“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…
For most Edmontonians, downtown is a place for weekend drinks and dancing, for dinner at high-end restaurants, coffee at trendy cafes, gleaming office and condo towers, or markets with fresh produce and locally-made crafts.
For others, downtown is despair and discouragement. It means sleeping on park benches and in alleyways, dragging their things around in abandoned shopping carts, belittled by passersby and threatened by others who are also so far below the poverty line that we couldn’t possibly imagine putting ourselves in their worn-out shoes.
Many of the people who we see on the streets in these conditions have or have had problems with drugs, alcohol, gambling, or all three, though not everyone who is considered “homeless” in Edmonton has substance abuse issues.
Some are folks who have recently moved to the city and couldn’t find or hold onto a job; some are youth who were not welcome at home anymore because they came out of the c…
“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…
The What/ "In celebration of Frank & Oak's fifth anniversary, the Montreal-based brand is bringing its community together in local Canadian markets. We wanted to invite you to the brand's upcoming Edmonton fête. Please join us next week in a perfect prelude to the long weekend, where we'll toast to this innovative and always-fashionable Canadian brand." This casual get-together will include drinks, gifts, and the ultimate Canadian comfort food, poutine!
The When/ Tuesday, July 18 (6 - 11PM)
The Where/ The Black Dog Freehouse (10425 Whyte Avenue)
Considered “the bedrock of jazz venues in Canada,” the legendary Yardbird Suite, along Tommy Banks Way in Old Strathcona (since 1984), is the country’s oldest jazz club. Run entirely by dedicated volunteers, the Yardbird has a legacy of jazz music stemming all the way back to March 23, 1957, when a group of local musicians opened the original club on Whyte Avenue and 104th.
Ken Chaney, Neil Gunn, Terry Hawkeye, Garry Nelson, Ron Repka, and Ray & Zen Magus knew they had something special here when they founded the Yardbird in a town not exactly known for its jazz scene. They named the venue after Charlie Parker’s 1946 bebop standard “Yardbird Suite,” which itself derives from Parker’s own nickname “Bird.”
Although the great Parker never played the Yardbird (he died two years before it opened), plenty of jazz greats have taken to the stage at one of the Yardbird’s four incarnations, including Nat King Cole, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Don Cherry, …