It was a blustery day for the grand opening of Edmonton’s two newest LRT stations, Southgate and Century Park, not unlike a year ago when McKernan/Belgravia and South Campus first opened to the public.
To Century Park!
Mack and I attended the two ceremonies this morning, complete with government dignitaries, obligatory speeches, and celebratory bagpipes. It was obvious Mayor Mandel was proud and excited about the completion, and ever-keen to share the success with his fellow City Council members. He also acknowledged the patience of those who live in the area, triumphantly declaring that construction was now over! And though Premier Stelmach didn’t specifically announce any funding dollars today, he did indicate that he is keen on working with local officials to continue with the LRT expansion.
Mayor Mandel, flanked by the rest of City Council, and Premier Ed Stelmach
It was good to see plenty of people out in spite of the early start and the cold, at both Southgate and Century Park. By the time we left the event, quite the mass of people had gathered at the Community Fair.
The crowd at Southgate
Possibly the best thing about the two new stations are the electronic signs, which tell travelers when the next train will be arriving – technology that has been a long time coming to Edmonton. There is also some interesting art at the Century Park station, huge visually appealing multi-coloured globes suspended from the ceiling.
What I was most looking forward to today, besides seeing the new stations, was the Community Fair. I have attended a few incarnations of it – a conference two years ago, and last year’s family-friendly fair that tied into the McKernan/Belgravia and South Campus opening ceremonies. This year’s event seemed to be forward-looking, eager to introduce citizens to the benefits of conveniently connecting more communities by train.
ETS Community Fair
We wandered between the ETS displays, free food tents and transportation displays, and wished that the band had been scheduled to start performing as soon as the opening ceremonies were done, as the weather-induced grey atmosphere definitely needed some livening up. That said, people seemed to enjoy themselves all the same.
Cupcake from Cakes by Trina
Mack with Punter
In anticipation of May 15, the first day of the City Centre Market, a dozen vendors, including Medicine Man Bison, Prairie Mills Bread and Walden West Food set up shop at Century Park as well, hoping to let area residents know that they are now easily connected to fresh, local goods and produce.
Get ready for the City Centre Market
Me and Maria
Potatoes from Greens, Eggs and Ham
Delectable sweet and savoury treats from Queen of Tarts
Preserves from Col’s Kitchen Delights
To end our LRT tour today, we returned north to deVine Wines, located at Bay/Enterprise Square. DeVine’s was pouring free bubbly to celebrate the new stations – how could we turn such an offer down?
I was hoping more businesses along the rail line would participate in a similar manner, and to use the grand opening as a means of exposing their business to would-be customers, but perhaps that was too much to hope for. Regardless, I am eager to test out the full extension on a regular day away from the fanfare. Hurrah for more improvements to our public transportation system!