Neighbourhoods

Yelping East Whyte

I won’t pass up an opportunity to talk about East Whyte. Yelp is currently holding a promotion called Passport to East Whyte Ave. which gets you plenty of deals and discounts on “the other side of the tracks.”

For a lot of people Whyte Avenue is a hot spot of shopping and nightlife that runs between Gateway Boulevard and 107 Street, maybe to 109 Street. But if you head east, past Gateway Boulevard, you’ll find a whole other pocket of Old Strathcona.

With beer and live music pub Wunderbar, Flirt Cupcakes (their original location), The Paint Spot, The Traveling Tickle Trunk, Hardcore Bikes, and the new Red Pony Consignment offering specials, it’s worth printing off the PDF passport, or dialing it up on your cellphone. While you’re exploring the quieter side of Whyte, check out two of the best sushi houses in the city; Furusato and Maki Maki, enjoy a pint on the patio of The Empress, pick up some baked goodies at Empress Bakery, grab European foods and snacks at K&K Foodliner, eat Indian at Daawat and Narayannis, and check out Roots for healthy and organic items.

Speaking of Roots, the grocery store turned specialty store is about to move into the main floor of a spectacular new building at the corner of Whyte and 102 Street (which you can see pictured in this story), called Roots on Whyte. It may be my new favourite building.

Langano Skies will be re-opening soon, so you can enjoy the best Ethiopian food in Edmonton again.

Go on, cross the tracks, you know you want to.


Heat Up The Ave

Between downtown and Kingsway lies the North Edge Business district. 107 Avenue is its anchor.

They’ve held a night market and a street festival before, but this year they combined the two into the “Heat Up The Ave” event. Unfortunately it was scheduled for that Saturday everything around Edmonton got rained out (June 18).

But it’s on tonight! And the blue sky above me as I write this bodes well for a good time in Queen Mary Park.

(Side note: I keep accidentally writing that as Queen Marky Park.)

There will be a jumpy castle, free food, basketball and soccer with the Edmonton Police, face painting and arts & crafts for the kids, and an evening farmers’ market.

Street parties are the new black.


So You Think You Can Bike?

Once you know the basics, you can get crazy with it.

The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society (EBC…hey, what happened to the S?) is launching a series of cycling courses this month.

I see…they’re shaming me into riding my bike more…clever…

The courses range from getting to know your bike, actually learning to ride, riding with the family, commuting in the city, and CAN-BIKE 2 which is is a nationally certified cycluing training program. For the hardest core cyclists; CAN-BIKE 2 is 16-hours of bikes, bikes, bikes! The cheapest of the courses and presentations will cost you $20, and up to $100 for the big, bad CAN-BIKE 2. (Everything is cheaper if you have an EBC membership.)

Hey, the better you are on your bike, and the more you know the rules and best practices, the more you can know it’s the drivers who shouldn’t be on the road. To register for a course (or have EBC teach your group of riders) head to edmontonbikes.ca/ridingeducation.

Now get on your bikes and ride!


These Shoes Were Made For Walking?

Summer is the time to get out and walk around Edmonton. Sure, we should get exercise in the winter too but, come on, it’s freakin’ freezing.

I’m all about the random walk. The kind where you end up seeing stuff you didn’t know was down the street, or in a nearby park, or in Edmonton at all. But I can enjoy a walk with purpose, or destination, as much as the next walker.

Have you checked out the Walkable Edmonton maps? They’re handy little maps that show you what to watch for, and check out, in a number of neighborhoods. Put together with neighborhoods groups and organization, they give you a good idea of where to go and what to look at.

There are a dozen maps, covering ground in more than 40 neighborhoods.

Speaking of walking…I’m not sure if I’m walking way more than shoes are made for, buying crappy shoes, or have weird feet that simply destroy shoes in a short period of time, but I find I’ve got to buy new shoes every year or two.

Am I doing something wrong? Am I a walking machine? Do I just need to buy more expensive shoes that can hold up to feet that don’t just sit on gas pedals and couches?

What are the best spots in Edmonton to get high-quality shoes that are going to stand up to me walking through all of those maps?


As Much Edmonton As Possible

By Angela Ostafichuk

Friday. It’s the best day of the week, and the first one of a new month. I can’t believe it’s March already. I’ve made a nine month plan for myself to get it all together and then, hopefully, get back to Asia. But things always change… After looking at all the countries I haven’t been to, I have a lot to venture to.

I’ve bought a new pair of kicks for running, went back to blogging and am working to get eight hours of sleep. Little steps make me feel like I’m actually achieving things. I’ve also signed myself up for Deathswitch because last year’s trip to South America was a close call. I’m still trying to figure out the “Switch” though. Like, if I die, will it e-mail everyone on my friends list saying something like “Come to my funeral,” or “Ding-dong the witch is gone,”? I always trying to be prepared, but I never feel prepared enough when things do happen.

Let’s see how much Edmonton I can get into one Friday. (more…)


Happy Birthday, Homeless Eddie

By Amanda Bennett

It was at least-25 outside as I set out to find out how some of our homeless cope with this extreme cold. My heels dug into the snow on the icy sidewalk and I blew clouds of white breath as I made my way down the side streets. My hair hung down in half-frozen icicles on either side of my face and my double layered coat crinkled as the frost attempted to inch its icy fingers in…According to the label, I was prepared for the ascent to Everest and up to -65!

Opposite the church…

The last time I had been to the step outside the church it was fall, and several men had gathered out there to enjoy the last warm temperatures before the winter chill. Tonight it was barren. All that remained was a sign telling people to gather up their belongings or the items would be tossed into the neighbouring dumpster.

Next to the Library…

I saw a young woman hugging the wall by the library who asked me for some money for something hot and she looked so very forlorn and cold. I thought she was not so very old and felt her desperation as we spoke a little. She likes that the library lets her stay for awhile to warm up. She likes to see the posters in the children’s section and sometimes takes advantage of community programs in the area, to get a bowl of soup and a hot coffee. “Jackie” bid me a good night and hoped that it would warm up soon.

At the gas pumps… I met Eddie. (more…)


Empty space? Fill it up!

When you’re building a city, there are plenty of things to focus on. Which is probably why there are going to end up being plenty of empty, forgotten, “lost” spaces.

A new group, Edmonton on the Edge, is trying to reclaim those spaces we’ve forgotten, or left to waste.

Their first target is alley that stretches from Enterprise Square to Beaver Hills House Park, cutting across 103 and 104 Streets.

edmonton, downtown, alley

Looks inviting, right?

They will begin on the far-side of my photo above, the area between 104 Street and Beaver Hills House Park, beside the Sobeys’ loading dock.

(more…)


Mad Beatz

So a few days ago, I tore myself away from riding the INTERNETS long enough to venture out into society.

Anyway, I was wandering around the Whyte Avenue area, past the Old Strathcona Youth Society (which, in case you’re not familiar, describes itself as “a multi-agency project dedicated to being a street-level resource to youth in the Whyte Avenue area”), when I came upon an unexpected scene; a bunch of the young folks having a mid-afternoon drum circle. (more…)


Explore Edmonton

Today’s event selection is not really one you could accomplish (in its entirety) in one evening, or even one full day.

You may remember me talking about the Edmonton Community Challenge (put on by the Next Gen committee and Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues) back in June.

Our scrappy little team from Strathcona Centre placed a respectable fifth, notable due to our handful of active members. While we were darn proud to have collected the most food for the Edmonton Food Bank in the sculpture challenge (King Edward School gets a lot of the credit) I think it’s safe to say the core of our team had the most fun in the city-wide photo scavenger hunt.

By checking Flickr, I would say the other top teams also had a blast with this.

We had to run all over Edmonton, taking photos of ourselves in front of historically significant buildings, on bridges, shopping in all of the Business Revitalization Zones (BRZ), spending time in our favourite parks and local haunts, high-fiving councillors, and hitting up each branch of the Edmonton Public Library.

I learned that Edmonton has WAY more bridges than one could get to in a day, or even a week. Especially if you start counting footbridges. The libraries are spread out, and it took many hours to get to all of them (the EPL Go at the University of Alberta is also the cutest little library).

Somehow we completed every task on the photo scavenger hunt, even getting to the whale at West Edmonton Mall before it was removed for the opening of Victoria’s Secret. (There may be an item or two you can’t do right now.)

Living in one of the city’s oldest, most vibrant, neighbourhoods sure helped too. Strathcona has plenty of historically recognized buildings, it’s a BRZ right now, has any type of business needed for the photo challenge, a library branch, giant trees, and plenty of people to start a parade.

Prior to this challenge, I had never been to a bottle depot. I feel more like an Edmontonian now.

So today I offer you a chance to explore Edmonton like you probably haven’t before. Take a scan through the scavenger hunt from the Edmonton Community Challenge and choose a few items to track down, or try, before the summer is out.

I bet, just like I discovered how historically significant my work neighbourhood is, you find out a few things about Edmonton you didn’t know.

(It’s a lot of fun to see how many U of A bunnies you can get into one picture. Those suckers are fast.)

Let me know if you do any of these, or have photos of them already. You can always toss them into our Flickr pool too.

—–

Keep in mind you should play safe and not break any laws. Also “team” is you.

Here’s what you could do: (more…)


Where we’re going we don’t need roads

park(ed), edmonton, roads, walkable

Roads aren't just for cars anymore.

(Actually we will need roads.)

I had a fantastic Saturday in Edmonton. Here’s where I’ll tell you why it was such a good day.

Of course, the weather was beautiful. Sunny, hot, blue sky with puffy white clouds, just a few minutes of rain early evening…perfect summer day stuff. That always puts a bounce in the step.

But it was more than that. I got a haircut. That’s always nice too, but not really what this is all about.

I saw an Edmonton that was for the urbanite. It was walkable, transit-connected, bike-orientated, local, for just about everyone, and fun.

I tweeted that it was a glimpse into what Edmonton could be in the future, at least on a regular basis, and I stand by that.high level bridge, streetcar, edmonton Let me walk you through what I did, to explain.

The main part of this story begins on the High Level Bridge Streetcar. I finally got to ride one of the streetcars that wasn’t the Australian one. That one is nice, but they have three of them and I’ve never been on the other two.

I finally got a different ride, on the German streetcar. It’s red and sleek and feels a little more modern than it’s Aussie counterpart. Riding an old, yet new, form of transit from the southside, across the picturesque river valley, is always fun. And it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to get to the Grandin area (109 Street south of Jasper Avenue).

The streetcar is a good time, but it’s also a great example of re-purposing old tracks for something that can continue to be used. It also makes me sad that we had streetcars a long time ago and they’re all gone now. Especially when you hear about the new, low-floor LRT that will likely be running down the centre of main streets, mimicking that streetcar of old.

edmonton, bicycle commuters, bikeology

Edmontonians are even braving winter to commute to work on their bicycles.

Off the streetcar, I walked about six blocks to the Bikeology Festival happening in Beaver Hills House Park, at Jasper and 105 Street. This is one of Edmonton’s many, many, summer festivals. This one is all about the bicycle though.(June is bike month in Edmonton.)

I chatted with the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club about day-trips and evening rides they do in and around Edmonton. They’re seeing a surge in popularity. They also do a handful of rides between Jasper and Banff, some very rugged and others with stops and proper rest places on the way.

The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society was on hand, talking about the best way to get to work, dressing for the weather, and tune-ups. I really get the sense that Edmonton’s bike scene is growing. If it’s not expanding, people are certainly more open about loving their bicycles, and using them for more than just some summer exercise.

(Don’t forget to track down a map of all the city’s bike trails and routes!)

This year, if you headed just a bit northeast of Bikeology, you found more bikes and more options to driving your car on the road.

park(ed), edmonton, road, pedestriansThe City held its first Park(ed) event on 102 Avenue, between 104 and 100 Streets. In conjunction with Mountain Equipment Co-op’s Bikefest, you saw a lot of two-wheeled options to the automobile. You also saw that roads don’t always have to be for cars and trucks.

Besides bikes and walking, the point of Park(ed) was to take over parking spaces. People got to throw down some AstroTurf (if they wanted) and set up camp (as you can see to the right, sometimes literally) in a plot of pavement usually reserved exclusively for a car, truck, van or motorcycle. It was a great street party, and fun for the whole family, but it was also about re-thinking the city.

We have a few street parties through the summer, including the Art Walk on Whyte Avenue, but here we were, in the downtown core, walking down the middle of the street on a busy Saturday. I loved it. I hope people thought about that fact that we don’t have to build everything to suit the automobile.

We don’t have to turn every street into a giant sidewalk, but we can think about pedestrians, think about neighbourhood use, transit, bike lanes, all kinds of things that both move us around and get us outside to meet the community.

downtown, farmers market, edmonton

Fellow pedestrians, 104 Street can be ours!

Now, 104 Street, in my opinion, IS a street that could be pedestrian-only, between Jasper and 102 Avenue. If not all the way up to 104 Avenue.

The Downtown Farmers’ Market takes the street over every Saturday through the spring, summer and some of fall, it’s already narrow, it’s becoming one of the greatest examples of a busy core with high population density, and its got plenty of street-level interaction and retail.

The farmers’ market (and the many others in and around Edmonton) is a another example of something we can keep moving toward; local food. It doesn’t have to be local at the exclusion of all other foods, but when something can be grown right here it’s often better to buy it right here. It at least supports the local food economy.

It was great to see Bikeology connected to Park(ed) and the Bikefest, and all of it right by the always busy farmers’ market.

But that’s not all that happened Saturday.

Park(ed)’s reign on the street ended as you moved east down 102 Avenue, but I soon found myself at an energetic Churchill Square. The basketball nets were busy, people were making their way to the fountain at City Hall to cool off, ‘boarders were at the temproary skate park, street food was flowing (summer foods like ice cream and hot dogs), and there was even a rock show this weekend.churchill square, edmonton, rock show,

That all really melted together nicely, within a few, walkable, blocks. And it was another block to the bus, to ride back to the southside.

We talk a lot about making the city more sustainable, building more LRT tracks and getting more people out of their cars, revitalizing the downtown and older, core,  neighbourhoods. There are certainly things that get in the way, like the Edmonton Public School Board shutting down central schools, and our endlessly growing roadways and sprawling suburbs.

But, I think this weekend proved we can become a different kind of city, without even changing all that much.

city hall, edmonton, fountain


Sounds like a challenge

We found a perfectly good hacky sack while out cleaning. I'm not good at hacky sacking.

I’ve been mentioning something called the Edmonton Community Challenge, so I figure I should explain that in a little more detail.

How about right now, does that work for you? Good.

The Edmonton Community Challenge is a collaboration of the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) and the city’s Next Gen Committee. The EFCL is the group that looks over all of the city’s 150 community leagues, leading them, guiding them, helping them out. Next Gen is a committee made up of 18-40-year olds, with the aim of attracting and retaining young, creative people in Edmonton.

They’ve teamed up, and secured $15,000 from Boardwalk Rental Communities and Telus, to get the city’s community leagues competing. Also part of the team are The Works Art and Design Festival, Capital City Cleanup, Bikeology Festival, Edmonton Bicycle Commuters, and Youth Emergency Shelter Society

The $15,000 prize, to be awarded July 1, will be for a capital project. Looking at some of the bio information from the leagues you can see where that would go. Some are talking parks, others playgrounds, and some (like my own team from Strathcona Centre) would use the money at their community hall.

There were also prizes handed out at the kick-off breakfast, and somebody is going to win an iPad, also July 1. AN iPAD!

It’s a great idea from the NextGen/EFCL braintrust. They had another good idea last year, teaming up to connect younger people (18-40) with their community league. It was a great mixer and probably helped people even realize we had community leagues. If you don’t know which league is yours, check here.

A morning event is only as good as its pancakes.

The challenge is the best part though. There are plenty of ways to get community leagues to compete for money. You could have them submit applications, write pitches, etc… but this is all about community spirit.

The events include the pancake breakfast (Points just for eating pancakes!), a neighbourhood cleanup, collecting food for the Edmonton Food Bank, collecting recyclable bottles and cans to be turned into cash for the Youth Emergency Shelter Society, tuning up and donating bikes, attending the Bikeology Festival, building a canned good sculpture, and, the best of all, a photo scavenger hunt.

Our teammate, Gord, is high-fiving Councillor Don Iveson because high-fiving every councillor is part of the scavenger hunt.

More than 400 people, from 21 neighbourhoods, will be competing in some or all of those events. We’ll be the ones snapping photos of ourselves outside of libraries and pleading with you to let us take your bike in for a tune-up.

If you want to see what people cleaned up, or what kinds of scavenger hunt items we’re seeking, you can search “yegchallenge” on Flickr.

Already, I’ve been having a great time. I’ve met neighbours, and community-minded people, and I’m experiencing aspects of Edmonton I may not have. I mentioned that I kicked around the Norwood and Sprucewood neighbourhoods, during Heart of the City on the weekend, and it was because of this contest.

I went back in time to clean up Whyte Avenue. Actually, that's just Eric, our team's leading cleaner.

I also got up early Saturday, which doesn’t always happen. And I helped clean up a couple blocks of Whyte Avenue. I like things tidy but I’m not normally the guy out cleaning up, not even during Capital City Clean Up events.

So I think it means the plan is working.

Also, I’ll take your canned goods, old bikes, and bottles and cans.


Always believe

We did it!

Alright, we, as in the edmontonian or Edmonton as a whole, didn’t do anything. But Commerce Place employees, visitors and just plain everyday Edmontonians can enjoy free and easy access from the city’s premiere street to the building.

It only took forever.

Never forget.

Door Watch will always have a special place in our hearts because it was one of our first features, and one of the first stories that seemed to connect with people who would say to us “Yeah, that door hasn’t been open in a bygone.”

We talk to a lot of old people who use terms like bygone.

Our only complaint was that the door was broken for so long that it had already become lore of unfixable items by the time we hit the scene.

Gee…I wonder if anyone else is being lax in fixing major items around this town…maybe we can get on their case next.

Sadly, when they were trapped inside the boarded up door in 2008 there were 10 of them.


Armature

An example of the proposed look, from the City of Edmonton.

An example of the proposed look of the area, from the City of Edmonton.

By @tricotmiss

I attended a very interesting meeting last night. Edmonton NextGen invited people to a public consultation meeting about the proposed “Armature” development in the Quarters. There is a long-term plan to revitalize the Quarters and the Armature project is central to that plan. But rather than focus on the development of buildings the Armature is the development of the greenspace that will make those future residential developments a community – and a showcase community for the city of Edmonton.

This post is just my impressions from the meeting, I’ll have more detailed information next week.

Basically, the plan is for a pedestrian parkway running from 103 Avenue, south to Jasper Avenue and the top of Louise McKinney Park along 96 Street. There were a number of things that excited me about this project: (more…)


EastwoodFest, Woo!

Ain't no party like a 118 Avenue party.

Ain't no party like a 118 Avenue party.

When you think of summer parties you think of barbecues  in the backyard, patios, Whyte Avenue, various festivals, and 118 Avenue.

What? You don’t think about 118 Avenue? Maybe you should.

Granted, it may not be the first place you think of (or even the second, or third) when trying to come up with a place to enjoy Edmonton’s short summer. But there’s a revitalization going on, don’t you know.

This past weekend saw Eastwoodfest take over the 118 Avenue area, 82-87 Streets.

As roving reporter Paul tells us… “The turnout was actually not bad. Not bad for what’s by and large considered Edmonton’s ghetto. The crowds in the pictures (above, below) look especially sparse but I credit that to the way the event was set up. The avenue was shut down from 82nd street to 87th street with booths, events, food, etc… lining both sides of the street as well as a line of booths set up right in the middle of the road.”

“The upgrades to the avenue itself look good. New sidewalks, lights, pavement, etc… (That’s all part of ongoing City efforts.) And there are a few new or renovated businesses that are doing their part to transform 118th. It’ll be a long process but I think that in five years, 118th will be a hot spot in Edmonton.”

You head a little west down the Avenue and you hit spots like The Carrot, an artsy, volunteer-run, coffee spot that’s part of the push to makeover 118.

More from the Edmonton Journal here. Mostly I mention the Journal story because they have a quote that “…life’s good in the hood.”

Eastwoodfest equals fun.

Eastwoodfest equals fun.


104 Street rocks my socks

Old buildings to the left of me, new ones to the right...

Old buildings to the left of me, new ones to the right...

Sometimes, living near Whyte Avenue, I forget there are other pedestrian-friendly areas of the city that are totally sweet. It can happen in a city that so often reminds me that I shouldn’t venture more than 20 steps without something on four wheels carrying me around.

But 104 Street, between 100 and 104 Avenues, might be one of the best spots to enjoy a high-density, walkable urban area.

Thinking about it, I don’t know why the City of Edmonton doesn’t just make 104 Street pedestrian-only (say, the same blocks that are closed north-south during the market). Businesses and condos already have entrances in the back lanes, and people in the area have to adjust for Saturdays through the summer. I’d settle for pedestrian-only in daylight hours, but all week. (Points to e-mail my city councillors with, I guess.)

Great, fairly traded, coffee and yummy cookie.

Great, fairly traded, coffee and yummy cookie.

Enjoying a fine latte at Credo Coffee, I had time to think about what this street is becoming. Of course, summer Saturdays, 104 Street is shut-down to traffic of the vehicular kind from Jasper to 103 Avenue for the City Market. You can’t get much more pedestrian-friendly.

The market’s not new, and while Sobey’s Urban Fresh has added a livability to the area, we’re now seeing a small business boom as work on new condos nears completion. The street is also retaining some of the older brick buildings, which is always great to see.

You’ve got one of my favourite stores, and one that speaks to a sustainable city; Carbon. It’s got plenty of stuff for around the home (and for every room) which makes it both a destination and a neighbourhood store.

You can't shop much more green than this.

You can't shop much more green than this.

There’s the Blue Plate Diner, always a great choice for local and delicious food. You’ve got tapas (Tzin), wine (deVine) and furniture and home decor at 29 Armstrong, all of which make the street a stop for those looking to shop.

Some of them cater to an evening out or a great brunch and other shops are for people living in the neighbourhood. There’s a tailor and hair dresser, which could be destination stores but mostly speak to living close by.

With an LRT stop right underneath Jasper and 104 it’s clearly an area that’s going to appeal to those looking to ditch the car a little more often, or completely.

104 Street might not qualify as a hidden gem but it’s worth a reminder to check out this strip, especially on a Saturday when closed to traffic. It’s nice to know that even in the city of cars we have places that cater to the walking public.

Could we go all pedestrian all the time?

Could we go all pedestrian all the time?


What’s up, 112 Street?

They should just have an EPCOR station at this intersection.

They should just have an EPCOR station at this intersection.

Normally I hear about a water main breaking and I’m all “meh.”

But I’ve got to wonder what’s going on underneath 112 Street at, and near, Jasper Avenue. Back in the spring there was a big water main break that flooded the street and took some time to fix.

(It took months to get the sidewalk at the southeast corner up to par.)

Now there’s a water main busting loose just south of Jasper. FYI: The sidewalk is also blocked.

So, clearly I should start worrying about a monster living under the intersection, a monster that feeds on water mains.

Sidewalk closed

I wonder if he can see any monsters.


If anyone needs a blanket…

blanket

…there’s one jammed into a Media Classified stand at 82 ave. and about 106 st.

Seriously, #yeg, why? Somebody explain this. Paint me a word picture.


Walk This Way

Whyte Avenue on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Whyte Avenue on a busy Saturday afternoon.

This is the first in a series of community profiles looking at Edmonton’s “walkable neighbourhoods.” Searching online, it appears the condition of sidewalks, street lighting and other infrastructure stuff makes up the “walkable neighbourhood” criteria. I think instead we’ll look at what makes you want to live in the neighbourhood ,and how close the important stuff is; a grocery store(s), shops, businesses, restaurants, workplaces, transit and other amenities. Let’s say within a 10-15 minute walk. Agree or disagree, let us know what you think. Tell us about your experiences in these neighbourhoods and others we might not have walked yet.


WALKABLE WHYTE

(more…)


Stairy, stairy night

I was genuinely surprised by reaction to a story I blogged about last month.

I didn’t know people cared about the steep stairs at Ezio Farone Park, I had only thought it odd the city would tear them out during the summer. You know, when they are used. But people were talking to me about the stairs for about a week after I posted the story.

It really hit me that those super-local stories can get people talking.

So…since the stairs are back, I now present you with images of the new, improved, still has that fresh-cut wood smell, stairs at Ezio Farone Park!

The good thing, for lazy people like me, is that there are more resting points on that steep climb. It’s totally worth it though since the park gives you a great view of the river valley.

If you’re looking for more information on Edmonton’s parks and the river valley (or parks IN the river valley!) head to this website. They’ve also got information on fire bans, trail closures and stuff like stair repair.


The asparagus is in!

Asparagus

It's so green. And tasty.

I’ve been meaning to write about Edmonton’s farmers’ markets for a few weeks now. We did get a plug in for one busy vendor as our first featured Edmontonian. I think it’s a great thing for people living here, and it’s something that really does put us on the list with world-class cities.

We’ve got great farmland around the city, we’ve got multiple markets (and all of them seem busy all the time) and it’s one of those subtle items that makes Edmonton a good place to live.

While watching a local TV channel’s weekend show I caught a story about strawberries hitting the markets in Victoria, and remembered thinking last week how I’d yet to see a strawberry at the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market. I attributed to this our wonky, and recently dry, dry, dry, spring weather. (Man, all this rain today could be fantastic!)

One of the cool things (cool, being used loosely here) about farmers’ markets is how you can get into a groove through the year. You know when certain fruits and veggies will be picked, you can tell when something’s been harvested or a herd of animals has been made into tasty cuts(sorry, vegetarians). You also get excited, especially in summer months, when the asparagus, berries or tomatoes hit town.

(more…)


No festival too small

Shopping: Turkish style

Shopping: Turkish style

The colours and culture of Turkey were on display this weekend.

The colours and culture of Turkey were on display this weekend.

While on my usual trek to the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market Saturday I stumbled into one of Edmonton’s smaller festivals.

The Edmonton Turkish Festival took over Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park for the weekend.

Like any good festival celebrating ethnic or geographic heritage, there was food, music, dance, crafts, jewelry and other goods to introduce everyday Edmontonians to Turkish culture.

You got to take the cup and saucer home!

You got to take the cup and saucer home!

While enjoying my kebab and my Turkish coffee* (I would have chosen a fruit-less and slightly more manly tiny cup had I known you got to take it home) I wondered if Edmonton even had a large Turkish population.

Uh…we do not. According to the 2006 Census just 1,250 people describe themselves as being Edmontonians of Turkish descent. So good for those guys for throwing together a yearly festival!

We’ve got lots of parks, a short summer worth jamming festivals into and  lots of proud Edmontonians willing to share their history and delicacies (I’m looking at you, tiny coffee) with us. Just enjoy.

I hope the Edmonton Turkish Festival is back next year. I want a complete set of tiny coffee cups.

Collect the whole set.

Collect the whole set.

*the Turkish Coffee was strong, sweet and just delicious


A “Shell” of Itself

This old Shell station is being ripped up.

This old Shell station is being ripped up.

Who’s noticed the bulldozers ripping things up on Whyte Avenue at 100 Street?

We did. The disappearance of Platz Shell Service (9950 82 Avenue) was reported by the edmontonian one week ago. After closing up the station a final time, June 15, the Platz crew packed up the service side of things and headed over to the Ottewell neighbourhood…and that leaves a gas station to be disposed of.

Shirley Lowe, president of the Old Strathcona Business Association is waiting to see what’s going to happen to the site.

This lot at 99 and Whyte has been empty for a decade.

This lot at 105 and Whyte has been empty for a decade. (Thx JP!)

Whyte Avenue already has an empty lot. The contaminated Esso site at Whyte and 105 Street is now in its second decade of vacancy.

In an e-mail, Lowe says the fate of Whyte and 100 Street remains to be seen.

“How badly contaminated is this (Platz location) and does Shell care?”

“Is the remediation requirement a residential standard?” she asks. “If so, this can be rezoned.”

Underground fuel tanks need to be dug up.

Underground fuel tanks need to be dug up.

The site remains under ownership of Shell Canada Limited, and there are no solid plans for the property.

Meanwhile, work has begun on removing the station’s underground fuel tanks.

Senior Communications Representative, Jackie Panera, tells the edmontonian they don’t know what the remedy for the abandoned gas station is.

“We are still determining the long-term future of the site and if we are going to sell the property,” Panera writes in an e-mail. “Since we have not determined what we are going to do long-term with the property, we don’t have timelines to share with you today on remediation plans.”

The Shell rep notes the company is monitoring its tanks for leakage during the removal process, as per Alberta Environment requirements.

So, just to recap: Shell is deciding whether they’ll build anew or sell the property. For the moment though, it looks like people living and visiting Old Strathcona may want to get used to looking at another empty lot.


We have a winner!

This robot likes to party on Whyte.

This robot likes to party on Whyte.

This image of Xeldon, the “Telus repairman of the future,” can be found in the window of the old Edmonton Telephone Historical Centre (Telus), on 83 Avenue, between 104 and 105 Streets.

Congratulations to Deja Springfield for being first with the answer. We’ll be by with your Greenwoods’ gift certificate, and for your wacky winner’s photo, soon.

Also fun, you can find more Xeldon at his new home, the Prince of Wales Armoury (10440 108 Avenue), where he’ll tell you about the history (and future?) of the telephone in Edmonton.

Thanks for testing your Edmonton knowledge with the edmontonian. We would have also accepted an answer of Xeldon being in “2003.”

(more…)


It’s a contest. So win already.

You can win!

You can win!

It’s time to test your knowledge of Edmonton.

The reward will be the right to brag about how you know more about Edmonton then the rest of us. And there’s a $25 gift certificate from local book experts “Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe.” Books go great with sunny weekends in a lawn chair.

Ready? Then let’s do this thing!

Somewhere in the city you’ll find this fellow.

Where is he?

Where is he?

You’ve seen the robot. Now, the first person to e-mail us at info@theedmontonian.com and tell us where to find him wins that $25 gift certificate from Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe.

Please don’t give away the location in the comments, it’s a contest after all. But feel free to make hilarious remarks.

(In order to win you should be ready to pose for an awkward winner’s photo.)