When we think of a beautiful skyline, we are likely measuring this beauty by how picturesque it is.
By picturesque, I’m referring to the architectural aesthetic of the skyline: how pleasing a landscape is and how it interacts with or incorporates the nature around it. From having the largest urban park in Canada to the modernization of the downtown core, Edmonton has it all. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I think the Edmonton skyline is very picturesque.
Apparently, so do many other people. Edmonton won the title of having the second best skyline in Canada. Granted, the voting process was not very scientific — it is based only on how many likes a skyline picture gets on average. Some might even say that second place is the first loser.
Contrary to popular belief of some people in this city who would rather be anywhere else but here (take your pick: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal), I consider myself a proud Edmontonian — I love it here.
If you’re someone who thinks other cities have better skylines, I hope to convince you why our city skyline is more than just beautiful. It fulfills an innate need for intellectual stimulation and makes you question everything you know about life, beauty, nature, and art. Just kidding! But, I do hope to convince you to take a risk and help you find beauty in a city where you might least expect it! After all, it’s the most Edmonton thing you can do.
To start, the geography of this city is breathtaking. Take the contrast between the architecture and nature, for example. Looking at the skyline, there is a distinct boundary that marks the start of our downtown core — the River Valley. Lined with trembling aspens and balsam poplar trees, the River Valley creates a natural boulevard that separates the water, as ancient as time, from the new, modern structures where we live our day-to-day lives.
Not only this, but it also includes a nice mixture of different textures to keep us from going insane from looking at a uniform slab of concrete. I’m looking at you, Vancouver.
We have a balance of more “natural” textures, like that of the sandstone of the Alberta Legislature and the clay brick of the Rossdale Power Plant. Not to mention, there’s also the foliage of the River Valley contrasting the “industrial” texture we see in the sleek steel of the new Walterdale Bridge and the various glass concrete skyscrapers in Edmonton. Talk about depth!
Lastly, to take in the full beauty of the skyline, you need to find the right vantage point. Every evening during the summer, I would take a stroll down Saskatchewan Drive and see a lot of characters gathered at the River Valley Overlook to get the perfect picture. There were always at least two people with their tripods and cameras with a big, fancy lens and a few cute old couples just sitting and enjoying the sunset together.
There is so much that this charming city has to offer, so for all of you who are Edmonton haters, I implore you to get out there and explore!