52 Reasons to Love Edmonton

Never mind the mall or our hockey heritage, Jennifer Fong discovers plenty of other excuses to heart Edmonton

BY EMIL TIEDEMANN

ON July 11, 2009, about a week after I started blogging 'bout why I Heart Edmonton so damn much, the Edmonton Journal's Jennifer Fong (pictured below center) had made it her mission to do the same.

"People who come here already know about the largest mall in North America," wrote Fong, who actually hails from Toronto. "They already know that we claim hockey legend Wayne Gretzky as our own. They know we love our festivals so much that we branded ourselves Festival City.

"But what about the little things? You know, the things that only people who live here know about. The moments that make us sigh a little and think, 'this is beautiful'."

That's why Fong accepted the "challenge" of coming up with "52 Reasons to Love Edmonton," a year-long love affair that had the reporter discover one reason every single week, and then publishing her findings in the Saturday edition of the Journal.

From people watching on Whyte Avenue to Dancing Dan, Fong shed a weekly spotlight on the blurred and perhaps under appreciated specialties that we take for granted or were completely unaware of.

Our favourite 'Reason,' of course, was 'Reason 29: Engaged online communities'! Can you blame us?



And now that the year-long journey has come to an end, you can click here to vote for the top five reasons why we love Edmonton. Plus, all who vote are eligible to win the "52 Reasons to Love Edmonton Contest," a grand prize that includes a pair of tickets to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (August 4th, 5th AND 6th) and a commemorative deck of "52 Reasons" playing cards. Not to mention a meet & greet with Fong herself.

The contest deadline is 11:59PM on Monday, August 2, and winners will be contacted by the following day. You must be at least 18 years of age to enter.

Here are Fong's "52 Reasons to Love Edmonton":

Reason 1: "Central Tire"
Reason 2: "Listening to former Canadian Idol contestant Martin Kerr at the downtown farmers market"
Reason 3: "Bunnies"
Reason 4: "Long days"
Reason 5: "Twilight on Gallagher Hill during the Folk Fest" (pictured right)
Reason 6: "The River Valley Stairs"
Reason 7: "Die-Nasty"
Reason 8: "Everyone knows the Edmonton Eskimos Fight Song"
Reason 9: "Free parking after 6PM"
Reason 10: "Alexander Circle"
Reason 11: "The Magic Spot at the Alberta Legislature"
Reason 12: "Weird weather"
Reason 13: "The LRT line between Grandin and University Stations"
Reason 14: "Driving up Gateway Boulevard after a long trip away from home"
Reason 15: "Sherbrooke Liquor Store"
Reason 16: "Proximity to northern lights"
Reason 17: "People take Halloween really seriously"
Reason 18: "Magpies"
Reason 19: "Cinnamon buns at the Sugar Bowl"
Reason 20: "Pyramid power"
Reason 21: "Mountain Biking"
Reason 22: "Victoria Promenade"
Reason 23: "Windows on downtown office buildings"
Reason 24: "Candy Cane Lane"
Reason 25: "Shaw Cable's fire log channel"
Reason 26: "Bragging rights"
Reason 27: "Refined tastes"
Reason 28: "Open boundary school system"
Reason 29: "Engaged online communities" (pictured right)
Reason 30: "Skating at Hawrelak Park"
Reason 31: "Riding the LRT after the Oilers win at Rexall Place"
Reason 32: "Dancing Dan"
Reason 33: "Living around a giant, built-in toboggan hill"
Reason 34: "Park poetry"
Reason 35: "BioWare"
Reason 36: "Genius graffiti"
Reason 37: "Whitemud Equine Centre"
Reason 38: "Endless dog parks"
Reason 39: "We take trash seriously"
Reason 40: "Free Wi-Fi"
Reason 41: "Top Ukrainian dancers"
Reason 42: "Art for Lunch"
Reason 43: "Room to stretch"
Reason 44: "More wildlife than you can see from Highway 16 driving to Jasper"
Reason 45: "Short traffic jams"
Reason 46: "Summertime on the High Level Bridge"
Reason 47: "Tasty tap water"
Reason 48: "Fort Edmonton Park"
Reason 49: "People-watching on Whyte Avenue"
Reason 50: "Poplar fluff showers"
Reason 51: "The ability to effect change"
Reason 52: "You"

Below is a video clip featuring the beautiful Jennifer Fong and some of her cohorts coming up with imaginative ways to use your free deck of "52 Reasons" playing cards, which you can purchase here (or call 780-429-5580).


PHOTOS NO.2-3 BY JOHN LUCAS (EDMONTON JOURNAL)
PHOTO NO.4 BY RYAN JACKSON (EDMONTON JOURNAL)

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