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Edmonton City Guide

Updated: November 7th, 2022

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, Canada and has been lovingly dubbed the ‘Festival City’ because of its year-round festivals. Edmonton is the second-largest city in Alberta and also the fifth largest census metropolitan area in Canada as a whole. Located on the North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton’s river valley is the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America and is home to many urban parks and camping grounds.

Edmonton’s humid continental climate makes it the perfect place to visit as it has moderate winters and cool summer seasons. It rarely rains in this area which allows for plenty of time to explore the various parks along the river valley.

About Edmonton

The current metro area population of Edmonton in 2022 is 1,519,000, a 1.88% increase from 2021. The most predominant ethnic group in Edmonton are European and a large portion of its population belong to different denominations of the Christian faith. The second largest religious group in Edmonton are Muslims who built the first mosque in Canada.

Edmonton has four main hospitals in the region: University of Alberta Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Misericordia Community Hospital, and Grey Nuns Community Hospital. There are other care centres in the area as well, such as The Northeast Community Health Centre which offers a 24-hour emergency room with no in-patient ward services. Alberta’s Hospital is known for providing dedicated psychiatric care facilities. The most prominent of all is the University of Alberta Hospital which funds plenty of health research initiatives and institutes while providing a platform for other research centres to contribute. Learn more about Alberta's healthcare system

The various communities in Edmonton are generally very friendly and welcoming to all newcomers. The town is notably large and there are many people who aren’t Canadian-born yet they have become integrated into Canadian culture and have settled here with no difficulty.

As many other large cities in Canada, Edmonton’s transport network comprises of air, rail, road and the trustworthy public transit system. Edmonton’s rail system especially serves as a major transportation hub in this region, with many networks tied to it. Alternate methods of public transport includes riding the bus or using the bicycle or pedestrian trails.

Where is Edmonton on the Map?

Edmonton city, capital of Alberta, Canada. It lies along the North Saskatchewan River in the centre of the province, 185 miles (300 km) north of Calgary.

Climate/Weather in Edmonton

Edmonton weather is often a point of anxiety for many newcomers as Canada is famous for its cold weather. However, the Edmonton weather often departs from the other parts of Canada due to being one of Canada's sunniest cities and having relatively mild summers.

Summer in Edmonton generally runs from around the 15th of May to the 16th of September, and Edmonton's winters run from around the 18th of November to the 3rd of March.

In the summer, temperatures in Edmonton fluctuate between 13°C and 23°C. It can be rainy during the summer, but Edmonton's summers at least see as much sun as rain. Summers in Edmonton are prime for Festivals, outdoor markets, hiking and eating on patios.

Edmonton's winter temperatures move between -14°C and -1°C. Winters tend to be primarily dry with lots of snow. Winters in Edmonton are prime for Ice skating, hockey, skiing and warming up at one of Edmonton's many winter festivals.

Work and Jobs in Edmonton

People generally work in Edmonton around 40 hours per week, depending on your profession. It's also illegal in Alberta to work more than a 12-hour shift outside of specific cases. As a result, Canadians are rarely overworked and have the opportunity to experience an extraordinary life in Edmonton.

Edmonton's key industries are built primarily on the skilled technical workers that flock to the city and the fantastic farming opportunities that are ever-present in Alberta. Edmonton's key industries are as follows:

  • Clean technology
  • Manufacturing of metals and machinery.
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Environmental engineering
  • Agri-business
  • Petrochemicals
  • Industrial hemp
  • Tourism
  • Financial services
The more prominent industries in the province generally have the most job vacancies and opportunities for workers outside of Edmonton. 

Edmonton used to be known as the Oil City of Canada and its name as Canada's premier petrochemical city, combined with its extremely strong technology sector, keeps much of the city's population employed and ensures a stable economy and well-funded public amenities. As a result, those looking for a job in Edmonton will also have plenty of options and opportunities. In the video below, we've compiled a breakdown of Alberta's workers that are the most in-demand.

Edmonton is one of Alberta’s prime economic drivers. Because the province is centred in the country’s energy sector, it is unsurprising that energy firms are one of the biggest and most lucrative industries to invest in. As such, there are billions of dollars that are allocated to creating employment not only in maintenance, manufacturing and extraction, but also financial services, field support and construction. That’s not the only thriving industry in Canada however, there are also tons of opportunities to be found in research, engineering, construction, real estate, retail and finance.

Petrochemical Industries

As stated before, the oil and gas industries are perhaps one of the largest sectors in Edmonton and second largest in the world. Generating more than 30 billion dollars in profit, Edmonton deserves the title as the “Oil capital of Canada”. There are many jobs to be found in supply and service as well as operational and extraction vacancies. Meanwhile, there is a vast amount being spent on researching new technologies to process the materials.

Construction and Engineering

Because Edmonton is a large city and has tons of newcomers settling there on an annual basis, there is a large demand for construction workers and engineers as new industries are always being established in the city centre as well as the suburbs.

Real Estate

Going hand in hand with construction, the real estate industry in Edmonton is booming. Since the area is so large and has tons of newcomers moving into the old towns, there’s a large demand for jobs relating to real estate.

Retail

Retail is one of the largest industries in this region. Edmonton is home to many shopping centres – most notably the West Edmonton Mall which happens to the 10th largest mall in the world. Moreover, Edmonton is also home to many suburban centres which comprise of shopping districts with streets lined with boutiques, restaurants and stores. It is therefore not hard to gain employment in retail and oftentimes it does not require a tertiary education to qualify.

Banking

Edmonton is the home to the regional offices of one of Canada's major banks namely, the Canadian Western Bank. This bank is evidently also the eighth best company to work for in Canada and provides “personal development and career progression by internal training, career planning and education assistance of up to 100 per cent of tuition," according to Maclean’s Magazine.

Cost of Living in Edmonton

The average cost of living in Edmonton is $1,692, which is in the top 24% of the most expensive cities in the world, ranked 2219th out of 9294 in our global list, 102nd out of 153 in Canada, and 7th out of 10 in Alberta.

The median after-tax salary is $3,568, which is enough to cover living expenses for 2.1 months. Ranked 71st (TOP 0.8%) in the list of best places to live in the world and 7th best city to live in Canada, and 2nd most liveable city in Alberta. With an estimated population of 933K, Edmonton is the 5th largest city in Canada. In Edmonton, the median family income for 2019 was $97,800. Edmonton median family income increased 2.05% year-over-year, and increased 5.24% in the last five years.

Neighbourhoods in Edmonton

Before starting your job in Edmonton, you must have a stable housing situation. Edmonton has relatively affordable housing for a major Canadian city. The average monthly rent for a single-bedroom apartment in Edmonton's inner city is $1,211. The average rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the inner city comes to around $2,074.48 per month.

Edmonton has numerous fantastic neighbourhoods to set new life up in. If you prefer the buzzing energy of the inner city with proximity to the vibrant nightlife and commercial centre of Alberta, Downtown Edmonton is the place for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for the perfect place to build your new life as a young family, the almost-suburb of Ritchie can give you the vibrancy of the city but allow you some of the quiet and safety of the suburbs.

However, if you want to be closer to Alberta's world-renowned natural beauty and allow an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Aspen Gardens is the place for you. Each of these is priced slightly differently, so it's always best to investigate which neighbourhood works best with your budget first.

Edmonton is a large area and there are tons of neighbourhoods to choose, it is important to pick the right one – That’s why we have gone ahead and selected our top picks to narrow down your choices.

Strathcona

This aged area is always humming with people who visit the local farmers’ market and the variety of different stores to shop and frequent. Strathcona houses 600 businesses on average and also has a range of restaurants and bars for people to socialize and get a taste of what the area is all about. Strathcona is thus a tourist favorite because it offers a prime recreational area while meeting the communities’ needs.

Strathearn

If you are a nature lover, this neighbourhood is perfect for you! Showcasing a wide view of the North Saskatchewan river valley, you are able to indulge in the best that nature has to offer in Edmonton. The area has a small strip mall which has on old feel and houses a few convenient outlets as well as the Societé francophone des arts visuels de l’Alberta which is an organization dedicated to demonstrating the importance of arts in the community.

Garneau

Like Strathcona, Garneau is one of Edmonton’s oldest neighbourhoods. Home to the University of Alberta, this neighbourhood is especially sought after for its affordable housing options and student activity. The Garneau area is easy to navigate and is also accessible to the downtown area where you’ll find commercial activity. Garneau has an old appeal and is steeped in a rich history which is highly cherished by its residents.

Glenora

This neighbourhood is known to be home to some of Edonton’s more upmarket residents. When Glenora was first established in 1906, entrepreneur James Carruthers began developing the neighbourhood built homes worth over $3,500 in this area. In present day, the area still thrives as a prime spot for upmarket society and is home to the Royal Alberta Museum and Alexander Circle, where sprawling homes surround a fountain.

Westmount

If you are looking for the best of both worlds, consider Westmount. This neighbourhood is bordered by the river valley which is rich in greenery and has homes which have been around for decades with charming little footpaths to explore the old streets. Down on 124th Street however, there has been an increase in activity because of the unique restaurants, cafes and shops that are found along the tree-lined street.

Transportation

Now, you have the job in Edmonton and the home, but how will you get between the two? Getting around Edmonton is relatively easy as the city has a robust and well-maintained infrastructure. Driving in Edmonton is hugely popular. However, the downside is that it's tremendously popular. Due to the size of the city and the rush of the locals moving from place to place, Edmonton does have relatively dense traffic. As a result, planning your routes carefully when heading to work in Edmonton is essential. Alternatively, Edmonton also has a sweeping public transport system. Extensive bus and light rail systems (LTR) stop all around the city. 15 stops are served quickly and conveniently by the LRT around the city. You may purchase a day pass or pay per journey.

The Capital Line and the Metro Line are the two 24.3 kilometre long lines on which the LRT currently travels. The system travels northwest from downtown to NAIT and northeast from Clareview Station in northeast Edmonton to Century Park in the south across the North Saskatchewan River. Six of the network's 18 stations are underground and go through the central business district and the main campus of the University of Alberta; the other fourteen are on the surface.

The Edmonton Transit System (ETS) is the primary public transportation agency, covering most parts of the city. With 180 regular routes, the ETS runs a fleet of well over 960 buses around the city. Up until May 2009, Edmonton was one of only two Canadian cities with a trolley bus system (the other was Vancouver). Additionally, the ETS runs the DATS, a unique system for persons with disabilities (Disabled Adult Transit System).

Things to do in Edmonton

After you’ve settled comfortably in Edmonton, you should take some time out to do some sightseeing. There are plenty of things to do in Edmonton and it’s always good to make the best of the unique attractions that the area has to exhibit.

West Edmonton Mall

West Edmonton Mall is nationally acclaimed as the biggest indoor shopping facility on the continent. The mall has tons of attractions to entertain all kinds of people – with thousands of shopping outlets, dining facilities as well as an adventure park complex for the kids.

The Northern Lights

Revel in the sheer natural beauty of the Canadian sky as you gaze upon the Alberta Northern Lights which can be seen in Edmonton. Grab a friend, stay up late, dress warm and pack a hot mug of coffee to witness the breath-taking phenomenon that takes place in the Edmonton skies in the winter season.

Galaxyland Amusement Park

Located in the West Edmonton Mall, Galaxyland Amusement Park is the world’s biggest indoor amusement park with space-themed rides and other fun activities to suit all ages. If it’s a thrill you seek, or even if you’d like to spoil the kids, the amusement park is the perfect venue to find it. The venue’s largest attraction is called the ‘Mindbender’, a triple-loop roller coaster. There are other exciting rides which includes the Space Shot and the theme park also has a laser sharpshooter experience called the Galaxy Quest 7D which allows you to interact in a live simulation.

Muttart Conservatory

If you are interested in fascinating architecture and horticulture, then the Muttart Conservatory is a definite must-see. The three pyramid domes each hold an exotic themed garden that house different biomes and species of the world. Each pyramid transports you to a different place in the world and showcases a different theme for each – tropical, arid or temperate. The biggest attraction at the conservatory is the giant Amorphophallus titanium, nature’s tallest flowering plant, also known as the corpse flower.

Museums

Edmonton has plenty of interesting museums to explore – from art to culture and heritage – the museums cater to a wide range of palates. The Royal Alberta Museum is a family favorite and allows you to gaze into history with hieroglyphs to prehistoric dinosaurs, and from 500 generations of First Peoples. Invite your family to discover a piece of history and look at the ancient artifacts and fossils at this famous Edmonton museum. The Neon Sign Museum is also a large attraction in this area. Representing the 20th century, this museum remembers businesses of the past and also commemorates a dying industry of art.

Education in Edmonton

If you are in search of quality education, Canada is the place to find it. As one of the prominent cities in Canada, Edmonton is no exception to the rule – Offering more than one exemplary tertiary education facility as well as a well-balanced public-schooling system. From elementary level all the way to tertiary, Edmonton’s residents receive the best kind of education and the best part is that there are ample choices of institutions to choose from.

Canadians are well-educated people, and Edmonton is a prime example of why. The standard of education in Edmonton public schools and private schools is some of the highest in Canada and, by extension, the world. According to CTV News, students from Alberta generally have some of the highest levels of reading and science, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment.

Edmonton public schools, both at the primary and secondary level, are hugely subsidized by the Canadian government. This means there are no tuition fees, and the quality of education is some of the highest in the world. Edmonton is one of the cities in Canada that have two types of government-funded schools - Edmonton government schools and Catholic (separate) Schools.

Edmonton’s tertiary education maintains the city’s high standard. Edmonton is home to eight universities, including the University of Alberta, Concordia University of Edmonton and MacEwan University, and offers over 135 tertiary educational programs.

Public School

In total, Edmonton has three school boards which serve the greater public areas and provide kindergarten all the way up to grade 12. The first two boards, Edmonton Public Schools, and the Edmonton Catholic School District serve English-speaking students and the last board is dedicated to the growing Francophone community in Edmonton. All of the above are government-funded.

Private Schools

Though uncommon, there are some schools that do not belong to any of the abovementioned boards and offer private programs. The private school system in Edmonton therefore offers a host of alternative programs and a specialized education in addition to the standardized curriculum.

Universities

The biggest university in this region is the University of Alberta (U of A) which is a board-governed institution that turns over more than one billion dollars annually. With almost 40,000 new students applying there each year, U of A is one of the most sought after institutions in Canada. The university is especially known for its research library system, which happens to be the second largest in the country.

Another well-known institution is MacEwan University which welcomes a total student population of over 43,000 students every year. Other institutions include the Concordia University College of Alberta, The King's University College, NorQuest College, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), Taylor University College and Seminary and Yellowhead Tribal College which happens to be a First Nations college.

NAIT is one of the self-governing learning institutions in the Northern regions of Alberta and provides technical training combined with applied education to better equip their graduates for employment after tertiary education. This institute also happens to be the largest apprenticeship trainer in Canada.

Unique Immigration Visas for Edmonton

The biggest number of immigrants who chose Alberta as their new home ever was around 86,000 in 2012. For those from outside who desire to immigrate to Edmonton, this creates the ideal circumstance. In contrast to other major Canadian cities, Edmonton is one of the few places where employment opportunities are plentiful. This feature alone draws a large number of immigrants from outside who enter the nation through the skilled worker application procedure.

A quick route to living in Edmonton is through the Alberta PNP Program. Many international employees looking for steady, long-term employment find Alberta job prospects to be an appealing alternative. For people who match the requirements for application and want to live permanently in Alberta, the program is suitable.

An economic immigration scheme called the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), formerly known as the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, recommends candidates for Alberta permanent residency. Candidates must have the necessary abilities to fill open positions in Alberta or have plans to acquire or launch a business there. Additionally, they must be able to support their families. The Canadian and Albertan governments oversee the initiative.

You, your spouse or common-law partner, and any dependant children may apply for permanent residence status if you are nominated under the program.

Applications for permanent residency are handled by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Final judgments on these applications are likewise rendered by the federal government.

Pros and Cons of Living in Edmonton

Living in Edmonton has several benefits, including an outstanding employment market, a diversified population, and a lively nightlife. Living in Edmonton does have its disadvantages, such as the city's chilly winters and higher-than-average crime rates.

Pros

Edmonton is the sunniest city in Canada. The benefits of moving to Edmonton include:

  • Easy access to world-class education,
  • Affordability,
  • A wealth of green space,
  • A sports fan's paradise,
  • Diversity and inclusivity,
  • Plenty of festivals;
  • and the friendliness of the locals.

Cons

  • Severe weather conditions The severe seasonal temperatures in this northern city's weather.
  • The crime rates. The crime rate is more than 20% and 40% greater than in Vancouver and Calgary, respectively.
  • Bad roads; with more potholes than average

FAQs

What’s the fastest way to move to Edmonton?

If you’re looking to become a permanent resident in Edmonton, your best option is to apply via Canada’s Express Entry system. You can find a full breakdown of it here. If you want to ensure your chances of getting Express Entry, you might want to consider applying for one of Alberta’s PNP programs

What is the main spoken language in Edmonton?

English is the most spoken language and the means of instruction in Edmonton. In fact, to immigrate to Canada you’ll need to ensure your English-speaking ability. For a full breakdown of Canada’s language requirements, look at this article.

Is it easy to move to Edmonton?

This depends on your background and how you plan on moving to Edmonton. With over 100 visa and immigration programs to choose from, you have plenty of options. Chatting with an RCIC will help you find out which one is easiest for you.

Your Future in Canada Awaits

Now that you have a little taste of Edmonton, it's time to get ready for life in Edmonton. If you are unsure which visa you need to get your journey started or how to go through the application process, click the button below to talk to an RCIC. If you're unsure how an RCIC can help you, look at this breakdown of what they do and how they can help you.

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