Edmonton Looks Back on 2011

The time when we come up with exciting (& exhausted) resolutions only to have them peter out is near, so 'I Heart' wanted to reflect on a year that was, apparently, pretty good for some local folks...

BY EMIL TIEDEMANN

It's almost 2012, people! Time flies way too fast, let me tell you. I remember when Alanis Morissette and Hootie & the Blowfish were the shit, and when Jennifer Lopez decided that she could sing, too. I remember the craze over the Y2K bug, Pokeman, and of course 9/11. I remember when Barack Obama became President of the United States and when Michael Jackson died. Ok, that wasn't so long ago, but wow...why does it all seem to go by so damn quickly?!

My amazing father, Robert Emil Tiedemann (1944-2011). 
I love & miss you, and am so proud to be your son!
And now, here we are...about to say goodbye to yet another year. One that was no good to me, to say the least...so good riddance! But that doesn't mean that 2011 wasn't good to others, or at least parts of it. So I wanted to ask some local well-knowns and/or well-to-dos what their favourite memories and/or experiences of 2011 were. Feel free to leave a comment below on what your own favourite memory/ experience was for the year; we'd be happy to hear from you.

Hope you enjoy the good news, and I hope that 2012 will be a good year for you, Edmonton. Thank you to all of you who participated in our lil' year-end celebration. Goodbye, 2011. RIP, Dad (I love you!).

The Question: "What was your favourite memory/ experience of 2011?"...

Darlene Adams/ artist, Artwerks By Darlene
"#1: Meeting my new little granddaughter Lilly for the first time in California and of course being with my family. #2: Getting a phone call from The Agora Gallery in New York City to show my artwork for a year, and going to New York for the opening reception. This could have only been a pipe dream for me, if it wasn't for all my wonderful friends and family who organized two fundraising events to get me there...I will always remember the love and support of sooo many people. #3: All the media coverage and wonderful media friends I have met. Thanks to CityTV, Global Edmonton, Shaw TV, The Devon Dispatch, and Alternative Trends Magazine...you are all wonderful! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone in the city of Edmonton!"

Stacey Brotzel/ news anchor, CityTV Edmonton
"I have lots of great memories related to my little girl...but those are too many to count. But one life-changing experience was a trip to the Philippines in February. I went along with a group of Castledowns volunteers who paid their way to get there. They were bringing with them old playground equipment to put up in a small village in the Philippines. They put countless hours in taking the equipment down, refurbishing it, organizing fundraisers, packing it in a container and soliciting donations of clothing and sports equipment. We all went on our own dime to this little village Gerona. No one had ever been to the Philippines. One volunteer, in his 40's, had never been out of North America and actually took his first flight just 2 years before. It made us realize how fortunate we all are. We all saw the world in a new light. Seeing real poverty first hand and not just seeing it on TV, it opened our eyes to how much work needs to be done. To be able to hear a child giggle...knowing you helped evoke that laughter...makes your day. Makes your year. I am so proud of that group...a group of everyday Edmontonians who made a difference...which is what everyone strives for in their lifetime. In fact, they got so much out of it that they are planning another playground trip. This time to Vietnam." 


CityTV news reporter Stacey Brotzel on a trip to the Philippines, where she and a group of fellow
Edmontonians delivered donated and refurbished playground equipment. 

Josh Classen/ meteorologist, CTV News
"Watching my sons learn to ride their bikes; one without training wheels, one WITH training wheels, and one on a tricycle. It was a great summer day."

Colin Close/ singer-songwriter, musician
"Being able to enjoy fall 'til December! That and all the great shows! The great people! The venues that let me tell my stories to their patrons! Oh!!! And finally finishing up my new record Confidence Trickster and releasing it on business cards instead of CDs!!!!" (Listen to the record's "One Night Girlfriend" below).

Local singer-musician Colin Close released his last record, 'Confidence Trickster,' on a business
card in 2011, and you can listen to some of it here

Daniel Costa/ professional chef, Corso 32
"I would actually say NYE 2011 at Corso. We just opened the restaurant, the pressure and stress was so high. We listened to Lou Reed-Perfect Day probably 15 times that night to calm us down. Then we finished with the entire restaurant full of my closest friends. It was amazing. I hope it is the same for 2012." 

Joe Gurba/ rapper (a.k.a. 'The Joe'), label head, Old Ugly Records
"The Old Ugly Folk Fire. A ton of us went down to our spot beside the river and had an unplugged folk show. It was glorious."

Christian Hansen/ singer, musician, Christian Hansen & the Autistics
"I think a favourite memory from 2011 was playing our last show in Edmonton at the Avenue Theatre in September. It was all ages. The kids were so excited, and going so crazy. I know for a fact that the show was some of those kids' first rock concert EVER, and that is a big-time honour. In this business it's easy to get cynical, but playing in front of 300 teenagers pretty much blows that out of the water, and lets you know that anything is possible. I always knew our band was blessed to have the local support, but until we got to Toronto, I don't think I fully understood how valuable that is. It's everything."

Christian Hansen & the Autistics played their last show in hometown Edmonton (at the
Avenue Theatre) on September 23rd before heading off to Toronto. 

Mitch Holtby/ rapper, musician
"Just recently at the Old Ugly & Friends Christmas Party Release show. As often is the case when Mikey, Joe and I perform together, things decayed into a sloppy mess of fun, terror and strained relationships." 

Vassy Kapelos/ political reporter, Global Edmonton
"I'm relatively new to Edmonton, but my favourite memory of the last year was when me Dad came to visit. We hadn't ever spent so much time together just the two of us...and it was great to show him the city that has become home. We're from Toronto--so we're not known for being open-minded--but my dad got a great impression of the city and my life here...everything from an Eskimos game to a visit to my favourite Edmonton spot: the Legislature. It was neat to see the city through someone else's eyes and great to spend time with my Dad."

Patrick LaForge/ President & CEO, Edmonton Oilers
"When City Council voted 10-3 in favour of a new downtown arena."


City Council votes 10-3 in favour of the controversial new downtown arena district Oct. 25
(Photo by Ed Kaiser, Edmonton Journal). 

Stephen Mandel/ Mayor of Edmonton (2004-)
"I'm not much of a sentimentalist when it comes to those things. I don't really pay much attention to them. I went to Israel; actually, we went twice, it was kinda fun. Met the Prime Minister, [Benjamin] Netanyahu...we enjoyed that. That's a high point."

Darryl Matthews/ musician, singer-songwriter
"My favourite memory was the two days of Open Sky Music Festival by far! An amazing weekend with great music and awesome people."

Guitar extraordinaire Darryl Matthews performed at the 2nd annual Open Sky Music Festival
this past August, a two-day event celebrating surf rock, reggae and roots music in Edmonton. 

Howie Miller/ comedian, actor, Caution: May Contain Nuts
"My birthday in July rocked...most of my friends and all my sons were there. I love it when my family is together...nothing tops that."

Layne Mitchell/ radio host, SONIC 102.9
"Ironically my favourite experience of 2011 was one most people may find to be of little consequence. However, it was a moment that renewed my faith in humanity and puts a smile on my face to this day. My wife and I were hopelessly trying to cram a large painting we'd bought into the back of her little car when a complete stranger approached us and offered to drive it to our home for free. SUPER nice! Three months later my wife and I were in my truck when we encountered a stranger in that very parking lot in the same predicament. The poor woman was frustrated to tears; the picture was too big to put in her car, but the parking lot was wet and so she couldn't even set it down. We couldn't resist offering our help, which she graciously accepted. There's no doubt in my mind she reciprocated that kindness we passed along to another fellow Edmontonian." 

Jeff Morris/ musician, singer-songwriter
"Winning the 2011 Edmonton Music Award for Best Solo Artist. I believe it was March 28th at the Haven Social Club. It felt great to get a little bit of recognition within the Edmonton music community."


Singer-songwriter Jeff Morris wins Best Solo Artist at the
first annual Edmonton Music Awards in 2011
(Photo by Christy Dean). 


Ryan Parker/ actor, comedian, musician, singer, The Be-Arthurs
"In mid-October I took a trip out east to Toronto. I was sharing a nomination for Best Ensemble, with the rest of my cast of 'Caution: May Contain Nuts, for the Canadian Comedy Awards. The entire week was a crazy whirlwind of fun with some of the closest friends I've ever had. The morning after the awards, we all shared a cab back to the Pearson Airport; my flight wasn't until very late that evening, and so I decided to make a trip I'd been meaning to take for a very, very long time. I rented a car (forking over the extra change for GPS) and drove southwest for two hours until I hit a small town called Port Colborne. Then with the help of Google, my iPhone, and a little fate, I found the place my father had been resting at for the last twenty seven years. This was my 30th birthday and my father passed away when he was 30. I didn't even realize until I walked up to his gravestone and did the math. It was a peaceful, serendipitous place. I stood there and a monarch butterfly flew by my face. My dad loved nature. He knew everything about birds. I had time so I grabbed my camera and went for a walk, to acquaint myself with my father's home. Just north of the graveyard was a bird sanctuary. My heart dropped. I walked down the road and to a small passage through some bush, which led to Reed's Bay, and found myself at the edge of the Great Lake Erie. It was a perfect day that I will remember for the rest of my life."

Ryan Parker's 'A Passage to Reed's Bay.' Ryan took this stunning photo
while visiting his father's gravesite in Ontario earlier this year. It is also a part
of a photo challenge he is embarking on, in which he posts here a photo every
day for an entire year! Good luck, Ryan!

Alison Redford/ Premier of Alberta (2011-)
"Without a doubt, my favourite memory from 2011 is the Progressive Conservative Leadership campaign. It was exhausting--and nothing short of wonderful. I had the opportunity to travel the length and breadth of the province and meet Albertans from every walk of life. Listening to them talk about their lives, hopes and dreams was truly inspirational. It gave me a real sense of Alberta's potential, and filled me with pride in our home and future. Despite the long hours, the campaign was an exhilarating experience that I will remember for the rest of my life." 


On October 1, 2011 Alison Redord was elected the first female Premier of Alberta, as leader of the
Progressive Conservative Party (Photo by Dan Riedlhuber). 

Steven Sandor/ editor, Avenue magazine
"I guess my favourite experience, in terms of covering a story, was how Avenue covered the Edmonton and Calgary investors who backstopped Kevin Smith's film, Red State. Going down to Sundance with Albertans who were behind the project was thrilling, and something that the papers were slow to pick up on."

Justina Smith/ painter, blogger, Just Little Art
"There were several. I guess the one that sticks out most at the moment is putting a call out on Twitter for fan #315 to like my Facebook fan page for my work...and then coincidentally meeting him the next day in person at the cafe when I was working...and then receiving a very lovely email from him a few weeks later when he and his wife were back home in B.C. The email was saying how he found me and my paintings and my blogging inspiring. I dig how my work is inspiring more people to either start creating their own things...or to get BACK to creating after a long hiatus due to life!"


Colin Close's "One Night Girlfriend" (2011):

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