Canadian summers are full of long weekends, which give us extra time to enjoy all of our favourite activities. Here are some, which may be especially good to do with kids, but kids aren’t necessary for most! The Legislature grounds are the place to spend the day if you really want to see and do as much as possible to celebrate the holidays, but all of the small towns, and many neigbourhoods will have special Canada Day celebrations, complete with fireworks. Fireworks won’t usually start until 11, since the sky is too light to enjoy the show before that. For me, camping is the way to go for any long weekend, so I made my reservations months ago!
The title of this post is meant to be ironic. It’s not true that Edmonton is the worst city in Canada. In fact, it has the largest park system in North America, tons of recreation facilities, and non-stop festivals in fun. You can stay away if you want, but you’ll miss out, if you do!
I have posted information about round dances previously, and I really recommend that you visit at least one, if you never have. There are always a lot of ceremonies prior to the actual dancing: the pipe ceremony, the feast, and a lot of prayers. The dancing and singing is likely to begin around 7, or later. This is a very convenient location, easy to reach on foot, by bicycle, bus, or LRT. There is also a lot of parking at and near the university, but it’s not cheap, and you have to pay any time of day.
The very best deal in town for people who love books is the Books2Buy sale that the Edmonton Library holds several times a year. Collect books, CDs, and DVDs for only $1-2 each. Go early for the best selection, and go on Sunday to fill a big box with materials for only $10!
- Friday, February 19: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, February 20: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Sunday, February, 21: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m
- Stanley A. Milner Library
I may have already mentioned this, but there are many events during the Edmonton winter, and one that’s really unique is the amazing Ice Castle that has been built in Hawrelak Park. Everything is created from ice, and you can explore inside the castle, enjoying the beautiful lights, inside and outside.
Enjoy your winter. It’s more difficult than summer, but it’s really interesting and exciting in a different way!
Every weekend in the summer, there are many events, activities and festivals, in and around Edmonton. These are just a few of them.
We’re going to take the Edmonton Streetcar tomorrow to visit the Whyte Avenue area (Old Strathcona). The streetcar is very interesting and a very convenient and inexpensive way to travel between Old Strathcona and downtown.
We’re going to visit the Edmonton Sand Sculpture Exhibition, near Whyte Avenue and Gateway Boulevard. Sand sculptures are very popular in beach locations. They’re not very common, here in urban Alberta!
The Sand on Whyte is part of a popular, long-running art festival, Edmonton Art Walk, which has operated near Whyte Avenue for many years.
Edmonton Street Performers’ Festival is continuing in Churchill Square, if you want to see acrobats, comedians, or jugglers performing.
For a very unique activity, there are also 2 pow wows being held near Edmonton this weekend:
Enoch Cree Nation is very close to West Edmonton Mall. Take Whitemud Drive outside the city to Highway 60, and then travel south past the townsite (less than 5 kilometres). The pow wow arbour is on the east (left) side of the highway, travelling south.
Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation is located north of Lac Ste. Anne, near Glenevis, AB. It would be about a 1-hour drive to visit from Edmonton.
I’m very lucky that the food trucks usually park near my work at lunchtime, but lots of people can’t try foodtrucks very easily. Luckily, there are festivals several times a year, where many foodtrucks will gather. Go ahead, try something new! For this event, there will even be some alcohol available in the area. Northlands is close to the Coliseum Station on the train.
National Aboriginal Days Poster
As the summer continues, there are more and more festivals and speciall events around the city. One of my favourite festivals has just started: The Works Art & Design Festival All around the downtown area, there are art exhibits until July 1. There are beer gardens, food and art vendors, and live entertainment every day in Churchill Square: Street Stage, Churchill Square Take some time to enjoy some visual arts, as well as some music!
National Aboriginal Day (June 21) is being celbrated all month. Special celebrations Aboriginal Day Live, in Edmonton will occur Saturday, June 20, at Louise McKinney Park, with other celebrations happening Saturday, in Churchill Square. Edmonton Aboriginal Days celebration
When people arrive in Edmonton from another part of the world, they often complain that the city is boring and cold. During the winter, it is dark for a long time, and the weather is cold. You often won’t see people out on the streets during the winter months. However, from the May long weekend (third Monday in May, just finished), until Labour Day (first Monday in September), there are so many choices of activities that you can’t possibly enjoy them all!!
Visit the River Valley, where you can walk, run, ride a bicycle, or just drive your car to a park for a picnic, a Barbecue, or just to relax. Our ribbon of green runs the full length of the city, so you can spend your full day there, if you want.
Go to our leisure centres, indoor and outdoor sports facilities throughout the city. I’ve never visited another city with so many swimming pools! Play basketball, kick a soccer ball, play tennis, or walk on a track. You can keep healthy and have fun. There are competitions in all kinds of sports, including triathlon, dragon boat, slowpitch baseball, street basketball, ultimate frisbee, you name it. There’s no good reason to stay inside your house or apartment during the summer!
FESTIVALS! Edmonton is known as festival city, and it’s hard to believe how many kinds of festivals we have here! The Sikh Parade was on the weekend, the Children’s Festival is coming up, and Edmonton’s Fringe Festival in August was the first, and is the largest theatre festival in North America.
Cultural exchange: Do you want to eat injera (Ethipian), practice Capoeira (Brazilian), learn to play Chinese chess, watch a pow wow (Indigenous Canadian dance competition), pray in a Buddhist temple, enjoy fresh perogies from Ukraine, or pasta from Italy? Do you want to learn a new language or skill? You can do all of these things on the same weekend, without travelling too far from the city centre. People from every corner of the world have made Edmonton home, and now, they are happy to share their traditions and culture here. The Edmonton Heritage Festival is a very popular time to see, taste, and hear many different cultures. Personally, I avoid the crowds on that weekend, and visit many small businesses and activities all through the year.
Here in Edmonton, sports fans are extremely lucky, because there are so many international sporting events. Not long ago, there was the Canadian Birkebeiner cross-country ski race, as well as the international sledge hockey championships.
This weekend there will be a huge event that sounds completely crazy to me, but apparently, it’s very popular, and exciting to watch. Not only that, but there will be quite a few locations downtown where spectators can watch the action for FREE!! I’ve never seen this before, but it sounds like this is a downhill skating race, and it’s a little bit like roller derby, with contact allowed between the skaters. I can’t stand to watch events where I expect someone to get seriously injured, like the circus, so I don’t think this is for me, but if you are an adrenaline-junkie, you’ll probably love it!
Edmonton is really festival city in the summertime, when you can attend a half dozen different events on one weekend, but we’re getting more and more enthusiastic about our longest season: winter!! take a look at what’s coming up, next is the Byzantine Deep Freeze Festival, on 118 Avenue.
There are many businesses and facilities that have shorter hours, especially on December 25 (Christmas) and January 1 (New Years Day), but most of us also have extra leisure time and holidays during this season. Go ahead and spend 1-2 days in your pyjamas during this cold, dark season, but also make sure to get out to see or do something new!
Celebrate a New Year!
This festival will allow you to try skating for free at city hall, there will be crafts for children and food to purchase, and you can also watch the movie “Frozen”, outside in Churchill Square, before midnight fireworks. Edmonton doesn’t usually have nighttime activities outdoors in the winter, so this will be a special treat, if the weather isn’t too cold that night!
Visit a new gym!
Less than 1 kilometre from Clareview LRT station, there is a new recreation centre in Clareview, with a swimming pool, gym, library, skating rink, and multipurpose rooms. It looks like this will be a beautiful, bright rec centre, similar to the newer Commonwealth Recreation Centre.
If you live WAY down in Southeast Edmonton, east of Mill Woods, there is another new recreation centre, also with swimming and skating available.
In many areas of the city, there are outdoor skating rinks, and it’s a lovely, inexpensive way to enjoy the season, if you get out and skate on them. Victoria Park Oval (my favourite rink) is already open for the season, and so is the small rink at City Hall. The legislature has a rink below the legislature building, and the Castledowns rink will open this weekend. Shop for a used pair of skates at Totem Outdoor Equipment, United Cycle, or on Kijiji. Get a helmet, since you only get one brain per person. After that. skating is free!
I’ve posted information about many of the pow wows around Alberta. For many non-natives (as well as for many people with indigenous heritage), attending a pow wow is new and unfamiliar, and you may feel nervous about what to do. As long as you are respectful, and recognize that you are a visitor, things should go well. Here is some more specific information. This was written in the US, so some of the customs they’re referring to may be different here in Alberta. If you have the chance to attend a pow wow, I strongly recommend it!