Edmonton happens to be Canada’s second fastest growing region—and a leader in younger demographic growth, as well. Home to over a million and the capital the Alberta province, the city remains largely unexplored by many as it’s been overshadowed by other metropolitan cities in Canada in the past. Now, however, it’s a thriving city with a diverse and young community, modern architecture, party hotels and a bursting culinary scene. From a place to crash to unexpected sandwiches, decadent pastries and more, here are a few jumping-off points for the city.
The Crash Hotel
The brand new Crash Hotel has been renovated from a historic property, The Grand Hotel. The Crash sits right around the corner from Rogers Place, the brand new Oilers stadium, and its surrounding area that’s the biggest party in town. With black velvet art, a full arcade of retro pinball and stand-up games, The Crash also features live music from their house band and has its own in-house liquor store. None of guest rooms are the same and sizes vary from suites to bunk beds. It should be noted that the hotel offers complimentary earplugs, as several rooms are located above the Denizen Hall pub.
The third restaurant from local culinary hero Chef Daniel Costa, Uccellino offers authentic, fresh Italian fare. Outside, you can easily miss the door. Inside, the decor is understated and modern, while the menu is laid out in traditional Italian courses. With a vast selection of homemade pasta, it’s difficult to choose, but we suggest trying the tagliatelle along with the char-grilled lamb sausage.
The Pyramids of the Muttart Conservatory
An innovative botanical garden that help define Edmonton skyline, The Pyramids of the Muttart Conservatory are a delight whether exploring outside or inside. The Conservatory features four glass pyramids (perhaps reminiscent of the Louvre’s), each of which houses four different biomes. Visiting the conservatory on a cold, wet morning is one of the best ways to stay warm; the intoxicating smells of the tropical and arid pyramids can transport visitors instantly. For visitors and locals alike, there’s also a “feature” pyramid which changes every season.
Founded by chef, Giselle Courteau (who began her career using toaster ovens in Tokyo), The Duchess bakery has been regarded as one of the best in the world. Once she mastered her craft, Courteau returned to her home in Edmonton to open the chic and delicious bake shop. Although all of Courteau’s treats are outstanding, the rhubarb and strawberry brioche is not to be missed.
The Art Gallery of Alberta
Housed in one of Edmonton’s most striking buildings, The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is more of a museum than a typical art gallery. The gallery was designed by Randall Scott—a complex, nature-sensitive architect who specialized in public spaces inspired by the jagged features found naturally. The AGA is no exception, with a diffused light-filled lobby and a spiral staircase that hugs the skyline, it’s a charming space. With permanent collections made up of work from various eras by Canadian and international artists, the gallery also hosts impressive temporary exhibits.
In true Canadian fashion, Farrow Sandwiches offers a no-frills venue, but flavor-filled fare. With just four sandwiches on offer at a time (one always being vegan) this hole-in-the-wall might seem like a gamble at first glance, but every choice is a safe bet. Incorporating ordinary and unexpected ingredients (think candy jalapeños, homemade pimento cheeses, pickled cabbage and macaroni), these sammies will keep you going as you explore the city.
The Art Gallery of Alberta and Farrow images by Kate Erwin, all other images courtesy of respective venues