Reason #45 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Shaw Conference Center

By Emil Tiedemann

My friend Cindy introduced me to donairs back in the day, and so I owed her in a big way! If you like donairs, then you know what I’m talking about. That just might have been the reason why I agreed to cancel my New Year’s plans and join her for the very last Big Sugar concert before they called it quits (until reuniting in 2010, that is). 

That was December 31, 2003, and the Shaw Conference Centre was already 20 years old. That was the first time I had ever been to the Shaw, this strange - but in a good way - looking structure dangling on the side of the river valley in downtown Edmonton. 

That night, I got drunk, Cindy met some guy, and I scarfed down two - yes, two - donairs by the time I made it home on the LRT. It was a good night, overall. 

The Shaw is one of the premier venues for trade shows, festivals, concerts, galas, luncheons, conventions, awards shows, and of course, conferences, including some of our most favourite annuals: the Edmonto…

Reason #44 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Alberta Avenue

By Emil Tiedemann

Every city has that area of town in which they tend to avoid, because it’s got that...reputation. You know what I’m talking about. For so many years, 118th Avenue has carried that burden, a neighbourhood that was stricken with higher levels of crime and poverty, which always seem to go hand in hand. 

But, that was then and this is now, and now things are better...a lot better, depending on who you ask. In fact, it’s not even called 118th anymore, going back to it’s original name, Alberta Avenue (between 109th Street & Wayne Gretzky Drive), after nearly a century as 118th. 

Sure, there are still pawn shops and cheque-cashing joints “plaguing” the area, but Alberta Avenue has long evolved from just that, thanks to some dedicated locals who want to prove to the rest of Edmonton that this isn’t such a bad neighbourhood after all. 

A revitalization plan has seen plenty of positive outcomes so far, such as shop owners reinvesting in their infrastructure, flow…

Reason #43 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

City of Champions

By Emil Tiedemann

I wonder how many students who attend J. Percy Page High School actually know who their school’s namesake was. Before he had a school named after him, before he worked as a high school principal, and way before he served as the eighth Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Mr. Page coached perhaps the most winningest team in the history of North American sports! 

Actually, the Edmonton Grads - out of the then new McDougall High School - still hold the record for the best winning percentage of all time (96.2%), for any team in any sport! Between 1915 and 1940, the all-female basketball team lost just 20 times, and won 502 of their matches, even sweeping four consecutive Olympic Games (1924-36) and pummeling their opponents 1,863 to 297, overall. 

So, before the Eskimos, before the Oilers, and way before the Oil Kings, the Grads warranted our “City of Champions” epithet. More importantly, these young women were from Edmonton, not traded here. They grew up here, …

Reason #42 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Borden Park

By Emil Tiedemann

It’s kind of like this little forest in the middle of the city, 22 hectares of greenscape situated in between 112th Avenue and the Northlands compound. And even though it’s more than a century old, you probably wouldn’t even know about it if not for some Tweet or Instagram of what’s got to be the sweetest toilet in all of Edmonton, the Borden Park Pavilion. 

In 2014, a $9 million restoration of the northside Borden Park, one of the oldest green spaces in the city, was completed. It included the installation of the eye-catching pavilion, sidewalks and benches, picnic tables and fountains, revolving art pieces, a formal garden, and a playground that looks like something right out of The Flintstones

Named after former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Laird Borden (who visited Edmonton in 1914), the park was first established in 1906 (as East End City Park) and was actually the original home of the Edmonton Zoo and even a fairground from 1915 to 1935, as well…

Reason #41 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Hotel Macdonald

By Emil Tiedemann

When a monarch, a world leader, or an international rock star happens to stroll through town, it’s usually a safe bet that they’ll be put up at the 11-storey, 199-room Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in the downtown. 

And when they do, you can be sure that they’ll be lodging in the $3000 a night Queen Elizabeth II “Royal” Suite, the grandest of them all. It is built on two levels, and includes a spacious living room and foyer, a dining room and kitchen, two bedrooms, three bathrooms, and the “royal” treatment. 

The Mac, as it has become known to locals, is as extravagant as it gets in Edmonton, a four diamond, ch√Ęteau-style luxury hotel overlooking the breathtaking river valley, along the buzzing Jasper Avenue. Named after our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, this iconic landmark took four years to construct, opening for the first time on July 5, 1915 as “the centre of Edmonton’s social life.” 

In 1985, Hotel Macdonald became the first building in tow…

Reason #40 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Winspear Centre

By Emil Tiedemann

Dr. Francis G. Winspear was born in Birmingham, England in 1903, but by the time he was eight years old he had moved with his family to a hamlet just outside of Calgary. He eventually made his way north to Edmonton, where he studied accounting at the University of Alberta in the 1920s. By the ‘40s, Winspear had the top accounting firm in his adopted hometown. 

His success benefited many local organizations and charitable foundations, and Winspear also made significant contributions to the University’s Faculty of Business. He even helped to found the Edmonton Symphony Society in 1952 and then the Edmonton Opera in 1963. In fact, his $6 million gift to the Edmonton Concert Hall Foundation was this country’s largest single private donation ever made to a performing arts facility. 

That money spearheaded the construction of the Francis G. Winspear Centre for Music - or simply the Winspear - which opened on September 12, 1997, just eight months after the proli…

#yeg Video of the Month/ June '17

Ruth B.'s "Superficial Love" (2017) Directed by Alison Honey Woods (from album Safe Haven