What to do with a day in Edmonton? After arriving the afternoon before, having a meal, then heading to a Tragically Hip concert, our first ever full day in Edmonton was wide open for anything we wanted. My wife knew she’d be putting up with dinner in a craft beer bar that night, so to even the score, we started the day at a 100% gluten-free restaurant for breakfast. We had the GF Diner in the Strathcona neighbourhood all to ourselves and enjoyed a lovely and delicious breakfast. My wife’s french toast was outstanding, and my breakfast hit the spot. I even liked the gluten-free toast.
Not only did we have breakfast, but we picked up some gluten-free goodies to go. The mini doughnuts were so good that I only had one – I can get donughts whenever my heart wants them, so left them for my wife. Cinnamon buns and chocolate cupcakes were also a hit.
What’s a first trip to Edmonton without a stop at the West Edmonton Mall? I’d normally rather have a root canal that set foot inside a shopping centre, but I was ok with stopping in to explore the largest shopping mall in North America. The stores didn’t really interest me (though I did manage to find a pair of new shoes), but the attractions in the mall were what I wanted to see. Penguins? I love penguins!
Sea lions who kiss the heads of people at the edge of their pool? Loved this too.
I had mixed emotions about the water park. Having worked at one of these in high school and my early university days, I get a sense of dread anytime I see a waterslide. This, however, was actually pretty neat. I can imagine this is a nice oasis in Edmonton when winter has its icy grip on the city.
We also walked around the amusement park and watched a few folks ride a pretty impressive roller coaster. After trying and failing to talk my wife into a ride, we headed back through the mall to find our car.
The last part of our day in Edmonton was not very touristy. We traveled to Ikea for some shopping and to pick up some bedding, glasses and assorted household stuff. It has been years since I’ve been in an Ikea, so it was a bit of a novelty. Growing up, there was an Ikea in Dartmouth (long since departed, but just before moving to Saskatoon, it was announced that a new one would be moving into the city in a bit more than a year), and I always loved the cafeteria. I didn’t opt for any of the iconic meatballs in Edmonton, just a glass of fountain pop.
Sadly, the pop here doesn’t measure up to my fond memories of Ikea pop in Dartmouth, Toronto, Ottawa or Philadelphia, but as you can tell from my expression, I don’t seem to mind. Perhaps not a usual “first day in Edmonton” type of day, but a fun one nonetheless.