Saturday, January 14, 2012
Why are you going to Edmonton?
I'm not really sure why I decided to go to Edmonton, it's not a very popular tourist destination for Aussies & most people I talked about it to were dubious about anything interesting actually being there.
But I loved it!
Edmonton has a lot of character. I was staying right near Whyte Ave, which is a street of historical and cultural significance. there are some historical buildings there, and also lots of cute shops! They were like Newtown type shops - interesting and cute things - shoes, vintage clothes, quirky nik naks and such. It was really nice to wander along!
Day 1 actually tricked me. I think the weather was about 2 degrees, so 2 shirt layers, a jacket, snow boots and a beanie and I was sweating! It was quite pleasant.
Day 2... was the coldest day of my life.
I dressed the same as the day before except for snow boots, because my feet got so hot the day before. The hostel was recarpeting, so once I left at 10am, I wasn't allowed back in my room till 6pm.
I have never experienced cold that cold. It was only minus 6... but the wind was horrible. According to the website the wind chill made it minus 19ish.
I wasn't actually outside for more than 10 minutes at a time, just enough time to wait for a bus or walk to the next place, but even in that time my clothes turned to ice, my legs & face began to sting and it was tricky to find the air that you breathe. It took about 2 hours to thaw. ha. oh dear. Needless to say, I took extra extra layers with me the next day and wore my snow boots :-)
Apart from the ridiculous cold I actually had a really good day! I was planning on doing the Science museum and art gallery, but I accidentally spent 6 hours at the Science museum and was there until closing.
The Science museum was really interesting! (obviously)
There was also a Titanic Exhibition on display at the moment. At the start you get a boarding pass with the story of one of the passengers who was actually on the Titanic. My passenger was originally booked on the Olympic, but got nervous about it needing to go in for repairs so swapped to the Titanic.
It was so interesting to see artefacts from the ship and listen to eye-witness accounts (recorded I mean). It was a sort of unnerving experience to "travel" through the designing and construction and looking at the decadence of things created for the ship, when you already know how the story is going to end.
At the end of the exhibition is a list of names of people who survived and people who didn't. I nearly cried when I found the name on my boarding pass on the survivors list. I think it's easy to forget the personal aspect of things that have happened in history. hmm
I went to West Edmonton Mall. It used to be the biggest mall in the world. I don't think it is anymore, but it's still pretty big... there is a water park, a theme park, ice skating rink, bowling, seal shows, an aquarium and putt putt golf within the centre.
I went on a rollercoaster, mostly just so I could say "I went on a rollercoaster in a shopping centre". It was a weird sort of one, the cart spins as you're going round the track, so sometimes you go down the hills backwards or sideways. ha funny.
Day 4 - the day of fun!
Well the day of fun started with getting a cute new camera, because it seems my other one didn't like the cold of Tuesday (neither did I actually). Then I went to the Art Gallery (which I could take a picture of because I had a camera... See!)
After a bit of looking, I walked to the Legislative Building on the other side of town. I got to do the free guided tour, which was actually really interesting (I do realise that I am a nerd), the guide took us to the 'magic spot' where the fountain, 5 levels below, sounds like it is pouring on your head, weird accoustic trick. She also showed us the first mace, which was made in a hurry (it seems it was a bit of an afterthought) from some plumbing pipe, bedknobs and a toilet float and painted gold. It was meant to be an interim mace, but they ended up using it for 50 years! haha funny Canadians.
Random fact: women weren't considered people in Canada until 1929, that's crazy!
Our tour ended abruptly when a Chinese gong sounded and some dragons started dancing. I stayed for the ceremony (I'm not sure if I was allowed to... but I did, mostly because there were Nanaimo Bars - not that I actually got to have one). It seems they were celebrating a 30 sister-city relationship with a province in China.
After the art lessons I headed back to Whyte Ave on a free, newly refurbished, 1912s streetcar, with a live saxophonist! The streetcar usually only runs in summer, but the government put it on especially for the festival! So cool!
So all in all Edmonton was definitely worth the visit! I had so much fun! (And I'm very glad they were having unseasonably warm weather... I'm told it often gets to minus 40 there in winter...eek!)
Now I am in Toronto, which I will tell you all about next week! ha! It's funny being 15 minutes up the road from home, but not.