What is it like to live in Edmonton, an authentic city and a great place to raise a family
Why Edmonton is an authentic city?
Here we go! –
Canada is a highly urbanized country, and most Canadians live in cities along the southern edge of the country. However, Edmonton in central Alberta is perfect for those looking for an authentic city. Something a little colder than what is found on the southern border, but still not quite inhospitable. We have our ups and lows as mentioned in Expatra’s article about relocating to Edmonton, but our city’s authenticity is beyond the common urban issues that every other city has. It is a great place to live in Alberta.
Most people, including me, before arriving here think of Canada as a country of ice and snow, with its beautiful national parks, wide-open spaces and the Northern Lights. But few realize just how much variety the Great White North has to offer.
Authenticity is hard to describe but you know when you see it. Before I jump into why this is a great place to live, here are five quick points that make Edmonton an authentic city.
Edmonton’s authenticity comes from its rich history, unique culture, and natural beauty. We’re proud of our roots and we want visitors to feel the same way. Our city is home to many different cultures, including First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Ukrainian, Polish, Italian, Greek, and others. There are over 100 languages spoken in Edmonton.
Edmonton was founded in 1876 and is the second oldest city in Canada. Its rich history includes being the capital of Alberta, the first capital of the Northwest Territories. The Old Strathcona neighbourhood is known as the birthplace of modern Edmonton. Many of the buildings date back to the early 1900s and were designed by some of the world’s best architects of that era.
Edmonton is surrounded by nature. From the North Saskatchewan River Valley to the Rocky Mountains, we enjoy a wide variety of wildlife and landscapes. You’ll find parks and trails throughout the city where you can experience nature at its finest.
Our food scene is booming! Whether you’re looking for authentic Asian cuisine, delicious Mexican fare, fresh sushi, or gourmet sandwiches, Edmonton offers something for everyone. If you’re craving a sweet treat, stop by a bakery or ice cream shop.
There are festivals happening year-round in Edmonton. Check out the list below for upcoming events:
- Edmonton International Fringe Festival – July 10th to September 8th
- Art Gallery of Alberta – May 1st to August 31st
- Edmonton Folk Music Festival – June 13th to August 2nd
- Edmonton Pride Week – June 20th to August 4th
Why Edmonton is a great place to live in Alberta?
Edmonton is not just an authentic city. It is a great place to live and raise a family, with amazing places to visit and shop if you are on vacation. To explain why I can say this confidently, I need to tell you a bit of the story of how I fell in love with this town.
Embrace the winter authentic lifestyle
There’s no doubt about it: Canadians love winter. From snow sports to skating rinks, hockey games and snowshoeing trails, the season brings a flurry of excitement and opportunities for adventure.
But what if you were looking for an awesome place to enjoy crisp fall days or sunny winter days? How do you know where to look? What if there was another kind of winter city? With lots of different activities?
Well, many things make Edmonton one of the best winter cities to live and raise a family. For starters, here you feel warm thanks to its friendly people. In addition, its indoor amenities, schools, universities, authentic boutiques for shopping, cozy cafes, and amazing places to visit, such as the North Saskatchewan River Valley, put this town on the map.
Alberta – amazing places and lifestyles
There is always something in Edmonton for those who like the active outdoors or the entertainment of authentic lifestyles.
Just a bit of geography to picture Edmonton’s scenery. About half of the province of Alberta’s population of more than four million is concentrated in two major cities of the province.
Slightly more than one million live in each of the metropolitan areas of Calgary and Edmonton, the latter is the capital of Alberta, a province full of amazing places and lifestyles.
It is really cold but feels warm and welcoming
I arrived here for the first time in 2014 for a six-month visit with Marcelo, my husband. I didn’t speak any English, so I needed to be welcomed. Obviously, the first person to welcome me was Marcelo. It was mid-February, right at the time of Valentine’s Day. In North America it’s not in June like in Brazil. And it was cold. I mean, really cold for someone coming from a tropical +35C summer to a -20C.
Honestly speaking, in São Paulo, let alone in Belém, no one has the habit of watching the weather forecast to go outside. Well, I quickly learned that not I had to watch out for myself, otherwise, I would freeze easily.
After adapting to the cold and the new routine, I was ready to take an English as a Second Language course. Marcelo enrolled me in a conversation course. And I accepted because the alternative was to avoid people on the streets so I would not have to keep saying: “Sorry, I don’t speak English!”.
During the course, I had several good experiences. But what caught my attention the most was the teacher’s patience to explain everything to me over and over. It couldn’t get warmer than that. And then the winter just became so thrilling.
Being an authentic city, Edmonton has the best of both worlds
As the days went by in a few weeks it was Spring. Surely, it was still cold, but time for rebirth and new perspectives – I was a tourist and a resident. Whether you are looking for some of the best festivals in Canada, beautiful river valleys, or an amazing food scene, Edmonton is an amazing place to visit. Considering Edmonton is known as a festival town, you definitely need to try and experience some of them if you can, as I did.
Edmonton is home to over 50 festivals each year. Some of the more popular ones include the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Edmonton Folk Fest, and 10-day long K-Day. They bring street real life to the city. There are parties, dances, parades, and live entertainment. Edmonton also offers the standard Western attractions for all ages, including several multiplex cinemas, youth clubs, and restaurants.
With the most impressive mountain parks in Canada just a 3 1/2 hour drive away, Edmonton is a year-round pleasure. We will talk about the mountains in another post (ah…the mountains!).
If great outdoors is not your goal, the city also offers the West Edmonton Mall. It is the largest mall in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the largest entertainment and shopping centers in the world.
it’s a great place to grow professionally
As I tried to figure out how I would make a living around here, I realized why Edmonton is easily one of the best places to work not just in Alberta but in Canada.
Not only is this a young city, but it is also a vibrant place known for its high quality of life. Edmonton is one of the top cities in Canada for affordability. Buying a house here is still in reach. As of June 2022, according to the Financial Post and MoneyWise, the average price of a home is around $365,000.
Its growth, employment opportunities, lower provincial taxes, and diverse population make it a desirable destination for immigrants from around the world. Edmonton beautifully balances city life with nature, creating a compelling destination to spend a more relaxing time – it is its lifestyle brand.
Due to the vast oil and gas reserves within Alberta, Edmonton is known as Canada’s oil capital. But it is also home to first-class universities and many start-ups in various sectors like gaming.
Known as the gateway to the north, Edmonton is also home to one of the largest airports in Canada.
Moreover, it is the hub for accessing the Canadian Far North, such as Nunavut, the Yukon, and the Northwest Territories.
Albertans are known for their entrepreneurial spirit which probably stung me to create TrudoUrbani – a one-stop shop business for people shopping for authentic brands and products.
This part of my story I tell on another webpage.
Nothing like it to raise a family here
This year, even though we’re coming off our coldest winter in decades, a lot of people are still itching to get out of the house and spend more time outdoors once the snow melts away.
This is Edmonton – a truly welcoming city. It’s very cold but people greet you cordially on the street. They don’t judge you by what you wear or what you have, I would say that the lines between social classes are blurred.
This feeling reassures me that this is a great city and takes away the pressure of talking about everything I’ve lived through until today. I am so happy because my children are living in a good environment and most of all, a respectful city. Although it isn’t perfect, we are making it better together.
This summer, we will once again enjoy how this city is surprisingly green for a place with so much snow. We will enjoy and support our downtown, the stunning North Saskatchewan River Valley, and other parks in town.
For instance, Fort Edmonton Park, the largest living museum in Canadian history, is located southwest of downtown in the river valley. Our family will also enjoy tons of activities without ever leaving our neighbourhood, thanks to our community league volunteers. Last but not least, Edmonton has some of the best food you’ll find anywhere in Canada, so I must admit I have gained some weight.
Edmonton gave me an opportunity to pursue a healthy home and garden lifestyle
My husband and I have been married for over 5 years now. We love spending our free time together outside enjoying nature and being active.
While I am a mother of two children and a self-employed business owner, I also enjoy a home and garden lifestyle – cooking, gardening, reading, and entertaining our family and friends. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself and my surroundings.
Since I moved to Edmonton, I started living healthier and pursuing a more home and garden lifestyle. Outside work, this home and garden lifestyle is a passion. This only become a viable option in Edmonton. I am a huge advocate of eating clean and healthy foods. Being a business owner myself, I am a big supporter of local farmers and small businesses.
Supporting local businesses helps build community and creates jobs, and am passionate about helping people and making a difference in the world.
Everyone deserves a chance at happiness and success. I want to help people achieve their dreams and goals. It is important to stay positive and optimistic. When you focus on the positives, you will attract more of those things into your life.
Edmonton is an authentic city with small town feeling – It is its loyalty-inspiring brand
I guess what I am trying to say is that my experience with this city started with a surreal cold and a warm and unforgettable reception. You will hear the same story over and over again around here.
In 2014, the year that I arrived in Edmonton, Money Sense magazine ranked Edmonton as the 8th most livable location in Canada in terms of many things such as its economy, great community, beautiful scenery, and high quality of life.
Many people come to Edmonton to visit or work for a while and end up staying. I have heard this story over and over again. Everyone has an opportunity to pursue an authentic lifestyle.
This is where the idea of creating a loyalty-inspiring brand came from. The feeling of being loyal and grateful for the opportunities that this city gives to those that come and stay here is very strong. It is everywhere and in every face.
Like many people, I’m grateful and feel I’m home. It is my authentic city too.