Things I Learned about Edmonton, Alberta
I spent the last week in Edmonton, Alberta. Of course, life in this northern city shares many elements with life in any Canadian city. Some things, however, differed significantly. At moments it felt more like I was visiting a US state than a province (a good thing). Other times, it felt like I was visiting a desolate Arctic wasteland (not a good thing). Here’s a picture of (from left to right) me, Adina, and a table keg.
And here are things I learned about Edmonton (or, at least, things I confirmed in-person):
- Photo radar and red light cameras are everywhere, so while some highways are 110km, traffic moves much slower than in Ontario.
- The city is incredibly spread out.
- The streets and the Henday (Highway 216) are planned brilliantly. A highway circling the city is a pretty great idea.
- The traffic lights are sideways.
- Milk comes in jugs.
- Sales tax is much lower (no provincial portion).
- Gas is vastly cheaper — I’m talking 20 – 25% cheaper.
- Pop cans require deposits, as do energy drinks; considering I couldn’t be bothered to return any containers during my visit, these deposits negated the benefit of a lower HST.
- The West Edmonton Mall really is super massive. But there are tons of other malls in Edmonton and they were busy, too. Honestly, it seems that people treat shopping like a hobby (perhaps because it’s too cold to be outside).
- Speaking of which, it is extremely cold, and I say this as a Canadian who has experienced countless days below zero. Heck, we drove home on Thursday morning during a storm that dumped 15cm of snow and before the roads could be plowed. (And I made it out of a discount parking lot that had been literally snowed in. That maneuver involved a powerslide around a airport shuttle trapped in the snow. You can hate on American-made cars but there were a lot of trapped imports.)
- Downtown Edmonton has far fewer high rises and didn’t seem nearly as busy as downtown Calgary, let alone downtown Toronto.
- People seemed to generally agree with my opinions on guns, liberty, capital punishment, government, etc. whereas, in Ontario, people seem to generally disagree with those views.
- While romanticized notions about the job market (e.g. “If I move to Alberta I’ll be making $200,000 a year turning a wrench”) are unrealistic, in Alberta it is easier to find employment (and comparable jobs seem to pay better).
- Liquor stores are everywhere.
Samurai Pizza Cat
Yes, I’ve continued the trend of disappointingly truncated BPs into its third week. I’m back in Ontario and, next week, TF will probably have returned to normal.