The City of Edmonton is the capital of Alberta.
However, Calgary is the province's major centre of commerce; the head offices of most oil companies in Alberta, for example, are there. Edmonton is a much more blue-collar city, with such things as meat-packing plants being significant in its economy.
As a result, while most of Alberta is uniformly right-wing, or at least conservative, in its politics, Edmonton is home to most of Alberta's people of left-wing views. However, this does not mean Edmonton is a left-wing city.
Instead, as the results of municipal elections demonstrate most convincingly, and as Federal and Provincial elections also confirm, Edmontonians are divided approximately into two groups of equal size, half being left-wing, and half being right-wing like the rest of the province.
Formerly, Edmonton had its own telephone company, Edmonton Telephones, while the rest of the province was served by Alberta Government Telephones (AGT), now called Telus. Because Edmonton Telephones had to purchase long-distance access, not just to other parts of Alberta, but also to points outside the province, from AGT, former Edmonton mayor Laurence Decore, who was then a former provincial Liberal party leader, tried to obtain a renegotiation of this agreement by submitting magnetic tapes, as contractually required, listing long distance calls made by Edmontonians for billing purposes, to AGT, but in an encrypted form instead of in a readable form. He may have been inspired by the popularity gained by Peter Lougheed. Despite this, which earned my derision (I don't know about anyone else), he was widely respected by Edmontonians, who strongly sympathized with him as he suffered personal tragedies.
Edmonton, with its hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers, was one of the cities to join the NHL when it expanded from having only six teams (only two in Canada, the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs) to over twenty.
For many years, the Edmonton Oilers had on its team a centre named Wayne Gretzky whose outstanding ability was recognized early on. However, for many years, they were unable to "play as a team", but when they finally did learn to do so, they won the Stanley Cup for four years in a row. Sadly, Wayne Gretzky was then traded to the Los Angeles Kings, and Edmonton did not get a chance to match or surpass the record of five consecutive Stanley Cup victories set by the Montreal Canadiens.
As this took place shortly after Wayne Gretzky's wedding to Janet Jones (which was cited as a cause), when Edmontonians came out in large numbers and opened up their hearts to him, this resulted in some unhappy feelings.
Edmontonians remember 1987 as the year that a tornado hit the city. Several homes were destroyed, but the tornado grazed the edge of the city. The largest loss of life was in a trailer park. After the tornado, one woman whose trailer was spared was accused of being a witch by some of the emotionally agitated residents.
Edmonton is also the home of West Edmonton Mall, which has been, off and on, the largest shopping mall in the world, although for a time the Mall of America was larger.
Edmonton's main street is Jasper Avenue, which would be called 101st Avenue along much of its length if it were not named. The intersection in the downtown area of Edmonton which is the origin for the city's streets is that of Jasper Avenue and 101st Street. Edmonton's streets (running north and south) and avenues (running east and west) form a simple grid system, although now most Edmonton streets and avenues belong to the NW quadrant because expansion of the city to the east has recently made it necessary to adopt a quadrant system. The downtown area of Edmonton overlooks the North Saskatchewan River from the north. On the south side of the river, Whyte Avenue (officially 82nd Avenue) is the most important street of retail businesses. Influenced by its proximity to the University of Alberta, it contains numerous bookstores, antique stores, and other diverse and interesting stores and restaurants.