There is more to Edmonton than that big honkin’ mall. A lot more.
Having travelled all over this fair country, and most of Alberta for that matter, I for some reason had never visited this great city. Who would have thought you’d find interesting history and culture in little old Edmonton?
For starters, I was pleasantly surprised with the funky vibe of the historic old Strathcona district. Cool old architecture, colourful antique and junk stores and great restaurants await, and then there is the super-sized holy grail for hockey fans!
I almost drove off the road after suddenly noticing a gigantic Stanley Cup right there on the side of the road! This 12-foot-tall exact copy of the cup even has all the winning teams engraved on it, just like the real thing. I actually had to stand in line to get my picture taken next to this massive version of hockey’s most famous prize. Guess that’s one way to keep the cup in Edmonton!
Keeping with that trendy/funky theme, it was on to the very vibrant and lively Whyte Avenue. The nightlife here could give any big city a run for its money. At the centre of it all is the huge Iron Horse nightclub next to the railway tracks, where the partying goes on and on. My personal favourite watering hole in Edmonton turned out to be the equally lively Atlantic Trap and Gill.
My intention was to stop in for a quiet east coast style meal and a brew, but a few pints later I somehow found myself on stage leading a chorus of the Irish folk song Whiskey in the Jar. Did I mention a few pints were involved?
Happily even more pints were involved a few days later when I had a chance to tour the city’s most impressive boutique brewery called Big Rock. This is a great place to just hang out and have lunch, and of course tasting the product is not too hard of a sell either. The brewery’s Grasshopper Wheat Ale has become a very popular export to other parts of the country, and the Big Rock Lime is no slouch either. I tasted both more than once, just to make sure.
Other cool things to do
* Check out a festival or two: Edmonton is the festival capital of Canada, with more than 30 annual events. The eclectic variety includes folk, fringe or street performer festivals.
* Check out Jurassic Forest: Here life-size dinosaurs come to life on a 40 acre prehistoric preserve!