No, your eyes are not deceiving you – leaves are indeed starting to change their hue. So before this season has transformed completely into fall, here are ten ideas to help you make the most of our fleeting summer days.
Revel in Alberta’s Bounty: nothing says fresh like the outdoors, and my favourite farmers’ markets are always those in the open air, unbridled and set under a bright blue sky. There are a few outdoor markets to choose from, but there are only a few weeks remaining in their season: St. Albert runs until September 26, City Centre operates until October 10, Mill Woods closes October 1, and Callingwood wraps-up October 11. Or even better, harvest your own fall produce at a local U-pick farm.
Get Lost in a Corn Maze: a corn maze brings out the kid in all of us! Or in some cases, reverts us to the children that we were (with us, that means cheating with shortcuts, heh). The Edmonton Corn Maze presents a new challenge every year based on an event or theme prominent that year, with stunning aerial shots to prove it. Just go before the first frost hits – otherwise the mood and task are undercut by other heads bobbing above the stalks.
Visit a Warm Weather City Attraction: Fort Edmonton Park got my vote as the best of the City-run attractions even before they added the wonderfully charming 1920s midway. It’s only fully open until September 27. Or, take a walk down to visit the fun (and free!) John Walter Museum.
Do as the Tourists Would: I wrote about a few sample itineraries last year to help people explore some remarkably walkable parts of Edmonton, and included notable things to check out along the way, as well as places to stop for sustenance. The tours are meant to be done on foot, and it’s infinitely less burdensome to do so while still warm out!
Picnic in the River Valley: one of Edmonton’s most talked-about attractions probably gets used the least by locals who end up admiring it from afar. Break the pattern – head to the Italian Centre to pick up some fresh bread, meats, cheeses and a couple of cold drinks, and have a picnic down by the river – at Louise McKinney Park, perhaps?
Enjoy a Canopied Boulevard: one particular Pecha Kucha speaker about tree-lined streets stuck with me. It was about boulevard aesthetics, and how the age of an area can be estimated based on the height and canopy development of its trees. After the presentation, I began to really notice the trees, and how far the deciduous awning stretched, and started to appreciate their shade functionality, character, and beauty. Consider visiting one of Edmonton’s older neighbourhoods, such as Riverdale, Garneau or Oliver, and enjoy the canopies – while they last.
Play Outdoors: how about go-kart racing at Whitemud Amusement Park? Paddleboating at Hawrelak Park? Or a round of mini-golf at Rundle Park? If anything, outdoor amusements are a fun way to break the usual weekend routine before huddling around a fire becomes the norm.
Take a Photowalk: the idea is simple – put on a comfortable pair of shoes, grab your camera, choose a course and take photos along the way. It’s not the destination or even the location that’s important, but what you capture en route. It’s guaranteed you will discover something new about a familiar neighbourhood, or begin to appreciate the small things that have been previously overlooked.
Dine Al Fresco: while our patio season is extended with those ubiquitous space heaters, I find it’s always a nicer meal when the weather naturally allows for al fresco dining. Before the chill breaks, hit up your favourite patio, or try a new one – how about brunch at the New York Bagel Café, dessert at Vi’s for Pies, or dinner on Hotel MacDonald’s stunning balcony? Heck, just grab a hot dog at a Fat Franks stand.
People Watch: a past time on it’s own accord, pick a bench or a sidewalk patio, and watch the world go by. The days might be getting shorter, but we can fool ourselves a little longer.
Enjoy the last weekend in August!