September 13, 2006

On E-Town

Category: Edmonton,Tech — Biella @ 3:07 pm

I am nearly done with the marathon move. After a small hold-up in Canadian customs (for no apparent reason except I got a border official who had incorporated the role, a full 110%), my stuff is here, unpacked, and in decent order.

In between unpacking, I have been able to experience some of Edmonton–from the nightlife to its administrative face (signing up for health insurance and a Social Insurance Numbers, for example, both of which were easy as cake) and I have to say E-town gets a far far far worse rap than it deserves. Ok, the weather is nothing to swoon over, and it is already getting far colder than I am used to but bracketing that detail, it is a pretty neat city. Now I tend to like the mid-size cities (Minneapolis, Madison, Philadelphia, Portland are some of my favorites in the U.S) over the mega-gargantuan-city and Edmonton fits this bill with just under a million people. And perhaps it is also just that I am digging some Canada-wide features (affordable and immediate health care, “licensed” cafes, a saner pace of life, the pleasant and earnest character of many folks) but there are Edmonton-specific attributes that are pretty nice too.

Before I get to them, it is worth noting that every time I have told people that I was going to Edmonton, they would either: 1) admit that they did not know exactly where it was and thus could offer no opinion whatsoever (and I was one of those folks until I looked on a map) or 2) blurted some negative reaction like: “do you really have to go there!” though most of those people had never been, but had a sense of its northernly location.

Perhaps my favorite reaction came from a blackberry forum where we posted a question about good data plans in Edmonton/Canada. Most of the replies stuck to the topic, but one person decided to spew his unadulterated thoughts on Edmonton:

i feel sorry for u going from NYC to Edmonton “Edmonton sucks” you’ll be happy to go back to NY..
You go from a city that has life to a dead one.. from having good bb plans to sh*ty ones..

hope your getting paid good

Ok, admittedly, the data/cell phone plans are lackluster but I think this person either has had some terrible times in Edmonton (and holds an unhealthy grudge), has never lived in NYC or has a warped sense of what the good life in a city means. Sure NYC is an amazing place, and is my likely future home, so I am not going to trash it but, like any city, it has its shortcomings.. like unfordable housing

But time will tell as to how I feel about Edmonton after the winter. Perhaps when it reaches freezing temperatures, it does turn a leaf, and become dead but then you hit the mountains, no? But for now I am digging the HUGE pine trees, rivers, and ample sun of E-town.


  1. Having spent the bulk of my life, so far, in and around Edmonton, I can probably offer a decent opinion. Having also left Canada for New Zealand, I have some room for comparison.

    Edmonton summers are quite a spectacle, and there are few places that I’d rather be. Winters, on the other hand, take effort to get used to. Houses are generally well built, especially compared to those in slightly warmer climates, and will protect you from the worst of winter. However, getting around outside, whether walking, catching a bus or driving, can be a stumbling block. (If you’ve never driven on snow/ice, I’d really recommend a defensive driving course…)

    All told, if I leave New Zealand for Canada, Edmonton would still be near the top of my list of destinations.

    Best of luck.

    Comment by Greg — September 13, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

  2. Hey Biella!

    Good to see your new&revamped blog. Did you send the drooling dog away? I went from a ‘small town’ (350K) to a ‘really small town’ (120K), but for Dutch standards still a town. We got used to it rather quickly, but that also has to do with no more 3 hours per day travelling :-)

    The winter will be interesting for you: it seems to be a true and authentic winter, like the true and authentic summers in PR :-)

    Have fun!

    Comment by niels — September 14, 2006 @ 5:16 am

  3. Well i’ve lived here now for over a year after moving from Minneapolis and i must say Edmonton sucks! Perhaps you moved up here to reap in the wealth of her oil but as an ecologist living in Edmonton, Alberta i can’t imagine a worse hell. Seismic lines, deforestation, the Oil Sands (the biggest rotten sore on the face of this Earth and the reason Canada can’t make the Kyoto Treaty).
    Albertans tend to be Canada’s Texans. They are as right-wing as they come with their drunken leader King Ralph and their stupid 500 dollar prosperity checks.
    Get out, get out while you can! I’m moving back to Minneapolis as soon as my program finishes.
    On a side note, I do enjoy Canada. Both BC and Quebec are very beautiful places but not Edmonton. Enjoy her oil while she’s got it.

    Comment by ecomna — September 14, 2006 @ 2:11 pm

  4. I agree whole heartedly with Ecoman. I lived in Edmonton for four years while doing a Ph.D. and it was just awful. I grew up in Toronto, worked in Detroit for a few years, and now I’m living in a small town north of Edmonton. The winters didn’t bother me, I’m a hearty Canadian (and the winters are worse where I am now). The city just has so little going for it. It not a city, it’s a really big town. Take all the disadvantages of living in a small town and combine those with the disadvantages of living in a big city (with none of the advantages of either) and you have Edmonton. It’s ugly urban sprawl. I was the victim of crime several times. I had my car broken into 4 times. Saw muggings and was offered drugs on several occasions (I felt safer in Detroit). The city pretty much shuts down at night. There’s so little culture or diversity compared to most ‘cities’ its size. Edmonton promotes itself as “the city of festivals”. I went to all the festivals; they’re not bad, but the city I lived in beforehand (Windsor, Ontario) had more and is only 1/5 the population. Sure, the river valley is nice, but again the parks are nothing spectacular (the largest urban nature reserve is in Toronto, not in Edmonton as I’ve heard them claim). I really tried to experience and enjoy Edmonton. I recommend visiting the Fort (quite well done) and if you are a cross country skier I recommend the free groomed trails in Goldbar Park. Apart from that, Edmonton is mediocre at best.

    As Ecoman said, Alberta is all about raping the environment for a quick buck. As soon as I arrived in Alberta I felt like I was back in the states (they even speak American here – it’s colour people, not color). The attitudes and politics are very similar.

    Sure, I’m biased, and yes I did have some bad experiences in Edmonton. However, I have traveled extensively throughout Canada and I have to say that Edmonton is pretty much the bottom of the barrel. Although I’m still in Alberta, I’m happier in the small town I find myself in now (which is really saying something as I prefer large cities).

    Comment by jowpers — February 10, 2007 @ 2:17 am

  5. I live in Edmonton and yes we do have the largest urban park, and we’ve got the most greenery than any other place in Canada. Great parks and sports teams. What else do you need?

    Comment by Jeff — April 22, 2007 @ 12:57 pm

  6. Jeff,

    I do love it here but perhaps a little better weather would be in order :-)


    Comment by Biella — April 22, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  7. I liked Edmonton… 5 years ago.

    Now people here are cocky, arrogant and rude and have grown too big for their britches. I really hope there is a massive crash.

    Oh. All you old Alberta cougars – lose the lipstick and the expensive furs and put your sweatpants back on. You’re not fooling anyone. You’re just white-trash gold-diggers running on a home-equity loan. You might be driving a cool over-priced SUV, but you’re still all a bunch of wrinkled turkey-necks. I’ve been doing a public service and handing out brown paper bags, but the stores have run out of stock.

    P.S. Your husband is smoking crack and using hookers during his stints in Fort Mac.

    Have a nice day! :o )

    Comment by Etownbrown — December 7, 2007 @ 3:47 pm

  8. Edmonton? lol.. you poor bastard.

    You’ll have to live here awhile before you really understand why it sucks… as for me, I’m GTFO.

    Comment by fortybelow — February 18, 2008 @ 11:36 am

  9. I have lived in Edmonton for a number of years. I have travelled extensively and lived in France and the Highlands of Scotland. One of the main problems with Edmonton and many of the people whom live there is they have not experienced anything else and are very blind and rather ignorant.

    Edmonton is basically a small town which got bigger. It still has and will always have that small town vision, attitude, and culture.

    It is very dirty and combined with ugly urban sprawl. No real architecture, the downtown has been decimated and is completely lifeless after 6 PM. There is very little culture or diversity compared to most ‘cities’ its size.

    To sum it all up, Edmonton is not cosmopolitan at all and will always be 10 or 15 years behind. It is a bigger city with none of the benefits: culture, architecture, nightlife etc. It also has none of the benefits of a small town either: lower crime, less traffic, sincere people etc.

    As a result, Edmonton has the worst of both worlds . . . great.

    Comment by Suzie Taylor — March 5, 2008 @ 9:55 am

  10. Edmonton is a glorified trailer park.

    Imagine groups of houses scattered amongst a huge industrial park.

    Comment by Justine Hale — March 9, 2008 @ 12:22 am

  11. Everyone in E-town believes in “peak oil” theory and thinks oil will settle in at $200/barrel and stay there forever. People here know this much about global economics: “China needs the oil!” “Redmontonians” believe their cavalier house-flipping and “home equity” easy-money lifestyle is going to last forever too. They also credit the pathetic PC party for success that came from what is simply in the ground – not in their heads. Ralph Klein balanced the “books” but at the expense of the Alberta taxpayer in what is the single worst “infrastructure deficit” in political history. Education, health care, transportation and roads, and affordable housing are all falling apart here. There is an attitude of “if you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen” with no social conscience, concern for the environment, Alberta’s future or anyone but themselves. Greed is the culture here – and it’s disgusting to watch. There are also many people from other provinces that don’t really care about Alberta’s future, and will just leave this province in ruin after they’ve had their chance to feed at the trough during this boom. Alberta is being ruined from the bottom up while a very small percentage of Albertans and Big Oil are making disgusting profits while driving up living costs and lowering living standards for everybody else. Net migration to the province is already NEGATIVE. Even “tar workers” can’t afford to come here anymore. Real-estate opportunists have priced themselves so badly out of a market in Fort Mac that the Tarsands construction projects are FLYING workers in and out from as far away as Newfoundland – and the greed is spreading like galloping cancer to Edmonton. Edmonton is just a mediocre city with an 8-month winter and over-rated ‘culture’ at Vancouver prices. The river valley and a couple of 2nd rate festivals make this place worth a 40-year mortgage and eternal debt? Which overpaid city councilman made up THAT ridiculous load of bull? It used to be an okay compromise to live here because despite the city’s basic mediocrity and crappy weather there were decent paying jobs and affordable housing for joe-sixpack. Now housing costs have overrun wage increases (for most people) by 300%. At $25/hour, basically 90% of your income goes to rent!! (Mediocre town-homes in Millwoods (the residential bane of Edmonton) rent for $1800/month + utilities!) Or you can get a nice run down run-of-the-mill bungalow for an ‘affordable’ $2400/mo. 40-year mortgage! Alberta Advantage?? Only for landlords, politicians, big-oil and real-estate speculators. For everyone else, it’s just dirty, noisy, high-crime, low-class overpriced place to live. I’ve lived here almost 40 years and people who came here for the boom 2 years ago are saying I should leave if I don’t like what is happening. I’ve never seen Edmonton show it’s true colors like this before. People here will be eating big-time humble pie soon. I can’t wait – especially for the massive exodus of undesirables who flocked here because of the labor shortage! They should have kept those wrecks they drove here in – they’re going to need them again!

    Edmonton used to suck ‘just a little bit’. Now it sucks harder than ever and costs twice as much. Worst destination in Canada if you ask me (and those who have already left!)

    Comment by Etownbrown — March 9, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

  12. Bullseye comment by Etownbrown.

    Comment by Justine Hale — March 12, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  13. Agree with most of the posts here. Never have I seen so much rudeness, arrogance and hubris as I have in Edmonton. Even some people from E-town put it down but say it was a better place to live say 15 to 20 years ago. What’s the problem?, it is this: It is being saturated with really young people from everywhere else looking for a quick buck. Once you make a quick buck you can spend it on rent for a crappy apartment or get a half million dollar shack.
    Now, money is important but the young prospectors don’t care for manners or community cleanliness. Manners and civility are the grease that makes society function smoothly. In other words civility avoids unnecessary conflict, stress and hurt. Try getting decent service or stay in a job here in anything and you’ll see.
    I agree with Suzie 100%, the worst of both worlds with no sincerity. I have been around myself and some the stuff that comes out of people here is not honesty but a complete lack of tact.
    Scenery? Forget it.

    Comment by Troy — March 21, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  14. I as well have noticed that Edmonton is very hubristic with hardly any basis or validation.

    Edmonton has a very ‘small town’ mentality and outlook. Just recently we did part of a Canada visit including Ft. McMurray about a 5 hour drive north of Edmonton. The evenings there were spent by many people ‘cruising’ up and down Franklin Avenue for hours on end. We guess it is some sort of entertainment. Upon returning to Edmonton, we noticed the exact same activity on Whyte and Jasper Avenues. We found this activity somewhat interesting from a sociological perspective and also because it was curious to us being from Sweden.

    We did ask a few people on the street and a few folks who were driving as to what they were doing, where they were going etc. Some of the answers were: “lookin’ to get laid, lookin’ for a party, just crusin’, and oh nothing”. Many people simply thought we were plain weird for asking, even though one of the first things we said was we were visitors from abroad. Another strange thing we noticed was many of the people we interacted with on those occasions did not even make an effort to reciprocate anything about our country or culture. Apart from that we did meet some nice and genuine people.

    Needless to say, it is very unlikely we would ever visit again that part of Canada again. The people were very closed and honestly the cities: Edmonton, Calgary and Ft. McMurray were stiflingly dead, boring, and not very interesting at all. The Canada Rockies were spectacular and the south prairies too. Banff and Jasper were just terrible.

    We loved Nelson BC and the Kootenays, also many places on the Pacific coast and Vancouver island. We would go back to Canada and stay away from the cities of Alberta.

    Comment by Lars Halemann — April 12, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

  15. Please understand English is a second language. Banff and Jasper parks were great, but we did not like Banff and Jasper towns.

    Comment by Lars Halemann — April 18, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

  16. Man I guess my thoughts are pretty much shared with everyone else. I used to LOVE Edmonton. 6-8 years ago It was THE place to live. I made a good wage, rent was decent, and traffic wasn’t that bad. Actually traffic used to be great. However with the sudden influx of so many people, traffic is horrible. I could probably get to places sooner by walking. The new Anthony Henday doesn’t really help much seeing ass it’s almost out of the city. Saskatoon and Regina have Ring and Circle roads that are just awsome to get around with.

    The people here have changed as well. I can’t remember that last time I’ve been ripped off so many times more than I have in the last 6 months. Anyone moving here thinking they will make it rich is sadly mistaken. Sure wages can be anywhere between 20-40/hour but I remember when I first moved here I made $12/hour and my rent was $375/mo. Now I make maybe $30/hour but my rent is almost $1300/mo. My brother has the same type of apartment I had about 10 years ago for $375, he pays $950! For one bedroom and that’s not even downtown. Edmontonians have eaten their city from the inside out and I for one am glad to be leaving. I’m settling for a nice quiet little city in southern Saskatchewan.

    Comment by AJ — April 20, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  17. I must say that I/we for the most part agree with the above postings.

    My spouse and I moved to Edmonton from Boulder CO. for a three year consulting contract; we are both employed by the same company. We have been here two years and cannot wait for the last year to terminate in 2009, so we can leave as soon as our obligations have been met.

    Honestly, the extra combined before tax income of roughly $28,000 is no where near worth the quality of life we left behind in Boulder, even though it works out that we were earning slightly less there. The Canadian and Albertan tax structure is somewhat strange. Probably due to a small population base and a geographically large country/province. Or Canadians and Albertans are not getting enough of their fair share.

    We have met some really great people in Edmonton. Some of whom will be lifelong relationships. Really, you can meet great people anywhere so long as you put in the effort, are open minded, and understand that you are a long term guest and conduct yourself appropriately.

    Our initial impressions and really assumptions both presented by our employer and via research we did about Edmonton prior to moving were very different and quite honestly, misleading. We were also a tad naive about Edmonton as well.

    Edmonton is larger than Denver, and Boulder is about 40 KM’s from Denver. For a city the size of Edmonton it fails miserably in many areas. The city is very dirty, many streets and boulevards are lined with litter, dirt, unkempt grass. And lets be honest, winter is not an excuse. Boulder and Denver both have harsh winters with far more snowfall then Edmonton.

    Culturally and socially Edmonton is just brutal. Yes there are festivals, the symphony/opera, hockey, and a few other bits n’ bobs; however, for a city this size we were under the impression and assumption that it was really vibrant and alive; far from the truth. And certainly no comparison with Boulder, even with it’s small population of 95,000. Never mind the arts, sports and entertainment of nearby Denver.

    Where Edmonton really drops the ball is in terms of urban design, which often leads to urbane people. Architecturally, it appears to have been decimated, with no real vision or sense of planning with a purpose. Part of a plan must include designing for sociability and sustained communities, in which people and families really want to live and enjoy themselves.

    As far as Edmonton being a ‘green’ city or even with ‘green’ communities within . . . might as well completely forget that concept. This has to be the worst aspect of Edmonton. Even though this is vital to sustainability and active community participation, which often lead to a higher quality of life.

    I have heard all of the ‘excuses’ many Edmontonians make. “Well, it’s a great city to raise a family in”. Honestly, anywhere in the western world can be great as long as the parents are willing to put in the effort. I was raised in Manhattan, we had some of the worlds great art collections close to us and we visited often. There were great places to eat and more culture than one could deal with. The point is, quiet and dull does not always mean “it’s a good place to raise a family”.

    “Edmonton has a great river valley”. True, it’s quite nice. During mosquito season it is not so nice and the last few years many homeless and squatters have taken up residence in the warmer months; virtually everywhere. The truth is, most cities have wonderful natural areas either within or very nearby. Mind you I am rather fortunate residing in Boulder for the last 15 years, which has Chautauqua park. It is spectacular with great rock climbing and trails for biking, nordic skiing and hiking.

    Since moving here and supposedly we are renting in a ‘decent neighborhood’; Glenora. Our condo has been robbed twice. The old Toyota camry was broken in, vandalised, then a few months later stolen. This never happened to us in Boulder within 15 years. Mind you, crime is unusually low there, even on a per capita comparison with nearby Denver.

    Although there are some really nice people in Edmonton, many seem to be very self centered and not worldly at all, which is a real shame since the city really does not have much else going for it.

    Comment by Gerald Herrington — May 16, 2008 @ 9:51 pm

  18. Gerald Herrington hits this one right over the wall. Excellent points and sentiments that my family has shared for sometime.

    My sister is on an extended 4 month visit us from Ulsan South Korea, which has about the same population size as metropolitan Edmonton. Her main comment is how boring Edmonton is and how lifeless the people seem to be. Of course there is big cultural difference. Overall, I think she’s right and I agree. Which is one of the many reasons we are moving to Seattle in 2009.

    After spending the first month here, she said there is no way she could stay the entire time due to boredom. Before her arrival it’s a good thing we planned many excursions to the Rockies, the Badlands, British Columbia, and to San Francisco; we’re all looking forward to that.

    Comment by Jung Soo Park — May 19, 2008 @ 9:46 am

  19. I moved to Edmonton for a yr from Toronto because my employer sent me there. It was the worst 1 yr of my life. I was prepared for the harsh winter, but I had no idea the place would pretty much suck in every aspect.1

    I agree with much of Gerald’s comments, especially on the city planning side of things. There is no urban planning. It looks like some downtown buildings were erected for commerce purposes and that’s it. They light up the skyline. Nothing else to see or do. No decent restaurants to go and no decent affordable clubs to hang out at. Even the life that does seem to exist seems to be centered around Jasper (downtown) and Whyte Ave (Around U of A area), and that mainly consists of walking around Whyte Ave. If you have ever seen the horror film Land of the Dead, that city scape is what Edmonton resembles the most. Life centered in downtown and anything outside of it is just dead. the suburban homes look like waste. All drab and erected for the oil boom. Everything looks like it is was hastily setup to accommodate hordes of outside money grubbers, who seem to want to be in Edmonton just for money.

    That said, I found the people nice. But then again, a lot of them were coworkers, but in general I didn’t see any of the outright ignorance or hostility that some have mentioned.

    Edmonton exists for people to make a buck. that’s the biggest thing to take from this. Everyone I knew in some way or another basically said they don’t plan on staying in Edmonton for too long. Its basically a Gold Rush city. I worked in a bank and all the bankers were just assholes (i guess they are assholes anywhere, but they were just the biggest greedy people, their goal was to plunder Edmonton)

    Stay away from Edmonton!!!

    Comment by oogedyboogedy — December 14, 2008 @ 7:31 pm

  20. Excellent comments made by people above. I concur with many of the above opinions, especially the following:

    1. Edmonton is extremely dirty compared to many other North American cities. The amount of dirt/sand spread in the winter months is ridiculous. The black/brown snow is on the ground for 6 months of the year. Then when the snow melts, the dirt/sand gets blown everywhere, covering the city.

    2. Extremely poor planning in the city. Absolutely void of any vibrant life in the city, horrible culture. No diversity at all. “River valley”? What a joke. Many many cities in the world have much better urban parks and scenary than this.

    3. Abdismal crime rate. Almost every part of the city has undesirable neighbourhoods and disgusting characters. Sure Vancouver has its downtown eastsides but it’s concentrated in that area not all over the place.

    4. Many people are so ignorant of other parts of the world. Very small town mentality. They’ve never seen anything better and assume that this pathetic “city” is the best thing. I wouldn’t say that I’m well travelled by any means, but I have visited dozens of cities in the US and Asia. None are as bad as Edmonton.

    If it wasn’t for our careers, we’d be out of here immediately and never look back.

    Comment by iHateEdmonton — April 13, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  21. Well very nice to know I am not the only one who sees the almost uncountable failing of this city. Just about everything I feel has been said except a few other points.

    1, On top of the miserable weather stupid people and terrible roads you have a corrupt malicious police force of retarded high school rejects. That are desperate to charge you with crimes that don’t exist. I was once threatened in a police station by an officer he said he was going to charge me with verbal assault for swearing at someone.

    2. How the hell does a city with such a large geographical area not have an easily accessible rail transit system ?

    3. They also seem to have a real grudge against healthy good looking people in this city. I remember a radio show host so jealous of David Becham that he was ranting about how he is not welcome here in our town. Yet these same people are the ones with all the pride and hubris mocked above.

    Comment by Wow 20 Awful Reviews — June 7, 2009 @ 7:41 am

  22. One word.


    Comment by Edmontonsucksbelieveme — August 18, 2009 @ 1:18 am

  23. Yeah, I’m living in Edmonton too, for work and school… once those two things expire… I’M GETTING THE FUCK OUT OF THIS PIECE OF SHIT DISGUSTING WORTHLESS CITY!
    I wish I could leave this shitty town right now and then call in a bunch of B-52 strategic bombers to come in and carpet bomb this entire shithole city into oblivion… then nuke the rest of it from orbit!
    Piece of shit scumbag ridden giant town = Edmonton

    Comment by NukeEdmonton — August 29, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

  24. I am originally from Germany and have to agree with most here.I have spent 6 years in and around Edmonton, and I have to say that every day I get more depressed. It has been the worst mistake of my life to come here and I hope to God I get the chance to leave this place very, very soon.

    Like said, Albertans are ingorant and know-it-alls. They have never been anywhere, but know everything. And also,like stated, the environment is sacrificed at any chance to make a buck.

    Alberta (other than the mountains which are nothing special) has nothing to do, nothing to see, nowhere to go. No future, nothing. What a worthless pile of shit. Anyone who moves here from a place worth living in will regret it.

    Comment by fromGermany — August 31, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

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    Pingback by Twitter Trackbacks for Interprete » On E-Town [] on — August 31, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  26. I am referring to the Korean above posting about the boring life in Edmonton. I am from the rich part of town (Kang-nam) in Seoul. It’s where all the powerful and riches people live in Korea. So I can say that “Ulsan” – the shitty small piece of crap in suthern part of Korea, that no one really gives a damn, has nothing going on compared to Edmonton. Edmonton, Alberta is second largest oil reserve in the world, in the WORLD. How the fuck can this idiot compare Edmonton with Ulsan (that no one ever heard of?) That was good laugh.

    Also, in terms of boring life, there’s not even a single city in entire North America (US and Canada) that could be even close to typical night life in Seoul. So no matter your sister goes, she will be left out. Why don’t she stay in Korea then? You come here for night life? What an idiot..

    Comment by SC — March 2, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  27. I am originally from Seoul, South Korea. I have been to Edmonton on business trips and I do enjoy what Edmonton has to offer. From such fancy bars such as the Drake Hotel and the Cromdale, we have larger city centers beat. The Cromdale, when it was open, had the best drug fueled strippers in town. The Drake cheap beers and some really horny native chicks on a Friday and Saturday night. There is also the very scenic 118th ave where you can get welfare grade pot, crack hookers and other vices all the way from 34th street to 97th street. And boy these ladies sure know how to treat a man, even though they look like zombies from Land of the Dead.

    So if you want to party, get laid with native tramps, stroll 118th ave for cheap shitty drugs, and get cheap ponies of beer for $5 each, Edmonton is the place to be.

    Even this local blogger describes the famous Cromdale Hotel:

    Comment by Kang Chul-Su — March 11, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

  28. I have lived in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Europe and USA. Edmonton has been my home for just over a year and I have tried to stay positive and find ways to enjoy the city. I’ve observed that generally speaking- the people who love Edmonton were born here (or at least in Alberta) and have very little experience with the world beyond the west. It is definitely the worst place i’ve ever lived and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

    Comment by infinitytee — March 30, 2010 @ 12:58 am

  29. I have lived in edmonton for around 14 years now, for the first time i got a chance to travel over sea’s to the southern hemisphere, upon returning, i realized something that i had been soo blind to in all my years i have lived here in Edmonton ‘this place makes life not worth living’!
    i have a theory and it is…. evin if i was broke and homeless (living in Australia for example) i would be so much further ahead then a successful millionaire living in Edmonton. we are all stuck in a fake climate i’e house,car,office for 9 months of the year, that is no way to live. everyone here is pasty white and most pepole are suffering from an illness called S.A.D it is from lack of sun practically all year round.

    As humens we should not be sujecting our bodys to this unlivable climate not to mention we have the lowest air quality in the country! life is to short and you only live once, do your body, health and mental health a favor and get out of this horrable city. the funny thing is.. i was so content with living here before my trip and i would have probably lived here for the rest of my life had i not gotten a chance to travel, but that was before,when i was ignorant to the world but thank goodness i had my eyes pried open and got a chance to observe how life is for the rest of the world (first world).

    my house is up for sale and i will be moving to B.C, i wish everyone good luck on relocating yourself. Edmonton is bad bad bad

    mike,26 bonni doon

    Comment by mike — March 31, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

  30. I agree with many of these things, and being a born& raised Edmontonian, reading this had me in stitches… haha
    But Edmonton has character that can really be appreciated ONLY by someone who had to live and go to school in its seediest areas, who remembers what went down on this block when, and who knows by heart the RIDICULOUS grid of streets, that looks like it was planned by a complete goof ball, for lack of a better descriptor that wont get me bant.

    BUT it is a very dirty city, especially around the major thoroughfares with the trash, and the parks system is a bit of a joke, but if you take the time to explore them you will find many nice relaxing urban parkland…

    AS for the crime, the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods (north and east of downtown) such as Norwood and McCauley, with their boarded up & condemned, half burned crack houses, garbage strewn empty lots, abandoned vehicles & such, can be intimidating to those who must travel with out a vehicle, or live in or use the neighborhoods. But while its true that Edmonton also has far-flung ‘ghettos’ (such as Clareview and Abbottsfield up on the eastside), these ones are a little less dangerous, more like big dirty trailer parks if you will… the MAJORITY of the “big city ghetto” is concentrated immediately northeast of the core. So if you need to reside here, just don’t pick there to live. And while the blocks may have an abandoned house or vacant lot here and there, it is NOTHING close to the “urban prairies” of Detroit for example, where there are only 3 houses standing on a street.

    AS for the WEATHER, its friggin’ CANADA folks! you KNEW this at least coming here!

    AND… while i did enjoy my prosperity check (suckas), i am no redneck, and am probably farther left than the leftest left there is. I think growing up around such ignorance really made me decide since i feel a tad more intelligent than those folks, to become better than that…

    So all in all, it CAN become BEARABLE if you live here for long enough, and it probably helps to think that the things that go down are amusing or something, rather than get pissed off… (what do i do for entertainment fri. nights that i cant find anything else? Drive down 118 Ave, 97 Street, Norwood Boulevard, Fort Road or any of the other janky districts and wait till i see SOMETHING FUNNY!!!)

    Comment by M. Dile — April 14, 2010 @ 12:58 am

  31. Almost forgot the HORRIBLE planning, for example the area i lived in (Clareview, 50th street to the Northeast) was separated from the rest of the city by a big industrial park,
    the roads are just built to connect things, access buildings etc with NO thought to commuting long distances, and the only major thoroughfares run east west so north south travel is a NIGHTMARE.
    and expanding my first point, thats basically the theme of the city, one long business commercial strip with janky condos all around it, then some houses, then an industrial area or maybe some train tracks, abandoned warehouses, then another commercial strip, more shitty condos, on and on for EVER folks… im describing from 127th street on the northside, east to97, then east to 82, east to 66, then to 50th… all are separated by the above description….

    Comment by M. Dile — April 14, 2010 @ 1:16 am

  32. e town is sh1t. cold as balls. too many crack heads. nuthin 2 do

    Comment by edmh8r — April 26, 2010 @ 7:54 pm

  33. I moved here from Sydney, Australia eight months ago to be with my husband. If I had a loonie for every Canadian who has asked me “in the name of god, WHY?!!”, I’d have enough to fly home again. Which would be nice.

    The weather, oddly enough, I love. A layer of snow is something Edmonton really needs in order to look better, and it tends to make the drunks stay indoors rather than wandering, vomiting and panhandling (though the stauncher or truly homeless still manage).
    The city seems to have no respect for its past (very limited preservation of otherwise interesting historic architecture), and no vision of its future (all new buildings are lacklustre, jerrybuilt concoctions that just get made up as they go along).

    It’s quite hideous. There are some really lovely people here, but unfortunately it’s the sad and idiotic who leave the lasting impressions. I am not sure if Edmonton has a higher than usual amount of f*cktards, or if they’re just louder. Friends are coming to visit in two weeks and I feel ashamed and stupid for having moved here. There is nowhere nice to take them or anything interesting to do.

    It is four in the morning and I am looking for websites that explain why E-Town sucks, hoping that there will be some reasonable argument: surely it can’t be as bad as it seems to be. Not one contributor to this list has disagreed. I am afraid I will have to join their ranks.

    Comment by Alison — April 28, 2010 @ 2:36 am

  34. I have to agree with the Lady from downunder. Edmonton really does need a blanket of snow to make it look better. I have travelled to many countries close to the same latitude, many which have much more snow. I have never seen such dirt and ill conceived urban design/planning; or lack thereof.

    There are a few nice folks here and a number of morons, overall this place sucks big-time. My family is looking forward to moving back to Denmark as soon as my husband’s contract is done.

    Comment by Jenny Pedersen — May 17, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

  35. Oddly, while most aspects of E-town have been covered accurately, no one has commented on the drivers, who have to be among the most dimwitted and pathetic losers anywhere in the world. Highway on-ramps are typically taken at 50 km/h instead of the posted 100, and sometimes an Edmontonian will actually stop at the end instead of merging, lane changes are taken without mirrors or shoulder checks, signals are mainly used where the road only goes in one direction anyway, green lights are an opportunity to sit in quiet meditation instead of moving, there is no lane discipline on the area’s highways, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Combine all that stupidity with mediocre architecture, small town provincialism and an unrelentingly miserable climate, and you have the makings of a really shitty city to live in.

    Comment by Hiroshi — May 29, 2010 @ 4:49 pm

  36. Edmonton is a pathetic excuse for a city.

    Basically it’s a larger Fort McMurray.

    The idiots that sit on municipal council and the mayor think that car races and billion dollar hockey rinks will somehow miraculously make this shit-hole a “world class destination”.

    Give me a fucking break!

    It ain’t NYC, Dubai, London, or Rio de Janeiro.


    Comment by Sandra Henderson — July 24, 2010 @ 9:07 am

  37. The majority of people who have commented on this blog will most likely hate the next place they move to. There are happy people in Detroit, Kabul, Cleveland, Baghdad and there are sad people in Honolulu, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Rio, NYC. It’s easy to focus on shit when that’s where your head is at. So for those who hate Edmonton and can’t wait to leave. We’ll gladly drive you to the airport.

    Comment by DB — August 12, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

  38. I’m a former Edmontonian who has lived in the city for 15 years. When I was travelling, I get depressed on my return trips, and started to wonder why…

    I think the criticism of the place being boring is certainly true. The extremely cold weather really plays a big factor to that.

    Also, although I’d not call them racist, mainstream Edmontonians still isn’t very sensitive to the various ethnic groups that live in the city. As a Chinese-Canadian, I find it really hard to swallow.

    I now reside in Vancouver, and I don’t regret the decision to move. I never get depressed on my return trips anymore.

    Comment by Denny — August 17, 2010 @ 11:55 pm

  39. Agreed DB

    I have lived in Edmonton for 4 years and enjoy it here, the city clicks with me. Yes I came here searching for a buck but have sense discovered a pride for the city and it is now my home. I have lived all over Canada as well, my least favorite cities being Regina and Hamilton. my favorite being Vancouver, St. John’s, Moncton and anywhere in Ontatio that isn’t Hamilton or Toronto.

    Comment by CW — August 19, 2010 @ 1:08 am

  40. I have lived here for 3 years now, and while it hasn’t been terrible it’s not great. I find the people here are generally pretty nice (not sure where the comments about rude people come from?), but the city itself isn’t great very attractive. It’s quite dirty and doesn’t feel kept up.
    As far as the social scene here; it has the feeling of a large frontier town, lots of young guys with ridiculous big trucks, and it seems like everyone’s here to make a quick buck. I guess I’m guilty of that also :-( Stuff to do? for 9 months of the year there’s very little to do, and in the summer there are a one or two good festivals, but it’s hardly ‘the festival city’ as locals like to call it.
    I’ve only lived in two other cities in Canada (Calgary, and Vancouver, where I grew up), and I would gladly move back to either of those places in an instant. I guess we’ll see when my contract ends, but I’ll probably move on.

    Comment by Jarret — September 24, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  41. I came here from Germany on a work contract with my family and when its done we’re gladly leaving. Most people who love this city are simple . . . Nothing wrong with that, it’s just the way life is.

    Comment by Gisela — October 26, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

  42. Edmonton is like a Canadian gulag. It’s been three years since I left that horrible city and my only regret is that I didn’t leave sooner.

    Comment by TrailofDust — December 13, 2010 @ 2:06 pm

  43. The worst thing about Edmonton is the fact people here are so delusional. The city is an ugly embarrassment, but notwithstanding that the locals (that is the people born here) are often loud, obnoxious, and critical of every other place in the world except Phoenix and Palm Springs.

    The most laughable aspect is when people tell me Edmonton has a great arts scene! The reality is you can see better music and art in Calgary, which is not exactly a funky town.

    Comment by Kiwi — December 18, 2010 @ 11:15 am

  44. Sure glad we got the hell out of Dodge a long time ago. Ugly, dirty, a massive cultural and social wasteland.

    Now they figure a billion dollar arena district will miraculously make Edmonton “world class” . . . delusional is the right adjective to use, as noted by the poster above.

    “Build it and they will come”, many Edmontonians really believe that.

    Some idiot was comparing the proposed, yet to be built arena to the Guggenheim Bilbao, figuring it would attract people from all over the world. Sure glad I was sitting down, I nearly pissed myself.

    Have fun in la-la land.

    Comment by Carol Simpson — April 7, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  45. I was forced to move here with the Military and I am a shoe string away from hanging myself with it… I fucking absolutely hate it here. As bleak and stark as some of the third world countries I was deployed to… I can’t wait to release from the Forces and move back to good old Onatario, the best thing to come out of Edmonton is a an empty bus, may as well have moved to Saskatchatoon,

    Comment by Glenn — October 16, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

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