Local guide puts Edmonton’s lesser-known attractions on the map

Click to play video: 'New map lets visitors experience Edmonton like a local'
New map lets visitors experience Edmonton like a local
WATCH ABOVE: For visitors who want to see Edmonton like a local, there's a new map that can help. Emily Mertz explains the idea behind the map and what prompted its creator to put it together – Dec 13, 2017

A new map is being billed as a guide to Edmonton for people who don’t want to see the same stuff everyone else sees.

“The intention of this map is to show you some great little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, or a great river valley lookout or a piece of public art you’ve never approached in an area of the city you’ve never been to, great places to picnic, great places to ride your bike to, some landmarks maybe we all haven’t been to,” creator Vikki Wiercinski said.

Wiercinski, a local graphic designer, called the map: “Edmonton! It’s fine here.”

It highlights 45 spots to check out if you want to see Edmonton like a local, but was spurred on by a relatively unflattering review of the city in Lonely Planet’s latest guide.

READ MORE: Travel guide angers Edmontonians over description of ‘frigidly cold’ city 

In September, the guide book described Edmonton as a “stopover” to other destinations, “frigidly cold for much of the year,” with a downtown that is “for the moneyed or the down and out.”

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Wiercinski disagreed and, with the support of her friends, decided to create a guide of her own.

“Lonely Planet definitely only published a negative comment about Edmonton and that’s, frankly, lazy on their part. There’s many nice things in Edmonton. We’re not a major city and there is some maturing to do — I don’t think anyone is sugarcoating that — but ignoring the niceness of day-to-day life here I don’t think was fair.

“I think even for a tourist coming in, there would be something for them to do on this map that would be pretty fun.”

She asked her social networks for suggestions of offbeat or interesting things to do in Edmonton. From about 400 recommendations, she curated 45 spots on the map.

READ MORE: Image makeover! City officials work with Google to upgrade Edmonton’s photo

“There’s some under-the-radar gems in there and also… things that most people are familiar with but maybe viewed in a different way. The West Edmonton Mall World Waterpark is on there because in Edmonton, a lot of us think of it as a poor man’s Mexico vacation. If it’s really cold and it’s February, that’s just in the psyche to maybe go hang out at the mall by the wave pool.”

“It’s crowdsourced… so a lot of these ideas are genuinely from people who do this often and get pleasure from a walk from the Italian Centre to the park across the street and have a picnic.”

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Some of the other spots are Iron Foot Place, the High Level Bridge Streetcar, Accidental Beach, Padmanadi Restaurant and The Empress Ale House.

READ MORE: Growing popularity of downtown Edmonton’s new ‘accidental’ beach raises questions

The treasure map was originally intended for just her friends, but Wiercinski has been flooded with demand. She set up a website,, to sell the maps for $6 — to cover the basic printing and mailing costs.

“There’s a lot to celebrate in Edmonton and I think ultimately, Lonely Planet missed the boat on that. This definitively indicates some of the things I love to celebrate and a lot of the locals who submitted to this map celebrate. So, I hope that other people get to enjoy that.”

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