Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
In 1904, Edmonton was declared a city. The following year Edmonton was named the provincial capital of Alberta. Today, Edmonton is Canada's 6th largest city, offering all the amenities of a major urban centre plus a family-friendly environment that is safe, stimulating and rich with opportunity. Edmonton is one of Canada's most ethnically diverse cities with more than 60 ethnic and cultural groups. Well known for its vibrant cultural life, diverse business community and outstanding river valley park system, Edmonton is a great place to call home. People who live in Edmonton are called "Edmontonians"
Edmonton is located near the geographical middle of the province at an elevation of 668 meters. The terrain in and around Edmonton is generally flat to gently rolling, with ravines and deep river valleys, such as the North Saskatchewan River valley. Despite the Canadian Rockies lying as close to Edmonton as roughly 220 kilometres to the southwest, the city is too distant for any of its peaks to be seen from even its tallest buildings. The North Saskatchewan River bisects the city and originates at the Columbia Ice field in Jasper National Park. It empties, via the Saskatchewan River, Lake Winnipeg, and the Nelson River, into Hudson Bay. It runs from the southwest to the northeast and is fed by numerous creeks throughout the city, such as Mill Creek and Whitemud Creek. This creates numerous ravines, many of which have been incorporated into the urban parkland. Edmonton is situated at the boundary between prairie to the south and boreal forest to the north, in a transitional area known as aspen parkland. However, the aspen parkland in and around Edmonton has long since been heavily altered by farming and other human activities, such as oil and natural gas exploration.
Edmontonians have a famous saying here - "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes" Edmonton has a northern continental climate with extreme seasonal temperatures. It has mild summers and chilly winters, with the average daily temperatures ranging from -11.7°C (10.9°F) in January to 17.5°C (63.5°F) in July. New Buyers to Edmonton sometimes ask "When does it snow in Edmonton." Truth be told - Edmonton has had snow in every month.
Edmonton around 3,000 BC and perhaps as early as 10,000 BC, when an ice-free corridor opened up as the last ice age ended and timber, water, and wildlife became available in the region. In 1754, Anthony Henday, an explorer working for the Hudson's Bay Company, may have been the first European to enter the Edmonton area. His expeditions across the Canadian Prairies were mainly to seek contact with the aboriginal population for the purpose of establishing fur trade, as the competition was fierce between the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. By 1795, Fort Edmonton was established as a major trading post for the Hudson's Bay Company. It was named after the English hometown, now a part of Greater London, of the HBC deputy governor Sir James Winter Lake. In the late nineteenth century, the highly fertile soils surrounding Edmonton helped attract settlers, further establishing Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural building. Edmonton was also a stopping point for people hoping to cash in on the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897, although the majority of people doing so chose to take a steamship north to the Yukon from Vancouver. Incorporated as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350, Edmonton became the capital of Alberta a year later on September 1, 1905.
The war years
During the early 1910s, Edmonton grew very rapidly due to rising speculation in real estate prices. In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with the city of Strathcona south of the North Saskatchewan River. As a result, the city extended south of the river. Just prior to World War I, the real estate boom ended suddenly, causing the city's population to decline sharply from over 72,500 in 1914 to under 54,000 only two years later. Recruitment to the Canadian military during the war also contributed to the drop in population. Afterwards, the city was slow to recover in population and economy during the twenties and thirties, until World War II.
The oil boom years
The first major oil discovery in Alberta was made on February 13, 1947, near the town of Leduc to the south of Edmonton. As early as 1914, oil reserves were known to exist in the southern parts of Alberta but they produced very little oil compared to those around Edmonton. Additional oil reserves were discovered during the late forties and the fifties near the town of Redwater. Because most of Alberta's oil reserves were concentrated in central and northern Alberta, Edmonton became home to most of Alberta's oil industry.
The subsequent oil boom gave Edmonton new status as the Oil Capital of Canada. During the fifties, the city increased in population from 149,000 to 269,000. After a relatively calm but still prosperous period in the sixties, the city's growth took on renewed vigour with high world oil prices, triggered by the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The oil boom of the seventies and eighties ended abruptly with the sharp decline in oil prices on the international market and the introduction of the National Energy Program in 1981. The population had reached 521,000 that same year. Although the National Energy Program was later scrapped by the federal government in the mid-eighties, the collapse of world oil prices in 1986 and massive government cutbacks kept the city from making a full economic recovery until the late nineties.
In 1981, West Edmonton Mall, which was at the time the world's largest mall, opened. Still the biggest in North America, the mall is one of Alberta's most-visited tourist attractions and contains an indoor amusement park, a large indoor water park, a skating rink, a New Orleans-themed bar district and a luxury hotel in addition to over eight hundred shops and services. On July 31, 1987, a devastating tornado, ranked as an F4 on the Fujita scale hit the city and killed twenty-seven people. The storm blew CN rail cars off a bridge crossing the North Saskatchewan River and hit the areas of Beaumont, Mill Woods, Bannerman, Fraser, and the Evergreen Trailer Park. The day became known as "Black Friday". Then-mayor Laurence Decore cited the community's response to the tornado as evidence that Edmonton was a "city of champions", which later became the city's slogan. The city entered its current period of economic recovery and prosperity by the late nineties, helped by a strong recovery in oil prices and further economic diversification. While oil production and refining remains the basis of many jobs in Edmonton, the city's economy has managed to diversify significantly. The downtown core and parts of the inner city, after years of extremely high office vacancy rates and neglect, have recovered to a great degree. It is still undergoing a renaissance of its own, with further new projects underway or about to become reality, and more people choosing to live in or near the downtown core. This economic prosperity is bringing in large numbers of workers from around Canada. It is forecast that 83,000 new residents will move to Edmonton between 2006 and 2010, twice the rate that city planners had expected. Many of the new workers moving to the city are young men. Information from Wikipedia.
Edmonton has become one of Canada's major educational centres with more than 60,000 full-time post-secondary students spread over several institutions and campuses (total enrollment between the schools is as high as 170,000, which includes students enrolled in multiple institutions). The University of Alberta (known colloquially as the "U of A"), whose main campus is situated on the south side of Edmonton's river valley, is a board-governed, public institution. The main campus consists of more than ninety buildings on 890,000 square meters (220 acres) of land, with buildings dating back to the university's establishment in 1908.
Edmonton has three publicly funded school boards (districts), which provide kindergarten and grades one through twelve. The vast majority of students attend schools in the two large English language boards: Edmonton Public Schools and the separate Edmonton Catholic School District. Also, since 1994, the francophone minority community has had their own school board based in Edmonton, the North-Central Francophone School Authority, which includes surrounding communities. Most recently the city has seen a small number of public charter schools open, independent of any board. All three school boards and public charter schools are funded through provincial grants and property taxes.
Edmonton Real Estate
CREA - Canadian Real Estate Association
Realtor.ca - Multiple Listing Service
AREA - Alberta Real Estate Association
EREB - Edmonton Real Estate Board
CMHC - Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation
AMBA - Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association
CAHPI - Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors
City Crime Check -Edmonton Police Crime map
Our Real Estate Blog - Edmonton Real Estate Blog
Buying a home in Edmonton Alberta
Finding a home in Edmonton is not an easy task. Unlike most cities, Edmonton's real estate is extremely sporadic. The best way to choose a home in Edmonton is to first choose your lifestyle. Then choose a REALTOR® who specializes in the community you want to live in. Relocating to Edmonton Alberta?
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