— Feature —

best in the core

By Sydnee Bryant

What would life be without fries? Seriously though, this potato of choice can be paired with breakfast, burgers, and even fancy nights out. For obvious reasons, fries had to make the cut.


It’s not surprising that a French restaurant has incredible French fries – steak frites are a classic for a reason, after all. But it is a delightful surprise just how incredible the hand-cut fries are. These golden-brown French treasures are elevated to another level when paired with the restaurant’s sinful truffle aioli. themarc.ca/


This Edmonton staple offers both classic hand-cut fries and yam fries. These Kennebec potatoes are lucky that they get to become hot, crispy fries that are gluten-free and dairy-free, as well as safe for vegetarians and vegans to eat. The decadent yam fries reach peak deliciousness when dipped into the spicy mayo that accompanies them. blueplatediner.ca/


Sherlocks garlic thyme fries are a delight, a true superstar. No mediocre chips here, just hot, buttery fries full of that amazing garlicky taste that we can’t get enough of. These fries do more than just take up room on your plate or soak up alcohol in your tummy—they make your meal complete. thesherlockspubs.com/

By Sydnee Bryant

Edmontonians are some of the most creative and hard-working folks around and we wanted to take a moment to give a shout-out to amazing BIPOC products and places you need to check out.


Founder Fanta Camara was inspired by her grandmother, a medicine woman in Mali, West Africa, to learn about how herbs and spices can affect health. Vitaliteas sells their custom blends of black, green, herbal, and decaf tea, as well as Chai, at a variety of stores, including RGE RD’s The Butchery, and Meuwely’s Artisan Food Market. vitaliteas.ca/


For more than 45 years, Bearclaw Gallery has worked with Indigenous artists to promote Canadian First Nations, Métis, and Inuit art. Whether you’re looking for a piece of art for your living room or are shopping for gifts, consider supporting a Canadian Indigenous artist. The Inuit soapstone sculptures are particularly stunning. bearclawgallery.com/about/


This Edmonton-based clothing brand, founded by award-winning designer Alèthe Kaboré, mixes African prints with fabrics such as denim, lace, and tulle. A self-taught designer and seamstress, Alèthe was born and raised in Burkina Faso. Bold, colourful business and business casual clothes designed locally and available online? We’ll take one of everything. kynapparel.ca/

By Christopher Sikkenga

No, it isn’t 2008 and we’re not talking Four Loko. Instead, let’s talk 1908 and locomotives!


From the gorgeous views at the top of the High Level Bridge to the history of the streetcars provided by the Edmonton Railway Society that operates the fleet, this is the best way to ride the rails. Additionally, the High Level Bridge Streetcar is the most efficient way to get from downtown to Whyte Ave. edmonton-radial-railway.ab.ca


Since 1999, a train with thousands of lights has traversed the country each holiday season to aid food banks. A modified car serves as a stage for performers to play at each stop. This year’s event will be a virtual concert, see the community tab on cpr.ca for more information.


Bill Graham rescued Locomotive 107, the steam engine, from a swamp in Louisiana. The massive 50 tonne engine provides a trip through time as you can move from the entrance of the park to a station near the fantastic new Indigenous Peoples Experience. fortedmontonpark.ca

By Sydnee Bryant

Allergies and specific food preferences are what make us all so unique and loveable, right? We’re happy to let you know of some restaurants that go above and beyond to cater to their customers’ needs.


This plant-based café is best known for their Instagramable space but they’re also a haven for anyone suffering from food allergies, sensitivities, or Celiac disease. Every menu item is clearly marked to indicate the presence of seven common allergens, and everything is dairy-free (even their amazing coffee and tea lattes!). mosaicsandmotharchive.com/themothcafe/


This is where to find the best gluten-free wraps possible (they don’t fall apart!). A lot of their menu can be made gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, and their menu is helpfully colour-coded! They also crush the raw dessert game, and offer lactose-free, almond, soy, and oat milks. And did we mention the vegan milkshakes? remedycafe.ca/


The best gluten-free pizza in the city, hands down. The staff are very careful when handling a gluten-free order, and they offer an allergy guide on their website so that you can read up on everything beforehand. Dairy allergy or vegan? They’ve got you covered with Daiya mozzarella! They also have a keto-friendly crust! lovepizza.ca/

By Christopher Sikkenga

When we pave over paradise Joni Mitchell advises we go to a “tree museum,” or the U of A Botanic Garden to find peace and silence. All the concrete in the core carries sound through our skulls and these are the absolute loudest.


In 2015 the city started a project to “enhance the avenue with innovative, vibrant and relevant streetscape.” In March 2020 phase 1, the area from 109 Street to 114 Street started construction. Enter the vac truck! These shrill machines are used for sludge, sewers, or hydro-excavation to expose utility lines and pipes under the road. Jasper Ave was turned into a deafening soundscape for several months. Those of us living and working near the construction would have rather spent 10 hours a day with the brutal buzz of a dentist drill.


The goal of bar hopping is to be seen, and unfortunately heard. Those of us living off of Jasper Ave hear the call of the wild each weekend. The intoxicated excitement of e-scooter shenanigans and the agony of the ambulance aid can be heard throughout the evenings. Turn off your TV and enjoy the back-alley breakups and the drunken delusions howled at the moon.


Pardon? I missed your surprise at the St. Joseph’s Basilica being on this list because my ears are ringing. While some may enjoy the clangor, being neighbours with the cathedral bells is challenging. The 1990 addition of bells to the basilica made sure to comply with the noise abatement bylaw, but it is easy to lose one’s train of thought in the last few minutes of the workday when the brain is struck by the chimes at 5:22 pm.

By Christopher Sikkenga

The fantastic thing about living downtown is that escaping to nature is only several steps away. When things get too noisy, one can descend to the River Valley in a variety of ways.


For those of us looking for some quiet reflection and something in between a full-on workout and mechanized transportation, the stairs hidden where 114 Street meets 99 Avenue are an excellent compromise. The stairs in the neighbouring Grant Notley Park and those at the end of 113 Street have large seating areas at the top which can attract more people. On 114 Street, seating consists of a single bench which allows for easier social distancing in these uncertain times. The staircase is a straight shot to the River Valley trails, without any switchbacks, to efficiently deliver you from the noise of the Albertan Provincial Vehicle, the pickup truck. Slip down at 9850 114 St NW.


This is the popular spot for the disciples of cardio. The roughly 202 steps see a lot of traffic because of the challenge and the access to the Commonwealth Walkway which travels 10km along the North Saskatchewan River. Get moving at Constable Ezio Faraone Park, 11004 97 Ave NW. Learn more about the Commonwealth Walkway at edmontoncommonwealthwalkway.com


If cardio is not your cup of tea, the 100 Street Funicular has your back. Completed in 2017, the mechanized River Valley access floats you from downtown to a small promenade above Grierson Hill Road. From there, you can continue to a river lookout or take an elevator down to the River Valley trails. Ride down at 10007 – 100 Street NW.

By Sonia De Fazio

Home, shmome. If you gotta work on your own, at least there are some great local spots for ambiance and background buzz to make you almost miss the cubicle life.

★ ★ WINNER: DOSC ★ ★

By far the coziest and most delicious spot to set up shop in Downtown. Located in the historic Metals Building, hugging the corner of 104 Street and 101 Ave, DOSC offers a creative coffee shop space for the nomadic worker. Whether it’s a crypto check-in, email blast or a spot to sit and research, DOSC’s snacks, staff and scenery are what makes this coffee shop office the best in the core. Next time you’re there, try the waffles. Spoiler alert! You’ll actually be eating a waffle-shaped donut and it will blow your mind. dosc.ca


Located in the Oliver Exchange building, this is a happening spot for being tucked away on a side street. It’s a great place to people-watch while you pretend to read a book. In the warmer months grab your drink and your laptop and settle into one of the tables on the sunken patio. Coffee is roasted daily and if you seriously haven’t tried it yet, then it’s time to treat your taste buds. iconoclastcoffee.com


Lock Stock is a classic choice to hunker down and bang out a few hours of work. Suggested for an early morning or early afternoon work blitz, since they do close at 3:00 pm. The Lock Stock workspace is consistently cool. The coffee is always hot, the breakfast sandwiches are always satisfying and the tunes always fresh. lockstockcoffee.com

By Sonia De Fazio

Sometimes you just want to grab something and go. No fear, we’ve tried all the spots and found the best cheap eats to keep you satiated and your wallet happy too.


If you’re on the hunt for a delicious meal that will fill your belly and not break the bank, Dalla has you covered. It is an Italian restaurant, humbly carrying on the Zenari’s family legacy, with a space and menu that feels like your home away from home. Their new restaurant breathes life into the heart of our city, standing bright and beautiful on bustling Rice Howard Way. After getting pulled in by the high ceilings, hanging foliage and wholesome wall art, you’ll fall head over heels for their panini menu, all around the $10 mark and guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds. Panini menu available everyday until 3:00 pm. dalla.ca


Slurp up the intricate flavours of Japan at Dorinku Osaka. Located on Jasper Ave, off 104 Street, Dorinku offers a small but mighty ramen menu that will be sure to warm your heart and cool down your spending. The ramen menu is available at lunch and dinner, offering a range of traditional broth flavours and fresh ingredients, all around the $11 – $15 range. They even offer their ramen as a frozen takeaway option, so you can cook it up in the comfort of your own home. Large portions and big taste on a small budget makes Dorinku Osaka a solid runner-up for best cheap eats during the week in the Core. osaka.dorinku.ca


Hankering for a few slices of ‘za? Cosmic Pizza & Donair is your downtown destination for pizza by the slice at a slashed price. Located at the entryway of the Fox Tower 2, it offers a cheap, quick and tasty option for the tummy rumblies. Whether it’s a snack attack, second lunch or a quick bite before your next destination, you can easily fill up on two of their hefty slices for under $10. cosmicpizza.ca.

By Sonia De Fazio

Taking your time to look at things you didn’t even know you needed has a kind of therapeutic essence to it, doesn’t it? Indulge in some shopping therapy at these quiet and quirky spots.


Allow your curiosity to keep you just a little longer at the Royal Alberta Museum Gift Shop. It’s one of those shops that you drop in intending to kill 10 minutes but end up staying for 45 because you’re hypnotized by the perfectly curated selection of gifts and goodies. The RAM Gift Shop has everything from pottery to puzzles to prints, made by local artisans from across Alberta. You’ll hop in on a whim and leave happily with books, jewelry and apparel you didn’t know you needed until you did. ramshop.ca


Come for the chronic, stay for the crew. Armstrong Block takes runner up for most loiter-able people factor. After you talk selection, catch up with the cool staff and toss a few tickles over to the store cat, you’re easily tagging an extra 15 minutes to your routine purchase time. The staff are super genuine and fun to chat with. They can mingle you into submission with their humour and hype. One second you’re comparing kush, the next you’re divulging into details about evening plans to slay some saliva with a side of All Happy takeout, and they are right there, encouraging you every step of the way. historicplaces.ca


Loiter in luxury at The Artworks. The exquisite display of art, florals and home decor will make you and your minutes melt. The Artworks is brimming with beauty. You’ll walk in ready to buy a one-of-a-kind greeting card, bouquet or sentimental piece of jewelry, but then stick around to bask in the beauty of the whole store. The intricate selection of gifts creates a majestic museum vibe that will tempt you into investigating each individual piece, as if it were a sacred and rare relic. theartworks.ca

By Sydnee Bryant

Softly falling snow, sparkling in the winter light, the Core offers some beautiful places to take a stroll through crunchy snow-covered streets and trails.


Take the funicular down to this beautiful park, located right next to Downtown (or brave the stairs; we’re not your mother). Louise McKinney offers classic views of the North Saskatchewan, plenty of places to sit down for a break, and enough trees laced with snow to appease even the most cynical of winter walkers. edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation/parks_rivervalley/louise-mckinney-riverfront-park


If you’re a fan of mixing walking with window shopping, 104 Street and 104 Avenue is the spot for you. Grab a hot beverage from Credo and stop in stores whenever you need to warm up, or something catches your eye. And when you get hungry—there’s plenty of fantastic dining options at your fingertips. exploreedmonton.com/attractions-and-experiences/4th-street-promenade

>> RUNNER-UP: 124 Street

This area mixes retail and residential, making it the ideal spot for a leisurely stroll. Admire the window displays, get a hot drink or a snack, then continue on to view the houses, lit brightly with festive decorations. It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon outside—a Candy Cane Lane-esque spot tucked away on the westside of the core. 124street.ca

This entry was posted in 2021 Winter, Feature.