Living in Edmonton, Alberta

edmonton-downtown

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and the second largest city in the province by population. It lies on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is located in Central Alberta.

Because of the massive oil, gas and oil sands reserves in Alberta, Edmonton is called the “Oil Capital of Canada”. In 2011 Edmonton had the fastest growing economy among the large Canadian cities and the fourth-highest GDP of all Canadian cities. The outstanding growth performance, the employment opportunities and the low Alberta taxes make Edmonton an attractive destination for migrants from other Canadian provinces and from across the world.

Weather

Edmonton is one of the sunniest Canadian cities – it receives 2,299 hours of sunshine per year. It has a dry climate with low precipitation. Nevertheless, summers are cool and winters can be very cold. The average daily temperatures range from ─11.7◦C in January to 17.5◦C in July.  In summer temperatures can exceed 30◦C for about three, and in winter they can fall below ─20◦C for an average of 28 days. The lowest temperature recorded in Edmonton was ─49◦C on January 19 and January 21, 1886, and the highest recorded temperature was 34.5◦C on August 5, 1998.
For about 141 days per year snow depths are of greater than 1 cm – compared to about 88 days in Calgary and 65 days in Toronto.
In summer, thunderstorms and large hail are not unusual; however, extreme weather events are rare. Tornadoes are rare and weak. The only exceptions was the devastating F4 tornado on July 31, 1987, which killed 27 people, injured more than 300 and caused more than $332,27 million CAD in property damage.

Public Transit

Edmonton enjoys an efficient public transportation system. The main public transit agency ETS (Edmonton Transit System) operates the LRT (Edmonton Light Rail Transit) and the buses. LRT connects Northeast, Downtown, Government Centre, University and South areas. For route schedules and maps click here.
Buses on some routes to industrial areas or remote suburbs are infrequent and some numbers do not run on Sundays. To some suburbs commuters have to make more transfers and pay additional fares. For more information call 780-496-1611. To plan your trip, click here.

Passengers can use tickets, day passes or monthly passes. Tickets are sold at the ETS online store, at the vending machines at all LRT stations, and at the ETS Customer Information Center at Churchill Station. Tickets are valid up to 90 minutes from the time of purchasing from a vending machine, validated by ticket validator in LRT or deposited into a bus fare box in exchange for a paper transfer. Passes must be shown to ETC fare agents during fare checks.

Driving

For information on obtaining Alberta driver’s license see Driving in Alberta.

The Yellowhead Highway connects Edmonton to British Colombia and Saskatchewan. The Queen Elizabeth II Highway (QE2 Highway) connects Alberta’s capital to Calgary.

Edmonton has the lowest gasoline and diesel prices in Canada and most Edmontonians use their cars in the city. Roads in Edmonton form a grid system with streets running from north to south and avenues running from east to west. When the city expanded in the 1980s, it ran out of street numbers in the east and avenue numbers on the north. The solution to this problem was the adoption of quadrant system in 1982. The city is now divided into three quadrants:  northwest (NW), southwest (SW) and northeast (NE) and the street names include the quadrants.

In Edmonton winter can be challenging for drivers. Hazardous road conditions, frozen drifts and black ice are common. Even though winter tires are not mandatory in Alberta, they are important for the safety of everyone on the road. Even the best all-season tires are not as safe as a set of dedicated snow tires.

When there is a significant snowfall and major roadways need plowing a Seasonal Parking Ban is put into effect.

Police services

To complete a criminal record check, obtain an Alarm Permit, pay a traffic fine, claim a stolen vehicle, request a special events policing, claim a seized vehicle or file a complaint, contact the Edmonton Police Service.

Contact the police: When to call 9-1-1

Dialing 9-1-1 is only to be used in emergency situations. An emergency is any situation that requires immediate assistance from the police, the fire department or an ambulance. It can serve you in a variety of languages with the help of interpreters.
If you know your situation is not an emergency, call the non-emergency phone line at 780-423-4567.

Places of worship

In Edmonton there are places to worship for every major religion. There are churches, mosques, synagogues, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist temples. For a list of places to worship click here.

Pre-arrival settlement and employment services in Alberta (Video)

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