Even though a certain city in the south of Alberta (ahem, Calgary) gets lots of attention, one thing it isn’t is Alberta’s capital – that’s Edmonton! Being the capital means that Edmonton is the home of the province’s Legislative Assembly which is rife with interesting experiences. Let’s dive in with some of the options you can explore for your next visit.
Constructed between 1907 and 1913, the Legislature Building represents the Classical Revival architectural style which was popular at the time. In fact, the provincial assembly buildings in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan share a similar look based on the Classical Revival style.
The best way to learn about the building is by taking a guided tour. In-person tours are free of charge and begin in the rotunda. Learn about all aspects of the building from art, architecture, government processes and political history. Be sure to register in advance to save your spot.
The building is also home to two unique attractions – the Borealis Gallery and the Pehonan Theatre.
At the Borealis Gallery, you’ll find exhibits focused on Alberta’s history through the lens of parliamentary democracy. Previous exhibits include A Call for Justice: Fighting for Japanese Canadian Redress, FUR: The Fabric of our Nation and Snapshots of Canada.
Pehonan means “gathering” in Cree and so the Pehonan Theatre brings visitors together in an immersive digital experience. The film “Our People, our Province” is 11 minutes long, projected onto a 360 degree screen, taking viewers on a journey through Alberta’s social and political history.
An experience of its own, the Legislature Grounds are well known for being some of the most beautiful in the entire province. Vast manicured gardens and lawns punctuated by immense fountains and water features are most inviting during the Spring and Summer months when blooms are plentiful. Fall is a close second, as the towering trees change colour and crisp breezes send leaves tumbling.
Take in the grounds with a walk starting from the corner of 108 Street NW and 99 Avenue NW. The sign you are in the right place are the water features of Violet King Henry Plaza. From here, continue south past more fountains and parks until you get to the Legislature Building. But that’s not everything! Continue on past the building to get to the treed areas of the South Lawn. These areas are best for picnics on lazy summer afternoons because you get a lot of shade!
The full walk through the grounds and back to your starting point is about 2 kilometres but you can easily spend the afternoon if you make stops to enjoy the scenery and if you’ve packed that picnic we talked about (here are some recommendations for where to get the best packed lunch options!).
Throughout the year, the grounds are also home to events that have become traditional favourites: Canada Day, Family Day, and over the holidays, Celebrate the Season with lights, musical entertainment and extravagant decorations.
Now be honest… Would you have ever considered a trip to the Legislature as a possible feature for your visit to Edmonton? No, right? But it’s just one of the spectacular travel gems that Edmonton has waiting for you. And that, is exactly why you need to sign up to be an EBH Travel Insider. Every week, you’ll get money-saving deals, articles, travel tips, contests and more right to your inbox. With summer just around the corner, it’s exactly what you need right now.