Showing posts from July, 2009

Ed Spot #4: The Princess Theatre

Edmonton's Independent Cinema showcases alternative films seven days a week


I know what you're thinking, that what could the Princess Theatre possibly bring to the table that's any different from all those multi-plex movie theatres sprawled throughout the city? The truth is, the Famous Players and Cineplex showrooms offer much more than the twin-screen Princess ever could, but that isn't always a good thing. Sure, the multi-plex's host like a dozen screens, can offer the IMAX experience (Scotiabank Theatre @ West Edmonton Mall), and are equipped with fancy seating areas, mini-arcades and, in one particular case, a fire-breathing dragon (again, Scotiabank), but daunting crowds, raised ticket prices (about $13-$18), and a lack of smaller, indie and foreign films are just some of the things you'll have to put up with when you walk through the doors of these giant chain theatres. But, to each his own, right?!

Much like the Garneau Theatre (8712-109 S…

Something To Do: Alberta Arts Days

Location:Myer Horowitz Theatre
Address:8900-114St. (University of Alberta)
Dates:Friday, September 18-Sunday, September 20, 2009
Hours:Doors open at 9:00AM (Friday)
Cost:Free admission

The main goal of Alberta Arts Days is to showcase the province's homegrown artists, in all formats, as well as to encourage others "to discover, experience and celebrate the arts." In addition to various community-based events scattered throughout Alberta, there will be five major flagship celebrations, including Calgary, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat and Olds. Edmonton's participation will be hosted by the Myer Horowitz Theatre at the U of A, which will be "engaging the campus community and families will be the focus during daytime celebrations with an evening performance...that will be sure to attract the pop and alternative music crowds." Click here for the specific events that will take place in E-town.

Photo Op: In the Green

Edmonton's cityscape is well-known to Albertans far and wide, but remains rather anonymous to the rest of the world, lacking any real distinctive towers synonymous with our hometown. But nonetheless, Edmonton's skyline is just as beautiful, captured here in the shadows of itself, set to a green background (just an allusion, so no worries). The downtown continues growing year after year, and is currently in the midst of fresh skyscrappers under construction, which will stand tall amongst Manulife Place, Telus House, Bell Tower and our own CN Tower. The 26-year-old, 36-floor Manulife Place is presently Edmonton's tallest structure, rising 146m into the sky.


EDvent: Capital Ex '09

The nostalgia has worn off, but Edmonton's largest festival of the year still offers up some old-fashioned fun


THE Midway isn't the same to me these days as it was when I was a kid. Many of the rides are still present, the food and drinks are still over-priced, and the vendors are just as pushy as ever. But the difference now is that I'm the adult and my patience has gone along with the days when we called the festival Klondike Days.

Today (Sunday, July 26) marks the final day of the 130th annual Capital Ex (named such since 2005), and yesterday was the first time I ventured onto the grounds of Northlands in years ($10/ Gen. Admission). The crowds were plentiful, the aura was exciting, and the heat was unavoidable--unless, of course, you slipped into the Agricom, which boasts various showcases, including an Aboriginal exhibit (Kiyanaw), an Egyptian exposè (King Tut & Egyptian Treasures), and a better-than-it-looks interactive butterfly "show" (

Did You Know? (Galaxyland)

As we all know, Edmonton is an all-season city, and that means that year-round outdoor facilities are not exactly plausible. So, we move them indoors, even if it's a full-fledged amusement park! That brings us to Galaxyland, the world's largest indoor theme park, and home to the world's tallest indoor tower ride (the 12-story Space Shot) and tallest & longest indoor roller coaster (Mindbender).

The park was established within the walls of West Edmonton Mall in 1985, and was initially known as Fantasyland. During the '90s the mall was forced to give up the Fantasyland moniker after the Walt Disney Company filed a lawsuit against the giant shopping center, as they had already copyrighted that name for one of their theme parks that had opened back in 1955. WEM obliged and officially renamed the park on Canada Day (July 1st) 1995, complete with new mascot "Cosmo."

Open 365 days a year, Galaxyland is spread over 400,000 square feet and hosts two dozen rides, in…

Something To Do: Sonic Boom Festival

Location:Northlands Grounds
Address:7410 Borden Park Rd. NW
Phone:780-451-8000 (Ticketmaster)/ 780-471-7210 (Gen. Info.)
Date:Saturday, September 5, 2009
Hours:Gates open @ 11AM
Cost:$69.50 + s/c (General)/ $102.90 + s/c (Limited VIP)

Jason Mewes ("Jay" of Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back) hosts the inaugural Sonic Boom: Edmonton's Modern Rock Festival, which will be put on by Sonic 102.9 and The Union this September. The outdoors concert will take place at the grounds of Northlands (near Rexall Place), and will feature performances by Billy Talent, Alexisonfire, Franz Ferdinand, Metric, Girl Talk, Ill Scarlett, USS, The West Secrets, and more. Tickets for the 18+ (ID's required) went on sale July 17th.

Homegrown Talent/ Nathan Fillion

Hollywood leading man refuses to forget where he came from


"I STUDIED to be a high school teacher in Edmonton, Alberta and I can't believe where I am right now," admitted television and movie actor Nathan Fillion, who still appreciates his humble roots. "I like to go home to Edmonton and visit my's beautiful, especially in the summer, so I like to try to visit in the summer more so than in the winter," he continued in an interview with

Born in Edmonton (March 27, 1971) to a pair of English teachers, Fillion attended Holy Trinity Catholic High School before studying at Concordia University of Alberta and then the University of Alberta. It was in Edmonton that he ignited his career in acting, starting with performances with local comedy troupes and productions at the world-class Edmonton Fringe Festival. But it wasn't too long before Fillian realized he needed to head south of the border to make it big, and tha…

Photo Op: The Leg

Built over a six-year period (1907-13), the Alberta Legislature Building was designed in the Ècole des Beaux Arts style by architects Allan Merrick Jeffers and Richard Blakey, who incorporated Greek, Roman and even Egyptian elements into the $4 million project. It resembles similar government buildings in the capitals of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which was a style that had originally been linked to Paris' School of Fine Arts.

Located at 10801-97 ave. (NW), the Leg serves as the seat of the 83-member Legislative Assembly of Alberta and the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta (Norman Kwong). Free tours are offered at the Edmonton staple throughout the week (780-427-7362), though most prefer to just hang out at the free "pool" and fountain outside the front doors.


Ed Spot #3: The Book Outlet

Discount book store offers something that others don't!


Tucked away just off Jasper Ave. and 103 St. is an alternative to the convenient Wee Book Inn's that are scattered throughout town, called The Book Outlet. There's no adult-only section, or an assortment of CDs, DVDs or magazines, or even one of those long-haired cats roaming the aisles, but the Outlet does offer something that Wee Book's don't, and that's a decent choice of titles in near-perfect condition, at lower prices!

According to the friendly gentleman behind the counter, testing his Solitaire skills on the computer, the books that they recieve on a daily basis are immediately discounted by at least 50% from the cover price, and many are lowered even further, to as low as a single loonie! They are able to do so because these are titles unsold by major chain outlets like Chapters and Coles Books. These "remainders" and "returns" are purchased at low costs in order …

Something to Do: Capital City Burlesque

Location:New City
Address:10081-Jasper Ave. (Paladium Building)
Phone:780-429-CLUB (2582)
Date:Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Edmonton's beloved girls of Burlesque" are returning to the New City club on Jasper Ave., as part of a show that also includes musical guests Kelly & the Kellygirls. Fishnet stockings and high heels are sure to run rampant onstage for the 18+ gig, which is just one stop on Capital City Burlesque's tour throughout Canada and the United States. Doors open at 9PM.

Did You Know? (Boston Pizza)

ALTHOUGH the name may lead you to believe otherwise, the Canadian staple of Boston Pizza was conceived right here in the city of Edmonton. Greek immigrant Gus Agioritis opened the doors to Boston Pizza & Spaghetti House back in 1964, with almost no experience in the restaurant business, but by 1970 there were 17 BP locations (15 franchised) in Western Canada.

In 1968 RCMP officer Jim Treliving (of Dragon's Den) established the first Boston Pizza franchise, in Penticton, B.C. Along with partner George Melville, Treliving was instrumental in the rise of the pizza (etc.) chain, which now has over 370 restaurants throughout North America (known as Boston's The Gourmet Pizza in the U.S.), including two in Mexico. There are currently 22 BP locations in Edmonton alone.

Ed Sports Update (The Eskimos)

Although the Edmonton Eskimos are five games into the 2009/2010 season, there's still plenty of football to be played! The green-&-gold came out victorious in three of those five games (against Saskatchewan, B.C. and Winnipeg, respectively), but took bad beats by the last two (vs, Montreal and B.C., respectively). Below is the 2009 schedule for the Esks, who are in their 50th year as part of the Canadian Football League.

Game 6Edmonton @ Saskatchewan/ Saturday, July 25 @ 2:00PM
Game 7
Montreal @ Edmonton/ Thursday, July 30 @ 7:00PM
Game 8Edmonton @ Hamilton/ Saturday, August 8 @ 4:30PM
Game 9Calgary @ Edmonton/ Thursday, August 13 @ 7:00PM
Game 10Hamilton @ Edmonton/ Saturday, August 29 @ 5:00PM
Game 11Edmonton @ Calgary/ Monday, September 7 @ 5:30PM
Game 12Calgary @ Edmonton/ Friday, September 11 @ 8:00PM
Game 13Edmonton @ Saskatchewan/ Sunday, September 20 @ 2:00PM
Game 14Saskatchewan @ Edmonton/ Saturday, September 26 @ 4:00PM
Game 15Edmonton @ Winnipeg/ Friday, October 2 @ 5:30PM

Ed Spot #2: The Billiard Club

"Live, lounge and play" at one of Whyte's most relaxed highlights


In the heart of the heart of Edmonton--the marvellously concentrated Whyte Ave.--is The Billiard Club, a lounge-slash-pool hall-slash-cafè situated on the second floor of Old Strathcona's historic (& retired) Post Office building (est. 1912). You can't miss's the only clock tower on the legendary avenue.

When you first walk into the doors of the 97-year-old structure you have the choice of continuing into Chianti's (Italian) Cafè & Restaurant, or detouring upstairs into our feature spot, which has been operating there for more than a decade now. Darkened hardwood floors and unpolished brick walls welcome you into the spacious quarters, which is actually separated (by curtains) into two areas, and topped off with a back-view patio.

A friend and I each ordered a highball ($5.50) at the double back-to-back bar before making our way to one of the tables near the wi…

Something To Do: Rexall Edmonton Indy

Location:City Centre Airport
Address:121 St. & Kingsway Ave.
Phone:780-471-7210 (Gen. Info.)/ 780-451-8000 (Tickets)
Dates:Friday, July 24-Sunday, July 26, 2009
Hours:Gates open at 11:30AM (Fri.)/ 9:30AM (Sat.)/
9:30AM (Sun.)
Cost:(3-Day Passes) $128.75 (Bronze)/ $154.50 (Silver)/ $232.00 (Gold)/ $52.50 (Paddock Pass)/ $26.25 (Pit Walk-Thru)

The fifth annual Edmonton Indy--sponsored by Rexall--is a round of the IndyCar Series held at a temporary circuit at Edmonton's City Centre Airport (near NAIT and Kingsway Garden Mall). The former Rexall Grand Prix (est. 2005) will welcome stock car superstars like Helio Castroneves, Danica Patrick and Canadian Alex Tagliani, while Canuck rocker Sam Roberts will perform during opening day. All ages are welcome to see world-class stock cars racing the 95 laps of the 3.15 km (1.96 miles) track at nearly 400 km/hr., but be sure to check out the Spectator Info tab at the official website to know what you can and can't bring to the big show.

Photo Op: Grant Mac

It was in 1971 when Edmonton opened the doors to its latest educational institution, Grant MacEwan College, at the edge of the downtown. The urban school, which now spans four city blocks, was named after Dr. John Walter Grant MacEwan (1902-2000), who once served as the University of Manitoba's Dean of Agriculture and the mayor of Calgary.

Since its inception three more Grant MacEwan campuses have opened up throughout Edmonton, in Alberta College Campus, Mill Woods Campus and the Centre for the Arts and Communication. By 2009 there were more than 70 programs offered by the schools, from one to four years of study, attended by over 40,000 students.


Homegrown Talent/ Ten Second Epic

Homegrown rockers are making waves throughout the country, but are still unable to break south of the border


"I'M hoping that we're all still happy, creative and into it," said guitarist Daniel Carriere during an interview with AWmusic, when asked where he thought he and his band would be five years from now. "If we're still making stuff I'll totally be happy, and being happy is the biggest part of it all."

At the rate Edmonton-based band Ten Second Epic is going it sounds like a sure bet, as the rockers launched their third full-length album, Hometown (Black Box Recordings), at the beginning of this year. They've also continued a steady touring schedule, playing in Canadian venues with bands like The New Cities and The Februarys, and collaborating with rising synth singer-songwriter Lights.

The pop-punk ensemble formed back in '02, made up of Carriere and Craig Spelliscy on guitar, Sandy MacKinnon on bass, Patrick Birtles on d…

July & August '09 Concerts

For those of you who wanna check out something other than another blockbuster sequel or lay down $100 at some pretentious nightclub, maybe one of the concerts below will tickle your fancy (that's right, I said it!). Over the last few years Edmonton has become one of North America's hot spots for concerts, from indie rock bands to international pop stars. Here are some of the bigger names coming to town during July and August:

July '09:
-Nazareth @ Edmonton Event Centre (8:00/ Friday, July 10)
-Jo Dee Messina @ River Cree Casino (8:00/ Sunday, July 12)
-The Proclaimers @ Century Casino (7:00/ Wednesday, July 15)
-No Doubt, Paramore @ Rexall Place (7:30/ Thursday, July 16)
-Bedouin Soundclash, DJ Eclair @ Prohibition Pub (10:30/ Thursday, July 16)*
-Akon @ Edmonton Event Centre (8:00/ Tuesday, July 21 & Friday, July 24)
-Social Distortion @ Edmonton Event Centre (7:00/ Wednesday, July 22)
-Eagles of Death Metal @ Edmonton Event Centre (8:00/ Thursday, July 23)
-Blink-182, Fall Out…

Something To Do: Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibit

Location:Royal Alberta Museum
Address:12845-102 ave.
Dates:May 17-September 17, 2009
Cost:$10 adult/$8 senior/ $7 student/ $5 youth
(free for children under six)
Hours:Daily 9AM-5PM

More than 80 award-winning photographs will be on display for another 10 weeks for the Royal Alberta Museum's presentation of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The North American premiere of the globe-treading show will offer up some of last year's most stunning photos of the world's wild animals, as well as the stories behind the images. The all-ages exhibit is sponsored by Veolia Environment, and is based out of The Natural Museum of London, England.

Photo Op: On the High Level

Since June 1913 the High Level Bridge has been connecting South Edmonton (Old Strathcona) with the downtown, spanning the North Saskatchewan River. It was erected the year after the former city of Strathcona amalgamated with Edmonton, in 1912, bridging the gap of the two municipalities.

Designed by Phillips B. Motley (of the Canadian Pacific Railway), the High Level added the "Great Divide Waterfall" (by artist Peter Lewis) in 1980. 10'6" (3.2m) above the pavement is a railway and streetcar track that still operates briefly in May (Victoria Day weekend) and October (Thanksgiving Day weekend).


Ed Spot #1: Naked on Jasper Cyber & Espresso Bar

Downtown coffee bar is subtle, but charming in its own right


When I first walked into the Naked on Jasper Cyber & Espresso Bar I certainly didn't expect a nude barista serving cappucino behind the counter. In fact, I had no idea what was within the walls of this quaint "24-hour" coffee shop, located just feet away from the avenue's Wee Book Inn.

A trio of delinquent huggers (yes, huggers!) blocked the entrance, but I managed to find my way around them and quickly noticed the long, narrow area, furnished with small circular tables, no more than a dozen computers ($6/hr./ WiFi available for $3/hr.) and a small lounge area made up of three leather sofas. The couches were conveniently placed just askew of Naked's humble stage, which boasted an acoustic guitar, keyboards and a drum kit, though the stage is apparently also shared for art shows and poetry readings.

Behind the bar was an older gentleman with silver hair pulled back into a ponytail, stir…

A Love Affair with Edmonton

To all you haters, shut up or pack up...or let us guide you through what you're missing!


I DON'T know about you, but I'm getting tired of people having nothing good to say about the city that I've come to love, a city that has so much to offer and so much to see, from the farmer's markets of downtown and Old Strathcona to the endless pathways of the tranquil river valley. Edmonton, the rightful "City of Champions," may need time to grow on you, but once it does, there's no turning back.

Endless festivals, a bustling arts community, a variety of sports recreation, and that mall that everyone seems to attach to the overall vision of Edmonton...these are amongst the many aspects that make E-town so damn special.

For all those haters who refuse to bask in the glory that Alberta's capital has evolved into, then perhaps they need to delve deeper into Edmonton's year-round offerings, or just pack up and get out, because I--and I'm s…