Blink: Parkade Party Recap

Things really came together for our Blink: Parkade Party in August. For years now, I’ve been eyeing the parkade on 104 Street just south of Jasper Avenue, wondering how we could program the space. Thankfully, Vinci Park 103 was open to our use of the rooftop, and by working with a great team, we were able to make something happen!

The decision to screen the 50s classic Grease helped to establish the carnival theme that pervaded the rest of the event. Fat Franks and Cookie Love were on hand to dole out summer treats, while DJ Thomas Scott helped us set the tone with a spirited soundtrack from the era.

Blink: Parkade Party

DJ Thomas Scott

To continue the party atmosphere, Alex of E-Town Salsa led a zumba session to great success. It was really cool to see the number of people who joined in!


We also worked with Cookie Love to host their inaugural cookie eating contest, featuring a number of Edmonton’s social media superstars. Brittney, Su and Mack were great sports, participating in a public challenge to see how many cookies they could eat in two minutes. Mack was the winner, however lightweight, winning the competition by consuming a total of three cookies.

Competitors in the Cookie Love 1st Anniversary cookie eating contest, from left: Susanne Dennis, Mack Male, and Britney Le Blanc.

Our brave competitors (photo by Alistair Henning)

Before the movie started, and during intermission, the fabulous Sugar Swing Dance Club taught the crowd Grease-inspired dance moves (I will admit now that this was somewhat inspired by a cheesy scene in The Wedding Planner, where the two romantic leads dance during a movie screening in Golden Gate Park). While our dance sequences were a little less spontaneous, they were equally inspirational!

Julie and Ben were fantastic instructors, upbeat and encouraging. Their first set involved pairs of dancers grooving to tunes of the era.

Let’s dance

At intermission, Julie and Ben led “Team Sandy” and “Team Danny” in a fun dance off. Based on the crowd’s cheers, I think it was “Team Danny” that was declared the winner.

Dancing showdown!

The main event was a screening of Grease onto the side of a parkade directly adjacent to the rooftop. With the help of Owen Brierley of Guru Digital Arts College, we were able to secure a projector that worked well in spite of the glaring parkade lights.

Blink: Parkade Party


With the help of Media Architecture Design Edmonton (MADE), we were also able to provide some park-like seating options in the form of grass tiles! They were still a bit damp from the previous night’s rain storm, but brought a pop of unexpected green to the decidedly urban surroundings.

Blink: Parkade Party

Grass tiles

We were happy with the turnout for the movie, realizing that the novelty of the screening location had something to do with it!

A big crowd stayed to watch the movie 'Grease' projected on the side of the building.

Grease is the word (photo by Alistair Henning)

As a result, we’re not certain this event can be replicated as such, but you can be sure we will always be on the lookout for underutilized spaces that have the potential to be so much more!

The event was free of charge to attend, and was only possible because of Edmonton Awesome Foundation’s seed money. The funding provided us with the opportunity to not only focus on putting on a good event open to all, but also retain our commitment to donate part of the proceeds to the Boyle Street Community ServicesDowntown Proud, a program that provides employment opportunities for formerly homeless individuals. With further sponsorship from Edmonton Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown Business Association of Edmonton, we were able to collect donations that would go straight to the cause. All told, with the generous help of those who attended, we raised over $2,100 for Downtown Proud.

We also want to thank the Downtown Edmonton Community League, Oliver Community League and Cask & Barrel for their support of Blink. We also had a number of fabulous volunteers who gave their time to help us out – thank you!

And lastly, having been involved in a variety of events and projects over the past few years, I can honestly say that it was a dream to work with Hannah McDonald and Stephanie Chai. And it wasn’t just the coincidence that our meetings always took place over wine! Thanks to you both for your creativity and endless energy – I hope our collaborative paths cross again in the future!

Blink: Parkade Party

We’re with awesome!

Blink: Parkade Party

Nearly every night, I look out my window and see the rooftop of Vinci Park 103. Empty and aglow with possibilities, I’ve been imagining how we could program the space for some time. Not all parkades are created equal, but if ever there was a parkade that was meant to moonlight as an event venue, this is it. Surrounded by high rises, the rooftop manages to feel intimate and private, in spite of the fact that it is just off of Jasper Avenue. The vantage point also offers a great view of both commercial and residential properties downtown, a snapshot of the mix that makes up this wonderful neighbourhood.

Vinci 103

Our condo as seen from Vinci Park 103

It was somewhat fortuitous that the Downtown Edmonton Community League (of which I volunteer as a Board member) happened to move into one of the vacant Vinci 103 street front locations earlier this year. That relationship lent itself to an agreement from the property management company to host an event on the rooftop space. However, without any money, the likelihood of us being able to pull something off was slim to none. Enter: Stephanie Chai and Hannah McDonald.

We saw a Make Something Edmonton post indicating interest in organizing a parkade party, so we contacted the writers behind the post. It turned out Stephanie (someone I grew up with but hadn’t connected with in some time) and her friend Hannah had secured some funding from Awesome Edmonton by proposing an idea for a parkade party fundraiser benefiting Boyle Street Community Services. We met, realized our ideas fell in line with one another, and Blink: Parkade Party was born.

WHAT: Blink: Parkade Party!
WHERE: Vinci Park 103 (10040 103 Street)
WHEN: Saturday, August 31, 2013 from 6-11pm

Vinci 103


Inspired by the drive-in organized by the Alberta Avenue Community League, we thought the evening could be based around an outdoor screening of the iconic 50s classic Grease. With a blank wall immediately south of Vinci 103, it seemed like the perfect way to highlight everything the site had to offer. To differentiate the screening from others, we introduced a dance component, and were thrilled when Sugar Swing Dance Club agreed to partner and offer Grease-inspired dance lessons prior to the screening.

Vinci 103

Blank walls make the best screens!

Rounding out the rest of the evening will be a cookie eating contest featuring a number of social media superstars including Brittney Le Blanc and Liv Vors, a Latin dance lesson by E-Town Salsa, music by DJ Thomas Scott (Urban Monks) and carnival games! Fat Franks and Cookie Love will be on hand providing carnival favourites.

We’re also excited that Media Architecture Design Edmonton (MADE) is on board and will help us transform the rooftop into a park of sorts. Grass, anyone?

We ask that you bring your own chair for the movie, and be prepared for the outdoor conditions! As well, given this is a fundraiser for Downtown Proud, a program of Boyle Street that helps keep the core clean, please bring cash to donate if you are able.

You can check out the full program schedule here. I hope to see you there!