Edmonton: The epicenter of North America

From time to time people blather about whether or not Edmonton is a great place to live and where it stands on the world stage.  Its an amazing place for people to live and for those who can't see the forest through the trees I'm truly sorry for you, but you really would be better off some where else.  Not only is Edmonton an important city in terms of the world's economy, but for the new world (historically speaking) Edmonton is epic.  

bison herd
Great Plains

Believe it or not, Edmonton was once the epicenter for the new world. Long before the vikings stumbled onto Newfoundland, and eons before Coloumbus ever set sail, Edmonton was the spot for one of the most important discoveries in the history of man, and no, it wasn't oil.  Just in case you think this is a joke, what I am about to tell you is a little known historical fact. According to Jared Diamond, who spoke at the windspear in Edmonton this some time ago, an amazing event took place but 14000 years ago or 12000 BC near Edmonton.  The event he speaks of is the arrival of Man (most likely prodded off the cave couch by women) through the ice corridor from Alaska.  In case you are too busy trolling real estate web sites to know who Jared Diamond is, he is currently professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA and is the best selling author of "Guns, Germs and Steel," and "Collapse: How societies chose to fail or succeed."

He suggests that as people migrated southwards they did so via a corridor in the glaciers that would have been thousands of feet high.  They were most likely driven by their need to find more food.  In his mind the corridor ended somewhere in the vicinity of Edmonton, and it was a beautiful sight  for the new arrivals to the see plains with herds of bison, plenty of food and warmer, open spaces.  Now I know some of you may doubt his theory, however the renowned author and scientist has won the american National Medal of Science so I'm going to go with him on this.   

And now you know the beginning of the story of Edmonton on the world scene.


Sheldon is very familiar with the ins and outs of real estate; he has been licensed to sell Real Estate in Alberta for over 20 years. Sheldon has served on the Real Estate Council of Alberta, the Real Estate Insurance Exchange and the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. Find Sheldon on Twitter @edmontonsheldon.

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18 Responses to “Edmonton: The epicenter of North America”

  1. MarkNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    And the gap between that time and the next significant event reminds one of the Leaf’s recent Stanley Cup history…

    • Sheldon JohnstonNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 10:20 am #

      it could be worse it could be like the gap in the canucks fortunes.

  2. GregNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    New theories say humans followed the coast, not a gap in the glaciers.
    Recently there was a 5(?) part series on CBC called The Human Journey that presented evidence for this theory.

    Either way, I never thought I would end up living in Edmonton. I considered it an awful choice of a place to live. However, circumstances (jobs, my wife) have kept me here… and I’ve really come to enjoy the standard of living and everything Edmonton has to offer…. which is a lot more than people think.

    That being said, I plan to cash out my properties and move somewhere with hot weather and beaches as soon as economically possible! HA!

  3. Inspector GadgetNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    I have read Diamonds books. Interesting stuff, especially Guns Germs and Steel.
    While it was likely a wonderful sight coming upon our area in the summer, if it was January they never would have known they were off the glacier!
    I also came to Edmonton unexpectedly and have come to enjoy it as my working life home.I too will move on to a more hospitable climate one day when work is not needed.

  4. StevenNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Pros: parks (river valley), events (fringe, street performers, concerts, sports), money (lots of money to keep things in repair), jobs, good schools

    Cons: cold/long winters, flat, small trees, lots of houses with no character, far away from ocean/beaches, expensive flights, mosquitos

    They have a lot of those pros in cities with a lot less cons. I’ve only lived in one other place and it was like heaven compared to Edmonton. Only reason I live here: friends and family

    • wsnNo Gravatar 26. Apr, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      “Cons: lots of houses with no character”

      Actually, one of the major reasons I stay in Edmonton is that, for the same amount of money, I can buy a nice looking house. The same kind of money can hardly buy me a shack with a lot in Vancourver East now (forget about Van West).

  5. SpudNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    I had the choice of edmonton and Australia My wife and I chose Australia. We prefer to fork out for the air fare for me and my family (3 kids) once a year than live in Edmonton. We miss our families terribly but the winter conditions in Edmonton are too brutal. We are fortunate enough that the Edmonton family come to us one a year as well so the home sickness is kept in check. I love Christmas in the cold but 6plus months of freezing weather is not cool!

    • LikeEdmontonNo Gravatar 02. May, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      Yes, but you don’t have to worry about the creepy crawlies getting into your garbage. It is just like visiting the Caribbean in terms of the insects.

  6. birdladyNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    hey, didn’t anyone notice that global warming hit Edmonton last winter – the winter that wasn’t. Maybe with all the hurricanes and disasters elsewhere, the earth has tilted and we are not going to have those cold winters anymore. Not that I don’t feel bad for the people who endured these disasters but you can’t control mother nature.
    As a long time Edmontonian, I can only hope the weather is shifting to the warm side. But seriously, the nice thing about living in Edmonton and enduring the weather all these years was the fact that the cost of living has allowed us to be able to retire early, and travel to those hot spots in the winter months.

    And yes, the mosquitos were bad last year but if you really want to complain about mosquitos, move to Winnipeg – they are vicious there.

  7. switchNo Gravatar 25. Apr, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Always enjoyed our winters, skating, skiing, snowmobiling, all great fun. Close to the same temp year round would drive me nuts.

    • SpudNo Gravatar 29. Apr, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

      I don’t like the fact it can snow in April! I like all four seasons to have an even allocation of time.

  8. Inspector GadgetNo Gravatar 26. Apr, 2012 at 6:10 am #

    There is not really any evidence of spring yet. Bud swell, but it is still grey and lifeless for the most part and it is almost May.
    High of 3 tomorrow with rain and snow possible. Weather is a major factor for most folks so let’s be honest….Edmonton, for all is good bits has the worst weather of any major city I have ever lived in.
    It makes you tough if nothing else.

  9. A commong guyNo Gravatar 26. Apr, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    You think cost of living/prices/etc would have been the same (given the economic situation) if the weather was like California here?

    Good economy/high paying job, good cost of living, and nice weather cannot be all packed in one place. Choose your favorite two!

  10. GMNo Gravatar 28. Apr, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Growing up in Saskatchewan, I always dreamed of living in Vancouver.
    10 years ago my dream came true. Problem is, it was more of a nightmare than a dream.
    It’s not all I dreamed it would be.
    Actually, it’s very beautiful. But I should have moved there 50 years ago, when the population was smaller and house prices were reasonable. It must have been beautiful then.
    Now there are people everywhere, gangs, traffic is atrocious, and forget about ever owning a house. Plus, it rains for 5 months of the year – day after day after day.
    Edmonton isn’t so bad. But Calgary is a lot better. Less wind, less mosquitoes, milder winters.
    But what are ya gonna do?
    It sure beats living in Haiti or Somalia.

  11. CMDNo Gravatar 28. Apr, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    Calgary less wind, not true. In fact Calgary has more windy days than Edmonton given their proximity to the Rockies. Milder winters is another big stretch. Sure they have more chinooks, but in general, there isn’t much of a difference between Edmonton and Calgary.

  12. GMNo Gravatar 29. Apr, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    Are there any stats to back up your statement that Calgary is windier?
    I’ve lived in both cities and from my experience Edmonton is windier.

    And I can also tell you that Edmonton is a hell of a lot colder than Calgary in winter. Period.

  13. CMDNo Gravatar 29. Apr, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Go to Environment Canada.

    Avg January Temp: -11.8C
    Avg February Temp: -8.4C
    Days with Winds >52km/h: 5.3

    link to climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca

    Avg January Temp: -8.9C
    Avg February Temp: -6.1C
    Days with Winds >52km/h: 36.9

    link to climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca

    I wouldn’t consider an average temperature spread of -2 to -3C in January / February as a ‘hell of a lot colder’.

  14. GregNo Gravatar 29. Apr, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Another Edmonton vs Calgary pissing match? Seriously?

    I’ve lived in both cities, Calgary for 8 years, and now Edmonton/Sherwood Park for 5. They have their pros and cons. Both are great places to live for different reasons.

    FTR, the nicest place I’ve lived is Adelaide, Australia. Perfect weather for 8 months of the year (and good for the other 4), decent job prospects, calm ocean and nice beaches.