Angular windows surround a 190-metre ribbon of steel that pays homage to the North Saskatchewan River and aurora borealis; the three-floor, 85,000-square-foot Art Gallery of Alberta is itself a work of art. And though Los Angeles–based architect Randall Stout's design gives the gallery a distinctly contemporary feel, the AGA ranks among the oldest cultural institutions in Alberta, showcasing artwork since 1924. A permanent collection of more than 6,000 pieces engages visitors alongside a selection of exhibitions ranging from Icons of Modernism to Andy Warhol: Manufactured.
Connecting people, art, and ideas, AGA organizes programming such as talks, films, and tours, as well as youth and adult art classes. The gallery also encompasses the Terrace Café and Zinc Restaurant, where Executive Chef Dave Omar prepares dishes with local artisan ingredients.
At Dallas Frame & Arts, expert staffers navigate a selection of more than 4,000 frame mouldings to help customers find one that showcases their prints, matches their decor, and fits their budget. Their diverse styles range from rustic wood and modern metal to ornate gold leaf and whimsical heart and oval shapes. The staff also taps into 25 years of experience to design frames and mats that fit and preserve your prints. In addition, they can create custom shadowboxes to display sentimental objects or secure grandpa's consistently misplaced reading glasses.
The shop also stocks artwork, prints, and posters from internationally famous names such as Thomas Kinkade, as well as regional artists including Alex Halliburton, Jack Ellis, and Robert Bailey.
River Valley Adventure Co. and Segway Edmonton is best known for its guided Segway tours, which traverse the riverside terrain of Edmonton River Valley. However, visitors are not bound to the valley terrain—they can head almost anywhere from the shop on the neighbouring Trans Canada Trail, the world’s longest network of multiuse recreational trails.
Using rental roller skates, snowshoes, Rocky Mountain Bicycles mountain bikes, or purchases from the shop’s stock of Segways, visitors can peruse the web of trails; alternatively, they can rent sporting equipment such as badminton sets, croquet sets, and fishing gear, accompanied by fishing licences more valid than gluing a fishing rod to your forehead. An onsite café brews pots of Intelligentsia and sates adventurers’ appetites with snacks such as acclaimed peanut-butter granola bars.
West Edmonton Mall holds multiple world records. The one people notice first is the world's largest parking lot, but the one they tend to remember is the world's largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster, the Mindbender. It's one of the centrepieces of Galaxyland Amusement Park, and if the loops weren't enough to qualify it as an "advanced ride" on the park map, its 14-storey peak certainly would be. From its track, families can see more than 23 other space-themed rides and play areas, as well as the mall beyond, bustling with a city-sized stretch of attractions.
Another world record—world's largest indoor wave pool—can be found inside World Waterpark. Here, kids and adults alike careen down slides such as Cyclone, while smaller children play in the kiddie pool and even smaller children splash each other at Caribbean Cove. Regardless of the weather outside, the park's temperature holds at a balmy 31 degrees Celsius. To cool off without getting wet, though, patrons can always head underground to meet a few penguins. Alongside sea turtles, sharks, and stingrays, they're citizens of Sea Life Caverns, an aquarium that earns the mall its accreditation as a zoo.
In the face of all its theatres and thrills, it can be easy to forget that the mall began as a shopping centre modelled after an urban Persian bazaar. More than 800 stores and services serve as an easy reminder, however. They enable shoppers to browse apparel, electronics, and home accessories between refuelling stops at restaurants and pubs.
Muttart Conservatory enriches the local soils of Edmonton with biomes crafted from cuttings, specimens and lush culinary creations from their comforting café. With two admissions ($11.50 for a regular adult ticket), botanical trailblazers trek across four pyramids blooming with exotic and domestic species. The tropical pyramid canopies gadabouts in a humid conservatory, its warm atmosphere steaming any visitors dressed as dumplings. After hours of vegetative globetrotting, savour local concoctions from Culina Café, such as the wild salmon and egg-salad sandwich ($9), served on a Portuguese bun and brimming with flavour and gentle allusions to a past life as a juggling salesman.
Kamena Gallery's keen-eyed staff helps customers navigate more than 1,500 custom moulding samples, including the shop's own exclusive lines. They focus, especially, on proper styles and tones in order to safeguard keepsakes in a fashionable manner. Along with its oasis of framing options, Kamena houses a gallery to showcase the works of local artists, as well as Chinese calligraphy, photography, and poster and print catalogues.