Even when Alberta is hard hit by the economic crisis, Edmontonians still know how to have a good time. Fortunately, there are many ways to have fun in Edmonton this summer.
Dive into the water!
Throughout the months of July and August, many Edmontonians will try to cool off on hot days. The City of Edmonton has decided to open all outdoor swimming pools free of charge to anyone who wants to swim. Take a towel, swimsuit, and sunscreen and take a tour of the Fred Broadstock, Mill Creek, Oliver and Queen Elizabeth pools.
Visit the AGA Museum once a month
There is no reason not to visit one of the city’s most bizarre buildings, so look at the Alberta Art Gallery on the last Thursday of each month. The other reason? That day is free! Throughout the summer, you will have the opportunity to discover exhibitions such as Gretzky is everywhere (including a portrait of the Warhol hockey player), the Globe and Mail photographic archives and a Canadian history project to go hand in hand with Canada’s 150th.
Everyone loves a parade!
Canada’s Most Famous Identity Festival (otherwise known as K-Days) kicks off 10 days of festivities with its annual parade on July 21 at 10 am along Jasper Avenue. Dozens of chariots, bands and local celebrities (we have some) converge at the Shaw Conference Center, heading west to 109 Street.
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Listen to good music
If you do not plan to spend money during the Taste of Edmonton, make sure you eat at home before you go. Otherwise, it will be much harder to resist dishes, ranging from beef ribs to onion cakes, with dozens of merchants on the perimeter of Sir Winston Churchill Square, July 20-29. However, the entertainment is free and includes national artists such as Bif Naked, I Mother Earth, Hawksley Workman and Shad, as well as local artists, to the delight of the fans.
The Edmonton International Fringe Theater Festival is the second largest festival of its kind in the world and runs from August 17 to 27, with thousands of theatrical performances in a dozen venues, most of them in the Old Strathcona. The best in all this? You do not need to buy a ticket to attend the multitude of outdoor shows. The zero point is the headquarters of the Fringe Theater Adventures, ATB Arts Barn. From this point, just look around!
Watch the beautiful dragon boats
Every August, for three days, spectators are seated at Louise McKinney Park to watch the floating wonders, which look slightly like canoes on steroids, during the Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival, August 18-20. The event is a highlight for participants who train throughout the year for this competition.
One afternoon at the pub
Once the sun goes down, the nightclub scene – especially on the trendy Avenue Whyte Avenue – can be expensive. If your wallet is a little too light to cover entrance costs and drinks, it is tempting to forget about this option. Fortunately, some clubs in the neighborhood offer free entertainment on Saturday afternoons, mostly folk, country, roots, and songwriters. Clubs offering this excellent bargain include The Black Dog Freehouse and The Empress Ale House. Elsewhere on Whyte, just follow the music.
Watch the Bison
The decision of the federal government to eliminate national park entrance fees in Canada’s 150th is good news for Edmontonians. After all, Elk Island is less than an hour away by car. You could be caught in the splendor of a natural bottleneck, while herds of bison – almost annihilated less than a century ago – thrive on the spot. The island is also home to 250 species saved from the abyss of extinction. For those who are not interested in animals, there are enough facilities for hiking, picnics, and camping.
Take a tour of Square
The activities planned this summer at Sir Winston Churchill Square have been thought about fitness. Depending on the day of the week, you will have the opportunity to do yoga, Zumba and even square dancing, all free.
An immense natural wonder
It would be a negligence on our part not to add the valley of the river, which borders the North Saskatchewan River as a free attraction not to be missed. 20 times larger than New York’s Central Park, the valley is known as the largest urban park in the country. The river valley is home to some 160 kilometers of hiking and biking trails, numerous picnic spots and countless opportunities to observe wildlife without being bothered by the presence of civic monuments.
An empty purse should not stop you from enjoying this summer in the capital of Alberta. When the economy returns to growth, hopefully, you will have more money to enjoy all that the city has to offer.