The adventure-seeking LGBT traveler will be delighted by lively, down-to-earth Gay Edmonton. The capital of oil-rich Alberta merges the best of country and city life and is a delight for any lesbian or gay traveler. The city is full of museums, shopping (including the largest mall in North America!), nightlife and other attractions, while the cowboy country in the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies makes for captivating scenery. Catch a flight directly into Edmonton International Airport, or kick it up a notch and hop on the train! Gay-friendly VIA Rail’s famous transcontinental will take you straight into Edmonton, and you’ll never forget the beautiful Albertan landscape.
Edmonton’s street and road network is formed by a grid system. Streets run north to south and avenues run east to west which makes it simple to navigate by rental car, taxi, or limo. The rapidly-expanding Light Rail Transit system is also an uncomplicated, affordable mode of transportation around downtown Edmonton. It runs through Jasper Avenue between 99 and 110 Streets, which is quickly becoming the center of gay Edmonton as most of the city’s gay bars, clubs, and businesses. Bicycle routes on most of the main roads make it easy to pedal yourself wherever you want to go. If you’d like to explore by foot, Downtown and Old Strathcona are the best places for strolls and window-shopping.
The active gay and lesbian traveler will discover plenty of year-round recreation in the breathtaking North Saskatchewan River valley, which includes around 93 miles of trails filled with ravines, gullies, and gorges. The stunning scenery provides the perfect backdrop for walking, jogging, hiking, bike riding, picnicking, snowshoeing, skiing, skating, snowboarding, and sledding. Canada’s “Festival City” is consistently host to world-class gatherings.
Celebrate like a true Edmontonian during the annual Winter Festival. Aboriginal heritage and winter culture is featured alongside contemporary art. Look forward to seeing the parks, plazas and snow hills come to life with light installations, fire art, ice and snow and sculptures, original performances, and star-gazing. Culture-seekers will enjoy the year-round poetry festival and Canada’s largest living history museum, Fort Edmonton Park. Winter months are cold (temperatures hover around 10 degrees), but typically dry, bright and sunny.
The summertime is jam-packed with weekly festivals, such as the River City Shakespeare Festival, and jazz, blues, and folk fests. In August, North America’s largest Fringe Theater Festival offers 1,000 plays, and theater enthusiasts will delight in being a part of the interactive audience. One of the most exciting summertime festivals for the LGBT traveler is the Edmonton Gay Pride Festival in mid-June. On the eve of the Parade, dance the night away at Play Nightclub’s Pure Pride Dance Party, but save some energy for the next day!
The tremendous Pride Parade winds through downtown Edmonton and leads to a celebration in Churchill Square. That night, an adults-only Womonspace Pride Dance takes place at the Hellenic Canadian Community Hall until 2 am. Other happenings during the festival include Pride Youth events, sports competitions, a PFLAG gathering, tours of the famed Devonian Botanic Gardens, special events at local gay bars and clubs, and a film festival. The Mayor’s Pride Brunch on the last day concludes the 10-day-long extravaganza. Twilight lingers past 11 pm in summertime, when temperatures average 65 degrees, and pack your just-in-case rain gear, as thunderstorms can be frequent.