The city had a population of 932,546 in 2016, making it Alberta's second-largest city and Canada's fifth-largest municipality. Also in 2016, Edmonton had a metropolitan population of 1,321,426, making it the sixth-largest census metropolitan area (CMA) in Canada. Edmonton is North America's northernmost city with a metropolitan population over one million. A resident of Edmonton is known as an Edmontonian.
Edmonton's historic growth has been facilitated through the absorption of five adjacent urban municipalities (Strathcona, North Edmonton, West Edmonton, Beverly and Jasper Place) and a series of annexations ending in 1982. Known as the "Gateway to the North", the city is a staging point for large-scale oil sands projects occurring in northern Alberta and large-scale diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories.
Edmonton is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname "Canada's Festival City". It is home to North America's largest mall, West Edmonton Mall (the world's largest mall from 1981 until 2004), and Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest living history museum.
The earliest known 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 as the last glacial period ended and timber, water, and wildlife became available in the region.
In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer 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 establishing the fur trade, as competition was fierce between the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. By 1795, Fort Edmonton was established on the river's north bank as a major trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company. The new fort's name was suggested by John Peter Pruden after Edmonton, London, the home town of both the HBC deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake, and Pruden.
In 1876, Treaty 6, which includes what is now Edmonton, was signed between the Aboriginal peoples in Canada (or First Nations) and Queen Victoria as Queen of Canada, as part of the Numbered Treaties of Canada. The agreement includes the Plains and Woods Cree, Assiniboine, and other band governments of First Nations at Fort Carlton, Fort Pitt and Battle River. The area covered by the treaty represents most of the central area of the current provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to southern Alberta in 1885 helped the Edmonton economy, and the 1891 building of the Calgary and Edmonton (C&E) Railway resulted in the emergence of a railway townsite (South Edmonton/Strathcona) on the river's south side, across from Edmonton. The arrival of the CPR and the C&E Railway helped bring settlers and entrepreneurs from eastern Canada, Europe, U.S. and other parts of the world. The Edmonton area's fertile soil and cheap land attracted settlers, further establishing Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre. Some people participating in the Klondike Gold Rush passed through South Edmonton/Strathcona in 1897. Strathcona was North America's northernmost railway point, but travel to the Klondike was still very difficult for the "Klondikers", and a majority of them took a steamship north to the Yukon from Vancouver.
Incorporated as a town in 1892 with a population of 700 and then as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350, Edmonton became the capital of Alberta when the province was formed a year later, on September 1, 1905. In November 1905, the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) arrived in Edmonton, accelerating growth.
During the early 1900s, Edmonton's rapid growth led to speculation in real estate. In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with the City of Strathcona, 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 boom ended, and the city's population declined from more than 72,000 in 1914 to less than 54,000 only two years later. Many impoverished families moved to subsistence farms outside the city, while others fled to greener pastures in other provinces. Recruitment to the Canadian army during the war also contributed to the drop in population. Afterwards, the city slowly recovered in population and economy during the 1920s and 1930s and took off again during and after World War II.
The Edmonton City Centre Airport opened in 1929, becoming Canada's first licensed airfield. Originally named Blatchford Field in honour of former mayor Kenny Blatchford, pioneering aviators such as Wilfrid R. "Wop" May and Max Ward used Blatchford Field as a major base for distributing mail, food, and medicine to Northern Canada; hence Edmonton's emergence as the "Gateway to the North". World War II saw Edmonton become a major base for the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Northwest Staging Route.
Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River, and sits at an elevation of 671 metres (2,201 ft). Edmonton is the most northerly city in North America with a metropolitan population of over one million. It is at the same latitude as Hamburg (Germany), Dublin (Ireland), Manchester (United Kingdom), and Magnitogorsk (Russia). North as it is, it is south of the geographic centre of Alberta, which is located near the Hamlet of Fort Assiniboine. 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. The Canadian Rockies are located about 220 km (140 mi) to the southwest.
The North Saskatchewan River originates at the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park and bisects the city. Before the construction of two reservoirs near the mountains, it would sometimes flood Edmonton's river valley, most notably in the North Saskatchewan River flood of 1915. It empties via the Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipeg, and the Nelson River into Hudson Bay. It runs from the southwest to the northeast and is fed by numerous creeks throughout the city, such as Mill Creek, Whitemud Creek and Blackmud Creek; this creates numerous ravines, some of which are used for urban parkland. Edmonton is within the Canadian Prairies Ecozone. Aspen parkland, surrounds the city and, acts a transitional area from the prairie to the south and boreal forest in the north. However, the aspen woods and forests in and around Edmonton have long since been reduced by farming and other human activities, such as oil and natural gas exploration.
Edmonton has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) It falls into the NRC 4a Plant Hardiness Zone.
The city has milder winters than either Regina or Winnipeg, both further south of Edmonton in latitude. Its average daily temperatures range from a low of −10.4 °C (13.3 °F) in January to a summer peak of 17.7 °C (63.9 °F) in July. With average maximum of 23.1 °C (73.6 °F) in July, and minimum of −14.8 °C (5.4 °F) in January. Annually, temperatures can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) for an average of four to five days anytime from late April to mid-September and fall below −20 °C (−4 °F) for an average of 28 days. The highest temperature recorded within the City of Edmonton was 37.2 °C (99.0 °F), on June 29, 1937. On July 2, 2013, a record high humidex of 43 was recorded, due to an unusually humid day with a temperature of 33.9 °C (93.0 °F) and a record high dew point of 23 °C (73.4 °F). The lowest overall temperature ever recorded in Edmonton was −49.4 °C (−56.9 °F), on January 19 and 21, 1886. On January 26, 1972, the temperature was recorded at −48.3 °C (−54.9 °F) and at -61 with the wind chill, making it the lowest temperature including the wind chill ever recorded in Edmonton.
Typically, summer lasts from late June until early September, 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 9 to September 22; Edmonton averages 135-140 frost free days a year. At the summer solstice, Edmonton receives seventeen hours and three minutes of daylight, with an hour and forty-six minutes of civil twilight. On average Edmonton receives 2,299 hours of bright sunshine per year and is one of Canada's sunniest cities.
The summer of 2006 was a particularly warm one for Edmonton, as temperatures reached 29 °C (84 °F) or higher more than 20 times during the year, from as early as mid-May and again in early September. The winter of 2011–12 was particularly warm; from December 22, 2011, till March 20, 2012, on 53 occasions Edmonton saw temperatures at or above 0.0 °C (32.0 °F) at the City Centre Airport.
Edmonton has a fairly dry climate. On average, it receives 476.9 millimetres (18.78 in) of precipitation, of which 365.7 millimetres (14.40 in) is rain and 111.2 millimetres (4.38 in) is the melt from 123.5 centimetres (48.6 in) of snowfall 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 91.7 mm (3.61 in). Dry spells are not uncommon and may occur at any time of the year. Extremes do occur, such as the 114 mm (4.49 in) 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 occasionally tornadoes. Twelve tornadoes had been recorded in Edmonton between 1890 and 1989, and eight since 1990. A F4 tornado that struck Edmonton on July 31, 1987, killing 27, was unusual in many respects, including severity, duration, damage, and casualties. It is commonly referred to as Black Friday due both to its aberrant characteristics and the emotional shock it generated. Then-mayor Laurence Decore cited the community's response to the tornado as evidence that Edmonton was a "city of champions," which later became an unofficial slogan of the city.
A massive cluster of thunderstorms occurred on July 11, 2004, with large hail and over 100 mm (4 in) 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 Mall; a small glass section of 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 at the centre of Canada's sixth largest census metropolitan area (CMA), which includes Edmonton and 34 other municipalities in the surrounding area. Larger urban communities include Sherwood Park (an urban service area within Strathcona County), the cities of St. Albert, Leduc, Spruce Grove and Fort Saskatchewan, and the towns of Stony Plain, Beaumont, Morinville, and Devon. Major employment areas outside of Edmonton but within the CMA include the Nisku Industrial Business Park and the Edmonton International Airport (including a planned inland port logistics support facility in support of the Port Alberta initiative) in Leduc County, the Acheson Industrial Area in Parkland County, Refinery Row in Strathcona County and Alberta's Industrial Heartland within portions of Fort Saskatchewan, Strathcona County and Sturgeon County. Alberta's Industrial Heartland also extends beyond the CMA's northeastern boundary into a portion of Lamont County.
The individual economic development interests and costs of service delivery in certain municipalities within the region has led to intermunicipal competition, strained intermunicipal relationships and overall fragmentation of the region. Although several attempts have been made by the City of Edmonton to absorb surrounding municipalities or annex portions of its neighbours, the city has not absorbed another municipality since the Town of Jasper Place joined Edmonton on August 17, 1964, and the city has not annexed land from any of its neighbours since January 1, 1982. After years of mounting pressure in the early 21st century, the Province of Alberta formed the Capital Region Board (CRB) on April 15, 2008. The CRB consists of 24 member municipalities – 22 of which are within the Edmonton CMA and two of which are outside the CMA. The City of Edmonton subsequently announced in March 2013 its intent to annex 156 square kilometres of land (including the Edmonton International Airport) from Leduc County.
On November 30, 2016, the City of Edmonton and Leduc County came to an agreement on Edmonton's annexation proposal. The City of Edmonton will annex 29,900 acres (121 km2) of land from Leduc County and Beaumont, including the Edmonton International Airport, as a result.
Edmonton is divided into 375 neighbourhoods within 7 geographic sectors – a mature area sector, which includes neighbourhoods that were essentially built out prior to 1970, and 6 surrounding suburban sectors.
Edmonton's Downtown is located within the city's mature area or inner city. It and the surrounding Boyle Street, Central McDougall, Cloverdale, Garneau, McCauley, Oliver, Queen Mary Park, Riverdale, Rossdale, Strathcona and University of Alberta form Edmonton's Central Core. Oliver and Garneau are the city's most populated and most densely populated neighbourhoods respectively. The mature area sector also contains the five former urban municipalities annexed by the city over its history – Beverly, Jasper Place, North Edmonton, Strathcona and West Edmonton (Calder).
Larger residential areas within Edmonton's six suburban sectors, each comprising multiple neighbourhoods, include: Heritage Valley, Kaskitayo, Riverbend, Terwillegar Heights and Windermere (southwest sector); The Grange, Lewis Farms and West Jasper Place (west sector); Big Lake (northwest sector); Castle Downs, Lake District and The Palisades (north sector); Casselman-Steele Heights, Clareview, Hermitage, Londonderry and Pilot Sound (northeast sector); and Ellerslie, The Meadows, Mill Woods and Southeast Edmonton (southeast sector). Mill Woods is divided into a town centre community (Mill Woods Town Centre) and eight surrounding communities – Burnewood, Knottwood, Lakewood, Millbourne, Millhurst, Ridgewood, Southwood, and Woodvale – each having between two and four neighbourhoods.
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 being constructed at the site of what was once Heritage Mall, at the southern end of the LRT line. Century Park will eventually house up to 5,000 residents.
The Edmonton City Centre Airport is planned to be redeveloped into a sustainable community of 30,000 people comprising a transit-oriented mixed use town centre, townhouses, low, medium and high rise apartments, neighbourhood retail and service uses, and a major park.
Edmonton has four major industrial districts – the Northwest Industrial District, the Northeast Industrial District, the Southeast Industrial District and the emerging Edmonton Energy and Technology Park, which is part of Alberta's Industrial Heartland. The northwest, northeast and southeast districts each have smaller industrial areas and neighbourhoods within them.
The city has established 12 business revitalization zones – 124 Street and Area, Alberta Avenue, Beverly, Downtown, Chinatown and Little Italy, Fort Road and Area, Inglewood, Kingsway, North Edge, Northwest Industrial, Old Strathcona and Stony Plain Road.
In the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, the City of Edmonton recorded a population of 932,546 living in 360,828 of its 387,950 total private dwellings, a change of 14.8% from its 2011 population of 812,201. With a land area of 685.25 km2 (264.58 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,360.9/km2 (3,524.7/sq mi) in 2016.
The population of the City of Edmonton according to its 2016 municipal census is 899,447, a change of 2.4% from its 2014 municipal census population of 877,926. The 2016 census captured more detailed demographic information on residents, including age and gender, marital status, employment status, length of residency, prior residence, employment transportation mode, citizenship, school residency, economic diversity, city resource access, highest educational attainment, household language and income, as well as dwellings and properties, including ownership, structure and status. Per its municipal census policy, the city's next municipal census is scheduled for 2018.
In the 2011 Census, the City of Edmonton had a population of 812,201 living in 324,756 of its 348,672 total dwellings, a change of 11.2% from its 2006 population of 730,372. With a land area of 684.37 km2 (264.24 sq mi), it had a population density of 1,186.8/km2 (3,073.8/sq mi) in 2011. The census also reported that 50.2 percent of the population (407,325) was female while 49.8 percent (404,875) was male. The average age of the city's population was 36.0 years while there was an average 2.5 people per household.
The Edmonton census metropolitan area (CMA) has the fifth-greatest population of CMAs in Canada and the second-greatest in Alberta, but has the largest land area in Canada. It had a population of 1,159,869 in the 2011 Census compared to its 2006 population of 1,034,945. Its five-year population change of 12.1 percent was second only to the Calgary CMA between 2006 and 2011. With a land area of 9,426.73 km2 (3,639.68 sq mi), the Edmonton CMA had a population density of 123.0/km2 (318.7/sq mi) in 2011. Statistics Canada's latest estimate of the Edmonton CMA population, as of July 1, 2016 is 1,363,300
The Edmonton population centre is the core of the Edmonton CMA. This core includes the cities of Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan and St. Albert, the Sherwood Park portion of Strathcona County, and portions of Parkland County and Sturgeon County. The Edmonton population centre, the fifth-largest in Canada, had a population of 960,015 in 2011, an 11.3 percent increase over its 2006 population of 862,544.
In 2006, people of European ethnicities formed the largest cluster of ethnic groups in Edmonton. These included ethnicities mostly of English, Scottish, German, Irish, Ukrainian, Polish, and French origin. According to the 2006 census, the City of Edmonton was 71.8 percent White and 5.3 percent Aboriginal, while visible minorities accounted for 22.9 percent of the population.
According to the 2001 census, 31.2 percent of Edmonton residents are Protestant and 29.4 percent are Catholic. 5.5 percent belong to other Christian denominations, 2.9 percent are Muslim, 0.6 percent are Jewish, 5.1 percent are adherents of other religions, and 24.4 percent profess no religion. A Bahá'í Centre is located in Edmonton. The first mosque established in Canada – the Al-Rashid Mosque, founded by Abdullah Yusuf Ali – is situated in Edmonton. The Baitul Hadi Mosque is the only Ahmadiyya mosque in the city. Edmonton also hosts a Maronite Catholic church, on 76 Avenue/98 Street, with services in English on Saturdays and Arabic on Sundays. The Lebanese community also has 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 Sikh community in Edmonton is served by four gurdwaras. 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 five Unitarian Universalist congregations – the Unitarian Church of Edmonton and the Westwood Unitarian Congregation; the other three are located in Calgary, Lethbridge, and Red Deer.
Edmonton is the major economic centre for northern and central Alberta and a major centre for the oil and gas industry. As of 2014, the estimated value of major projects within the Edmonton Capital Region was $57.8-billion, of which $34.4-billion are within the oil and gas, oil sands and pipeline sectors.
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 Arabia.
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 (U of A) as well as government initiatives underway at the Alberta Research Council and Edmonton Research Park. The U of A campus is home to the National Institute for Nanotechnology.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Edmonton became 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. 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 GP (which includes Liquor Depot, Liquor Barn, OK Liquor, and Grapes & Grains), Planet Organic, Shaw Communications, 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 Rupert in British Columbia.
Edmonton is home to several shopping malls and the largest mall in North America, West Edmonton Mall, which is also considered to be the 10th largest mall in the world. Other mentionable malls include Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, Edmonton City Centre (a combination of the former Edmonton Centre and Eaton Centre malls), Southgate Centre, Kingsway Mall, Northgate Centre, Abbottsfield Mall, Londonderry Mall, and Mill Woods Town Centre.
Edmonton also has many big box shopping centres and power centres. Some of the major ones include South Edmonton Common (North America's largest open air retail development), Skyview Power Centre, Terra Losa Centre, Oliver Square, 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 Strathcona, includes many independent stores between 99 Street and 109 Street on Whyte Avenue and area. In around the downtown of Edmonton, there are a small handful of shopping districts, such as previously mentioned Edmonton City Centre mall, Jasper Avenue and 104 Street. Near Oliver, 124 Street is home to a significant number of retail stores. Edmonton is the Canadian testing-ground for many American retailers, such as Bath & Body Works and Calvin Klein.
Many events are anchored in the downtown Arts District, centred around Churchill Square (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 was opened in 1997 after years of planning and fundraising. Described as 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 1,932 patrons and houses the $3-million Davis Concert Organ, the largest concert organ in Canada. Across 102 Avenue is the Citadel Theatre, 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. In 2015, the Citadel Theatre also became home to Catalyst Theatre. On the University of Alberta grounds is the 2,534-seat Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, which were undertaken over a year of heavy renovations carried out as part of the province's 2005 centennial celebrations. Both it and its southern twin in Calgary were constructed in 1955 for the province's golden jubilee and have hosted 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."
The Old Strathcona neighbourhood is home to the Theatre District, which holds the ATB Financial Arts Barns (headquarters of the Edmonton International Fringe Festival), The Walterdale Playhouse, and the Varscona Theatre (base of operations for several theatre companies, including Teatro la Quindicina, Shadow Theatre, Die-Nasty, Plane Jane Theatre, and Grindstone Theatre!). Edmonton was named cultural capital of Canada in 2007. The Ukrainian Dnipro Ensemble of Edmonton, along with other Ukrainian choirs such as the Ukrainian Male Chorus of Edmonton, helps preserve the Ukrainian musical culture within the parameters of the Canadian multicultural identity in Edmonton.
Edmonton plays host to several large festivals each year, contributing to its nickname, "Canada's 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 K-Days, formerly Klondike Days, Capital Ex and originally the Edmonton Exhibition. Founded in 1879, the Edmonton Exhibition was originally an annual fair and exhibition that eventually adopted a gold rush theme, becoming Klondike Days in the 1960s. Northlands, the operators, renamed the festival to "Edmonton's Capital Ex" or "Capital Ex" in 2006. In 2012, Edmonton Northlands conducted a poll to rename the festival that resulted in changing the name to "K-Days". Activities include 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, held 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 Park on the Heritage Day long weekend. Many other festivals exist, such as Interstellar Rodeo, the Free Will Shakespeare Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Whyte Avenue Art Walk, and the Edmonton International Film Festival.
In the city's early days, music was performed in churches and community halls. Edmonton has a history of opera and classical music performance; both genres historically have been supported by a variety of clubs and associations. Edmonton's first major radio station, CKUA, began broadcasting music in 1927. The city is a centre for music instruction; the University of Alberta began its music department in 1945, and MacEwan University opened a jazz and musical theatre program in 1980. Festivals of jazz, folk, and classical music are popular entertainment events in the city.
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra has existed under various incarnations since 1913. In 1952, the Edmonton Philharmonic and the Edmonton Pops orchestras amalgamated to form the 60-member modern version. The Orchestra performs at the Francis Winspear Centre for Music.
The city also has a vibrant popular music scene, across genres including hip-hop, reggae, R&B, rock, pop, metal, punk, country and electronic. Notable past and present local musicians include Robert Goulet, Tommy Banks, Stu Davis, Tim Feehan, Cadence Weapon, Kreesha Turner, The Smalls, SNFU, Social Code, Stereos, Ten Second Epic, Tupelo Honey, Mac DeMarco, Shout Out Out Out Out, Psyche, Purity Ring, The Wet Secrets, and numerous others.
There are several key areas of nightlife in the city of Edmonton. The most popular is the Whyte Avenue (82 Avenue) strip, located between 109 Street and 99 Street; it has the highest number of heritage buildings in Edmonton, and the nightlife (bars, clubs, and restaurants) are located throughout, but mostly west of Gateway Boulevard (103 Street). 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 coordinated 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 number of establishments ranging from restaurants and pubs to trendy clubs while hosting a wide variety of retail and specialty 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 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, 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 are also to be found along Edmonton's main street, Jasper Avenue. The Edmonton City Centre mall also houses an Landmark Cinemas movie theatre, featuring nine screens. The nonprofit Metro Cinema shows a variety of alternative or otherwise unreleased 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; 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 theatre that features twelve screens and an IMAX.
Edmonton's river valley constitutes the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America, and Edmonton has the highest amount of parkland per capita of any Canadian city; the river valley is 22 times larger than New York City's Central Park. The river valley is home to various parks 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 ha (18,000 acres), 25 km (16 mi)-long river valley park system, there are 11 lakes, 14 ravines, and 22 major parks, and most of the city has accessible bike and walking trail connections. These trails are also part of the 235 km (146 mi) 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 also contain 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.
A variety of volunteer opportunities exist for citizens to participate in the stewardship of Edmonton's parkland and river valley. Volunteer programs include River Valley Clean-up, Root for Trees, and Partner in Parks. River Valley Clean-up engages volunteers to pick up hundreds of bags of litter each year.
There are many museums in Edmonton of various sizes. The largest is the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM), which was formerly known as the Provincial Museum of Alberta until it was renamed in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's 2005 Alberta centennial visit. The RAM houses over 10 million objects in its collection and showcases the culture and practices of the diverse aboriginal tribes of the region. The main building, overlooking the river valley west of the city centre in the Glenora neighbourhood, was opened in 1967 and is now in the early stages of large-scale redevelopment.
The Telus World of Science is located in the Woodcroft neighbourhood northwest of the city centre. It opened in 1984 and has since been expanded several times. It contains five permanent galleries, one additional gallery for temporary exhibits, an IMAX theatre, a planetarium, an observatory, and an amateur radio station. The Edmonton Valley Zoo is in the river valley to the southwest of the city centre.
The Alberta Aviation Museum, located in a hangar at the City Centre Airport, was built for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Its collection includes both civilian and military aircraft, the largest of which are a Boeing 737 and two CF-101 Voodoos. It also has one of only 3 BOMARC missiles in Canada.
The Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre is home to the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Military Museum. The museum is dedicated to preserving the military heritage and the sacrifices made by the people of Edmonton and Alberta in general. The museum features two galleries and several smaller exhibits. The collection includes historic firearms, uniforms, souvenirs, memorabilia, military accoutrements, as well as a large photographic and archival collection spanning the pre-World War One period to the present. The museum features an exhibit on the role of the 49th Battalion, CEF in Canada's Hundred Days Offensive.
The Telephone Historical Centre is a telephone museum also located in the Prince of Wales Armouries Heritage Centre. In addition to a collection of artifacts tracing the history of the telephone, the museum has its own theatre featuring a brief film led by the robot Xeldon.
The Alberta Railway Museum is located in the rural northeast portion 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.
Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest living history museum, is located in the river valley southwest of the city centre. Edmonton's heritage is displayed through historical buildings (many of which are originals moved to the park), costumed historical interpreters, and authentic artifacts. In total, it covers the region's history from approximately 1795 to 1929 (represented by Fort Edmonton), 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. The John Walter Museum and Historical Area (c. 1875 to 1901) is on the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The University of Alberta operates its own internal Museums and Collections service.
The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is the city's largest single gallery. Formerly housed in an iconic 1970s Brutalist building designed by Don Bittorf, the AGA collection had over 5,000 pieces of art. The former AGA building was demolished in July 2007 to make way for construction of a new facility designed by Randall Stout. It was estimated to cost over $88-million and the amount that Edmonton City Council donated towards its construction was met with some controversy. The AGA officially opened on January 31, 2010. Independent galleries can be found throughout the city, especially along the 124 Street/Jasper Avenue corridor, known as the "gallery walk".
Edmonton has a number of professional sports teams, including the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League, Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League, and FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League. Junior sports clubs include the Edmonton Huskies and Edmonton Wildcats of the Canadian Junior Football League and the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. Venues for Edmonton's professional and junior sports teams include Commonwealth Stadium (Eskimos), Argyll Velodrome, Rogers Place (Oilers and Oil Kings), Edmonton Ballpark (Prospects), the Universiade Pavilion (Energy), and Clarke Stadium (FC Edmonton, Huskies and Wildcats).
Edmonton's teams have rivalries with Calgary's teams and games between Edmonton and Calgary teams are often referred to as the Battle of Alberta.
Past notable hockey teams in Edmonton include: the original junior hockey incarnation of the Edmonton Oil Kings, with multiple league and national Memorial Cup championships playing in the Western Hockey League; the Edmonton Flyers, with multiple Lester Patrick Cups and one national Allan Cup, and; the Edmonton Roadrunners of the American Hockey League. Other past notable sports teams include; the Edmonton Grads, a women's basketball team with 108 local, provincial, national, and international titles and the world champions for 17 years in a row; the Edmonton Trappers, a Triple-A level baseball team with multiple division and league titles in the Pacific Coast League, and; the Edmonton Rush, a box lacrosse team with one league championship.
Local university-level sports teams include the U of A Golden Bears, the U of A Pandas, the NAIT Ooks, and the MacEwan Griffins. Local amateur teams, among others, include the Edmonton Gold of the Rugby Canada Super League and two flat track roller derby leagues: Oil City Roller Derby and E-Ville Roller Derby.
From 2005 to 2012, Edmonton hosted an annual circuit on the Indy Racing League known as the Edmonton Indy. In addition, Castrol Raceway hosts regular sprint car and a national IHRA events at their facility next to Edmonton International Airport.
Other past sporting events hosted by Edmonton include the 1978 Commonwealth Games, the 1983 World University Games (Universiade), the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, the 2002 World Ringette Championships, the 2005 World Master Games, the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup, the 2007 and 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, and the CN Canadian Women's Open. Edmonton shared hosting duties with Calgary for the 2012 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.
In 1892 Edmonton was incorporated as a town. The first mayor was Matthew McCauley, who 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 Strathcona, a rival settlement on the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River. Edmonton was incorporated as a city in 1904 and became the capital of Alberta in 1905.
Unions and radical organizations such as the Industrial Workers of the World struggled for progressive social change through the early years, with the first reformer, James East, being elected in 1912, followed by the first official Labour alderman, James Kinney, the following year. Many thousands of workers participated in the Edmonton general strike of 1919 and a strong block of Labour representatives were on council after the next election: James Kinney, James East, Sam McCoppen, Joe Clarke and Rice Sheppard.
Labour representation on city council would become a near-majority in 1929, and, during the Great Depression, a full majority from 1932 to 1934. Jan Reimer became the city's first female mayor, when she was elected in 1989.
Edmonton is represented by a mayor and 12 councillors—one for each of the 12 wards. On July 22, 2009 City Council adopted an electoral system that divides Edmonton into 12 wards, instead of the previous two for each of six wards. This system came into effect with the following election in October 2010. The most recent election was held in October 2013, and elected members to a four-year term.
Edmonton is the capital of the province of Alberta and holds all main provincial areas of government such as the Provincial Legislature of Alberta. The Edmonton region is represented by 20 MLAs, one for each provincial electoral district. Many of these boundaries have been changed, adjusted and renamed while the city has grown. In the current 29th Alberta Legislature all of Edmonton's districts are represented by members from the governing Alberta New Democratic Party. Six of these members are cabinet ministers while one of them is also the Premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley.
The city's police force, the Edmonton Police Service, was founded in 1892, and had approximately 1,400 officers in 2012. Edmonton experienced a decrease in crime in the 1990s, an increase in the early 2000s, and another downturn at the end of the decade.
The Edmonton census metropolitan area (CMA) had a crime severity index of 84.5 in 2013, which is higher than the national average of 68.7. Its crime severity index was the fifth-highest among CMAs in Canada behind Regina, Saskatoon, Kelowna and Vancouver. Edmonton had the fourth-most homicides in 2013 at 27.
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 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, 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 Namao (now CFB Edmonton/Edmonton Garrison), it was a major air force base. In 1996, all fixed-wing aviation units were transferred to CFB Cold Lake.
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 World War I.
Edmonton also has a large army reserve element from 41 Canadian Brigade Group (41 CBG), including The Loyal Edmonton Regiment (4th Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry); 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 (naval, army and air force) within Edmonton as well.
Edmonton is a major air transportation gateway to northern Alberta and northern Canada. The Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is the main airport serving the city.
The EIA provides passenger service to destinations in the United States, Europe, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The EIA is located within Leduc County, adjacent to the City of Leduc and the Nisku Industrial Business Park. With direct air distances from Edmonton to places such as London 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.
Edmonton serves as a major transportation hub for Canadian National Railway, whose North American operations management centre is located at their Edmonton offices. It is also tied into the Canadian Pacific Railway network, which provides service from Calgary to the south and extends northeast of Edmonton to serve Alberta's Industrial Heartland.
Inter-city rail passenger rail service is provided by Via Rail's premier train, the Canadian, as it travels between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Toronto, Ontario. Passenger trains stop at the Edmonton railway station three days a week in both directions. The train connects Edmonton to multiple stops in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario.
The Edmonton Transit System (ETS) is the city's public transit agency, operating the Edmonton Light Rail Transit (LRT) line as well as a fleet of buses. Approximately one-third of people in the Edmonton Capital Region (mostly from Edmonton proper) use ETS per day (354,440 out of 1,034,945). There are approximately 280,000 ETS bus riders on average per day.
From the 1990s to early 2009, Edmonton was one of two cities in Canada still operating trolley buses, along with Vancouver. On June 18, 2008, City Council decided to abandon the Edmonton trolley bus system and the last trolley bus 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. The four-year South LRT extension was opened in full on April 24, 2010, which sees trains travelling to Century Park (located at 23 Avenue and 111 Street), making stops at South Campus and Southgate Centre along the way. A line to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in north-central Edmonton using the same high floor technology of the existing system opened September 6, 2015. Edmonton is also expanding the LRT to Mill Woods (the southeast) by 2020 and to Lewis Farms (the west) thereafter using low floor technology.
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 Kingsway, Yellowhead Trail (Highway 16), Whitemud Drive and Anthony Henday Drive, 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 Highway 2 (Queen Elizabeth II Highway) to the south.
There is an extensive multi-use trail system for bicycles and pedestrians throughout the city; however, most of this is within the river valley parkland system.
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 (UV) water treatment or ultraviolet disinfection system at its E.L. Smith Water Treatment Plant.
The Edmonton Composting Facility, the largest of its type in the world, is also the largest stainless steel building in North America. By 2016, the city anticipates that it will divert more than 90 percent 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.
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 Technology, and Olds College.
There are four main hospitals serving Edmonton: University of Alberta Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Misericordia Community Hospital, and Grey Nuns Community Hospital. Other area hospitals include Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert, Leduc Community Hospital in Leduc, Westview Health Centre in Stony Plain, and Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital in Fort Saskatchewan. Dedicated psychiatric care is provided at the Alberta Hospital. The Northeast Community Health Centre offers a 24-hour emergency room with no inpatient ward services. The University of Alberta Hospital is the centre of a larger complex of hospitals and clinics located adjacent to the university campus which comprises the Stollery Children's Hospital, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, Cross Cancer Institute, Zeidler Gastrointestinal Health Centre, Ledcor Clinical Training Centre, and Edmonton Clinic. Several health research institutes, including the Heritage Medical Research Centre, Medical Sciences Building, Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research, and Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation, are also located at this site. A similar set-up is also evident at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, which is connected to the Lois Hole Hospital for Women and Orthopaedic Surgery Centre. All hospitals are under the administration of Alberta Health Services, although Misericordia and Grey Nuns are run separately by Covenant Health.
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 Schools, and the separate Edmonton Catholic School District. Also, since 1994, the Francophone minority community has had their own school board based in Edmonton, the Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No. 2, which includes surrounding communities. The city also has a number of public charter schools that are 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, Progressive Academy and Tempo School. The Edmonton Society for Christian Education and Millwoods Christian School (not part of the former) used to be private schools; however, both have become part of Edmonton Public Schools as alternative programs.
Both the Edmonton Public Schools and the Edmonton Catholic School District provide support and resources for those wishing to homeschool their children.
Those post-secondary institutions based in Edmonton that are publicly funded include Concordia University College of Alberta, MacEwan University, The King's University, NorQuest College, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and the University of Alberta (U of A). The publicly funded Athabasca University and the University of Lethbridge also have campuses in Edmonton.
The U of A is a board-governed institution that has an annual revenue of over one billion dollars. In 2011/12, the university had over 38,000 students enrolled within nearly 400 undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, as well as over 15,000 students enrolled in its faculty of extension. The U of A is also home to the second-largest research library system in Canada.
In 2010/11, MacEwan University had a total student population of over 43,000 students, including nearly 14,000 full-time students, enrolled in programs offering bachelor's degrees, university transfers, diplomas and certificates. NAIT has an approximate total of 61,200 students enrolled in more than 200 programs while NorQuest College has approximately 8,500 students enrolled in various full-time, part-time and continuing education programs.
Other post-secondary institutions within Edmonton include Taylor University College and Seminary and Yellowhead Tribal College, a First Nations college.
Edmonton has seven local broadcast television stations shown on basic cable TV or over-the-air, with the oldest broadcasters in the city being CTV (1961) and CBC (1954). Most of Edmonton's conventional television stations have made the switch to over-the-air digital broadcasting. The cable television providers in Edmonton are Telus (for IPTV) and Shaw Cable. 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. The Journal, established in 1903 and owned by the Postmedia Network, has a daily circulation of 112,000, while the Sun, established in 1978 and owned by Sun Media, has a circulation of 55,000. The Journal no longer publishes a Sunday edition as of July 2012.
There is one free daily newspaper in the city, Metro. The magazine Vue Weekly is published on a weekly basis and focuses on alternative news. The Edmonton Examiner is a citywide community based paper also published weekly. There are also a number of smaller weekly and community newspapers.
Edmonton has five sister cities, with one American city listed by Sister Cities International.Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, since 1967
Harbin, China, since 1985
Nashville, Tennessee, United States, since 1990
Wonju, South Korea, since 1998
Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, since 2013