The ABC's of Why You Should Move to Edmonton!

There are so many reasons why we heart Edmonton, but we're going to make it simple and tell you the ABC's of why...

by emil tiedemann

ARE you ready to uproot? Looking for somewhere new to call home? Want some adventure in your workaday life? Then I think I have something to tell you! It's called Edmonton, and it's waiting for you!

Okay, maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, but I only speak the truth when I say that Edmonton is an ever-evolving, progressive and sustainable town full of visionaries and forward-thinkers! I'm a proud Edmontonian who, like many other locals, has a passion for everything #yeg!


Edmonton!

Edmonton's never exactly had the most exciting reputation when it comes to Canada's big cities, but that's quickly changing, as we step into our own and become one of the best places in the country - perhaps on the continent - to raise a family, ignite a new career, and/or retire into your golden years.

Not buying what I'm selling? Well then, let me give you the ABC's of why you need to get up off that sexy butt of yours, pack up that U-Haul and head down to Alberta's capital, the 'City of Champions,' 'Festival City,' 'Gateway to the North,' 'River City,' 'E-town,'...Edmonton!

A is for Art Gallery of Alberta
It may have been the center of controversy for Edmontonians during its whole planning and construction phase, and even for awhile afterwards, but the anything-but-ordinary Art Gallery of Alberta has grown on us. In fact, the 5-year-old structure has become somewhat of a trademark of Edmonton, similar to what the CN Tower is to Toronto or the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco. Oh, and it's full of world class artwork and exhibits, of course!

Art Gallery of Alberta

B is for Banff & Jasper
Okay, so Banff and Jasper aren't technically part of the Edmonton region, but they're each just 4 or 5 hours away by car, and both are among the most scenic places in the world. They're just a couple of the many perks of living here...when you need a little vacation you don't need a plane ticket, just a car and a free weekend, and you can enjoy some of the most stunning views in the whole country! Both towns are perfect for skiers, snowboarders, hikers, mountain climbers, campers, or wildlife enthusiasts.


Jasper, Alberta

C is for Community
Ask anyone here and they'll most likely tell you that there's a real sense of community here in Edmonton. No, not everyone knows your name, but when disaster or tragedy strikes, the city unites to mend it in whatever way it can. There are countless non-profit and charitable organizations in our humble town, from Santa's Anonymous to the Bissell Centre, and there are always more than enough volunteers to lend a helping hand to anyone in need!

D is for Downtown Revitalization
The new arena district is the 'build it and they will come' catalyst in our downtown, stretching over various city blocks to accommodate an entertainment zone that will include a casino, movie theatre, public arts spaces, pubs & restaurants, bars & shops, condos, and of course that giant arena that will be the new home of the Edmonton Oilers by the start of the 2016-17 season! But there are plenty of other projects in the works that are set to inject some new life into our once dreary downtown core!


  

E is for Edmonton Eskimos
Since their official formation in 1949, our Canadian Football League team, the Edmonton Eskimos, have won 13 Grey Cup championships and have become one of the league's most decorated franchises. Tickets to see a game at the Commonwealth Stadium are reasonably priced and are a guaranteed good time! Grab some beers, grab a seat, and sit back as our Eskimos show you how the game is supposed to be played!

F is for Festival City
You can call us the 'City of Champions' if you like, but 'Festival City' seems a better fit when you realize that there are anywhere from 60-70 festivals taking place throughout our sociable city year-round. The Fringe is the second largest fest of its kind on the planet, while Street Performers is at the top of its game. The Folk Fest is world class, and Heritage Days will take you across the globe without ever leaving town. We also recommend Freewill Shakespeare, Pride, the Film Fest, Jazz Fest, A Taste of Edmonton, Symphony Under the Sky...nevermind, there's just too damn many to name! 

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

G is for Garneau District
Old Strathcona is one of the most visited neighbourhoods in all of Edmonton, and its Garneau district is a big reason for that. Located just east of the University of Alberta and overlooking the North Saskatchewan, Garneau is one of the oldest 'hoods in Edmonton, as well as one of its trendiest. Grab a drink at the Sugarbowl, then a movie at the old school Metro Cinema, followed by a bite to eat at Farrow Sandwiches, nightcap it at Noorish Cafe, and then end off your night with a stroll down the High Level Bridge. Seriously, do this!

H is for Health Care
Canada has a reputation for having an exemplary universal health care system that is the envy of most nations around the world, and Edmonton is no stranger to its many benefits. We have four large hospitals and many other smaller health care branches that offer the best possible care for whatever it is that ails you. We couldn't be more proud of our world class facilities that keep Edmontonians alive and well, including the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, the Cross Cancer Institute, the Edmonton Clinic, the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, and the Stollery Children's Hospital!

I is for Iveson
Mayor Don Iveson is young, smart, competent, and a visionary...he's also not too hard to look at, if you know what I mean! Iveson is the perfect person to run this city, with a real sense of what is best for Edmonton and its 812,200 citizens. He isn't afraid to walk the walk, he refuses to settle for anything less than what we deserve and what we need to flourish, and he has a vision for a strong and ever-growing future for our city!

Mayor Don Iveson

J is for Jobs
Edmonton's always had an impressive unemployment rate, even when the economy seems to be in the pits, which is one of the many reasons why our population extensively grows with every census! People are coming here from across Canada and other nations as well to find work, or to train for any of the countless career opportunities available in Edmonton and area. Whether you're in the technology or medical industries, the hospitality or oil fields, or the education or entertainment sector, Edmonton has you covered.

K is for K-Days
It's hard to believe that K-Days, formerly Klondike Days, started waaaaaay back in 1879! Today, it's an all-ages 10-day festival that attracts about 800,000 visitors every July, and has become a summer tradition for locals and visitors from across the land. There's an abundance of things to see and do at K-Days (July 17-26, 2015), including amusement rides, carnival games, a petting zoo, delicious foods & treats, a beer gardens, a family parade, vendors, and plenty of live music and entertainment, all capped off with a fireworks show each and every night!

L is for Legislature Grounds
Yes, Calgary, we're the capital of this epic province we call Alberta, and we're not going to let you forget it! The Alberta Legislature Building is more than a century old, and is perhaps the most majestic and historic structure in all of Edmonton, resting on the edge of downtown and overlooking our stunning river valley. The Leg Grounds have recently received an expensive overhaul that includes beautiful fountains, a restored & upgraded Federal Building, and room for upcoming cafes and shops to revitalize a district long overdue. 

The new Alberta Legislature Grounds

M is for The Mall
When it first opened in 1981, and for many years after that, West Edmonton Mall was the largest shopping center in the world! It still remains the largest in the Western Hemisphere, and by far one of the coolest experiences you'll have here in Edmonton. There's no shortage of things to do within the walls of this 5.3 million square-foot Goliath, including the indoor amusement park, waterpark, mini-golf course, multi-plex, casino, hotel, ice rink, dinner theatre, rec room, shooting range, arcade, and more than 800 shops, bars and restaurants to choose from!

Galaxyland's Mindbender rollercoaster in West Edmonton Mall

N is for National Geographic
No, Edmonton is not the headquarters of National Geographic, but we were just featured in a recent edition that proclaimed Edmonton as one of Top 10 'Best Summer Trips' around the world! Pretty cool, right! The iconic magazine cited our endless festivals, long summer days, the river valley, and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Games as some of the main reasons behind their selection. Not that we're surprised though!

O is for Oilers
The 5-time Stanley Cup-winning dynasty known as the Edmonton Oilers are the pride and joy of Edmonton, depending on who you ask, of course! It's the same team that made NHL icons out of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Glenn Anderson, Jari Kurri, Kevin Lowe, Grant Fuhr, and Andy Moog! Sure, the Oilers have been somewhat of a letdown as of late, but with the arrival of Connor McDavid, major re-staffing and the new arena, things are beginning to look up for one of the NHL's most decorated franchises! Buy your tickets early, because they tend to sell out. 



We love our Oilers!

P is for Public Art
From the stunning Neon Sign Museum in the downtown to those shiny silver balls just off the Whitemud, Edmonton is brimming with beautiful and unique public art pieces scattered throughout the metro. There are hundreds of examples of the talent this city is home to, like the giant stockings at Southgate Mall, the huge baseball bat near NAIT, the snare drum pavilion in Borden Park, the flashing lights along the High Level Bridge, the grizzly at Epcor, the murals down Alberta Avenue, or the replica of the Santa Maria ship at West Edmonton Mall!

The Neon Sign Museum at 104th & 104th in downtown #yeg

Q is for Queer Community
You might not be aware of this unless you actually identify as LGBTQ+, but Edmonton has a strong, vibrant and progressive queer community, and is one of the best places - perhaps in the world - to live if you're gay! We've righted some wrongs, we've made positive some negatives, shed some long-standing stereotypes, and moved forward with the times! The Edmonton Pride Festival just celebrated its 35th anniversary, the Pride Centre is a great place for education and communication, and there are several gay bars and places to eat, drink, dance, sing and be gay! 

The rainbow crosswalks in Old Strathcona during the Pride Festival

R is for River Valley
You like the outdoors? Well then you're gonna love Edmonton's river valley, North America's largest expanse of urban parkland! That's 18,000 acres of green space that runs along the North Saskatchewan River and expands across 17 parks, 22 ravines, 11 lakes, local wildlife, and hundreds of kilometers of walking and cycling paths. The valley is also home to three golf courses, the Valley Zoo, Fort Edmonton Park, the Muttart Conservatory, and the Legislature Grounds...all right in the middle of our city! Take a ride on the Edmonton Queen Riverboat or try a Segway tour and see for yourself!

The stunning river valley

S is for Sunshine
Edmonton averages 321 days and 2,299 hours of sunshine each and every year, making it one of the sunniest places in all of Canada! It doesn't matter what season - and trust me, we get a good sampling of each one - Edmonton is blistering with rays of sunshine, namely in the summer months (June-September), when the skies remain light until 9 or 10 at night! If you're like me and avoid the extreme heat at all costs, you're good, because we really don't get much hotter than 32 degrees Celsius.

T is for Transit System
The Edmonton Transit System (ETS) is a fully integrated, easy-to-use, safe and ever-progressive public transit system that is hoping to one day connect the whole city by light rail transit. The more than a century-old system even connects locals with surrounding municipalities like St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove and Strathcona County, allowing anyone the ability to get from one side of town to the other with ease. There are various extension projects under construction as you read this, and many future developments in the works. And don't forget about the streetcar that crosses the High Level Bridge during the summer!

The High Level Bridge streetcar runs during the summer months

U is for University of Alberta
Founded in 1908 by Alberta's first premier, the University of Alberta is one of the top 3 best universities in the nation. Its main campus stretches 50 city blocks and boasts more than 150 buildings that offers some 400 programs in 18 faculties for its 39,000 students from 150 different countries! Edmonton is well recognized for its high standards and vast opportunities of education, with a smorgasbord of fields of study available at the UofA as well as MacEwan University, Concordia University, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), and NorQuest College.

V is for Vintage Edmonton
Fort Edmonton Park is a glimpse into our very own past, and is Canada's largest living history museum! Situated on the banks of the North Saskatchewan, Fort Edmonton has 158 acres of land dedicated to four different time periods representing Edmonton's history, with actors portraying folks of yesteryear. Edmonton's also got plenty of museums that preserve and capture our past, including the under construction Royal Alberta Museum and the first-in-Canada Neon Sign Museum on the corner of 104th & 104th!

Fort Edmonton Park

W is for Whyte Avenue
If you're new to Edmonton, ask any of the locals and they'll tell you that Whyte is the place to be if you're looking to have a good time! Whether you're a foodie, a shopaholic, a dancing machine, or someone who likes to sip on some wobbly pops from time to time, Whyte has your number! There are dozens of charming and unique spots to mull over when on Whyte in Old Strathcona, and when better to hit 'em up than during one of the festivals that take over the area throughout the year, such as the Fringe, Pride, Ice on Whyte or Art Walk!

X is for Xtras
Okay, that's not how you spell extras, but what the hell am I supposed to come up with with the letter 'x'?! We've had to leave off many things from this list simply due to room, so here's a brief rundown of some of the 'xtras' that we couldn't specifically detail: the Muttart Conservatory, the lively theatre and music communities, Telus Field, 104th Street Promenade, the farmers' markets, Startup Edmonton & Make Something Edmonton, the rec centres, the rodeo, Elk Island, Telus World of Science, Jurassic Forest, ridiculously good eats, and the fact that we're still rat-free!

The Muttart Conservatory

Y is for #YEG
YEG is Edmonton's airport code, and we've embraced it like no other metro I can think of has! It's become a symbol of Edmonton's boisterous and dominating online community - which has made #yeg trend across Canada on occasion - that seems to work together like we could've never imagined. The amount of support for each other on Edmonton's social media pages is inspiring and encouraging, as Edmontonians tend to unite, provide and aid our friends, colleagues and even competition. If you're an online bully, stay clear of our town!

Z is for Zoo
There are more than 100 different species of mammals, reptiles, birds and insects at the 56-year-old Edmonton Valley Zoo. There are eight different exhibits that house creatures from nearly every corner of the world, including the Siberian tiger, Arctic wolf, Kenyan sand boa, Jamaican fruit bat, bald eagle, spider monkey, snow leopard, and world-famous Lucy the Elephant. Every June they also host ZooFest, which allows folks to see what goes down after hours at the Zoo! 

Lucy the Elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo

Need I say more?! Now, get your sweet ass down here!

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