Canada travel guide




Edmonton Travel Guide

Edmonton History

Edmonton's site attracted aboriginal peoples for thousands of years before the arrival of white settlers, thanks to the abundance of local quartzite , used to make sharp-edged stone weapons and tools. Fur traders arrived in the eighteenth century, attracted by river and forest habitats that provided some of Canada's richest fur-producing territory. Better still, the area lay at the meeting point of the territory patrolled by the Blackfoot to the south and the Cree, Dene and Assiniboine to the north.

In 1871, settlement began outside Fort Edmonton (on the site of the present Alberta Legislature grounds) as land became available to purchase. In 1892 Edmonton was incorporated as a town with a population of 700. One hundred years later the centennial anniversary of the townís incorporation was marked with the opening of Edmontonís distinctive new City Hall.

The first trans-Canada railway was pushed through Calgary at Edmonton's expense, and when a spur was built by the Edmonton Railway Company in 1891 it finished south of the town at Strathcona, where a new settlement developed. The city only became firmly established with the Yukon gold rush of 1897, and only then through a scam of tragic duplicity. Prompted by the city's outfitters, newspapers lured prospectors with the promise of an "All Canadian Route" to the gold fields that avoided Alaska and the dreaded Chilkoot Trail . In the event, this turned out to be a largely phantom trail across 3000km of intense wilderness.

Edmontonís status as capital city also paved the way for the University of Alberta. Established in 1908 with eight professors and 45 students, the first classes were held at Strathcona Public School. By 1928, the University had its own campus with six buildings and over 1,600 students.

Edmonton's modern downtown overlooks the beautiful river valley and its parklands on both shores. Edmontonians are proud of their city and its reputation as "Canada's Festival City" with virtually non-stop summertime celebrations, which draw visitors from far and wide.

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