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I love Edmonton and I’m proud to call this fine city my home. Over the past 20-some years, I’ve done my fair share of exploring some of Edmonton’s coolest nooks and crannies and I know I’ve still barely scratched the surface. With my camera in tow, I’ve been able to capture a handful of photos along the way at some of my favourite go-to photo spots in the city. These aren’t the high traffic zone touristy spots, but more so the unsuspecting, every day gems that sometimes go unnoticed by the average Joe. These are the places that hold a special place in my heart.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am the furthest thing from being a National Geographic photographer. I’m on Instagram and I’ve seen hundreds of unreal #exploreedmonton photos; seriously, they look professionally shot. What I do hope is that my photos trigger you to dust off your camera if you haven’t done so already, get outside and discover your own beloved photo spots – whether you’re joining me at mine or uncovering your own.
All of the following photo spots can be found on this handy map (with a few other favourites added in the mix).
If you paid me a dollar for every time I’ve witnessed a couple canoodling on this bench, I’d have…well probably only $10.00 but that’s still pretty good. The Forest Heights Park lookout point is pretty romantic, I mean just look at that skyline and river valley view! Before leaving, take a stroll down the trail that runs alongside the park. Because of the high elevation, you’ll get great views of the river valley the entire time.
Once an area of disaster during a 1999 landslide, the Ramsay Heights neighborhood has since risen above adversity and is now home to one of the best vantage points in the city. The bend in the river forms the shape of a perfect horseshoe, and with the spot’s western exposure, the sunset looks pretty darn good from here. Don’t forget your bug spray!
This may seem like an odd spot to include on the list, but there’s something quite calming about this bridge. Its red colouring pops against the bright green trees in the spring and summer, and its lanky supporting bridge piers seem to endlessly stretch down into the river valley below. Resist the urge to climb on the cool bridge walkway – police patrol the area for trespassers!
Visiting the pyramids of Giza was one of the best moments of my life, and since then, seeing a similar architecturally designed structure always tugs at my heartstrings. The Muttart Conservatory is one of Edmonton’s most unique looking attractions housing botanical gardens in four glass pyramids. While I love admiring the Muttart Conservatory from spots like Gallagher Hill or the Shaw Conference Centre, nothing beats getting up close and personal, especially at night. I can’t help but feel like I’m sort of a spy in a James Bond movie.
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Home to runners, cyclists, and the odd rollerblader (‘90s sport trends for the win!), Keillor Road hasn’t always been a peaceful oasis. It was once jam packed with cars as the road provided the perfect little shortcut to the University area. When the road began to crumble into the river, cars were banned and it became a paradise for nature nuts. There is no bad season to pay Keillor Road a visit, whether it’s dusted in snow in a winter wonderland, or lined with blossomed trees in the summer months.
The High Level Bridge Streetcar seriously doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Providing one of the highest river crossings by streetcar in the world, the views from the top deck of the bridge are both spectacular and exhilarating. Don’t drain your camera battery quite yet, though! My favourite spot is the graffiti streetcar tunnel near the Jasper Plaza terminal filled with intricate black and white art. Be sure to cruise over once you’re back on your feet to check it out!
The high level bridge has had its fair share of repairs, upgrades and facelifts over the years, most recently being outfitted and illuminated with 60,000 LED bulbs thanks to the Light the Bridge campaign. While it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo of the bridge lit up in all its glory, my favourite sight to capture is the tail lights of cars as they zoom by me near the start of the bridge. Don’t look down!
Whether you love it or hate it, Talus Dome, Edmonton’s most expensive and perhaps most provocative piece of public art, always has people talking. Yup, it’s a massive pile of nearly 1000 steel balls forming an abstract talus shape located beside Quesnell Bridge. While you’ve probably driven past the structure hundreds of times, I encourage you to take a closer look at it. Think fun house meets the compound eye of a fly. You can capture some pretty warped and funny reflections that will have you busting a gut laughing.
Whether you’re skiing, tobogganing, splashing around in the spray park, picnicking, or belting out tunes at our beloved Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Gallagher Park is a wicked spot to hang out no matter the season. While I love all of these activities, my personal favourite is grabbing a late night snack (usually a 20-piece box of chicken nuggets), relaxing on one of the scattered benches and admiring our twinkling skyline.