Edmonton Capital Region is the metropolitan area of Edmonton, Alberta. The population of this area is 1.3 million (2016), making it sixth largest metro area in Canada. Edmonton's suburbs are small cities that usually rely on Edmonton for jobs, health care, higher education, and more "upscale" entertainment. However, the region is also where city-dwellers head on the weekends and holidays for outdoor life. In fact, the eastern edge of the Capital Region was recognized as the Beaverhills UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2016 for its natural landscapes.
For complete information on Edmonton, see its article.
- 1 Edmonton - population: 930,000. Home to world-class shopping (even outside of the famous West Edmonton Mall), an established theatre scene, excellent nightlife, beautiful parks, high end & extraordinary festivals, and a beautiful array of food selection.
- 2 Sherwood Park - population: 70,000, and the wider Strathcona County. Mostly a bedroom community of Edmonton, but the popular Millennium Place arena and Festival Place theatre are here as well as lakes with cabins for rent.
- 3 St. Albert - population: 66,000. An affluent city of commuters to Edmonton with scenic trails and parks and. It is home to the oldest building in Alberta, the Father Lacombe Chapel (a Catholic mission from the late 19th century), the Musée Héritage Museum and the Arden Theatre.
- 4 Leduc - population: 30,000, and the nearby area of Nisku are home of the Edmonton International Airport and numerous oil and gas businesses. This is essentially the transportation hub of the region.
- 5 Spruce Grove - population: 34,000. Mostly new housing developments with a small business district. Home to the Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum and famous Jack's Drive In burger joint.
- 6 Beaumont - population: 17,300. A still partly-French-speaking enclave (for now) that is suddenly booming in population as transportation links to Edmonton are built.
- 7 Stony Plain - population: 17,000. A small agricultural centre that is transforming into a commuter town. Home to the Multicultural Heritage Centre (a museum).
- 8 Fort Saskatchewan - population: 24,000. An industrial town centred on Dow Chemical and other petrochemical plants. It's on the North Saskatchewan River, and has opportunities for canoeing and hiking. Home to the Fort Heritage Precinct, an outdoor museum centred on a reconstruction of the North West Mounted Police ("Mountie") post from the 1870s.
- 9 Morinville - population: 10,000 The French-Canadian and German heritage of this small town is exemplified by its large Catholic church in the town centre.
- 10 Devon - population: 6,600 Scenically perched on the edge of a gorge above the North Saskatchewan River. Near the site of the major oil discovery in 1947 that changed the face of Alberta forever.
- 1 Elk Island National Park — Home to the Canada's most famous herds of bison (buffalo). Nearby is the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, an open-air museum detailing the traditional lives of the influential Ukrainian immigrants to Alberta.
- 2 Lac Ste. Anne — Popular lake for weekenders, especially at Alberta Beach; site of annual religious pilgrimage.
- 3 Strathcona Science Provincial Park — Urban walking trails between Edmonton and Sherwood Park.
- 4 Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park — Wetlands and walking between Edmonton and St. Albert/
- 5 Miquelon Lake Provincial Park — Part of the Beaverhills Biosphere Reserve (together with Elk Island National Park). Lake with campground and walking trails.
- 6 Wabamun — A village on Lake Wabamun, a popular lake for weekenders, located within Wabamun Lake Provincial Park.
Edmonton has been allowed to expand and annex most of the farmland and small towns around it throughout its history, so the majority of the population of the region lives within the boundaries of the City of Edmonton. However, Edmonton has expanded rapidly since the 1940s, and now abuts towns that used to be several kilometers away. All of remaining the towns began to grow quickly during 2000s as land prices in Edmonton rose. They have added many new facilities, and most towns now have a museum, multi-rink arena, indoor public swimming pool, and one or more performing arts venues. They are all former railway towns that were established as grain-collection points for nearby farms, and are built primarily on a grid pattern, so are easy to navigate, and all feature a small shopping district in the centre (usually called "downtown") and many large big-box stores along the main highways.
- Fly into Edmonton International Airport
- Drive via Yellowhead Highway (east-west) or via the Queen Elizabeth II Highway ("QE2", north-south)
- Take a bus from Calgary or Red Deer (Red Arrow, Rider Express); or from Vancouver, Regina, or Saskatoon (Rider Express)
- Take a train from Vancouver, Jasper, Saskatoon, or Winnipeg (Via Rail)
Edmonton and 9 other municipalities (as of June 2020) are planning to merge their public transit networks over the period 2022-2026.
Edmonton, as the provincial capital, has several cultural and historic sites, including the Art Gallery of Alberta, a science museum, a planetarium, the Royal Alberta Museum, and Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest living history museum.
The University of Alberta Botanical Gardens, north of Devon, has native and Japanese themes, large indoor showhouses, and a Mughal-style garden.
The Canadian Energy Museum, south of Devon, and the Canadian Petroleum Discovery Centre in Leduc showcase Canada's oil industry.
The Spruce Grove Grain Elevator Museum is an operating museum in the last remaining wooden grain elevator on the CN Rail line west of Edmonton.
Edmonton calls itself "Canada's Festival City", with over 30 annual festivals and special events throughout the year.
The Blueberry Bluegrass and Country Music Festival, in Stony Plain in early August, is the largest bluegrass event in western Canada.
Go wildlife watching at Elk Island National Park, which has the second highest density of hoofed mammals per square area of any region on earth (excepting the Serengeti plains of East Africa): 40 species of free-roaming mammals including plains bison, wood bison, elk (wapiti), moose, deer, beaver, and muskrat.
More than 220 species of birds have been sighted within Lois Hole Provincial Park, near St. Albert, along with deer, moose, and coyotes.
There's skiing at Sunridge Ski Area in Strathcona with 11 slopes and night skiing.
Go camping or rent a cottage in one of Lac Ste. Anne's summer villages.
There are over 70 golf courses located in the Edmonton region. Wabamun alone has 5 courses and a population of only 700 people, which must be one of the highest rates of golf courses per person in the country.
Go shopping at the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America, with an amusement park, an artificial beach and indoor wave pool, indoor lake and Santa Maria ship replica.
Professional sports fans can take in games of the National Hockey League's Edmonton Oilers (5 Stanley Cups) or the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos (13 Grey Cups, name subject to change).