Welcome to Edmonton! Your Guide to Alberta’s Capital City

September 29, 2023

Welcome to Edmonton! Your Guide to Alberta’s Capital City - Featured Image

Welcome to Edmonton, the capital of Alberta and one of Canada’s most vibrant cities! Edmonton is a city filled with opportunities for new home buyers, boasting numerous amenities and attractions that are unmatched in other cities.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled outdoor experience or a bustling city life, you can find everything here. With its rich culture, diverse communities and welcoming atmosphere – Edmonton offers something unique to each resident; no matter where they come from or what their interests may be.

In this guide, we’ll explore all the amazing aspects of life in Edmonton so read on if you want to learn more about why it should be your new home!

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An Overview of Edmonton

Edmonton is a vibrant city situated in the heartland of Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1795 and formally established as a city in 1904, it has a rich and intriguing history that’s reflected in its diverse and dynamic culture.

Today, Edmonton is home to a thriving population of over a million people, making it the second-largest city in Alberta and the fifth-largest city in Canada. With such a large and diverse community, Edmonton offers a wealth of cultural experiences, including festivals, museums, galleries, theatres and more.

Edmonton Landscape

The Landscape

As the most northerly city in Canada with a population of over 1 million, Edmonton has a generally cold climate, with fairly long winters and warm summers that make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Nature lovers flock to Edmonton due to its location. The Saskatchewan River goes right through the city and the River Valley parks cover more than 160 km of maintained pathways. It’s considered the largest urban park in 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 101 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.

Overall, Edmonton is a fascinating and exciting place to live or visit, with a rich history, a bustling population, and a climate that offers something for everyone.

Telus World Of Science

Things to Do in Edmonton – Tourist Attractions and Local Experiences

Edmonton is so much more than just the capital of Alberta. This vibrant city is filled with experiences that cater to all kinds of tourists. From historic landmarks like the iconic Legislature Building to modern marvels like the Art Gallery of Alberta, there’s plenty to see.

But the city doesn’t stop there!

When you want to get a taste of the local culture, you can visit the Old Strathcona district and relax in one of its many cafes. Or, you can take in the bustling energy of one of the city’s many farmers’ markets and try some of the delicious produce that fills the stalls.

Other great attractions in the capital include:

  • West Edmonton Mall – the biggest mall in North America; the equivalent size of 48 city blocks!
  • Ice District – enjoy downtown with tons of dining options, Rogers Place and more
  • TELUS World of Science – full of fun activities and exhibits for the whole family
  • Royal Alberta Museum – 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.

Whether you’re looking for a casual day out or a more upscale experience, Edmonton has something for you.

Festival City

Edmonton is Known as the “Festival City”

Edmonton is a city that knows how to party! Known as the “Festival City,” it’s no surprise that its residents are always in high spirits.

From the wildly popular Edmonton Fringe Festival to the Folk Music Festival, there’s always an exciting event to look forward to. The city takes pride in its thriving arts and culture scene, and its diverse population guarantees that every festival offers a unique experience. Visitors from all over the country (and even the world) flock to Edmonton to join in the festivities and experience the enchanting energy that fills the streets.

Everyone appreciates sampling the delicious morsels at the Taste of Edmonton in July. Plan a date night where you can check out restaurants you’ve had on your bucket list. And the K-Days Festival is a must-attend for locals and visitors alike.

Winter has its fair share of events too! Add these events to your cold-weather list:

No matter what time of year you visit, you’re bound to catch a fun-filled event, which is why Edmonton is a must-visit for anyone who loves a good time.

Edmonton Restaurants

Where to Eat in Edmonton – A Guide to Local Restaurants and Dining Scenes

Edmonton is a vibrant city with a thriving food scene, offering a diverse range of culinary delights for every taste bud. From indulgent brunches to flavorful dinners, there are plenty of options to choose from. 

While Edmonton has its fair share of chains to choose from (one of the only five cities left in Canada with an Olive Garden!) there is so much more to taste! Edmonton is also home to PF Chang’s– you know, the one with the famous lettuce wraps?

Looking for some great places you should add to your dining list? Check these out:

  • RGE RD – focused on wood fire cooking and whole animal butchery, RGE RD focus on the tastes and flavours of the prairies.
  • Padmanadi – this Indonesian-inspired vegan restaurant was voted best in the city, and they have two locations you can pick from.
  • Yokozuna – the top draw for this Japanese restaurant is their sashimi and sushi.
  • MEAT – head down to Whyte Ave and enjoy some delicious authentic BBQ!
  • YEG Burger – burgers, fries, shakes – all hand-crafted and drool-worthy.
  • SABOR – enjoy European coastal cuisine cooked old-world style in downtown Edmonton.

From traditional Canadian fare such as poutine and burgers to Indian, Thai, and Ethiopian cuisine – there’s something for everyone.

Edmonton Shopping

Shopping in Edmonton – From Boutiques to Big Box Stores

Edmonton is a shopping mecca with an impressive variety of stores that cater to all tastes and budgets. Whether you’re in the mood for a luxurious shopping experience or prefer the convenience of a big box store, this city has it all.

From trendy boutiques at Edmonton City Centre to extensive shopping malls on the outskirts, there’s no shortage of options to explore! Head over to the Premium Outlet Collection at EIA, home to a wide variety of shops including a new Costco. If you’re looking for something more upscale, then Southgate Centre is a great complex. Michael Kors, Aritizia and more are located here.

Of course, there’s the aforementioned West Edmonton Mall which is perfect for a full day of shopping and activities. However, if you’re looking to pop in and out of a specific shop or two then add South Edmonton Common to your list. And of course, take a day or two and wander down Whyte Ave. You’ll love the wide variety of shops, services, and eats. 

So, whether you’re looking for the perfect outfit update or want to snag a great deal on home goods, Edmonton’s shopping scene has you covered.

Edmonton Public Transit

Public Transportation in Edmonton

Navigating Edmonton is made simple and convenient with its well-structured public transport system. Operated by the Edmonton Transit Service (ETS), the public transportation services encompass buses and Light Rail Transit (LRT) that connect every corner of the city. The ETS bus service is extensive, providing frequent service to all neighbourhoods and major attractions, while the LRT system provides fast and efficient service to the downtown core, the University of Alberta, and other key destinations.

In addition to buses and LRT, Edmonton boasts an impressive bike lane system for those who prefer active transportation. For longer distances, intercity transportation options include the VIA Rail and Red Arrow bus services that connect Edmonton with other major cities in Canada. The city’s commitment to enhancing public transit is evident in its transportation master plan, with ongoing projects aimed at expanding the LRT network and introducing more eco-friendly buses.

Overall, Edmonton’s public transport is reliable, affordable, and an excellent option for both residents and visitors.

Finding the Right Place To Live

When it comes to finding the perfect place to live, Edmonton offers an abundance of great communities with diverse housing options. Whether you have a small or large family or are renting or buying your first home, there are numerous choices available. The province of Alberta provides services to assist both renters and first-time homebuyers, making it easier for newcomers to get started. 

Popular websites like Remax and Rent Faster offer immediate access to potential places, while companies like Sterling Homes specialize in building brand-new homes. Moreover, if you’re considering building a new home, the Alberta New Home Warranty Program ensures your home is protected for up to ten years.

Edmonton Schools

Schools and Education

Edmonton offers a wealth of schooling options catering to the diverse needs of its residents, making it an excellent city for families moving to Canada. The city is serviced by two major school boards: Edmonton Public Schools, which is the largest school district in Alberta, and the Edmonton Catholic School District, which offers education in line with Catholic values and traditions.

Public Schools

Edmonton Public Schools provides a variety of learning environments, including regular programming, alternative programs, and special education. The district is known for its commitment to personalized learning and innovative educational practices. It encompasses over 200 schools, including elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools, spread across the city, ensuring easy access for all residents.

Catholic Schools

The Edmonton Catholic School Division, besides offering a faith-based learning environment, also provides diverse programs like language and arts education, sports-focused schools, and international baccalaureate programs. It operates over 90 schools, serving more than 40,000 students from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Private Schools

For those interested in private education, Edmonton also has several prestigious independent schools. They offer small class sizes, individual attention, and often follow specific educational philosophies such as Montessori or Waldorf. Some of the notable private schools in the city include Progressive Academy, Edmonton Academy, and Tempo School.

Post-Secondary Education

Lastly, for post-secondary education, Edmonton is home to the renowned University of Alberta, MacEwan University, and Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs. With such diverse and high-quality schooling options, Edmonton ensures a bright educational future for the city’s newcomers.

Employment Opportunities

Employment Opportunities

Edmonton’s employment scene is as diverse as its population, offering opportunities in a variety of sectors. Traditionally, Edmonton’s economy has been driven by the energy industry, given its location in the heart of Canada’s oil and gas region. Jobs in this sector range from field operations, engineering, and environmental services, to roles in business development and administration.

However, in recent years, Edmonton has seen significant growth in other sectors such as health care, education, technology, and the public sector. The city is home to several hospitals and healthcare facilities, including the University of Alberta Hospital, making it a promising city for healthcare professionals. Similarly, with numerous educational institutions in Edmonton, there are ample opportunities for educators and administrative staff.

The city’s thriving tech scene is another key driver of employment in Edmonton. With a growing presence of tech startups and well-established companies, jobs in software development, data analysis, IT support, and digital marketing are in high demand. The public sector, including city administration and provincial government roles, also employs a significant portion of Edmonton’s population.

For those planning to move to the city, the job market in Edmonton is fairly competitive but offers opportunities for people of varying skill levels and professional backgrounds. Networking is often crucial for job seekers, and there are plenty of events in the city to help newcomers connect with potential employers. The city also has job placement programs and resources to help individuals find employment and integrate into the local workforce.

Help For Newcomers

Help For Newcomers

Settling in Edmonton as a newcomer can be an enriching experience, given the city’s open-armed embrace of diversity and its commitment to fostering an inclusive community. Edmonton is well-known for its warm and welcoming spirit, with numerous resources and services designed to assist newcomers in their transition.

One such organization is the Edmonton Immigrant Services Association (EISA), which provides a broad range of services designed to aid immigrants and refugees in acclimating to life in Edmonton. EISA offers language instruction for newcomers to help them improve their English proficiency, which is crucial for both social integration and employment opportunities. The organization also provides employment services, including resume writing, job search strategies, and interview preparation, to help newcomers navigate the local job market.

In addition to language and employment services, EISA offers settlement and integration services, which include orientation sessions about life in Canada, cultural integration workshops, citizenship classes, and information about community resources. They also provide translation and interpretation services, aiding newcomers to overcome language barriers in day-to-day activities.

The city of Edmonton itself offers a variety of programs and services aimed at helping newcomers feel at home. These include multicultural relations initiatives, diversity training for businesses, and community engagement programs, all of which are designed to promote understanding, acceptance, and cooperation among Edmonton’s diverse communities.

Whether you’re just planning your move or have recently arrived, Edmonton is a vibrant and diverse city that offers a high standard of living, quality education, and a healthy job market. The city’s warm and welcoming nature, coupled with its commitment to inclusivity, makes it an attractive destination for newcomers. 

With myriad resources to aid in the transition, Edmonton stands prepared to welcome individuals from all walks of life, ensuring they find a home away from home. Whether you’re seeking new beginnings, career advancements, or educational opportunities, Edmonton is a city ready to embrace your dreams and aspirations!

Originally published March 1, 2021, updated September 29, 2023
Click here to download the Welcome to Edmonton guide now!

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