Life in Edmonton is fascinating and fun all around for residents and visitors alike. Beautiful scenery, endless things to do, and numerous dining options make it even more appealing. However, there are quite a few fun facts about Edmonton that even locals don't know. Get to know Edmonton's community and history for enjoyment and perhaps exploration with the following facts and trivia about Edmonton.
Edmonton Is Canada's Festival City
More than 50 annual festivals in Edmonton and dozens more nearby keep the good vibes flowing throughout the year. Held at the Edmonton EXPO Centre & Exhibition Grounds, one favourite includes the week-long K-Days Festival. K-Days was formerly known as Klondike Days, and the event attracts over 700,000 fun-seeking attendees each year. There are various activities, carnival rides, retail booths, and live music during K-Days.
Another top choice is the 10-day Edmonton International Film Festival that occurs annually each summer at the Heritage Amphitheatre in Hawrelak Park. Attended by thousands of movie buffs who adore independent and international films, the festival promotes creativity and collaboration between artists and filmmakers. The multi-venue Freewill Shakespeare Festival visits Edmonton parks and outdoor spaces to entertain with Shakespeare-inspired works in hilarious skits and songs. Depending on where and when the show is, the performances change a bit to be suitable for all audiences.
Edmonton Is Home to Canada's Largest Planetarium
The Queen Elizabeth Planetarium is one of the most important historical landmarks in Edmonton. Located in Coronation Park, the site commemorates a visit in 1959 by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. It is simply stunning in architecture with a cylindrical shape and a huge dome.
Several ideas were suggested for the site, including a memorial park and an observatory. Ultimately, the council settled on constructing a massive planetarium—the largest in Canada. Council members made this decision once they realized bright city lights might impede the views from an observatory.
As the primary focal point in Coronation Park, The Queen Elizabeth Planetarium expanded tremendously after the original construction's completion. In 1970, Coronation Pool and the Coronation Arena opened. The Commonwealth Lawn Bowling Club soon followed.
Due to limited capacity issues, the planetarium closed and rebranded twice. After making agreements with new ownership, the Commonwealth decided to remodel, restore, and brand the 60-year-old structure, which will reopen as The Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium in 2021.
The World's First UFO Landing Pad Was Built in Edmonton
Edmonton's citizens built the world's very first landing pad for UFOs in 1967. The Government of Canada loved the idea, and the site was deemed a town's landmark during the Centennial Celebration. This massive concrete structure weighs more than 130 tons and features a stone map of Canada hailing from each province near the rear of the UFO Landing Pad.
More than just a viewing spot, an amazing saucer-shaped spaceship was added in 1990 atop the landing pad. Inside the ship, a UFO-memorabilia museum features photos of landing sites, actual unidentified flying objects, and crop circles. The site also contains an information-filled time capsule, which is appropriate considering the landing pad's purpose is to educate and inform today's citizens and those of the future. The capsule will open on its 100th anniversary in 2067.
Edmonton Has the Largest Mall in North America
Once the largest shopping mall in the world until 2004, the West Edmonton Mall still reigns as the biggest mall complex in North America. The mall's size is equivalent to 104 football fields, which is the equivalent of 48 city blocks!
The West Edmonton Mall idea was hailed in the late 1970s by Raphael, Eskander, Bahman, and Nader Ghermezian. These four brothers amassed a sizable real estate empire with funds earned from a Persian rug business. Eventually, they established the company Triple Five Group.
With the funds on hand, the brothers conceived a shopping and entertainment complex with a Disneyworld vibe. This massive undertaking had to be designed and constructed in numerous phases and opened in 1981. The mall continues to expand to this day, much to the delight of patrons.
So, what is there to do at West Edmonton Mall? A better question would be to ask what one cannot do there. Inside, visitors will find more than 800 stores and a regulation-sized ice rink, which is also where the Edmonton Oilers practice. The complex also boasts an indoor amusement park, 18 holes of mini-golf, a sea-life park, and an indoor lake. When hunger strikes or sleep calls, the mall offers more than 100 dining options and two luxurious hotels.
Residents Cannot Own 76 Pigeons in Edmonton
While it sounds unusual, Edmonton residents cannot own 76 pigeons or more. Established by a local Animal Licensing and Control bylaw, there are extensive rules concerning pigeons for keepers and races. While the reason for the number 75 maximum is unknown, it's a fun fact that was likely developed due to the predominance of pigeon racing and keeping in Edmonton.
Pigeon keepers have strict guidelines concerning when the birds are allowed out of their holding area. When travelling, no more than 20 in a flock is acceptable, and there are even curfews! Racing pigeons are required to be registered and wear bands that clock their flight times. There a many racing clubs around Edmonton, but the oldest sporting establishment in Canada is the Calgary Racing Pigeon Club. Opened in 1904, it is the oldest in the country.
Discover More About Edmonton Today
There is so much to learn about Edmonton's wonderful community—including many more fun facts. Plan a personal visit to see these sights and others for yourself, or explore luxury properties and new construction if you're interested in calling this fantastic city home. If Edmonton intrigues you, contact the RE/MAX Excellence Team with Edmonton Real Estate at 780-800-9644 to get in touch with local agents who can help you discover your Edmonton dream home.
By Justin Havre