Culture, History, and Business
Edmonton began as a trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1795, but its population growth was severely limited until the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway to Alberta in 1885. In 1892, the town had a population of just 700, but that had ballooned to 8,350 just twelve years later. A year after that, it was chosen as the capital of the new province of Alberta, which further accelerated growth. After World War II, the population exploded, driven in large part by Alberta’s growing energy sector and the city grew from 93,817 in 1941 to becoming the center of one of Canada’s largest cities with over 1.3 million people today.
The economy of Edmonton is largely based on the oil and gas sector, as is the case with most of Alberta. Most of the oil and gas produced in Alberta’s vast oil sands region is shipped to and processed in Edmonton, making the city’s petrochemical industry one of the largest in the world. However, Edmonton’s economy is also much more diverse than other Albertan cities, with logistics, distribution, finance, public services, technology and education all major employers.
Edmonton has long been one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, a fact that remains true even as Alberta’s energy sector has suffered a downturn in recent years. It has one of the youngest populations of any Canadian city, thanks to people from all over the country moving here looking for work. As a result, there tends to be high demand for real estate, especially single-family homes that cater to young families.
The city government has also instituted a number of initiatives designed to get people to move into the city’s more central neighborhoods. As a result, so-called “mature neighborhoods” are seeing an increase in population, driven by new real estate and transit-oriented development. Edmonton also benefits from low property prices, making this a market with a low bar to entry to investors.