Edmonton’s education history is connected to the arrival of Roman Catholic missionaries who ministered to people working in the fur trade and to Aboriginal groups and voyageurs. Edmonton’s first schoolhouse was built in 1881, becoming the first free public school in Alberta and the first step in the formation of Edmonton’s public school system.

With the University of Alberta’s creation in 1908, public education in Edmonton took a step into the post-secondary realm, later joined by Macewan University, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and numerous other colleges that have contributed to Edmonton’s stature as a national leader in research and education.