Edmonton needs better PR. My expectations were super low after chatting with friends and readers who had been there. I was warned that there was nothing to do in "Deadmonton" if you're a guy who hates malls. Although I was only there for a short time, I was pleasantly surprised by how much better it was than advertised.
Having grown up a huge Wayne Gretzky fan, my first stop was Northlands to see the statue of The Great One outside of Rexall Place.
Then, while I was in the area, I had to see Commonwealth Stadium, where the Eskimos play.
Then, it was time for a sunny walk along Whyte Avenue in the Old Strathcona district. It was very cool with a definite Queen Street vibe.
I particularly liked the Old Strathcona farmers' market.
Although downtown Edmonton is a little small and underwhelming if you're used to bigger cities, I was able to crash a Lebanese festival and a public viewing of Goonies at Churchill Square.
Here are a few pics from downtown Edmonton.
When I asked friends and readers what I should do while in Edmonton, the most common reply I got was "go to Banff and Jasper" or "go to Calgary". So we decided to fly into Calgary, rent a car, and check out Banff and Jasper national parks.
It was gorgeous. Pictures don't do it justice, but here's a taste of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. You really should visit Banff and Jasper, particularly the extremely photogenic Lake Louise and Peyto Lake.
The turquoise blue of the water was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Apparently it's the result of "rock flour" (very fine rock dust that has been ground up by the glaciers) that is suspended in the water, causing refraction of light.
During the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada Olympic Park was the primary venue for ski jumping, bobsleigh, and luge. I was there this weekend.
This is where Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards represented Great Britain in Olympic ski jumping.
The flags look like they've had better days.
A highlight for me was sitting in the Jamaican bobsled. A yasso nice!
After a brief visit to Calgary, we drove to Banff and Jasper before heading to Edmonton. I'll be collecting all of my Alberta entries here.
Want more Toronto Mike blog entries? Visit the archives.