Heat Up the Ave: 2011 Safe Streets and Night Market

My coworker (and all-around super citizen) Deborah and I headed to Heat Up the Ave: 2011 Safe Streets and Night Market after work on Wednesday. The original date in June had been rained out, so the rescheduled event made sure to have an indoor component in case of inclement weather (and, sadly for me, also meant the horse and buggy ride had to be cancelled). That turned out not to be necessary – yesterday was a gloriously hot summer night.


Heat Up the Ave

I’ve written before about my love of block parties – I think they provide fantastic opportunities for neighbours to meet and connect, especially vital for distressed and at-risk communities. In Central McDougall/Queen Mary Park, these informal gatherings have been used as a part of its revitalization strategy (Safe Streets was first held in June of last year, and the Night Market in August). As someone who works in Central McDougall, I am rooting for these initiatives to achieve their goals!



The Queen Mary Park Community Hall parking lot had been overtaken by tents featuring vendors, local businesses, non-profit organizations, and the Edmonton Police Service.


Deborah bought some bannock from the Creating Hope Society


Heat Up the Ave souvenir!

Live entertainment also helped set the tone, and I’m sure the music could be heard far down the street (that’s how block parties should be!).




It was great that a singer from Sudan was featured as well!

The community league and City of Edmonton had set up shop inside the hall, but it was clear the party was outside.


Inside the Hall

It was the perfect location for such a hot day, as a playground and spray park next to the hall were drawing many families to the area anyway. With face painting, a jumpy castle and hot dogs, kids were having a great time!


Queen Mary Park

The crowd was modest (though apparently we missed the biggest rush closer to the start of the event), but this event seemed better attended than the two last year. It was great to run into many familiar faces, and meet new ones too!


Pick-up soccer

Central McDougall will be hosting a similar event in September – here’s hoping it will be even bigger and better!

A Block Party and Policy in Old Strathcona

The advent of summer brings with it not only warm weather, but also a plethora of activities – you should never be wanting of things to do in Edmonton at this time of year! Saturday was a poster child of event overload – perhaps you ran into frantic City Chase participants, checked out either of the fabulous Royal Bison or Handmade Mafia craft shows, or learned more about public transit at the ETS Community Fair. We wanted to do it all, but with a seat at the CHG Top Chef table that night, we aimed to narrow our scope to Old Strathcona.

High Level Street Car

We should have taken the street car instead of the bus

Flowers at Old Strathcona Farmers Market

Four walls couldn’t contain the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market!

Old Strathcona Farmers Market


Mack and I love a good street festival, so while we were in the neighbourhood, had to check out the East Whyte Block Party.

East Whyte Ave Block Party

East Whyte

It definitely had the right elements – food from the ever-popular Fat Franks and Eva Sweet, art work displays, representatives from the community league, and demonstrations of athleticism from yoga practitioners and stunt bikes.

East Whyte Ave Block Party


East Whyte Ave Block Party


East Whyte Ave Block Party


It was just lacking a festive atmosphere – music to help tie it all together would have been a great addition, and perhaps more signage near the farmers’ market to help direct pedestrian traffic that way. That said, for an inaugural event, it can only grow from here. I’m looking forward to see how next year’s party develops!

We made our way back to William McIntyre Park at noon to take part in the official kick-off to the City of Edmonton’s Food and Agriculture Policy Project. It was great to see a small crowd gathered to take in the displays and be a part of the launch.

Food in the City


Mayor Mandel and Councillor Loken emphasized that this policy, which will look at everything from where citizens source their food from, to where it is processed, to how it is disposed of, is a natural fit with the direction of sustainability in The Way We Grow, The Way We Live and The Way We Green (The Way We Grow, for example, highlighted the importance of the pristine farmland in the north east of the city last year, for example).

Food in the City

Councillor Loken addresses the crowd

As with other policies, the City will be gathering public feedback to assist with its development. An online questionnaire is already available, and a forum is being planned for the fall.

Food in the City


Though it will be important that policies such as urban beekeeping and backyard chickens are thoroughly considered, I do hope other hands on ideas for sustainability, though decidedly less controversial, are also highlighted. For example, the Alberta Avenue Community League offered a series of “homesteading” workshops a while back, a great initiative that really should be happening on a larger scale. Opportunities for people to learn how to garden (in a yard or containers) and to preserve what they grow (canning, pickling, etc.) should be more common – and for most, will be a gateway into more involved forms of food production.

I look forward to learning more about the development of this policy, and am optimistic that it will help Edmonton become a leader in this area.