Edmonton is a city not typically celebrated for its beauty and character; the perception from outsiders is often that this is a drab industrial town, a place where people go to make money in booming Alberta, but not a place people would want to settle and lay down roots. The reality, however, is that Edmonton has a lot to offer residents and visitors, and many people who come for the economic opportunities end up living the rest of their lives here. Where architecture is concerned, the “drabness” criticism has until recently been somewhat justified, but Edmonton has been starting to explore new architectural ideas in recent years and demanding more of its built form and public spaces. The city has always done an excellent job of preserving the natural beauty of the North Saskatchewan River valley and its many tributary creeks and ravines. As North America’s northernmost large city, there’s a lot of entrepreneurial and independent spirit here as well, which gives us some interesting characters who are anything but drab. This city has so much more to offer than a big shopping mall.
All images © Tom Young 2009-2012