I grew up with December steeped in tradition. We celebrated Christmas hardcore. The Christmas Tree went up the first Sunday in December or as soon as Dad agreed. Christmas Carols began playing on Saturday mornings as background music to house cleaning as soon as the first snow arrived. This could have been September or it could have been November. First Snow meant Christmas music. First snow in Edmonton meant early fall. We had a Christmas party every year and Santa always came. I knew it was one of my grandfathers but still…he came every year.Christmas Eve lunch with one set of grandparents. Chinese food with the other grandparents on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning brunch with my parents and Christmas dinner with my grandma. Every year the dependable comfort of traditional events happened. I loved all of it.

I no longer want to do many of these things and have established my own traditions that focus more on my little family. I prefer simplicity. But one tradition I have kept from my childhood that I look forward to every year is gathering up the family and exploring the city to look at Christmas lights.

I find fewer people decorate their homes or actually, there are more diverse people living in my neighborhood who don’t celebrate Christmas so not every house has lights. (My neighborhood during Diwali is magnificent though!). People are still decorating at Christmas, just not close by. But looking at lights still remains my favorite tradition of my childhood, that and Scottish Shortbread.

My family packed themselves into the car along with my pal Captain, and we went out in search of Christmas Lights. Often we plan to walk through decorated neighborhoods and this year with the mild temperatures would have been perfect. But I am not at my best healthwise so we turned on the seat warmer and rolled the window down to enjoy the weather and lights.

Our first stop was Castrol Raceway. I have no idea if this was the first year for this or it is an annual tradition that I had not heard of, either way, this was fantastic. $25 a carload ($50 for Limo and $125 for a bus). We drove out near the airport and had plenty to look at.


Then we traveled to Candy Cane Lane, it is nice but not as spectacular as in Christmas Past.


Traditionally we traveled to the Downtown core to look at the old museum grounds, Legislative grounds and City Hall. No Tree this year at Winston Churchill Square because of the construction but the Ledge was beautiful.

But the best was saved for last. Christmas at Bobs was spectacular. Give this website a visit to learn more about it and his wish for you to pay it forward. It is interactive and fun. My girl posed in front of the Angel Wings, and then my pal Cap needed to pose as well. It was hilarious and beautiful. I recommend giving this place a visit and then go do something nice for someone else.

Whatever you celebrate, I hope its special this year. But from my family to yours, Merry Christmas.

The Red Chair Project

It happened.

I turned 50.

I had great expectations for turning 50 but I couldn’t name any of them. It was vague but it was going to be great.

I took my birthday off. It was in the middle of a hectic week at work and my thoughts were filled with shoulds. As in ‘you should do this…’  Only I didn’t do that.  Listening to Love, Sex and Money podcast with Anna Sale, I heard Ellen Bernstein call those kinds of days ‘Shouldless Days’. I took her advice and gave myself a great gift. August 16th became the Shouldless Day.

I had spent the last 9 months in a daily meditation practice and it changed my perspective and showed me what was important. Worrying about work was not one of those things. So in the busiest season, the busiest week, I took my birthday off.

Best thing I ever did.

Here are the Coles notes from that day:

  • I took myself out for breakfast
  • went for a walk with my pal The Captain
  • I received a special birthday gift from my grandfather
  • I received a life-changing email
  • I went out for dinner
  • I cried from happiness

It was an epic birthday. I declared my 50th year to be the year of Epic Adventure.

Canada celebrated its 150th year as well….ok I am not getting into the ins and outs of colonization or the political reasons etc, but for better or worse, it turned 150. With that, Parks Canada celebrated by opening up all the national parks with a free park pass. I thought this would be a great way to spend my 50th year, I would visit National Parks. I live fairly close to 2 parks and not far from 2 more. I could make an effort to visit these… but money was really tight. Finding a way to visit those distant parks was going to be expensive.


City Hall Edmonton


I decided not to worry about the how I was going to do it, but focus on the intention of going. I wanted value from my park passes so I made an effort to visit Elk Island National park. It is only 30km away from me. Cap and I could make the trip, explore a little bit and go a few times this year. Done. Value out of my park pass! When we arrived at the park, we discovered Red Chairs! Parks Canada has installed Red Chairs at scenic points in all the National Parks. My first visit was at the height of winter.  I found 3 pairs of chairs. Then I went back in the summer and saw them differently.

I was now obsessed with these Red Chairs. I convinced the Hubs to go to Jasper National Park, it is about a 4-hour drive from my home. Money was still tight so we decided to call it a day trip.

Not one Red Chair was found and I was disappointed. I got over it quickly because, you know, JASPER! I did find green chairs!


Athabasca River View


I had googled where the Red Chair locations were but couldn’t locate them. Not to worry, Jasper is one of my favourite places on the planet, we enjoyed our day and Captain loved it as well. So many new things to sniff!

My birthday happened and then a week later my life changed. I was offered a new position with a new company, the Hubs retired and unexpectedly we had the opportunity to travel for one week. We thought about traveling to all kinds of places, but the idea of going to Tofino really appealed to me. We had not been since we were first married over 21 years ago. Tofino is located on Vancouver Island. One week on the ocean sounded like the perfect opportunity to relax.

We flew to Victoria and rented a car. From there we drove up-Island and over to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. This was easily the greatest vacation I ever experienced. We stayed at a local resort, I played in the tide pools and stood in the waves for hours. At Chesterman Beach, we spotted a two more pairs.


We explored trails through the rainforest and found another pair of Red Chairs.


I wanted to stay another week but commitments required me elsewhere.  My plans for other National parks were on hold. New job starting, a trip to New York City was in the works. my 50th year had started off awesome and was just getting better.

Before I knew it, I had a few extra days off allotted to me. We had new things to celebrate. My kids received great news and we thought this deserved a family vacation celebration. We all decided to drive to Banff National Park. Since we were all traveling as a family, we needed to find a location that permitted  The Captain. As safe and friendly as some kennels are, it was not something I wanted Cap to experience, we either all go as a family, or we don’t go at all.

Tunnel Mountain had A-Frame cottages that allowed dogs,  a four day weekend was now in the works for us. We arrived before the snow fell, went for dinner and enjoyed our evening by the fire. The next morning our adventure was about to begin.

We drove along Tunnel Mountain and less than 5 minutes into our trip, I spotted Red Chairs. We stopped and took in the view.


Bow Valley was beautiful and crisp. After our fill, we traveled to the Hoodoos to take in that view. We found another set of Red Chairs. These ones were part of the restoration trail project.


I sat on one and took in the view. I had not meditated yet that day and the family was exploring the hoodoos, so I decided to sit in silence for my morning ritual. I had explored this practice in Tofino. There is something magical about meditating in nature.

Soon we decided to head up to Lake Minniwanka. As we rounded the corner and stopped at the look-out, we noticed the road going south. I had never explored this road before and I had no idea it was a loop, one that navigated south along Two Jack Lake. 50 years of visiting Banff National Park and I am still finding new things.  Before long, we spotted another set of Red Chairs.


Again I sat in silence and enjoyed the view while my kids explored the peninsula and skipped stones. The view was beautiful.

After this stop, we ventured over to Vermillion Lakes, no Red Chairs but another spot I had never explored before. This weekend was all about new experiences. It was fantastic.

We needed to pick up some items for dinner so we drove into Banff and stopped at IGA, they also had a Red Chair – a giant one very different from the National Park Chairs, but it still counted in my eyes.


Now it is November. I canceled my trip to New York but may have an opportunity to visit Waterton National Park before Christmas. The park experienced extreme fire this summer and I don’t know what is left but I think I will take time to explore Glacier Lake and the village to see for myself. I heard there is a pair of Red Chairs that face the Fairmont. It looks like my Epic 50th year and the Red Chair Project will continue. Next year, I think I will visit the Maritimes and Atlantic Canada to explore more National Parks and see more views from the Red Chair.

Edmonton Tourist: Market Day

Summer officially starts in Edmonton after the May Long weekend. This usually means the chance of snow is almost over. I say almost because I have seen snow in May, June and August. The outdoor farmer’s markets often start the May long weekend as well. I had family obligations for most of the month of May, but yesterday my Mama Bear and I decided to spend the morning exploring the markets and enjoying the beautiful weather Edmonton had to offer. First stop was the City Market Downtown.

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The Market is located on 104 Street between Jasper and 103rd Avenues. I haven’t been to all the Farmer’s markets in Edmonton, but I rank this as my favourite amongst the ones I have visited.


We parked on 104th Street by the Neon Museum and walked the short half block south. The city closed the roads for vendors and this just adds to the atmosphere. There is something decadent and forbidden about strolling on the road. There isn’t the same feeling when this happens in a park or town square. It reminded me of the market I visited in Obernai France, the only thing missing would be the church bells that singled Market opening in France.

The Market is open Saturdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. I like to go early so there is still lots of choices and varieties.


The streetmosphere just adds to the flavour, Mama Bear and I like to stroll at a leisurely pace to explore the details of each booth.



We left the market about 10:30 having purchased Moonshine donuts and Irish Moss. I have deep regret over not buying rhubarb. I will make note to get some next weekend when I explore other markets.

We left downtown and drove straight to the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market. I like this market in the winter because it is inside, in the summer, I prefer the outdoor markets. I did learn that many vendors had stalls here and the City Market. So now I can rest easy that my favourites are located downtown. Moonshine and Jack Horner, I am looking at you.


The Strathcona Market also have great atmosphere with the musical stylings of these people, the Straw Flowers. Thanks for smiling Mandolin man.


A notable difference between the two markets is there are artisans actually working on their craft in the old Bus Barns, that was fun to see.


This sewing machine belonged to her Mama Bear.

We explored all the aisles and came away with pesto and pasta, so there was dinner taken care of. I just added chicken breasts and fresh veg. It was delicious. Enough sundries tomato pesto to add to my potatoes tonight!

Around 11 am we decided to head to the French Quarter to see the farmer’s market there. I had never been to that one in the summer, only during the Flying Canoe Festival.


When we arrived, we learned Market day is Sunday. I heard a giant Wa Wa… in my head because I was severely disappointed. But this is the site of my favourite cafe so we decided to have lunch here. There is a rumour the best poutine is served here sand Mama Bear disclosed she had never tried poutine before. I looked shockingly at her and called her the worst Canadian ever.


I am going to agree, Cafe Bicyclette does serve the best poutine I have ever had in Edmonton and perhaps the best I have tried anywhere. Please note that I have never had it in Quebec, I should think it might be better there but being served by French Canadians in the French Quarter of Edmonton is amazlingly  delicious. Pair it with one of the best lattes in the city and you have yourself a decadent meal.

Next week I will visit the French Market, so stay tuned.




Edmonton Tourist: Top of the Bank Trail

I had an errand to run in Wolf Willow today. I saw signs for the Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge, my pal the dog was with me so I decided to explore the river valley from the west end. Let’s be clear, I never get out this way unless I have a specific task. The west end is just not a destination for me. Mostly because it’s far from my home. 

This morning I learned I ‘won’ the giveaway. I belong to a friend group who give stuff we no longer want, away to people who want it. I’ve been lucky enough to win beautiful art, a stunning chandlelier, a brand new kitchenaid mandolin, wooden hangars and today, 3 unopened boxes of Twinning Earl Grey Tea. EARL GREY TEA PEOPLE!!! Obviously I won. I have given away oak tables, books, office supplies and appliances that I no longer use. It a wonderful pay-it-forward group. The tea was in Wolf Willow, a neighbourhood that backs on the Edmonton Golf and Country Club. I think I’ve been here once, but I’m not sure. I think I face painted one Christmas at the club. I always feel like I won the lottery when I am gifted new things.

 If I win the lottery in real time, I always think about what I would change about my life. Pay my mortgage off, leave my job, write every morning and definitely go back to school. I would enroll in some sort of English writing classes at the University of Alberta. 

I parked my car beside the golf course and walked towards to river bank. I followed the signs that said Fort Edmonton Foot Bridge. I have run many times across that bridge because it was part of the Fort Edmonton 5k loop. My most favourite loop in the valley. So I’ve seen that side plenty but had never gone farther than the bottom of the 205 staircase. 

I’ve lived in and around the city for close 50 years. This was the first time I had been here. 

When we got to the entrance to the valley, we were given the choice to walk to the bridge or take the upper bank trail. I just had flip flops and the trail was soft. I had never explored the upper bank before so we took the path less traveled. 

The homes here are monstrous. Stunning floor to ceiling multi storied homes looking south east over the river. It also made me think about what to spend lottery winnings on. As someone who is obsessed with the tiny home movement, these homes had little appeal for me. I have become more minimalist as I age and I care less about things and stuff. But I do think about things. I give myself thinking prompts like what would it be like to live here? I imagine myself and a rich spouse (usually Mark Ruffalo) enjoying breakfast on the upper terrace. Then that fades and I begin to think about composing paragraphs for pieces I am writing. Thinking about context, situations and how to make it a story rather than an event. These adventures of mine are part of building experience to write. I’ve enrolled in an University writing class that begins Thursday. It fulfills my wish to continue on with school and take a class that is meaningful to me. I’ve never enrolled in something I was passionate about, just something that I was capable of and could use to advance my career. I regret that I never explored what I wanted, I just did what was suggested to me. I’m fixing that starting Thursday. First Day of class. 

Walking along the bank, I thought about how people get where they are. What do these folks do to afford this lifestyle? I find it interesting that the more money someone seemingly has, the less time they spend enjoying it. I never saw a single person walking along the bank. Not one. No one was in their yard, no one was on the sidewalks. It was as if The Captain and I were walking through a ghost town. An experience to file away for a story in my future. 

The Upper Bank Trail would be a firecracker hot place to be on a sunny day. But the blue sky would be worth the effort. As Cap and I ended our loop, I noticed the Mayday blossoms beginning to open. I’ve watch cherry blossoms bloom in photos from other cities weeks ago when we still lived under a blanket of snow. Now it’s our turn. The blossoms are beginning to open and releasing their fragrance. It was a beautiful day to win the lottery and explore the bank in silence. 

Edmonton Tourist: Art Gallery of Alberta

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When I was a University student I had an annual pass to the Art Gallery of Alberta or AGA as it is fondly called around these parts.  It isn’t like a yearly membership is expensive but I have been on a quest to find fun and free things to do in Edmonton. I get that somethings cost money to participate but not everything has to. The last Thursday of every month, AGA opens it’s doors to the public. I went right after work and arrived downtown at 5:00 pm. It was relatively quite, but by 6:30 it was getting busier. People, like me, taking advantage of this amazing oppourtunity.

I started on the main floor of the gallery walked to a photography exhibit. The smell of developer transported me back to my darkroom days of my Grandfather’s Print shop. Meandering around the room looking at prints was restful. I had forgotten the peace I feel when I come to this building. It had to be 4 years since I darkened the doors.

Moving to wards the next gallery, I wasn’t certain it was open because it was dark. I witnessed people walking in so I also entered. It was a movie of a Rube Goldburg, a complicated series of steps to blow out a candle. It was 30 minutes long and the hand held camera made me incredibly dizzy but I couldn’t stop watching. I was met with delight at unexpected ways to propel the movement forward, flames, wind, foam, water…I was fascinated.

I didn’t take photos of my time in each gallery because it makes me uncomfortable unless the item is for sale. I like to respect the artist’s work.


The Looking Glass exhibit was the opposite. It was an installation of portraits and part of it was interactive intending to post on social media. These were called Selfie Spots.


I took a few. You can find them at #AGALookingGlass

What struck me was the difference in mediums used and yet the pieces were able to capture the essence of the person in the portrait. The photo on the right is me posing with an Andy Warhol. I am a big fan of his eccentricity and medium choice. I enjoy pop art. What I didn’t know was near the end of his life, 1984, he painted Wayne Gretzky. Given the current excitement in the city with the Oilers in the playoffs and Wayne being a team partner, this was sure to appeal to a hockey fan like me.


I turned the corner and discovered the Evan Penny pieces including his self portrait.

These were AMAZING. The detail was exquisite! Tiny little chin hairs. I was fascinated with both pieces. Larger than life.




There was a selfie spot on the floor indicating I could photograph this. Granted I should have been in it but I was mesmorized.

I moved upstairs to the Survivor exhibit and found a lot of works depicting surviving in the wild, including movies of Inuit life and hunting. That brought back memories of living in Canada’s Arctic and heading to the Caribou Carnival for fishing and igloo making events. The clothing was an amazing memory, I had an authentic parka. A necessity for warmth when walking the long hike to school because it was too cold for the car to start.

On the upper level of the gallery you can go out on the patio to enjoy the view. This is my favourite addition to the art in the city.

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“Take a Risk. It is the most Edmonton thing you can do.” ~ Amen to that!

When I told people I was coming to AGA I heard responses like, “I don’t get art”

There is nothing to ‘get’ You look at it and you feel a response. There is no right or wrong. Take the risk, visit AGA.



Edmonton Tourist: Under the Big Wheel

Winter is still going strong here in Edmonton. I am not going to lie, it is bringing me down. Six months of winter is more than enough. Thanks Old Man Winter, you can stop now. Happily I haven’t removed my winter tires.

As far as second winters goes, this one isn’t all that cold but I still find myself wanting hot coffee. Today I had a date with a great University chum who tells it like it is and asks the great questions that make me think about things from a different perspective. Today we chatted about friendship problems we both have, parallel to the point that loyalty is an issue for both of us. We are loyal and hope for a reciprocal arrangement. It didn’t happen for either of us and then she said, “What did you want to happen?”

That simple question knocked my socks off because I  have been looking at it from the perspective of ‘This happened and I need to do this because I am loyal and the friendship is important to me so I need to forgive.’

Her question made me pause and think. I love that quality in this friend, she makes me think.  Then the server came and asked what we wanted to order.


Right…breakfast! We decided to go to Old Strathcona and have brunch at Under the Big Wheel. A farm fresh organic kind of place with a really large Penny Farthing bicycle hanging on the wall. I am assuming that was the big wheel, not the red plastic kind of my sister’s childhood.

The Big Wheel

We both ordered coffee, she had a mocha and I had a latte because I am on a quest for the best one in the city – side bar: It was good, really good but I place it third on my list.

It was served in a very unconventional way – as was the entire experience – Unconventional.


It came in a tall highball glass or something you would have cold chocolate milk in. It was hot on the hands but felt nice on my cold fingers after walking here in the wet snow. Because it was in glass, the coffee didn’t stay hot for long. That would be the biggest reason it is only third on my list. I like coffee hot and to stay hot. But it was good enough to have two. I rarely do that.

So where was I? Right! What did I want to happen? I wanted my friend to stick up for me, not be neutral. She agreed. Her friend was neutral too. We both would have been okay with “What you did was really crappy and I don’t like it.” but still be their friend…because it isn’t high school. Or if you thought I was being crappy – say so! I respect that!  She also agreed that would have been a better solution for her as well. So meanwhile here we are sharing similar experiences and our Server comes back – can I just say, our server’s lipstick was on point? It was the perfect shade of red for her alabaster skin. I digress… Our Server comes back and asks if we had decided. Of course not, we were catching up! We quickly glance down at the menu and she says, ” have you been here before?” Nope, first time. “My personal favourite is the waffle, our Belgium waffles are amazing” There was a gal behind us at a different table shouting out, “OMG THE WAFFLES ARE AMAZING” I enjoy that kind of enthusiasm and recommendation, so I had the eggs benny on a waffle – it was called The Savoury Waffle. I had a choice of smoked salmon, sausage bacon or cooked spinach (who wants to eat that? Cooked greens just taste like Chlorophyll to me. Too green. I prefer my greens uncooked with the exception of Beet Leaf (not Cabbage) Rolls and baby bok choy in soup. I picked bacon because, well, bacon. My friend chose the Traditional Breakfast, it was very conventional.



Both were tasty. The hollandaise sauce was not the usual and I couldn’t put my finger on it, what made it taste different? It was good, but different than the norm. The waffles were light and fluffy, the gal behind me did not lie.

Where were we? Right…. loyalty. I also disclosed that I was thinking about words that had been said to me and playing them over in my mind. She agreed that she does the too. Only I don’t think about where the person was coming from when they said them, it was more of a how those words affected me and caused me to behave in certain way or do things maybe I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t been so hurt and how could I have reacted better?. These were traumatic experiences I kept reliving and then looking at how I could have done things better/different. We agreed this wasn’t helpful to moving forward. But yet we still did it. I suspect most people do this.  Some people can just let it go easier than others.

We also talked about how awesome our dogs are. Hers are new to her family an mine is celebrating his 3rd adoption day with us on the 27th. I call it his birthday because he didn’t have to be a wild dog any more and hunt for his food. He found out very quickly he prefers being retired and living a spoiled life.

The best part of this breakfast was the server let us visit and chat as long as we needed. She kept coming back to see if we needed something more – just salt for the eggs and another latte, but it was really restful. I really did enjoy this spot for brunch, the food was great.

I have visited a few other spots around town to test out their coffee. I went to Anvil, a new spot in Ottwell. Decent but over priced. It tasted fine but didn’t wow me.

I also visited Wild Earth Bakery, cookies were good coffee was fine, also didn’t wow me.

If you decide to come to Edmonton for coffee and want to meet, let me know, I would love to experience coffee with you!

My list of favourites so far in order:

  1. Mandolin
  2. Cafe Bicyclette
  3. Under the Big Wheel
  4. Little Brick
  5. Anvil
  6. Wild Earth

Where do you like to go for your favourite coffee?

Edmonton Tourist: Mandolin Books and Coffee Company

The sun was out and spring felt like it was here. After being in a stadium for 5 days with 7000 kids, I was happy to get out in the fresh air and explore a little of my city. Plus, I wanted a coffee, a really great cup of coffee. To me great coffee comes in the form of a Café Latte. Hot, creamy with a strong coffee flavour. My favourites in the city are Café Bicyclette, Block 1912, Transcend, and now Mandolin.

I had heard about this place from some people at work. They knew I am a hard core book lover and was serious about my coffee so they thought the combination would be right up my ally. I headed to highlands on 112 Avenue. I used to live in this neighbourhood about 25 years ago and all that was here a a restaurant and wool shop. The 2 block street has undergone some heritage sprucing up, new lamp posts, some cool signage to let you know what used to be in that spot and a mural. This little trip had all the things a nice exploration includes:

  • Points of interest
  • nifty shops
  • pretty neighbourhood
  • coffee

It felt like an afternoon vacation.

My Companion and I walked along the south side of the street first, in search of the coffee, I was charmed by the signage.

I bet that was a great Hardware store! I love old timey hardware shops, Steveston BC and Entwistle AB have some of the best I have ever been to. Highland Hardware is now the Apple Box, a crafty paint shop that has milk paint, I need to remember to head back there when I pain my bench – I want it to be a rusty red.

Continuing along the street we found La Boheme. I always wanted to sign and dance on the tables there like in Rent, but have only eaten there and went to the wine cellar for a tour before I even knew anything about wine. Man, I wish I could go back in time and appreciate it more.

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Then came Mandolin Books and Coffee Company.

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The place had a great selection of used books and antiquarian. I found a Rudyard Kipling book of poems dated 1922. On the front cover was a swastika – pre-nazi Germany swastika meaning ‘lucky’ or ‘auspicious’. This was what it symbolized for 11,000 and now its an ugly symbol of hate. This book was in perfect condition as were so many of the books in this place. But first, COFFEE!.

The coffee here is Catfish Coffee, and I have to say, it is now my favourite coffee in the city. I really enjoy the flavour.

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We went to the counter and ordered 2 lattes, a lemon square and a blondie because this was a vacation and we needed sustenance.

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The baked goods tasted homemade (WIN!) but the coffee was smooth, creamy and strong – everything I look for in my favourite cup.

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It had been a long time since I enjoyed a coffee this much.

We poked around this shop and found some other great finds, like blind dates,

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we found a guy playing scrabble in the back and a mama reading to her offspring.

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There is also a patio out back.

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Once we found books we had to buy, it is a book store after all and I buy books because that is who I am, I ventured back outside and explored the other side of the street.

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We went into this great little candy shop and found vintage candy and poked around the antique store.

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It was the perfect afternoon in a great neighbourhood of Edmonton.

Edmonton Tourist: Government House Park

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Such a great day for a visit to a park! But because it is early spring, choosing a park that would have very little melt or muck was important to me. Government House Park is located on the north bank of the North Saskatchewan River and gets direct sunshine and heat. I figured it would have minimum spring run-off.

When The Captain and I parked, I looked around and decided to take a path less take by me. I had run this park multiple times and know where the trail leads along the river, but I had never followed the path that goes north. Until now.

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The first thing we found was a big puddle, the ground is low here and the run-off pooled to create this large pond-like water feature. We walked around it.

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We quickly discovered this path went parallel with Groat Road, something I had never walked or run on before.

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We made our way towards the new bridge that spans Groat road and is part of the Edmonton Marathon route. The old bridge is the one I broke my foot on during my very first half marathon… good times.

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Once we made under the bridge we found the path to be icy, and I was not in the mood to fall so we turned backed. I might come here in the summer and walk over to Coronation Park to explore.

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What I didn’t realize in all my years living in this city, there is an upper trail – who knew? (apparently every other Edmonton Citizen but me) It takes you by the toboggan hill. Up that hill is Government house. I always fantasized about living there as a kid and having this be my toboggan hill. Canadian Dreams….

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It is steeper and higher than it looks. But could you believe it was closed?

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We kept heading west with the intention of heading to McKinnon Ravine but as the trail combined with the lower tail, the water and mud was more than I wanted to let my white dog wander through.

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We began walking East towards the parking lot and decided to sit and enjoy the sun on our face.

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We were watching a flock of mauve/grey birds flit around when a Peregrine Falcon swooped in and crashed the party.

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Also bigger than it looks.

We headed up to Government House – the actual House. It is located on the old Royal Alberta Museum grounds. Government House was originally build as the residence of the Lieutenant Governor. That did happen for long and it soon became a meeting place for caucus. I toured it once and learned it was haunted, but I always fancied myself living here and it was the backdrop to many of my imaginary adventures.

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The now empty museum is such a beautiful building, I hope they do something amazing with it.

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It was a great day for the park adventure, but the mud was more that I had hoped for. I think I will wait a few more weeks before venturing deeper into the valley. I have a few more parks to visit to complete my river valley adventure:

  • Emily Murphy
  • Hawrelak
  • Buena Vista
  • Laurier
  • Rundle
  • Hermitage
  • Riverdale
  • Victoria

I have been to 10 (11 if you could Strathcona Science Park) I am over half way now. It should be a good summer!



Edmonton Tourist: Doughnut Party

I belong to a karma group. It is a group of friends and friends of friends who give stuff away to each other. For example, I had a tiny oak table and gave it to one person on there and I have received art and a spirograph, I like obscure things – Don’t Judge. Since belonging to this group I haven’t needed to buy a thing and I have given away so much usable things. It is a lovely way to trade.

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Today I was heading to heritage neighbourhoods to pick up items I have claimed. One in Eastwood – way on the Northside for me and then Laurier Heights, farther west but sort of central. The quickest way between both points was to stop at Doughnut Party.

Doughnut Party is a tiny little shop that has been open for maybe a month or so. It is located in the old garment district at 10938-119 Street, Edmonton AB. Their web page says:

Tues-Fri: 8am-1:30pm; Sat: 9am-2pm

Open until sold out – come early! 🙂

Now, I grew up with the Sherwood Park Bakery making the classic old Fashion Doughnut. Mom would come home with a few for a treat. I loved doughnuts hardcore as a kid. Then Tim Horton’s came along and was a game changer in the doughnut (not donut) game. It fast-food-ized doughnuts here. When they were a bakery, creating doughnuts in store fresh, letting the dough rise and then frying them in the vat with the baker using chopsticks to flip them, they were amazing. When Timmy’s became a fast-food chain and needed to have more control over baking so they send frozen donuts to be baked, the doughnuts became donuts. and my love wained. I no longer cared for one. Not worth the calories. Every now and then I would find a bakery that really knew what they were doing and was happy to have a doughnut.

I sat around the lunch table one day and the team was talking about Doughnut Party because they had all tried the Moonshine doughnuts from the Farmer’s Market in Old Strathcona. I had not. I feel like I was late to the party. I am no longer on top of food experiences in Edmonton because I have been busy exploring parks, burning calories rather than consuming them. Everyone said, “You have to try them! But go early because they are lined up out the door and close when they sell out.”

Okay, challenge accepted. I knew I was out on Saturday morning and could swing by.

When I arrived, the line was not out the door but the parking lot was jammed with people trying to find a spot. My advice is do not park in the lot, drive to 120 street and park along the road. You will get in before they sell out with the added bonus of burning 15 calories walking to the door.


There is a bar-like counter in the centre of the room with a ramp on the left to manage line-ups. I waited maybe 5 minutes and took in the atmosphere. Brick walls and simple signs Party for 1, Party for 6 etc. There is a rule of 1 dozen per person, but they don’t offer a dozen, you would buy 2 boxes of 6. I hope you can do the math.

These doughnuts are not the cheap Tim Horton donuts. $3 for 1 and worth it.


I had the Vanilla because it is my most favourite flavour ever. But I did buy one of each. From everything I have seen on instagram, they never have the same flavours out, they rotate. Flavours were Lychee and Raspberry, Vanilla, Birthday Cake with crumbed, Apple fritter, some pink coconut confection thing and a pink sugared doughnut. The names were written in red marker on the glass but I didn’t pay that much attention, no point when there were only 6 choices. Each donut is made with fresh, local ingredients. The one I bought was HUGE. I could not get a proper bite because it was high and actually fluffy. Delicate is the word that comes to mind. It melted in my mouth. Hands down the best doughnut I ever had.  It was worth the trip. Happily it is far enough away from me it needs to be a planned trip.

Go early, go often.