Stories & Visions

The Capilano Apricots

Shared by Dustin Bajer Capilano The Capilano Apricots Photo

On the West side of the former Capilano freeway (present-day 75th street) between 86th and 90th avenues are three mature apricot trees known to local gardeners are the Capilano Apricots (Capilano 1, 2, and three walking from South to North). It is widely believed that they were guerrilla gardened sometime in the 1960s as seedlings.

Uncommon in Edmonton, these three apricots are also unique from each other, each tree has its own unique in growth habit and fruit. Botanically and culturally speaking, Edmonton is the only place in the world that you will find these three varieties.

While I can not prove it, I have a hunch that the seedlings may have been planted by (or associated with) an internationally famous local plant breeder by the name of Robert Simonet. Mr Simonet was responsible for breeding many flowers, vegetables, and fruit tree varieties - including apricots. He also lived in the Bonnie Doon area around the time these trees would have been planted.

Despite being on city land, these three trees are still absent from the City of Edmonton's tree inventory

The Capilano Apricots 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

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

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

Building Connections (an example)

Shared by Sydney Lancaster 10440 108 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5H 3Z9, Canada Building Connections (an example) Photo
Watch Video

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

Edmonton's Wild Gojiberries

Shared by Dustin Bajer Edmonton's Wild Gojiberries Photo

As a young city, newcomers brought many of their personal, cultural practices to Edmonton. Over decades, this unique mixture of cultures has added to the vibrancy of our City.

When the Chinese community first settled in Edmonton many of them took up farming. According to the author Kathryn Chase-Merrit, in her book "Why Grow Here" the Chinese community owned and operated as many as fifteen market gardens around the City - many located in Edmonton's river valley. Among the plants that they would have grown were goji berries - a brambly shrub in the tomato family that produces oval orange-red berries and edible leaves popular in soups and prized for their medicinal qualities.

While the market gardens are long gone - some pushed out due to controversial city policy - at least one by the flood of 1915 - many large goji berries remain. The decedents of plants imported by the Chinese community they have long made the North bank of the river valley their home; longtime residents of Edmonton's downtown.

It could be noted that goji berries have become popular at local nurseries over the last decade. However, most people don't realise that a hardy, Edmonton lineage of this plant has naturalised and perfectly adapted itself to call this city home.

Edmonton's Wild Gojiberries Photo
2029 Arts and Heritage logo

To receive updates on important YEG Culture Map developments, and more opportunities to be involved, please enter your email address and name (optional) below.

Please note: You may opt out of this email program at any time.