Being part of a community is fundamental, plain and simple. It doesn’t necessarily matter what community you’re a part of, but rather that you’re a part of something bigger than just yourself, whether it be a church congregation, a member of a sports team, or even a group of teenaged fanboys who get together once a week at the local comic book store.
You’re part of a social unit with common interests and values, and perhaps a united goal or ambition, sharing struggles and triumphs along the way. Community leagues are no different, as residents of a certain neighbourhood or region come together to converse over unique issues and concerns they face as a whole.
These leagues address problems that plague their neighbourhoods, provide services like recreational opportunities, and keep their neighbours informed and up-to-date on what’s happening in their community, often acting in concert with local churches, schools, or some sort of political or recrea…
I lay back on my seat sipping on bourbon and letting my ears fill up with the soothing sounds of the Delta blues, while the sun blares down on my bare chest and the swooshing of the riverboat sets me at ease.
Okay, perhaps I’m just recalling a chapter from Huckleberry Finn, but the Edmonton Queen Riverboat is the next best thing. And although we’re nowhere near the Mississippi, the North Saskatchewan is a beautiful alternative.
Since the summer of 1996, the 170-foot Edmonton Queen has been floating along the riverbank of the North Saskatchewan (usually between Walterdale Bridge and Capilano Bridge), offering up views of our picture-perfect river valley, the downtown skyscape, and other Edmonton landmarks along the way.
You can climb aboard for a few drinks, perhaps a buffet dinner, or even a wedding reception with up to 375 guests. Even when the Queen is docked - due to weather or low river levels - they’re throwing epic parties celebrating everythin…
If you don’t go downtown on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you have no idea what “the Quarters” is. I frequent the downtown, and yet I had no recollection of the City working on such a game-changing project, until years after plans commenced.
When you think about the actual scale of this enterprise, it’s surprising how it has sort of flown under the radar for many, perhaps most Edmontonians. It is 100 acres of urban space on the eastern edge of the downtown that will be transformed over the next 10-20 years into five distinct precincts, all within walking distance of the natural amenities of the river valley.
Between 92nd & 97th Streets and 103A & Jasper Avenues, the area will be converted into the pedestrian-friendly and environmentally-sustainable Quarters, split into the Civic, Five Corners, Heritage, and McCauley Quarters, and then linked by the Armature district.
The City’s plan is to turn this ignored inner-city region - known so long…
It seemed like an eternity since the Oilers had qualified for the playoffs, let alone bring home that ever-elusive Stanley Cup. But, Edmonton is a hockey town and we’ll support our team no matter how much they “suck” at times.
Fortunately, with some new management, a streak of #1 draft picks (namely Connor McDavid!), and a brand new arena on the horizon, the Oilers began to turn things around by the start of the 2015-16 season, a quarter of a century since their last of five Stanley Cup wins.
However, it didn’t last long. In the meantime, if we wanted some good local hockey, many of us turned elsewhere. The Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings made sure we remembered what hockey was all about, and why we were still the “City of Champions,” despite the Oilers’ and the Eskimos’ lengthy losing streaks.
In 2012, our Oil Kings were victors of the WHL Championship, made the finals the following season, and then won it again in 2014. That same year, they d…
I’ll admit it, I choked up singing along to “No One Needs to Know” at the 2015 Shania Twain concert at Northlands’ Rexall Place. Judge me all you want, I don’t care! I couldn’t help it, after all...I had some sort of weird gay crush on Shania when she was one of the world’s superstars back in the ‘90s.
I knew all of her songs by heart and I knew everything there was to know about the Canadian icon, and now there I was, singing her lyrics right alongside her to a glowing audience tipsy on expensive booze and the sounds of their high school days.
But that certainly wasn’t the only time I stood in the aisles of Rexall belting out to the songs of one of my favourite singers or bands. Nope, it all stemmed back to when I was 12 years old and went to the Paula Abdul concert with my buddy Peter. Again, judge me all you want, it doesn’t phase me! It was one of the fondest memories I have of growing up.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to see everyone from Jay-Z and Ti…