Edmonton's ICE District is often associated with Rogers Place, the Casino, the great shopping, and hot nightlife; but there's a more cultivated side to this thriving area of Edmonton, too. We'll focus on three modern places whose architecture is as fascinating as what the buildings host.
Royal Alberta Museum
The Royal Alberta Museum may not get as much attention as the West Edmonton Mall, but if you're looking to expand your horizons instead of your credit card bill, this is a great place to do it. Located in a brand new $375 million dollar building just a short walk from the ICE District's Mainstreet Tower, this incredible museum brings history to life and shows us new and different sides of the world around us. Exhibitions study wide-ranging subjects divided into human history, natural history, a substantial children's section, an always-changing visiting exhibitions gallery, and even a section dubbed the "museum zone" which offers a behind-the-scenes look at how museums work. Most importantly, fascinating and educational elements of indigenous Canadian culture are woven throughout the museum, making it a truly Canadian experience in this museum with something for everyone.
Home to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Francis Winspear Center for the Performing Arts is one of the continent's finest contemporary performance spaces. Located in Churchill Square, the Center is the product of the largest ever private gift to a Canadian performing arts organization. Francis Winspear saw the need for a dedicated performing arts center in his community and was motivated to donate millions. Completed in 1997, the Center's auditorium seats nearly 2,000 people and features adjustable velour banners and curtains which allow the space's acoustics to be adjusted according to the performance taking place, only one of many such state-of-the-art feats of acoustic engineering that rank this Center among the best. Take advantage of the tours offered to learn more about the science behind the sound, or just take in a performance and experience the environment for yourself.
Art Gallery of Alberta
Another example of cutting-edge architecture, the building itself is as much a work of art as anything inside. Designed by renowned architect Randall Stout, who worked for seven years with the legendary Frank Gehry, an influence which is present without dominating Stout's work or compromising his unique vision. An expansive but sustainably designed and maintained space, the gallery hosts an ever-changing collection of exhibitions to challenge the senses and the intellect alike. Spend a day, a weekend, or a year here without ever noticing the time pass. From more traditional schools to innovative and contemporary works, a cultural banquet awaits.
Whatever your intellectual appetites, the ICE district has something for you. Exceptional dining and bespoke, boutique shopping which offer goods of superb quality for people of taste in all price ranges are found throughout the area, the best of which will be featured in part two of this article next week.