Edmonton: an outstanding combination of thriving economy and vibrant quality of life

A diversified, innovative economy in the heart of Canada’s booming west and gateway to Canada’s north

Greater Edmonton is the largest and closest urban centre to the world’s third-largest oil reserves. Already home to Canadian household corporate names like PCL Constructors Inc., Stantec Inc. and Katz Group Ltd., many Fortune 500 companies have a substantial presence in Greater Edmonton. In addition to being the hub of the oil sands supply chain, the city boasts two of the world’s largest petrochemical plants and 17 energy-related research and innovation centres — all of this oil industry activity in a country that’s one of the world’s most politically stable.

Edmonton is a hotbed of research innovation. The first Canadian city to make IBM’s “Smarter Cities Challenge” list, Edmonton is home to most of Alberta’s biotech firms, Canada’s nanotechnology hub, and a regional alliance that coordinates business incubators and nurtures knowledge-based startups. The University of Alberta, with $500 million in external research funds, ranks as one of the world’s top 100 universities.

The Edmonton region is home to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing centre, containing 15 world scale facilities responsible for over 40% of Canada’s basic chemical manufacturing. Alberta’s abundant supply of competitively priced natural gas, along with new natural gas liquids, presents an opportunity for limitless growth in Edmonton’s petrochemical sector.

A regional financial centre, Edmonton is home to two banks, one of Canada’s top credit unions, and Alberta Investment Management Corporation — together managing $135 billion in assets. With one of the highest standards in waste management, Edmonton diverts 60% of residential waste from the landfill, increasing to 90% by 2013. 

Why Edmonton

Economic growth for Edmonton is forecast to be well above the Canadian average. Alberta’s capital city is home to such industry leaders as Stantec, PCL Constructors, Finning International Inc., ATB Financial and Canadian Western Bank Group. Offering a diversified economy in the heart of Canada’s west, with a highly skilled and educated workforce and an unparalleled living standard, Edmonton is a business-friendly city with connections to the world.

As Canada’s festival city, Edmonton hosts world-renowned festivals year-round that contribute to the city’s quality of life and vibrancy. In the all-important realm of education, some consider Edmonton to have North America’s premier public school system. The province of Alberta is known for having the English-speaking world’s best school test results. With an arts and culture scene that is the envy of other cities, Edmonton welcomes newcomers who dare to dream big and think on a grand scale.

Business advantage

Providing leadership in economic development, tourism, conventions, plus innovation and technology advancement, the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) is a one-stop shop that brokers relationships and facilitates entry into Greater Edmonton. As capital city of the Western Canadian province of Alberta, access to key decision-makers and regulators is within the city, and EEDC can offer guidance and help.

No matter where newcomers may come from, a wealth of resources stand ready to help make a seamless transition. Edmonton has a strong tradition of welcoming newcomers, be it at a social level or in economic terms. A high standard of living and among Canada’s top cities for GDP growth forecasted for 2013, combined with one of North America’s most competitive corporate tax environments, means that Edmonton is a great place to invest, work, live and play. 

Future plans

Edmonton’s strong future means several major projects are underway including:

  • Light-rail transit expansion from downtown to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology by 2014, and long-term plans for a citywide network expansion
  • Ring road around Edmonton, completion by 2016
  • Relocation of an expanded Royal Alberta Museum to downtown by 2015, expanding Edmonton’s arts district
  • Proposed $1.5 billion downtown sports and entertainment district by 2014
  • An approved Capital City Downtown Plan to create a more vibrant, attractive, high-density, mixed-use area plus long-term plans to revitalize another 18 block downtown district
  • Blatchford, the largest land use project in decades, will convert the city centre airport into a sustainable, transit-oriented, family-friendly community. The first residents are expected to move on site in 2016

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