Welcome to Edmonton. From the continent's first, biggest and wildest Fringe Theatre Festival to a shopping mall that spans 48 city blocks, Edmontonians have never been afraid to do things a little differently. Camping with bison? Check. Partying under the aurora? You got it. Surfing on the prairies? No problem. As Canada's youngest and fastest growing capital city, Edmonton is a hotbed of cultural diversity that embraces new ideas and experimentation.
With an endless supply of award-winning chefs, you can see why independent restaurants are thriving. Pack your stretchy pants and take your taste buds on a journey to some of the hottest craft beer taprooms, hyper-local bistros and indie bakeries in Canada. Pro-tip: arrive thirsty and hungry for flavours that span far beyond the Canadian border. When the temperature goes up, kick back on one of the city's legendary patios and enjoy over 17-hours of sunlight. When the snow starts to fall, slap on a parka and embrace all the fun of winter like a true Edmontonian.
Here, every season is festival season. In the summer, spend the evening watching Shakespeare under an open sky at the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, or BYOB (that's bring your own blanket) and take in the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. When winter rolls around, head to legendary festivals like Silver Skate and Flying Canoe. Over 50 festivals annually mean that there's no shortage of excitement to fill your stay - whether it's 30 degrees above or below.
Edmonton's festival game is rivalled only by its wild outdoor adventures—there's green space, and then there's the North Saskatchewan River Valley, North America's largest stretch of urban parkland. Cruise through it by foot, bike, canoe, snowshoe or even Segway. Head to Elk Island National Park and hang with free-roaming bison, moose, deer, elk and over 250 species of birds. Cap off the day at Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve and witness the magical chorus of pulsating lights known as the aurora borealis.
Then there's the Ice District, Edmonton's newest hub for sports and entertainment in the downtown core. At the heart of it all is Rogers Place, an architectural and technological marvel which hosts the biggest names in music and is home to the Edmonton Oilers and Oil Kings hockey teams. You'll see hockey hair and sweet guitar riffs in HD with the largest high-definition screen and scoreboard in any NHL arena. What's more, the Ice District is gearing up to be Canada's largest mixed-use sports and entertainment district. Bucket lists get ready.
So, why is Edmonton different? There are theories. Perhaps it's the legacy of entrepreneurs dreaming up oddities: deep freezer races, winter patios and surfing indoors. Perhaps it's the foundation of natural beauty, from which something great has been built. There's a uniqueness to how Edmontonians do ordinary things, and they welcome you to be a part of it.
For more information on Edmonton, visit the "Edmonton Tourism" website at: www.edmonton.com or call toll free in North America 1.800.463.4667.