Feb 10th, 2004, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Help!!! We are goint to Edmonton in 2 weeks. We know it is very coooooold there. Any suggestions for things to do, restaurants to eat at, etc.
peggym is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 07:17 PM
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If you stay in the Fantasyland Hotel in the West Edmonton Mall you need never venture out. Almost all your needs from Casino, to swimming, to ice skating and even shopping are available and lots of decent but not great restaurants. Otherwise dress warm and choose a hotel that has good facilities and is close to where you need to be.
GaryA is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 08:08 PM
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Things I like in Edmonton:

* Provincial Legislative Building

* Provincial Museum

* Muttart Conservatory (indoor gardens housed in big glass pyramids)
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Feb 10th, 2004, 08:35 PM
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Hello from Edmonton!

It is not always cooooold here!! And unless you usually live on some tropical island somewhere, you won't find the weather any different than anywhere else in southern Canada or northern USA. As a matter of fact yesterday the snow was melting and the roads were very sloppy; more of the same has been predicted weatherwise for the end of this week and the coming weekend. In two weeks it may still be winter - or we could have an early warm spell - a touch of spring!! You just never know!!

As for "things to do" and "places to eat", it all depends on your personal likes and dislikes. There are lots of restaurants in Edmonton, including fine dining, ethnic restaurants, trendy bistros, steak places, family restaurants, chain (franchise) type places, etc etc.

Some of my current favourites (= good food) are:
Hardware Grill or Jack's Grill (fine dining)
Koutouki (Greek)
Manor Cafe (eclectic variety on the menu, in a pretty setting)
Il Forno (casual family dining; Italian)
Steeps (a tea place; there are two, the one on Whyte Ave is bigger)
Sugar Bowl (in the university area; they serve tasty tapas in the evenings)

As for things to do - Judy gave you some very good suggestions.
Fort Edmonton Park is also an interesting place to visit (whether you have kids or not).
"Measure for Measure" will be playing at the Citadel Theatre, there are a number of concerts at the Winspear (excellent acoustics - the best in Canada) including symphony, choral, chamber, and on March 11th a Cajun band; the Edmonton Art Gallery is just across the street from the Winspear (all three - the Citadel, Winspear and the Art Gallery are centrally located downtown.)

Madama Butterfly (opera) will be playing at the Jubilee at the end of February; the Jub also houses the Kaasa theatre - "Espresso" (a play) will be on at the end of this month.

The Edmonton Oilers (NHL) will be playing Detroit (end of February) and Phoenix (beginning of March).

Edmonton has a lovely river valley - a ribbon of parkland runing along the North Saskatchewan River - you can cross-country ski, and even in winter you can walk the trails. From some of the spots along the trails there are great views of the city skyline, perfect for photography, if you are into that sort of thing.

West Edmonton Mall?? Well, in my opinion - give it a miss. WEM is just a big shopping centre surrounded by an even bigger parking lot. Quite boring actually.
The food at the restaurants in the mall is worse than mediocre, definitely not worth it, plus the ambience is noisy, not a particularly pleasant or relaxing experience.

(I also have an issue with the way a dolphin is kept in appalling conditions at the mall).

This was just a start - Edmonton is a big city and there are lots of things to do and see.

Borealis is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 06:40 AM
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Borealis, who are you trying to kid. Edmonton winters are longer and colder than virtually any large city outside of Siberia and to say that they're not much colder than other places in Canada is nonsence. Most winter days in Edmonton have temperatures that have never been seen in Vancouver or Victoria and rarely seen in Southern Ontario. OK, compared to Winnipeg they're not too bad and the cold is usually dry but for a Vancouverite like me Edmonton Winters are unimaginably frigid and the couple of times I've been there in winter, (even though it was no more than a balmy -17C), I was literally in pain.
GaryA is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 07:29 AM
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Hi peggym
The issue of the weather here in Edmonton depends on exactly when you are going to be here. If it is in the dead of winter (Dec-Feb), then yes, it is very cooooold. Anytime after Feb. can be very pleasant, above freezing and sometimes quite warm.
As for places to stay, I would check out hotels closer to downtown. Though there are many activities at West Edmonton Mall, the place is just plain tacky. I also have an issue with the dolphin being kept there, and don't believe that tourist dollars should support this practice.
Make sure you get to Whyte Avenue at some point, great atmosphere and restaurants and lots of cute shops.
If you were to stay downtown, you would be central to all of the attraction mentioned in the other posts.
atilla is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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it would help us give you better direction if you told us some of your interests - are you really active? like shopping? age? theatre? will you have a car? etc.
to me the only really good things at west edmonton mall is the water park which is a blast for 1/2 a day and just did the neon mini golf with was fun.
if you like to waunder around different shops, restaurants and bars, staying on or around whyte avenue is a good idea. one hotel is the varscona. one of my favorite restaurants on whyte is chianti's - it is very good food and very reasonable prices. usually two of us walk out of there for about $30-$40 including drinks and/or dessert.
jack's grill on the southside is very good and very pricey - if you have drinks, it will be over $100 for a couple.
the mayfield dinner theatre is good.
if the weather is nice the river valley is very enjoyable.
come back once you know where you are staying - then we can tell you places to eat in your area.
by the way, the next couple of days are suppose to be about +5 so that's very decent. 10 days ago it was brutal for over a week -30!!!
hope you enjoy your stay.
ltt is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 04:52 PM
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Is Edmonton cold? It can be.
I have a friend from Helsinki who lives there some of the time, and she thought it was cold! So if a Finn thinks that, a guy like me from South Georgia would think it was the North Pole.
Let's face it. Cars down here don't have plug ins.
We worry more about them boiling over.
brookwood is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 05:09 PM
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Gary - do I have news for you!! Surprise! Surprise!! Most of Canada has winters that are snowy and cold, and by "most" I mean at least 95% of the geographical land mass. Who would have thought???
Another surprise for you - Edmonton is about average when it comes to a Canadian winter; it isn't the coldest (that honor goes to places in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec, not to mention Nunavut, Yukon and NWT), and it is not the snowiest by a long shot (Quebec and the Maritime provinces have two to three times the annual amount of snow that Edmonton does).
In fact, the only category that Edmonton "shines" in is just that - sunshine. We are in the top ten in terms of sunny weather in the spring and in the cold weather months.

And the most wintery city in Canada is Quebec City.

Having lived in both Toronto and Edmonton, I must say that I prefer by far the dry and sunny cold days that we have here in Edmonton to the damp cold and cloudy days with blizzards that bring Toronto to a complete halt and require the Canadian Army to dig them out.

If you were "in pain" while visiting Edmonton when the temperature was -17C, then you were undoubtedly inadequately dressed. Just as you wouldn't wear a fur coat and longjohns on a Caribbean beach, you wouldn't wander around Edmonton in January wearing a tank top and shorts. Use your common sense man!!

Brookwood, if you would glance at a map of Europe, you would see that Finland is in proximity to a lot of water (Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia). Seas and oceans have a moderating effect on climate, and that's why Europe, although just as far north as Canada, has much milder weather. The really cold continental climate in Europe is, as the name suggests, deep into the continent (Ukraine and Russia).
By the way, I suspect that if you are from South Georgia, you would find places like Minneapolis & Fargo, and states such as Wisconsin, North Dakota, Michigan, and Minnesota (to name a few) very cold too.

And on a final note, ltt mentioned temperatures of +5 and -30. For those of you out there in Fodorland who are not familiar with Celsius, +5 converts to 41F, and -30 converts to 22 below zero.
Borealis is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 09:01 PM
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Borealis - while 95% of Canada has cold, snowy winters, 95% of the people live in the just over 10% of the southern part and if you include southwest BC and Southern Ontario that covers about 37-40% of the population. Also I was dressed warmly when I was in Edmonton but my face was uncovered and since I'ld rarely if ever experianced temperatures anywhere near -17C before I found it a painful experiance.

But enough of this debate. I think we're both being picky. I will grant that Edmonton is not the coldest nor the snowiest city in Canada. My point simply was that for many people in North America Edmonton's cold winters are not something they're likely to find pleasant and I stand by that.
GaryA is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 10:11 PM
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Edmonton - where I thought I might turn into a frozen statue just crossing the airport parking lot. I'm from Canada, not the tropics, but to me that was shockingly cold.
April is offline  
Feb 11th, 2004, 10:20 PM
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As an Edmontonian I HAVE to get my two cents worth in.
As for weather- Look at the map and you will see Edmonton is the furtherst Northern major city in North America. Which is one of the things that makes it kind of cool (no pun intended).
Also look at a globe. We are on the same latitude as Edinburgh, Scotland, and are further south than Oslo, St. Petersburg,Helsinki,Stockholm, and many other major European cities. They dont whine about being in the arctic and neither do we.
The truth is winters are LONG here, but no colder than anywhere else in Canada (except the coast) and the northern US. When its cold, its DAMN cold, but that doesnt happen that often. Its just that winter starts a month earlier and ends a month later than southern locales. But there are many FINE winter days where the temperature is barley below or above freezing, the sun shines, and the chinook winds smell so sweet blowing off the mountains. A hike or cross country ski on our spectacular river valley trails on days like that are not to be missed!
As for things to do, the other posts have hit on most of them.I agree whole heartedly about the mall. Its an embarassment and I cring when it is touted as "tourist attraction".
For restaurants I would add:
Il Porico (finest Italian anywhere if you ask me)
Jacks Grill (won award for top ten restaurants in Canada once).
Allegro ( a small out of the way Italian gem on 142 street).
Pistro Praha (downtown).
Gini's (French)
Unheard Of (daily fixed price menu-chefs creations)
There are so many I cant list them all.
Also, check out Old Stracthcona for a neat collection of unique shops, bistros, bars etc.
jimmoi is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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jimmoi - your typos of the restaurant names made me howl with laughter !!

"Pistro" Praha !!!!!
Actually for everyone else out there (because I know that you know jimmoi), the name of the restaurant is Bistro Praha. The original owner was Czech, and this is reflected in the menu, which tends towards central European cuisine. (location = city centre)

Il "Porico" is actually Il Portico, Italian cuisine, and yes, very fine dining. Il Portico is a lot more upscale than either Allegro and Il Forno, and is a great place for a special occasion. It's just west of the downtown area not far from the provincial legislature.
Il Forno on the other hand is very casual, but the pasta is excellent (they have pizza too), and I prefer it far more than Allegro (where I found the menu and the service disappointing, the food was OK). Il Forno is slightly further west (on 149th street) than Allegro.

Jack's Grill (which I had mentioned earlier too) is on the south side, about 10 minutes away from the U of Alberta campus. Surprisingly for a fine dining establishment, I have seen people wearing jeans and t-shirts there, so you don't have to worry about being out of place no matter what you wear.

Gini's (west end)and Unheardof (on Whyte Ave) are good restaurants too.

Besides restaurants, there are also pubs in Edmonton, a few with Irish ambience, and many types of imported and domestic beer. Try Big Rock - it's an Alberta beer !!

By the way - it was a beautiful day in Edmonton today, sunny and warm, the snow is melting, temperature of +7C (45F). Can spring be far behind???
Borealis is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 08:44 PM
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Thanks. Borealis, for correcting my typos. No puns were intended, i just type too fast for my own good sometimes.
jimmoi is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 01:16 PM
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Hello! Thanks, everyone, for such great responses to my question about Edmonton. I had great fun just reading your letters and good natured responses to each other. If you are representative Edmontoners (Edmontonites? Edmontontines?!!!) then I can't wait to get there. Actually, we are staying at the Varscona, no car but will attempt to use public transportation. We've already managed Oilers tickets and I've bought new heavily lined boots. I'm ready!
peggym is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 08:59 PM
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Hello peggym!
The Varscona is well located - right in "Old Strathcona" (on Whyte Avenue) - lots of restaurants, pubs, coffee shops (yes even Starbucks!!) and cute little shops including bookstores, card and stationery stores, an art supply store, a Christmas shop etc. etc.

You are within very easy walking distance (steps away!!!) of two Greek restaurants (Yiannis and Symposium), one "French" restaurant (Three Musketeers) that serves crepes for brunch/breakfast, an "Irish ambience" pub (O'Byrnes), a Tex-Mex restaurant (Julio Barrios), an Italian restaurant (Chianti) good value and OK food, Continental Treat (central European/Polish cuisine - excellent soups), also several smaller bistro type places including a new one called Flavours which we tried last weekend and liked. My personal favorite for dinner (in the area) is Packrat Louie's - great food and wine.

If you walk from the Varscona to 104th street, you can catch the number 52 bus downtown. The destination of the bus is displayed on the front next to the number (the 52 travels north and south on 104th, to go north to downtown catch it on the east side of the street - where there is construction going on; southbound on the other side of the street takes you to a shopping mall called Southgate).

To get to the hockey game, take the 52 downtown and then transfer to the LRT (light rapid transit) and it will take you right to. . . . . hmmmm. . . .they've changed the name of the hockey arena again, I think it's now called the Rexall Centre. Just ask the bus driver - most are very friendly and if you tell them that you are from out of town, they will make sure that you don't get lost.

Oh - and we are "Edmontonians"
Hope that you enjoy your stay in Edmonton, and that the sun shines for you while you are visiting!!
Borealis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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Another great restaurant in the area is Dadeo - it's between 105 and 106 streets on the north side of Whyte Ave. - yummy cajun cooking. The sweet potato fries are excellent, as are the oyster po'boy sandwiches. Diner-style place with blues-y background music.

luna is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 08:03 AM
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Just a note on public transit. Staying at the Varscona (106 st), I wouldn't take the 52. It is a long slow bus. Rather than walking to 104th, walk (or even take the 4, 6 or 106 down whyte) to 109th. Then you can catch MANY buses, including express buses downtown to transfer to the LRT.

If you do decide to visit the mall - I think you really have to, sure its tacky, but it is something to see - you can catch the #4 or the #106 on Whyte right in front of the Varscona.
Feb 18th, 2004, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,465
Au contraire - the number 52 bus is not long and slow when it comes to going downtown; it actually goes past the Alberta Legislature, hooks up to the LRT (Edmonton's version of a combination of light rapid transit & subway) at 107th (right by Audrey's bookstore), or you can continue on the 52 right down Jasper Avenue (downtown).
It only takes about 15 minutes from Whyte Avenue (been there, done that!).

The number 106 bus (westbound) will take you to the University of Alberta campus, there is a LRT stop there as well, and after another 30 minutes on the 106 you will finally arrive at West Edmonton Mall.

The disadvantage of both the 52 and the 106 is that they stop running their full routes in early evening, which is no help if you want to travel by public transit to the hockey game. You will be stranded downtown after the hockey game unless you have another route planned.

The number 6 bus is the best bet, especially for the evening. Remember to catch it eastbound (across Whyte Ave from the Varscona) to get downtown. (the westbound number 6 bus travels to the university, and then south away from city centre).

By the way - cash fare for the ETS buses is $2 for adults (and transfers obtained at time of boarding are good for 90 minutes).
Borealis is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 08:57 PM
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Ahem Borealis. What makes you think I have not been to Finland? I have, and I have another friend who lives in Jyväskylä, which is well inland.

As for cold up there, come down here in July and let's play tennis in 97 degree temperatures. See how long you last.
I know, it gets hot in Lethbridge, I have been there, too. But it is much drier.

bob_brown is offline  

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