Focus on... Edmonton
Known as the festival city, Alberta’s capital plays host to over 50 events a year, celebrating everything from comedy to comics. Set on the Saskatchewan River, Edmonton is a green city and close to Elk Island National Park's woods and wetlands, home to bison, moose, elk and beaver.
Located in Smoky Lake, Alberta approximately 1.5 hours from Edmonton, Métis Crossing offers immersive hands-on cultural experiences to visitors year-round to learn about Métis culture and history. Built on the original river lots of Métis settlers to this region in the late 1800s, Métis Crossing is home to Alberta’s first Métis cultural interpretive centre. The Crossing is more than 675 acres and overlooks the North Saskatchewan River Valley.
Métis Crossing celebrates the story of the Métis through traditional crafts, tours, and food experiences. Take their 'Paddle into the Past' voyageur canoe experience, or enjoy tours of the museum, historical village, indoor meeting area, outdoor stage, and more. Here visitors can also camp in a traditional trapper tent for a cozy, cultural stay and this winter, Métis Crossing will launch Whispers from the Stars – evening programming for guests to discover the Indigenous storytelling through the stars.
The Visions, Hopes and Dreams at Métis Crossing Wildlife Park is also new, and is a partnership between Lonesome Pine Cattle Co. and Métis Crossing. On September 25, The Visions, Hopes and Dreams at Métis Crossing Wildlife Park welcomed the return of Woods Bison, Plains Bison, White Bison, Elk, White Elk, and Percheron horses to the traditional Métis Lands at Métis Crossing. This represents an important step towards reconciliation as these Indigenous and non-Indigenous equal partners collaborate to welcome the return of traditional heritage species to traditional Métis lands.This winter visitors can expect a variety of tours through the wildlife park that explain the historical significance of the animals in Métis culture.
Beckie Scott, Olympic gold and silver medalist in cross-country skiing, has developed three cross country ski trails at Métis Crossing. Her charitable organization Spirit North, uses land-based activities to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous youth, empowering them to become unstoppable in sport, school and life.
Fort Edmonton Park + Indigenous Peoples Experience
Nestled in Edmonton’s scenic river valley on 158 acres of wooded parkland, Fort Edmonton Park takes you on an iconic journey through the city's vibrant First Nations and Métis history.
The Indigenous Peoples Experience is a new signature exhibit occupying over 30,000 square feet at Fort Edmonton Park. Surrounded by historic buildings and artifacts, streetcars, a steam locomotive, a boutique hotel, and a state-of-the-art 4-D theatre, visitors can explore First Nations and Métis life and learn about the histories, cultures, experiences, and perspectives, of Indigenous life in the Beaver Hills, or Edmonton region.
A new 40-room boutique lodge designed by Métis architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge will open at the end of November (pending Alberta COVID-19 restrictions) at Métis Crossing. Each room is curated by a Métis artist and features traditional art and storytelling. The beds each have a hand sewn quilt made by women from the New Dawn Métis Women’s Society, which guests have the option to purchase at the end of their stay.
While staying at The Lodge at Metis Crossing, guests can enjoy food from the café which features traditional Métis food like Bannock and buffalo stew, and other delicious dishes inspired by seasonal ingredients foraged from the land. The café menu was developed by Brad Lazarenko, a Métis chef from Edmonton.
4th Street Promenade is the area on 104th Street between Jasper Avenue downtown and the ICE District. Here you'll find local shopping, iconic restaurants, and historic buildings. Upscale fashions and furniture can be found next door to small artisanal crafts and artifacts, and many of these shops are found within the historical buildings from the old warehouse district.
Historical touches are all over 4th Street Promenade, and one of the best — and tastiest — places to start is the Mercer Warehouse building. This former cold-storage plant is home to three of the best spots in the district to spend an evening. Rostizado has a flavourful menu with Mexican and Latin American flair that offers most of the food family-style. The Asian-inspired cocktail bar Baijiu also offers shareable plates to accompany its innovative drink menu.
The culinary adventures don’t stop there. Credo Coffee is a relaxing spot for a fresh-brewed caffeinated drink and homemade baked goodies. Wine and cheese lovers will not want to pass by The Cavern, where you can sit down and sip a delicious glass of wine or take home selections from their attached cheese shop. If you are looking for a fine-dining evening, Corso 32 has you covered with an intimate modern atmosphere and traditional Italian classics.
For something completley unique, the outside walls of the Mercer and TELUS buildings play host to the Neon Sign Museum. This open-air showcase is the first of its kind in Canada, and it displays 20 functioning neon signs from throughout Edmonton’s past. The signs range from theatres and freight telegrams to restaurants and furniture showrooms. It adds a unique, throwback ambiance of a bygone era to the Promenade.
Best of the fests
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival: The continent’s first and biggest Fringe Theatre Festival is hosted in Edmonton every August. Visitors can immerse themselves in arts and cultural performances from theatre shows to comedy sets. fringetheatre.ca
Silver Skate Festival: Silver Skate is an extravaganza of arts, culture, recreation, sport and culinary delights. Wander through the Snow Garden, explore the magic of the Folk Trail and artistic installations, learn more about Alberta's Indigenous story in the Heritage Village, challenge yourself to the recreational activities, then explore the incredible river valley. The list of amazing winter experiences in Edmonton is sure to grow in 2022. Stay tuned for programming details as they're announced! silverskate.ca
Flying Canoe Festival: The Flying Canoe Volant is a creative, interactive, and cultural event that celebrates local history. Loosely based on the legend of the Flying Canoe, and on French-Canadian, First Nation, and Métis traditions, the Flying Canoe Volant invites you for a nighttime adventure in Edmonton's French Quarter and along the illuminated trails of the Mill Creek Ravine. Make sure you head to the Edmonton Ski Club on February 4 & 5 for the iconic Flying Canoe Volant Races! flyingcanoevolant.ca
Edmonton will also be the host city for several sporting events throughout 2022/2023, starting with the ice hockey IIHF World Junior Championship in December 2021/January 2022. iihf.com