Edmonton is the capital city of Alberta, Canada and has a metro area of approximately 1.35 million people. Edmonton is famous for its beautiful river valley park system, the North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, and city views. The river valley also contains many parks, including Fort Edmonton Park, Canada's largest historical park. If the great outdoors is not your target, the city also offers West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in the Western Hemisphere. On top of that, Edmonton has a vibrant theater community, a busy cycle of annual festivals, national sports teams active year-round, and wonderful winter recreational opportunities.
The area around Edmonton, which sits in the geographic centre of the province, was home to native populations for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. In 1795, Edmonton House was constructed and work on Fort Edmonton began. The original site was near Fort Saskatchewan, but was relocated near the present day Legislature in 1830. The town developed around the fur trade, and in the early days there was little to distinguish it from other such settlements in the area. The first hotel and hospital were built in the 1870s. The latter part of the century saw an influx of wealthy families, and in 1892 the Town of Edmonton was officially founded. Early developments were centered around the Quarters area. In 1905, Edmonton was declared the capital of the province of Alberta, and a year later was designated a city. The 1907-1914 period saw the city experience an unprecedented boom, with the population rising from around 6,000 to 78,000. During this period, the University of Alberta was founded