“Driving to work listening to CBC, you get the sense that people here [in Edmonton] seem to have a larger, more established appreciation for the arts,” saxophonist Ian Smith told the Calgary Herald a few years back. The Calgary-born musician moved to Edmonton shortly before he made his observation, which seems to be a similar experience for many newbie Edmontonians.
There is a profusion of innovative and thought-provoking artists of all capacities throughout Edmonton, pouring their hearts and souls out into paintings on the cafe walls, sculptures in the parks and plazas, or murals on the sides of historic buildings. Anything is a canvas here and there’s no shortage of talented maestros ready to transform whatever it is you got, from electrical boxes to back alleys.
Some of Canada’s most praised and applauded painters, photographers, sculptors, illustrators, and designers hail from Edmonton, where there’s an abundance of year-round festivals (Nextfest, Art W…
“Edmonton was still very much a frontier city with many inhabitants living in the roughest of shelters, in tents and wooden shacks,” wrote former Alberta Legislative Assembly Speaker Moragh Macauley in an article celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Legislature Building, in 1987. “The population of the province was, for the main part, made up of homesteaders, recent immigrants who had come to settle the land and make new lives for themselves.”
It was the turn of the century and Edmonton had just been declared the capital of Alberta, shortly after it was incorporated as an actual city. The first provincial legislative session happened in 1906 at the Thistle Rink, which happened to be the largest building in the whole town at that point.
Future sessions took place at the MacKay Avenue School (1906-08) and then at a hall in the government-owned Terrace Building (1908-11), until the Duke of Connaught - then Governor General of Canada - offici…
I think that the rest of Canada is finally beginning to realize just how much of a theatre-centric town Edmonton really is, although theatre-loving locals have been well aware for decades now. Every single week in Edmonton there are amateur and professional actors, comedians, dancers, musicians, and improvisationalists taking to one of the many stages around town to entertain us through some form of theatre. And although we couldn’t name them all, here are some of the best theatre, dance, and comedy troupes in all of Edmonton. #yegtheatre
CAPITAL CITY BURLESQUE/ Edmonton’s premiere burlesque dance troupe has been voted our city’s “Best Burlesque Show” for several years now, entertaining locals with their Rockettes-inspired kick lines, their revealing and glamorous outfits, and their themed performances - everything from Santa Claus to Star Wars. Registered as a not-for-profit organization, the troupe has also performed at local festivals, private events, and …
I envy the nighttime streets of Austin and Nashville, lit up with neon signs welcoming visitors into local bars and shops. There’s just something about those colourful beacons that makes us want to head downtown and listen to loud live music and swallow copious amounts of beer and whiskey, and eventually shots of cheap tequila.
Okay, maybe it’s just me! Whatever the case, one of my favourite public art installations is the Neon Sign Museum on the corner of 104th and 104th, where glowing signage from Edmonton’s past are put out to pasture. When it first went up on February 21, 2014, it was the first of its kind in Canada, made up of a dozen rotating pieces, including Cliff’s Auto Parts, XL Furniture, Mike’s News, W.W. Arcade, and the Pantages Theatre.
And the City couldn’t have chosen a better spot to display these historic signs, situated across the street from Ice District and the Mercer Building, near the 104th Street Promenade. #neonyeg