Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, the prime minister of Iceland, says that Edmonton has struck him as a vibrant and lively city. 

“You can sense that things are happening here,” he said on Friday’s Edmonton AM. “It’s a boomtown.”

Gunnlaugsson is on his first visit to Alberta as part of the launch of Icelandair’s direct service between Edmonton and  Reykjavik.

He arrived Wednesday on the inaugural flight to Edmonton.

When asked why he made the 6-hour trip to Edmonton, Gunnlaugsson reflected on the close ties between Iceland and Canada.

“We have a long history going back to the last decades of the 19th century when a quarter of the Icelandic population emigrated to Canada,” he said.

“And a lot of these Icelandic-Canadians live here in Alberta.”

During his time in Edmonton, Gunnlaugsson met with Premier Alison Redford, sat through question period at the Alberta legislature and even watched the Edmonton Oilers beat the New York Islanders on Thursday, in the first NHL game he has ever attended.