It’s kind of like this little forest in the middle of the city, 22 hectares of greenscape situated in between 112th Avenue and the Northlands compound. And even though it’s more than a century old, you probably wouldn’t even know about it if not for some Tweet or Instagram of what’s got to be the sweetest toilet in all of Edmonton, the Borden Park Pavilion.
In 2014, a $9 million restoration of the northside Borden Park, one of the oldest green spaces in the city, was completed. It included the installation of the eye-catching pavilion, sidewalks and benches, picnic tables and fountains, revolving art pieces, a formal garden, and a playground that looks like something right out of The Flintstones!
Named after former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Laird Borden (who visited Edmonton in 1914), the park was first established in 1906 (as East End City Park) and was actually the original home of the Edmonton Zoo and even a fairground from 1915 to 1935, as well…
When a monarch, a world leader, or an international rock star happens to stroll through town, it’s usually a safe bet that they’ll be put up at the 11-storey, 199-room Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in the downtown.
And when they do, you can be sure that they’ll be lodging in the $3000 a night Queen Elizabeth II “Royal” Suite, the grandest of them all. It is built on two levels, and includes a spacious living room and foyer, a dining room and kitchen, two bedrooms, three bathrooms, and the “royal” treatment.
The Mac, as it has become known to locals, is as extravagant as it gets in Edmonton, a four diamond, château-style luxury hotel overlooking the breathtaking river valley, along the buzzing Jasper Avenue. Named after our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, this iconic landmark took four years to construct, opening for the first time on July 5, 1915 as “the centre of Edmonton’s social life.”
In 1985, Hotel Macdonald became the first building in tow…
I wonder how many students who attend J. Percy Page High School actually know who their school’s namesake was. Before he had a school named after him, before he worked as a high school principal, and way before he served as the eighth Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Mr. Page coached perhaps the most winningest team in the history of North American sports!
Actually, the Edmonton Grads - out of the then new McDougall High School - still hold the record for the best winning percentage of all time (96.2%), for any team in any sport! Between 1915 and 1940, the all-female basketball team lost just 20 times, and won 502 of their matches, even sweeping four consecutive Olympic Games (1924-36) and pummeling their opponents 1,863 to 297, overall.
So, before the Eskimos, before the Oilers, and way before the Oil Kings, the Grads warranted our “City of Champions” epithet. More importantly, these young women were from Edmonton, not traded here. They grew up here, …
To be honest, I can drink a cup of coffee from just about anywhere, but there’s no denying that some places simply serve up superior brews. Just as Edmonton’s culinary scene matures and expands, so does its coffee landscape, broadening local bean buffs’ alternatives to include more than the ubiquitous Starbucks or Timmy’s.
There are java joints offering up specialty coffees and tasty cafe cuisine in virtually every corner of the city, from the Burrow in the downtown Central LRT station to the Carrot on Alberta Avenue. Some of the “older” shops have even grown into local franchises, like Transcend, Credo, or the Remedy Cafe, all with multiple locations around town.
There’s a #foodie revolution happening in Edmonton, just ask any of the growing number of food bloggers and social media gluttons online. They’ve been pretty busy telling us about the delectable delights that are all of a sudden all over town, as exciting new cafes and eateries pop up mostly - but not exclusively - in the downtown and Old Strathcona regions.
The culinary scene in Edmonton has finally earned some respect and is no longer just that place where big U.S. franchises come to test the waters before expanding throughout the rest of the country. Nope, we’ve evolved into something kind of like the Portland or Atlanta of Canada, this sort of overlooked market for emerging chefs and their maverick menus.