Festival fans and shopaholics will feel the draw of Edmonton, in the province of Alberta. Others will love this city for the access it provides to some of Canada's most magnificent national parks, Jasper and Banff.
Icelandair offers frequent cheap flights from the UK and Europe to Edmonton, a brilliant gateway for adventures in the panorama-filled province.
Before you sample the fresh mountain air or Edmonton's non-stop festivals and mega-mall, want to switch things up a bit with icy escapades in Iceland? When you book flights to Edmonton with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
Edmonton's packed event calendar is its best selling point. Year-round, there's a party getting started to cater to something worth celebrating. Summer is the busiest period, and August's International Fringe Theatre Festival has some super stats: 11 days, 1200 artists, 50 venues, and 850,000 visitors.
In July, there's the International Street Performers Festival, drawing dozens of buskers for their time in the spotlight. When the temperatures drop the creativity rises, and winter festivals take advantage of the chilly temperatures. Ice on Whyte, for example, is a showcase of ice sculptures and family activities. There's plenty more - local parties celebrate everything from film to food, rock music to rodeos, beer to Shakespeare.
Edmonton is home to North America’s largest shopping and entertainment center: the West Edmonton Mall. (Yes, it's even bigger than the Mall of America in Minneapolis, USA.) Southwest of downtown, WEM is home to 800 stores and a planet full of entertainment and recreation opportunities. It's way more than just a retail haven; there are amusement rides and waterslides, an ice-skating rink, aquarium, minigolf courses, and even a life-size replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship, the Santa Maria.
Too much? The antidote to all that mall mayhem is to browse Edmonton's Old Strathcona neighborhood, full of indie boutiques, cafes, bars and small theaters staging interesting performances.
Just 30 miles east of Edmonton is Elk Island National Park, a fenced and forested expanse where moose, elk, bison and deer roam freely. It's a great place to explore, but it's overshadowed by the jewel to Edmonton's west: Jasper National Park. It's about 250 miles away, in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, but well worth the journey - and en route you can stop for a scenic soak at Miette Hot Springs.
Jasper is Canada’s most down-to-earth mountain town, where adventurers love to ski, snowboard, ice climb, snowshoe, hike and see wildlife. Marmot Basin offers 3000 vertical feet of superb skiing and snowboarding. Just 10 minutes north of Jasper, winter visitors can experience an ice-walk adventure through Maligne Canyon, the deepest canyon in the park.