The Edmonton Journal as a feature running until July 10 called Tell us what makes the city tick with 50 Things That Define Edmonton. The Summer of 2010 is when I became the Edmonton Tourist. I chose to live my life like I do when I am on vacation, take risks and explore my surroundings. Part of that included being a tourist in ETown.
I grew up with parents and a grandma who knew the importance of exploring your surroundings. From an educational and child development standpoint, exploring my surroundings increased my vocabulary, taught me about my City’s history and gave me a solid sense of family. I grew up learning that families do stuff together. Over the years we visited the Zoo, Fort Edmonton, Muttart Conservatory, the Royal Museum and Art gallery and went to shows and concerts at the Citadel, The Jubilee, Rexall (coliseum), and Commonwealth Stadium. I’ve curtsied to Royalty, hugged hockey players, conversed with artists, and chatted with fellow citizens. I think this makes me more than qualified to contribute to the 50 things that Define Edmonton.
But you guys know me so well, I won’t make a list of 50 things – just the 11 things that define Edmonton for me.
The Edmonton Tourist’s Top 11 Things that Define Edmonton
- The Edmonton River Valley: I have always love the valley. My family picnics there every Friday night and we utilize the park system on a regular basis. Since I have become a runner, I now want to move closer to the valley. Every season there is something spectacular about it. I love running through it 5 times a week. There are trails I have never explored and some that are my favorite. It is the only place I know of where you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere and yet you are downtown. End to end it is has more square feet than Central Park. Yet it is made up of hundreds of parks honoring great Edmontonians and Canadians. This is hands down, the number one thing that defines Edmonton.
- Volunteers: Every city brags about it’s citizens. True Story. But Edmonton has a community of volunteers that just come out of the woodwork to support events. It is nearly impossible to get a volunteer spot at the Edmonton folk Fest. When major sporting events come to town like the World Track and Field games, the Masters or the World Triathlon, volunteers put their hands up and say “I’d love to help!” Sure there are events where they just can’t get enough volunteers, but I think that has more to do with marketing than people not wanting to help. Edmontonians give back on a regular basis. True Story.
- Festivals: I’ll be honest, not every festival in Edmonton to fantastic. I have been to all of them – except any new ones that will pop up this summer. Some are duds. However, there are some festivals that are out of this world AMAZING and people (like me) plan their summer around them! Well, I plan around The Fringe Festival and the Canadian Derby Marathon. Marathon Weekend use to be Edmonton Festival Marathon, but now it’s name has change. The Fringe is a the largest Fringe Festival in North America and second largest in the world (Edinburgh is first). I can been seen DAILY down at the Fringe. As for the Derby Marathon Weekend? I am running on Saturday (5k) with my ChatterBox and on Sunday (21.1k) with a plethora of people – some friends and some strangers but we are all part of the running community!
- Hockey: I know not everyone is a fan (What???) but those who aren’t true fans are bandwagoners. True Story. When I say Hockey, I don’t just mean the Oilers, there are the Oil Kings, Minors, street hockey, pond hockey – you name it. It is all year, every day. The NHL lock out was hard on me, but there was enough of the other stuff to keep me happy. Edmonton has some pretty cool hockey memorabilia, like the giant Stanley Cup (engraved and everything!), Wayne Gretzky Drive (Cap freeway), Mark Messier Trail and the new arena controversy that keeps saying they are done but are they really? I think not. In fact, the papers are all full of the 25th Anniversary that Waynederful was traded to the L.A. Kings. And we have never been the same since. We have a new coach, but I am just going to keep hoping for a playoff spot and pray we don’t become Toronto (45 years since the last cup).
- Patio Seating: Weird right? Well, in Edmonton we have THE WORST weather. I am sick of rain and cold and before that I was sick of cold and snow, hopefully I will get sick of dry and hot. We don’t get much time to sit outside on patios drinking beverages with friends. So when we do, on a long summer evening, we try to maximize it. My favorite patio is one that has padded chairs because I will be there awhile. Those bistro chairs aren’t as comfy. Yes you will find Patio Heaters because in the fall and early spring it is cold but we just don’t want to admit that winter is around. All hail the PATIO!
- Construction: Before there was a guy named Mayor Mandel, we had a dude who wouldn’t spend money on infrastructure and we are paying the price now. But when it is done, we will finally have roads that can move the population around. Meanwhile, I cannot remember a time when potholes didn’t need filling, bridges are being built and road closures make summer driving hot and long. Which is why I am trying to be a long distance runner, it will be faster to run downtown than drive.
- Gardens: We don’t have Butchart Gardens, but since the season is so short, there are an awful lot of flowers in people’s yards. We can squeeze 4- 4.5 months of gardening in before the frost destroys everything. People go big with their gardens and I am one of them! I have huge patio containers in the back and planted beds in the front. I like flowering trees and running lately is a fragrant paradise! May Day trees and Lilacs fill the river valley. Beautiful!
- Golf: I don’t golf but I know by just living in Edmonton that lots of people do. There appears to be a golf course for every 5 citizens. They are pretty – maybe one day I will be a golfer. However, it just doesn’t make sense to me. There should be a goalie, THEN it would be a sport….whatever.
- Parks: Edmonton Parks are spectacular. The city does a great job keeping them sparkly and clean. The river valley does have great parks but they aren’t the only ones in town!
- Ponds: Actually they are reservoirs. They were created to assist the rain overflow to prevent basement overflow. And the result is fantastic wildlife pockets around the city. Geese, Herons, Ducks, and Bald Eagles can be spotted at some of these places. They are lovely spots of tranquillity splattered all over the city. And in the winter? Shiny or just skating happens. Skating on a frozen pond is a Canadian rite of passage. If you have never done it, embrace your heritage and do it!
- Recycle: Odd I know, but Edmonton is a world leader in Recycling. I notice it when I travel. We recycle everything and other cities barely recycle paper. Shocking. So happy we are doing our part.
There you have it, my personal opinion of what defines Edmonton. What would you choose?
It has finally happened.
I have become my mother.
Every daughter has that fear and makes a pact with their sister/best friend/cousin/daughter to inform us of that moment so we can take stalk of our lives and figure out how to correct the anomaly from happening. Unfortunately for me, no one told me. I had to discover this for myself in public. So this is an open letter to my Sister and Daughter.
Dear Sister and ChatterBox,
Don’t get me wrong, my mom is awesome. She does things that we all tease about and accuse her of being crazy, but I know you do the same to your mom. That is how daughters roll. It is called evolution. Then one day it happens to us. We turn into our mothers. We hear her words in our words, we see her figure in our figure, we notice her OCD tendencies in our OCD tendencies and we realize we married our fathers.
Thanks (for nothing!)
I love you
Yes, my parents call me Skichucky. Tease me, I dare you.
One day I was sitting in the car with my mom and sister and mom said something. I can’t recall what it was, but I said to her, “Mom, remember when you said we were to tell you when you started becoming Grandma? Well, it’s happening.”
Mom replied with, “OMG (or something worse, I can’t remember) you are right! I do sound like my mother!!!!!”
She took immediate action to alter her behaviour pattern, every now and then it comes back. I like to think of it as a birthright. It makes me feel better calling it a birthright so stop hassling me already. Your turn is coming, I promise you.
I use to work in the family business. One day my mom came into the office and she was limping.
Me: Mom? OMG Mom what happened???
Mom: What are you talking about?
Me: Mom! You are limping!!
We looked at her feet and noticed she was wearing two completely different shoes. One Navy and one Black. The Navy shoe had a heel and the Black shoe was a ballerina flat.
Of course she was limping. You try walking in two different heel sizes and see what happens!!
In my infinite wisdom of 34, I said “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM How could you leave the house like that???? I am clearing you appointments and you are staying in the office today unless you are going home to change! GEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE MOM!!!”
I am sorry I criticized you and judged you.
Please forgive me.
Yesterday I went for a run. I have two different pairs of running shoes. Both are Adidas Gel 4, both have the same lacing configuration, yet each pair is a different colour. I rotate my shoes because I fear plantar fasciitis. I carefully monitor the mileage on my shoes and get new ones when they wear out. I rotate through the shoes (every run) to give each shoe the opportunity to gain the same mileage as the other. They wear out at the same rate and my feet are happy campers.
As of late, I have had a lot on my mind. I have a heavy course load because one of the projects is not pretend it is real life. I am focusing on it and think about it lots because detail will be paramount in the execution of this project. I am excited about it, but it is scary as well. I have not been sleeping well and I think the fatigue from driving home after the race in Calgary is still affecting me. I also have that tumour annoyance in my brain.
Okay…Okay…All of these are excuses.
If I turned on the light in the hallway to grab my shoes this wouldn’t have happened:
I didn’t notice it until my 5th hill climb. Obviously I don’t look at my feet when I run.
This is what I learned from yesterday’s shoe episode:
- If you can’t dress yourself, hire a Lady’s Maid (Downton Abbey taught me that)
- If someone asks about the separate shoes, lie and say it is a training technique.
- Stay focused on the task at hand. Think about the project while running. That is when you do your best thinking.
- Start buying the same colour shoes and label them on the INSIDE
- Take a picture and brag about your forgetfulness before anyone can tease you first.
Let’s get matching Lady’s Maids for us.
Then let’s go shoe shopping.