In Edmonton, winter arrives all at once. Just a week ago the river valley was bathed in gold - The sun would set just as I was walking home from work, turning the sky marmalade and the North Saskatchewan river saffron with the reflection of the sun and autumn leaves that only turn yellow.

Now it's twilight when I cross the bridge. The sky is gray, and the river valley is a black and white photograph. There is only snow or silhouette against snow.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada:

The city of Edmonton was incorporated in 1904 and one year later, was named the capital of Alberta. It is home to approximately 636,000 people (in 1998), and is roughly 2200 feet above sea level. Its history dates back to 1785, when Hudson's Bay Company set up a post to trade furs with the Cree and Blackfoot Indians. Evidence of this can still be seen at Fort Edmonton Park, one of those places where people dress up to fit the period and muskets fire, and people bake, like in "the old days".

Edmonton's weather is varied, to say the least. In the winter it can get to -40 degrees Celsius, and the summers get up to 35 degrees Celsius. The city is far enough north that the aurora borealis are seen, typically in the autumn months, and sometimes in early spring.

Perhaps the biggest claim to fame is the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in the world, according to Guinness Book of World Records. West Edmonton Mall also has the world's largest parking lot, something I brag to all my friends about.

Running all through the city and just south of downtown is the North Saskatchewan River. On the river's south side is the area called Strathcona, which was a separate town until its incorporation into Edmonton in 1912. Usually called Old Strathcona by residents, through this part of the city runs Whyte Avenue, an artsy neighbourhood in which a person can buy anything from blown glass to bongs to a fine Italian meal. Once a year in the summer, the Fringe Festival is held here, an arts festival filled with plays, street performers, and music.

A Couple of The Sights:

The Muttart Conservatory is a series of pyramids in the River Valley, which houses major horticultural sites, in different climates. This are a must-see.

Edmonton also has a small Zoo; the Winspear Centre, a theatre which has the best internal acoustics of any theatre in Canada; the Provincial Museum is also in Edmonton, as is the Art Museum of Alberta.

The Edmonton Space and Science Centre--renamed the Odyssium--is a great place to take the kids, as there is an Imax theatre, and lots of games for the kids to play. There is also a planetarium and large telescope there for the space-enuthusiast type of kid.

Edmonton is home, of course, to the Edmonton Oilers, five-time Stanley Cup champions. Former Oiler Mark Messier was born in Edmonton, as well. They play at Skyreach Centre, on Edmonton's north side.

Wayne Gretzky played here, and with the Oilers won the five Stanley Cups the team has. In fact, Gretzky is so well-loved by Edmontonians, that Capilano Drive, a main thoroughfare in the city, was renamed Wayne Gretzky Drive in 2000.

Edmonton is a city of about 700,000. It's the capital of the province of Alberta, Canada. There's a modest sized town (approximately 6,000 people) called Innisfail located about two hours south of Edmonton, Alberta.

Winter is a "well understood concept" in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Edmonton is a fairly small town in Queensland, Australia (a few hundred people?). There's a modest sized town (approximately 8,500 people) called Innisfail located about two hours south of Edmonton, Queensland.

Winter is a "concept nearly devoid of meaning" in Edmonton, Queensland, Australia.

Edmonton is a district located just to the north of London, England. It's at the intersection of the North Circular Road and A10 (almost straight north of the centre of London and roughly halfway between the centre of London and the M25 ring road that surrounds London). 'Innis' is Gaelic for 'island' (i.e. it has a Scottish origin) which probably explains why there isn't a town called Innisfail two hours south of Edmonton, England.

Winter is a "rather ill-defined concept" in Edmonton, England (grin).

Thanks to ponder (for providing a better description of where Edmonton, England is located) and Gritchka (for explaining why there isn't an Innisfail in England).

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