In terms of land mass, canada follows only Russia in size. Its surface area is just under 10 million square kilometers, its population is 35 million and its coastline measures 202,080 kilometers. In other words, from north to south, east to west, Canada seems to go on forever!
This time around we’re heading to the Canadian city of Edmonton, the capital of the province of alberta. The city has a population of approximately 1 million. The city is visible from a high hill, and among the skyscrapers we see the dome of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The total population of the entire province is around 4 million.
The province of Alberta is actually one of Canada’s wealthiest, and with the petrol and natural gas found here, it’s gotten even wealthier. Some 70 percent of the natural gas in Canada comes from Alberta. The cheapest gas in Canada — which is rich with oil — can be found in Alberta. For these reasons some call this province “Canada’s Texas.” In fact, Alberta is so wealthy that back in 2010 the government returned tax payments that had been submitted by Alberta, saying that the province had actually paid too much.
In the meantime, Edmonton is known for the sheer plentitude of its annual festivals. We began our city tour at the legislative assembly building after meeting several members of the legislature. There are 87 members of the legislative assembly. Since the official head of state of Canada is of course Queen Elizabeth II, images of her are hung in the general assembly hall.
There are bridges that span the famous Saskatchewan River, which cuts through the city; some are open to pedestrians, while others are reserved for cars. There is also a train bridge.
This place is cold during the winter. In fact, Edmonton can lay claim to the coldest moment of the entire year of 1972, when the thermometers dropped to minus 48 Celsius. But in fact, the cold you feel here is even greater than what the thermometer shows. With little sunshine, people here tend to need more vitamin D supplements than in other places.
One doesn’t see much of a police presence in Edmonton. But something you do see here is a lot of barbeques; after all, the famous Alberta beef comes from these lands, known to be tender and delicious.
You might even encounter people having barbeques in the middle of the street here, especially in the summer. The most crowded and busy boulevards in Edmonton are Whyte Avenue and Jasper Avenue. If you consider the city’s prosperity, though, you’ll be surprised to learn how many homeless people there are.
Local park harks back to olden times
While in Edmonton, we visited the city’s well known Fort Edmonton Park. This park is actually the biggest living history museum in all of North America. Those who visit get to take a real journey back in time, all the way to 1920.
The streets and boulevards, the shops, the churches and the parks have all been constructed to match the aesthetic of those earlier years. There are eras and lifestyles that reflected in every different street here. Families with children visit not only to have a great time, but to really learn about history at the same time.
A steam-powered locomotive train from 1919, which still works, provides a nostalgic tour of the park and its environs. The cars attached to this locomotive are all from different years and eras. Perhaps not surprisingly, the people who work at this park are also dressed in costumes that fit with the times.
You can take a horse-drawn carriage tour of this park as well, and we can’t help noticing that the saddles on these horses have been hand-stitched. We also encounter a musical group dressed in traditional costumes from the 1920s.
For children visiting the park, there is also the chance to play games from eras long gone, and of course this is a very valuable opportunity, as so many kids these days rarely lift their heads from their computers. Alberta has clearly made a great investment in making sure people learn about their own history.
This incredible park, with its living history lessons, is open from May through September.