Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. This is our hometown… And we love it.
Most of us were born and have lived other places but this is where we all were when the idea for The Wandering Canucks was born and where we all are now. This is the place we come back to when all are travels are over and the place we call home.
However we will admit that Edmonton does have some flaws. Like our never-ending pothole situation. Or the fact that our summer is a mere 4 months long, and it isn’t entirely unheard of to see snow at any point during June, July or August (no, we actually are not joking about that…). Not to mention our transit system…. sorry ETS, but you drive us crazy! We also have the reputation of being an industrial wasteland and quite ugly. Yikes.
With all that said, our city is pretty darn incredible. We are truly an up and coming city in Canada, which Natural Geographic seems to agree with, that has a lot to offer for the curious tourist. Between having the largest urban parkland in our city, enough festivals to keep you entertained year round, and a thriving cultural scene, Edmonton is truly an incredible city to check out. Here are some of our favorite aspects of this beautiful city!
The River Valley
Edmonton has the title of North America’s largest urban parkland. This means that we have miles of connected trails throughout the city and through downtown with different parks scattered throughout. The River Valley also offers absolutely incredible views of both the Downtown Core as well as the University of Alberta Campus. It’s a beautiful part of our city.
Edmonton, also known as the Festival City, plays host to a plethora of festivals over the course of the entire year. During the summer you will typically have the option to choose between two or three different festivals each weekend. Our biggest festivals include Heritage Festival, A Taste of Edmonton, K-Days, Ice on Whyte, The Works, and countless music festivals. We also have the fantastic Fringe Festival in August, which is the oldest and largest fringe festival in North America. Needless to say, we have things covered when it comes to festivals!
Kait – One of the (many) things I love about Edmonton is the insane amount of things to do in the summer. It’s not secret that I love everything about music, and with all of the different music festivals that we have in the city during the summer, I am in absolute heaven. Sonic Boom is an absolute must do if you are into modern and alternative rock!
Jenna – I love Edmonton summers. Food to me is what music is to Kait, and Edmonton does not disappoint on that front either. I cannot wait for Heritage fest every year, because experiencing different culture through food is seriously my favourite thing in the world.
Revitalization of Downtown
Until recently, Edmonton’s downtown was a bit lacking. Outside of the Monday to Friday work-week you would find the downtown core empty to the point of being eerily creepy. However there has been a push in recent years to revitalize the downtown core and draw people back into living, working and playing in downtown. As of right now, that appears to be a fantastic success. Development in Edmonton is just booming with the coming of the new hockey arena, Edmonton Arena District and multiple different residential and commercial high rise towers. Along with the increase in development has come a plethora of new restaurants, bars, markets and of course, people who have moved back into downtown.
Kait – After living outside of the downtown area for the past year and a half, I am beyond excited to finally be moving back. Even in the past year so much has changed in our downtown and it is so exciting to be so close to everything that is happening. In a few years, our downtown will have a completely fantastic atmosphere, and I cannot wait to experience it!
Jenna – I am really looking forward to Edmonton having an enviable downtown. I mean, really excited. There are so many little gems popping up all throughout the downtown, and I can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for us!
Old Strathcona is one of our more trendier neighbourhoods. It is just on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, and stretches from the University of Alberta Campus over to about 99th Street. Old Strathcona features Whyte Ave, the Old Strathcona Farmers Market, numerous clubs, bars and pubs, as well as hosts numerous festivals throughout the year. Whyte Ave is one of the go-to places to shop in Edmonton and is the home to several of Edmonton’s top restaurants and bars. Being super close to the University, there is also a more energetic vibe to this beautiful part of the city. It is a must do if you find yourself in our city in the summer.
Kait – I used to live in the Old Strathcona area and absolutely adored it. Regardless of the time of year, there was always something to do or somewhere to go. The shopping was fantastic and the energy in Strathcona is fantastic. It is also one of Edmonton’s mature neighbourhoods, so it is absolutely gorgeous and littered with massive trees. Love, love, love it!
Jenna – I lived in Old Stratcona/Garneau as well when I was going to the university. I love the area, still do, and it still feels like home. I try to get down there every chance I get, especially if it means eating at the amazing MEAT, or grabbing a few pints at O’Byrnes.
Yes, we know Edmonton is the northernmost city in North America (with a population over 1 million) and that means it gets cold. And snowy. But as we’re sitting here, we’re coming into the summer. And the summer is simply amazing! Being so far north means we have daylight until 10-11 pm in the summer. Plus, our skies are sooo blue, even in the middle of the winter we often have days of sunshine with completely blue skies – not a cloud to be seen. When this happens in the summer it leads to perfect hot summer days that last long into the night.
Further reading: Hometown Highlights