The first season of Mobile Suit Gundam – Iron-Blooded Orphans is soon coming to an end, with an epic battle in the Arbrau capital of Edmonton starting in episode 24. For those of you who have not heard of Edmonton, it is a real city; the capital of Alberta, Canada and known as the “Gateway to the North”. Of course, having been born and raised in Edmonton, I’m am very excited to see how the Gundams of the future will tear up my city. If you’re interested in visiting Edmonton some day for a Gundam pilgrimage, I’ve highlighted some of the areas shown in the anime below.
Although Iron-Blooded Orphans had talked about Edmonton as early as episode 22, I was a bit skeptical about whether they would show the actual city or not. I was very excited at the end of episode 23, when Tekkadan arrived in Edmonton by train and you could see Edmonton’s famous parks and river valley, with the city center in the background. This scene was most likely taken from the train tracks northeast of the city passing by Rundle Park.
The first scene from episode 24 depicting Edmonton shows an eerily empty downtown as the city is in lockdown for the upcoming Arbrau elections. Here they show a stretch of 102 Avenue, with the City Centre Mall on the left and the Don Wheaton YMCA on the right. Fun Fact: the City Centre mall used to be two separate malls called Eaton’s Centre and Edmonton Centre. When Eaton’s went bankrupt, the two malls were merged and a large pedestrian bridge was built to connect the two above 101 Street.
When Edmonton was in its infancy, there were two communities located in what is now downtown. One built their roads to line up North-South, while the other built their roads to line up with the river. As the two communities expanded, they had trouble connecting their respective roads so you get intersections like this one with weird curves. You can also see a pedestrian bridge in the background; these are located all over downtown and are used in the winter to get around so people don’t have to go out into the cold.
In the anime, this building is shown as the Arbrau Parliament, which doesn’t actually exist in real-life Edmonton. We do have a similar-looking building called the Federal Public Building, which used to be owned by the Government of Canada, but is now a visitor centre for the Government of Alberta. Personally, I think the anime should’ve used this building or the Alberta Legislature (where the government is actually located) as the Arbrau Parliament.
This is a stretch of Jasper Avenue, on the western edge of downtown. The glass building you see in the background is one of the offices for Stantec, an Edmonton-based EPC company that is currently developing the largest tower in Western Canada, which will be their new headquarters.
Here you see a bunch of signs along the road in the anime. This is actually just a temporary thing in Edmonton since those signs are on the fence of a construction site where a new condo is being built. The condo is called the Mayfair Village North and is located at the corner of 109 Street and Jasper Avenue.
If you look closely at the signs, one of them actually shows some stock photos from the Edmonton Tourism Association. The first photo is of the Art Gallery of Alberta, whose façade was designed to emphasize Edmonton’s grid system and curves of the river valley.
The second image is of the Alberta Legislature, the home of the Government of Alberta. If you get a chance to take a tour inside, I suggest you do. When Alberta was formed and the legislature was built, many different gifts were presented to the province from governments from around the world, which were then worked into the structure.
The third image is of the River Valley with downtown Edmonton in the background. Edmonton’s river valley is famous for being the largest continuous urban parkland in North America. It’s essentially a forest that runs through the city where you can find animals like deer and moose.
Here’s another section of Jasper Avenue, facing west. I find it funny that they changed Scotiabank into “Bankbank”.
Unfortunately, Ein had to ruin the intersection at 109 Street and Jasper Avenue. I take this path to and from work so this’ll really put a damper on my daily commute.
This second view of the intersection shows the Associated Engineering Plaza in the background. There is a pub called Central Social Hall on the first floor, but oddly in the anime, they’ve named it Central Shopping Mall. This building is currently getting a major facelift to make it all glass and will be renamed the WSP Tower in the future.
I think it would be cool to see a Gundam actually fly down Jasper Avenue like this.
In the next episode preview it looks like they move the battle away from 109 Street to the trendy 4th Street Promenade. This used to be a rather run-down area, but efforts to revitalize it have seen some restaurants and other businesses move in. As well, two new condo towers called the Icon Towers were built along the Promenade, adding to the vibrancy of the street.
I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to the future capital of Arbrau. If you plan to make the pilgrimage to Edmonton to see your favourite scenes from Iron-Blooded Orphans, I recommend doing so in the summer to enjoy the local festivals and awesome weather. We also have one of the largest anime festivals in Canada, called Animethon. Edmonton Tourism is also a good place to see what else the city has to offer. I’ll probably post a part two after the last episode to cover any other parts of the city that might show up.
For those interested in part 2, you can find it here: http://nopybot.com/2016/03/27/more-gundams-in-edmonton/