Edmonton is the capital of Canada’s western Alberta province and its directly on the North Saskatchewan River. So this time around I decided I wanted to see what the Canadian nature has to offer, and if the Canadian people really are that kind as the people online claim to be. Fortunately I didn’t need a visa or ESTA form to enter the country; just a valid passport is enough.
The flight from Amsterdam to Edmonton takes about 9 hours. Flights are operated by KLM and leave daily. The price for a return ticket in Economy class is around the 800 euros. Visit www.klm.com for more information and availability.
Hotel: The Westin Edmonton
For this holiday we wanted to stay in a very comfortable hotel, which is situated in the middle of the center of Edmonton. The Westin Edmonton offers many facilities such as an indoor pool and direct access to the subways via their underground tunnel. For 3 nights we paid 640 euros including an amazing breakfast buffet. The staff was extremely friendly and very helpful during our stay, so I can highly recommend this hotel! For more information visit the website www.thewestinedmonton.com.
Jasper National Park
When we arrived it was late in the afternoon, so we got to the hotel with a taxi and ate something next door at a beer brewery café. On the next morning we woke up very early and rented a car in the hotel. We drove for 4 hours to get to Jasper National Park, which is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies. The park has many glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and mountains and is packed with wildlife. The park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely a lust for the eye. The view is almost as if you are standing inside a postcard, unreal. We stayed here all day just indulging ourselves with the view and the nature. Towards the end of the afternoon we drove back to Edmonton.
Art Gallery of Alberta
Since the hotel is literally situated in the center, the famous Art Gallery of Alberta is only a 5 minute walk. The gallery contains a collection of over 6000 objects differing from contemporary art to historical exhibitions. Even the outside looks very spectacular and is worthy of a visit.
Edmonton City Hall
Edmonton City Hall is the home of the municipal government of Edmonton. The building has two steel and glass pyramids that can be seen from all over town. The building also has a 200ft clock Friendship Tower that has 23 carillon bells. In front of the City Hall is a fountain and in winter when it’s freezing it becomes an ice skate rink. Because we were there in the winter we had the opportunity to skate on the ice.
Canadian Finals Rodeo
Every year around the beginning of November the Canadian Finals Rodeo show is in town. During this week the best Rodeo Cowboys/girls show their skills and hope to get qualified to go to the big finals in the United States. Taking a subway from the hotel to the Rexall Place stadium takes about 15 minutes. During this week the whole city is in rodeo style, even the hotel employees were wearing cowboy hats! Before the Rodeo show starts there is across from the stadium a main hall where you can see the cattle, bulls and cows, buy custom made cowboy hats or boots, enjoy live music and many more things to do. At around 6.30 pm the doors opened to the stadium and we enjoyed a 4 hour show. Tickets started at around 40 dollars and went up if you wanted to have better seats. We bought the tickets at the entrance of the main hall.
West Edmonton Mall
Because it gets really cold in the winter (think of temperatures around -20 degrees) the people need someplace to go, because they cannot stay at home all the time. The biggest mall I have ever seen is in Edmonton. This mall contains numerous shops, more than I could count, and has several indoor attractions. There is an indoor waterpark; indoor attraction park, indoor mini golf course, indoor aquarium and they even have a huge pirate ship inside! One day was certainly not enough to see the whole building because there were so many things to see and do. There are a few buses that go from the city center to the mall every half hour. After spending almost all day here it was time to go home and pack our bags.
Other places to visit in Edmonton:
- Fort Edmonton Park, for a trip down memory lane
- Alberta Legislature Building, a very nice authentic building
- TELUS World of Science, a science museum
- Elk Island National Park, a smaller park than Jasper but closer by.
Recap of the 3-day trip
Flights from Amsterdam to Edmonton leave daily with KLM and cost around 800 euros for a round trip. I chose to stay in the Westin Edmonton because it is the most central hotel there is. Jasper National Park is the most beautiful park there is, and it feels surreal being there and experiencing the nature in this way. Art Gallery and Edmonton City Hall are both landmarks of this city that need to be visited or at least seen. They make up a big part of the city. Canadian Finals Rodeo is the event that takes place every year in the first week of November, this is when all the cowboys/cowgirls battle to be the best and to win. The West Edmonton Mall is the biggest mall in North America that has several themed parks inside amongst the many shops. You can visit for one whole day but still haven’t seen it all!
For now I’m going to pack my bags and see you on the Spanish side, so keep on the lookout for my next blog!