Edmonton started off in 1795 as a fur trading fort established by the Hudson's Bay Company. It's kind of fitting therefore that the city is now home to North America's largest shopping centre, the West Edmonton Mall.
There's much more to this Alberta city than shopping however. It's a booming staging point for oil sands projects in northern Alberta and diamond mining operations in the Northwest Territories. On top of that it is a noted city of the arts. There are more live theatres per capita than anywhere else in Canada, theatre festivals dot the summer calendar, and the performing arts community spans opera, ballet, symphony orchestra and jazz.
It has been Canada's Cultural Capital and its legendary hockey team, the Oilers, has collected numerous Stanley Cups.
Edmonton's greenness is legendary too. A green belt runs through the city and there are hundreds of kilometres of trails for walking, running, cycling and rollerblading. In the winter months, chances to skate, go cross-country skiing or downhill skiing, are all just minutes of downtown.
Edmonton has a temperate climate. November to mid-March are snowy; temperatures average -15 degrees Celsius. June through August are dry and sunny with average temperatures of 17 degrees. The summer solstice (June 21) is a long, bright day - more than 17 hours.
When to fly to Edmonton
A four-season destination, there's no bad time to take cheap flights to Edmonton; it depends on what you want to do. Celebrations include Edmonton Gay Pride, Taste of Edmonton, Heritage Days and CariWest.
Getting around Edmonton
When your cheap flight to Edmonton arrives, you can get into the city’s centre quickly and easily by hopping on the Sky Shuttle Bus. You can also take a taxi into town. Once downtown you can use the Light Rail Transit (LRT) or buses. Save some money by buying a day pass or ride the rails for free downtown.
Edmonton insider information
- Take your picture with Wayne Gretzky, sadly just the statue of the greatest hockey player of all time. It stands outside Rexall Place. Cast in bronze, Gretsky is holding aloft the Stanley Cup which he won four times with the Oilers.
- During the summer months, watch Movies on the Square, Churchill Square, on a three-story tall inflatable movie screen.
- Get lost in a corn maze. The Edmonton Corn Maze is located just minutes from West Edmonton in Parkland County. The maze covers six hectares and there are more than 5km of trails in the maze. The corn will grow to almost three metres, but there are two bridge lookouts to help the lost find themselves. On average it will take about an hour to get through the maze, although it can be done in as little as 20 minutes.
- Four glass pyramids dot the landscape in the east of the city. The Muttart Conservatory is an Edmonton landmark.