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Hidden History: Uncovering the Rich History of Edmonton’s Heritage Sites

When you think of Edmonton, the first things that come to mind might be its vibrant city life, bustling streets, and modern architecture. However, beneath the surface lies a rich and fascinating history that is waiting to be discovered. Edmonton’s heritage sites hold the key to uncovering the hidden history of this incredible city. These sites are a treasure trove of stories, artifacts, and archaeological uncoverings that give us a glimpse into the past. Today, we’re taking a stroll through the rich history of Edmonton’s heritage sites. We hope you’ll join us on this journey as we uncover the hidden history of Festival City.

Edmonton’s Main Heritage Sites

Let’s start this journey together by travelling through some of Edmonton’s main heritage sites, where history unfolds in the halls of opulent mansions, the echoes of immigrant settlements, and the stories of influential figures who shaped the city’s destiny.

  1. The Rutherford House Museum

    Open year-round
    Located in the historic Garneau neighbourhood, the Rutherford House Museum offers a fascinating insight into the life of Alberta’s first Premier, Alexander Cameron Rutherford. This beautifully preserved mansion showcases the opulent lifestyle of the early 20th-century elite. As you wander through the rooms, you’ll be transported back in time, surrounded by elegant furniture, fine art, and intricate architectural details. The museum also hosts various events and exhibitions that bring the history of the Rutherford family to life. Don’t miss the chance to step into the past and experience the grandeur of the Rutherford House Museum.

  2. The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

    Opens for the season on May 18, 2024

    Immerse yourself in the rich Ukrainian heritage at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. This living history museum takes you on a journey through time, showcasing the lives of Ukrainian immigrants who settled in the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Explore over 40 restored buildings, including traditional homes, churches, and a school, and interact with costumed interpreters who bring the stories of the past to life. Experience the vibrant culture through traditional dances, music, and delicious Ukrainian cuisine. The Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village is a must-visit for anyone interested in Edmonton’s diverse history.

  3. The John Walter Museum

    Opens for the season, March 2024
    Step into the world of John Walter, a prominent figure in Edmonton’s history, at the John Walter Museum. Located on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, this historic site showcases the life and achievements of the Walter family, who played a crucial role in the development of the city. Explore the original Walter family home, stroll through the beautiful gardens, and learn about the early industries that shaped Edmonton’s growth. The museum also offers guided tours, educational programs, and special events that provide a deeper understanding of the Walter family’s legacy.

  4. Fort Edmonton Park

    Open until March 24, 2024 for winter exhibits & wagon rides
    Opens for the season, March 25, 2024
    Fort Edmonton Park is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, but beyond its well-known attractions lies a hidden world waiting to be discovered. Venture off the beaten path and explore the park’s lesser-known sites, such as the Fire Hall, where you can learn about the history of firefighting in Edmonton, or the Capitol Theatre, which showcases the golden age of cinema. Take a ride on the steam train and experience what travel was like in the early 20th century. Fort Edmonton Park’s hidden gems offer a unique perspective on the city’s history and provide a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

  5. The Strathcona Streetcar Barn and Museum

    Open every saturday from May 18th, 2024 to October 12, 2024

    The Strathcona Streetcar Barn and Museum is a hidden gem that transports you back in time to the early days of Edmonton’s public transportation system. Step aboard one of the vintage streetcars and take a ride through the historic Strathcona neighbourhood. Learn about the role streetcars played in shaping the city’s development and see how Edmontonians travelled in the early 20th century. The museum also houses a collection of streetcar artifacts and memorabilia, giving visitors a glimpse into the past. The Strathcona Streetcar Barn and Museum is a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those seeking a unique experience in

  6. Edmonton.The Alberta Railway Museum

    Opens for the season on May 18th, 2024
    For railway enthusiasts, the Alberta Railway Museum is a hidden treasure. Located just outside Edmonton, this museum showcases a collection of historic locomotives, passenger cars, and other railway artifacts. Take a guided tour and learn about the importance of railways in the development of Alberta. Explore the beautifully restored train cars and imagine what travel was like in the early days. The Alberta Railway Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the past and is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in the history of transportation.

  7. Historical Artifacts at the University of Alberta

    Open year-round
    The University of Alberta is not only a center of academic excellence but also a repository of historical artifacts. The university’s archives and museums house a vast collection of artifacts that tell the story of Edmonton’s past. From ancient fossils to cultural artifacts, these collections provide valuable insights into the region’s history and heritage. Take a guided tour of the university’s museums and explore the exhibits that showcase the diverse cultural, scientific, and artistic contributions of the community. The historical artifacts at the University of Alberta offer a unique perspective on Edmonton’s hidden history.

  8. Indigenous Cultural Centers and Heritage Sites

    Opening dates vary. Check before visiting.
    Edmonton is situated on Treaty 6 territory and is home to a vibrant Indigenous community. The city boasts several Indigenous cultural centers and heritage sites that celebrate the rich traditions and history of the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples. Visit places like the Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society, the Amiskwaciy History Series, and the Maskwacis Cultural College to learn about Indigenous languages, art, and traditional practices. These centers and sites provide an opportunity to deepen your understanding of the Indigenous peoples’ contributions to Edmonton’s history and culture.

Lesser-Known Heritage Sites in Edmonton

Hidden in the shadows of Festival City’s well-known historic places lie the remnants of many lesser-known heritage sites just waiting to be discovered. These sites provide an intimate and authentic experience of Edmonton’s history and offer a refreshing alternative to the more popular attractions.

  • Heritage Mile
    Stretching from the Traffic Circle to Baseline Road, Heritage Mile in Sherwood Park encapsulates the tangible heritage of the region. Four key structures narrate Sherwood Park’s rich history: Maurice Smeltzer’s provincial historic resource, the resilient Lendrum Sisters’ sculptural representation, the Ottewell Centre honouring a pioneering family, and Salisbury United Church’s enduring presence. Monument Park’s sculptures and monuments, the Smyth family’s farm, and the Rotary Club centennial wall celebrate diverse aspects of the region’s past. Heritage Mile, with its living tapestry, invites all to explore its stories and witness Sherwood Park’s journey through time.

  • Walterdale Flats Archaeological Site
    Situated across the river from the Rossdale Flats, Walterdale Flats bears the imprint of John Walter, Edmonton’s pioneering entrepreneur. John Walter’s multifaceted enterprises, from lumber milling to boat building, shaped the south bank of the river. The natural ford near the 105 Street bridge, the foundation for Walter’s ferry service, remains visible, adorned by the remains of an old ferry hidden in the bushes. As the river reveals its secrets during low tide, the skeleton of a sternwheeler emerges, harking back to Walter’s turn-of-the-century tours on the vast riverboat, a 50-cent delight for Edmontonians.

  • Highlands Neighborhood
    Step into the enchanting embrace of the historic Highlands neighbourhood, where charming heritage homes tell tales of a bygone era. This often-overlooked area invites exploration, revealing a treasure trove of architectural beauty and a vibrant community spirit. As you traverse the streets lined with meticulously preserved heritage homes, each building whispers stories of Edmonton’s past. The Highlands neighbourhood is a living testament to the city’s evolution, a picturesque canvas reflecting the architectural styles that have graced Edmonton throughout its history.

Edmonton’s heritage sites are more than just buildings and artifacts; they are a testament to the city’s past and the people who have shaped it. By uncovering the hidden history, exploring iconic sites, and travelling back in time, we can gain a deeper understanding of Edmonton’s diverse cultural heritage. Whether you’re a history buff, a curious traveller, or a proud Edmontonian, take the time to appreciate and support these heritage sites.

If you’re planning a trip to Edmonton to visit some of our heritage sites, don’t forget to book your hotel stay through Edmonton’s Best Hotels to take advantage of our 1, 2, 3 Reward Deal and get up to $225 in rewards. Together, we can celebrate and preserve the rich history of Edmonton for generations to come.

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Terms and Conditions

The “1,2, 3 Pick Your Rewards”, Terms and Conditions and Blackout Dates 

Rewards Program campaign dates

Reward package available to book from January 5, 2022 for stays to December 31, 2024 for rewards except for possible blackout dates. At present there are no blackout dates scheduled.

Rewards are subject to while supplies last.  Substitutions of equivalent kind, value may be made as necessary.  Rewards are non-transferable, no cash value, no cash back.

  • Rewards are non-transferable, non-exchangeable, have no cash value, no cash back.
  • Rewards cannot be combined with any other offer or promotion.
  • Reward deal is net non-commissionable.

Blackout dates

At present there are no blackout dates scheduled. 

In the event blackout dates are scheduled, any guest who makes a booking for a hotel stay during the blackout period prior to the blackout period being named will receive the rewards they are booked for. 

Rewards Program offerings

Book one night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of three $50 rewards excluding blackout dates:

  • $50 Gas Card or
  • $50 Prepaid Mastercard, or
  • $50 Ultimate Dining Card

Book two night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of five reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • $150 prepaid MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 MasterCard, or
  • $75 Gas card and $75 Ultimate Dining Card, or

Book three night’s stay with Edmonton’s Best Hotels and receive your choice of one of four reward packages excluding blackout dates:

  • Three Night Reward 1: $225 Prepaid Mastercard
  • Three Night Reward 3: $75 Ultimate Dining Card + $75 Prepaid Mastercard + $75 Gas Card

One choice of reward per stay. 

Guest must be 18 years of age or older at time of redemption. 

Prepaid Mastercard’s can be used for online purchases only. In Canada, prepaid Mastercard’s cannot be used at any retail outlet (including your hotel) with point-of-sale systems.

Rewards distribution

Rewards will be emailed directly to guests within 48 hours of Edmonton’s Best Hotels confirming their check-in.  Rewards are not provided by the hotel’s front desk.   All rewards are sent electronically. 


Guest must reserve a minimum of 24 hours prior to arrival.

Rewards are NOT available for reservations made less than 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Reservations made directly with hotels and not through Edmonton’s Best Hotels are not eligible for rewards. No exceptions. Rewards are only provided to guests who book through Edmonton’s Best Hotels online booking platform.  Booking reservation confirmations will have Edmonton’s Best Hotels branding on them. Rewards not provided for hotel reservations during specified blackout dates.

Reservations cannot be extended by hotels for additional rewards.

Guests may add a night to an existing one-night deal reservation and receive additional rewards if the request is made a minimum of 24 hours in advance of arrival.

Booking terms and conditions

Rewards provided for more than one night, must be for consecutive nights under one registration under one name at one property. In addition, no more than up to three consecutive nights will be honoured. If a guest checks in for three days and then checks out and re-checks in for the next day, this is considered a consecutive night booking even if the second booking is made at different hotel.  

There must be a minimum of three days between bookings.

Multiple reservations for the same person for the same night(s) is considered a double booking and only one of those bookings will be eligible for rewards. For example, if a guest books two nights on x and y date and then makes another two-night booking for the same dates at the same hotel or another hotel, EBH considers this a double booking and will honour rewards for only one of those bookings. 

Is there a limit on the number of bookings I make on different dates?  Edmonton Best Hotels welcomes repeat business.  Some of our guests visit Edmonton every month.  Please note as stated earlier there must be a minimum of three days between bookings. Please also note stated blackout dates.

Cancelling and date changes to reservations

If a guest wants to cancel or change the dates of their booking.

What if I want to cancel my booking?  Edmonton Best Hotels must cancel your booking (not the hotel).  If you want to cancel, contact info@edmh.ca and let us know.  We will cancel your booking and send you a cancellation number for your records.  Please do not cancel directly with the hotel.

What if I want to change the dates of my booking?  You must contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca and let us know you want to make a date change.  Your original booking must be cancelled first.  You will receive a cancellation number for your records.  Then, you must rebook for your new dates.  The hotel nor Edmonton’s Best Hotels cannot make date changes to the original booking.  Please note this does not guarantee you will receive the same hotel rate when you rebook for different dates.

Any questions, please contact Edmonton Best Hotels at info@edmh.ca 

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