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Edmonton Overview

  • This section covers some basic facts, festivals, Edmonton exclusives, and medical information.
  • Edmonton is the capital city of the province of Alberta, part of the Prairie Provinces.
  • The City of Edmonton website, http://www.edmonton.ca, estimates the population of Edmonton proper (within city limits, excluding surrounding areas) at approximately 750,000 as of 2008. In that same year, the estimated population including surrounding areas was approximately 1,100,000.
  • Edmonton is known at the gateway to the north. Many skilled tradespeople live in Edmonton and work in the Fort McMurray area. Other Edmontonians work in or close to the city.
  • Edmonton’s International Airport is designated YEG. Information on arrivals and departures is available at http://www.flyeia.com. Before heading to the airport, especially during the winter, check flight status before leaving home.
  • Edmonton’s weather: In the summer, temperatures can reach an extreme of +35C with an average annual rainfall of 37 cm (14.5 inches); in winter, temperatures can reach an extreme of -48 C with average annual snowfall of 121 cm (47.6 inches). Edmonton has an average of 17 hours of daylight per day in June, and an annual average of over 2,200 hours of sunlight, more than any other major city in Canada. For more information, see http://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca

Edmonton Festivals

  • Edmonton is also known as festival city, boasting many annual events that attract participants from around the world. Sir Winston Churchill Square is an urban plaza in downtown Edmonton that hosts several events in summer. While the dates vary annually, these are some of the common events:
    • Family Day: Churchill Square in February
    • Canadian Birkebeiner Ski Festival: February
    • Edmonton Folk Music Festival: the largest folk music festival in North America at Gallagher Park; tickets go on sale at the end of May/beginning of June and sell out quickly
    • International Children’s Festival: May and June
    • Edmonton Pride Festival: Churchill Square in June
    • Festival of Dance: June and July
    • Movies on the Square: Churchill Square in June, August, September and October
    • The Works Art & Design Festival: June and July
    • Capital EX: Northlands in July
    • Edmonton International Street Performers Festival: Churchill Square in July
    • VisualEyez: performance art in July
    • Labatt Blues Festival: Hawrelak Park in August
    • Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival: North America’s oldest and largest fringe festival, in the Old Strathcona neighbourhood every August
    • Heritage Festival: a multicultural event offering food, dance, songs and other cultural enrichment showcasing the people who live in Edmonton, every long weekend in August
    • Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival: Louise McKinney Riverfront Park in August
    • Cariwest: Churchill Square in August
    • Symphony under the Sky: Hawrelak Park in September
    • Edmonton International Film Festival: September
    • Canadian Finals Rodeo: the wild west comes to Edmonton for five days in November
    • Yardbird Jazz Festival: November
    • Indoor Santa Claus Parade: Edmonton’s downtown pedway system, early December
    • New Year’s Eve Downtown: Churchill Square

Other Edmonton exclusives

    • Alberta Ballet, Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 11455 – 87 Avenue
    • Art Gallery of Alberta, 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
    • Downtown City Market: Edmonton’s original farmer’s market, in the heart of the historic 104th Street Warehouse District, Saturdays throughout the summer
    • Edmonton City Centre: underground parking and a wide selection of store and eateries
    • Edmonton Opera, Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 11455 – 87 Avenue
    • Edmonton Queen: our riverboat on the North Saskatchewan River (the river that runs through Edmonton)
    • Edmonton’s River Valley: miles of walking and biking routes along the North Saskatchewan River
    • Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Winspear Centre, the corner of 102nd Avenue and 99th Street
    • Muttart Conservatory, the famous pyramids holding horticultural delights, 18320 – 107 Avenue
    • The Royal Alberta Museum, 12845 – 102 Avenue
    • West Edmonton Mall: until recently the largest indoor mall in the world, it is hard to think of something you want to buy that isn’t at this mall, 8882 – 170 Street
  • Edmonton also offers some of the best medical care in North America, possibly the world. Edmonton has been home to advances in diabetes research (the Alberta Diabetes Institute). More information on medical facilities in Edmonton is listed below.

Edmonton Medical Services

  • This section covers 911, Ambulances, Blue Cross, Dental care, Emergencies, Family doctors, Hospitals, Medicentres, Prescriptions, Vision Care, Volunteering.


  • For ambulance, fire fighters and police to respond to emergencies in Edmonton, call 911


  • Air and ground ambulance services are not insured services so the patient pays for pre-hospital transportation, billed after the service is provided. Exceptions to this charge are seniors, employees injured on the job and covered by their employer’s Worker’s Compensation, First Nations people, Albertans receiving income support, and eligible individuals and families with limited incomes.
  • Patients transferred by ground ambulance to a hospital where they can receive a higher level of care are not billed for the transfer service when it is recommended by the patient’s physician.

Blue Cross

Dental care

  • Dental care is not covered under Alberta Health.
  • Dentists tend to be very good, and the cost tends to be fairly high.
  • If you have dental insurance through an employer, you are often required to pay in addition to what your company plan pays. The amounts and services cover vary greatly from one employer to the next, and some plans require pre-approval for services to be even partially covered.


  • Call 911

Family Doctors


  • There are five hospitals in Edmonton offering emergency services:
    • Grey Nuns, 1100 Youville Drive W
    • Misericordia, 16940 – 87 Avenue
    • Royal Alexandra, 10240 Kingsway Avenue (one of the busiest emergency wards in Canada)
    • Stollery Children’s Hospital, 8440 – 112 Street, a full-service pediatric hospital
    • University of Alberta Hospital, 8440 – 112 Street, is also a teaching hospital
  • Alberta Hospital, 17480 Fort Road, ph (780) 342 5555, is a fully accredited psychiatric hospital.
  • These three hospitals do not offer emergency services:
    • Edmonton Cross Cancer Institute, 11560 University Avenue, provides advanced medical and supportive cancer care
    • The Glenrose Rehabilitation Centre, 10230 – 111 Avenue, handles high level rehabilitation care
    • St. Joseph’s Auxiliary Hospital, 100707 – 29 Avenue, a faith-based continuing care facility
  • For a life threatening emergency, call 911 for an ambulance. The patient will be taken to the closest hospital with an open ER (emergency room). You can follow the ambulance in your private vehicle. You can ask the EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) but do not assume you will be allowed to accompany the patient in the ambulance.
  • Ambulance services are billed after the fact. You do not pay for the ambulance at the time of the trip to the hospital.
  • For all other urgent medical conditions, go to the ER of the nearest hospital.
  • For non-urgent medical conditions, such as a head cold, go to the closest open medicentre if you do not have a family doctor.
  • ER staff follow a triage protocol and will have the patient treated in order of need.
  • If the patient is conscious, the patient will be expected to provide information prior to treatment.
  • If the patient is unconscious, expect ER staff to ask what your relationship is to the patient before or during questioning about the patient.
  • If the patient is covered by Alberta Health, staff need to see the Alberta Health card.
  • If the patient is not covered by Alberta Health, staff need to see documentation on whatever form of health care coverage applies.
  • Except for life threatening conditions, expect a lengthy wait at any ER. The government is working to improve wait times. In 2010, the government set a goal of having 70 per cent of ER patients discharged within four hours. In reality, most Edmonton hospitals fell well below that target.
  • Expect to pay for parking at the hospital, even if you are accompanying a patient into the ER. Parking rates tend to be expensive. You will often have to park a significant distance from the entrance.


  • Medicentres offer basic medical care to patients including those without a family physician.
  • Medicentres are located throughout Edmonton and the surrounding areas of Fort Saskatchewan, St. Albert and Sherwood Park. Here are some of the locations and phone numbers:
    • Belle Rive: #102, 16703 – 82 Street NW, ph (780) 457 7142
    • Belmont: 2903 – 137 Avenue NW, ph (780) 475 7070
    • Belvedere: 12720 – 66 Street NW, ph (780) 475 3681
    • Calgary Trail: #1, 10407 – 51 Avenue NW, ph (780) 436 8071
    • Capilano: 10143 – 50 Street NW, ph (780) 468 2911
    • Castledowns: 15277 – 113A Street NW, ph (780) 457 5511
    • Downtown: 11807 Jasper Avenue NW, ph (780) 488 1222
    • Ellerslie: #102, 9404 Ellerslie Rd. SW, ph (780) 466 8064
    • Hermitage: 12747 – 50 Street NW, ph (780) 473 2102
    • Heritage Village: 2041 – 111 Street NW, ph (780) 438 2306
    • Millwoods: 6426 – 28 Avenue NW, ph (780) 462 3491
    • Riverbend: 600 Riverbend Square, ph (780) 434 7234
    • West End: M7, 9509 – 156 Street NW, ph (780) 489 4976
    • Westgrove: 10232 – 142 Street NW, ph (780) 452 0281
    • Fort Saskatchewan: #101, 9425 – 94 Avenue, Fort Saskatchewan, ph (780) 998 9009
    • St. Albert: 2520 Tudor Glen Market, St. Albert, ph (780) 458 5776
    • Sherwood Park: Unit 9, 101 Bremner Drive, Sherwood Park, ph (780) 467 4717
  • Call (use all ten digits) before going to any medicentre. Hours of operation depend on availability of physicians.


  • You are responsible for the cost of prescription drugs outside of hospitals, auxiliary hospitals and nursing homes.
  • The provincial government reviews drug policies from time to time. Check the Alberta Health and Wellness site for up-to-date information on prescription drug programs.
  • Pharmacies throughout Edmonton fill prescriptions. Some of the major names are London Drugs, Rexall and Shoppers Drug Mart, along with several Safeway and Wal-Mart stores.
  • Prescription rates vary. Pharmacist dispensing fees vary.

Vision care

  • Alberta Health pays for eye exams for children and for seniors.
  • Alberta Health does not pay for eye exams for adults.
  • Alberta Health does not pay for glasses.
  • If you have vision care insurance through your employer, you will probably have to pay part of the cost of prescription glasses although in most cases you pay the entire cost of the glasses and then submit the receipt to be reimbursed for part of the cost.
  • Prescription glasses are expensive, generally starting at $800 per pair for single vision and $1,000 or more for bifocals/progressive lenses.
  • Optometrists, who perform the eye exam, are listed in the Yellow Pages of the Edmonton phone book.
  • You can take the prescription from your optician and have the glasses made elsewhere, such as Hakim Optical or LensCrafters.


  • Volunteers are welcomed at Edmonton hospitals and volunteering is a wonderful way to become an active member of your new community.
  • Each hospital has specific requirements for volunteers, including minimum age requirements for certain areas, so check with the hospital where you would like to volunteer for details.
  • Further information is available at http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/254.asp, and phone numbers for some of these hospital volunteer coordinators are:
    • Alberta Hospital: ph (780) 342 5219
    • Cross Cancer Institute: ph (780) 432 8334
    • Glenrose Rehabilitation Centre: ph (780) 735 7986
    • Grey Nuns: ph (780) 735 7270
    • Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute: ph (780) 407 8428
    • Misericordia: ph (780) 735 2754
    • Royal Alexandra: ph (780) 735 4430
    • Stollery Children’s Hospital: ph (780) 407 8428
    • University of Alberta Hospital: ph (780) 407 8428