Edmonton, Alberta Community Overview
Edmonton is a charming city with over 730,000 residents, and Greater Edmonton has about 1,034,000 (2006).
The Central attraction of the city is the deep, wide North Saskatchewan River Valley that carves its way
through the city. Edmonton's downtown overlooks the north bank of the river, and has Chinatown to the east
and the provincial legistlature (and outlying administrative office towers) to the west.
In the river valley are a number of recreational facilities including a ball diamond indoor and outdoor pools,
the Shaw Convention Centre, and extensive recreational pathways.
Overlooking the south bank of the river is the charming Old Strathcona historical and shopping & entertainment district, home to manu of Edmonton's summer festivals, and the well-regarded University of Alberta. There is also an Experimental Farm, south of the University and historic Fort Edmonton.
Edmonton is more famous for it being the home of the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in the world, with over 800 stores and services. The WEM is located in the city's west end, and it seems all freeways point in its direction. The mall has the world's largest parking lot, indoor wave pool, indoor waterslide, indoor rollercoaster, indoor navy (4 submarines and a couple of boats), to name a few "world's bests." There's even a hotel in the Mall, as well as its own nightlife district (Bourbon Street) to make shopping even easier.
Edmonton's development began in 1795 when the Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post was established. The North West Company arrived in Edmonton in 1804 and the two competed for plains Indian furs until their merger in 1820. Fort Edmonton became the major stopping point before pioneers headed up north or farther west nd by 180s Edmonton became a settlement. The city boomed during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, as thousands of eager prospectors headed north, via the "All Canadian Route," stopped in Edmonton for supplies.
Many people settled in Edmonton permanently and by 1904 Edmonton had 9,000 residents, when it was incorporated as a city, and declared the provincial capital of Alberta, which became a province in 1905. In 1912, Edmonton on the north side of the river and the town of Strathcona on the south amalgamated with a combined population over 53,000. The High Level Bridge was completed in 1913, creating another link between the north and south sides of Edmonton. The elegant Hotel Macdonald was completed in 1915.
In the 1930s, Edmonton continued to thrive as a northern business centre, and thee airport was jumping off point for bush planes. In 1942, the wartime construction of the Alaska Highway made the city became the major ground transportation and supply centre to the far north.
Oil was discovered in the Edmonton area shortly after World War II, near Leduc just south of Edmonton. The area around Edmonton became home to most of Alberta's oil production and refinery capacity, giving Edmonton new status as the Oil Capital of Canada (even though most headquarter office towers are located in Edmonton). Since the Arab Oil Boycott of 1973, the city has grown dramatically with an area population now around 1,100,000.
Moving to Edmonton
Edmonton is surrounded by a number of municipalities that together form "Greater Edmonton".
and Devon to the south, Sherwood Park and Fort Saskatchewan to the East, and St Albert, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain to the west.
Edmonton has an excellent public transit system including a Light Rail Transit network, which runs underground in the downtown core. For drivers, the city lies on the Yellowhead Highway, the norhter Tans-Canad route, connecting Portage la Praire (west of Winnipeg, Manitoba) with Prince Rupert on the Pacific Ocean. The city is a highway hub connecting Edmonton to the south, the oilsands in Fort McMurray and Cold Lake to the north, and the Alaska Highway to the northwest, which links travellers to the Yukon and Alaska.