How is life in Alberta Canada

Alberta, Canada
welcomes you warmly


Alberta, AB for short, attracts many tourists every year due to its diverse landscape and the charm of the Albertans. Alberta is known for its thousands of acres of farmland in the heart of the province and its cloudless skies in the north. Alberta is the westernmost of the Prairie Provinces. The world famous Banff National Park and Lake Louise is a year-round tourist destination for travelers from all over the world. The provincial capital Edmonton is known for its West Edmonton Mall, the world's largest shopping and entertainment complex.

The Winter Olympics were held in Calgary in 1988. The city is also known worldwide for its annual Calgary Stampede. Millions of visitors come to the city every year for this event. Canada's dinosaur capital, Drumheller, is home to the world's largest dinosaur and is also home to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. There is a lot to discover in Alberta - abundant wildlife, countless historical sites and a varied landscape.

The province of Alberta was named after Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta. She was married to Canada's fourth governor general, the Marquis of Lorne.

Alberta in numbers
Alberta has a total area of ​​661,185 square kilometers. This corresponds to around 6.6 percent of the total area of ​​Canada and is roughly twice the size of Japan or three times the size of Britain.

2,696,826 people live in Alberta (1996 survey)

Every year around 14,000 immigrants (1996), from different countries, find a new home in Alberta.

Mount Columbia, in the Rocky Mountains, is the highest point in Alberta at 3,747 meters.

Alberta is bordered to the north by the Northwest Territories, to the east by the Province of Saskatchewan and to the west by the Province of British Columbia.

Around half of Alberta's population is of neither English nor French ancestry. Important nationalities are: German, Ukrainian, Scandinavian and Dutch.

Around three percent of the population is indigenous.

Edmonton is Alberta's northernmost major city and also the provincial capital. 937,845 people live in Edmonton.

Calgary is Alberta's largest city with a population of 951,395.

Alberta can be visited all year round. The main season is July and August.

getting there
Alberta is usually reached via Calgary. There are daily non-stop flights from Germany in the summer months. Usually this is Lufthansa in cooperation with Air Canada. However, British Airways flights are also offered. These then go from Germany via London to Vancouver. It is advisable to inquire about prices with both companies, because there are sometimes very cheap special offers. Swiss Air flies from Switzerland.

Travel within Alberta
When traveling in Alberta, renting a car or a mobile home is recommended, as the roads in southern Alberta are very well developed. The northern areas are partly very rugged and mostly impassable. If you want to go further north, you should perhaps prefer renting a four-wheel drive vehicle, as miles of gravel roads are not uncommon. This also applies to those who want to venture far into the wild. Please note when renting that not all vehicles are also approved for use on gravel and dirt roads. This is especially true for mobile homes.

For those who want a little more adventurous travel, the Greyhound Bus is recommended. There are many destinations served and the prices are affordable.

Alberta is a cyclist's paradise. Wide, flat terrain with breathtaking landscapes, such as the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper (229 km) is simply ideal for tours. There are many different routes to discover.

The legendary Rocky Mountaineer, a romantic train ride through the beautiful Rocky Mountains, runs between Jasper / Calgary and Vancouver. If you know exactly where you want to go, you can of course also book a domestic flight. The booking should already be made from Germany, as the prices in connection with a transatlantic ticket are often cheaper. Even smaller cities often have an airport with daily flights.

Means of payment
In addition to the most common credit cards (Visa, Master Card and American Express), travelers' checks in small denominations can be taken with you. They are usually accepted like cash and offer the benefit of insurance.

You shouldn't go all out for cash if you plan to travel to remote areas. Only cash counts here, as most of the small shops do not have credit cards.

There is no point in taking German money or American dollars with you. American dollars are only accepted in border areas. Euro checks are also not accepted.

Unlike in Germany, all prices do not include any tax. This is only added when paying. Alberta is the only Canadian province with no Provincial Sales Tax (PST). However, a 5 percent hotel tax will be charged.

There is a total of 7% taxes (7% GST Goods and Services Tax).

Waitresses in restaurants usually expect a tip of 10-15 percent of the invoice amount, as this is often the only payment. Usually the tip is simply left on the table when leaving the restaurant. Tips are also common when taking a taxi, at the hairdresser's or at the bellhop.

It pays to keep all receipts as tourists who are not permanent residents of Canada can request a refund of taxes. However, this only applies to amounts of CAN $ 50 or more per invoice and a minimum of CAN $ 200 in total. This does not include bills for petrol, transport, etc. For hotel bills (or other accommodation including camping), there is no minimum amount for receipts. In any case, it is worthwhile for hotel bills and larger purchases that are transported outside the country. Applications for this can be found on the website below. The request for a refund can be made in writing up to 6 months after leaving Canada. After a processing time of several weeks, a check will come home at some point with the refund amount. If you are traveling to Canada by plane, you must include your boarding pass with the reimbursement request. Receipts for exported goods must be confirmed by customs!

For more information, please visit the Visitor Tax Refund website.

opening hours
Shops in Alberta are typically open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Some shops are open until 9 p.m., large grocery stores even around the clock, as well as a large number of petrol stations that also have the essentials ready. Extended opening times often apply in the summer months.

The post office is usually only open until 5:00 p.m., the banks often close at 4:00 p.m.

National Parks and Provincial Parks
In addition to the National Park System, Alberta has many provincial parks and protected areas that offer a wide range of recreational activities.

The better known provincial parks are Dinosaur Provincial Park and the parks in Kananaskis Country.

There are the following national parks in Alberta: Banff, Elk Island, Jasper, Waterton Lakes and Wood Buffalo National Park. Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park (1885) and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For more information about the national parks, see the Canada Vacation Planner

World Heritage
Alberta has the following UNESCO recognized world heritage sites:
  • Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump Provincial Historic Site
  • Wood Buffalo National Park (Alberta & Northwest Territories)
  • Dinosaur Provincial Park
  • Waterton Glacier International Peace Park (Alberta & Montana, US)
  • Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks (Alberta & British Columbia)

    The first indigenous people settled here around 8,000 years ago. They made a living hunting buffalo. They lived a nomadic life and traveled great distances to follow the bison herds. They hunted bison for food, clothing and building their shelter. The indigenous people were tribes of the Blackfoot, Blood, Peigan, Atsina, Cree, Sacee and Assiniboine.

    Anthony Henday, a fur trader, was the first European in Alberta.
    He met the Blackfoot Indians, traded with them, and accompanied them on their hunt. Fort Chipewyan was the first European settlement in 1778 and was pitched on the Athabasca River. The nomadic lifestyle of the indigenous people was influenced by the fur trade with the Europeans and now increasingly concentrated on fur hunting and transport. In return, they received weapons, blankets and metal goods.

    Both the Hudson's Bay Company and the Northwest Company established trading offices throughout the province. In 1821 the two competitors merged. The company tried to keep settlers out of the area. In 1870 the Hudson's Bay Company transferred control of the areas to Canada, which was the cornerstone of the settlement.

    The Northwest Mounted Police, later RCMP, was formed around 1870 to bring law and order to the area. One of the first tasks was to control the whiskey trade. At that time, the indigenous people were offered cheaper alcohol in exchange for bison fur.

    The first settlers were farmers who discovered Alberta's ideal landscape for raising livestock. With the completion of the railroad, in 1883, the west was opened and the population skyrocketed. Canada's Interior Minister Clifford Sifton launched an advertising campaign in Europe in 1897 to encourage people to move to western Canada. The campaign was a great success. In 1881 there were around 17,500 settlers, while in 1921 the number was already 584,000.

    In 1905 Alberta became the Province of Canada and Edmonton became the new provincial capital. The economy declined noticeably between the two world wars, but in 1947 the discovery of a large oil deposit near Edmonton would change the face of the province forever. New jobs were created in the petrochemical and transportation industries. Today the supporting pillars of the economy can be found in the energy sector, as well as in telecommunications and tourism.