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What is it like living in Edmonton? Where is Edmonton? How does cost of living in Edmonton compare with other cities? We help you address some of the important questions about Edmonton before you research your adopted city further.

Where is Edmonton?

Located in the province of Alberta, Edmonton is situated along the North Saskatchewan River, just 220 kilometers northeast of the Rocky Mountains. The city is located on the boundary between the prairies and the boreal forest, resulting in a beautiful and diverse landscape. The North Saskatchewan river runs through the city, which creates numerous ravines and accounts for the wealth of urban parkland — the longest stretch of connected parkland in North America — known as the ‘Ribbon of Green’.

About Edmonton

Edmonton is the most northerly city in North America, and has a metropolitan population of over one million. Though it is the provincial capital, it is the second largest city in Alberta after Calgary. Edmonton is very reliant on cars, so many shopping and entertainment hubs are based in a few key areas, such as South Edmonton Common, Whyte Avenue, West Edmonton Mall, and Jasper Avenue, to name a few. Though Edmonton’s economy, along with the province of Alberta, has met with some challenges in recent years, the diversity of the city’s jobs market means that opportunities are available across sectors for those who are willing to look.

Edmonton is located in Alberta, the only province without a provincial sales tax (PST). Edmonton is the major economic centre for northern and central Alberta, and a hub for the oil and gas industry. Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centered on the petroleum industry, agriculture and tourism. Alberta has the lion’s share of Canada’s oil industry. Its reserves – in the form of oil-sands – are estimated to be second only to Saudi Arabia’s.

Edmonton traditionally has been a hub for Albertan petrochemical industries, earning it the nickname “Oil Capital of Canada” in the 1940s. Supply and service industries drive the energy extraction engine, while research develops new technologies and supports expanded value-added processing of Alberta’s massive oil, gas, and oil sands reserves.

Despite the apparent focus on oil and gas, Edmonton’s economy is one of the most diverse in Canada. Major industrial sectors include a strong technology sector. Much of the growth in the technology sector is due to Edmonton’s reputation as one of Canada’s premier research and education centers.

Weather in Edmonton

Moving to Edmonton is a big decision and it is important to be aware of the weather you should expect. Edmonton has a relatively dry humid continental climate with extreme seasonal temperatures. Although the city experiences milder winters than either Regina or Winnipeg, Edmonton is located at a latitude farther north. It has warm summers and cold winters, with average daily temperatures ranging from −11.7 °C (10.9 °F) in January to 17.5 °C (63.5 °F) in July. However, temperatures can swing up past 30 °C (86 °F) and down below -20 °C (-4 °F) for a couple of days every year. Despite the temperature swings, Edmonton is one of Canada’s sunniest cities, receiving 17 hours and 16 minutes of daylight at the summer solstice due to its northerly position.

Summer typically lasts from late June until late August and the humidity is seldom uncomfortably high. Winter lasts from November to March and varies greatly in length and severity. Spring and autumn are both short and highly variable. Thunderstorms occur regularly during the summer months, and although they occasionally do damage, they can be spectacular.


Culture in Edmonton

Living in Edmonton offers a range of employment opportunities. As it is a major oil and gas centre, it attracts many migrant workers. As a result of this, the city is ethnically diverse, with more than 25 per cent of the local population belonging to a “visible minority”, mainly Chinese and other Asian ethnicities.

Living in Edmonton is fun-filled, it plays host to several large festivals each year, contributing to its local nickname “The Festival City.” Among these festivals is the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, second only to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in size worldwide and the largest of its kind in North America.

Edmonton has a thriving cultural scene, which includes galleries, theatres, live music venues and concert halls, including one of the most acoustically perfect concert halls in Canada, the Francis Winspear Centre for Music. From the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra to Cadence Weapon and Shout Out Out Out Out, the city has given rise to many notable musicians.

Living in Edmonton is great and is famous for West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America. The mall offers an extraordinary number of activities, including an indoor amusement park with one of the largest indoor roller coasters in the world, a swimming pool with water park, marine life shows, mini golf, bowling, a skating rink and laser tag.

Cost of living in Edmonton

Residents of Edmonton enjoy the highest average household income in Canada with an affordable cost of living. Taxes are lower, and there is no provincial sales tax (PST). On average, Edmontonians have more disposable income than most other Canadians.

Edmonton also has the lowest gasoline and diesel prices in Canada. For many residents, cars are the primary mode of transportation.

Transit in Edmonton

The Edmonton Transit System is the city’s main public transit agency, operating the Edmonton Light Rail Transit (LRT) line as well as a large fleet of buses. The LRT is expansive, going all the way from the north to the far reaches of the south side. One drawback is that the LRT line only runs north-south, and not east-west.

The Edmonton Transit System incorporates the LRT network that joins major central and downtown areas and a bus system that connects the entire city.

Edmonton positives and negatives

Edmonton’s Positives

  • Friendly people.
  • Low taxes.
  • The highest area of parkland per resident of any Canadian city.
  • Canada’s Festival City.
  • A diverse economy, with a range of employment sectors.
  • Affordable housing, with lower prices than Calgary and big cities like Vancouver and Toronto.
  • The lowest gasoline and fuel prices in Canada.

Edmonton’s Negatives

  • Higher crime rates than most comparably-sized Canadian cities.
  • Long, cold winters and extreme weather variations.
  • Expensive housing compared with most other prairie cities.

Special thanks to the following people for making the Edmonton section of Moving2Canada possible: Jill Von Sprecken, Ronnie Redmond, Sarah Kate Foley, Michael King, Aileen Walsh and Patrick FitzHenry. Your patience and assistance is greatly appreciated.

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