Written by: Jana
Edmonton (pop. 812,000) is a prairie city in central-West Canada. With 2,300 hours of bright sunshine per year, Edmonton is one of Canada’s sunniest cities. The sunshine might last as long as 17 hours per day during your trip to the city. Known for having the largest in North America (6th largest in the world), the mall holds a full-size ice rink, a waterpark, roller coasters as well as a life-sized pirate ship. With the city being named the eight best pizza city in the world, it’s no wonder Edmonton is gaining even more international attention!
I lived in Edmonton for 5 months back in 2014/15, very close to where you’re probably staying, in the trendy Whyte Ave. neighbourhood. All along Whyte Ave. you’ll find clusters of cheap and hip bars, restaurants, concert halls and entertainment venues. Be sure to take the time to stroll along the street to find unique little shops.
Edmonton has plenty so offer, so without further ado here is my Edmonton City Guide to help you prepare for your time in the city before heading to camp, on your day off or for your travels after summer camp.
FOOD – Visit La Poutine (8720 109 St NW), just steps from your hotel, to try Edmonton’s best and cheapest take on the Canadian classic. Craving a caffeine fix? Try heading next door to Transcend Coffee (8708 109 St NW), an independent shop with an awesome roast! For a quick lunch, hop over to Farrow Sandwiches (8422 109 St NW), home to what many claim to be the best sandwiches in Edmonton. If you want to try Edmonton’s new claim to fame – pizza – check out local favourite Tony’s Pizza (9603 111 Ave) or the very popular Canadian chain Famoso (11750 Jasper Ave NW).
DRINK – The legal drinking age in Alberta is 18-years- old. If you’re feeling thirsty check out one of the many pubs and bars along Whyte Ave., which are always busy because they’re in the heart of the University neighbourhood! My favorite of all MKT (8101 Gateway Blvd), just 4 blocks away from your hostel. You might find NHL hockey players or youngsters of the Oiler’s sharing a beer at the Hudsons Canada’s Pub (10307 82 Ave NW). You’ll find the Commercial Hotel (10329 Whyte Ave.), a blues bar with live bands and cheap beer. For casual pub eats, a varied beer selection and an awesome patio, hit up The Next Act (8224 104 St NW). One more happening spot is Dadeo New Orleans Diner & Bar (10548A Whyte Avenue), which has a fun and bustling atmosphere! Another thing you shouldn’t miss are the “Bulldogs” at Julio’s Barrio (10450 82 Ave NW), just so delicious, combined with tasty Mexican food!
PLACES TO VISIT – Your hostel is steps from The River Valley, North America’s longest continuous urban parkland. An outdoor lover’s urban paradise, the park has volleyball courts and open barbecue pits so you can practice your outdoor cooking skills before heading up to camp! You can even rent a Segway and take a guided tour along the river! If you have free time on a Saturday morning, check out fresh food and unique vendors at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market https://osfm.ca/ (10310 83 Ave NW – Saturdays 8am-3pm). Wanna spend some time indoors before your summer under the sun? Check out the Art Gallery of Alberta (2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.), with its ever-changing exhibits. Get your shop on at one of more than 800 stores at the West Edmonton Mall (8882 170 St NW).
CAMP SUPPLIES – Missing some camp essentials? Take a beautiful 45-minute stroll through Kinsmen Park and then along Edmonton’s Gem, the North Saskatchewan River, to get to Mountain Equipment Co-op (12328 – 102nd Ave NW) – Canada’s premiere camping goods store.
GETTING AROUND – Edmonton is a walkable city, so you won’t need transit to see most things! HI-Edmonton rents bikes for a cost of $10/day. You can also hop on the Edmonton Transit System. A single fare costs $3.25, while a day pass will set you back $9.25. For more detailed transit information, ask the hostel front desk.
Insider tip? In case you want to feel more like a local, here is a very helpful hint in how to get around the city and not get lost. Edmonton is built on a grid system which means all Avenues run East to West and all Streets from South to North.
For a local’s guide to what’s going on in Edmonton, check out: http://www.iheartedmonton.org/.