Edmonton: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Last updated: February 18, 2023

Edmonton, Canada’s fifth largest city, is also the capital of the most economically dynamic province, thanks in large part to the production of oil and natural gas. The once prosperous labour market has attracted many workers and taxes are considered to be lower than elsewhere in Canada. Here are some of its best attractions.

01. Art Gallery of Alberta

Since 2010, the impressive revolving roof of the Art Gallery has been a work of art in itself. It is, however, the revamping of a construction completed in 1968 in the Brutalist style that is aging poorly. The permanent collection consists mainly of paintings, mostly by Canadian artists after 1950, with a few early European works.

02. Sir Winston Churchill Square

The central square, officially Sir Winston Churchill Square, was redesigned in 1965 to replace the market held there. It is the place where the public gathers for celebrations, also offering a daily setting for a relaxing moment, with its fountain and skating rink. At the end of the square, the City Hall is located under the glass pyramid.

03. City Hall

The new city hall dates from 1992, topped by a glass pyramid 141 feet, 43 metres high, it distributes natural light throughout the atrium, forming like a covered village square for bad weather. The public is also invited to walk through the building, the corridors on the upper floors present works of art related to the region.

04. Clock Tower

Like European campaniles, the city hall has a clock tower of 196 feet, 60 metres, with a carillon of 23 bells. A short melody is played every hour during the day, among 99 recorded melodies, a keyboard also allows direct composing. It is called The Friendship Tower and was built in 1992 with the new City Hall.

05. Alberta Legislature Building

Somewhat remote from today’s downtown, the seat of the provincial government, the Legislature Building was completed in 1912. Surrounded by a beautiful park, the majestic building stands near the Saskatchewan River, where the Hudson’s Bay Company had built a fort as early as 1795. The 87 members of the Assembly are elected every four years.

06. West Edmonton Mall

The shopping centre is presented as the largest in North America and has been built in several phases since 1981. The numbers are impressive, more than 800 shops, a hundred restaurants and two hotels. In addition, there are several attractions, such as an ice rink and a wave pool. 24,000 people work there for 32 million visitors a year.

07. Fairmont Macdonald Hotel

This is the city’s luxury hotel, where celebrities and members of the royal family stay. Completed in 1915 for a railway company, it is one of the chateaux intended for the wealthy travellers of the time. It then passed through several hands and remains a prestigious reception centre. It was named after the first Prime Minister of Canada.

08. Hotel Alberta

The Hotel Alberta was first built in 1903, replacing a wooden structure. At that time it was the highest and most luxurious establishment in the city. It was demolished in 1984 to widen the central square. In 2011, after more than 25 years of storage, the original stones and bricks were reassembled with a modern office layout.

09. Harbin Gate

The Harbin Gate opened onto Old Chinatown, donated in 1987 by the City of Harbin sister city with Edmonton. In 2017, it was dismantled to allow the tramway to pass through and should be reassembled at a different location soon. However, the Chinese community has lost some of its initial concentration and the neighbourhood is experiencing safety problems.

10. First schoolhouse

Edmonton’s first free public school dates back to 1881, its wooden structure has been carefully preserved to illustrate the city’s origins. In those days, pioneers who made the perilous journey westward for a better life did so with their children in mind, so their education was very important to them.

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  1. Thanks for looking at my city. You should know that we are no longer a dynamic economy, due to falling oil prices and lack of pipelines and our unemployment rate is currently amongst the highest in the country. The art gallery design represents the Aurora Borealis, the Harbin gate has been removed for LRT expansion and Little Flower School is where my wife started school. As to West Edmonton Mall, while it is great for tourists, I avoid the place like the plague (no, not Covid). Hope all is well with you. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was expecting your feedback. Thank you for the update on the changes of the last few years. I appreciate it. I think I might add that there are a few more skyscrapers, the skyline is what has changed the most in Canadian cities in recent times. Edmonton is still a great city to visit to get to know the country better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely, still the best. The best river valley, the largest continuous urban park in Canada, the tallest skyscraper West of Toronto, the best festivals (except during Covid) and the best sprit of volunteerism. Diversification is the only safe path to prosperity, but, we need petro to get us there for now. Thanks for the post. Allan

        Liked by 1 person

    • Edmonton, like most Canadian cities, has been continually renewing its downtown core in response to economic expansion by keeping up with new trends in architecture. This is why it is sometimes difficult to find an ‘old city’ outside of Montreal and Quebec City.


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