November

October went by in a blink and I did participate and experience some cool things like looking at street art in St. Albert. Tell me this isn’t the coolest bench you have ever seen?

I checked out more Provincial Parks and went to Pembina River with my pal Cap.

I had warm cookies and milk at Confections Cake Company  – the best cookies I ever had that I didn’t bake.

I went to Soul Speak in St. Albert and met wonderful people, joined a meditation circle and won a book! YAY, I love winning things!

Now I am looking to November and thinking about the possibilities as winter begins to set it. I am not wanting to feel like I am housebound so I have made some plans and am going to see The Waitress at the Jubilee, but I also hope to get to see the Six before it goes to Broadway.  I am looking forward to exploring Edmonton as the mood hits me. As usual, I have listed some fun free things to do in Edmonton and the surrounding area as well as keep you posted on the festivals that are happening around our city.

  1. Gotta Minute film festival. November 4-10, 2019 Explore Edmonton hasn’t listed this but you should take part anyways. One minute silent shorts will be shown on LRT platforms and the Stanley Milner Library. This is a great opportunity for me to get to the new library and see it’s weirdness in person. You can watch the films via the web page but in person is better for the true experience. Plus – free festivals ARE THE BEST!
  2. All is Bright! November 16, 6:00 PM Helen Nolan Park will have a light ceremony all apart of the All is Bright Festival down at 124 street. I have never been to this festival but I have plans this year to attend. Plus I have a feeling we are in for a mild winter – so it will feel great to be outside! Or at least fingers crossed about the milder winter.
  3. Winter Whyte Light Up, Nove 30, 4:00- 7:00 at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Park
    8331 104 St NW, Edmonton. Lights, Farmers MArket and other seasonal offerings happening courtesy of the Old Strathcona Business Association.
  4. The Downtown City market is now open at the old GWG building. Located on 97 street.

Festivals

November is packed with festivals to participate in, the problem is finding time to do them all. Not all of them are free and actually, not very many are free. Here is a quick list of happenings around our community:

  1. Festival of Trees 
  2. Edmonton Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival
  3. All is Bright Festival
  4. Festival of Carols
  5. Conservatory Fall Music Festival
  6. Dickens Fest
  7. Zoominescence: A Festival of Light at the Valley Zoo
  8. St. Albert Snowflake Festival
  9. Enchanted Forest Fort Saskatchewan 
  10. Festival of Trees Sherwood Park
  11. Festival of Trees Leduc
  12. Christmas in Central Park Spruce Grove

 

Get out and explore your community Edmonton!

The Edmonton Tourist visits Edmonton’s Metropolis

Winter forgot to come to Edmonton this year. NOT that I am complaining… with 6 foot snow piles last year, this is a welcome relief! There is more brown grass in my front yard than snow. The weather the last two weeks was absolutely BALMY! Meaning we had a day or 4 of temps ranging from 7C to11C! that is 20 degrees ABOVE normal! This has been fantastic for those of us who decided not to engage in winter sports this year like skating, skiing and tobogganing. I prefer luge or skeleton…but what are you going to do? Winter forgot to come to Edmonton this year.

The lack of winter didn’t stop me from wanting to get outside and enjoy the sunshine or the easy walking without boots! So what did I do? I played tourist in my city on Saturday and went downtown to enjoy the winter festival new to Edmonton this year, Metropolis.

Edmonton has a bit of a reputation for being “Festival City” Every week there seems to be yet another festival or special event in our City. Sunday was “Deep Freeze” a different winter festival, it shouldn’t be confused with “Ice on Whyte” yet another winter festival. I must admit, it is kind of fun to have all these events all over the city. As a regular festival goer, these events are starting to feel the same to me. That may not be fair, since each event is very different. Maybe I am reaching event burnout.

Metropolis is located in Edmonton’s downtown core at Winston Churchill Square, located across the street from City Hall in the heart of the Art’s District. I really enjoy spending my free time down here. I love the Art Gallery, The Windspear Center and The Citadel Theatre. Eventually the Royal Alberta Museum will be re-located here as well. The City has done a great job of keeping the square busy and fun. There is ice skating in the winter and a wading pool in the summer. Mayor Mandell asked the square to have something put into it for the winter. So someone called a couple of architects and this is what they came up with:

At night they are lit up with LED’s and remind me of Northern Lights. That is where the excitement ends. The Community Center changes it’s exhibits each week. I saw Night of Artists It should have been Night of Art Sale. There was nothing I had to have, although the work was perfectly lovely. The Taste of Edmonton needs to be renamed The Taste of Edmonton Food Courts, with the exception of Zinc, it was meh…even Zinc just offered sliders and chili. The children’s pavilion I heard was expensive and cost prohibitive, the Beer Tent isn’t very family friendly so we avoided that.

What is missing to make this festival feel alive and fun? Disney has it right when they pipe in music into the background. That would help. Last winter the square had bon fires and smores…it needed fires. Gathering around flames is one of those weird pyromania things us Canucks like to do. It generates conversation and laughter, music and friendship. Hay rides would have been a nice addition too! Maybe some street hockey! I am not the only one who was disappointed by this festival. Paula Simons from The Edmonton Journal wrote this:

From a distance, the Metropolis-filled square looks quite striking.

But pretty shells do not a fun festival make.

I went down to Metropolis International Winter Festival this Sunday and found myself baffled at the lack of activities…

… Edmonton visual artist and festival promoter Giuseppe Albi says. “Our festival is very much about creating these enclosures. In the future, we need to develop programming. We want people to say, ‘Hey, we like this idea, and we want to help you animate this.’”

It’s a perplexing backward way to mount a festival. You can’t just put up four fine tents and tell your guests to amuse themselves. Edmontonians have high festival expectations and the Metropolis International Winter Festival, despite its grand name, just doesn’t meet them.

She is right. I have high expectations. The city often is filled with first class festivals like The Fringe and Folkfest. This one left me flat. The buildings are cool on the outside. scaffolding and plywood on the inside is ugly. The festival creators are looking for people to develop future activities and sponsor tents. I’m a big believer in put up or shut up…but I am not sure this kind of event can be saved when 80% of the funds go to the buildings and there is no substance to make them come alive. This reinforces the fact that it’s people that bring things to life, not buildings.

If you are thinking of going…bring your skates so you have something fun to do after.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Cheg of the Year!

I changed up my routine today. Normally I am a creature of habit, but today was – lets just call it a DAY and move on, so I took myself to the local Starbucks and saw the wondrous sight for CHRISTMAS! I really do not appreciate Christmas before Remembrance Day, but in this case it was comforting.

A huge change for me happened today. There was some tears, hugs and playful knocks. I have carried around some stress about it for a week, it all let loose today and it’s a relief. On the way home, I decided to treat myself to a really GREAT coffee.

I pulled up to the doors and lo and behold, CHRISTMAS at Starbucks!  Forget the coffee! Cheg was on the menu! There is something so relaxing about a Cheg. It to the stress away. One sip and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Suddenly I was transported to Christmas on the Square. 🙂

Every year in Edmonton, Winston Churchill Square has a Winter Festival. It is lights, trees, sleigh rides, hot chocolate, roving entertainers, and fireworks. My family likes to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas Season by attending this festival. We wander around enjoying the entertainment. We participate in the light countdown and stand together as a family as the fireworks go off overhead. Cheg is my beverage of choice. The taste of the warm spicy chai mixed with the creamy taste of eggnog all heated to an extra hot temperature = divine family time.

My mom called earlier  this week to make plans to go to Christmas on the Square on Saturday. In all honesty, I forgot. My mind has been busy working ahead in my University class and thinking about work. It all came back to me as I walked through the door to Starbucks and greeted with the Red and White Christmas Signs.

Edmonton is often refered to as Festival City. This will be festival #11 for me this year. Hmm #11. That is a very special number for me. So this just might be the best festival yet!

My Family + Cheg = Perfection