The most accessible water in Edmonton in the North Saskatchewan. I paddle on it about three times a week during the summer, usually putting in just downstream of the Groat Road bridge (top centre of map). You can launch from Emily Murphy Park with a carry of less then 50 feet.
I usually paddle upstream for 30-45 minutes towards Laurier Park, cross over and float back down. To get all the way to Laurier is a longer trip (maybe 90 minutes of paddling)--I usually get to the MacKenzie Ravine (about half way there) before turning around. With loading and travel time, a trip is usually 90 minutes door to door.
Floating back towards downtown is lovely. There is lots of wildlife and usually other paddlers on the water (and sometimes swimmers in it).
This spring the beavers have been fairly active, (re)building a lodge at the mouth of the MacKinnon Ravine. I saw three of them there this morning working on it. You can get pretty close before they bail out; apologies for the dropped camera in the shot below--was trying to avoid a collision.
Another easy access point is the Laurier Park boat launch (bottom left of the map). Here you can get right down to the water to unload. I would say the river is a bit faster here than it is closer to Emily Murphy. From Laurier you can paddle upstream, cross over just below the Quesnel bridge and access Whitemud Creek.
There are of course, lots of access points to the river (for example, you can put in off the beach at Whitemud Creek or under the Quesnel Bridge by Fort Edmonton). While the float from Devon to Edmonton is a lovely day trip, a quick paddle on the river is a lot more accessible.