Our city has some iconic features and striking landmarks that make up its unique identity. As locals, we see them all the time and may appreciate the history, creative architecture, and natural appeal. Some of them we tour our friends and family around when they visit the city. Others blend into the background of our daily lives. Whichever category they fall into, you are sure to agree that all of these are distinctly Edmonton. Local illustrator and graphic designer, Courtenay McKay, highlighted 7 of these photogenic Edmonton attractions with her sassy postcard set under her brand JOJO & GUN Illustrated Goods. You can find them for purchase by contacting her through her website. jojoandgun.ca, or around Edmonton at Majesty & Friends and various craft & art fairs (including the upcoming Royal Bison).
This is the first thing travellers see as they fly into the city; the Edmonton International Airport and its artistic control tower. Built-in 2013 the design takes into account environmental considerations along with aesthetic appeal. The metal ribbons are inspired by the area’s fields and the waves of wind that blow across them. This iconic design is sure to leave a lasting impression with all 8.2 million yearly visitors to the Edmonton International Airport.
The Beloved and Common Magpie
The city has a love/hate relationship with the massive number of magpies that live here. North American’s western half is inhabited by the black-billed magpie. In Edmonton, they can be found just about everywhere from city streets to parks. Tourists visiting from the east coast tend to adore the birds for their long blue and green iridescent tail. However, locals often find the constant chatter of the bird nerve racking. No matter how you feel about them, the magpies and their beautiful colors are here to stay.
Lovingly referred to as “the Ledge” by locals, this building is more than where the government conducts daily business; it is a community gathering place. In the winter, the grounds feature a man-made skating rink surrounded by colourful lights, and there are free concerts held inside throughout December. During the summer months, its fields are full of people picnicking and playing games. The grounds also have two public wading pools, bathrooms, and a stage to host events. Inside they offer free tours all year long. It is hard to imagine that when it was first built in 1912 it was only surrounded by empty fields and a few homes.
It is named after Dr. J.W. Grant MacEwan, a lieutenant governor of Alberta. The campus of this iconic Edmonton University, with its large easily recognizable towers, stretches out across the core downtown area. Its grounds have many green spaces built into the design, encouraging use by students and the public alike. The campus hosts many concerts, events, and festivals, including the city’s beloved International Cat Festival.
Edmonton’s 118 Avenue is called the “Avenue of Champions” with sculptures of sports players decorating the lamp posts down the avenue. Going along with this theme is a large aluminum baseball bat was installed at the corner of 97 Street and 118 Avenue in 2001. At the time it was the tallest baseball bat in Canada, sitting at 14.9 metres. Now Saskatchewan holds that record. Little known by locals and passersby, this is actually an interactive sculpture; if you give it a push, it spins around!
As North America’s largest shopping mall it is big enough to be its own town. Its stores feature a range of clothing, jewelry, shoes, exclusive luxury retailers, along with a popular Asian grocery store. This is not your average mall as it also is home to countless attractions including a casino, a pirate ship, indoor skating rink, mini golf, indoor amusement park with a triple-loop roller coaster, wave pool water park, African penguins and sea lions. With over 30.8 million visitors a year this mall is popular among tourists and locals alike.
This architecturally beautiful horticultural attraction is constructed from many windows shaped into five pyramids. Three of the large pyramids are permanent homes to different plant environments; desert, tropical, and boreal. The fourth changes throughout the year featuring creative and colourful plant and decorative displays. The conservatory hosts many events including; adults only nights, concert nights, new year eve celebrations, seasonal kids craft days, and many more!
All artwork has been illustrated by Courtenay McKay under her brand JOJO & GUN Illustrated Goods. Find the postcards and other fantastic creations online at jojoandgun.ca, in person at Majesty & Friends in the Highlands neighbourhood, and at the Royal Bison May 10-12, 2019 in Old Strathcona.