Beaches in Edmonton, Alberta

Photo by Grempz

Edmonton is Alberta’s capital, its second most populated city, and is the northernmost urban region in North America with a population of over one million. In fact, in the early 1900s, this bustling city became known as the “Gateway to the North” due to the introduction of railways, roads, gas pipelines, and an international airport.

This prosperous city contains many colleges and universities, as well as urban parks. Edmonton has the most parkland per capita in all of Canada, and its river valley comprises the longest expanse of joined metropolitan parkland in North America. More than just offering beauty and recreation, this parkland alleviates some of the issues associated with seasonal floods.

Edmonton is located on the meandering North Saskatchewan River. The river begins in the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park, and has channels that flow throughout the city. Not only is this river is a beloved destination for recreational activities, it also provides drinking water for Edmonton and other communities nearby. The North Saskatchewan River has ample sandy beaches and boat launches, as do its neighbouring lakes.

Edmonton is comprised mostly of flat or slightly rolling prairie landscape etched by ravines and river valleys. To Edmonton’s west are the snow-capped Canadian Rocky Mountains. These mountains form the largest mountain system in North America, and are recognized worldwide for their impressive form, abundant wildlife, and beautiful scenery.

Water Monitoring

In Edmonton, the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper monitors two freshwater areas along the North Saskatchewan River, Terwillegar Park and Accidental Beach. The samples that they take are tested by Element, a certified environmental lab. The primary threats to the North Saskatchewan River’s water quality are runoff from urban, industrial, and agricultural activity and combined sewer systems, which can pour into the river after storms.

Over time the North Saskatchewan River's water quality has changed substantially. The river valley used to be a dumping site for raw sewage and litter. Today, there have been significant improvements to the quality of the water, but its dirty reputation remains. The North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper's monitoring program is important for demonstrating when water quality passes the recreational standards. These water quality results can encourage people to paddle, fish, and swim out on the water. As the community spends more time by the water, more people become water guardians who protect their beloved waterbodies, ensuring a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future for all.

Recreation

There are a lot of activities you can do in or around Edmonton’s waters, such as swimming, open water swimming, and scuba diving. Motor boating, sailing, rowing, canoeing, kayaking, and white water rafting are also popular. Edmonton has a wide variety of fish species, so fishing enthusiasts will feel right at home. Inland, you can partake in activities such as hiking, biking, climbing, camping, and bird watching along the coast.

Accidental Beach, perhaps the North Saskatchewan River’s most unique beach, lives up to its name. Also known as Cloverdale Beach, this urban beach unexpectedly came into being in the summer of 2017 due to a combination of factors, namely, the construction of the Tawatinâ LRT bridge, a downstream sandbar, and low water levels. The water here may not meet quality standards at times, so check Swim Guide for updates before swimming.

Climate in Edmonton

Edmonton may have some of the coldest winters in Canada, but the city is rewarded with 2,299 hours of sunshine each year, making it one of Canada’s sunniest cities. In Edmonton, summers are rarely humid, and stick around from the end of June until the beginning of September. The city is warmest in July and August, with average daily maximum temperatures of 22 °C (72 °F).

Edmonton is the perfect destination for thrill-seekers and leisure-seekers alike to congregate and enjoy the city’s cool waters, lush parkland, and bountiful nature.

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