- Edmonton is surrounded by beautiful parks
Edmonton’s River Valley is a ribbon of lush forest and park land that follows the mighty North Saskatchewan River as it slices through the city. The River Valley is 30 miles long, making it the longest continuous park in North America. Both sides of the river have natural and urban parks, trails, golf courses, pools, lakes and activities, making it a magnet for dog walkers, runners and triathloners alike. Jasper National Park and Wood Buffalo National Park are also a scenic drive from Edmonton.
- Pack your sunglasses
Edmonton is one of Canada’s sunniest cities, with an average of 325 sunny days in a year. Its northern location also means it gets some long summer days. On the longest day of the year, the sun rises at 5:04 a.m. and doesn’t set until 10:07 p.m. In the winter, bright blue skies make the cold much less depressing. All the better to get outside and enjoy those famous parks all year round!
- Watch out for twisters
There are two tornado alleys in Canada: one in Ontario, and the other spread out across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. If you hear people talk about ‘Black Friday’, they’re not referring an American shopping phenomenon. On Friday July 31 1987, a category F4 tornado swept through Edmonton, killing 27 people and leaving a permanent scar on the psyche of Albertans old enough to remember it.
- There is no provincial sales tax
When you move to Edmonton, your bank balance will benefit from Alberta’s long history of subsidizing its resident’s wallets with oil money. Alberta is the only province in Canada that does not charge provincial sales tax. However, this arrangement may not last forever. The volatile price of oil has led many local economists to call for more taxes, to the annoyance of all who live in Edmonton.
- Hope you like festivals
Sometimes called the ‘Festival City’, Edmonton is host to over 30 annual festivals, and over 50 “events” each year! From the Ice on Whyte Festival with giant ice carvings in January, Interstellar Rodeo of Folk and Rock music, Shakespeare, Fringe Festival, poetry, pride and even a raft race down the river – the festivities never stop.
- You’ll learn to love the Edmonton Oilers
Nothing brings Edmontonians together like the Oilers. The city’s hockey team is a huge source of pride for the locals who celebrate the highs and lows of their sporting performances. Just don’t mention the Calgary Flames and you’ll be fine.
- Say goodbye to long commutes
If you’re moving to Edmonton from a city like Toronto or Vancouver, be amazed when your downtown commute is cut in half. Fewer people on the roads makes it easy to get around by car, and thanks to the Edmonton Transit System, you can count on buses and trains that get you anywhere you need to be in the city. There’s also the Edmonton Light Rail Transit system that goes even further afield.
- Beware the mosquitoes
An unexpected downside to moving to Edmonton are the mosquitoes. Over 30 species of the blood-sucking critters live in the region. The city works hard to control larvae levels and luckily the breed that carries West Nile virus is relatively rare. Make sure your apartment or room for rent in Edmonton has screens on all windows and doors!
- You’ve never felt a winter like this before
Winter is coming. It’s about to get very cold and very dark for a very long time. The first thing to go will be your vanity, as you spend a full pay cheque equipping yourself with the biggest, warmest, ugliest parka, hat, gloves and winter boots you can find. You’re also going to want to invest in a block heater for your car engine, and some bright lights for your mental health. Try to pretend to enjoy winter sports – skiing, hockey, curling, anything – as it will help summer come sooner, we promise.