We experience the sunny side of Edmonton after our last two weeks have been rather cool and rainy. We visited Edmonton before, in October 2007, it was cloudy and chilly. I remember wearing a warm jacket. Back then we were not overly enthusiastic about the city. But this time with 28 degrees Celsius and bright blue skies we see Edmonton in a different light.
We bike through a large city park on the outskirts of the city, along the Saskatchewan River, and head for the city center. The city has flourished. Between some buildings we find a small park with manicured lawns and a pavilion, which reminds us of Tenerife. On the Canary Islands there are many places with pavilions like this, it usually houses a coffee shop. Tables are set up at which visitors can sit outside and drink their café con leche or cortado (a small coffee). People use the pavilion here to entertain themselves, or spend their lunch break.
We bike on Jasper Street, the main shopping street, and admire the marvel glass palaces and old brick buildings. Somehow we reach the central square in the city center, the Sir Winston Churchill Square. The locals sit on the long concrete staircase and enjoy the sunshine.
In the shade, under parasols, red metal tables and blue metal folding chairs are set up. Here I am watching two gentlemen. The one in the white pants with a light blue shirt and white hat reads the newspaper and the other one, dressed in a brown suit, reads a novel; a scene that almost seems Mediterranean.
Opposite from the square the modern, futuristic building of the Alberta Art Gallery lights up, with its glass and metal round formations glistening in the sun. It was opened in January 2010. Children in swim suits play in the huge fountains; a young couple cools off in the water as well, fully dressed. Canada is more than winter!
West Edmonton Mall
To escape the heat (or cold during the winter months) people visit the West Edmonton Mall (WEM), the largest shopping center in North America. Except for the more than 800 shops, there is a wave bath, water slide, skating rink, amusement park, sea lion show, miniature golf and a replica of Columbus’ Santa Maria. A true shopping and entertainment paradise! We just walk by it all, shop a bit and have a good meal.