Gateway to Alberta’s north, staging ground for the oils sands and centre of Alberta’s industrial heartland—Edmonton is also a flourishing services centre with a large education and public sector, as befits the provincial capital. The oil price crash of 2014 hasn’t hit Edmonton as hard as oil-centric Red Deer, Calgary or Fort McMurray, but the impact has been serious. And the picture isn’t much prettier in 2017. "I actually see it being one of the toughest years in Edmonton’s history,” said Edmonton Economic Development Corp. president Brad Ferguson to the Edmonton Journal in December. There’s a bright side, however: the Conference Board of Canada is projecting Edmonton’s economic growth rate in 2017 at 2.1% thanks to increasing oil prices.