Below you’ll find 40 general, cool, weird, and historical facts about Edmonton. This happens to be the city where I live, so you can also check my articles on best things to do in Edmonton and visiting Edmonton with kids if you happen to be in town.
There ended up being so many cool facts about Edmonton’s ginormous shopping mall that I’ve made a totally separate post covering all the crazy facts about West Edmonton Mall.
General Edmonton Facts
- Edmonton is the fifth largest city in Canada and capital city of the province of Alberta.
- Edmonton is the northernmost city in North America with over 1 million people.
- 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 (and, according to Edmontonians, slightly lamer, but actually better because they are closer to the mountains) city.
- 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.
- Edmonton is one of the sunniest cities in Canada, with an average of 325 sunny days and 2345 sunshine hours per year.
- The Edmonton River Valley is the largest urban green space in North America. At 7,300 hectares, it is larger than all of Manhattan in New York City, or 18 times larger than Stanley Park in Vancouver.
- 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.
- 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.
- The city is considered a gateway to the north because of its railway, road, and air connections to communities in the far north.
- Edmonton’s airport code is YEG, which is often included in business names and social media profiles, as is 780, the first 3 digits of most Edmonton phone numbers.
- 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.
- Edmonton is also known as the City of Festivals because it hosts so many annual festivals. These include Edmonton International Fringe Festival, the largest fringe festival outside of Edinburgh.
- 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 & Weird Edmonton Facts
- Edmonton has the largest cowboy boot in the world, considered one of the Giants of the Prairies.
- Michael J. Fox, star of Back to the Future, was born in Edmonton. So were Tommy Chong from the cannabis-loving comedy duo Cheech and Chong, as well as the lesbian country singer K. D. Lang.
- Several major Canadian chain restaurants started in Edmonton, including Boston Pizza, Earls, Booster Juice, Famoso, and Sawmill.
- Cold FX, a popular cold remedy across Canada that has no proven effectiveness, was invented in Edmonton.
- 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!
- Daylight in Edmonton lasts from 7.25 hours to 17 hours at the peak of winter and summer, respectively.
- The Margaret Zeidler Star Theatre at Telus World of Science is Canada’s largest planetarium.
- Edmonton Public Schools offer the only Mandarin bilingual program from kindergarten to grade 12 in North America. It has been described as ““the best Chinese language program outside of China.”
- 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.
- 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 litres per minutes. It was called the Great Divide Waterfall.
- There are 19 breweries in Edmonton and its suburbs, as of the last count.
- Local legend has it that if you stare into the lights which illuminate the Alberta Legislative Building, at night then look toward downtown, you will experience Purple City.
- In summer of 2021, Edmonton piloted a program allowing legal consumption of alcohol at seven major parks in the city.
- There are no rats naturally living in Edmonton or anywhere in Alberta, but West Edmonton Mall’s waterpark has cockroaches, which are said to have hitched a ride in from a tropical location.
- 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 labelled with No. 99, his trademark number.
- Edmonton also has a statue of Bob & Doug McKenzie, stars of the Canadian cult classic Strange Brew.
- Edmonton has one street with the highest concentration of churches in the world. It is in McCauley neighborhood and called Church Street Heritage Area (96 Street).
Historical Edmonton Facts
- 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.
- 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 on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, at Fort Edmonton Park.
- 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.
- Alberta became a province in 1905, and Edmonton was designated as its capital in 1906.
- 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 it’s main street, Whyte Ave.
- The Edmonton City Centre Airport operated from 1927 to 2013. Today it is being redeveloped as an eco-friendly neighborhood called Blatchford.
- The first major oil discovery in Alberta was made in 1947 in Leduc, just south of Edmonton. This sparked a boom in Edmonton.
- On Friday, July 31, 1987, Edmonton was struck by a powerful tornado. 27 people died, and there was over $300 million in damage.
- In 2016, the city completed the Anthony Henday Drive, the first totally free-flowing ring highway around a city in Canada.
- In 2021, the Edmonton Eskimos football team changed their name to the Edmonton Elks because the original name was considered racist.