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.