Edmonton is Alberta's capital city and second largest city, behind Calgary, its neighbour to the south. Incorporated as a city in 1904 with a population of 8,350, Edmonton became the capital of Alberta a year later on September 1, 1905.
Edmonton covers an area of 684 sq km (264 sq mi) and is located near the geographical centre of the province, at an elevation of 668 metres (2,192 ft). The total population of the greater Edmonton area is just over 1 million people. The terrain in and around Edmonton is generally flat to gently rolling, with ravines and deep river valleys such as the North Saskatchewan River valley. The Canadian Rockies also lie close to Edmonton, roughly 220 km SW which is only a few hours' drive away.
Edmonton's river valley constitutes the longest stretch of connected urban parkland in North America, and Edmonton has the highest per capita area of parkland of any Canadian city.
There are several key hotspots for nightlife in Edmonton. The most popular is the Whyte Ave (82nd Ave) strip, concentrated between 99 St and 109 St. Downtown - Jasper Ave features numerous good places to go out, mostly in the 105 St. to 116 St. area. Home of West Edmonton Mall (former largest mall in the world), which includes an indoor amusement park and waterpark, skating rink, pirate ship and free sea lion shows.
Edmonton plays host to several large festivals each year, hence its local nickname as "The Festival City". The most popular of which are the Edmonton Folk Festival and Edmonton Fringe Festival. The folk festival is one of the largest in North America and is a multi-day event that takes place at the ski hill beside the Muttart Conservatory which is located mid-way between Whyte Ave and downtown Edmonton in the river valley. The fringe festival is located along Whyte ave and surrounding neighbourhoods where street performers, farmers markets, live theatrical performances are all spotlighted.
In addition to the large number of festivals Edmonton has many major events and concerts. Having a large outdoor colliseum provides some of the largest shows in North America with attendance as high as 65,000 people at Commonwealth Stadium concerts, and even higher during Edmonton's newest annual sporting event the Edmonton Honda Indy. Edmonton is also home to the Edmonton Oilers, a famed NHL team that was the home of the Canadian and hockey icon Wayne Gretzky who helped win multiple Stanley cups and build a legacy that lasted for decades.