Glass pyramids, steel ribbons: Edmonton’s architectural gems

Walk with me, fellow design geeks, to seek out Edmonton’s best architecture. We’ll explore shining glass pyramids nestled in the river valley and a 16th-century French castle perched high up on the banks. Let’s dip our toes in cool reflecting pools, follow the swerving metal curves of the art gallery and snap a pic under the perfect light of the city’s oldest marquee. [Image credit:]

Legislative Assembly Office

9820 107 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 1E7

The Leg is a classic Beaux-Arts style sandstone building and a most excellent location for wedding pics and summer picnics. Take a free tour of the stately marble and mahogany interior (offered daily) and explore historical monuments and flower gardens on the walkable nicely wooded grounds. On a hot day, the knee-deep reflecting pools are a perfect place to dip in and cool off.

Art Gallery Of Alberta

2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 2C1

Nerd out with me on a building that is also art. Edmonton’s public art gallery – designed by visionary Randall Stout – is a local design highlight. Its 190-m swervy metal ribbon emulates the twirling northern lights and curving North Saskatchewan River that winds through the city. Inside, you’ll find major international travelling exhibits, local artist showcases and hip late night art parties. This dynamic building anchors the downtown arts district alongside the Winspear concert hall, Citadel professional theatre and the International Street Performers Festival each July in Churchill Square.

City Market Downtown

Edmonton, AB T5J 0Z9

In the winter, Edmonton’s downtown market fills the bright glass rotunda of City Hall with fresh, fluffy bread, locally designed clothing, hand-spun yarn and artisanal chocolate (those are just my first few stops). In the summer, the market sets up on historic 104 Street with blocks and blocks of local farmers, crafters and makers of everything else too. Both of these locations are architecturally impressive – City Hall mirrors the glass pyramids of the Muttart and is filled with public art. And, converted turn-of-the-century factories and commercial warehouses line 104 Street – come back at dusk for the groovy neon sign museum.

Fairmont Hotel Macdonald

10065 100th Street, EDMONTON, AB T5J 0N6

Perched on a cliff over the river valley, the steep silhouette of this large railway hotel has distinguished Edmonton’s skyline since 1915. The seven-story stone building – with a limestone face and copper gabled roof – invokes a 16th century French castle. Linger over The Mac’s sensational iced tea by the huge windows of Confederation Lounge or head outside to the sunny patio for a sweeping view of the hotel gardens and green river valley below.

Princess Theatre

10337 82 Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 1Z9

Our final stop is the city’s oldest surviving theatre – the beloved Princess Theatre on historic Whyte Ave. This heritage theatre opened in 1915 with a white marble exterior façade, mosaic tile entrance, decorated arched ceilings in the lobby and an innovative forced air heating and cooling system. The Princess is smack-dab in the middle of the Old Strathcona entertainment district – home to nine theatre companies, hip shopping and almost 100 places to eat.

Say, classy lady, what are you doing this S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night? Cue up for a night of pool hall nostalgia, free your inner Freddie Mercury at karaoke or dig out that bowling shirt for a night on the lanes. Or, flashback to smashy-bashy roller derby, vintage arcade games, trivia night and board games – do it all and have a ball on one of these retro date nights in Edmonton.
Life in our northern town means we can play in ice and snow all winter long. Explore an ice castle, stroll through an ice sculpture garden, slide a zippy ice slide and skate on a trail through the snowy woods. Here are all of the best ways to be cool as ice in Edmonton right now.
All these things call for a nice, cold drink: hot summer days, sitting round with friends, the end of a long work week, showers. If you know all about shower beers, read on for a generous list of Edmonton’s small batch distillers, brewers and wine-makers – tour the factories and perhaps taste a small sample or bring some home for tonight’s barbecue. [Image credit: Bajic]
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