Stories & Visions

Music-at-noon (a kid’s perspective)

Shared by Freya 10086 MacDonald Dr NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 2B7, Canada Music-at-noon (a kid’s perspective) Photo

A vivid childhood memory of mine is of taking the city bus downtown on Wednesdays for the music at noon concerts, held at MacDougal church. There, my mother, sister and I would find a table, unpack our bagged lunches, and wait for the music to start while crunching carrot sticks and having sandwiches. I clearly remember the smell of the coffee brewing in the church basement, the sound of chairs scraping on the old wooden floor, and watching the business people mixed in with the retirees and children in the audience.

Every week was different - sometimes solo piano, or a singer, a string quartet, oboe and clarinet... whatever the music was, I remember being engaged. The 40 minute program was perfectly matched to my kid-sized attention span.

I recently brought my own 11 month old to a music at noon concert. All the familiar things were still there. May the tradition carry on!

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Music-at-noon (a kid’s perspective) Photo

The other EAC!

Shared by Betty Dean 10045 156 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 2P7, Canada The other EAC! Photo

The Edmonton Art Club (EAC) was established in 1921 and is the oldest continuing art organization in Alberta. Imagine the passion of those first 14 members, guiding the club in helping to lay the foundation for the development of visual arts in our province while building a club that remains strong and growing nearly 100 years later.

In 1923, the art section of the local Council of Women approached the Edmonton Art Club with a plan to develop a permanent collection of art for the city. Through their cooperative efforts and the Art Association, the Edmonton Museum of Art (renamed the Edmonton Art Gallery in 1956) was founded. Our contribution was recognized in the development of the Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA). The EAC contributed one of the first paintings to the AGA, a work by Alban Cartmell entitled 'Prairie Trails'. Both the AGA and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts house work by former members in their permanent collections, including work by (to name a few) Dr. Harry E. Bulyea, Robert Campbell, Margaret Chappelle, Alice Daley, Meredith Evans, Len Gibbs, Robert Guest, Robert Wesley Hedley, Percy H. Henson, Murray MacDonald, Vivian Thierfelder and George Weber.

I remember going to EAC shows in malls, and particularly loving the beautiful paintings of flowers. I dreamed of becoming a member, but never thought it would happen. I was accepted in 2010, and have thrived as a painter since then. Through the years, Edmonton Art Club shows have been building blocks for the dreams of countless amateur and beginning painters, supporting the vision of the club to "encourage artistic achievement and an appreciation of the visual arts".

The EAC now includes approximately 50 members, skilled in mixed media application, painting in acrylic, oil and watercolour, drawing/sketching, wood burning, printmaking and sculpture. We meet in the Orange Hub monthly, with critiques being an important part of each meeting. We hire a local professional artist to provide feedback on the work each member presents, and in that way move both our individual work and our knowledge forward.

We are holding our first show Orange Hub show on April 28 and 29. We are open to new members and welcome partnerships with other arts organizations.

More information about our organization and membership can be found at

The other EAC! Photo

CKUA: the Arts Nerve Network of the Province

Shared by Karen Howell 9804 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB T5J 0C5, Canada CKUA: the Arts Nerve Network of the Province Photo

True or False?

CKUA holds a record for the world’s longest-running radio program with the same host and producer on the same time and day...
True! Sept 21, 1986 saw the 2081st broadcast of Continental Musicale by Gaby Haas.

On October 13, 1928, CKUA carried the first ever play-by-play football game radio broadcast...
True! The game was between the Edmonton Eskimos and the U of A Golden Bears.

In 1930, the Edmonton Journal reported that CKUA radio interference was caused by dentist drills, streetcar lines, and medical equipment...
True! The Journal also reported that 'in every instance, the offending doctors have agreed to avoid using medical equipment during broadcast hours'.

Joni Mitchell started her music career earning $9 an appearance on CKUA...
True! She appeared on a program called Suddenly It's Folk Song'.

CKUA was the first radio station in Canada to go online...
True! On February 29, 1996, CKUA started broadcasting live via RealAudio.

Steve Jobs is a CKUA fan...
True! CKUA's logo was one of the ones displayed on the big screen when he introduced the iPad in January 2010.

CKUA: A Brief Bio
It began in 1927 with a dream: to take the University to the people via the new medium of radio. With a couple of the University of Alberta’s engineering students, 2 windmill towers, some old iron poles and a little creative book-keeping, a $700 grant was transformed into Canada’s first public broadcaster. The CKUA Radio Network signed on November 21st, 1927, with a 500-watt signal.

On May 23rd, 1929, the first Canadian school broadcast was made from CKUA, fulfilling the original goal set two years prior, and starting a tradition of excellence in distance education.

In 1945 Alberta Government Telephones (AGT) began operating CKUA and moved the station from the University campus to downtown Edmonton. CKUA went on air in 1948 with Alberta’s first FM station. ACCESS assumed ownership of CKUA in 1974 and the construction of transmitters in Calgary and Lethbridge soon followed. CKUA’s unique sound had begun to resonate across Alberta’s airwaves. CKUA was privatized in 1994, and since 1997 a combination of commercials, corporate sponsorships and listener donations fund the station’s day-to-day operating costs.

Today, CKUA is capable of reaching listeners throughout Alberta and around the world, through 16 transmitters across the province and online at as well as through our app.

CKUA remains steadfast in its commitment to offer listeners the chance to hear Albertan musicians, writers and performers, and to enrich the arts and cultural life of the province. More than forty programs are featured on CKUA, spanning many music genres and topics.

With the support of the business community, our devoted listeners, and volunteers, CKUA continues to face and overcome obstacles and challenges. We are proud to continue to offer quality programming for listeners across Alberta and the world.

Over the past 8 decades, CKUA has had the privilege of offering music ranging from classical, jazz, and folk, to blues and world beat. CKUA has shared many firsts with the province of Alberta, including the first Edmonton outlet for a national network broadcast in 1930, and the first station in Alberta with FM Technology. It is with this pioneering spirit that we approach the years and broadcasts yet to come.

We'd love to show you our home - please get in touch to sign up for our monthly tours:

CKUA: the Arts Nerve Network of the Province Photo

York Moments:Carried

Shared by Sydney Lancaster & Marian Switzer 9538 103A Ave., Edmonton, AB T5H 0J3, Canada York Moments:Carried Photo

We had the fantastic opportunity of working with Quarters Arts Society on a community-based art project called York Moments. This was a revisiting and revisioning of our collaborative body of work called YORK, which is a photo-based body of work examining the now-demolished York Hotel (which was right behind Boyle St Plaza). York Moments brought our initial project back into the community, to gather stories about the connections and memories people had with the old hotel. It was part of reclaiming the voices and stories that were erased with the hotel's demolition. One of the works we created with the community was a sculptural installation called "Carried" which hangs from the atrium ceiling at Boyle Street Plaza. This work had its debut at the first Nuit Blanche celebration in Edmonton as an independent project.

York Moments:Carried Photo

How the lions gave me courage

Shared by Lynda Vang 102 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 0L6, Canada How the lions gave me courage Photo

As a child of Asian immigrant parents, seeing positive reflections of Asian culture in the larger community has always been important to me. Growing up I loved the Harbin Gate and felt very proud to see such a beautiful cultural symbol stand so tall and prominent. I remember my mom telling my brother and I about the legend behind the two Chinese guardian lions - 1 female and 1 male, and how they offer protection from negative energy. After going for Dim Sum on Sundays, we would walk under the gate, climb up and put our hands inside the lion's mouth. Meanwhile my mom would say a silent prayer and rub the ball under the male lion's paw. These are powerful memories for me for many reasons. Upon reflecting on it now, being able to publicly practice ritual from my culture (which is different from the predominant one) was a proud and significant moment for me - especially when, back then, my "asian-ness" was not widely accepted/understood. Questions like "why does your lunch smell like that?" were common and often had me asking my mom if I could have a "normal" ham and cheese sandwich for lunch instead.

Earlier this summer as I was walking under the gate, I saw an Indigenous man bow his head in reverence and say a few silent words to the lion as he rubbed the ball under it's paw. Like my mother years ago, he was seeking divine guidance or protection. After he was finished we caught eyes and smiled a knowing smile about what had just transpired. The Harbin Gate was a powerful and significant symbol of culture and friendship between two cities. More than that though, it was a place where Asian immigrants could feel included and visible within the larger community. For me, the lions represented a safe place where I could publicly practice, and be proud of, my cultural rituals - and for that, I will always remember the courage those lions gave me.

How the lions gave me courage Photo

The collision of my worlds

Shared by Jill Roszell 7515 118 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5B 4M9, Canada The collision of my worlds Photo

I am usually not one to participate in this type of forum, but I realized I should share one of my most favorite Edmonton cultural moments in recent years because it exemplifies a spirit and expression unique to our city.

I was at the last Oilers game played in Rexall Place. I am a long time Oilers fan, as a lot of us are in this city, and wanted to be at the last game to be a part of the end of an era. After the game, there was ceremony to say goodbye which featured many Oilers alumni that was accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony. Right in front of me, my worlds were colliding as
Georges Laraque came out to my favorite Mozart Symphony. I couldn’t think of anything more perfectly matched for how I was feeling. The thing is, no one thought it was strange to have the Symphony there. It was the right thing to mark the reverence of the occasion and people took it as part of the experience even though I know many of those in the audience had probably never heard a live symphony before. This is what YEGculture means to me.

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The collision of my worlds Photo

The Sidetrack Cafe

Shared by Trina Shipanoff 10333 112 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K, Canada The Sidetrack Cafe Photo

The place to be if you were plugged into the cool goings on in the city was the Sidetrack Cafe. A perfect mix of humans it was the young the old, the hipsters the headbangers and everything in-between.... It was open for 26 years. This venue was the one that launched k.d. lang, Sarah Maclachlan, Blue Rodeo, Captain Tractor and the Barenaked Ladies careers.

A good night always included the sidetrack, I danced, I sang, I met and mingled.... you did not have to be or do or have anything.... but a smile.

The Sidetrack Cafe Photo

Coding my first computer game

Shared by Christopher White Coding my first computer game Photo

After years of half-started projects, in 2017 I decided that I was going to code and complete a computer game. I made this decision right around the birth of my first child, but with her constant need to nap on someone, she was very amenable.

I did a lot of the programming with my daughter sleeping on my chest, sometimes at The Carrot. What I love about coding and game development is that I can do it anywhere I can take my laptop. Going out into local coffee shops is a nice break from my home office: it's important to have comfortable and open drop-in places like coffee shops to get my kind of work done.

I have since completed the game, a simple space shooter, and I am now working on my next one.

Coding my first computer game Photo

Mandolin Cafe

Shared by Dawn Mandolin Cafe Photo

The mandolin holds a special place in my heart and in the community of highlands. It's warm, welcoming and unique vibe makes it the perfect place to get away. Cozy on a cold winters day or a summer time patio filled with beautiful flowers.
Located in one of the oldest districts in Edmonton. Community, arts and sustainability focused. They sell and trade books, display different artists work each month and have an amazing selection of loose tea. Each time I come here it's a unique and special experience.

Mandolin Cafe Photo

this theatre is appreciated

8712 109 Street Northwest, Edmonton this theatre is appreciated Photo

I love that this theatre supports local, independent, and unusual programming. The curated series of films are wonderful. this place keeps me learning about topics near and far from my home. I wish this place had better attendance, was more broadly publicized as a gem of Edmonton.

this theatre is appreciated Photo

More arts in Mill Woods/southeast Edmonton

Shared by Kristina de Guzman More arts in Mill Woods/southeast Edmonton Photo

In May 2015 & 2016, myself and a handful of artists/organizers who had links to the Mill Woods area put together an artistic showcase called Masala Mix: a Blend of Spices to this mall. We were able to connect with local teachers and showcase work by students from neighbouring schools Edith Rogers and J. Percy Page; showcase diverse artists who live/lived in Mill Woods from a wide range of disciplines, host mini-workshops, and even incorporated a heritage component by inviting Mill Woods Mythologies to share stories. We also invited by agencies that do work in the area (Welcome Centre for Immigrants, EISA) to table and share more info about their organizations. The mall plaza is designed to be a community hub yet remains quite underutilized by artists. There is a thriving community of Indigenous, immigrants and other cultural minorities in the area who may not have the same access to the arts due to most art activities taking place at the centre - it would be great to see local Mill Woods artists build their capacity and share their skills, knowledge, and art within their own local communities.

More arts in Mill Woods/southeast Edmonton Photo

Citadel Theatre

Shared by Barbara 10030 102 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 0V6, Canada Citadel Theatre Photo

My first live theatre event was at Salvation Army Citadel building for the production of Othello .. it was a glorious building transporting the audience to the fantasy world of the talented actors .. loved it!

Citadel Theatre Photo

Edmonton Art Gallery

Shared by Barbara 9842 105 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K, Canada Edmonton Art Gallery Photo

Fondly remember art classes on Saturday mornings at the Secord House when I was a child .. the building was impressive to me even as a young person .. the views from the balcony were outstanding as I sketched a charcoal rendering of the river valley .. it was the first place that I saw a Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) First Nations raven artifact mask .. it was all magical and magnificent to a little girl!

Edmonton Art Gallery Photo

Chasing Turnips

Shared by Michael Gfroerer 10305 100 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 3C8, Canada Chasing Turnips Photo

Chasing Turnips

When I was a boy, my father would rent a station-wagon every summer and my five sisters, two brothers, my father and I would head to his hometown of Formosa, Ontario. My father was a World War Two veteran, who almost lost a leg at the battle of Ortona, Italy, so my oldest brother would do the driving.

Formosa was famous for their artesian well, which brought about a great brewery, which was extremely popular. Across from my Uncle Ivan and Aunt Mill’s farmhouse, with the great summer porch, and adult-sized frightening doll-house, was the mysterious General Store. This store, the only one in town, sold everything from winter galoshes, to bread-everything under the safe cover of dust.

Up the Great Hill, down which my brothers barreled on their wagon, was the massive stone Catholic Church, where my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather served as church organists for more than 50 years.

Driving back and forth to and from all my uncles’ and aunts’ and great-aunt’s homes, by brother would drive as fast as possible over the hilly gravel roads, and we would all be projected into the air, like on a roller-coaster, but with lots of dust.

The highlight of the trip, every summer, was waiting at the bottom of the Great Hill for the giant turnip truck to come! As the turnip truck bounced down the pot-holed hill, with brakes squealing and puffing, rock-hard turnips would bounce off, flying in every direction!

“Where did all these turnips come from?” I remember Aunt Mill asking.

Michael Gfroerer, originally from Toronto, is a Composer, Pianist, Teacher and Church Musician. He was also a journalist at the University of Toronto and Editor of Art & Culture at the Atkinsonian, York University.

Chasing Turnips Photo

We are Many Peoples

Shared by Gary Bosgoed We are Many Peoples Photo

For thousands of years, people have visited and lived in the river valley. They did not have today's names or political boundaries. They were many peoples. Their legacy needs to be respected and honoured as the original people of this place.

I would like to see the old EPCOR Power Plant turned into a Powerhouse of Indigenous Arts and Culture. The space would include all indigenous groups and be run by indigenous people. It would be a national showpiece of the most advanced indigenized City in Canada. It would include rotating arts and heritage content from all periods since indigenous people settled in this region after the glaciers receded. Imagine the rich stories and imagery, inspiring today's artists and cultural practitioners, who would be working and creating in the facility. Imagine a building vastly different than the one there today. One enhanced with the addition of glass, colour, light and sound would take its place.

If it sounds like a $100M project, then good for you. I like your vision. It can happen. The 76,000 plus indigenous people in the capital region deserve no less. The project will benefit the 1.3M people in this region and be a magnet for the almost eight million annual tourist visits to Edmonton (Government of Alberta, 2015 report).

Further, the City can enhance its arts soul by linking the new facility to organizations that want to create or enhance their arts programs. Some post-secondary institutions do not yet have an indigenous art class or program offering. As the heart of this activity, the Powerhouse can use newly created "arteries" to connect the entire body of this great city.

Such a place would bring much indigenous activity to the City, including Chiefs meetings, conferences and scholarly work. Inevitably, the Powerhouse would bring all people together, as they learn about 5,000 years of life and art in this region, not just the last two hundred and twenty-three years, since the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company built their forts in the valley.

The project could also allow for the inclusion of a Keeping House, which houses, protects, curates and studies, but does not own, indigenous artifacts. They would "keep" them for families and other organizations.

The site of the Power Plant is on or near a site of one of the Fort Edmonton locations, which would have had indigenous encampments nearby. Some artifacts have been found in the valley that are over 3,000 years old and settlement along the valley goes back over 5,000 years. Its the perfect site to be reclaimed by indigenous people.

Lastly, the City has the indigenous people to create, build and operate this vision. Together, they will feel their power.

Reconciliation will take generations. We need bold strokes to repaint the canvass of the relationship with indigenous Canadians.

Imagine the art. Imagine the music. Imagine the history. Imagine the power!

We are Many Peoples Photo

Fringe & Willow

Shared by Jen 7507 Borden Park Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T5B 4W8, Canada Fringe & Willow Photo

My favourite Edmonton art is the Vaulted Willow in Borden Park, and my favourite festival is The Fringe!

Fringe & Willow Photo

Make Something Edmonton Mural

Shared by Anthony T. 10150 100 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 0P6, Canada Make Something Edmonton Mural Photo

My favorite #yegarts is: Take a risk. It's the most Edmonton thing you can do.

Make Something Edmonton Mural Photo

Ortona Armoury Arts Building

Shared by Marlena Wyman 9722 102 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 0X4, Canada Ortona Armoury Arts Building Photo

The Ortona Armoury Art Building in Rossdale is filled with memories; its more than 100 year history intermixed with its present life as an arts building. Artists of every discipline have filled the building for close to 30 years with art and creativity, and the greater arts community and public have come here to experience that arts energy. Virtually every space in the building has been the location of the creation of art, visual art exhibits, music performances, filming locations and film projections, dance, poetry readings, history and arts open houses, arts workshops, and celebrations.

The present studios and the building’s public arts areas inhabit the same spaces that the Royal Canadian Navy occupied in WWII as the HMCS Nonsuch training facility; the rooms and floor plan essentially unchanged since 1939. The present Ortona Room (multi-purpose arts room) on the main floor was the Navy’s Chief and Petty Officer’s Mess; the artist-run Ortona Gallery on the second floor served as the Navy’ Clothing Stores; the spaces where both and the Film and Visual Arts Society the Trincan Steel Orchestra now are, had been used by the Navy for classrooms, communications, and the Navy’s “Warrior” music band. Artists’ studios were the Navy’s WRENS’ Mess (Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service), the offices of the HMCS Nonsuch Officers, storage for sails, ropes & rigging, and much more.

As expressed by arts writer Agnieszka Matejko in her review of a group arts exhibit in the Ortona Gallery, “…the strongest impression I am left with is the building’s palpable sense of rich community life among artists of all backgrounds.” Vue Weekly 21 January 2003, “Ortonary People”.

Ortona Armoury Arts Building Photo

The Oldest Continuing Art Organization in Alberta

Shared by Seraya Smit 10045 156 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5P 2P7, Canada
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Established in 1921 with fourteen Charter Members, the EAC is the oldest continuing art organization in Alberta. It has been instrumental in helping to lay the foundation for the development of the visual arts in our province. Their vision was to develop the visual arts in the City of Edmonton in three ways:
1) to encourage a wider appreciation of fine arts in the community;
2) to improve the quality of local art; and
3) to encourage individual artists through constructive criticism and exhibitions"

The relationship between the EAC and the Art Gallery of Alberta is embedded in our history, with the EAC being active partners in the establishment of the Edmonton Museum of Art in 1924, renamed the Edmonton Art Gallery in 1956. The Edmonton Art Club contributed one of the first paintings, a work by Alban Cartmell entitled ‘Prairie Trails’, to the Museum’s permanent collection and continued to support the Museum by donating works of art and by contributing funds and instructors for the Gallery’s art classes.

Permanent holdings of the EAC works of art are housed with the Alberta Foundation for the Arts ("AFA") and the Art Gallery of Alberta ("AGA").

The EAC features eclectic Visual Artist members who are disciplined in mixed media application, painting in acrylic, oil and watercolour, drawing/sketching, ceramic, clay, stone carving, wood carving and wood burning, printmaking and sculpture. Counted among its impressive alumni are, to name a few, Len Gibbs, Thelma Manarey, Meridith Evans, Jerry Heine, Ilda Lubane and Vivian Theirfelder.

The Club has an average of 50 members, each selected through a jury process, and is composed of people from all walks of life, all of whom share an appreciation of the visual arts and encourage artistic achievement.

Campus Saint-Jean

Shared by Denis Perreaux 8406 91 St, Edmonton, AB T6C 4G9, Canada Campus Saint-Jean Photo

As I write this, I am sitting in my office within the former convent of Les Soeurs de la charité d'Evron who were responsible for the cooking, the upkeep and the infirmary of one of the oldest educational institutions in Edmonton - Saint-Jean. Why do we call it simply "Saint-Jean"? Because it was a Juniorate, then Collège, then Collège Universitaire, then Faculté before becoming Campus; but throughout it all, it was "Saint-Jean".

This building is called the Daridon Pavilion after the first and founding priest who first attempted this little start-up in Pincher Creek, Alberta (the same locale where Father Albert Lacombe retired) in 1908, the same year as the founding of the University of Alberta. However, the necessity to be where the recruits were, he chose to move the operation to its current location in 1910, in the French Quarter of Edmonton.

The two original buildings are still standing on the edge of Mill Creek Ravine. The first Albertan on the path towards Sainthood was Saint-Jean's handyman, Frère Antoine (Kowalczyk), whose humble stewardship of the institution over 40 years made him an institution within the institution. Over 110 years, stories from students from Edmonton and abroad who grew up in this Franco-Albertan pillar still circulate as the institution’s life blood.

Campus Saint-Jean Photo

A meeting place on the river

Shared by A paddler A meeting place on the river Photo

In the boreal forest, rivers are often the only relief from dense trees or muskeg and here a niche was carved for dug-out canoes. Dug-outs were formed by chipping soaked or partially burned logs with stone axes. The final gouging was done with a clever tool borrowed from nature’s furry carpenters: beaver teeth. Early boat builders used chisels made of beaver incisors tied to wooden handles. With use, beaver tooth dentine is worn away, which exposes new sharp enamel ridges. The result is a self-sharpening chisel that was used by Cree and Dene across the boreal forest.
From the April/May, 2015 issue of Canada’s History Magazine.

Written by: Todd Kristensen (Archaeological Survey) and Mike Donnelly (Freelance Historian)

The area of the river valley and places along the river as seen in the picture is not far from where the first pre-contact northern Dene people travelled to and from to areas north up to the Yukon, some 3,000 km. We embrace that our paddle and on-the- river recreational activities are on Treaty 6 Lands as the First Nations people taught us all how to build and use the canoes and kayaks that were essential to travel, exploration and commerce. My own experience with the 25 ft Northern Voayageur Canoe was on a boat named Pathfinder that went across many rivers in Alberta, lakes and even oceans from Canadian cities across the prairies, the Canadian Shield and beyond borders. The canoe is an iconic symbol that we can all still enjoy as being able to share the river. Education programs and the Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition which bring awareness to the importance of the meeting place as a recreational site for the next generation and how we can anticipate a river that runs through our city, as our Mayor has coined this is a “River city rising”. The paddling community and Edmonton Paddling Centres Association EPCA those we include are the Ceyana Canoe Club, NorthWest Voyageurs Canoe and Kayak Club, Edmonton Whitewater Paddlers and others Riverwatch, Haskin Canoe, Canoeheads, EasyRider, Greater Edmonton Racing canoe and kayak club, Leduc Boat club, UAPS, EDBFA Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival Association, Friends of the river recreational association, EDBRC Edmonton Dragon Boat Racing club, City of Edmonton River Valley programs which provide us with a cultural experience and a safe enjoyable experience in and along our North Saskatchewan river.

A meeting place on the river Photo

Keeping Old Advertisements

Shared by Ryan Korpesio Keeping Old Advertisements Photo

The history of these types of buildings is in the old painted advertising on the walls. A story of the history behind the building can be found on a plaque on the exterior wall.

Keeping Old Advertisements Photo

Repurpose Building

Shared by Natasha Corbett 7515 118 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5B 4M9, Canada

What is most important to me about living in Edmonton is that I have always had a home to live in, and a family to care for me. I have never had to worry about being outside for a long time in a cold Edmonton winter. Or stuck outside in the sometimes very hot summers, we are in a fairly extreme climate. Not everyone in this city is as lucky, and we have homeless people in Edmonton. Often times people who end up on the streets do not actually choose to be there. When we live in a climate as unforgiving as ours, people die in the streets of Edmonton every year. It would be amazing to transform Rexall place, or part of it, into a multi-purpose rehabilitation center and housing for the homeless.
Rexall place could have large indoor gardens and greenhouses, and could have many small apartments set up to get people off the streets. Services offered could include, check in, free yoga in the mornings, registration for health care cards and any type of documentation missing, disability funding, which could help pay their rent in the little space. They could be required to participate in meditation and yoga, or exercise and mindfulness programs, could have help with goal setting classes, resume building, career information sessions, etc. (I would be willing to volunteer in this sort of facility) People could be given jobs to do around the center which would help pay for their space (at the minimum wage). This would help get people off the streets, and give them something to do, and also open up countless job opportunities for the many Edmontonians that are in need of jobs currently. People could work hours daily to clean and maintain the space, cook and provide services for others. There could be a little market place inside of the large center part of the arena. The possibilities are truly endless!
A city that lets its people die and live in homelessness is not a city to be proud of.
I would love to see Edmonton truly and wholeheartedly commit to helping all of its people, without exclusion, separation, and elitism. All egos aside, we are all human beings. All human beings are deserving of love and acceptance, and help. When we nurture and care for things, they grow and bloom. When we cast them away and tell them we hate them, they become wilted, disfigured, and die. We are only as strong as our weakest members, and we cannot move forward as humanity while we allow people to die outside because we are CHOOSING to not help, and to blame other things. The time is now to take responsibility for our people, and to do the best we can with the resources we ALREADY have available to us.
The time is now to be a leader on the world stage. Lead by example. You have to be willing to make the choice to take a chance, or things will never change. We are ready.
Thank you for reading.

A New Beginning

Shared by Natasha Corbett A New Beginning Photo

I love the little spot off Saskatchewan drive, that was affectionately referred to by its visitors as "the end of the world," which actually used to appear on google maps. The location is a old worn down structure, where people have gathered to hang out, and look at the beautiful view of the city skyline and river. Sadly, the place has decayed over the years. I know there had been plans to renovate the area, and clean up all of the garbage, create a lovely little looking spot. I was surprised to see that nothing has taken place yet, instead a fence put up and signs saying it is illegal to trespass there. Everyone continues to go anyway, because it is a truly beautiful spot. I have gone at nighttime with friends, blankets and hot chocolate in the summer time to watch a meteor shower. This spot has been the inspiration for many beautiful photos and paintings. I would love to see the area transformed, cleaned and reclaimed as a spot of inspiration and gathering for Edmontonians. I have been going to this spot for years as a quiet getaway from the city, out of earshot of the nearby streets, it is a gorgeous spot to sit and contemplate lifes great wonders. I have met some interesting people while there as well, and watched many beautiful sunsets white sitting on the perch. It would be amazing to see this hideaway transformed into a safe seating area, where people could come and enjoy a beautiful spot that Edmonton has to offer. Thank you :)

A New Beginning Photo

Garneau Memorial Tree

Shared by Amanda C. Garneau, Edmonton, AB, Canada Garneau Memorial Tree Photo

My mom’s family name is Garneau and my relatives are the namesake of the Garneau neighbourhood and I always loved visiting the Garneau memorial tree before it got removed!!

Garneau Memorial Tree Photo

Planetarium Park

Shared by Lesley Edmonton Planetarium Park Photo

I loved the old Edmonton Planetarium and the signs of the zodiac embedded in the surrounding sidewalk. It opened in September of 1960 and was a very futuristic building. I lived just north of it and spent lots of summertime hours in the surrounding park.

Planetarium Park Photo

Mapping Rat Creek

Shared by Dustin Bajer Mapping Rat Creek Photo

Backfilled with landfill (Clark Stadium) and paved over with asphalt (Norwood Boulevard) present-day Kinnard Ravine represented only a small portion of the original creek.

Extending NW from Dawson park, under Clark stadium, down Norwood Boulevard (111th Ave), past Kingsway, and ending someone near Blatchford once ran the mighty Rat Creek ravine. Rat Creek formerly extended into the adjacent neighbourhoods of Virginia Park, Chromdale, Parkdale, Norwood, McCauley, Spruce Avenue, Central McDougal, and Prince Rupert.

Project Idea:

Part 1: I would like to work with the community and City archives to research the exact path of Rat (short of Muskrat) creek and to identify stories about it its history, use, and impact on the community.

Part 2: Just because the ravine is paved over doesn't mean it's gone. Hidden under the city exists buried infrastructure that channels the water that would have flown through Rat Creek - often still dumping into the ravine via city outfalls. In the second phase of this project, I would like to work with the drainage department to identify the historical and present-day Rat Creek catchment basin.

Part 3: May the historical and present-day Rat Creek catchment basement onto the city. Work with an artist and residents of the basin to create a unique Rat Creek logo. Work with catchment residents and schools to paint the Rat Creek logo onto existing public wastewater infrastructure (drains, utility holes, etc.).

The goal of the 3rd phase is to engage residents of the Rat Creek basin in a placemaking exercise and to connect their home, and the identity of the area to the ravine. By reminding residents that all of the water in their neighbours ultimately makes its way to the ravine we can link individual practices to the health of the present day Rat Creek. To further this goal, public signage and articles in neighbourhood newspapers could help spread the message and the storied uncovered via the research in phase 1.

Part 4: Work with the City of Edmonton to make outfall data in Rat Creek ravine open to the public. Work with residents and organisations such as the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, Epcor, Edmonton Permaculture, Cultivate McCauley, and Alberta Low Impact Development to create programs and initiatives that enable people to contribute to the health of their catchment basin and the ravine downstream of them.

Mapping Rat Creek Photo

Knockin pins since 1959

Shared by Denny Droops 10418 118 Avenue Northwest, Edmonton Knockin pins since 1959 Photo

This place is a cultural institution serving generations of Edmontonians. Seriously! How many of your parents, and grand parents bowled here since it opened!? Edmonton has a fascinating appreciation for bowling. As an accessible and affordable past time, bowling has been an activity with deep roots in Edmonton's working class neighbourhoods. Plaza Bowling is a great story of a family run business in Edmonton, and the venue itself is a time warp taking you all the way back to the 60s. It would be great to be able to better recognize "legacy businesses" in Edmonton like Plaza Bowling, and the building it's located in. Many city's have recognition programs for long-running local businesses like this that have contributed (and still are) to the urban fabric, culture, economy and history of a city. We need to better celebrate our history through those still making it. Plaza Bowling is a great example of where to start.

Knockin pins since 1959 Photo

Symphony Under the Sky / Freewill Shakespeare Fest

Shared by Dan Rose 9330 Groat Road, Edmonton, AB T6G 2A8 Symphony Under the Sky / Freewill Shakespeare Fest Photo

The Symphony Under the Sky and the Freewill Shakespeare Festival are two incredible opportunities to take part in the arts and culture scene in Edmonton, in an accessible venue and without the intimidating crowd or space usually associated with orchestra music and theater. It's so great to sit outside on a warm summer evening and immerse yourself in something new. Would love to see more opportunities to bring art, music and theater outside of the usual brick and mortar institutions, to where people are, and to create new experiences for new audiences.

Symphony Under the Sky / Freewill Shakespeare Fest Photo

Dancing in the Water

Shared by Sydney Lancaster 109 St NW, Edmonton, AB, Canada Dancing in the Water Photo

Many years ago, on Canada Day, the (now gone) High Level Bridge Waterfall was turned on for the very first time. It was a singular, spectacular moment in this city - such a beautiful way to connect the river to the bridge, and to the city in a really visceral way. I was on the bridge that day - getting drenched under the waterfall, singing and dancing with people. Yes, complete strangers gathered together and became friends, played like children, and forgot there differences for a while. I met three young women from Quebec under the water; they spoke no English and my French was rusty - but we managed to have a joyous time. We even sang the national anthem together, and shared some (illegal) champagne in honour of the Bridge that brought us together.

Dancing in the Water Photo

Where Bodies and Ideas Meet

Shared by Sydney Lancaster 10816 95 St, Edmonton, AB T5H 2E3, Canada Where Bodies and Ideas Meet Photo
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Mile Zero Dance has been such a tremendous asset to this city since its inception. It has always been a place of risk-taking, experimentation, and innovation in dance and dance-related arts - but Mile Zero also has (and continues to) provide a place of welcome and community for dancers and non-dancers alike. This organization has shown leadership in community outreach, school programs, kid's programs, health-related movement workshops ... the list goes on. Spazio Performativo has created a home for artists of all disciplines to come together, work together, take chances together - and feel safe doing it. As a visual artist, Mile Zero has offered me the opportunity to take some tentative steps outside my regular practice: my participation in the SubArctic Improv series allowed me not only to create work with and for artists of other disciplines, but also to take some steps toward understanding how performance practice could contribute to my work going forward. The value of spaces such a Mile Zero, that offer places for experimentation cannot be underestimated! Risk-taking makes artists better at what they do, and builds community and new collaborations - and we need more opportunities and venues to do that - and we need to actively support Edmonton institutions like Mile Zero that gift our community with these resources and support.

Where Bodies and Ideas Meet Photo

Relaxing at Improv

Shared by Seth Van Camp 9828 101A Avenue Northwest, Edmonton, AB T5J 3C6, Canada Relaxing at Improv Photo

I still remember how accommodating and kind the staff and performers were at Rapid Fire Theatre when I first began to attend their shows back in 2012. It was one of the few places I could go as a youth and be treated like and adult. The caliber of talent that would continuously show up every week kept me coming back and eventually led me to take a stronger interest in Edmonton theatre productions. A strong arts community forces individuals to take a look through someone else' perspective, which has become all the more important given the political climate over the last couple of years. It's important that we yearn to understand each other, or at least attempt to hear the full story of someone who opposes your opinion. I feel as though the many satires, comedies, and improv sessions I've seen have done just that, but in a playful way. I'm thankful for that. I envision the growth of Edmonton's arts community taking hold across the city and providing opportunity to a larger variety of Edmontonians, so we can basque in the glow of homegrown talent together.

Relaxing at Improv Photo

Forming the Fringe

Shared by Ken Chapman 10330 84 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 2G9, Canada Forming the Fringe Photo

During Albertas 75th Anniversary celebrations the outdoors arts focus was entirely on the new Winston Churchill Sq. Keith Ashwell the Edmonton Journal Arts/Entertainment Editor was critical on behalf of Whyte Ave business. He suggested a solution based on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We used our productions contingency budget, put the word out and opened 6 productions in Old Strathcona in 1980. Thus was born the most successful innovative theatre festival in North America.
The next year the idea took off and the Edmonton. International Fringe Festival has grown, matured and never looked back ever since. Something Edmonton is legitimately very proud of.

Forming the Fringe Photo

From language learner to arts participant

Shared by K. Baron 9831 75 Street NW, Edmonton, AB T6A 2Y8, Canada From language learner to arts participant Photo

My family lost our ancestral language due to the assimilationist policies of the provincial government and the bigoted attitude of other Albertans in the mid-twentieth century. My father purposely forgot how to speak it, so I never learned as I child. As an adult I've been trying to recover this lost gateway to my culture. For this reason, my wife and I started taking курси (classes) at St. Andrew's, the last place left in the city that still offers adult evening classes in Ukrainian. My progress in the language wasn't great, but being part of that community led me to other discoveries in arts and culture. One of the instructors, Mr. Ludvik Marianych--one of Alberta's unsung cultural heroes--recruited my wife and I to be part of Чайка (Chaika) a youth orchestra that plays Ukrainian-language music. This was a big step because, although I could (barely) play the guitar I had never been part of a band (never mind an orchestra) and hadn't played in front of anyone in years. But Mr. Marianych made it seem totally possible that anyone could participate, even me: someone who could only bang out a few chords. The next thing I knew, not only was I the group's guitarist but I was volunteering to learn to play the mandolin as well, so we could add that instrument to the band. Mr. Marianych has the gift of making music accessible to everyone, and inspired me to believe I could do more.

From their I went on to singing with the Верховина (Verkhovyna) choir under the amazing Orest Soltykevych (of CKUA fame). I 'm not a natural singer--to put in mildly--but was again taken by the hand and told that anyone (even me) could sing. And not just sing, but sing both baritone and tenor, stay in tune with the choir, and do it all entirely in my third language, one that had only just started to learn (Ukrainian). Somehow I did it (or at least felt like I did).

The highlight of this cultural journey for me (so far) was appearing on the main stage during the "Svieto 25" celebration in Churchill Square in August of 2016, honouring the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian independence and 125 years of Ukrainian settlement in Canada. I was there twice: once to play with orchestra, and once to sing with the choir. It was something I wouldn't have thought possible just a few years earlier.

Since the birth of my second child, I've had step back from some of my commitments. But those years when I was actively participating in the arts were made much richer because of the involvement I did have: arts and culture made my life better. Soon, I hope, they will be doing the same for my children.

It matters that I learned that I could participate in the arts and culture through an ethnic community. That is not an accident. In our ethnic communities we find examples of true participatory culture: it's not about listening to or watching professionals. It's about having pride or curiosity enough that you to want to live out the community's traditions, whether they are part of your birthright or something you are learning along the way.

My vision for the arts in culture in Edmonton is that others will have a similar journey to my own: using one part of culture as ladder to reach for the next one, and being welcomed and included along the way. And I hope that the city as a whole can recognize the value of ethnic communities in that process. Having a thriving arts and culture scene should really mean that we have a cultural ecosystem that include niches for the ethnic arts.

And yes, I'm still working on that language! Language is the conduit through which the rest of culture flows. Any arts, culture, and heritage vision MUST include a language component or it is fundamentally incomplete.

From language learner to arts participant Photo

Over 100 years of settler history

Shared by Donna Ballantyne 16025 54 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5Y 3K1, Canada Over 100 years of settler history Photo

As a member of the McLeod Community League board, and a person interested in local history, I’ve given tours of the cemetery. Members of prominent pioneering settler & business families, WWI, WWII and other veterans, Spanish flu victims are buried here. Settler history goes back to 1885, before Alberta was a province. We also lay a wreath at each veteran’s headstone (7) prior to Remembrance Day, as part of the No Stone Left Alone. Project. We are seeking to make a connection with an indigenous person interested in sharing their history of the area from First Nations perspective.

Over 100 years of settler history Photo


River Photo

Some of my favourite times in Edmonton are when I am on the river. Beside the natural beauty and the recreation I participate in there, it is grounding to be connected to this place by the river that has been there forever. I imagine the history and the people that have been there before me for the thousands of years leading up to the moment I get to be there too. I can see public art from the river and enjoy that perspective. The river connects our past and present and is a backdrop and inspiration for art and creative thought.

River Photo

Arts Family

Shared by Ahmed 'Knowmadic' Ali 10440 108 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 3Z9, Canada Arts Family Photo

To me, the Edmonton Arts Council is more family than organization. I remember how overwhelmed I was at my first board meeting. I was lost in acronyms and budgets. They must have noticed, because Jeff Haslam stopped the meeting immediately to remind everyone to be more welcoming. Everyone kindly agreed without a hint of any condescending or demeaning tones for the remainder of the meeting.

Although I am no longer on the board, I always feel included. Because of how welcoming they are, I either visit or call regularly to check in.

I look forward to what the Arts Council has to offer in the coming years!

Arts Family Photo


Shared by Ahmed 'Knowmadic' Ali 9228 128a Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5E 0J8, Canada Relating Photo

I remember attending Mee-Yah-Noh School during read in week and being amazed at how engaged the students were. We related through videos games and anime. When I told them the ones I liked, I saw their eyes light up. I spoke about my favorite scenes and like lightning, their hands shot up in excitement to give theirs. Before leaving, I encouraged them to read often, because reading is what allows the mind to create magic.

Relating Photo

Dance for anybody, any body

Shared by Michelle K 11805 94 Street Northwest, Edmonton Dance for anybody, any body Photo
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There’s a community of dancers here. A community which has become a family over time. A family full of support and creativity and acceptance regardless of any differences. A group of open arms, open minds, and open hearts; and the beautiful movement of dance binds them.

Dance for anybody, any body Photo

Building Connections (an example)

Shared by Sydney Lancaster 10440 108 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 3Z9, Canada Building Connections (an example) Photo
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One of the things that has always struck me about the arts community here in #YEG is the desire amongst its various practitioners to embrace risk and try new things. Part of that stems from necessity (we are small but mighty), but also from the generous and DIY spirit that so many of us embrace. One of the things that could make our collective ambitions manifest into real sustainability (and real income) for creators here is a single place for people to FIND US - and for all of us to FIND OPPORTUNITIES - for work, for collaborations, for all sorts of resources. A program & website like ART$PAY could do just that - and raise the profile of all creators in the City, while providing a simple way for people to hire, commission, and pay (properly) for all kinds of art. We need a made-in-YEG version of this!

Building Connections (an example) Photo

Fringe as Community

Shared by Matthew Ward ATB Financial Arts Barns building, 10330 84 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 2G9, Canada Fringe as Community Photo

Seeing the Fringe Festival grow and become more inclusive over the past 8 years that I've attended, I'm really excited about how these spaces in community can become places for everyone. On-going support of local theatre and performance art created by and for diverse members of Treaty 6 territory will be integral to the continuity of a thriving arts scene in Edmonton.

Fringe as Community Photo

Nuit Blanche

Shared by Susan Burns Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, AB T5J 2E5, Canada Nuit Blanche Photo

This magical night in downtown in late September 2015 brought thousands of citizens together to celebrate the power of art to build community and to have fun in the dark and the cold. Let’s keep it going!

Nuit Blanche Photo

Poetry Stairs Up and Down the Valley

Shared by Bernd Hildebrandt William Hawrelak Park Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T6G, Canada Poetry Stairs Up and Down the Valley Photo

Past Trial Location: South-east stairs to Hawrelak Park from Groat Road in 2017
Future Locations: Any of the numerous (between 70 and 120) sets of wooden stairs leading in and out of either the river valley or any of the joining creek systems.

The original activity was installed for the June 2017 version of ‘100 in 1 Day’ Event and featured the work of Sergio Serrano, Liz Ingram and Bernd Hildebrandt.

The purpose of this action was to:
a) add a less utilitarian function to the process of walking up long sets of stairs; 
b) to highlight the numerous wooden stairs as a unique Edmonton feature; 
c) to encourage future actions to utilize the many other stairs in the river valley;
d) provide a cultural feature that communicates between people in a natural setting.

Edmonton is somewhat unique in the fact that it has such a deep river valley running through the entire city. The City of Edmonton has done a great job in maintaining a well used trail system that incorporates numerous wooden stairs - these should become a publicized feature of Edmonton. The opportunities are far-reaching. The stairs themselves are quite amazing in themselves, sometimes like little frogs helping you up a short grade, or like snakes or waterfalls reaching high up an embankment - but they are just a bit bland and a bit too utilitarian for, what are often, quite spectacular structures.

In doing the project many people indicated how much they enjoyed the process of walking or jogging up the poetry stairs - it was a real surprise to them to encounter the colour and words - the climb was just so much more joyful and less laborious.

Installations could feature poetry, words, images, languages as well as graphic and visual art as well. Some could be permanent while others would be temporary - maybe event specific. Designs for installation could be developed for both permanent and temporary situations in conjunction with City staff. Stair installations need to be low maintenance, as well as allow for easy installation and replacement. Not only the riser section of the treads should be used, but perhaps also handrails, the top surface of the tread, and the landings.

It would encourage walking, while utilizing both community sourced poems as well as poems from established poets and visual artists.

Poetry Stairs Up and Down the Valley Photo

CBC Edmonton

Shared by J. Cassidy CBC Edmonton Photo

In what is now the Good Samaritan Centre on 75th Street, CBC Edmonton was a fixture for decades, producing and airing all types of radio and television programming, in both English and French. At the peak, close to 400 people were employed there, producing news, sports and entertainment programming. In addition, national programming was recorded, delayed and broadcast to the Mountain time zone at the appropriate time. Many people will remember the well-known on-air hosts such as Alex Moir, John Wells, Larry Langley, Larry Branter, Tommy Banks, Jo Greene, Guy Cormier, and many more. Numerous staff went on to jobs at the national and international levels, after "cutting their teeth" in Edmonton. CBC Edmonton hosts and technical staff were always called upon to work on national and international sporting events. In 1978, the station took part in broadcasting the Commonwealth Games from Edmonton. Eventually, network cutbacks (partly due to politics, and partly due to technological change) reduced staffing and resulted in the move to other facilities. At the time of this writing (2018), CBC Edmonton works out of offices at Edmonton City Centre, downtown.

Tags Community Art
CBC Edmonton Photo

Strathearn Public Art Engagement Session

Shared by Chelsea Boida 9103 95 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6C 1Z4 Strathearn Public Art Engagement Session Photo

I love nature and art, and care about sustainability and conservation. So, being at Toronto based artist group Public Studio's engagement session at Centre d'Arts Visuals Alberta was a great way to get involved in public art process and more integrated with my community.

Strathearn Public Art Engagement Session Photo

My First Heritage Festival

Shared by Jim Gibbon 9330 Groat Road, Edmonton, AB T6G 2A8 My First Heritage Festival Photo

My first Edmonton Heritage Festival visit was life changing.

I remember visiting the Portugal Pavilion and I remember a barbecued sardine on a stick. I spent the remainder of the day visiting the world in Hawrelak park.

And I remember marveling at our little city on the prairies.

My First Heritage Festival Photo

GWG, A&N, and Red Strap Market

Shared by Sydney Lancaster 10305 97 Street Northwest, Edmonton, AB T5J 0M1 GWG, A&N, and Red Strap Market Photo

This building has had several lives! It is a very important site in the history of women's work and labour in this City, as it once housed the Great West Garment factory, and produced jeans until the early 1980's. Eventually, it became home to the biggest Army & Navy in Edmonton, and was a go-to source for houswares for Edmontonians of all walks of life. This space's last iteration was a the Red Strap Market - a venue for art and craft vendors, host of live music, poetry readings, and dance events, home to artists' studios. A place ahead of it's the by about 10 years. This is a building that needs to be USED and loved, and embraced by the City! Image credit: K O Dance Project, "YOU/happening": A KO Dance Project
Dancer: Abby Espejo, photo Tracy Kolenchuk

GWG, A&N, and Red Strap Market Photo

Connecting to Black History in Edmonton

Shared by Elsa Robinson Queen Elizabeth Park Road Connecting to Black History in Edmonton Photo

I used to take my children swimming at the Queen Elizabeth Pool. In the summer of 1988, I noticed this big chalk board near the change rooms. I went over to have a closer look. The information on the board was regarding the history of mixed race bathing in Edmonton. That is when I found out that Queen Elizabeth Pool was the first location where Black Edmontonians were allowed to swim in a public place managed by the City of Edmonton.

So, I explained the information to my four and five year old children - they both remember hearing this story. At the time I told my children that this obviously why we had come to this pool, because it was the first place that people like us could swim in public. When the City closed the pool, some years later, I joined the community group that lobbied the City of Edmonton to rebuild the pool. The group was also involved in designing the new pool and deciding on the new location for Queen Elizabeth Pool.

Connecting to Black History in Edmonton Photo

Lucky Chinese Guardian Lions

Shared by GL 102 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 0L6, Canada Lucky Chinese Guardian Lions Photo

When my relatives visited us, my parents would bring us to the Harbin Gate to take pictures. As a kid, I remember climbing to reach and rub the ball in the guardian lion's mouth for good luck. I didn't realize how special and important the Chinatown Gate was until it was taken away.

Lucky Chinese Guardian Lions Photo

The Blackspot Cafe a short-lived music venue gem

15120 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton The Blackspot Cafe a short-lived music venue gem Photo

The Blackspot Cafe was an incredible basement venue, which was only open for a couple of years in the mid-late 2000s. I saw lots of musical acts build confidence and community there. The volunteers who served drinks and worked door became really good friends, and lots are still friends and active in the arts/music scene today.

The Blackspot Cafe a short-lived music venue gem Photo

Serenity in Silence

Whitemud Creek Ravine South, Edmonton, AB Serenity in Silence Photo

There is a beautiful park bench that overlooks the most serene view of the Whitemud Ravine, located in the heart of the Aspen Gardens neighborhood. This place has meant a lot to me over the years, as it has been a place to sit and reflect. As it is west facing, it provides a stunning setting for Alberta skies, especially as the sun sets. The fall is a particularly extraordinary time of year for this location with its colour that engulfs the forest, enough to make Bob Ross blush. As an artist, locations like this one is a very important pillar to be able to find inspiration within my city.

Serenity in Silence Photo

A Snorlax at the Legislature

Shared by Jacquelyn Cardinal Alberta Legislature Grounds, 97 Avenue Northwest, Edmonton, AB A Snorlax at the Legislature Photo

The summer of 2016 will probably be remembered by most millennials as the summer of Pokemon Go.

It was a glorious 3 months of roaming in packs of excited, newly-extroverted twenty-somethings going to the places where many of us had not gone to play since childhood. In that process, the memories of these places were layered with the new, creating an effect of a double exposure photograph of growing and living in Edmonton.

One memory that stayed with me was when we were on a then-nightly tour of the Legislature grounds. It was a warm evening, so the area was packed with people just like me (and parents walking behind their kids) walking in random patterns across the lawns.

"SNORLAX!" Someone yelled in the distance, and like a shot we were off. Running, sprinting, across the lawn at the prospect of capturing this rare Pokemon.

In a few breathless minutes it turned out that I ended up capturing one. Many did not. As the spell lifted and we began to joke about our enthusiasm with the short-term family formed in the scrum, it felt like so many summer evenings when friendships formed and ended gently with being called home for supper or bed.

If I were to hope for a future of my life in Edmonton, it would be for more of those nights where we can turn Edmonton back into what it first was for so many of us: a playground.

A Snorlax at the Legislature Photo

Found Festival

Shared by Andrew Ritchie Dr. Wilbert Mcintyre Park, 104 Street Northwest, Edmonton, AB Found Festival Photo

This is where Found Festival was born! In 2012 Elena Belyea, Molly Staley, Tori Morrison and Andrew Ritchie founded the Found Festival, a multi-disciplinary found space arts event. In the first year we met at the Gazebo to begin our two day adventure to take in eight one-off performances by emerging artists all over Old Strathcona. It is now 2018 and the festival has grown so much in 7 years! It began with just a few artists thinking "Hey what if we did a festival where we didn't pay for a single venue"

Found Festival Photo

First Edmonton Summer Experience

Shared by Renee McLachlan Fort Edmonton Footbridge, Edmonton, AB First Edmonton Summer Experience Photo

Every Friday in the summer I'd go to this beach and make sandcastles, picnics, and fires to roast marsh mellows. This would be a safe place for my young kids and have a safe time experiencing the river. Going here the first time made me feel like I would have a true Edmonton summer experience.

First Edmonton Summer Experience Photo

Edmonton's Home for History

Shared by Jessica Peverett John Walter Museum, Walterdale Hill NW, Edmonton, AB Edmonton's Home for History Photo

One of Edmonton's hidden gems, the John Walter Museum, shares the story of an early settler family in the Edmonton Region. The 1876 house is the oldest residential home still standing in our city! The houses are open for tours, educational programs for school and community groups and a fun place for families to explore. They offer courses to learn about sustainable food, crafting and historic homes.

Edmonton's Home for History Photo

Story Avenue 2018

Shared by Karen Spafford-Fitz 1 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 4G9, Canada Story Avenue 2018 Photo

Along with eight other children's artists from Alberta, I spent two incredible mornings leading students in grades five and six through a series of writing and illustrating workshops.

As much as I pride myself on offering energetic, informative sessions, sometimes the students simply take over... and I love it when that happens!

Annie* (to the class): “The protagonist is the main character and I bet I know who you’re going to talk about next–the antagonist, because that’s, like, the protagonist’s enemy and sometimes I like to hate on that character but sometimes I like that enemy-antagonist guy a bit too.”

[Wow! That also sums up my feelings about the antagonist… that the antagonist isn’t ALL bad, and some of the best stories give us insights into why antagonists behave as they do. Way to go, Annie!]

And then there was Keenan*: “Have you ever noticed that books sometimes start with a little bit of stuff about who the character is and where he lives, then the action suddenly takes off?”

[Yes, Keenan, I have. That’s the cool thing about the inciting incident--the event that alters the protagonist’s world. And then the action TAKES OFF! Good catch!]

(*student names have been changed)

I also invited the students to share their thoughts about what they wrote. Here are some of them, along with the students’ pen names:

“I was proudest that I wrote my own half story.” Anonymous, grade 6

“I liked that we got to write about being accused for things we didn’t do.” K, grade 6

“What I liked best in my story was the dark figure disappearing in the shadow.” T, grade 6

“I liked talking and making the settings for the story. I wrote lots and put lots of details.” Cyborg Hot Dog, grade 6

“I thought it was a lot of fun how we got to finish an actual author’s story.” I.H., grade 6

“I loved it. It helped me with my writing. I loved my twist ending.” J, grade 5

“What I liked best is that Karen is so funny! All of it made me proud.” Squishy Heart, grade 5

“The writing was the best part. I was proud of my creativity.” X, grade 5

“I liked that we got to write our own story. I was proudest of my powerful words.” S, grade 5/6

“What I liked best was that she was funny. I’m proud of the amount I wrote.” Cherry Chipotle, grade 5

“What made me proudest was when people talk in my story.” Mr. Bearpaw, grade 6 [Author note: I am thrilled to have found someone else who loves writing dialogue as much as I do!]

“Karen was nice and funny and I learned a lot. I am proud that I thought of so many things.” Success Queen, grade 5

“I liked the part where we learn the pro tips and the part where we got to write. Something I did well was where I solved the story.” Astra, grade 5

“I liked when you told the story, ‘Missing.’ I was proudest of how I wrote that the mean character said, ‘I thought it was my dad.'” Unicorn, grade 5 [Author note: that was a seriously cool plot twist!]

“I liked all of it. The fun characters made me proudest.” Buzzfeed, grade 6

“What I liked best was writing how to prove you’re innocent. I explained it step by step.” J, grade 6

“What I liked best was EVERYTHING!!! I was proud that I made it interesting and I put in a twist in the end.” Kitty Vi, grade 6

As always, the students made me incredibly proud. Best of all, I think they made themselves proud too.

Many thanks to the Young Alberta Book Society (YABS) for organizing Story Avenue, and to their amazing cast of volunteers. Thanks also to the generous, literacy-loving sponsors for funding the program, which included buying a book for each student. One student in particular could hardly believe he was getting his very own book… to keep!

Hearts and kudos to these sponsoring organizations for their commitment to fostering literacy:

Edmonton Oilers; Telus; Werklund Foundation; Edmonton Public Teachers (Local 37); City of Edmonton; Alberta Foundation for the Arts; Edmonton Arts Council; Alberta Government.

You are all heroes to me and, I believe, to the several hundred students who participated in Story Avenue.

Story Avenue 2018 Photo

My first Heritage Days

Shared by Stephen M Williams 9330 Groat Road, Edmonton, AB T6G 2A8 My first Heritage Days Photo

As a University of Alberta student in the early 90's I was living on campus, and stayed for the summer. Edmonton opened itself to me as a place that was not just a grey and white winter landscape. The green hues of the mid-summer led to biking and walking around the river valley.

One of those weekends I stumbled upon the Heritage Days festival and was stunned at the variety of different people, food, dance and craft that was on display. I spent much of that weekend walking down from the U of A campus to just hang out and absorb.

One of my lasting memories of Edmonton... arguably that was when I started to be a nascent "Edmontonian" after several years of just visiting for school.

My first Heritage Days Photo

Seeing the new AGA for the first time

Shared by Chris 2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq, Edmonton, AB T5J 2C1, Canada Seeing the new AGA for the first time Photo

I remember going to the new AGA for the first time with my dad and my soon-to-be wife. We had an incredible moment looking at the new building. We were so excited about the kind of arts facility that our city was willing to invest in! It was such a fantastic watershed moment. Let's see more of this in the next ten years. I want our arts facilities to be the envy of North America.

Seeing the new AGA for the first time Photo

Jazz Festival

Shared by Alice Major Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, AB T5J 2E5, Canada Jazz Festival Photo

Before the square was paved the Jazz Fest performances there felt like a picnic on the worn grass. Everyone you know wandered there after work to listen and drink beer.

Tags Community
Jazz Festival Photo

Art in the Park

13204 Fox Dr NW, Edmonton, AB T6H 4P3, Canada Art in the Park Photo

I was new to Edmonton and Amy Malbeuf's artwork here (at this temporary exhibition) really resonated with me and left me wondering why do we not see more reminders of the important cultural and historical presence of indigenous people in this region?

Art in the Park Photo

Smoke on the Water

North Edmonton Smoke on the Water Photo

Smoke clung to the air, and frost bit my toes. Fire in the sky, an aura so blue. The circular lights, the CBC said was true.

Smoke on the Water Photo


Shared by Robert H 11010 153 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5X 5H2, Canada Beaumaris Photo

Pelicans, ducks, and geese - go to the water, turn off for ease. From the spacing of my life here did I stroll, to now, with my family, here where I'm whole.

Beaumaris Photo

Adventures in Downtown Theatre

Shared by Anna Marie 10821 96 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 2J8, Canada Adventures in Downtown Theatre Photo

In 1998, I started Bigsky Threatre, thanks to a grant from the Friendship Centres Association. Our first rehearsal and performance home was Sacred Heart Church of the 1st Peoples. I went asking to use the basement, the mighty father Jim said "Theatre belongs at the Alter", so we did shows there - to very scant audiences - guess we were a little out of the comfort zone. Met some great folks there, including locals who might pop in to rehearsals unannounced.

Adventures in Downtown Theatre Photo
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