Alberta's capital

Trip Start Jul 08, 2008
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14
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Trip End Oct 31, 2010


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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Our first stop in Edmonton after the helpful Gateway Avenue information centre was Old Strathcona. This used to be a separate town and it has been preserved to save the original housing and has become the arty part of Edmonton. At first glance it didn't impress us much but no doubt with more time it would have grown on us.

One thing that has struck us about Canadian cities, Edmonton in particular, is how quickly you can go from a pretty civic centre to a derelict area. Edmonton has pretty sections, being built over a river, but if you go a block or two from an attractive street you often find a run-down parking lot with plenty of homeless people milling around.

I have to say I am finding Canada really hard to deal with in terms of all the homeless people you see. I would have thought that after Central and South America, nothing would be a shock, poverty wise, but it's not true. The poverty and desperation you see in Canada, particularly in Vancouver, is much more vivid that Latin America and I'm struggling to deal with it.

We found it frustrating to drive around Edmonton. It should be easy as the city is built as a grid with avenues in one direction and streets in the other, and all numbered and in order but avenues and streets would have a dead end, only to resume a block or two down once you had driven around the obstacle. I would have thought that streets or avenues that don't join up would have been given different names.

We did like the Edmonton library though and found a fantastic cafe (Remedy Cafe). They had cakes with the most bizarre names like 'a cake for those who actually tip cafe staff' and 'sex in the pants'. I had the latter which is better described as a tiramisu cheesecake, which was divine. Plus they had the best chai latte I have ever had.

The next day we went out to the West Edmonton Mall. It is supposed to be one of the biggest in the world but it didn't seem that big to me. It did have an ice rink, a huge water park, sea lions, and funny little streets within the mall: Chinatown, Bourbon St, and Europe St and the decoration had been done as though you really were in a Chinatown, New Orleans or Europe. Bizarre. Plus they had a market chapel if all the rampant consumerism was getting to you and you felt the need to go and pray.

We stayed with a friend of a friend and he had found Edmonton a very hard place to live without a car.'Edmonton is very cold' he kept saying whenever we asked him what it was like to live there. Like Calgary it is very dry and sunny in winter but the temperature is often as low as 40 degrees below. Unlike Calgary, it doesn't get the Chinook winds that can raise the temperature by 20 degrees for a few hours.

We did get to see the green haze of northern lights one night when we were in Edmonton. I was surprised they were visible even in town with all the street lights but there they were, so that was pretty cool.
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Comments

Peewee on

U guys suk peanuts!!!!!

cutie pie on

who cares lol..................

Eleasha on

Don't liston to those guys giving you bad remarcs.

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