Alberta's provincial capital, EDMONTON is among Canada's most northerly cities, and at times - notably in the teeth of its bitter winters - it can seem a little too far north for comfort. Situated above the waters of the North Saskatchewan River, whose park-filled valley winds below the high-rises of downtown, the city tries hard with its festivals, parks, restaurants and urban-renewal projects. With a downtown area that still has the somewhat unfinished feel of a frontier town, however, it's perhaps appropriate that the premier attraction for the vast majority of visitors is a shopping centre, the infamous West Edmonton Mall . This certainly has curiosity value, but not really enough to merit a special journey here. Downtown has a handful of modest sights, though most enjoyment in the city is to be had in Old Strathcona , a rejuvenated "historic" district south of the North Saskatchewan River filled with heritage buildings, modest museums and plenty of eating and drinking venues. Edmonton lacks the big set-piece museums of Calgary and Vancouver, but its Space and Science Centre is a sight within a whisker of the first rank.
The telephone code for Edmonton and Northern Alberta is tel 780.
Edmonton feels oddly dispersed, even in the six-block downtown area around Sir Winston Churchill Square and along the main east-west drag, Jasper Avenue (101st Ave). Bounded to the south by the North Saskatchewan River, this grid...
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