Reason #61 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Our Neighbours

By Emil Tiedemann

We couldn’t have asked for better next-door neighbours than the likes of St. Albert, Sherwood Park (Strathcona County), Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Leduc, Nisku, Devon, and Beaumont! 

These nearby communities that surround our city limits offer that small-town mentality on those days when you just need to get away from the hustle and bustle of a large metro like Edmonton. The Capital Region, as it is often referred to, is really just one large community at heart, each offering their own special personalities and attributes. 
Downtown St. Albert.

St. Albert, for example, is one of Canada’s “best-kept secrets,” according to MoneySense magazine, which consistently ranks the small city of about 64,000 as one of the best places to live in the whole country, even reaching #1 on the list as recent as 2014. 

That says a lot about the people who live in St. Albert, practically and almost literally a hop, skip, and a jump from Edmonton’s northwest. In fact, it’s quite common for St. Albert residents to work and/or play in Edmonton, and for Edmontonians to drive the few minutes into St. Albert to visit their weekend farmers’ market, see a show at the Arden Theatre, or shop at The Enjoy Centre

“We have a high satisfaction level with our community,” St. Albert Mayor Nolan Crouse told me in a 2012 interview, “because of the recreation, because of sports, because of the can go to a movie, or you can go to a play, or you can go to a hockey game, and you can go painting or bird watching, canoeing or hiking...we cover it all!” 

But, when St. Albert ranked #1 in 2014 as the “best place to live in Canada,” there were plenty of other things to boast about, such as steadily decreasing crime rates, low unemployment numbers, above average incomes, high-paying job opportunities, and plenty of year-round sunshine. 

“It’s easy to think residing in a modest-sized town means giving up access to all the services and amenities, but that doesn’t have to be the case,” wrote MoneySense magazine. “Satellite communities around major centres are evolving to deliver small-town flair with big-city conveniences.” 

That’s exactly the balance that St. Albert has attained, equipped with a multi-purpose leisure centre (Servus Credit Union Place), its own Gazette, the tranquil Botanic Park, the Art Gallery, Century Casino, and their own Sturgeon Community Hospital
St. Albert Botanic Park.

There are also plenty of annual events and festivals that take place throughout the year in St. Albert, such as the International Children’s Festival, Seven Music Fest, the Rock’n August Car Show, the new Pride Festival, or Western Canada’s largest outdoor farmers’ market

And like Edmonton, St. Albert is a proud hockey town, the hometown of NHL legends like Mark Messier and Jarome Iginla, both of whom began their long hockey careers in the minor leagues of St. Albert. 

Even with all of that in mind, there is more to be said of this friendly neighbour of ours. There’s a spirit and an attitude in the people who live there, who take pride in their “best-kept secret,” and who are more than okay with keeping it that way. “We have no interest in ever moving,” said Crouse, who actually hails from nearby Viking, Alberta. “We’ll never move from here!” #nextdooryeg

Homes began going up in this large hamlet - originally known as “Campbelltown” - in the mid-’50s, and it has flourished into one of the Capital Region’s most sought-after communities, consistantly recognized as one of the best places in all of Canada to call home!

Just 15 minutes northeast of Edmonton, the City of Fort Saskatchewan proudly boasts about their 75 kms of paved walking and biking trails in the river valley, as well as a wide variety of shopping, recreation, restaurants, and natural resources. 
There are plenty of things to do in the City of Spruce Grove, less than a dozen kms outside of Edmonton, including plenty of shopping, outdoor activities, and the Spruce Grove Art Gallery. It is also the hometown of Grant Fuhr, Jennifer Heil, and Fernando Pisani.

Known as “the Town with the Painted Past,” Stony Plain was first recognized as a village back in 1907, likely named after the Stoney people who originally camped out in the area. The town prides itself on its friendly locals, breathtaking scenery, and popular festivals and sporting events.

The City of Leduc, just south of Edmonton, is the home of our original oil boom when crude was discovered there on February 13, 1947. These days, Leduc remains a strong industrial powerhouse of the province, and is also where the EIA is located.

Established in 1972, this hamlet’s Industrial Park is an important service centre for the entire Capital Region, one of Western Canada’s largest industrial parks. There are actually very few people who live in Nisku, but it remains essential to Alberta’s growth.

Established in the late-’40s as a result of the Leduc oil boom, the Town of Devon is still reliant on the oil industry, but has since diversified with research and manufacturing. It is home to the Devonian Botanic Garden, and is minutes from the Corn Maze and the EIA.

Founded in 1895 as a French farming community, the Town of Beaumont has a population today of about 15,000. Located just three kms south of Edmonton, Beaumont is proud of their small-town attitude, unique French architecture, and the renowned Beaumont Blues & Roots Festival. 


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