Reason #86 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

The Community Leagues

By Emil Tiedemann

Being part of a community is fundamental, plain and simple. It doesn’t necessarily matter what community you’re a part of, but rather that you’re a part of something bigger than just yourself, whether it be a church congregation, a member of a sports team, or even a group of teenaged fanboys who get together once a week at the local comic book store. 

You’re part of a social unit with common interests and values, and perhaps a united goal or ambition, sharing struggles and triumphs along the way. Community leagues are no different, as residents of a certain neighbourhood or region come together to converse over unique issues and concerns they face as a whole. 

These leagues address problems that plague their neighbourhoods, provide services like recreational opportunities, and keep their neighbours informed and up-to-date on what’s happening in their community, often acting in concert with local churches, schools, or some sort of political or recrea…

Reason #85 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

The Funny People

By Emil Tiedemann

When you live in a city with a longish winter and seemingly excessive construction in the summer, you almost have to develop a sense of humour, or you might just implode one day. And if that’s the worst of it, we’ve got it pretty damn good. 

Perhaps because of that, there are a lot of pretty funny folks here in Edmonton making us pee ourselves laughing, whether it’s at one of the comedy clubs or via a basement podcast or even some potty-mouthed Twitter account. We like to laugh, we like to make others laugh, and we don’t mind poking fun at ourselves from time to time. Most of all, we love stickin’ it to those damn Calgarians! Just kidding...ish. 

But, I digress. Some locals might say our comedy legacy dates back to around 1980, when Second City Television (SCTV) relocated from Ontario to Edmonton’s Allarcom-ITV studios, bringing along future legends like Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis, Robin Duke, and Tony Rosato

In the late-’80s and early-’90s, there were T…

Reason #84 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

The Oil Kings

By Emil Tiedemann

It seemed like an eternity since the Oilers had qualified for the playoffs, let alone bring home that ever-elusive Stanley Cup. But, Edmonton is a hockey town and we’ll support our team no matter how much they “suck” at times. 

Fortunately, with some new management, a streak of #1 draft picks (namely Connor McDavid!), and a brand new arena on the horizon, the Oilers began to turn things around by the start of the 2015-16 season, a quarter of a century since their last of five Stanley Cup wins. 

However, it didn’t last long. In the meantime, if we wanted some good local hockey, many of us turned elsewhere. The Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings made sure we remembered what hockey was all about, and why we were still the “City of Champions,” despite the Oilers’ and the Eskimos’ lengthy losing streaks. 

In 2012, our Oil Kings were victors of the WHL Championship, made the finals the following season, and then won it again in 2014. That same year, they d…

Reason #83 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Edmonton Corn Maze

By Emil Tiedemann

Near the end of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, an enraged Jack Torrance (played intensely by the one and only Jack Nicholson) scours a wintery maze, axe in hand, searching for his son so that he can chop him into tiny little pieces. 

Although there’s (likely) no chance of this happening to you within the corn walls of the 10-acre Edmonton Corn Maze, just west of the city in Parkland County, there’s no reason why you can’t pretend that it is! Especially during the dark evening hours around the Halloween season, when the Maze doubles as the frightening Farm of Fear! 

But, if you’ve got young ones, then you might want to wait until the daylight before trekking the five kms of twists and turns of one of Edmonton’s favourite family attractions. Since 2001, the Maze puts out a unique design for every season (August to October), with past years resembling an oil derrick, a John Deere tractor, local Olympic curler Kevin Martin, and even Ryan Smyth of the Oiler…

Reason #82 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Whyte Avenue

By Emil Tiedemann

If you’re from outta town, it’s a place most Edmontonians will insist you check out before the end of your visit. And they’d be doing you a favour, because Whyte Avenue is “the place to be” if what you’re looking for is good food and drinks, antiques and boutiques, or just some place where you can get your dance on! 

Throw in some high profile annual events such as the Edmonton Pride Parade, Ice on Whyte, Art Walk, and the iconic Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, and you’ll understand why Whyte is a must when you’re new to town. 

“The neighbourhood is lively and vibrant and there really is something for everyone,” said Sydney McNeill, office manager for the Old Strathcona Business Association. “Whether I’m seeking out a quick coffee, fresh ingredients for a home-cooked meal, some live local music accompanied by an obscure beer, an addition to my wardrobe, an afternoon workout, or a delicious meal, I can and do find it here. As well, there is th…

Reason #81 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Avenue, VUE Weekly & The Journal

By Emil Tiedemann

Freedom of the press is an important part of how we live here in Canada. It’s a democratic right in our country, but a mere pipe dream for many other regions around the world. That freedom was suddenly threatened here in Alberta some eight decades ago, by our very own then Premier William Aberhart and his Social Credit government, which passed the infamous Accurate News and Information Act in 1937. 

This statute required all newspapers to divulge their sources on the demand of the government, and forced them to print “clarifications” of stories that a government-appointed committee deemed accurate.

It went against everything we stand for, and in fact, Alberta’s newspapers refused to abide by these partisan rules. The Edmonton Journal, about 34 years old at the time of the kerfuffle, led the fight against the Accurate News and Information Act, which was eventually deemed by the Supreme Court of Canada as unconstitutional. 

The following…

Reason #80 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Christmas in Edmonton

By Emil Tiedemann

My dad would run out into the living room in his pajamas to tell us to turn on the radio to 630 CHED whenever Jerry Forbes was about to come on with his heartwarming Christmas story, And a Creature Was Stirring

Forbes wrote and narrated the piece himself - complete with sound effects like the crunching of snow under our feet and the bellows of excited young children - about a young man with “shoulder-length hair” and “a shaggy beard” who delivers donated gifts to underprivileged families in Edmonton. 

The local radio host was inspired to write the story based on experiences from another one of his cherished projects, Santa’s Anonymous, which would provide donated Christmas toys and games to children who were less fortunate. 

“Wouldn’t it be great if there would be no needy kids...and every kid had a present...not a used present...but a brand new present,” Forbes said when a reporter asked him why he started Santa’s Anonymous. “From that modest star…