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Edmonton ( ) is the capital of the Canadianmarker province of Albertamarker. The city is located on the North Saskatchewan River 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 after Calgarymarker, and is the hub of Canada's sixth-largest census metropolitan area.

In the Canada 2006 Census, the city had a population of 730,372, and its census metropolitan area had a population of 1,034,945, making it the northernmost North American city with a metropolitan population over one million. The 2009 civic census showed a population of 782,439. At , the City of Edmonton covers an area larger than Chicagomarker, Philadelphiamarker, Torontomarker, or Montrealmarker. Edmonton has one of the lowest urban population densities in North America, about 9.4% that of New York Citymarker. A resident of Edmonton is known as an Edmontonian.

Edmonton serves as the northern anchor of the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor (one of four regions that together comprise 50% of Canada's population) and is a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects occurring in northern Alberta and large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territoriesmarker.

Edmonton is Canada's second most populous provincial capital (after Toronto) and is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It plays host to a year-round slate of world-class festivals, earning it the title of "The Festival City." It is home to North America's largest mall, West Edmonton Mallmarker (which was the world's largest mall for a 23 year period from 1981 until 2004.), and Fort Edmonton Parkmarker, Canada's largest living history museum. In 2004, Edmonton celebrated the centennial of its incorporation as a city.

History



The first inhabitants settled in the area that is now Edmonton around 3,000 BC and perhaps as early as 12,000 BC, when an ice-free corridor opened up as the last ice age ended and timber, water, and wildlife became available in the region.

In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer working for the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC), may have been the first European to enter the Edmonton area. His expeditions across the Canadian Prairies were mainly to seek contact with the aboriginal population for the purpose of establishing the fur trade, as competition was fierce between the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. By 1795, Fort Edmontonmarker was established on the north bank of the river, as a major trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company. The name of the new fort was suggested by John Peter Pruden after Edmonton, Londonmarker, the home town of both the HBC deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake, and Pruden. In the late 19th century, the highly fertile soils surrounding Edmonton helped attract settlers, further establishing Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre. Edmonton was also a stopping point for people hoping to cash in on the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897, although the majority of people doing so chose to take a steamship north to the Yukonmarker from Vancouvermarker.

Incorporated as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350, Edmonton became the capital of Alberta as the province joined Confederation a year later, on September 1, 1905. In November 1905, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) arrived in Edmonton, accelerating growth.

Parade celebrating anniversary of the Hudson's Bay Co., Edmonton, Alberta.
During the early 1910s, Edmonton grew very rapidly, causing rising speculation in real estate prices. In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with the City of Strathconamarker, south of the North Saskatchewan River; as a result, the city extended south of the North Saskatchewan River for the first time.

Just prior to World War I, the real estate boom ended suddenly, causing the city's population to decline sharply from over 72,500 in 1914 to under 54,000 only two years later. Recruitment to the Canadian military during the war also contributed to the drop in population. Afterwards, the city was slow to recover in population and economy during the 1920s and 1930s until World War II.

The first licensed airfield in Canada, Blatchford Field (now Edmonton City Centre Airportmarker), commenced operation in 1929. Pioneering aviators such as Wilfrid R. "Wop" May and Max Ward used Blatchford Field as a major base for the distribution of mail, food, and medicine to Northern Canada; hence Edmonton's role as the "Gateway to the North" was strengthened. During World War II saw Edmonton's becoming a major base for the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Northwest Staging Route.

Politics

In 1892 Edmonton was incorporated as a town. The first mayor was Matthew McCauley, he quickly established the first school board in Edmonton and Board of Trade (later Chamber of Commerce) and a municipal police service. Due to mayor McCauley's good relationship with the federal Liberals this helped Edmonton to maintain political prominence over Strathconamarker, a town on the south banks of the North Saskatchewan River. Edmonton was incorporated as a city in 1904 and became the capital of Alberta in 1905.

Municipal representation

Edmonton is represented by a mayor and 12 councilors - two for each of the six wards. It was first used in Edmonton in 1971 so that each part of the city has an equal representation. On July 22, 2009 City Council adopted an electoral system that divides Edmonton into 12 wards, each represented by a single City Councillor. This system will come into effect with the next municipal election in 2010.

Demographics



According to the mid-2006 census, there were 730,372 residents within the city of Edmonton proper, compared to 3,290,350 for all of Alberta. The total population of the Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) was 1,034,945. In 2009, a municipal census showed the city had a population of 782,439.

In the five years between 2001 and 2006, the population of the city of Edmonton proper grew by 9.6%, compared with an increase of 10.4% for the Edmonton CMA and 10.6% for Alberta as a whole. The population density of the city of Edmonton proper averaged 1,067.2 people per square kilometre (2,764/sq mi), compared with an average of 5.1 people per square kilometre (13.2/sq mi) for Alberta altogether.

In mid-2006, 11.9% of Edmonton's population were of retirement age (65 and over for males and females) compared with 13.7% in Canada. The median age was 35.3 years of age, compared to 37.6 years of age for all of Canada. Also, according to the 2006 census, 50.5% of the population within the city of Edmonton proper were female, while 49.5% were male. Children under five accounted for approximately 5.6% of the resident population of Edmonton. This compares with 6.2% in Alberta, and almost 5.3% for Canada overall.

In 2006, people of European ethnicities formed the largest cluster of ethnic groups in Edmonton, mostly of English, Scottish, German, Irish, Ukrainian, and French origin. According to the 2006 census, the city of Edmonton was 71.8% White and 5.3% Aboriginal, while visible minorities accounted for 22.9% of the population.

Geography

Edmonton is located near the geographical centre of the province, at an elevation of . The terrain in and around Edmonton is generally flat to gently rolling, with ravines and deep river valleys, such as the North Saskatchewan River valley. Despite the fact that the Canadian Rockies come as close to Edmonton as roughly to the southwest, the city is too distant for any of its peaks to be seen from even its tallest buildings.

The North Saskatchewan River originates at the Columbia Icefieldmarker in Jasper National Parkmarker and bisects the city. It empties via the Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipegmarker, and the Nelson Rivermarker into Hudson Baymarker. It runs from the southwest to the northeast 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 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. However, the aspen parkland in and around Edmonton has long since been heavily altered by farming and other human activities, such as oil and natural gas exploration.

Parkland and environment

Streambed in Hawrelak Park.
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 river valley is 22 times larger than New York City's Central Parkmarker. The public river valley parks provide a unique urban escape area, with park styles ranging from fully serviced urban parks to campsitelike facilities with few amenities. This main "Ribbon of Green" is supplemented by numerous neighbourhood parks located throughout the city, to give a total of of parkland. Within the , -long river valley park system, there are eleven lakes, fourteen ravines, and twenty-two major parks, and most of the city has excellent bike and walking trail connections. These trails are also part of the Waskahegan walking trail. The City of Edmonton has named five parks in its River Valley Parks System in honour of each of "The Famous Five."

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,Mountain Ash, Amur Maple, Russian Olive, Green Ash, Basswood, Various Poplars and Willows, Flowering Crabapple, Mayday Tree and Manitoba Maple are also abundant; Bur oak, Silver Maple, Hawthorn and Ohio Buckeye are increasingly popular. Other introduced tree species include White Ash, Blue Spruce, Norway Maple, Red oak, Sugar Maple, Common Horse-chestnut, McIntosh apple, and Evans Cherry. Three walnut species—Butternut, Manchurian walnut, and black walnut—have survived in Edmonton.

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 from early morning well into the evening. Golf courses and the park system become a winter recreation area during this season, and 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.

Neighbourhoods

Edmonton has numerous distinct neighbourhoods. Downtown Edmontonmarker consists of the Commercial Core, the Arts District, Rice Howard Way Pedestrian Mall, MacKay Avenue, Jasper-West, the Warehouse District, and the Government Precinct (AKA the Grandin neighbourhood).

Radiating from the core are many inner-city neighbourhoods, such as Olivermarker, Glenora, Westmount, Queen Mary Parkmarker, Inglewood, Central McDougallmarker, Boyle Streetmarker, McCauleymarker, Alberta Avenue, and Norwood on the north side of the river, while Windsor Park, Garneau, Old Strathconamarker, Bonnie Doon, and Strathearn line the south side of the river.

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 (Alberta Highway 216). One of the most well-known communities within Anthony Henday Drive is Mill Woods, which is home to approximately 100,000 residents. It is often incorrectly referred to as "Millwoods," due to a typographical mistake on street signs dating back to the neighbourhood's inception. If Mill Woods were a separate municipality, it would be Alberta's third largest city, after Calgarymarker and Edmonton.

Other communities within the boundaries of the Anthony Henday on the south side of Edmonton include Riverbend (situated between the North Saskatchewan River and Whitemud Creek), Aspen Gardens, Westbrook Estates, Royal Gardens, Sweet Grass, Blue Quill, Blue Quill Estates, Greenfield, Lansdowne, and Grandview Estates, with their main transportation hub being Southgate Transit Centremarker. Surrounding the new Century Park development are communities such as Yellowbird and Twin Brooks. Several new neighbourhoods are currently in formative stages in the south and southwest, such as Summerside, MacEwan, Terwillegar, Southbrook, 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.

Metropolitan area

Provincial Legislature of Alberta.
Edmonton is at the centre of a metropolitan area that includes 25 independent municipalities either adjacent to Edmonton's city limits or within several kilometres of it. Larger communities include Sherwood Parkmarker (part of the Specialized Municipality of Strathcona Countymarker), St. Albertmarker, Spruce Grovemarker, Stony Plainmarker, Fort Saskatchewanmarker, Leducmarker, Niskumarker (a major industrial area in Leduc Countymarker), and the towns of Beaumontmarker, Devonmarker, and Morinvillemarker. 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 amalgamation has of yet been approved by the provincial government since Edmonton absorbed the town of Beverlymarker in 1961.

Climate

Edmonton has a semi-arid continental climate (Koppen climate classification BSk) with extreme seasonal temperatures—although the city has milder winters than either Reginamarker or Winnipegmarker, both located at a latitude farther south. It has warm summers and cold winters, with the average daily temperatures ranging from in January to in July. Annually, temperatures exceed on an average of four to five days (but can occur often, anytime from late May to early September) and fall below on an average of 28 days. The highest temperature recorded in Edmonton was , on August 5, 1998. Some areas, however, such as the City of St. Albertmarker and Sherwood Parkmarker, recorded temperatures of on July 22, 2006. The coldest temperature ever recorded at city centre was on January 26, 1972 - this was the only time since recordings began in 1953 that city centre has recorded a temperature below . The coldest overall Edmonton temperature recorded was , recorded on January 19 and 21, 1886.

The year 2006 was a particularly warm one for Edmonton, as temperatures reached or higher more than twenty times during the year, from as early as Mid-May and again in early September. Typically, summer lasts from late June until late August, and the humidity is seldom uncomfortably high. Winter lasts from November to March, and varies greatly in length and severity. Spring and autumn are both short and highly variable. Edmonton's growing season is from May 24, to September 23; Edmonton averages 140 frost free days a year.



Edmonton has a fairly dry climate. On average, Edmonton receives of precipitation, of which is rain and is snow per annum. Precipitation is heaviest in the late spring, summer, and early autumn. The wettest month is July, while the driest months are February, March, October, and November. In July, the mean precipitation is . Extremes do occur, such as the of rainfall that fell on July 31, 1953. Summer thunderstorms can be frequent and occasionally 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 that struck Edmonton on July 31, 1987, killing 27, are rare.

A massive cluster of thunderstorms occurred on July 11, 2004, with large hail and over of rain reported within the space of an hour in many places. This "1-in-200 year event" flooded major intersections and underpasses and damaged both residential and commercial properties. The storm caused extensive damage to West Edmonton Mallmarker; the roof collapsed under the weight of the rainwater, causing water to drain onto the mall's indoor ice rink. As a result, the mall was forced to undergo an evacuation as a precautionary measure.

Edmonton is the most northerly city in North America with a metropolitan population of over one million. It is at the same latitude as Hamburgmarker, Germanymarker and Liverpoolmarker, Englandmarker. At the summer solstice, Edmonton receives seventeen hours and six minutes of daylight, with twilight extending throughout the entire night during summer. Edmonton receives 2,299 hours of sunshine per year and is one of Canada's sunniest cities.

Economy

Edmonton is the major economic centre for northern and central Alberta and a major centre for the oil and gas industry. In its autumn 2007 Metropolitan Outlook, the Conference Board of Canada forecast that Edmonton's GDP for 2007 will be $44.1-billion (2007 dollars), a 3.6% increase over 2006. 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. These are reported to be the second-largest in the world, after Saudi Arabiamarker.

Despite the apparent focus on oil and gas, Edmonton's economy is now the second-most diverse in Canada. Major industrial sectors include a strong technology sector anchored by major employers such as IBM, Telus, Intuit Canada, Canadian Western Bank, BioWare, Matrikon, General Electric, and Stantec Inc. The associated biotech sector, with companies such as Afexa Life Sciences Inc. (formerly CV Technologies), has recently seen employment growth of 37%.
The National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT)


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 Albertamarker as well as government initiatives underway at the Alberta Research Council and Edmonton Research Park. Recently, the National Institute for Nanotechnologymarker was constructed on the University of Alberta campus.

During the 1970s and 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 some regional offices were moved to other cities. The 1990s saw a solidification of the economy, and Edmonton is now home to Canadian Western Bank, the only publicly traded Schedule I chartered bank headquarters west of Toronto. Other major financial centres include ATB Financial, Servus Credit Union (formerly Capital City Savings), TD Canada Trust and Manulife Financial.

Edmonton has been the birthplace of several companies that have grown to international stature, such as PCL Construction, Stantec Inc. and more recently, Capital Power Corporation. The local retail market has also seen the creation of many successful store concepts, such as The Brick, Katz Group, AutoCanada, Boston Pizza, Pizza 73, Liquor Stores, Liquor Barn, Planet Organic, Empire Design, Running Room, Booster Juice, Earl's, Fountain Tire and XS Cargo.

Edmonton's geographical location 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 Rupertmarker in British Columbiamarker.

Edmonton was judged to have the "best economic potential" of any North American city by the Financial Times publication, FDi magazine. In a 2007 study, FDI placed Edmonton immediately ahead of Mississaugamarker, Charlottemarker, Tijuanamarker, and Calgarymarker among cities with populations between 500,000 and two million. Edmonton's economic potential, expanding infrastructure, human resources, cost effectiveness, and high standard of living place it in the No. 4 spot on FDi’s list of top-ten North American large cities. The survey also named Edmonton in the top-five large North American cities for business development and investment promotion. Edmonton is known for its exceptional environmental stewardship, strong life-science sector, and burgeoning high-tech industry economy.

Culture

Many events are anchored in the downtown Arts District, centred around the recently renovated Churchill Squaremarker (named in honour of Sir Winston Churchill). On the south side of the river, the University district and Whyte Avenue contain theatres, concert halls, and various live music venues.
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music.


Nightlife

Edmonton Skyline at night.
There are several key concentrations of nightlife in the city of Edmonton. The most popular is the Whyte Avenuemarker (82nd Avenue) strip, concentrated between 109 Street and 99 Street; it 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. Beginning in the 1970s, a concentrated effort to revive the area 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 (such as Murietta's and the Black Dog Freehouse) to trendy clubs (Wooly Bully's and Lucky 13) while hosting a wide variety of shops during the day (Plush, Foosh Apparel and Bamboo Ballroom). This area also contains two independent movie theatres: the Garneaumarker 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 such as The Rose and Crown, Sherlock Holmes', and Elephant & Castle, as well as many hotel lounges and restaurants. The past decade has seen a strong resurgence in more mainstream venues. Edmonton also has a high demand for pub crawl tours in the city. Various clubs such as the New City Suburbs, Oil City Roadhouse, The Bank, and Halo are also to be found along Edmonton's main street, Jasper Avenue. The Edmonton City Centremarker mall also houses an Empire Theatres movie theatre, featuring ten screens. The nonprofit Metro Cinema shows a variety of alternative or otherwise unreleased films every week.

West Edmonton Mallmarker holds several after-hour establishments in addition to its many stores and attractions. Bourbon Street has numerous eating establishments; clubs and casinos can also be found within the complex. Scotiabank Theatre (formerly known as Silver City), at the west end of the mall, is a theater that features twelve screens and an IMAX.

Museums and galleries

Art Gallery of Alberta under construction.
1885 Street in Fort Edmonton Park.
There are also over seventy museums in Edmonton of various sizes. The largest is the Royal Alberta Museummarker (formerly the Provincial Museum of Alberta until renamed by Queen Elizabeth II during her 2005 visit), which houses over 10 million objects in its collection; the museum showcases the culture and practices of the diverse aboriginal tribes of the region. 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 Telus World of Sciencemarker is located in the Woodcroft district. It opened in 1984 and has been expanded several times since then. It contains five permanent galleries, plus one for temporary exhibits, an IMAX theatre, a planetarium, an observatory, and an amateur radio station.

The Alberta Aviation Museummarker is at the City Centre Airport, in a hangar that was built for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Its collection includes both civilian and military aircraft, of which the largest are a Boeing 737 and two CF-101 Voodoos. Every summer, it holds a small airshow, featuring modern fighter aircraft that fly in from Maple Flag for the event. As well, it has one of only 3 BOMARC missiles in Canada.

The Alberta Railway Museummarker is located in the extreme north end of the city. It contains a variety of locomotives and railroad cars from different periods, and includes a working steam locomotive. Since most of its exhibits are outdoors, it is only open between Victoria Day and Labour Day. The Valley Zoomarker is in the river valley to the west of the city centre.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is the city's largest single gallery. Formerly housed in an inconspicuous 1970s building downtown, the AGA collection had over 5,000 pieces of art. The Art Gallery was demolished in July 2007 to make way for construction of a new facility designed by Randall Stout, estimated to cost over $88-million; the amount that the Edmonton City Council has donated towards the construction was met with some controversy. The new structure will be completed by the year 2009. Independent galleries can be found throughout the city, especially along the 124th Street/Jasper Avenue corridor, such as the gallery walk.

Fort Edmonton Parkmarker, Canada's largest living history museum, is located in the river valley. Edmonton's heritage is displayed through historical buildings (many of which are originals moved to the park), costumed historical interpreters, and authentic artifacts. In totality, it covers the region's history from approximately 1795 - 1929 represented by Fort Edmontonmarker, followed chronologically by 1885, 1905, and 1920 streets, and a recreation of a 1920s Midway. A steam train, streetcars, automobiles and horse drawn vehicles may be seen in operation (and utilized by the public) around the park. It is open from Victoria Day until the end of September, with other themed events throughout the year. The University of Alberta operates its own internal Museums and Collections service. The John Walter Museum and Historical Area (c. 1875 to 1901) is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.

Festivals

Edmonton plays host to several large festivals each year, attributing to its local nickname, "The Festival City." Downtown Edmonton's 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 and design from well-known 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 EXmarker (formerly Klondike Days). Klondike Days (or K-Days) was originally an annual fair and exhibition that eventually adopted a gold rush theme. In early 2006, it was decided that the festival would be renamed "The Capital City Exhibition" ("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 Vegasmarker 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 worldwide. 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 Edmonton Heritage Festival, which is an ethnocultural festival that takes place in Hawrelak Parkmarker on the Heritage Day long weekend. Many other festivals exist, such as the Free Will Shakespeare Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Whyte Avenue Art Walk, and the Edmonton International Film Festival.

Retail

Edmonton is home to several shopping malls, including Canada's first mall, Westmount Centremarker (still in operation but under development) and West Edmonton Mallmarker, one of the world's largest malls and presently the largest in North America. Other malls include Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, Edmonton City Centremarker (formerly Eaton Centre), Southgate Centremarker, Kingsway Mallmarker, Northgate Centremarker, Abbotsfield Mall, Londonderry Mallmarker, and Mill Woods Town Centre.

Edmonton also has many big box shopping centres and power centres. Some of the major ones include South Edmonton Commonmarker (North America's largest open air retail development), Skyview Power Centre, Terra Losa Centre, Oliver Park, Southpark Centre, The Meadows, Christy's Corner, and Westpoint. In 2008, construction started on the Windermere power centre.

In contrast to suburban centres, Edmonton has many urban retail locations. The largest of them all, Old Strathconamarker includes many independent stores between 99 Street and 109th St on Whyte Avenue and area. In the downtown of Edmonton there are a small handful of shopping districts. Areas around Jasper Avenue, 104 street, 109 street, and 100 street have small pockets of retail. Near Olivermarker there is 124 Street which is home to a bunch of retail.

Edmonton is the Canadian testing-ground for many American retailers such as Bath & Body Works and Calvin Klein.

Sports and recreation

Edmonton Grand Prix.


Edmonton has a proud heritage of very successful sports teams, including the Edmonton Grads, Edmonton Eskimos, Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Trappers, and Edmonton Oil Kings. Having won so many championships, the city has earned the title of "City Of Champions". Edmonton's sports teams have substantial rivalries with Calgary's sports teams. The primary professional sports facilities are the Commonwealth Stadiummarker, Telus Fieldmarker, and Rexall Placemarker.

Among the numerous minor-league teams in the city are the Edmonton Capitals, the city's thirteenth baseball franchise since 1884. Local rugby players compete in the Rugby Canada Super League with the Edmonton Gold. Also, the city hosts the Edmonton Rush national lacrosse team, which plays out of Rexall Place. Edmonton is also home to the Edmonton Energy, a minor league basketball team which plays out of the International Basketball League. All Edmonton Energy home games are played at the MacEwan Centre for Sport and Wellness. In addition to the minor-league teams, Edmonton also has very successful university-level sports teams, including the U of A Golden Bears, the U of A Pandas, the NAIT Ooks, and the Grant MacEwan Griffins.

Edmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games, the 1983 World University Games (Universiade), the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, the 2002 World Ringette Championships, and the 2005 World Master Games. In 2006, it played host to the Women's Rugby World Cup, and in the summer of 2007, Edmonton hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup (the third-largest sporting event in the world) as well as the CN Canadian Women's Open.

Edmonton has a circuit on the Indy Racing League known as the Edmonton Indymarker (formerly the Grand Prix of Edmonton). In addition, Castrol Racewaymarker brings sprint cars and a national IHRA event to their facility, next to Edmonton International Airport.

Current professional and amateur franchises
Club League Venue Established Championships
Edmonton Huskies Canadian Junior Football League Clarke Stadiummarker 1947 2
Edmonton Wildcats Canadian Junior Football League Commonwealth Stadiummarker 1948 2
Edmonton Eskimos Canadian Football League Commonwealth Stadiummarker 1949 13
Edmonton Oilers National Hockey League Rexall Placemarker 1972 5
Edmonton Chimos Western Women's Hockey League River Cree Resort Twin Arena / Jubilee Recreation Centremarker 1973 0
Edmonton Gold Rugby Canada Super League Ellerslie Rugby Parkmarker 1998 0
Edmonton WAM! National Ringette League Callingwood Twin Arena 2001 4
Edmonton Stallions Alberta Football League Foote Fieldmarker 2001 2
Edmonton Capitals Golden Baseball League Telus Fieldmarker 2005 0
Edmonton Rush National Lacrosse League Rexall Placemarker 2005 0
Edmonton Drillers Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League Servus Credit Union Place (St. Albert) 2006 1
Edmonton Seahawks Alberta Football League Clarke Stadiummarker 2006 0
Edmonton Oil Kings Western Hockey League Rexall Placemarker 2007 0
Edmonton Energy International Basketball League MacEwan Centre for Sport and Wellness 2008 0


Education

K–12

Entryway to Grant MacEwan University downtown campus.
University of Alberta's Tory Lecture Theatres Building and Tory Building.


Edmonton has three publicly funded school boards (districts) that provide kindergarten and grades 1–12. The vast majority of students attend schools in the two large English language boards: Edmonton Public Schoolsmarker, and the separate Edmonton Catholic School Districtmarker. Also, since 1994, the Francophone minority community has had their own school board based in Edmonton, the North-Central Francophone School Authority, which 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, including Edmonton Academy and Tempo School. The Edmonton Society for Christian Education used to be a private school; however, it has become part of Edmonton Public Schools. Both the Edmonton Public Schools and the Edmonton Catholic School District provide support and resources for those wishing to homeschool their children.

Post secondary

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

The University of Albertamarker (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. About 36,000 students are served in more than 200 undergraduate programs and 170 graduate programs. The main campus consists of more than ninety buildings on 890,000 square metres (220 acres) 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. Grant MacEwan Universitymarker, which enrolls 40,791 students in programs offering career diplomas, university transfers, and bachelor's degrees;

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

Other Edmonton post-secondary institutions include the Northern Alberta Institute of Technologymarker (NAIT), with 48,500 students enrolled in 190 technical, vocational, and apprenticeship programs; and NorQuest Collegemarker, with 11,300 students, specializing in short courses in skills and academic upgrading. Edmonton is also home to the Antarctic Institute of Canada.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Edmonton is a major transportation gateway to northern Alberta and northern Canada. There are two airports serving the city, Edmonton City Centre Airportmarker and Edmonton International Airportmarker, the latter being the larger. Edmonton International Airport has passengers flying to destinations in the United Statesmarker, Europe, Mexicomarker, and the Caribbeanmarker, along with charters to Japanmarker. Edmonton City Centre Airport is a general aviation facility (since air services consolidation in 1995) and the only airport located within the city limits; it is home to a variety of aviation companies with key markets in northern Alberta. From the Edmonton railway station inter-city passenger rail service is operated by VIA Rail to Jasper National Parkmarker, Saskatchewanmarker, and British Columbia. Edmonton serves as a major transportation hub for Canadian National Railway, whose North American operations management centre is located at their Edmonton offices.

Dudley B.
Menzies LRT Bridge
The Edmonton Transit System is the city's main public transit agency, operating the Edmonton Light Rail Transit (LRT) line as well as a large fleet of buses. Since the 1990s, Edmonton was one of two cities in Canada still operating trolleybuses, along with Vancouver, but City Council decided to abandon the system early in 2009. The last trolleybus ran on May 2, 2009. Scheduled LRT service began on April 23, 1978, with five extensions of the single line completed since. The original Edmonton line is considered to be the first "modern" light rail line in North America (i.e., built from scratch, rather than being an upgrade of an old system). It introduced the use of German-designed rolling stock that subsequently became the standard light rail vehicle of the United States. The Edmonton "proof-of-payment" fare collection system adopted in 1980—modelled after European ticket systems—became the North American transit industry's preferred approach for subsequent light rail projects. Currently, the City of Edmonton is working on the South LRT Extension, which will see trains travelling to Century Parkmarker (located at 23 Avenue and 111 Street) by April 2010, while making an additional stop at Southgate Centremarker. To facilitate this change, ETS is constructing a new transit centre on 111 Street, across from Southgate. And another LRT station is being built at Heritage Transit Centre. There is an extensive multiuse trail system for bicycles and pedestrians throughout the city; however, most of this is within the river valley parkland system.

A largely gridded system forms most of Edmonton's street and road network. The address system is mostly numbered, with streets running south to north and avenues running east to west. In built-up areas built since the 1950s, local streets and major roadways generally do not conform to the grid system. Major roadways include Yellowhead Trail (Alberta Highway 16) and Whitemud Drivemarker, and the city is connected to other communities elsewhere in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan via the Yellowhead Highway to the west and east and the Queen Elizabeth II Highway (Alberta Highway 2) to the south.

With direct air distances from Edmonton to places such as New Delhimarker in Asia and Londonmarker in Europe being shorter than to other main airports in western North America, Edmonton Airports is working to establish a major container shipping hub called Port Alberta.

Waste disposal

The Edmonton Composting Facilitymarker, the largest of its type in the world, is also the largest stainless steel building in North America. In the next few years, the city anticipates that it will divert more than 80% of the city's household waste from the landfills. Among the innovative uses for the city's waste includes a Christmas tree recycling program. The trees are collected each January and put through a woodchipper; this material is used as an addition to the composting process. In addition, the wood chips absorb much of the odour produced by the compost by providing a biofilter element to trap odour causing gaseous results of the process.

EPCOR's Rossdale Power Plant viewed from the High Level Bridge.


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, the Alberta Research Council, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technologymarker, and Olds Collegemarker.

Electricity and water distribution systems

Edmonton's first power company established itself in 1891 and installed streetlights along the city's 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 water treatment or ultraviolet disinfection system at its E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant.

Health care

There are four main hospitals serving Edmonton: The University of Alberta Hospitalmarker, The Royal Alexandra Hospitalmarker, Misericordia Community Hospitalmarker, and The Grey Nuns Community Hospitalmarker. Other area hospitals include the Sturgeon Community Hospitalmarker in St. Albert, the Leduc Community Hospitalmarker in Leduc, the Westview Health Centre in Stony Plainmarker, and the Fort Saskatchewan Health Centre in Fort Saskatchewanmarker. Dedicated psychiatric care is also provided at the Alberta Hospitalmarker. All hospitals are under the administration of Alberta Health Services, although Misericordia and Grey Nuns are run separately by the Covenant Health.

Military

Edmonton is home to 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG), the Regular Force army brigade group of Land Force Western Area of the Canadian Forces Land Force Command. Units in 1 CMBG include Lord Strathcona's Horse ; 1 Combat Engineer Regiment; two of the three regular force battalions of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; and various headquarters, service, and support elements. Although not part of 1 CMBG, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron and 1 Field Ambulance are located with the brigade group; all of these units are located at Lancaster Park, immediately north of the city. From 1943, as CFB Namaomarker (now CFB Edmonton/Edmonton Garrison) , it was a major air force base, and in 1996, the aviation units were transferred to CFB Cold Lakemarker.

The Canadian Airborne Training Centre had been located in the city in the 1980s. The move of 1 CMBG 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 to 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 ; 41 Combat Engineer Regiment; HQ Battery, 20th Field Artillery Regiment; 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.

Religion

Sacred Heart Church, on "Church Street" (96 Street) in Edmonton's inner city area.
According to the 2001 census, 31.2% of Edmonton residents are Protestant and 29.4% are Catholic. 5.5% belong to other Christian denominations, 7.8% are adherents of other religions, and 24.4% profess no religion. One of Alberta's three Bahá'í Centres is located in Edmonton; the other two centres are situated in Sylvan Lake, Albertamarker and Athabasca, Albertamarker. The first mosque established in Canada-the Al-Rashid Mosquemarker, founded by Abdullah Yusuf Ali—is situated in Edmonton. Edmonton also hosts a Maronite Catholic church, on 76th Avenue/98th Street, with services in English on Saturdays and Arabic on Sundays. Another sign of the Lebanesemarker community's visibility is the existence of a Druze Community Centre, on the north side of the city. The Edmonton Alberta Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was dedicated on December 11, 1999. The Hindu Community in Edmonton is served by the Hindu Society of Alberta (North Indian Temple) and the Maha Ganapathy Society of Alberta (South Indian Temple). The Jewish Community in Edmonton is served by Jewish Federation of Edmonton. The region is served by five synagogues. Edmonton is also home to two of Alberta's four Unitarian Universalist congregations—the Unitarian Church of Edmonton and Westwood Unitarian Congregation; the other two are located in Calgarymarker and Lethbridgemarker.

Media

Edmonton has nine broadcast television stations shown on basic cable TV or over-the-air. The cable television providers in Edmonton are Telus (for IPTV) and Shaw Cable. Previously, network programming from the United States was received on cable via affiliates from Spokane, Washingtonmarker, but local viewers now have more choice, given the advances with cable or satellite television that are now being offered as digital or HD service. Broadcasts from both eastern and western locations in the United States can be viewed. Twenty-one FM and eight AM radio stations are based in Edmonton. Edmonton has two large-circulation daily newspapers, the Edmonton Journal [and the Edmonton Sun. Other city-wide weekday publications include Metro and 24H. See Magazine and Vue Weekly are both published on a weekly basis. The Edmonton Examiner is a city-wide community based paper also published weekly. There are also a number of smaller weekly and community newspapers.

Sister cities

Edmonton has four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also



Notes

  1. Statistics Canada 2006 Census (Sept 11, 2007) Edmonton (City) 2006 Community Profile. Catalogue no. 92-591-XWE. Ottawa. Retrieved on October 27, 2007
  2. Statistics Canada 2006 Census (Sept 11, 2007) Edmonton (Census Metropolitan Area) 2006 Community Profile. Catalogue no. 92-591-XWE. Ottawa. Retrieved on October 27, 2007
  3. Global Direct Investment Solutions. (April 23, 2007) North American Cities of the Future - 2007 fDi magazine award. Retrieved on 2008-03-17.
  4. Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (April 23, 2007) Edmonton captures three North American ‘Cities of the Future’ Awards. Retrieved on: 2007-07-14.


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