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Living in Alberta


Jasper Avenue, downtown Edmonton
Jasper Avenue, downtown Edmonton

Edmonton is the capital of Alberta. It is situated in the central region of the province, an area with some of the most fertile farmland on the prairies. It is the second largest city in Alberta, with a population of 730,372 (2006 ), and is the hub of the country's sixth largest Census Metropolitan Area, with a metropolitan population of 1,034,945 (2006), making it the northernmost North American city with a metropolitan population over one million.

Edmonton is Canada's second most populous provincial capital (after Toronto) and is a cultural, government and educational centre. It plays host to a year round slate of world-class festivals, earning it the title of "The Festival City". It is home to North America's largest mall and Canada's largest historic park. In 2004, Edmonton celebrated the centennial of its incorporation as a city.

Geography and Climate

Many people immigrate to Edmonton because of its beautiful and diverse landsape. The North Saskatchewan River bisects this city and originates at the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park. It empties, via the Saskatchewan River, into Lake Winnipeg, and the Nelson River, into the Hudson Bay. It runs from the southwest to the northeast through the city and is fed by numerous creeks throughout the city, such as Mill Creek and Whitemud Creek. This creates numerous ravines, many of which have been incorporated into the urban parkland. Edmonton is situated at the boundary between prairie to the south and boreal forest to the north, in a transitional area known as aspen parkland.

Edmonton has a northern continental climate with extreme seasonal temperatures, although the city has milder winters than either Regina or Winnipeg, which are both located at a more southerly latitude. It has mild summers and chilly winters. Edmonton has a dry climate.

Edmonton is the most northerly major city in North America with a metro population of over one million. It is at the same latitude as Hamburg, Germany and Liverpool, England.

Top Regions of Birth for Recent Immigrants
Birth Region
United States of America
Central America
South America
Western Europe
Eastern Europe
Southern Europe
Northern Europe
Western Africa
Eastern Africa
Northern Africa
Central Africa
Southern Africa
West Central Asia and the Middle East
Eastern Asia
Southeast Asia
Southern Asia
Oceania and other
Edmonton Immigration Profile

The Canadian 2006 Census reports that most of the newcomers to Edmonton (62.1%) were born in Asia and the Middle East, including the Philippines (14%), India (13%) and the People's Republic of China (12%).

During the period of 2001 to 2006 Edmonton became home to 31,910 new Canadian immigrants. The chart to the left shows the regions of birth for the recent immigrants according to the Canadian 2006 Census.

The Canadian 2006 Census also shows that Edmonton is where the sixth-largest share of Canadian immigrants settled. Among the estimated 1.1 million recent immigrants in Canada, 2.9% settled in Edmonton, giving Edmonton the second-largest foreign-born population in Alberta. In 2006, 189,800 Canadian immigrants were living in Edmonton, who represented 36% of all Albertans born outside of Canada.

Economy and Job Opportunities for Immigrants

Canadians and immigrants alike are attracted to Edmonton, as the major economic centre for northern and central Alberta and a major centre for the oil and gas industry. Edmonton traditionally has been a hub for Albertan petrochemical industries, earning it the nickname "Oil Capital of Canada" in the 1940s. Supply and service industries drive the energy extraction engine while research develops new technologies and supports expanded value-added processing of Alberta's massive oil, gas and oil sands reserves. These are reported to be the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia.

Edmonton is more than just an oil hub, people considering business or skilled workers immigration should still consider immigrating to Edmonton. Despite the apparent focus on oil and gas, Edmonton's economy is now the second most diverse in Canada. Major industrial sectors include a strong technology sector anchored by major employers such as IBM, TELUS, Dell, Intuit, BioWare, Matrikon, and General Electric. The associated biotech sector, with companies such as CV Technologies, has recently seen employment growth of 37%.

The University of Alberta's main campus on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River valley
The University of Alberta's main campus on the south side of the North Saskatchewan River valley
Education for Dependant Children and Post Secondary

Another great reason to choose Edmonton as your immigration destination is education. Edmonton has become one of Canada's major educational centres with more than 60,000 full time post-secondary students spread over several institutions and campuses (total enrolment between the schools is as high as 170,000, which includes students enrolled in multiple institutions).

The University of Alberta (known as the "U of A"), whose main campus is situated on the south side of Edmonton's river valley, is a board-governed, public institution with annual revenue of one billion dollars. 35,000 students are served in more than 200 undergraduate programs and 170 graduate programs. It is also home to Canada's second largest research library which ranks first in volumes per student with over 10 million (in 2005) and subscriptions to 13,000 full-text electronic journals and 500 electronic databases.

Other universities within the borders of Edmonton include Athabasca University, Concordia University College of Alberta , the King's University College, Taylor University College and Seminary, and the Edmonton campus of the University of Lethbridge.

Other Edmonton post-secondary institutions include Grant MacEwan College, which enrolls 40,791 students in programs offering career diplomas, university transfers and bachelor degrees the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), with 48,500 students enrolled in 190 technical, vocational and apprenticeship programs and NorQuest College, with 11,300 students, specializing in short courses in skills and academic upgrading.

When immigrating to Edmonton, you will want to consider education for younger children as well. Edmonton has three publicly funded school boards, who provide kindergarten and grades one through twelve. The vast majority of students attend schools in the two large English language boards: Edmonton Public Schools and the separate Catholic School District. Also, since 1994, the francophone minority community has had their own school board based in Edmonton, the North-Central Francophone School Authority, which includes surrounding communities. Most recently the city has seen a small number of public charter schools open, independent of any board. All three school boards and public charter schools are funded through provincial grants and property taxes.

Some private schools exist as well. Included are the Edmonton Academy and Tempo School. Both the Edmonton Public Schools and the Edmonton Catholic School District provide support and resources for those wishing to home school their children.

The Francis Winspear Centre for Music
The Francis Winspear Centre for Music
Arts and Culture

Edmonton has always been a city proud of its cultural accomplishments. As the city has grown, so has the cultural scene. Today, Edmonton is a proud home to many features which add to its cosmopolitan flair.

There are also over seventy museums in Edmonton of ranging sizes. The largest is the Royal Alberta Museum (formerly the Provincial Museum of Alberta until renamed by Queen Elizabeth II during her 2005 visit) which houses over 10 million objects in its collection. The main building, located on the river valley west of downtown in Glenora, was opened in 1967 and is now in the early stages of large-scale redevelopment.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is the city's largest single gallery. Housed in an inconspicuous production of 1970s architecture, the AGA collection has over 5,000 pieces of art. Fundraising is currently underway for a new building designed by Randall Stout. Independent galleries can be found throughout the city, especially along the 124th Street corridor.

The University of Alberta operates its own internal Museums and Collections service.

Sports and Recreation

Edmonton has a proud heritage of very successful sports teams including the Edmonton Grads, Edmonton Eskimos, Edmonton Trappers, Edmonton Drillers and Edmonton Oilers. The primary professional sports facilities are the Commonwealth Stadium, TELUS Field and Rexall Place.

Numerous minor-league teams in the City include the Edmonton Cracker-Cats, the city's thirteenth baseball franchise since 1884. Local rugby players compete in the Rugby Canada Super League with the Edmonton Gold. Also, the city hosts the Edmonton Rush national lacrosse team, which plays out of Rexall Place.

In addition to the minor-league teams, Edmonton also has very successful University-level sports teams including the U of A Golden Bears, the U of A Pandas, NAIT Ooks, and Grant MacEwan Griffins.

Edmonton hosted the 1978 Commonwealth Games, the 1983 World University Games (Universiade), the 2001 World Championships in Athletics, and the 2005 World Master Games. In 2006, it played host to the Women's Rugby World Cup.

Edmonton has a circuit on the Champ Car World Series known as the West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented by The Brick Champ Car series. This event is the best attended event in the series.