Life in the North (Edge)

When I left my previous job, I was sad. Besides my colleagues, I would miss the area where that office was situated.

Grandin is a beautiful neighbourhood, lined with quiet streets, boulevard trees, and a picturesque mix of high rises, walkups and office buildings. Its proximity to walking trails leading down to the river valley (as well as across the river via the High Level) was a bonus, and one I am sad to say that I took advantage of all too infrequently.

The transition to my current office was a bit disconcerting at the time, shifting from the peaceful streets of Grandin to the bustling, unpredictable and sometimes dodgy thoroughfare of the Avenue of Nations (also known as the “North Edge”).

Now, almost two years later, I am happy to say I’ve embraced the North Edge: I can walk to Chinatown in five minutes, to downtown in fifteen, and to Little Italy in twenty five. And though I no longer have the serene valley landscape to look upon, Central McDougall contains its own beauty. My lunch hour walks are calming all the same, and I’ve come to appreciate what we do have.

Though we’re a long way from where Alberta Avenue is today, the City has begun a revitalization program for the area (including a $2 million dollar park facelift) and the BRZ for the area seems to be getting its act together (though this newsletter is now a year old). If momentum continues, I am optimistic this diverse community can shed its negative reputation. At the very least, I’m hoping for an annual festival that will get Edmontonians out to the neighbourhood!

Anyway, here are a few photos I snapped today on my daily stroll:

Looking for signs of spring

John A McDougall School (I heart old schools)

Central McDougall playground

Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral

Prince of Wales Armouries

Who knew I could be a glass-half-full kind of person?

Late Summer Picnic and Photowalk

Our city was blessed with an absolutely gorgeous weekend, but given our late start to the warm weather this year, I think we deserve it. Mack and I took advantage of it by finally having a picnic and a long walk in the river valley, tracing a route very similar to the one we took for our fall photo walk last year.

Downtown Edmonton

Through Louise McKinney Riverfront Park, we saw the Edmonton Queen take off with a boatload of passengers, and a number of canoes out on the North Saskatchewan.

Chinese Garden

Edmonton Queen cruising

On the other side of the connecting foot bridge, we found a shaded bench and unwrapped our lunch. We had picked up a few hot pressed sandwiches from Sobeys Urban Fresh to take along – an uptown turkey club for Mack and a chicken apple brie sandwich for me. We were surprised when we watched the deli attendant throw both sandwiches in the microwave before putting them in the panini press – the microwave was probably the cause for the chewy bread. I was looking for a bit more sweetness in the sandwich (the red chili jelly didn’t do it for me), and a lot more fresh herbs, but the apples had a nice texture and the quantity of chicken was fair.

On the foot bridge!

Our lunch

After lunch, we walked up to the Muttart Conservatory to explore the grounds. We intend to return to check out the newly-renovated pyramids sometime, but likely on a day when spending time indoors is more justifiable. We did pop our heads inside to see the new cafe, accessible to patrons without an admission fee.

Muttart Conservatory

Cafe inside the Muttart

The area surrounding the Muttart is beautiful in its own right, something neither Mack or I knew. Beds of plants, maintained by the Edmonton Horticultural Society (which celebrated its 100th anniversary this year), help celebrate some of the province’s perennial flowers, and help remind those passing by about the flora and fauna contained just beyond the glass.

Mack explores the gazebo

By one of the Muttart’s outdoor gardens

We even stumbled across a garden grown specifically for the Edmonton Food Bank (with, among other vegetables, tomatoes, cucumber and zucchini), maintained by the youth at the Yellowhead Youth Centre – too cool.

A Garden for Edmonton’s Food Bank

A sunflower in the city

Thanks for a relaxing afternoon, Mack! What did you do to take advantage of our glorious weekend?

Fall Photowalk

Greeted by a lovely autumn afternoon (there’s really nothing better than pilfering another warm day from the impending arms of winter), Mack and I decided to make the most of it outside, and took a walk. Though my intention was to lead us to Louise McKinney Park in the core’s east end, I didn’t think our meandering would last four hours! It really was a great opportunity to explore parts of the city and the valley I had never been to before, all documented on Mack’s camera.

Mack’s photo set is here, but the following are a few of my favourite shots:

Paul Kane Park (I love unexpected greenspaces downtown)

Path to Ezio Faraone Park

At the (Legislature’s) water’s edge


A nice little park

I heart gazebos (they always remind me of Stars Hollow)

Snack break at Starbucks

The view from the Shaw Conference Centre balcony


Louise McKinney Park (I’ve never been here before)


View from the end of the bridge

By the river

As these coming days may be the last few this year warm enough for a walk without bundling up, I encourage you to explore your neighbourhood – you never know what new favourites you’ll discover.