Edmonton Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Edmonton, Alberta - AB, Canada)
The biggest city this far north in Canada and North America, Edmonton is home to many important companies, together with a thriving arts scene. Much of life in Edmonton is based around the University of Alberta, which features a large campus and more than 35,000 students.
Edmonton is known for its fast growing economy, fine summer weather and its enormous West Edmonton Mall, which is regularly visited by locals and tourists. Several tourist information centers offer a range of attractions information, travel tips and general advice, and Internet access is available for free at Edmonton's downtown Stanley A. Miller Public Library, together with a number of local Internet cafés.
Tourism and Tourism Information
Address: Jasper Avenue Northwest, Shaw Conference Center, Edmonton, Alberta (AB), Canada
Tel: +1 780 426 4715
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Gateway Park Visitor Information Center
Address: 2404 Calgary Trail Southwest, Edmonton, Alberta (AB), Canada
Tel: +1 780 496 8400
Open hours: Monday to Friday, 08:30 to 16:30, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00; summer, daily - 08:00 to 21:00
Spruce Grove and District Chamber of Commerce Office
Address: 99 Campsite Road, Spruce Grove, Alberta (AB), T7X 3B4 Canada
Tel: +1 780 962 2561
Open hours: Monday to Friday, 08:30 to 16:30
Over 300 languages are spoken throughout America and Canada, with English and French being the main languages in Edmonton. Most highway signposts and tourist leaflets in Edmonton display both languages. Canadian English is widely spoken in Edmonton and is strongly based upon British English, featuring many distinctive expressions.
In the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba, Canadian French remains the main language. Edmonton also features countless different nationalities, and many regions in Canada are known for their local dialects and colorful colloquialisms, particularly around Newfoundland.
Currency in Edmonton, Alberta and throughout Canada is structured in a similar way to the USA, with Canadian dollars. Noteworthy denominations include:
- 1c - penny
- 2c - quarter
- 5c - nickel
- 10c - dime
- $1 dollar - loonie
- $2 dollars - twoonie / toonie
Paper notes in Edmonton are made up of $5, $10 and $20 notes, which are used every day as local currency, with higher notes such as $50 and $100 dollar bills being less commonplace. Tourists staying in Edmonton can use their credit and debit cards at cashpoints, sited almost everywhere, offering a convenient way to exchange currency. Also, travel agent companies in Edmonton, such as American Express and Thomas Cook, offer good exchange rates, as do local banks. Most banks in Edmonton open Monday to Friday, with opening hours being slightly shorter than regular shops in the city of Edmonton. A number of banking branches in Edmonton city center also open during the evenings and on Saturday mornings.
Visas and Documents
Visitors to Edmonton and other cities all over the country need photo identification and also at least two or three types of formal ID. Passports are always required when visiting Edmonton, except for those who are arriving from the USA and Greenland. A driver's license is no longer enough ID for US citizens arriving in Edmonton and should be used together with a valid birth certificate or similar document, such as an official certificate of citizenship. Visas are not required when visiting Edmonton from Commonwealth and Western countries, although persons from most other countries do, with the exception of Mexico
. Visa applications for travel to Edmonton and throughout Canada need to be made at least 30 days in advance. Direct all inquiries to the Canadian Immigration Centers.
Motorists who intend to drive in the city of Edmonton must first obtain a 'Canadian Nonresident Interprovince Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Card' or 'Visitor to Canada Insurance', which is issued by most US insurance companies. Car rental agencies in Edmonton generally require you to be at least 21 years of age when renting a car, although for some this is 26 years. In Edmonton, Alberta and all over Canada, cars always drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Tipping in Edmonton is usual and many restaurants expect around 10 to 15 per cent of the overall bill as a tip, although many restaurants now automatically include service charges on the bill. Taxi drivers, barbers, hairdressers and hotel staff in Edmonton also expect tipping.
Smoking and Alcohol
Throughout Canada you are only able to purchase alcohol at government-operated shops, although in the provinces of Alberta and Quebec, many privately owned stores are permitted to sell a range of alcohol. The current legal drinking age in Canada is 19 years old, with the exception of Alberta and Manitoba, where the age is only 18. Smoking is now no longer allowed at many places in Edmonton, including public buses and restaurants.