Alberta -

Moraine Lake, Alberta
Moraine Lake, Alberta

Regions

• Rocky Mountains
• the Prairies

Cities

• Calgary
• Edmonton
• Red Deer
• Lethbridge
• Medicine Hat
• Grande Prairie
• Fort McMurray

Get Around

By Car
Like most of Canada's provinces, Alberta is large, so a car or any other road vehicle is probably the most convenient way to get around outside the major cities.

By Bus
Greyhound buslines offers service between almost all centres, large and small. To get to many rural areas, however, the bus is the so-called "milk run" that stops at every location. There are other buslines offering service between major centres, such as Red Arrow between Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray and Banff. The most efficient method of travel to off-the-beaten-path areas is to rent a vehicle.

By Rail
VIA Rail is the only passenger rail service into Alberta, and it goes into Edmonton from Vancouver, British Columbia and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There is no passenger rail service into Calgary.

Links

 • Travel Alberta - the province's official tourism site

Alberta oil well at sunset.
Alberta oil well at sunset.

Alberta is the second westernmost of the 10 provinces in Canada. (only British Columbia is farther west) It includes parts of the Canadian Rockies and is known for its oil and natural gas fields and cattle farming.

The province was founded  in 1905, and its capital is Edmonton - located roughly in the middle of the province, while most business headquarters are located to the south in Calgary. Most of the population of Alberta lives along the "Highway 2 Corridor" between Edmonton and Calgary, although Lethbridge to the south, Grande Prairie to the northwest, and Fort McMurray to the northeast are also major centers.

Alberta has lots to offer for the visitor. It is a surprisingly diverse province in many ways, from the beauty of the Rockies to the serene flatness of prairie to the wilderness of the northern forests. The two largest cities, Edmonton and Calgary, offer many of the amenities that most cities in North America have, and also have some unique attractions of their own.

Get In

Edmonton International Airport and Calgary International Airport both have flights with Air Canada and other international airlines to and from various cities across North America and Europe.

Other Destinations

• Drumheller, site of the Royal Tyrell Museum, the largest paleontology museum in Canada.
• Kananaskis, major natural recreation area in southern Alberta at the foot of the Rockies south of Calgary.
• Banff, the largest town in Banff National Park.
• Lake Louise, major ski resort and village just to the north of Banff.
• Jasper, Banff's northern sister in the heart of Jasper National Park.
• Waterton Lakes National Park, A true natural gem in the Rockies in Alberta's extreme southwest.

Language

English is the main language spoken by most people in Alberta and French, Canada's second official language is hard to find, except where government services are concerned. Yet Ukrainian, German and Mandarin can be heard on the street. There is a French-language university in Edmonton - the Faculté Saint-Jean, now a part of the University of Alberta, which offers undergraduate degrees in several disciplines with instruction completely in French.

There are also many First Nations communities across the province whose original languages are spoken, including Cree, Déné, Blackfoot, and others.

Attractions

Driving west out of Calgary towards British Columbia, the Rockies rise dramatically and quickly. The drive through Banff, Jasper or Glacier National Parks can be quite spectacular. The Icefields Parkway between the towns of Banff and Jasper is definitely not to be missed.

In Edmonton, West Edmonton Mall is worth checking out. Currently they have a large indoor waterpark, an indoor amusement park, and tons of places to shop and eat.

Calgary offers the Stampede, the wild west-themed festival held every July complete with rodeos and fairs. And one should check out the Calgary Zoo and get a view from the top of the Calgary Tower.

Activities

The ski resorts of Marmot Basin in Jasper National Park, Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Norquay, all in Banff National Park dish up almost every kind of terrain for the hardcore skier, yet allow novice skiers to have fun through green runs and long cruising runs. If the crowds bother you, there are a number of other ski areas in the province. Great hiking can be had in the Rockies, and there are many lakes that allow one to do boating, jetskiing or most other water sports despite Alberta's landlocked nature.

Dining

There is a surprising array of restaurants to choose from, especially in the major cities. Tastes range from simple burger joints to haute cuisine in the finest restaurants. Alberta has some of the best beef anywhere in Canada.

Drink

The drinking age is 18 - younger than most other provinces in Canada. Alcohol is available from the many private liquor stores and beer/wine stores throughout the province, especially since the government liquor stores were dissolved in favour of privatized stores. However, you cannot buy alcohol in grocery stores.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License


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