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Edmonton, Canada

In 1754, European explorers and fur traders for the Hudson Bay Company first arrived, and Edmonton began to take shape. This far-northern city now serves in part as a staging point for diamond mining in the Northwest Territories. It is also a sophisticated contemporary arts scene - with beautiful river valley walking and bike trails, lakes, and ravines all around the urban area.

Explore the fantastic Art Gallery of Alberta. Walk through the pioneering years of 1846 to 1929 at Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest living history museum. Immerse in the large indoor wave pool at World Waterpark in iconic gigantic West Edmonton Mall - or, browse the independent clothing and art stores on Whyte Avenue, in the Old Strathcona district.

While on Whyte Ave., stop in for coffee at the Block 1912 European Cafe, in the historic Hulburt Block Building, and enjoy fresh-baked bread at the Artisan Resto-Cafe. For a taste of "new Canadian cuisine" find the rustic Wildflower Grill in downtown Edmonton - featuring game hen, hickory-and-pear chicken, and smoky mesquite beef. How about some evening music at the Yardbird Suite, an Edmonton jazz institution since 1957.