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Reason #81 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

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Avenue, VUE Weekly & The Journal

By Emil Tiedemann

Freedom of the press is an important part of how we live here in Canada. It’s a democratic right in our country, but a mere pipe dream for many other regions around the world. That freedom was suddenly threatened here in Alberta some eight decades ago, by our very own then Premier William Aberhart and his Social Credit government, which passed the infamous Accurate News and Information Act in 1937. 

This statute required all newspapers to divulge their sources on the demand of the government, and forced them to print “clarifications” of stories that a government-appointed committee deemed accurate.


It went against everything we stand for, and in fact, Alberta’s newspapers refused to abide by these partisan rules. The Edmonton Journal, about 34 years old at the time of the kerfuffle, led the fight against the Accurate News and Information Act, which was eventually deemed by the Supreme Court of Canada as unconstitutional. 

The following…

Reason #80 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

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Christmas in Edmonton

By Emil Tiedemann

My dad would run out into the living room in his pajamas to tell us to turn on the radio to 630 CHED whenever Jerry Forbes was about to come on with his heartwarming Christmas story, And a Creature Was Stirring

Forbes wrote and narrated the piece himself - complete with sound effects like the crunching of snow under our feet and the bellows of excited young children - about a young man with “shoulder-length hair” and “a shaggy beard” who delivers donated gifts to underprivileged families in Edmonton. 


The local radio host was inspired to write the story based on experiences from another one of his cherished projects, Santa’s Anonymous, which would provide donated Christmas toys and games to children who were less fortunate. 

“Wouldn’t it be great if there would be no needy kids...and every kid had a present...not a used present...but a brand new present,” Forbes said when a reporter asked him why he started Santa’s Anonymous. “From that modest star…

Reason #79 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

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The Shopping

By Emil Tiedemann

When its Christmastime in Edmonton, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to where to get your holiday shopping done. All year round, there’s an abundance of places offering up everything from the international brand name fashions to trinkets hand-made by local artisans. 

Edmonton is home to more than a dozen shopping centres, including North America’s largest, West Edmonton Mall. On the opposite side of the city is South Edmonton Common, the largest retail power centre in the country, with more than 150 shops & services spread over 320 acres. 



Other folks prefer to hit up some of the smaller centres to spend their hard-earned dollars, like Kingsway, Southgate, Londonderry, City Centre, Northgate, or Mill Woods Town Centre, home to all the famous brands we’ve come to love or hate. 

For Edmontonians who have a flare for indie or local, they’ll likely head down to Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona, the downtown 4th Street Promenade, or High Street just …

Reason #78 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

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The Nonprofits

By Emil Tiedemann

My parents had to raise four kids on next to nothing at times, and so making ends meet was often a struggle when we were growing up. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been, but I certainly appreciate it now. 

I remember there were times when we had to head over to a nearby church to grab groceries to get us through the next week or two. At the time, I had no idea why a church was handing out bags of food, and why we were so lucky. I know now that it was all part of the Edmonton Food Bank program, the first of its kind in the entire country! Without it, what would we and thousands of other hungry or even starving Edmontonians had done?! 



That’s the spirit of Edmonton though - giving, supporting, lending a helping hand wherever and whenever it is needed, without asking for anything in return. It’s that spirit that has formed countless nonprofit groups, organizations, and programs for the underprivileged, serving the community and ensuring that all l…

Reason #77 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

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Art Gallery of Alberta

By Emil Tiedemann

Shortly before the brand new Art Gallery of Alberta opened to the public on January 31, 2010, myself and a group of fellow bloggers were treated to a private tour of the unconventional structure designed by late architect Randall Stout



We climbed the incurved stairway - aligned with a blue flare and winding steel walls - to the second floor, where we had a better look at the ceiling that fraternized with a surging landscape of precisely-squared windows. On the outside of the glass, snow had collected, an intentional portrait that, like other aspects of the design, can alter how we see the gallery at various states of the day and of the seasons. 

We made our way to the third floor and outside terrace before the group convened in the gallery’s basement, though you couldn’t tell that it was a basement by its sleek walls made up of domestic Douglas-fir, floors of maple wood, and classrooms set up to teach aspiring artists the tricks of the trade. The…

Reason #76 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

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The Quarters

By Emil Tiedemann

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…

Reason #75 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

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Edmonton Public Library

By Emil Tiedemann

Only West Edmonton Mall gets more visitors on an annual basis than the 18 Edmonton Public Libraries combined, at more than 14 million people! They borrowed well-over 10 million books, CDs, DVDs, and magazines from the EPL - which has a entire collection of some 17 million items - while about 350,000 folks participated in some 14,000 library-run programs. 


Those are some pretty impressive numbers, stats that have led to dozens of awards since 2010, including Library Journal’s 2014 Library of the Year, the first time a Canadian library was ever chosen. But, the century-old EPL has been pioneering public services for many decades now, like in 1941 when they were the first North American library to offer a bookmobile! 

In 1979, the EPL became Canada’s first library to install an integrated, computerized circulation system, and in 2007 it was the first urban library in the country to implement RFID technology. The following year, the EPL applied “an in…