40 Exciting Facts About Edmonton

A view of downtown Edmonton

Below you’ll find 40 fun and interesting facts about Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta province in Canada.

There were so many cool facts about Edmonton’s ginormous shopping mall that I’ve made a separate post covering all the fun facts about West Edmonton Mall. And you can learn even more with these facts about Alberta and facts about Canada.

General Edmonton Facts

A map of Edmonton

1. Edmonton is the fifth largest city in Canada and the capital city of the province of Alberta.

2. Edmonton is the northernmost city in North America with over 1 million people.

3. Edmonton is sometimes called E-town, and its people are called Edmontonians. There is known to be some intercity rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta’s slightly larger city.

4. There is known to be some intercity rivalry between Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta’s slightly larger (and, according to Edmontonians, slightly lamer, but actually better because it’s closer to the mountains) city.

5. Edmonton is one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with an average of 325 sunny days and 2345 sunshine hours per year.

6. The Edmonton River Valley is North America’s largest urban green space. At 7,300 hectares, it is larger than all of Manhattan in New York City, or 18 times larger than Stanley Park in Vancouver.

Edmonton is a gateway to oil-rich lands in the far north.

7. The name Oilers refers to Edmonton’s importance in the oil industry. The city has, at times, been called Oil City and the Oil Capital of Canada.

8. The Edmonton Oilers hockey team had a winning streak in the 1980s, winning the 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88, and 1989–90 seasons.

9. The city is considered a gateway to the north because of its railway, road, and air connections to communities in the far north.

10. Edmonton’s airport code is YEG, which is often included in business names and social media profiles, as is 780, the first three digits of most Edmonton phone numbers.

A bison in Elk Island National Park
Edmonton’s Elk Island National Park has the highest density of ungulates (hooved animals) after the Serengeti.

11. Edmonton has one of Canada’s smallest national parks right on its doorstep: Elk Island National Park. The park has played a key international role in the conservation of bison.

12. Edmonton is also known as the City of Festivals because it hosts so many annual festivals. These include the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, the largest fringe festival outside of Edinburgh.

13. West Edmonton Mall was the world’s largest mall from 1981 to 2004. The mall has numerous other records and facts which I’ve covered in this post.

Surprising and Weird Edmonton Facts

14. Edmonton has the largest cowboy boot in the world and is considered one of the Giants of the Prairies.

World's largest cowboy boot, Edmonton
The world’s largest cowboy boot is in Edmonton

15. Michael J. Fox, star of Back to the Future, was born in Edmonton. So was Tommy Chong from the cannabis-loving comedy duo Cheech and Chong and the country singer K. D. Lang.

16. Several major Canadian chain restaurants started in Edmonton, including Boston Pizza (no connection to the actual Boston), Earls, Booster Juice, Famoso, and Sawmill.

17. Cold FX, a popular cold remedy across Canada that has no proven effectiveness, was invented in Edmonton.

Downtown Edmonton in winter
There are times when Edmonton is colder than the Arctic

18. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Edmonton was −49.4°C (−56.9°F), on January 19 and 21, 1886. The highest was 37.2°C (99°F) on June 29, 1937. That’s a difference of 86.6 degrees C!

19. Daylight in Edmonton lasts from 7.25 hours to 17 hours at the peak of winter and summer, respectively.

20. The Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre at Telus World of Science is Canada’s largest planetarium.

21. Edmonton Public Schools offer North America’s only Mandarin bilingual program from kindergarten to grade 12. It has been described as the best Chinese language program outside of China.

A streetcar driver driving across the highest streetcar bridge in the world in Edmonton.
The highest streetcar bridge in the world

22. The High Level Bridge is the world’s highest bridge that is still used by a streetcar today. The old-time streetcars run from downtown to Whyte Ave on summer weekends.

23. On Canada Day (July 1), there used to be a waterfall from the High Level Bridge. It fell 64 meters from the top of the bridge to the river below, releasing 50,000 liters per minute. It was called the Great Divide Waterfall.

24. As of the last count, there are 19 breweries in Edmonton and its suburbs.

Purple City at Edmonton Legislature Grounds
The “Purple City” phenomenon in Edmonton looks something like this.

25. Local legend says that if you stare into the lights illuminating the Alberta Legislative Building at night and then look toward downtown, you will experience Purple City.

26. In the summer of 2021, Edmonton piloted a program allowing the legal consumption of alcohol at seven major parks in the city.

Statue of Bob & Doug McKenzie in Edmonton
Bob & Doug McKenzie in Downtown Edmonton

27. Edmonton has a Bob & Doug McKenzie statue, stars of the Canadian cult classic Strange Brew.

28. Edmonton has statues downtown of Wayne Gretzky, who led the Oilers to victory several times. Gretzky now owns a winery and distillery, whose bottles are labeled with No. 99, his trademark number.

29. The Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton is the largest stadium in Canada. It is mainly used by the Edmonton Elks (CFL) and for concerts. It is uncovered.

30. Edmonton has one street with the highest concentration of churches in the world. It is in the McCauley neighborhood and is called Church Street Heritage Area (96 Street).

Historical Edmonton Facts

31. The area around Edmonton was occupied by First Nations people going back at least 3000 years, and possibly as much as 10,000 years when it was a corridor between retreating ice fields.

32. North West Company and Hudson’s Bay built fur trade posts at Edmonton in 1795 and 1796, respectively. The latter is partially preserved today in a different location at Fort Edmonton Park on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River.

Fort Edmonton Park
Fort Edmonton Park preserves one of the two original forts at Edmonton

33. Edmonton is on Treaty 6 territory, referring to an agreement signed in 1876 between the monarchy of Canada and the First Nations people. The agreement is still active today.

34. Alberta became a province in 1905, and Edmonton was designated as its capital in 1906.

35. In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with Strathcona, a city on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River which was built around the terminus of the Calgary-to-Edmonton Railway line. Today, Strathcona is one of Edmonton’s coolest neighborhoods, especially its main street, Whyte Ave.

36. The Edmonton City Centre Airport operated from 1927 to 2013. Today it is being redeveloped as an eco-friendly neighborhood called Blatchford.

The world’s tallest oil derrick is just north of Edmonton in Redwater

37. Alberta’s first major oil discovery was made in 1947 in Leduc, just south of Edmonton. This sparked a boom in Edmonton.

38. On Friday, July 31, 1987, Edmonton was struck by a powerful tornado. 27 people died, and there was over $300 million in damage.

39. In 2021, the Edmonton Eskimos football team changed their name to the Edmonton Elks because the original name was considered racist.

40. In 2022, Edmonton lost its bid to host matches for World Cup 2026. FIFA instead chose Toronto and Vancouver.

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