Sometimes Canada loses a bit of attention to its bigger and louder neighbour to the south. However, I think it’s a mistake to overlook Canada, with its mix of totally wild nature and buzzing cosmopolitan cities. Whilst you shouldn’t miss the big-ticket cities like Vancouver, Ottawa, or Quebec City, quite a lot of Canada’s best spots for culture, nature, and attractions are off the beaten path. Edmonton, Alberta, is one such destination that’s quickly and deservedly gaining popularity. So why should you consider making this city your next stop when you visit Canada?
To start, Edmonton is located in pretty much the warmest and sunniest part of Canada. It’s no surprise, then, that outdoor pursuits are a pretty big draw. Elk Island National Park is a must if you’re a fan of nature and wildlife. Camping, hiking, and kayaking are all on the menu, as is spotting all sorts of animals, including elk, bison, and a huge variety of birds.
Did you know, that Edmonton is also one of Canada’s top foodie hotspots? The city boasts a serious range of cuisines, from Asian to Mexican to all-American diner-style food. Tres Carnales Taqueria is the place to go if you want the best tacos north of Mexico, including vegetarian and vegan versions.
If you want to eat something a little different, you should head straight to Café Praha, which is the perfect place to try Czech cuisine on the other side of the world. This spot has all the proper Czech classics on the menu, like duck, schnitzel, dumplings and sauerkraut, and real Czech beer to wash it down.
The Eastern European theme continues, as the city actually has a significant Polish and Ukrainian influence. Anyone who reads my blog will know that Ukraine and Eastern Europe in general are my absolute favourite places, so I was pretty excited to discover that Edmonton has its very own Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, an open-air museum where you can learn all about how the Ukrainian immigrants lived from 1892 onward. You can also try Ukrainian foods like borscht (beetroot soup), holubtsi (cabbage rolls), and kovbasa (sausage). Seriously, don’t miss this!
Make sure to plan your visit carefully to be sure that you experience Edmonton’s culture and everything the city has to offer. It isn’t possible for me to cram everything into this blog post, which is why Edmonton is my pick for one of the top cities to visit in Canada.
Also consider visiting at the right time to catch the best festivals. Edmonton is often called Canada’s Festival City thanks to its myriad annual events. It’s well worth visiting around the end of July so you can catch the K-Days, which feature everything from fairground rides to local food and drink to fireworks and rodeo shows. The Edmonton International Fringe Festival is second only to the famous Edinburgh Fringe and features all sorts of theatre performances.
Have you visited? Let me know your highlights below.