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, château-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…
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…
There’s a #foodie revolution happening in Edmonton, just ask any of the growing number of food bloggers and social media gluttons online. They’ve been pretty busy telling us about the delectable delights that are all of a sudden all over town, as exciting new cafes and eateries pop up mostly - but not exclusively - in the downtown and Old Strathcona regions.
The culinary scene in Edmonton has finally earned some respect and is no longer just that place where big U.S. franchises come to test the waters before expanding throughout the rest of the country. Nope, we’ve evolved into something kind of like the Portland or Atlanta of Canada, this sort of overlooked market for emerging chefs and their maverick menus.
To be honest, I can drink a cup of coffee from just about anywhere, but there’s no denying that some places simply serve up superior brews. Just as Edmonton’s culinary scene matures and expands, so does its coffee landscape, broadening local bean buffs’ alternatives to include more than the ubiquitous Starbucks or Timmy’s.
There are java joints offering up specialty coffees and tasty cafe cuisine in virtually every corner of the city, from the Burrow in the downtown Central LRT station to the Carrot on Alberta Avenue. Some of the “older” shops have even grown into local franchises, like Transcend, Credo, or the Remedy Cafe, all with multiple locations around town.
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…