.88 km²
Metro area 9,418.62 km²
Population 712,391 (2006)
Pop'n rank 5th
Metro pop'n 1,016,000 (2005 est.)
Metro rank 6th
Pop'n density 974.0
Location 53°34′N 113°31′W
Altitude 668  metres
Incorporation 1904
Province Alberta
Census Division 11
Members of Parliament Rona Ambrose, Ken Epp, Peter Goldring, Laurie Hawn, Rahim Jaffer, Michael Lake, James Rajotte, John G. Williams
Members of the Legislative Assembly Bharat Agnihotri, Dan Backs, Bill Bonko, Laurie Blakeman, David Eggen, Mo Elsalhy, Dave Hancock, Thomas Lukaszuk, Hugh MacDonald, Ray Martin, Brian Mason, Weslyn Mather, Bruce Miller, Rick Miller, Raj Pannu, Kevin Taft, Maurice Tougas, Gene Zwozdesky
Mayor Stephen Mandel

( Past mayors)

City Manager Al Maurer
Governing Body Edmonton City Council
Time zone Mountain (UTC-7)
Postal code T5A to T6Z
Area Code 780
Official website: City of Edmonton

Edmonton is the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta, situated in the central region of the province, an area with some of the most fertile farmland on the prairies. It is the second largest city in Alberta with a population of 712,391 (2005 census), and is the hub of the country's sixth largest Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) with a population of 1,016,000 (2005 est.). A resident of Edmonton is known as an Edmontonian.

At 684 km², the City of Edmonton proper covers a large area — larger in area than Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Montreal. But this is still smaller than Ottawa.

Edmonton serves as the northern anchor of the " Calgary-Edmonton Corridor" (one of four such regions that, in total, comprise 50% of the Canadian population) and is a staging point for large-scale oilsands projects occurring in the north of the province as well as large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories.

Edmonton is Canada's second most populous provincial capital (after Toronto) and is known as a well-rounded cultural, government, and educational centre. It plays host to a year round slate of world-class festivals, earning it the title of Festival City. It is home to North America's largest mall, West Edmonton Mall, and Canada's largest historical park, Fort Edmonton Park. In 2004, Edmonton celebrated the centennial of its incorporation as a city.


Exploration and settlement

The first inhabitants gathered in the area, which is now Edmonton, around 3000 BC and perhaps as early as 10,000 BC, when an ice-free corridor was opening up as the great ice sheets covering much of Canada melted. They took advantage of the timber, water and wildlife in the region and thus made their presence in the area for thousands of years.

In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer working for the Hudson's Bay Company, was probably the first European to enter the Edmonton area. His expeditions across the Canadian Prairies were mainly to seek new contact with the local aboriginals for the purpose of establishing fur trade, as competition was fierce between the Hudson's Bay Company and its rivals.

European traders from the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company set up trading posts in the area of present-day Fort Saskatchewan beginning in 1795. The trading posts later moved upstream to the present-day site of downtown Edmonton. The North West Company set up a trading post called Fort Augustus, but at the same time, the Hudson's Bay Company set up a fort of its own. The Hudson's Bay Company named its fort after the town of Edmonton in the UK (now a suburb in north London), the hometown of Sir James Winter Lake, then director of the Company.

John Rowand, a fur trader for the North West Company, arrived in Edmonton in 1804 and was vital to the fort's importance, for he established it as the main distribution centre for the entire northwest. Rowand became respected and accepted as a leader by the Plains Indians, managing Edmonton's fur trade with the Cree and Blackfoot in Edmonton for about 30 years. Fort Edmonton and the surrounding area was known to the local Cree as Amiskwaciy waskahigan (the "c" in Amiskwaciy is pronounced similar to a "ch"), meaning "Beaver Hills House". As Rowand had intended, Fort Edmonton became a major economic centre for Rupert's Land, as the lands comprising the present-day Prairie Provinces, northern Ontario and northern Canada were known at the time. Fort Edmonton was the major stopping point before pioneers headed up north or farther west. The two companies merged in 1821, and the name of Fort Edmonton was retained. In 1830 the last fort was built on the present site of the Alberta Legislature.

The Hudson's Bay Company relinquished its ownership and jurisdiction of Rupert's Land to the Dominion of Canada in 1871. Rupert's Land was then renamed the North West Territories by the federal government. People began settling in the vicinity of Fort Edmonton in the 1870s after the government offered the land to settlers at a good price.

The oil boom years

Oil rig monument at the southern entrance of Gateway Park on Hwy 2 (Queen Elizabeth II Highway).
Oil rig monument at the southern entrance of Gateway Park on Hwy 2 (Queen Elizabeth II Highway).

The first major oil discovery for Edmonton and the rest of the province was made on February 13, 1947 near the town of Leduc to the south. Although oil reserves were already known as early as 1914 to exist in the southern parts of Alberta, they produced very little oil compared to those around Edmonton. Additional oil reserves were also discovered during the late 1940s and the 1950s in the Edmonton area near the town of Redwater. Because most of Alberta's oil reserves were found to be concentrated in central and northern Alberta, the city became home to most of Alberta's oil production and refining.

The subsequent oil boom gave Edmonton new status as the Oil Capital of Canada. During the 1950s, the city nearly doubled in population from 149,000 to 269,000. After a relatively calm but still prosperous period in the 1960s, the city's growth took on a renewed vigour with high world oil prices, triggered by the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The oil boom of the 1970s and 1980s ended abruptly with the introduction of the National Energy Program in 1981. The population had reached 521,000 that same year. Although the National Energy Program was later scrapped by the federal government in the mid-1980s, the collapse of world oil prices in 1986 and massive government cutbacks kept the city from making a full economic recovery until the late 1990s. Unsurprisingly, the city suffered from high unemployment rates until then.

Recent history

The 1987 tornado
The 1987 tornado

In 1981, the largest shopping mall in North America, West Edmonton Mall, opened. The mall is one of Alberta's most popular tourist attractions, and contains an indoor amusement park, a large indoor waterpark, a skating rink, and a luxury hotel in addition to its over 800 shops and services.

On July 31, 1987, a devastating tornado, ranked as an F4 on the Fujita scale, hit the city and killed 27 people. The storm flooded the city's LRT tunnel, blew CN rail cars off a bridge crossing the North Saskatchewan River and hit the areas of Beaumont, Mill Woods, Bannerman, and the Evergreen Trailer Park. The day became known as "Black Friday". Then-Mayor Laurence Decore cited the community's response to the tornado as evidence that Edmonton was a "city of champions", which later became the city's slogan.

The city entered its current period of economic recovery and prosperity by the late 1990s, helped by a strong recovery in oil prices and further economic diversification. While oil production and refining remains the basis of many jobs in Edmonton, the city's economy has managed to diversify economically, producing even more jobs. The downtown core and parts of the inner city, after years of extremely high office vacancy rates and neglect, have recovered to a great degree. It is still undergoing a renaissance of its own, with further new projects underway or about to become reality, and more and more people choosing to live in or near the downtown core.

Geography and location

Edmonton is located near the geographical centre of the province at an elevation of 668 m (2192 ft).

The North Saskatchewan River bisects this city and originates at the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park. It empties, via the Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipeg, and the Nelson River, into Hudson Bay. It runs from the southwest to the northeast through the city and is fed by numerous creeks throughout the city, such as Mill Creek and Whitemud Creek. This creates numerous ravines, many of which have been incorporated into the urban parkland. Edmonton is situated at the boundary between prairie to the south and boreal forest to the north, in a transitional area known as aspen parkland.

St. Albert
Sturgeon County Fort Saskatchewan
Parkland County
Enoch Cree Nation
Spruce Grove
Stony Plain
North Strathcona County
Elk Island National Park
West   Edmonton    East
Devon Leduc County
Leduc (city)

Parkland and environment

Edmonton's river valley constitutes the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America, and Edmonton has the highest per capita area of parkland of any Canadian city. The public river valley parks provide a unique urban escape area with park styles ranging from fully serviced urban parks to campsite-like facilities with few amenities. This main 'Ribbon of Green' is supplemented by numerous neighbourhood parks located throughout the city, to give a total of 111 km² (27,400 acres) of parkland. Within the 7,400 hectare, 25 km long river valley park system there are 11 lakes, 14 ravines, and 22 major parks. Most of the city has excellent bike and walking trail connections.

Edmonton's streets and parklands are also home to one of the largest remaining concentrations of healthy American Elm trees in the world, unaffected by Dutch Elm disease, which has wiped out vast numbers of such trees in eastern North America. Jack Pine, Lodgepole Pine, White Spruce, White Birch, Aspen, Green Ash, Basswood, various poplars and willows, and Manitoba Maple are also abundant; Bur Oak is increasingly popular. Introduced tree species include Blue Spruce, Norway Maple, Red Oak, Sugar Maple, Common Horse-chestnut, McIntosh Apple and Evans Cherry.

Several golf courses, both public and private, are also located in the river valley. The long summer daylight hours of this northern city provide for extended play well into the evening. Golf courses and the park system become a winter recreation area during this season. Cross-country skiing and skating are popular during the long winter. Four downhill ski slopes are located in the river valley as well, two within the city and two immediately outside.

The City of Edmonton has named five parks in its River Valley Parks System in honour of each of " The Famous Five".


River valley west of downtown.
River valley west of downtown.

Edmonton has numerous distinct neighbourhoods.

The downtown core, which has seen increasing redevelopment since the 1997 Capital City Downtown Plan was introduced, is home to the Central Business District (CBD) as well as over 4000 residents. Downtown proper consists of the Commercial Core, Arts District, Rice Howard Way Pedestrian Mall, MacKay Avenue, Jasper-West, Warehouse District and Government Precinct.

Radiating from the core are numerous inner city neighbourhoods such as Oliver, Glenora, Westmount, Queen Mary Park, Central McDougall, Boyle Street and McCauley on the north side of the river, while Windsor Park, Garneau, Strathcona, Bonnie Doon, and Strathearn line the south side of the river. Several communities survived attempts by the municipal governments of the 1970s to rid the valley proper of all residents: these are Riverdale, Rossdale, Walterdale, and Cloverdale.

As with any city of its size, the inner communities give way to a collection of suburbs, generally classified as being outside the inner ring road and in extreme cases, outside of Anthony Henday Drive. The most well known of these is Mill Woods, which is home to approximately 100,000 residents. If Mill Woods were a separate municipality, it would be Alberta's third largest city after Calgary and Edmonton. Several new neighbourhoods are currently in formative stages in the South and Southwest, such as MacEwan, Terwillegar, and Rutherford.

Several transit-oriented developments (TOD) have begun to appear along the LRT line at Clareview with future developments planned at Belvedere (part of the Old Town Fort Road Redevelopment Project). Another TOD called Century Park is already under construction at the site of what was once Heritage Mall (currently under demolition) at the southern end of the future South LRT line. Century Park will eventually house up to 5,000 residents.

An overview of neighbourhoods can be found online.


Edmonton has a northern continental climate with extreme seasonal temperatures, although the city has milder winters than either Regina or Winnipeg, which are both located at a more southerly latitude. It has mild summers and cold winters, with the average daily maximum /minimum temperatures ranging from −8.0 °C (14.4 °F)/-19.1°C (-2.4°F) in January to 22.2 °C (72.0 °F)/9.5°C (49.1°F) in July. Annually, temperatures exceed 30 °C (86 °F) on an average of two days and fall below −20 °C (−4 °F) on an average of 41 days. The highest temperature recorded in Edmonton was 34.6°C (94.1°F+) on August 5, 1998, and the coldest temperature was -43.3°C (-45.9°F) recorded on December 28, 1938. Summer typically lasts from late June until late August, and the humidity is rarely uncomfortable. Winter lasts from November through March and varies greatly in length and severity. Spring and autumn are both short and highly variable.

Edmonton has a dry climate. On average, Edmonton receives 483mm (19 in) of precipitation and 121 cm (48.6 in) of snowfall per annum. The wettest month is July, the driest month is February. In July, the mean precipitation is 92 mm (3.6 in). Extremes do occur such as the 114 mm of rainfall that fell on July 31, 1953. Summer thunderstorms can be frequent and sometimes severe enough to produce large hail, damaging winds, funnel clouds and even tornadoes. However, tornadoes near Edmonton are far weaker and short-lived compared to their counterparts farther south. Tornadoes as powerful as the F4 tornado which struck Edmonton on July 31, 1987, killing 28, are very rare. Edmonton has also been known to have other forms of severe weather, including a massive storm with both rain and hail which occurred on July 11, 2004. Although these occur infrequently, this "1-in-200 year event" flooded major intersections and underpasses as well as damaging both residential and commercial properties.

Edmonton is the most northerly major city in North America with a metro population of over 1 million. It is at the same latitude as Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England. At the summer solstice, Edmonton receives 17 hours and six minutes of daylight, with twilight extending well beyond that. Edmonton receives 2,289 hours of sunshine per year, and is one of Canada's sunniest cities.


Edmonton is the major economic centre for northern Alberta and a major centre for the oil and gas industry. In its Spring 2006 Metropolitan Outlook, the Conference Board of Canada forecast that Edmonton's GDP will be $42.4 billion, a 3.6% increase over 2005. The Edmonton Economic Development Corporation estimated that as of January 2005 the total value of major projects under construction in northern Alberta was $81.5 billion with $18.2 billion occurring within Greater Edmonton.

Edmonton traditionally has been a hub for Albertan petrochemical industries, earning it the nickname "Oil Capital of Canada" in the 1940s. Supply and service industries drive the energy extraction engine while research develops new technologies and supports expanded value-added processing of Alberta's massive oil, gas and oil sands reserves(reported to be the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia).

Despite the focus on oil and gas, Edmonton's economy has worked towards becoming the second most diverse in Canada. Major industrial sectors include a strong technology sector anchored by major employers such as IBM, TELUS, Dell, Intuit, BioWare, Matrikon, and General Electric. The associated biotech sector, with companies such as CV Technologies, has recently seen employment growth of 37%.

Much of the growth in technology sectors is due to Edmonton's reputation as one of Canada’s premier research and education centres. Research initiatives are anchored by educational institutions such as the University of Alberta as well as government initiatives underway at the Alberta Research Council and Edmonton Research Park. Recently the National Institute for Nanotechnology was constructed on the University of Alberta campus.

During the 1980s Edmonton started to become a major financial centre with both regional offices of Canada's major banks and locally based institutions opening. However, the turmoil of the late 1980s economy radically changed the situation. Locally based operations such as Principal Trust and Canadian Commercial Bank would fail and regional offices were moved to Calgary. The 1990s saw a solidification of the economy and now Edmonton is home of Canadian Western Bank, the only publicly traded Schedule I chartered bank headquarters west of Toronto. Other major financial centres include ATB Financial and Servus Credit Union (formerly Capital City Savings).

Edmonton has been the birth place of several companies which have grown to international stature such as PCL Construction , and Stantec . The local retail market has also seen the creation of many successful store concepts such as The Brick, Katz Group, AutoCanada, Liquor Stores, Liquor Barn, Planet Organic, Running Room, Booster Juice, Fountain Tire, and XS Cargo.

The geographical location of Edmonton has made it an ideal spot for distribution and logistics. CN Rail's North American operational facility is located in the city as well as a major intermodal facility that handles all incoming freight from the port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia.


According to the mid-2001 census, the population estimates there were 937,845 people residing within Edmonton's metropolitan area, located in the province of Alberta, of whom 49.6 per cent were male and 50.4 per cent were female. Children under five accounted for approximately 5.9 per cent of the resident population of Edmonton. This compares with 6.2 per cent in Alberta, and almost 5.6 per cent for Canada overall.

In mid-2001, 10.5 per cent of the resident population in Edmonton were of retirement age (65 and over for males and females) compared with 13.2 per cent in Canada, therefore, the average age is 35.4 years of age comparing to 37.6 years of age for all of Canada.

In the five years between 1996 and 2001, the population of Edmonton grew by 8.7 per cent, compared with an increase of 10.3 per cent for Alberta as a whole. Population density of Edmonton averaged 99.6 people per square kilometre, compared with an average of 4.6, for Alberta altogether.

At the time of the census in May 2001, the resident population of the Edmonton city authority had 666,104 people, but had 937,845 when encompassing the whole metropolitan area, compared with a resident population in the province of Alberta of 2,974,807 people.


  • Protestant: 31.2%
  • Catholic: 29.4%
  • No religion: 24.4%
  • Other Christian: 3.9%
  • Muslim: 2.9%
  • Christian Orthodox: 2.6%
  • Buddhist: 2.1%
  • Sikh: 1.4%
  • Hindu: 1.1%
  • Other: 1.0%
Source: Statistics Canada

The City of Edmonton has conducted a civic census in early 2005. The 2005 civic census has revealed that the City of Edmonton's population is currently 712,391. The Greater Edmonton Area population as of 2005 was estimated at 1,016,000 ( Statistics Canada estimate).




Edmonton is served by two major and several smaller airports. The main airport, Edmonton International Airport is located south of the city limits, near the city of Leduc. It is the fifth busiest airport in Canada, with just over 4.5 million passengers using the facilities in 2005. Edmonton has scheduled service to all major Canadian hubs, most major US hubs, London Heathrow. Charter Services for residents and tourist are plentiful with destinations in Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada,Japan,London, Frankfurt, and Dusseldorf, Germany (beginning May 2007)being offered.

The smaller and older Edmonton City Centre Airport, — the oldest city-owned airport in Canada — is located just north of downtown Edmonton. Air passenger service from Edmonton City Centre Airport was consolidated to the International Airport in 1996. The older airport is currently used primarily for charter planes and flight training, although small non-chartered planes with fewer than 19 passengers are still allowed to land at the facility.

Edmonton Airports controls Edmonton International, Edmonton City Centre and also Cooking Lake Airport and Villeneuve Airport, both of which primarily service general aviation and flight training services.

Inter-urban rail

Edmonton is served by VIA Rail passenger trains. The station is located on the northern rail route near the City Centre Airport. Formerly the VIA trains arrived at the CN office tower downtown, but the downtown trackage has been abandoned to the LRT and new urban development. The High Level Rail Bridge, formerly CPR's route into the downtown, is used in the summer for historical streetcars.

City public transit

The main public transportation networks are run by the Edmonton Transit System (ETS).

In 1908, Edmonton began operating an electric street railway system. In 1939, "trolley coaches" began to replace the trams, with the final full day of streetcar service on September 1, 1951 (the last car ran in the early morning of September 2, 1951). Edmonton is one of only two major Canadian cities still operating electric trolley buses, the other being Vancouver. Today, Edmonton Transit operates a system of 49 trolley buses on core Routes 3, 5, 7, 120, 133, and 135 in the central and western parts of the city.

High Level Rail Bridge with Dudley B. Menzies Bridge below dedicated for LRT, cyclists, and pedestrians.
High Level Rail Bridge with Dudley B. Menzies Bridge below dedicated for LRT, cyclists, and pedestrians.

In addition to the bus routes, Edmonton has a light rail transit (LRT) line running from Clareview in the northeast to the Health Sciences building on the south side. Upon the opening of its first segment in 1978, it was the first such system built by a city with a population less than one million people in North America. The line is surface level on previous railroad right-of-way in the northeast and goes underground through the downtown core from Churchill station (underneath Churchill Square south of the City hall) to Grandin/Government Centre station (just west of the Provincial Legislature grounds). A dedicated bridge crossing the river valley leads it toward the university station, which is also underground.

Further south, however, LRT expansion is being developed at surface level with a couple of underpasses, one at Belgravia Road and the other under 111 Street south of 61 Avenue. A short busway is also being constructed from the future South Campus station (to open in 2008) roughly parallel to Belgravia Road in conjunction with the South LRT expansion. The underground LRT line comes out onto the surface just north of the new Health Sciences Station at the University of Alberta, which was opened in January, 2006. From the Health Sciences Station station, the South LRT line will lead through the proposed South Campus and Southgate Mall, and to the former Heritage Mall site (now being developed as Century Park, a transit-oriented development) in the south end of the city. The south LRT extension is expected to be complete by 2009.

Future north and west High Speed Transit routes (either for LRT or BRT) are currently being considered by council. The West LRT is expected to have the LRT extending all the way to West Edmonton Mall and beyond to the extreme western outskirts of the city.


Edmonton is connected to British Columbia and Saskatchewan via the Yellowhead Highway ( Highway 16, or Yellowhead Trail within city limits), and to Calgary and Red Deer via the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (known as Calgary Trail (southbound) or Gateway Boulevard (northbound) within city limits).

Arterial roads

Anthony Henday Drive ( Highway 216) is a ring road transportation project which will eventually encircle the Edmonton Metropolitan area. The south west section from Highway 16 to Calgary Trail is open. The south east section connecting Calgary Trail to Highway 14 has recently been announced and is anticipated to open in 2007. The first stage of the northwest portion is already under construction between the Yellowhead Highway and the new St. Albert west bypass, to open in 2007. As of November 9, 2005 the Alberta Government has committed to finishing the north portion by 2011. Anthony Henday Drive will also incorporate an already-existing stretch of Highway 216 on the east side of the city between Highway 16 and approximately 23 Avenue where the southeast leg will eventually intersect.

Street layout

Edmonton's streets were originally all named streets and arranged in such a way that avenues ran north-south and streets ran east-west. The first move to a grid-style system began as the city expanded west - the streets west of Queens Avenue were switched to be north-south oriented with 1st Street (now 101 Street) being west of Queens Avenue, and the street numbers increasing further west (IE 10th Street was one block west of 9th Street). West of Queens Avenue the Avenues also switched (running in an east-west direction), though unlike the streets, the avenues were never numbered. This lead to a confusing situation with avenues becomimg streets, despite no change in direction, for example MacKenzie Avenue (now 104 Ave) became Boyle Street west of Queens Avenue and Athabasca Avenue (now 102 Ave) became Elizabeth Street west of Queens Avenue.

The city of Strathcona had adopted a grid and quandrant system before to it's amalgamation with Edmonton, with the city being centred on Main Street (now 105 Street) and Whyte Avenue (now officially 82 Avenue). This street system was similar to that of present-day Calgary's system, having NW, NE, SW and SE quandrants. Strathcona's grid/quandrant system was abandonned in 1914.

In 1914, following amalgamation with Strathcona, Edmonton adopted a new numbered street and avenue system, which with a few small modifications is still in use. The centre of the city, Jasper Avenue and 101 Street, was set as the starting point. Jasper Avenue was one of the few streets that was not given a number, likely because east of Namayo Avenue (now 97 Street) Jasper Avenue switches direction and runs diagonally and parallel to the North Saskatchewan River Valley, rather than east-west. The other avenues were numbered as if Jasper Avenue (between 124 Street and 97 Street) had been 101 Avenue. Several other streets have maintained their names in spite of having been reassigned as numbers - these include but are not limited to Whyte (82) Avenue, Norwood Boulevard (111 Ave), and Alberta (118) Avenue, while others were given new names over time, such as Rue Hull (99) Street - which is a segment of what used to be Queens Avenue.

Avenues run east and west; streets run north and south. Avenue numbers increase to the north; street numbers increase to the west. When a street lies between two numbered streets, letters are used, for example, 107A Avenue lies between 107 Avenue and 108 Avenue. Occasionally the letter B will be used and rarely even C, to denote multiple streets between 2 different street numbers. For example, 17A, 17B and 17C Avenues all lie between 17 Avenue and 18 Avenue.

Houses with odd numbers are on the east side of a street or the south side of an avenue. Dropping the last two digits of a house number tells you what two streets or avenues the house lies between, for example 8023 135A Avenue is between 80 Street and 81 Street, and 13602 100 Street is between 136 Avenue and 137 Avenue.

In the 1980s as the city grew, it began to run out of street numbers in the east and avenue numbers in the south. Therefore, in 1982 a quadrant system was adopted. Quadrant Avenue (1 Avenue; not yet built) and Meridian Street (1 Street) divide the city into four quadrants: northeast (NE), northwest (NW), southwest (SW) and, most recently, southeast (SE). The vast majority of the city falls within the northwest quadrant.

All Edmonton streets now officially have their quadrant included at the end of their names, but it is usual — even on official signage — to omit the "NW" especially when there is no possibility of confusion with a street in another quadrant. However, the city's emergency services have begun to encourage residents to get into the habit of using quadrants in all addresses.

Waste disposal

Utilizing the largest stainless steel building in North America, Edmonton's waste management services' modern composting facility is the largest of its type in the world having the capacity to recycle 65 per cent of its residential waste. The co-composter is 38,690 square metres in size, equivalent to 8 football fields. It is designed to process 200,000 tonnes of residential solid waste per year and 22,500 dry tonnes of biosolids, turning them into 80,000 tonnes of compost annually.

Together, the Waste Management Centre and Wastewater Treatment plant are known as the Edmonton Waste Management Centre of Excellence. Research partners include the University of Alberta, Alberta Research Council, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Olds College.

Electric & water distribution systems

Edmonton's first power company established itself in 1891 installing street lights along its main avenue, Jasper Avenue. The power company was bought by the Town of Edmonton in 1902 and remains under municipal ownership today as EPCOR. Also in charge of water treatment, in 2002, EPCOR installed the world's largest ultraviolet (UV) water treatment system at its E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant.



University of Alberta main campus on the south side of Edmonton's river valley, as seen from the north side of the river
University of Alberta main campus on the south side of Edmonton's river valley, as seen from the north side of the river

Edmonton has become one of Canada's major educational centres with more than 60,000 full time post-secondary students spread over several institutions and campuses (total enrolment between the schools is as high as 170,000, which includes students enrolled in multiple institutions).

The University of Alberta (also known colloquially as the U of A), whose main campus is situated on the south side of Edmonton's river valley, is a board-governed, public institution with annual revenue of one billion dollars. 35,000 students are served in more than 200 undergraduate programs and 170 graduate programs. Main campus consists of more than 90 buildings on 890,000 square metres of land, with buildings dating back to the university's establishment in 1908. It is also home to Canada's second largest research library which ranks first in volumes per student with over 10 million (in 2005) and subscriptions to 13,000 full-text electronic journals and 500 electronic databases. The University of Alberta has been recognized on several fronts internationally.

Other universities within the borders of Edmonton include Athabasca University, Concordia University College of Alberta , the King's University College, Taylor University College and Seminary, and the Edmonton campus of the University of Lethbridge.

Other Edmonton post-secondary institutions include Grant MacEwan College, which enrolls 40,791 students in programs leading to careers or university transfer, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), with 48,500 students enrolled in 190 technical, vocational and apprenticeship programs and NorQuest College, with 11,300 students, specializing in short courses in skills and academic upgrading.


Edmonton has three publicly funded school boards (districts), who provide kindergarten and grades one through twelve. The vast majority of students attend schools in the two large English language boards: the Edmonton Public Schools board and the separate Catholic School District. As well, since 1994, the francophone minority community has had their own school board, the North-Central Francophone School Authority, which, based in Edmonton, includes surrounding communities. Most recently the city has seen a small number of public charter schools open, independent of any board. All three school boards and public charter schools are funded through provincial grants and property taxes.

Some private schools exist as well. Included are the Edmonton Society for Christian Education and Edmonton Academy.

Both the Edmonton Public Schools and the Edmonton Catholic School District provide support and resources for those wishing to home school their children.

City life


The skyline of Edmonton at night.
The skyline of Edmonton at night.

There are several key concentrations of nightlife in the city of Edmonton. The most popular is the Whyte Avenue (82nd Avenue) strip, concentrated between 109 St. and 99 St. which today has the highest concentration of heritage buildings in Edmonton. Once the heart of the town of Strathcona (annexed by Edmonton on February 1, 1912), it fell into disrepair during the middle of the 20th century. A concentrated effort to revive the area beginning in the late 1970s through the establishment of a Business Revitalization Zone has produced an area rich with restored historical buildings and pleasant streetscapes. Its proximity to the University of Alberta has led to a high concentration of establishments ranging from restaurants and pubs to trendy clubs while hosting a wide variety of shops during the day. This area also contains two independent movie theatres: the Garneau and Princess theatres, as well as several live theatre, music and comedy venues.

Downtown Edmonton has undergone a continual process of renewal and unprecedented growth since the mid 1990s. Many buildings were demolished during the oil boom starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 1980s to make way for office towers. As such, there have always been numerous pub-type establishments which cater primarily to the office crowd such as The Rose and Crown, Sherlock Holmes', and Elephant & Castle as well as many hotel lounges and restaurants. The past decade, however, has seen a strong resurgence in more mainstream venues. Various clubs such as the New City Suburbs, the Globe and Halo are also to be found along Edmonton's main street, Jasper Avenue. The Edmonton City Centre mall also houses an Empire Theatres movie theatre featuring 10 screens and the non-profit Metro Cinema shows a variety of underground or alternative films every week.

West Edmonton Mall holds several after hour establishments in addition to its many stores and attractions. Bourbon Street has numerous eating establishments and clubs and casinos can also be found within the complex. Silver City, at the west end of the mall, features 13 screens and an IMAX theatre.


The Francis Winspear Centre for Music
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music

Edmonton has always been a city proud of its cultural accomplishments. As the city has grown, so has the cultural scene. Today, Edmonton is a proud home to many features which add to its cosmopolitan flair.

Many events are anchored in the downtown Arts District, centred around the newly renovated Churchill Square (named in honour of Sir Winston Churchill).

  • The Francis Winspear Centre for Music was opened in 1997 after years of planning and fundraising. Called one of the most acoustically perfect concert halls in Canada, it is home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and hosts a wide variety of shows every year. It seats 1916 patrons and houses the $3 million Davis Concert Organ, the largest concert organ in Canada. An interesting aspect of the hall's design is its separation into acoustically separate areas each of which are insulated from each other through acoustical barriers built into the structure. Patrons and artists can see these in the form of double-door 'sound locks.'
  • Across 102nd Street is the Citadel Theatre, so named after the Salvation Army Citadel in which Joe Shoctor first started the Citadel Theatre company in 1965. It is now one of the largest theatre complexes in Canada with five halls each specializing in different kinds of productions. For instance, the Maclab Theatre features a thrust stage surrounded by a U-shaped seating arrangement, while the Shoctor Theatre is a traditional stage setup.
  • On the University of Alberta grounds is the 2534-seat Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, which recently reopened after being out of commission for a year during heavy renovations carried out as part of the province's centennial celebrations. Both it and its southern twin in Calgary were constructed in 1955 for the province's silver jubilee and have played host to many concerts, musicals, and ballets. The Edmonton Opera uses the Jubilee as its base of operations. On the front of the building is a quote from Suetonius' Life of Augustus: "He found a city built of brick - left it built of marble."
  • Old Strathcona is home to the Theatre District, which holds the Transalta Arts Barns (headquarters of the Edmonton International Fringe Festival), The Walterdale Playhouse, Catalyst Theatre, and the Varscona Theatre (base of operations for several theatre companies, including Teatro la Quindicina, Shadow Theatre, Rapid Fire Theatre, Die-Nasty, and Oh Susanna!).

Museums and Galleries

There are also over 70 museums in Edmonton of ranging sizes. The largest is the Royal Alberta Museum (formerly the Provincial Museum of Alberta, it was renamed by Queen Elizabeth II during her 2005 visit) which houses over 10 million objects in its collection. The main building, located on the river valley west of downtown in Glenora, was opened in 1967 and is now in the early stages of large-scale redevelopment.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is the city's largest single gallery. Housed in an inconspicuous production of 1970s architecture, the AGA collection has over 5000 pieces of art. Fundraising is currently underway for a new building designed by Randall Stout. Independent galleries can be found throughout the city, especially along the 124th Street corridor.

The University of Alberta operates its own internal Museums and Collections service.


2001 Sourdough Raft Race, passing beneath the High Level Bridge's Great Divide waterfall during Klondike Days.
2001 Sourdough Raft Race, passing beneath the High Level Bridge's Great Divide waterfall during Klondike Days.

Edmonton plays host to several large festivals each year, hence its local nickname as 'the Festival City.' The following highlights some of Edmonton's larger festivals.

Downtown and Churchill Square host numerous festivals each summer. The Works Art & Design Festival, which takes place from late June to early July, showcases Canadian and international art & design from well-know, award-winning artists, as well as emerging and student artists. The Edmonton International Street Performer's Festival takes place in mid-July and showcases street performance artists from around the world.

Edmonton's main summer festival is Capital EX (formerly Klondike Days.) Klondike Days (or K-Days) was originally an annual fair and exhibition which eventually adopted a gold rush theme. In early 2006 it was decided that the festival would be renamed 'The Capital City Exhibition' (or Capital Ex). Activities include chuckwagon races, carnival rides and fairways, music, trade shows and daily fireworks. Since 1960, the Sourdough Raft Races have also been a popular event. Later in November Edmonton plays host to the Canadian Finals Rodeo and Farmfair. This is a significant event in Canada's rodeo circuit and second only to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in prestige.

The Edmonton International Fringe Festival, which takes place in mid-August, is the largest Fringe Theatre Festival in North America, and second only to the Edinburgh Fringe festival in the world. In August, Edmonton is also host to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, one of the most successful and popular folk music festivals in North America. Another major summer festival is the Heritage Days Festival which is an ethnocultural festival that takes place in Hawrelak Park on the Heritage Day long weekend.

Many other festivals occur such as the River City Shakespeare Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Edmonton International Film Festival.


  • Alberta Legislative Building
  • Alberta Railway Museum
  • Art Gallery of Alberta formerly known as Edmonton Art Gallery
  • Capital EX
  • Commonwealth Stadium
  • Edmonton City Hall
  • Edmonton Corn Maze
  • Fort Edmonton Historical Park
  • Muttart Conservatory
  • Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
  • Northlands Park
  • Rexall Place
  • Royal Alberta Museum
  • TELUS World of Science, Edmonton (formerly, the Odyssium, formerly, the Edmonton Space and Sciences Centre)
  • University of Alberta
  • Valley Zoo
  • West Edmonton Mall
  • West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick Champ Car series

Sports and recreation

Edmonton has a proud heritage of very successful sports teams including the Edmonton Grads, Edmonton Eskimos, and Edmonton Oilers. The primary professional sports facilities are the Commonwealth Stadium and Rexall Place.

Numerous minor-league teams in the City include the Edmonton Cracker-Cats.

Edmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games, the 1983 World University Games ( Universiade), the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, and the 2005 World Master Games. In 2006, it played host to the Women's Rugby World Cup.

Edmonton has a circuit on the Champ Car World Series known as the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick Champ Car series. This event is the best attended event in the series.

Current professional franchises

Club League Venue Established Championships
Edmonton Oilers National Hockey League Rexall Place 1972 5
Edmonton Eskimos Canadian Football League Commonwealth Stadium 1949 13
Edmonton Rush National Lacrosse League Rexall Place 2005 0
Edmonton Cracker Cats Northern League Telus Field 2005 0
Edmonton Oil Kings Western Hockey League Rexall Place 2007 0

Metropolitan area

Downtown Edmonton from the air
Downtown Edmonton from the air

Edmonton is at the centre of a metropolitan area that includes 35 independent municipalities either adjacent to Edmonton's city limits or within several kilometres of it. Larger communities include Sherwood Park (part of the Specialized Municipality of Strathcona County), St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, Nisku (major industrial area in Leduc County), and the towns of Beaumont, Devon and Morinville. This large scale fragmentation has played a role in the development of the Edmonton region. Although several attempts have been made by the City of Edmonton to annex surrounding municipalities, no proposal has of yet been approved by the provincial government.


Edmonton is home to 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG), the regular army brigade group of Land Forces Western Area of the Canadian Army. Units in 1 CMBG include Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), 1 Combat Engineer Regiment, two of the three regular force battalions of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, and various headquarters, medical, and service and support elements. Although not part of 1 CMBG, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron is collocated with the brigade group.

Historically, Edmonton's Regular Force military had been small until the 1990s. The Canadian Airborne Training Centre had been located in the city in the 1980s. The move of 1CMBG and component units from Calgary occurred in 1996 in what was described as a "cost saving" measure. The brigade had existed in Calgary since the 1950s, and Lord Strathcona's Horse had traditionally been a Calgary garrison unit dating back before the First World War.

Edmonton also has a large army reserve element from 41 Canadian Brigade Group (41 CBG) including the The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4th Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry) and B Squadron of The South Alberta Light Horse, one of Alberta's oldest army reserve units. Despite being far from Canada's coasts, Edmonton is also the home of HMCS Nonsuch, a Naval Reserve division.

There are numerous cadet corps of the different elements (Sea, Army and Air Force) within Edmonton as well.

Sister cities

Edmonton is an official sister city of the following several cities worldwide:

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