Thursday, March 24, 2011

Getting To Edmonton - Air, Rail, Road, Water

Congratulations on deciding to visit the 'City of Festivals'. Getting to Edmonton can be as easy as hopping on a plane or as adventurous as sailing down the North Saskatchewan River on a kayak.

Edmonton is Northern Alberta's and Northern Canada's major transportation hub. There are two airports that people usually fly into while traveling to Edmonton. They are the Edmonton International Airport and the smaller Edmonton City Centre Airport (Blatchford Field). We also have a busy rail corridor as well as two major highways intersecting here.

By Air: Edmonton International Airport is the largest and fifth busiest in the country. It is located in Leduc County, about 30 kilometers south of the city and covers around 7000 acres. It takes around 30 minutes to drive in from the airport to downtown, with a bit more during rush hour, so time your trip accordingly. The only public transport from the airport is the Sky Shuttle bus to the downtown area, which is quite affordable.

Edmonton has daily departures to various cities in the United States, Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean as well as seasonal charter services. You can also choose to arrive by connecting flights from the nearby city of Calgary.

The City Centre Airport at Blatchford Field is a general aviation facility for small passenger airlines, emergency medical transport and supplies. Its close proximity to the downtown area has made is popular with business travelers.

By Rail: If you'd like to view some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world, you could take the train. Edmonton is strategically placed on North America's rail grid and is the largest city on the Canadian National Railway's mainline. In fact, the Calgary-Edmonton rail corridor is the busiest in North America.

Edmonton is also a stop on VIA Rail Canada's cross country rail trek, 'The Canadian' that runs between Toronto and Vancouver. This train passes through Edmonton six times a week and has stops in the picturesque cities of Jasper and Winnipeg. The VIA rail station is located a short distance from downtown, which is why people visiting on business find it really convenient.

By Road: Whether you prefer to drive your own vehicle or take the bus, you'll really enjoy the stunning scenery and ample opportunities to view wildlife. Edmonton is located at the intersection of the east-west Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) and the north-south Queen Elizabeth II (QE2 Highway).

There are regular Motorcoach and Greyhound bus services to Edmonton from all major Canadian cities. Some buses have electric connections, to enable business visitors to work at their computers, while they travel.

If you are driving to Edmonton, make sure you have the right tires on your vehicle, especially in winter; else you'll be sliding backwards down a hill with no traction. Edmonton is three hours north of Calgary on the Queen Elizabeth II Highway and 3.5 hours east of Jasper on Highway 16.

By Water: The North Saskatchewan River, running through the heart of the city, was the original highway to Edmonton. Each summer, hundreds of locals and tourists, use its waters to canoe, kayak or raft to destinations along its banks.

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