Interesting Facts About Edmonton

Alberta's Capital City

Biking in Edmonton on singletrack beside the river
Biking in Edmonton along the river - just off the main Edmonton River Valley trail

Edmonton is the provincial capital of Alberta and not a place I knew much about until I started researching this blog about interesting facts in Edmonton. I thought of it as a city with nothing but big box stores, because that’s all I’d ever seen as I drove through. And I knew Edmonton was bloody cold in the winter.

Now that I’ve been to Edmonton on numerous occasions and love what it has to offer – especially the trails through the river valley and the dining experiences, I would highly recommend a visit.

I hope you learn a thing or two after reading about interesting facts in Edmonton.

Biking in Edmonton on singletrack beside the river
Biking in Edmonton on single track beside the North Saskatchewan River

How Edmonton got its start

Edmonton was established in 1795 as a Hudson’s Bay Company post – trading furs. Edmonton was incorporated as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350.

Population of Edmonton

Did you know that Edmonton is the northernmost North American city with a population over one million? That’s one of the interesting facts about Edmonton I love.

The average age in Edmonton is 37.7 years. The median age is 35.7. 

Edmonton sits close to the geographic center of the province. It’s the main supply and service center for Canada’s oil sands.

West Edmonton Mall

Edmonton is home to North America’s largest mall – the West Edmonton Mall, spanning the equivalent of 48 city blocks. It was the world’s largest mall until 2004.  The mall is the home of a water park, regulation-size ice rink, indoor amusement park, Blue Thunder Pool – a water park with 3.3 million gallons of water. At the deep end you can catch a wave as high as 1.4 metres! One of the other interesting facts about Edmonton is that the West Edmonton Mall is home to 800 stores, two hotels and over 100 dining venues. The mall is a terrific destination on a cold winter day.

26 Weird, Wonderful and Useful Facts About Edmonton
A beautiful sunrise in Edmonton

Random interesting facts about Edmonton

Edmonton is one of the largest cities by area in North America. It’s slightly larger than the country of Cyprus in the Mediterranean.

One of the interesting facts about Edmonton is that it was the home of Wop May – a famous bush pilot who fought the Red Baron in his last dogfight in World War I.

Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River Valley is the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America.

There are no rats in Edmonton – or in all of Alberta for that matter.

Edmonton has over 30 annual festivals year round. Internationally renowned are the Folk, Fringe and Street Performers festival.

The University of Alberta in Edmonton has produced 67 Rhodes Scholars.

The Art Gallery of Alberta was founded in 1924 and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta. It maintains a collection of over 6,000 objects.

Another of the interesting facts about Edmonton is that they have an outdoor museum dedicated to Neon Signs. The signs are located on the east wall of the Telus Building on 104th St and 104th Avenue.

The High Level Bridge offers the best views of Edmonton.

The Great Divide Waterfall, was installed in 1980 to celebrate Edmonton’s 75th anniversary. It’s 64 metre high, seven metres taller than Niagara Falls. It used to be turned on every long weekend during the summer – and pumped out 50,000 liters of water per minute. It’s no longer active.

26 Weird, Wonderful and Useful Facts About Edmonton
Up close to the Muttart Conservatory windows to get one of the great views of the city

Interesting facts about the amount of daylight in Edmonton 

On the first day of summer Edmonton enjoys 17 hours and three minutes of daylight. The sun rises at 5:04 AM and sets at 10:07 PM.

Winter is another story. The sun rises at 8:49 AM and sets at 4:16 PM, providing only seven hours and 27 minutes of daylight.

26 Weird, Wonderful and Useful Facts About Edmonton
Skating on one of the many outdoor rinks around Edmonton

Weather events in Edmonton

The coldest day ever recorded in Edmonton was on January 26, 1972. The temperature was -48.3°C with a wind-chill dropping it to -61°C.

The highest recorded temperature in Edmonton was 37.4°C on June 30, 2021.

In July 1987 Edmonton was struck by a tornado – which peaked at a wind speed of 416 kilometres per hour (258 mph). It cut a 40 kilometre swath through the city, and in places it was up to a kilometre wide. Twenty seven people were killed and more than 300 injured. It’s one of the worst natural disasters in Canadian history.

26 Weird, Wonderful and Useful Facts About Edmonton
The Ice Castle in Edmonton


More than 30 species of mosquitoes live in the Edmonton area – and the problem mosquito is the vexans mosquito. Some summers can be miserable outdoors, especially at dusk.

Interesting facts about sports in Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers are a NHL franchise team but they started out as the Alberta Oilers and an original member of the World Hockey Association (now defunct). They have won the Stanley Cup five times.

Mark Messier, a famous NHL hockey player, was born in Edmonton. Wayne Gretzky played with the Edmonton Oilers.

There are over 70 golf courses in metropolitan Edmonton.

Beautiful fountain outside the Alberta Legislature Building
Beautiful fountain outside the Alberta Legislature Building in Edmonton

Bike trails in Edmonton

There are 275 km of paths and sidewalks for cyclists – though they have to be shared with walkers. Also noteworthy are the 460 km of unpaved single track and unimproved trails.

26 Weird, Wonderful and Useful Facts About Edmonton
Biking along the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton

Edmonton is close to Elk Island National Park

Elk Island National Park is less than an hour from Edmonton. It’s home to free roaming bison, moose, deer, and elk.

You usually see bison in Elk Island National Park
You usually see bison in Elk Island National Park

Jasper National Park is four hours away

Jasper National Park lies 370 kilometres west of Edmonton, about a four hour drive away. I was amazed to see people skiing at Marmot Mountain – as part of a long day trip. 

Jasper at first light in February
Jasper at first light in February

The famous Birkebeiner ski festival

The Canadian Birkebeiner ski festival takes place each year in February. Thousands of skiers from all over the world come to cross-country ski 55 kilometres with a 5.5 kilogram pack on their back, reliving the legend of King Haakon Haakonson.

26 Weird, Wonderful and Useful Facts About Edmonton
Very pretty cross-country skiing at the Strathcona Wilderness Centre just outside of Edmonton

Eating in Edmonton

There is lots of great food in Edmonton and ongoing efforts to eat and grow more locally. Some of the best restaurants according to Eat North in Edmonton are RGD RD and Tryst Wine and Small Plates

The Dutchess Bake Shop is definitely worth a visit too.

The Dutchess Bakeshop is famous for their macarons
The Dutchess Bakeshop is famous for their macarons

Botanical garden in Edmonton

The University of Alberta is home to a beautiful botanical garden, about 30 minutes south of the downtown. Edmonton is a Zone 3 for plant hardiness – compared to Vancouver which can is Zone 8.

The Botanical Gardens in Edmonton
The Botanical Gardens in Edmonton

Further reading on interesting facts in Canada

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Fun and interesting facts about Edmonton, Alberta

  1. As someone who has lived in Edmonton most of her life, I think it’s one of those cities that is better to live in than visit. I love travelling but I think Edmonton is a great city to live in, raise a family in, and start a business in. Being a ‘festival city’ has a lot to do with it… there is something to do every weekend and everyone comes out to all the festivals no matter what the weather is. The winter activities are just as fun and well-attended as the summer activities. Our public school system also offers amazing school choice and almost every school has at least 2 or 3 ‘specialties’ (immersion, arts, science, sports).

  2. I thought winter, roads (snow removal and pot holes), the healthcare system and traffic was bad in Edmonton… then I moved to Saskatoon. It was worse!!! (ok, maybe their healthcare system was better). I’m now living in St. John’s NL and while the people are friendly and the ocean is beautiful, I’ve traded the snow for wind and precipitation (LOTS and LOTS of SNOW) and even WORSE pot holes (they just put a pylon on the pot holes, everyone goes around them). Edmonton is actually a wonderful city. People are friendly, the rivervalley is beautiful, the schools are great and there is so much to do. We are a wonderful place in Canada to live. We have all the amenities and our winters are definitely better than Saskatchewan and Manitoba (our neighbouring provinces). We have a lot of good paying jobs in Edmonton and area as well.

    1. @Skip That’s a very good point about all the very well paying jobs. I haven’t yet walked or biked the river valley but it does indeed sound beautiful. Interesting that you thought the health care system in Saskatchewan might be better. Thank you for your great comment.

  3. @Sam I have heard the same thing about the community spirit – and to me that’s one of the biggest positives about Edmonton. I love your comment and really appreciate the time you put into writing it. You are obviously very proud of your city. We need more people in the world like you!

  4. @Jay…I moved away and lived in Saskatoon for 5 years…you haven’t seen winter or potholes at their worst. I loved my time there but I’m glad I’m home again in Edmonton. Mosquitos…they’re really not much worse here than most places in all of Canada honestly. We have good years and bad years for them. Crime stats like you mentioned you’ll find in any big city. But the community spirit here is truly unbelievable.

    Festival City indeed! In fact, in the spring/summer months it can be hard to plan your days out because there’s just so much to do!! Taste of Edmonton at Churchill Square downtown would be a great place to stop to sample some of the food this city offers up. I was born and raised here and still haven’t made it out to many of the great restaurants here. We have a number of cultural clubs that host an array of events and if it’s the culture you want to discover, Heritage Days over the August long weekend draws thousands of visitors every year in Hawreluk Park. If it’s sports you’re into, there’s more than hockey! We have a pretty great lacrosse team, soccer is huge here for all ages, and did you know that Edmonton alone is home to 2 kick ass roller derby leagues? Oil City Derby Girls (also hosting a men’s team, the River City Riot) and E-ville. Just north of us in St. Albert there’s also the St. Albert Heavenly Rollers. Music, dance, food…we really do have it all and a if you don’t mind a bit of a drive we’re close to so many more things. I have a love affair with the mountains and it makes me sad leaving Jasper and seeing them in the rear view mirror, but I’m always glad to be home too. I bitch and moan too every single year about snow, cold, driving in all that crud and my kids getting cabin fever, but when it comes down to it I’m glad I live here. Don’t get me wrong, if I could spend my winters in Mexico, I would in a hearbeat! Ha ha ha ha…

    1. @Sam I have heard the same thing about the community spirit – and to me that’s one of the biggest positives about Edmonton. I love your comment and really appreciate the time you put into writing it. You are obviously very proud of your city. We need more people in the world like you!

  5. Thanks for all of the great positive comments about Edmonton. I happen to think it is a great city also. I lived there for forty years and still visit frequently. It has one of the best recycle programs in Canada and probably even in North America.

  6. Don’t get me wrong Edmonton isn’t the worst its just one of them. If the cleaned up some more of the major issues I would give it a 5 star city. but what around Edmonton is beautiful out west that is. the rockies is amazing, jasper to Banff. wow great thing about being Albertan its so close. Same with drumheller, fabulous place to go

  7. But I wouldn’t knock the leafs, especially if you enjoy watching the oilers or the flames for that matter lol

    Edmonton Fans have given up on them.

  8. Ya we got a mall , that has a waterpark hotel casino bowling alley golf coarse thingy, amusement park movie theater etc. it doesn’t change the fact that Edmonton also has one of the worst maintained roads in Canada. (POT HOLE CENTRAL) I have lived there most of my life and its sure it has nice things around us but what people don’t know is some of the negative. When coming here is precautionary. It has been for me and my family and probably wont change. But I do have to add they are starting to clean up.

    1. @Jay I think it’s important to always get bot sides to a story – and I really appreciate your input both positive & negative. I think I would find the winters harder to bear in Edmonton than Calgary.

  9. Edmonton is one of the worst cities in Canada. It has been the murder capital of Canada for one. Edmonton is HOME of the worst hockey team in the NHL. For over 6 Years

  10. As an Irish gal who lives in Edmonton I’ll happily trade ya. You can come live here in my house and I’ll go back to Ireland and live in yours…

  11. Great Facts! You forgot to add that Edmonton is one of the friendliest, cleanest cities in the world! With one of the best garbage recycling programs in the world the city is VERY green! And, with one of the most produce farming communities in north america, they produce more food per person than anywhere else in the world!

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