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The area covered by the treaty represents most of the central area of the current provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The coming of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) to southern Alberta in 1885 helped the Edmonton economy, and the 1891 building of the Calgary and Edmonton (C&E) Railway resulted in the emergence of a railway townsite (South Edmonton/Strathcona) on the river's south side, across from Edmonton. The Edmonton area's fertile soil and cheap land attracted settlers, further establishing Edmonton as a major regional commercial and agricultural centre.

During the early 1900s, Edmonton's rapid growth led to speculation in real estate.In 1912, Edmonton amalgamated with the City of Strathcona, south of the North Saskatchewan River; as a result, the city extended south of the North Saskatchewan River for the first time.Originally named Blatchford Field in honour of former mayor Kenny Blatchford, pioneering aviators such as Wilfrid R."Wop" May and Max Ward used Blatchford Field as a major base for distributing mail, food, and medicine to Northern Canada; hence Edmonton's emergence as the "Gateway to the North".World War II saw Edmonton become a major base for the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Northwest Staging Route.

Edmonton is the most northerly city in North America with a metropolitan population of over one million.It is at the same latitude as Hamburg (Germany), Dublin (Ireland), Manchester (United Kingdom), and Magnitogorsk (Russia).North as it is, it is south of the geographic centre of Alberta, which is located near the Hamlet of Fort Assiniboine. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Capital Region, which is surrounded by Alberta's central region.The city had a population of 899,447 in the 2016 municipal census, within the Edmonton census metropolitan area (CMA), Canada's fifth-largest CMA by population.Edmonton is the most northern North American city with a metropolitan population over one million. The earliest known inhabitants settled in the area that is now Edmonton around 3,000 BC and perhaps as early as 12,000 BC, when an ice-free corridor opened as the last glacial period ended and timber, water, and wildlife became available in the region.