What to Do in Edmonton

What to Do in EdmontonEdmonton 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.

The Great One in Edmonton

Then, while I was in the area, I had to see Commonwealth Stadium, where the Eskimos play.

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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.

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I particularly liked the Old Strathcona farmers' market.

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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.

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Comments (14 - click here to join in!)

Irvine

I was hoping you'd post this Mike & thanks for doing so. Having lived in Edmonton twice, I think it's unfair how the city gets a bad rap.

Edmonton isn't the most aesthetically pleasing place in some areas. Yet, it's got a very diverse economy, the people are down to earth & they're friendly. The city is rich in culture & incredibly supportive of it's own. Many of the most successful Western businesses were born in Edmonton because people in Edmonton support their own. Old Strathcona is one of the nicest urban areas in Canada, a place that hasn't been gentrified yet. Lots of regular business mixed in with the odd upscale shoe store. And unlike Toronto, people take the weather quite casually..whether it's ass kicking storms in summer or REAL cold in the winter. Edmonton is also Canada's true "Hockey Town". Unlike fickle Leaf fans, Oiler (and Oil King) fans stand by their team even when they suck. They're perpetually positive and have the patience to nurture young players

Glad you got to see much of Alberta dude. The shimmering downtown of Calgary that rivals Toronto. The absolute beauty of the mountains whether it's Banff or Jasper or anywhere in between. NO matter how many times I've gone I always feel in awe as you drive into them. It sucks the stress out of you.

I'm glad the land of the blue flag welcomed you dude. I hope you sharing your experiences break a few stereotypes all too common down there in the "Centre of the Universe". Alberta isn't the "land of rednecks". Alberta = land of opportunity AND for for many it was a ticket out of the clutches of poverty. Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Maritimers & immigrants have shown up here to work hard & find some dignity in a good job. Mad respect for the blue flag. Independence & that STFU & do the job attitude".

Besides, you'll never see this at a Leaf game dude. Ever.


September 2, 2013 @ 7:54 PM

Teena in Toronto

When I was there in November, I headed to the West Edmonton Mall (even though I'm not a shopper).

September 2, 2013 @ 8:37 PM

Andrew

Glad you enjoyed it Mike. I rarely get out there in summer, so it's always winter for me when I'm there, although I am glad you got to see my home away from home in Edmonton - The Sherlock Holmes pub downtown by the Westin.

Jasper is gorgeous, Banff is to touristy but Lake Louise is my favourite. The lake colour is incredible and I've skated on that lake in the winter... incredible!

Cheers!

Andrew

September 2, 2013 @ 8:54 PM

Douglas

Nice post, Mike. Thanks. Oh my...I'm with Irvine today. One exception - Toronto fans support their local professional hockey team no matter what. Nothing else matters sports-wise in Toronto. There's a 30 year waiting list for season tickets and every game is sold out (but there's a big disconnect to the actual number of bums in the seats (never mind on the ice) for decades). Where else would a city actually celebrate the last time the team won a championship - 40 years ago!? It's not long off until they'll be able to celebrate 50 years of not winning. Having said that, they were a much better team last year, maybe because it was such a short season. I don't give a damn, though, because I'm a fan of the game, not that team.

Did you take your photos while the Eskimos were playing the Stampeders in Calgary?

Now, I have to think about getting back to Alberta. Exposure to people of friendliness and a common sense approach to life and work. Plus, the Rocky Mountains. I want the GTA stress sucked out of me.

September 3, 2013 @ 9:35 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Douglas

I snapped that photo on Saturday afternoon...

September 3, 2013 @ 9:44 AM

Roshan

Looks pretty nice to me.

September 3, 2013 @ 10:29 AM

felix

As Edmonton is now my closest major city, I'm glad you enjoyed it, Mike. Had I known you were going to Whyte, I'd have recommended you stop for a bite at Chianti. The food is outstanding, assuming you like Italian, of course.

September 3, 2013 @ 12:49 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@felix

Italian is my favourite!

September 3, 2013 @ 12:51 PM

Irvine

@Douglas

The major difference between Oil & Leaf fans is that Oil fans have patience. They will wait for a prospective to grow. The Leafs trade that away. Once you live in Edmonton you come to realize it's a hockeytown up on the same level as Montreal. Locals are supportive of the Oil Kings too (as is Calgary with the Hitmen). The CFL is also very popular and I'd say in some places as popular as hockey is. A Riders/Stamps game is a BIG deal.

@TM.

If you think Alberta is nice, visit BC. The minute I drove into the Lower Mainland I knew that I would live here. From the isolation of Revelstoke to the dynamics of The West End or Yaletown. A place you can go skiing in the morning & sea kayaking in the afternoon. A place whre you can live on an island, wake up, grab city transit & take it (and a ferry) to work in the downtown. And don't even get me started on the inside passage. It's enough to make a guy buy a sailboat.

September 3, 2013 @ 2:21 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@ Irvine

I spent quite some time in BC back in '98. Vancouver and Whistler, mainly... and stayed in White Rock.

September 3, 2013 @ 2:57 PM

Pete

@Irv,

Perhaps when you have no clue as to what you are talking about you should just read and not type.

To infer that fans at Leaf games wouldn't sing the National Anthem is proof that you haven't a clue. To further state that Leaf fans are not patient is just ridiculous. To compare that Oilers fans are patient because they will wait for a prospect to grow and that Leaf fans trade that away proves that you don't know that fans don't make actual trades. Maybe pick up a copy of Hockey News once in a while and see what hockey is about.

I have no idea first hand of how loyal Oiler fans are, but your statements are just plain dumb.

You almost had me with the comparison to Leaf fans with Hab fans as bandwagoners. That was pretty good. Seriously, Hab fans are the biggest wagon jumpers on the planet.

Lastly, the only people complaining or whining about the weather in Toronto are Westerners. Boohoo, Toronto got some attention for a storm that happened 14 years ago. Our Mayor made decision to call in for help that was badly needed. Big frickin' deal. Get over it, yes, we all know Alberta gets more snow than Iceland, Greenland and Antarctica combined and Albertans are stronger for it. Good on them.

Go! Leafs Go!

--Pete

September 3, 2013 @ 3:18 PM

irvine

@Pete

You do realize I was once a Leaf fan and lived in Ontario for a good portion of my life. What you don't get dude is unlike you, I'm speaking from experience of having lived in BOTH places lol. Good try assuming I was some "Westerner" guy. I'm all too aware of the incessant weather whining that is all too common in South Ontario. And bluntly, I really doubt it's the "Westerners" (the true born and bred types). The only way those guys would visit Ontario would be in the cockpit of a loaded B52.

@Mike. Whistler has changed & you can safely drive there now with the Sea to Sky. Parts of White Rock are nice, but it's proximity to Surrey haven't helped it. Surrey is a rough place. I thought Edmonton had some ghetto areas until I visited Surrey in 2010. I was doing data anaylsis on crime stats for Surrey a few weeks ago. There was something like 200,000 reports of crime in a city with just 400,000 people. Weird thing is it's leafy & green and looks nice. I stayed in a short term rental there for work once. It had THREE entry garage doors you had to pass through. I walked in the building and I met a resident with his two pitbulls. A short distance away was the building where the Surrey 6 happened. 1998 was a pretty ugly time out here. Right in the peak of the missing women stuff.

September 3, 2013 @ 5:57 PM

Pete

@Irv,

I never accused you of being a westerner, I have too much respect for westerners to do that. By South Ontario, I guess you meant South Central Ontario if you are talking about Toronto, unless you are from the Windsor/Chatham/Sarnia area. Either way I really don't care, you still haven't got a clue.

--Pete

September 4, 2013 @ 11:26 AM

irv

@Phil

Bad day working the drive through dude? LOL. I understand your frustration man. I mean, not only am I more successful than you, I've got a bigger dick than you do. Ask your better half lol. Now, stop wasting time on the internet and get back to polishing the paint on my car..BOY. Pstt. The cream rises to the top lol (that's me FYI)

September 4, 2013 @ 4:20 PM

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