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Discover Alberta, Canada’s Unique Arts And Culture
Music venues, art galleries and museums in Alberta, Canada offer a chance to savour the local culture and mingle with locals. The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra has earned accolades as one of the finest music ensembles in North America. Performances are held at Jack Singer Concert Hall with an average of 83 concerts per year. Alberta Ballet offers performances in both Calgary and Edmonton. The award-winning troupe frequently performs with world-renowned conductors and guest artists. Theatre Junction Grand is Western Canada’s oldest theatre. Located in the heart of downtown Calgary, it offers a variety of entertainment including stage plays, dance performances and concerts.
The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton is a five-theater complex in the Downtown Arts District. Notable as Canada’s largest regional performing arts center, it offers a range of entertainment from Broadway-caliber plays to classic Shakespeare and intimate cabaret performances. The Edmonton Opera performs at the Jubilee Auditorium accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. In addition to working with the Edmonton Opera and Alberta Ballet productions, the orchestra specializes in a diverse repertoire ranging from country and rock to hip-hop, pop and children’s concerts. Boasting over 85 performances annually, they have shared the stage with Barenaked Ladies, K.D. Lang and Frank Zappa.
The Capitol Theatre in Fort Edmonton Park presents live theater and classic films throughout the year. The beloved theater is a re-creation of Edmonton’s original Capitol Theatre built in 1929. For music lovers, Edmonton offers a variety of pubs, dive bars and performance venues featuring everything from jazz, blues and indie artists to rock. Blues On Whyte, Big Al’s House of Blues and the Edmonton Blues Society host regular concerts and events. The Yardbird Suite is the city’s must-see jazz club, and Red Piano at the West Edmonton Mall is a dueling piano bar where performers entertain audiences in a bistro setting. Calgary’s larger venues like Jack Singer Concert Hall, the Jubilee Auditorium and MacEwan Hall host some of the biggest names in rock, pop, country and jazz. The city also offers a vibrant music scene at smaller venues like the HiFi Club, The Blues Can and Mikey’s Juke Joint.
The art scene in Calgary continues to evolve, and it’s not unusual for visitors to spot public art works throughout the city. Whether it’s a group of frogs on a park bench or a whimsical mechanical horse on the street, it is part of the city’s mission to add more art to the urban landscape. Many of the city’s most notable art galleries are clustered in an area southwest of downtown. You’ll see several public art studios, where the artists are happy to demonstrate their skills and offer one-of-a-kind creations for sale. Alberta College of Art and Design has two on-campus galleries, the Illingworth Kerr Gallery and the Marion Nicoll Gallery. Both display works of up and coming artists and a variety of contemporary pieces. The Nickle Arts Museum on the University of Calgary campus showcases works by students and alumni at its Mezzanine Gallery.
Gallery Row in Calgary invites browsing and you’ll find a diverse array of works from local artists. Visit the Gerry Thomas Gallery, Art Firm, Newzones and the Paul Kuhn Gallery on 11th Avenue. Webster Galleries, a block west, specializes in Canadian fine art and features a large collection of Inuit sculptures. Don’t miss TrepanierBaer on Eighth Street. The gallery offers paintings, photography, drawings and sculptures from 25 artists.
Edmonton’s Art Gallery of Alberta occupies a futuristic building of glass and steel. Located at 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square, it offers an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures and photography from regional, national and international artists. Edmonton’s Gallery District on 124th Street invites browsing with dozens of spaces occupied by independent artists. Pick up one-of-a-kind postcards, glass bead jewelry, paintings, photography and unique souvenirs.
Alberta’s museums aren’t just found in larger cities like Calgary and Edmonton. You’ll also see unique historic exhibits in many of the small towns throughout the province.
Wetaskiwin & District Heritage Museum in northern Alberta features exhibits on the area’s history and settlers. Fur farming, period hats and vintage shoes provide a glimpse into the lives of the pioneers. At the Children’s Legacy Center kids enjoy hands-on activities including how to make butter. A one-room schoolhouse is open for tours. At the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin, you’ll see a huge collection of aviation, transportation and agricultural artifacts. Exhibits include the Aviation Display Hangar, Canada Aviation Hall of Fame, and a 1920s grain elevator.
The Rocky Mountain House Museum, named for the town it occupies, is devoted to forestry. Visitors can view a forest mural, a meadows forestry cabin and a large-scale forestry tower. Stop by the gift gallery for books on local history, cookbooks, art and souvenirs.
At the Remington Carriage Museum in Cardston, visitors marvel at the largest exhibit of carriages in the world. Located just south of Lethbridge in southern Alberta, the museum features more than 240 carriages from different time periods and locales. See Victorian carriages, models used in Paris and New York, and other horse-drawn transport wagons.
Heritage Park Historical Village spans 127 acres in southwestern Calgary. Famous as the largest living history museum in Canada, it boasts a village of more than 100 historic structures. Browse through the museum and view exhibits on Hudson’s Bay Company Fur Trading Fort, the Pre-Railway Settlement Village, Railway Prairie Town and Heritage Town Square.
Pioneer Acres Museum in Irricana is spread across 50 acres just east of Airdrie. See artifacts and equipment used by early western Canada pioneers. Other exhibits include a historic long house, pole shed, truck museum and red barn.
The Leduc #1 Energy Discovery Centre is located on Highway 60 in Devon. Owned and operated by the Devon Leduc Oilfield Historical Society, it offers interpretive exhibits, artifacts and a chance to view oil field equipment.
Wherever you go in Alberta you’ll see that Canadians are proud of their cultural heritage and happy to share their art, music and museums with visitors.
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Enrich your cultural experience while visiting downtown Edmonton. Attend a musical performance by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. This mainstay in the Edmonton community, has provided high quality symphony performances for over sixty years. Since 1997, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra has performed in the Francis Winspear Centre for Music, reminiscent of a 19th century concert hall.
On average, the symphony performs more than eighty-five concerts each year, featuring a wide variety of musical genres. The members of the symphony also perform for the Alberta Ballet and Edmonton Opera. As many as 30,000 students across northern Alberta, enjoy educational concert performances each year at the centre.
A Vaudeville-style theatre, the historic Bailey Theatre is a 396-seat facility ideal for performing arts, film screenings, and community events. Set in Camrose – located southeast of Edmonton in northern Alberta – Bailey Theatre was first established in 1909.
Formerly the David Theatre until 1919, Bailey Theatre features live music and theatre, as well as three movie nights a week: Monday Night Movie, Family Night Tuesdays, and Chick Flick Wednesdays. The theatre is also used to dance recitals, stand-up comedy, weddings, private parties, conferences, and more.