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Edmonton

#SHOPCANADA

Photo courtesy Press + Post

The shop local movement has expanded in Edmonton in an exciting way! An entire wing of Londonderry Mall, called the #ShopCanada Runway, is now dedicated to Alberta-based retailers in support of the local economy and fashion industry. Among the eight new stores is the first-ever PARKSHOP—whose team started at a Calgary pop-up market and highlights Canadian designers—as well as Edmonton-based shops Opulence, Step In Shoes, and LemonDress.

Londonderry Mall | 137 Ave. & 66 St. | 780-476-1441

Ask The Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (November/December 2017)

Nella-Blog

Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios.

We asked Edmonton expert and Les Clefs d’Or Nella Mirante at The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for her advice about holiday and winter activities in the city!

1. What’s your recommendation for a restaurant to host a holiday party?
I recommend Rostizado. The private room is perfect and intimate for a group celebration, with fun music and mouth-watering food!

2. What’s a great store to shop for stocking stuffers?
My go-to for stocking stuffers is Harlow Crestwood. You can find everything for him, her, and even the little ones!

3. What’s your favourite treat to enjoy from a bakery in the city?
I like to treat myself to the numerous flavours of sweet macarons and delicious lattés at Duchess Bake Shop.

4. What’s your favourite holiday event in Edmonton?
My favourite holiday event is the Singing Christmas Tree at the Jubilee Auditorium. 150 singers fill a 35-foot tree with dancing Santas, acrobats, and more, making for a glorious evening!

5. What’s the best way to spend a chilly Saturday afternoon?
On a chilly afternoon, escape to the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald and warm up on the Royal Tea and Tour! Savour the little sandwiches, housemade scones, and marmalades and jams, and then take a tour of the hotel and the Queen Elizabeth Suite, where many celebrities have stayed.

Les Clefs d’Or Concierges have been opening doors for hotel guests in Canada since 1976, and today there are more than 150 members from coast to coast and more than 3,500 members worldwide! You can find Nella at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.

20 Holiday Activities in Edmonton Under $20 in 2017

Celebrate the season throughout December at the Alberta Legislature!

1. Celebrate the Season
Cost: Free!
Where: Alberta Legislature Building, 10800-97 Ave.
When: December 7 – 23
About: The first day of this month-long event features a choir performance and the Premier’s ceremonial turning on of the colourful lights outside the Legislature buildings. During the rest of the month, guests can enjoy afternoon and evening choir performances when visiting the Legislature rotunda.
More info here!

2. All Is Bright Festival
Cost: Free!
Where: 124 St. between 102 Ave. & 108 Ave.
When: Saturday, November 25, 3 pm – 8 pm
About: Celebrate the coming of winter with a stunning showcase of fashion, food, and entertainment on 124 St. Enjoy holiday-themed storefront displays, hot holiday drinks and food truck specialties, live music, and more!
More info here!

3. 124 Grand Market’s Holiday Bazaar
Cost: $2 entertainment fee; Free for kids under 12
When: December 8 & 9
Where: Vignettes Building (Former Re-Use Centre), 10004-103A Ave.
About: The annual Holiday Bazaar features live music, food trucks, a cash bar, and many amazing vendors to help complete your holiday shopping!
More info here!

4. Luminaria
Cost: $13.50 Adult; $9.75 Senior; Children 4-12 $6.25; Children 3 and under are FREE
When: December 1–3, 5 – 9 pm
Where: University of Alberta Botanic Garden (formerly Devonian Botanic Garden), 5 km north of Devon on Hwy 60
About: Thousands of hand-lit candles sparkle along the paths of the Kurimoto Japanese Garden. Strolling singers, ice sculptures, hot apple cider at the bonfires, and illuminated Snow Sprites create an enchanting display that you will not want to miss. This event sells out early. Call for tickets 780-987-3054 ext. 2223 to avoid lineups or order them online.
More info here!

5. Zoominescence, a Festival of Light
Cost: $7.50 Adult; $5 Child
When: December 1 – 31, 5 – 9 pm
Where: Edmonton Valley Zoo
About: Every weekend in December will include this celebration of light, artistry, and imagination, including several special submissions to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary and its future. Admire the dazzling light installations created by local artists, participate in festive crafts, and visit the animals at the Edmonton Valley Zoo!
More info here!

6. Make It!
Cost: $6 Full weekend; Children 12 and under are FREE
When: November 23–26
Hours: Thu & Fri 11 am – 9 pm; Sat 10 am – 6 pm; Sun 11 am – 5 pm
Where: Edmonton EXPO Centre
About: This handmade revolution includes more than 265 exhibitors and their handcrafted wares, with everything from bodycare and papergoods to woodworking and jewellery. Enjoy live music, food trucks, and even a beer garden while you shop!
More info here!

7. Santa’s Parade of Lights
Cost: Free!
When: November 18
Where: Jasper Ave., between 100 St. & 108 St..
About: Santa’s coming to town! Celebrate the wonders of winter at this festive parade with the jolly old man. And grab a tasty treat from one of the food trucks near the parade route! View a map of the parade route to find the best viewing spot here.

8. Candy Cane Lane
Cost: Free, though donations for the Edmonton Food Bank are accepted and appreciated. Extra fee for sleigh rides.
When: December 8 – January 2
Where: 148 St. between 100 Ave. & 92 Ave.
About: Grab a hot chocolate and take a stroll down Candy Cane Lane—a 10-block stretch of impressive residential displays of colourful Christmas lights and decorations. Or, see the sights while taking a festive sleigh ride!
More info here!

9. Festival of Trees
Cost: $10 Adult, $5 Senior (65+), $5 Youth (13-17), $2 Children (2-12), Infants under 2 are free
When: November 30 – December 3
Where: Shaw Conference Centre, 9797 Jasper Ave.
About: The University Hospital Foundation’s annual fundraiser is a family-friendly event with magnificently decorated trees, festive displays, uniquely decorated cakes, and the most intricate gingerbread houses you have ever seen! Enjoy family scavenger hunts, live entertainment, and a special visit from Santa.
More info here!

10. Amahl & the Night Visitors
Cost: $15 Adult; $5 Child/Youth under 16 ($35 Family: 2 adults over 16 & up to 3 children under 16)
When: December 27 – 28
Where: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 84 Ave NW.
About: In this English opera, a young boy offers his only possession—a crutch—as a gift for the three wise men to take with them for Jesus. This traditional holiday tale will renew your spirits and remind you of the special gifts each of us have to offer in the holiday season.
More info here!

11. Santa’s Arrival at West Edmonton Mall
Cost: Free, though donations for the Edmonton Food Bank are accepted and appreciated.
When: November 12, 10 am
Where: North Pole Place, West Edmonton Mall, 8882-170 St.
About: Come and welcome Santa to his home-away-from-home for the holiday season! Enjoy exciting entertainment and a pancake breakfast.
More info here!

12. Indigenous Artisans’ Holiday Market
Cost: Free!
When: November 23
Hours: 11 am – 2 pm
Where: Enterprise Square, 10230 Jasper Ave.
About: This craft sale features handmade items by Indigenous artisans and artists, including pottery, art, candles, blankets, and more.
More info here!

13. Winterfest
Cost: Free to browse!
When: December 1 – 3
Where: Snow Valley Ski Club, 119 St., one block south of Whitemud Dr.
About: Kick off the new skiing season with fun activities for the whole family! Try your hand at a special obstacle course, learn some helpful tips at a Winter Safety Carnival, and enjoy a pancake breakfast.
More info here!

14. Blue Christmas
Cost: $12.50 Adult; $10.50 Senior (65+); $10.50 Youth (13-17); $6.50 Child (2-12): Children under 2 are free.
When: Sunday, December 10, 11 am – 3 pm
Where: Muttart Conservatory, 9626 – 96A St.
About: The Muttart Conservatory is throwing an event to get you into a festive mood! Activities include singing, crafts, planting, and even bannock roasting over the fire. Come see how some traditional toys are made and take in the new wintery Feature Pyramid.
More info here!

15.The Nutcracker (In a Nutshell)
Cost: $13.50
When: December 15 & 16; 10:30 am & 12:30 pm
Where: ATB Financial Arts Barn, 10330-84 Ave.
About: Bring the kids, toddlers, and babies to this 30-minute family-friendly rendition of The Nutcracker! Make Christmas crafts before the show, enjoy Tchaikovsky’s music, and then take part in the creativity workshop after the performance.
More info here!

16. Royal Bison Craft & Art Fair
Cost: $3; Kids get in free!
When: November 24 – 27 & December 1 – 3
Where: Old Strathcona Performing Arts Centre, 8426 Gateway Blvd.
About: Browse the beautiful boutique-like displays from local, independent vendors selling unique handmade clothing, jewellery, accessories, artwork, toys, and zines. This is the perfect fair to find a speciality, hand-made holiday gift! The fair has expanded and now welcomes all that is weird and eclectic from across western Canada.
More info here!

17. A Prairie Christmas
Cost: $13; Children under 2 are FREE
When: December 9 & 10
Where: Prairie Gardens & Adventure Farm, 56311 Lily Lake Rd., Bon Accord, 25 km north of Edmonton
About: Bundle up and enjoy some seasonal family fun at the cozy, rustic setting of Prairie Gardens and Adventure Farm. Decorate cookies with the elves, ride the magical Polar Express, get a family photo with Santa, make ornaments and gifts at the craft station, and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats in Mrs. Claus’ kitchen.
More info here!

18.CHiMPROV Christmas Shows
Cost: $12
When: Saturday, December 9 & 16, 10 pm
Where: Citadel Theatre, 9828-101A Ave.
About: Rapid Fire Theatre’s long-form improv show is doing two Christmas specials! Enjoy an improvised Super Special Xmas Special on December 9th, or check out what happens in Scrooge & Friends when three improvised holiday spirits teach Scrooge (special guest Glenn Nelson, who plays Scrooge in the Citadel’s A Christmas Carol) a holiday lesson on December 16.
More info here!

19. Edmonton Oil Kings’ Teddy Bear Toss
Cost: Tickets start at $20
When: Saturday, December 2, 7 pm
Where: Rogers Place
About: Watch WHL hockey teams Edmonton Oil Kings vs. Prince Albert Raiders and enjoy special holiday-themed entertainment, such as the Teddy Bear Toss on to the ice in support of Santa’s Anonymous.
More info here!

20. Christmas Films at Metro Cinema
Cost: Adults $13; Seniors $10; Student $10; Child $8
When: Throughout December
Where: Metro Cinema at the Garneau, 8712-109 St.
About: Watch a favourite holiday classic on the Metro’s historic screen, including A Christmas StoryNational Lampoon’s Christmas VacationDie HardIt’s A Wonderful Life, and more!
More info here!

 

 

Hadestown

Photo by Joan Marcus

The ancient Greek myth of Orpheus tells the tale of a man who journeys to the underworld to save his beloved, Eurydice. Anaïs Mitchell’s retelling, Hadestown—featuring music in American folk and New Orleans jazz styles—takes place in a Depression-era landscape, where the aboveground post-apocalyptic world juxtaposes the factory of Hadestown. This hot production began as a folk opera concept album, developed into an off-Broadway musical, and is stopping off in Edmonton before heading to the lights of Broadway.

Hadestown | November 11 – December 3 | $30–$118
Citadel Theatre | 9828-101A Ave. | 780-425-1820

Poems in Paint

Le pays qui penche. Photo by Michèle Drouin.

Over her four-decade artistic career, Michèle Drouin has known many passions, including ceramics, drawing, and poetry. Her abstract acrylic paintings, which showcase her command of colour, are illuminated with poetic titles that heighten the meaning of each work and ask more from the viewer. Drouin stopped painting in 2011, and this final exhibition of her work will cover the most important moments of her career from 1977 to 2007.

Gardens Ablaze/Jardins de Lumière | November 17 – December 7
Bugera Matheson Gallery | 10345-124 St. | 780-482-2845

Jersey Boys

Photo by Jeremy Daniel

“Oh, What a Night” you’ll have at this documentary-style musical of the 1960s rock ’n roll group The Four Seasons! In the Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys, the rise and fall of the iconic group is split into four separate seasons, each narrated by a different band member and filled with the beloved songs of this golden age of music. You’ll find it hard not to sing along to hits such as, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “Rag Doll” at this entertaining trip down memory lane.

Jersey Boys | November 10–12 | $35–$120
Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 1-866-540-7469

Talent Spotlight: James Cockell

When James Cockell was only three years old, his parents put a violin in his hands. But it was not until he was in university that the desire to pursue music professionally finally settled in. “I did English for my first degree, so I was working towards being a writer,” he explains. “I was doing music on the side, and at some point I started to work and realized it was a lot more engaging for me.”

His work in music began when a university friend needed a violinist for a Hungarian folk group, which evolved into a career as a freelance violinist, working routinely with such groups as the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, and the Citadel Theatre. “Both my mom and my dad played in the orchestra back in the day, so it’s kind of like the family business,” says Cockell. “For me, because I freelance, it’s never the same routine week to week. You come up against new challenges all the time.”

In these months alone, Cockell is involved in several projects, either as a performer or an organizer. He’s one of the talented musicians playing in the pre-Broadway production of Hadestown and is organizing the orchestras for Legend of Zelda and Salute to Vienna.

One new and exciting challenge in particular is the upcoming production of Amadeus Live—the full-length movie accompanied by a 55-piece orchestra and a 50-person choir. “This is the first time that I’ve organized anything that involved an entire film,” says Cockell. “And there are some obscure instruments involved in this. This is the first time I’ve had to find basset horns anywhere!”

Although he does have a bias, Cockell still avidly recommends the Edmonton arts scene—particularly because of its evolution and diversity. “We’ve got the theatre, the symphony, the opera—all these great things that are actually really accessible now. It’s not just for upper-class, wealthy old people,” he says, noting the current line-up that includes classical composers, video games, and Hollywood scores. “It’s been really exciting to see it grow and change. There’s something for everyone.”

Chef Spotlight: Christine Sandford

Photo by Detour Photography

Revitalizing a quiet neighbourhood near Whyte Avenue, the new Ritchie Market features a butcher shop, coffee shop, and a highly anticipated brewpub, Biera. The head chef, Christine Sandford, is excited to be at the helm of this new eatery on the Edmonton food scene and working with Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company.

“We’re changing people’s idea of what you can eat with beer,” says Sandford. “When people imagined what the restaurant was going to be like, they thought it was going to be a lot of pub food, burgers and fries, and it’s nothing like that. It can be light and delicious.” Sandford and the team at Biera aim to give customers a unique dining experience, pairing quality local food with craft beer in the same way that other restaurants may pair wine or cocktails.

Part of being the head chef is imparting techniques and experiences—and Sandford has plenty to go around. She has trained as a butcher and in various restaurants both in Edmonton and overseas, including interning with Belgian chef Kobe Desramaults at his Michelin-starred restaurant, from whom Sandford learned skills now being used in her own kitchen. “I think we’re one of the first places to have a full-on charcoal grill. It’s an awesome thing to teach other chefs because it’s quite a technical, old style of cooking,” she says. “I can see why people ended up going to gas grills because it’s obviously more convenient, but the flavour is just incomparable.”

Upon returning to her hometown, Sandford has rediscovered the availability and variety of local product and ingredients. Combing through farmers’ markets and speaking with local farmers has fuelled her inspiration. “In the fall, it gets more challenging. You prepare for it in the summer months, and you adapt,” she says. “That’s part of being a chef: being adaptable to any situation. You get to constantly be creative.”

When she’s not travelling or working hard in the kitchen, Sandford—like many chefs—enjoys the local dining scene. Some of her favourites include Pho Hoan Pasteur, Izakaya Tomo, and Clementine.

Artist Spotlight: Caitlin Bodewitz

WHERE: What made you want to become an artist?
Caitlin Bodewitz: I attribute a lot of my creative pursuit to my unique upbringing. I was raised on a mountain in a secluded community called Powder King in the Pine Pass of northern B.C. My childhood was rooted in using my imagination, being active, and connecting with nature, which are all now integral parts of my practice.

W: What mediums do you prefer to work in?
CB: I am a mixed-media printmaker that incorporates silk-screening with drawings and photography onto birch wood. I also work with reclaimed materials such as barn wood and wood waste from the construction and design industries as a medium for large-scale wood murals.

W: What themes or issues do you explore in your art?
CB: I am interested in reflecting on the relationships between nature and urban influences. The adaptability and abundance of wildlife in a city river valley fascinates me, and on the other end of the spectrum, provincial park infrastructure and waste left by hikers in the backcountry concerns me. By observing the interactions of these two opposing realms, I attempt to seek a balance, questioning if there is a space for these two worlds to respectfully co-exist. Visually I explore this by juxtaposing nature and geometry, creating tension between something organic and something structured to find a cohesive composition or relationship.

W: What do you hope people take away from your work?
CB: I hope my creations contribute to the celebration, education, and conservation of our planet. By bringing a little piece of nature in their homes, I hope the viewers will think more critically about their role in protecting and keeping our planet and animals safe and wild.

W: Where can readers view and/or purchase your work?
CB: On my website, which also lists stores across Canada that I sell out of, including TIX on the Square. They can also visit my Etsy store and Instagram @CMBPrintWorks.

Edmonton Opera’s Les Feluettes

Photo by Yves Renaud

From accomplished Québec playwright Michel Marc Bouchard comes a passionate tale of love and deception. Edmonton Opera’s production of Les Feluettes (Lilies) follows the love story between two men in early 20th-century Québec as they struggle against repression and social norms. With lush, romantic music, the opera will be performed in French with English surtitles and features the talents of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Les Feluettes (Lilies) | October 21, 24 & 27
Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave.| $20-$165

Ask the Beer Expert: Jason Foster

Jason Foster is the beer columnist for CBC Radio in Edmonton and other outlets, as well as the creator of onbeer.org.

WHERE Edmonton: What kind of beer would you recommend for someone who’s just starting to like beer?
Jason Foster: The key is to pick flavours you’re familiar with. If you’re used to what I call Macro Lagers—the pale lagers with a high portion of corn syrup—then I would point them to a craft lager that has a similar profile but is all barley. Good local examples include Yellowhead Premium Lager or Ribstone Creek Lager. White wine fits well into a blonde ale or light, fruity Kolsch-style. Yukon Gold or Alley Kat Scona Gold are good starting points.

W: Is there a type of beer you’d recommend someone enjoy with the cool fall weather?
JF: The fall is perfect for ambers and reds, much like the colour of leaves. I always love an Oktoberfest this time of year, which is a German-style malty, amber-coloured lager that defines the Munich festival. As the temperature begins to dip, I start pulling out red and brown ales, such as Red Deer’s Troubled Monk Brewing’s award-winning Open Road Brown Ale.

W: Are there any trends in brewing—perhaps in Alberta—that you’re excited about?
JF: I am impressed to see Alberta breweries embracing more adventurous styles. I like how Bench Creek Brewing is quick to adopt emerging interpretations like New England IPA, a type of IPA that downplays hop bitterness for big, citrusy, fruity flavours. The Apex Predator is like Five Alive in a beer can!

W: Do you have any tips for pairing beer and food?
JF: There are no hard-and-fast rules, but generally I opt for trying to either contrast the beer and food or complement their flavours. An example of contrast is to pair a roast chicken with a malty Vienna Lager or Brown Ale. To complement, I may link a Porter or a Stout with a chocolate cake, where the combination highlights the chocolate flavours and aromas.

LitFest 2017

Scaachi Koul. Photo by Barbora Simkova

Reading may be a solitary act, but LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival pulls you out of your reading chair by bringing some of the biggest names in nonfiction to the city. With readings, panels, and events on food, music, art, politics, and more, there’s a book and an event for any interest. Headliners include the hilarious and unapologetic Scaachi Koul—a writer at BuzzFeed Canada and author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter—and Jen Agg, a Canadian restaurateur and author of I Hear She’s a Real Bitch. Don’t worry—you don’t have to read the books beforehand to enjoy the events, but you’ll definitely want to take them home after!

LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival | October 12–22
Various venues | Check out their schedule here