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Edmonton Information


Population: 666,104 Greater Edmonton area: 900,000

Elevation: 2,198 feet

Time Zone: Edmonton is in the Mountain Time Zone and observes Daylight Saving Time. When it is 12:00 noon in New York City, it is 10:00 AM in Edmonton.


Holidays

New Year's Day (January 1)

Good Friday (varies)

Easter Monday (varies)

St. George's Day (April 24)

Victoria Day (May 22)

Discovery Day (June 26)

Memorial Day (July 1)

Alberta: Heritage Day (August 7)

Labour Day (September 4)

Thanksgiving (October 9)

Remembrance Day (November 11)

Christmas (December 25)

Boxing Day (December 26).


When to Go

Winter brings cold temperatures and deep snow, but Edmonton averages 12 hours of sunshine a day, more than any other major Canadian city. On some spring nights, the northern lights (the aurora borealis) are visible from Edmonton.

In the summer, there are almost 17 hours of daylight and temperatures are in the mid-70s (F). The fall is warm to cool, with the first snow in late October.

Business Hours

Banks & Offices

Most banks in Canada are open Monday through Thursday 10-3 and Friday 10-5 or 6. Some banks are open longer hours and also on Saturday morning. All banks are closed on national holidays.

Shops

Stores, shops, and supermarkets are usually open Monday through Saturday 9-6, although in major cities supermarkets are often open 7:30 AM-9 PM. Retail stores often stay open Thursday and Friday evenings, most shopping malls until 9 PM. Drugstores in major cities are often open until 11 PM, and convenience stores usually are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Emergencies

Ambulance, fire, poison center, police ( 911).

Guided Tours

Out an' About Tours ( 780/909-8687) and Magic Times Tour & Convention Services ( 780/940-7479) offer half- and full-day tours of the city and surrounding sights.

Klondike Jet Boats ( 780/486-0896) can be chartered for tours of the North Saskatchewan River May through October.

The Edmonton Queen ( 780/424-2628) paddlewheeler cruises the North Saskatchewan River from May through September. Some excursions include lunch or dinner and dancing.

Language

English is the predominant language in Alberta.

Money

The $1 and $2 bill are no longer used; they have been replaced by $1 and $2 coins (known as a "loonie," because of the loon that appears on the coin, and a "toonie," respectively).

Exchanging Money

ATM rates are excellent because they are based on wholesale rates offered only by major banks. You won't do as well at exchange booths.

Taxes

A goods and services tax (GST) of 7% applies on transactions in Canada except for the purchase of basic groceries.

Alberta has no provincial sales tax, however there is a provincial room tax in addition to the national GST.

GST Refunds

GST refunds on purchases taken out of the country and on short-term accommodations of less than one month are available. Rebate forms, which must be submitted within 60 days of leaving Canada, may be obtained from certain retailers, duty-free shops, customs officials, or from Revenue Canada. Instant cash rebates up to a maximum of $500 are provided by some duty-free shops when leaving Canada, and most provinces do not tax goods that are shipped directly by the vendor to the purchaser's home. Always save your original receipts from stores and hotels (not just credit-card receipts), and be sure the name and address of the establishment is shown on the receipt. Original receipts are not returned. To be eligible for a refund, receipts must total at least $200, and each individual receipt must show a minimum purchase of $50.

Revenue Canada (Visitor Rebate Program, Summerside Tax Centre, 275 Pope Rd., Suite 104, Summerside, PE C1N 6C6, 902/432-5608; 800/668-4748 in Canada).

Telephones

The country code for Canada is 1. The area code for Edmonton and elsewhere in Alberta is 403. You do not need to dial the three-digit area code when making a call from within the same code.


Getting Around


By Bus and LRT

Edmonton Transit ( 780/496-1611) operates a comprehensive system of buses throughout the area and a light rail transit (LRT) line from downtown to the northeast side of the city. Fares are low, and transfers are free. Buses operate 5:30 AM to 2 AM. The LRT is free in the downtown area (between Churchill and Grandin stations) weekdays 9 to 3 and Saturday 9 to 6.

The Edmonton Transit Information Centre (102A Ave. and 99 St.) at Churchill Station provides information weekdays 9:30 to 5.

Rail Service

The VIA rail station is at 12360 121st Street. Telephone (780) 448-2575 for baggage information. 1-800-835-3037 for arrival and departure information. Or 1-800-561-8630 for reservations.

Bus Service

Greyhound Canada's downtown depot is at 10324 103rd Street. Telephone: (780) 413-8747.

By Taxi

Cabs may be hailed on the street, but phoning is recommended.

Arriving & Departing

By Air

All flights use Edmonton International Airport (YEG) (Hwy. 2) (780) 890-8900), 12 mi, south of downtown.

An airport-improvement fee is assessed on all flight departures within Alberta, and for departures outside Alberta; Fees are paid at the airport.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

The Sky Shuttle ( 780/465-8515) provides frequent service between the airport and major downtown hotels.

By Bus

Greyhound Bus Lines ( 800/661-8747) provides service to Edmonton.

By Car

Edmonton is on the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16), which runs from Winnipeg, Manitoba, through the central parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta. This highway is four lanes and divided through most of Alberta; it intersects with the four-lane divided Highway 2, which runs south to Calgary.