Alberta Information Guide
AURORA BOREALIS SEASON
The Aurora can be seen from September to May.
Canada uses the International Metric system for its measurements, thus all distances are expressed in kilometers, and temperatures are noted in Celsius degrees. 1 kilometer equals approximately .62 mile.
Fahrenheit/Celsius approximate temperatures:
80 °F / 26 °C60 °F / 11 °C40 °F / 5 °C32 °F / 0 °C20 °F / -6 °C0 °F / -17 °C
Celsius readings are oriented from the temperature water freezes, which is set as zero in Celsius; this is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of our tours will note the temperature range in the area of the tour during the period of the tour. Average temperatures throughout the year are noted below in the introduction to the Canadian Rockies. The weather can change rapidly in the micro-climates of the mountains; you should always be prepared — dress in layers.
Temperatures vary depending on which region you are touring, and of course the altitude.
For the Mountain areas and Ft. McMurray, the average monthly temperatures are as follows:
|Mountain Areas||Ft. McMurray (North)|
Prices are quoted in Canadian dollars. To compare various currencies to the Canadian dollar, please click here.
The province of Alberta, bordered in the west by British Columbia, Montana in the south, the province of Saskatchewan in the east, and the Northwest Territories in the north, is 661,184 sq. km. in land mass. It is a land of rugged mountains, gently rolling prairies and blue green lakes fed by ancient glaciers. Dinosaurs were the early (pre Ice Age) inhabitants, while much later, Indian tribes shared the wilderness, then European fur traders began arriving by the mid 18th century. Settlers soon followed and ranching and agriculture was developed. The Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1885, connecting the vast expanse of Canada’s west to the more established east. Oil was discovered in Alberta in 1914, but only started to boom after 1947. Alberta today has a healthy diverse economy, much of it based on natural resources, supporting a population of 3 million people.
Edmonton is Alberta’s capital city, situated on the banks of the mighty North Saskatchewan River, with a population of roughly 937,000 people. It has more parkland than any city in Canada, and is considered the “Gateway to the North”. Edmonton is home to the University of Alberta (second largest in Canada and internationally acclaimed for excellence), has a strong economy, two airports, the largest indoor mall in the world (West Edmonton Mall), Fort Edmonton Park, and various other attractions. During the summer Edmonton stages an exciting variety of art festivals, including one of the largest folk music festivals in Canada, a jazz festival, and a two week “fringe” theatre festival.
Calgary is further south and approximately an hour away from the Rockies. This vibrant city is roughly the same size as Edmonton, and is world renowned for the Calgary Stampede (Western festival and rodeo) and for staging the very successful 1988 Winter Olympic Games. The Glenbow Museum, the Calgary Zoo and the Heritage Park Historical Village are but some of the many impressive attractions Calgary offers. It’s International Airport caters to the majority of international flights into Alberta.
Fort McMurray a city of 80,000 inhabitants, is located 450 km north of Edmonton (4.5 hours by road and just over an hour by air). The city is uniquely nestled between two major river systems: the Clearwater and Athabasca Rivers. The Ft.McMurray area has the largest oil deposit in the entire world. The oil is mixed with sand, hence the name of Athabasca Oil Sands and hence the challenge to separate the oil from the sand. Ft.McMurray is located under the Aurora Oval which surrounds a specific northern part of the earth. This allows for stunning displays of Northern Lights during the Fall and Winter months. A prosperous and modern community, Fort McMurray has all the services and conveniences of a larger urban centre. The multicultural environment of the city is enhanced by several nearby Aboriginal communities. Nature has blessed Fort McMurray with the wonder of the Northern Lights, the massive resources of the Oil Sands and the beauty of Canada’s northern wilderness, while man has created a comfortable community for visitors to enjoy.