Welcome to Edmonton! Your Guide to Alberta’s Capital City
We know that we’re probably more than a little bit biased, but we think Edmonton is absolutely the best city in Canada. With beautiful natural scenery, a thriving downtown area, and comfortable suburban homes, we’re sure you’re going to love it here.
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Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, and it’s the most northerly city with a population of over one million people. Yes, that means you can expect some snow and cold weather, but our homes are cozy, and there are opportunities for you to have fun a lot of fun in the snow. Low taxes are one of the biggest draws. We’ve got lower taxes than the rest of Canada because there’s no provincial sales tax. When you live in Edmonton, you can make your paycheck stretch further, and spend your money on the things that you truly want.
Edmonton also has a number of great attractions, including:
- West Edmonton Mall, the biggest mall in North America – the equivalent size of 48 city blocks!
- The new Ice District downtown with tons of dining options, Rogers Place and more
- Telus World of Science which has fun activities and exhibits for the whole family
- Royal Alberta Museum where you can book a birthday party or explore the variety of collections on display
- Edmonton Valley Zoo located on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, wander through and learn about animals from all over the world
A “Festival City”
Residents of Edmonton just love to come together for a good time. We’ve been called the Festival City for good reason! Edmonton has many fun festivals at almost every time of year. We’re always up for a good time!
The Edmonton Fringe Festival is held each August, and it’s a great time to check out some of the unique local artists. You can find everything from theatre to dance to film. Art lovers also tend to flock to the Edmonton International Film Festival and the Art Walk, which is an open-air display of hundreds of artists’ work.
Everyone tends to appreciate sampling the delicious morsels at the Taste of Edmonton in July. Sample foods from the restaurants you’ve been meaning to check out, then plan a date night. In late May, the Edmonton International Beer Fest is another popular festival. For one price, you can sample a number of different craft beers.
Our K-Days Festival and the Edmonton Folk Festival hold a special place in the heart of most music lovers. During these times, there are great lineups of popular performers alongside hopeful newcomers. Get ready to shake your booty in the great outdoors. Finally, don’t think you’ll miss out on the festival fun when the snowflakes are flying. There are festivals such as the Ice on Whyte with ice carving and the Ice Bar.
There’s also the Deep Freeze Festival with both indoor and outdoor activities to check out. Maybe your family would like the Silver Skates Festival to keep you busy during this time. Take a look at the variety of artists working with fire and snow sculptures. And for the Christmas lovers, you have to explore the Festival of Trees where you can wander tons of different displays including gingerbread & cakes and trees (of course!); plus there are a ton of fun kids activities too. PS – Don’t forget to pack some hot chocolate or coffee 😉
Nature lovers flock to Edmonton due to its location. It’s right on the Saskatchewan river, and there are over 27,400 acres of parkland throughout the area. This is the most parkland per resident in all of Canada!
Edmonton is largely arranged around a grid plan, meaning that roads named “street” run north-south and roads named “avenue” run east-west. The center of downtown is Jasper Ave (or 101st Ave), not far from the Saskatchewan River itself.
The Anthony Henday Drive is our ring road, running in a circle around the city and meets up with all the major roads around Edmonton; Highway 2 in the south, the Yellowhead Trail for east and west and Highways 15 and 28 to the north.
While it’s true that a lot of people prefer the convenience of having a car to get around the city, there’s also the option of taking public transportation. The LRT and bus systems cover most of the popular neighbourhoods, and the city is striving to expand the reach of public transportation every year.
Alternatively, the city has an extensive network of bike lanes for those who prefer biking. If you choose a home close enough to your work, you can get some exercise every day by biking to work. In fact, a lot of people choose the location of their home specifically so they’ll be able to bike to work or take public transportation.
Finding The Right Place To Live
When it comes to finding the perfect place to live, Edmonton has plenty of great communities to choose from, with a great selection of housing options. Whether you have a large or small family, are renting or looking for something more permanent, there are all sorts of options. The province of Alberta offers services to help both renters and first-time home buyers to make it much easier for newcomers to get started.
Sites like Remax or Rent Faster can help you find a place right away, or you can build a brand-new home from a company like Sterling Homes. For those considering buying a new home, you can relax knowing that it’ll be covered by the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, which protects your home for up to 10 years!
Schools in Edmonton
Throughout the city and the surrounding areas, Edmonton has a number of great schools, and this is one of the major reasons families tend to flock to the area. Whether you’re looking for public or private, secular or faith-based, there’s something out there to suit your needs.
Many families in Edmonton choose to have their kids in private schools. Though you have to pay tuition, students may enjoy smaller class sizes and more personalized attention. The Tempo School is known for its high academic standards. Students are taught using traditional methods, and all tech devices must stay in their lockers.
Progressive Academy is another great choice for those looking for a private school environment. They work toward building balance in students’ academic and social lives. Students study hard, but they also learn to be community leaders.
If your child has a documented learning disability, Edmonton Academy will make them feel right at home. It’s designed to meet the needs of students who struggle with language-based skills and allows them to focus on their strengths in a way that is uncommon in traditional public schools.
Of course, a lot of families choose to place their children in Catholic schools. You’ll find a wide variety of Catholic schools in Edmonton, and there are options close to every community we build in.
Many of the Catholic schools also offer a wide variety of additional programming, like what you can find in public schools. These include such as language immersion in the elementary years and vocational or trade programs in the high school years.
You don’t have to pay a lot of extra money for your child to get a great education. The public schools in Edmonton are top-notch as well, and some of our communities have schools within walking distance. Families usually enjoy spending this quality time together each morning.
Close to Cy Becker, you’ll find the Kirkness School, a public school that’s committed to encouraging maximum achievement by giving students voice and choice in the learning process.
Each community in Edmonton has its own neighbourhood school, and if you live in that neighbourhood, your child is guaranteed a spot in that school. However, many schools also have open enrollment. This means if you find another school you would prefer, you can petition to have your child attend that one. This flexibility is a great benefit because you can find a school that truly meets your child’s needs.
Employment in Edmonton
A company transfer may be the reason you’re here, but if you’re moving to Edmonton out of a love for the city, you’re going to need to find a job. Fortunately, the job market is booming, and newcomers are usually able to find a job in no time.
The petrochemical/oil industry is the biggest industry in Edmonton, and you’ll find that companies are often hiring at all levels. There’s currently a new $3.5 billion petrochemical facility under construction in Fort Saskatchewan, which is on course to be completed in 2021.
We’re also starting to see a lot of jobs in the IT, biotech, and banking industries, as well as a huge new Amazon warehouse currently being built in Leduc.
While those fields may be a big draw, remember there’s plenty of room for everyone. As the city grows, so does the need for other types of professionals, including doctors and medical staff, education professionals, and other types of service providers, such as hairstylists, orthodontists, and more. Check out the available jobs in your field, whatever it may be.
Help for Newcomers
We pride ourselves on being a friendly city, and you’ll see that in the way we offer assistance to all of those who are new to Edmonton, whether you’re coming from the other side of Canada or the other side of the world.
Canadians typically have an easy time finding their way around. You just have to look up your favourite stores on a map and figure out where they are in relation to your new home. To figure out more of the details related to living in Edmonton, the city has created a comprehensive guide that includes information about where to find libraries, recreation centres, places of worship, and much more.
Those who have come from a different country may want to check out the Edmonton Immigration Services Association (EISA) in addition to the city’s website. This organization helps new immigrants, first-generation Canadians, and refugees get acclimated to life in Edmonton. They can help you do things like find a place to live, get a job, sign up for a bank account or health insurance, and take English lessons. They even have some translation services, which can be a big help to those who don’t speak English well. Help is personalized to your unique needs, so you’ll be able to get the precise help you need to make your life in Edmonton more comfortable.
No matter what time of year it is, Edmonton is a great place to live. We have environmental preserves with their natural beauty, professional sporting events, live theatre, and family-friendly festivals throughout the year. Most importantly, we have a friendly spirit that’s welcoming to all. Come see what makes Edmonton so great, and learn more about how you can build the home of your dreams with Sterling Homes.
We’ve designed this guide to give you just a taste of what Edmonton has to offer. The longer you live here, the more things you’ll find to explore!
Related article: 8 Ideas for the Ultimate Edmonton Staycation
Originally published Jan 18, 2020, updated Mar 1, 2021
Photo credits: depositphotos.com
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