Explore the Core

Of all the seasons, Edmonton is known for its summers: festivals, the intense heat, and sunny days. Autumn in our city is often overlooked. During fall, the river valley explodes with warm colours as the sun provides the final days of warm weather. This season can be quite short, smothered by a winter that crashes down overnight. Here are some walking trails in the core to help you enjoy autumn while it’s here.


The Alberta Legislature is the first pick for this list, despite it not technically being a trail. The government building is surrounded by 23 hectares of paths, monuments, manicured fields, fountains, and trees. Come equipped with a big sweater, hot chocolate, and a camera.


No list of walking trails in the core would be complete without mentioning Victoria Park. This trail is beautiful but has some elevation change into and out of the river valley. The multi-use trail starts at around 100 Avenue and 116 Street. Walk west along Victoria Park Road, which curves onto the Groat Road Bridge, but be sure to turn left onto River Valley Road before crossing the river. Take your next left again at the other end of Victoria Park, and you will return to where you started. This path is about three kilometres.

Another option is the network of paths within Victoria Park. For those who are walking to Victoria Park, the best way to access this network is to walk down the staircase and 100 Avenue and 120 Street.


So you’ve spent some time at the Alberta Legislature grounds, but are hungry for more autumn air. Starting at the Alberta Legislature, head east. You’ll know you’re going the right way if you’re on a paved multi-use path, not a road. This six-block walk runs parallel to 97th Avenue. It’s a short walk that straddles Rossdale and downtown, providing sights of both valley and city. At the end of the trail, Irene Parlby Park is only a couple blocks further down 97th Avenue.


This trail is another short expedition, no longer than two kilometres. It starts at Constable Ezio Faraone Park, providing great views of the fall colours of the river valley, North Saskatchewan, and the High Level Bridge. Starting at the top of the staircase, the trail runs northwest. Be prepared for a decline. When you reach the intersection at the edge of Victoria Park, turn left. At the next intersection, turn left again onto River Valley Road, and complete the loop by following the path parallel to 109 Street.

5 Cheap Tips for Keeping Cool This Summer

1 Icy Fan

You’ve probably watched the MacGyver re-boot or remember the (far better) original with Richard Dean Anderson. Either way, this trick is pure MacGyver. Take a bowl, fill it with ice, angle it slightly, then take your cheap fan and have it blow across the bowl and the ice. Get it right and it can create an icy mist. You’re welcome.

2 Close Your Curtains

Do your windows face any direction but north? If so, the easiest strategy to keep your place cool is to keep the direct sunlight out.

You can significantly cool an apartment using this strategy alone, especially when you’re out at work or otherwise not needing the curtains open. Indeed, blackout curtains are capable of cooling a room as much as 30 per cent.

3 Cook Later

To keep super cool you need to limit the heat your cooking is contributing. So cook later, when the ambient temperature has dropped.

4 Buckwheat Pillow

Not to get all science-y on you, but buckwheat hulls have natural air gaps between them so they don’t absorb your heat as readily as other materials. That means they’re cooler to rest your head upon at night. And let’s be honest — being too hot at night is the absolute hardest time to take it. So get some sleep, buckwheat.

5 Turn On Your Exhaust Fans

This one is less obvious but works. That exhaust fan in your bathroom that evacuates steam as you shower? It also can pull out heat if you leave it running. Same thing goes with the fan above your kitchen stove. If your house is scorching, employ any and all methods to get that heat outta there.

5 Ways to Wake Your Bike From Winter Slumber

Unless you’ve been sleeping beneath a rock, you’ve seen the downtown bike grid. And while an increasing number of us are cycling year-round now, thanks to this necessary infrastructure, a lot of us still keep the cycling to spring, summer and fall. So, if you’re in that camp and you’re now eager to get your hibernating steel horse back out on the urban grid, we’ve got you covered. Brahm Ollivierre, the mustachioed roving bike mechanic behind Troubadour Cycles, gave us his top five tips for spring bike rejuvenation.


First things first, Ollivierre says: Check your tires and tubes. “A bike that can’t roll isn’t much of a bike after all,” he says. “Be sure to check the side of your tires for the ideal pressure range (usually indicated in psi), and then inflate. If the tire won’t hold air, or goes soft over a 24-hour period, it’s time for new tubes. Once inflated, check the tire itself for cracks or worn out spots, which would indicate the tire needs replacing.


Ollivierre says the next check needed is your wheels. Lift up your bike and give each wheel a spin. “Check to see if the rim seems to wobble side to side or dip away from the brake pads at all,” he says. “If so, give each spoke a wiggle by hand to see if there are loose or broken spokes.” If there are loose spokes, take the wheel to a trained bike mechanic, immediately, Ollivierre says. “Wheels that are out of true only get worse and more expensive to fix if ridden on, so it’s best to repair them early.”


“Just as your bike needs to roll, it also needs to stop,” Ollivierre says. What to do? “Check to make sure your brake pads are tight and hitting the rim or disc rotor properly, not rubbing on the tire or dropping below the side of the rim.” Next, test ride the bike to see if it stops quickly. “If your bike won’t stop satisfactorily, the brakes need adjusting, and possibly brake-pad or cable replacement.”


Take a test ride and shift your gears, Ollivierre says. “If there is any hesitation in shifting, loud clicking or grinding noises, a slipping feeling in the pedals, or sagging in your chain, have a bike mechanic take a look at your bike.” If you’d like it to be Ollivierre, he’s at troubadourcycles.com


Next, it’s time to clean your velo, Ollivierre says. Grab a rag, a bucket of water with diluted cleaner (he recommends Simple Green) and wash away.“It is probably best to stay away from the temptation of a pressure washer for this job, which can push water into places it shouldn’t be,” Ollivierre says. “While you’re cleaning the bike, keep an eye out for loose bolts or components, as well as any damage to the bike.” Finish the cleaning with one drop of chain lube on each link of your chain, he says.

Safe riding.

4 Best in the Core, circa 2022

What could be ‘Best of the Core’ winners in five years, and why? We talked with Edmonton starchitect Michael Zabinski to find out.

Michael Zabinski co-designed the new funicular and the Regenerating Rossdale proposal.

1. A Re-Imagined Best Buy

Having a Best Buy downtown is “pretty awesome,” Zabinski says. But the current, parking-focused design at 104 Avenue and 109 Street needs a rethink. To make it a 2022 Best-Of winner, Zabinksi recommends pushing the parking underground, putting small-scale retail on the ground floor to animate the street — including along the Railtown Park connection at back — and moving the Best Buy upstairs, just like you see in dense downtowns like Vancouver. Above it all? Residential units to serve MacEwan students and professionals.

2. Life in the Laneways

Zabinski thinks the laneways running between streets and behind buildings on 104 Street and Rice Howard Way have big potential. The laneways have historically been lanes for service vehicles, but today they’re also used as pedestrian-first shortcuts. Zabinski imagines small retail tucked into them, as well as lighting features, hidden art or other items of interest to give pedestrians reasons to stay in the lanes.

3. Digging Discovery

Zabinski says we need to look at downtown’s under-used spaces — underground. “The most interesting cities I’ve visited provide unique opportunities for discovery. Some of the greatest restaurants, bars and galleries are hidden from view, either tucked away in a forgotten basement or up on a secret rooftop.” Take the old Fanny’s Fabrics, underneath Dialog Architecture’s office on 104 Street: The mostly-vacant subterranean space has glass-enclosed bays that could be an underground marketplace or makerspace, he says.

4. Grandin Junction

In October 2017, Zabinski and others released a project proposal called the High Level Line. One of its most ambitious parts was called Grandin Junction.
The proposal: Connect the legislature grounds to Ezio Faraone Park “with a sweeping greenspace bridging above the traffic,” Zabinski says. “This expanded park would integrate into the existing LRT network, and bring pedestrians, cyclists, and streetcar users to a stunning vantage point overlooking the North Saskatchewan river valley, providing a wide range of uses through all seasons.”

Core lessons for Canada 150

You can walk past Edmonton’s deep connection to Canada without even knowing it. But you wouldn’t want to do that. For your adventurous spirit, as our country celebrates 150 years, here are some links to the bigger story.

1. Commodore Restaurant

A gold rush attracted the first throng of Chinese settlers to Canada, in 1858. Twenty-five years later, 6,500 Chinese workers helped build the railroad across Canada. And in 1890, the first Chinese settler, Chung Gee, arrived in Edmonton, via Calgary, to open a laundromat located between 105 and 106 Street, off Jasper Avenue. In 1942, two blocks away from the original laundromat, the Gee family opened Commodore Restaurant, one of the longest-operating Chinese cafés in Edmonton. Although most head to Chinatown for Chinese food, we suggest heading to Commodore for “Western” Chinese dishes like chop suey and egg foo yung—and don’t forget to say hello to David and Wilma Gee, relations of Chung Gee.

2. The banks of the North Saskatchewan River

Years before the Klondike Gold Rush, prospectors staked their claim along the North Saskatchewan River. Though the waters weren’t awash with gold nuggets, you could find particles, known as ‘gold flour.’ At the peak of Edmonton’s rush, from 1895 to 1897, about 300 miners came to the city. Most could not resist the tales of more substantial finds in the Yukon, though, and by the end of 1897, they had moved to the Klondike. Today if you want to strike it rich, you can make your way to Ezio Faraone Park at 110 Street, take the stairs down to the river below and pan on the sandbanks and gravel bars with hobbyists.

3. 110 Street in Grandin

The first European language spoken in what became Alberta was French. French-Canadian voyageurs arrived in the North West Territories for the fur trade, married Cree women and established the first Métis communities. Soon thereafter Francophone missionaries followed and built churches across Alberta. Edmonton’s Grandin neighbourhood is home to St. Joachim’s Church, one of the first French-speaking parishes in Edmonton, originally established at the first location of Fort Edmonton (where the Alberta Legislature building now sits). Further south down 110 Street, Grandin School, built in 1915, is another reminder of Edmonton’s French roots. It was intended to offer instruction in French only, but with a growing English population in the core, the sisters from the Les Fidèles Compagnes de Jésus taught students in both languages. St Joachim played an important part in helping other Roman Catholic churches get built. Parishioners helped organize the fundraising efforts for St. Joseph’s Basilica, on 113 Street. •

Be a Better Edmonton Ambassador to Your Christmas Visitors


Let’s face it: few people visit Edmonton in the winter unless they have family obligations or are home for the holidays. So it’s our duty to be good ambassadors by taking them to one of these unique-to-Edmonton hotspots which highlight our winter wonders and proud treasures.

Zocalo: The name, in Spanish, means “public square,” and although you’ll find it in the heart of Little Italy this greenhouse is truly a community hub. Seek out fresh cut flowers, beautiful indoor and outdoor plants and memorable gifts. After shopping with guests, catch up in the Zocalo’s café over its tempting espresso milkshakes, delicious house-made chocolates and pastries or a European-style lunch. 10826 95 St.

The IceWay Skating TrailThis fairy tale skating trail lets you and your guests wind through trees and experience nature along Edmonton’s river valley. The journey begins at Victoria Oval Park, our official speed-skating track, and turns into a skating trail lined with multi-coloured lights and lanterns.  10am–10pm, 12130 River Valley Rd.

Confederation Lounge: Reminisce on old times in wing-backed chairs and cozy up in this estate library-style setting in the iconic hotel’s lounge. The “Mac” has been a gathering spot for good times for 101 years. With a creamy cappuccino or Mission Hill Reserve’s Pinot Noir in hand, and a breathtaking river valley view, treat your guests like royalty and make them wish they never left Edmonton. 10065 100 St., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–1 a.m., Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–12 a.m.

Made Local SocietyExplore Edmonton’s creative hub, a character house filled with hands-on workshops. Inside you’ll find jewellery-making, mixed media art journaling and social media marketing for beginners. Other attractions include artist studios and a shop selling locally made treasures, from decor to skin-care products. Whether you and your guests want some bonding time, need last minute Christmas gifts or want to show of Edmonton’s brilliant minds, Made Local is a great destination. 10149 122 St.

Vacancy Hall: Burrow into Mercer Warehouse’s basement, where a versatile retail and studio space gives up-and-coming artists, brands and entrepreneurs an eclectic place to promote their products. Introduce your friends to artisans at Clo’s General Leather Co., the Skinny and Edmonton in a Box, and show them a side to this city that’s rarely recognized.  10363 104 St., Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat 11am–3pm

Holland Plaza: Swing by Provisions, the kitchen and baking store created by the Duchess Bake Shop. Friends and family will swoon over its international and hard-to-find cookbooks, ingredients and bakeware. You’ll find it hard to leave, so pair it with an interactive cooking class or breakfast next door at its sister bistro Café Linnea. This multi-purpose building holds something for everyone, like Barre Body Studio for the fitness-obsessed cousin or the Local Omnivore for low-key friends. 10934 119 St.

Victoria Park Cross-Country Ski Trails: Grab your skis or borrow some from MEC, then enjoy your choice trail around the Victoria Golf Course in Edmonton’s river valley. Whether you want to try out a leisurely path just for fun, or challenge your friends on a 2.5-kilometre race, this is the place to start. Refuel at the course’s Dogwood Café for all-day breakfast offerings; consider the Portuguese-inspired breakfast sandwich or, if you need to warm up, a cup of a hot cocoa or coffee. 12130 River Valley Rd.

7-11 HACKS

A high-end chef’s guide to low-brow, late-night snacking.

Filliep Lament has cooked at high-end eateries in Montreal. Locally, he’s been spotted in upscale kitchens like Woodwork, Three Boars, North 53 and now the new Café Linnea from Duchess Bake Shop. But the sous chef wants closeted 7-11 fans to know that, after their kitchens close, even the city’s best cooks grub out on Jamaican patties and greasy meatball kebabs—or “hack” the convenient store staples by, say, filling a hot dog bun with a taquito smothered in nacho cheese. “It’s very convenient because it’s one place downtown that is open 24 hours,” says Lament. It’s even more convenient since, in recent years, three 7-11s have popped up on Jasper Ave., no more than eight blocks apart. And while he’s no advocate of a 7-11-only diet, Lament says that hacking recipes is a fun way to take your inner foodie on a trashy date.


  • 10 slices of Wonder Bread diced into large cubes
  • 1 sm. carton whipped cream
  • 2 vanilla International Delight creamers “borrowed” from the coffee station
  • 1 egg
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 chocolate bars (Caramilk or Cookies n’ Cream) chopped into large bite-sized pieces

Gently mix all of the ingredients into a bowl with your hands and let it soak for up to three hours. Pack mixture into a square baking dish and preheat oven to 300F. Set baking dish on top of shallow pan in the oven. Pour hot water in the pan, making sure the water comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Cook for 45 min. Cool and serve at room temperature. It’ll satiate the latchkey kid in you.


  • Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream (2–3 flavours)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 sm. carton of whipped cream
  • 2 pkg. Stroopwafels
  • 2 chocolate bars (Hershey’s plus a peanut variety like Snickers)
  • 1 pkg. of Cherry Blasters

It’s just four ingredients, two toppings and zero guilt (until it’s all gone). Melt the chocolate bars in a bowl placed over top of boiling water to make them drizzle. Score the peeled banana down the centre length-wise and place on plate. Cut Stroopwafels in half and place two on each side of the banana. Add a scoop of each ice cream on top. Whip the cream with fork and scoop on top of ice cream. Repeat with another layer of ice cream and whipped cream. Spoon on chocolate drizzle and top with Cherry Blasters.


  • 1 Big Bite hot dog
  • 1 bag of beef jerky (not teriyaki flavoured)
  • 1 generous helping of chili from the condiments section

Order one Big Bite hot dog, buy a bag of jerky and proceed to condiments stand. Cut up strips of jerky into bite-sized pieces. Cover the hot dog with liquid chili from the condiments stand (yes, this exists). Top chili with jerky pieces and enjoy—but probably not just before bed.

Puppy Central: Six Reasons Your Dog Loves the Core

(1) The (Un)Official Off-Leash Park
The core doesn’t have an off-leash park (yet), but the historical McKay schoolyard is the next best thing. It’s a quiet, hidden patch of greenery amongst the vast concrete, and best of all it’s fenced in. Bring a ball and let them run free. 10425 99 Ave.

(2) Made with Love
On your next stroll down 124 St., scoot into Food Dish Wishes to treat your furry friend with homemade gourmet biscuits. Owners/sisters Tessa and Ashley Lee not only serve up decadent delights for dogs, but loving homes for cats; the shop supports an animal adoption service right inside this little gem. Here’s hoping they all get along. 10724 124 St NW; facebook.com/fooddishwishes

(3) Stress-free Socializing
The famed and trusted daycare Divine K9 & Feline is tucked just behind Oliver Square. Conveniently located for quick and easy pickup/dropoff, you can get on with your life while your pooch socializes with others and gets some exercise with a “Pack Leader” staff who are trained themselves—in animal behaviour, nutrition and health. 10552 114 St.; 780-421-7888; divinek9.ca

(4) Get the Goods
Looking to stock up on the good stuff? The helpful staff at Global Pet Foods, a Canadian-owned chain, will guide you through their dizzying selection of dog foods—from locally sourced to brand name and organic—and not to mention troves of toys. So if that old stuffed animal is hanging onto its last leg, let your pooch pick out something new to destroy. 10103 117 St.; globalpetfoods.com

(5) Fur on Fleek
Your paws are in good hands with the Edmonton Journal Readers’ Choice-approved groomers at the Pampered Puppy. All staff have completed full certification in pet first-aid and grooming, so you can just drop them off and enjoy a few hours to yourself, worry-free. On top of regular grooming services, you’ll also find supplies for those quick DIY touch ups. 10303 124 St.; thepamperedpuppy.net

(6) Just the Two of Us
Escape to Louise McKinney Riverfront Park for a peaceful walk along the edge of Edmonton’s winding river valley. This stretch of greenery is perfect for an early morning walk or run with your furry friend—and thanks to a looping pathway, dogs can literally run laps. 9999 Grierson Hill Rd.

Catch Cold

figure skater
Snowy Excursions:
Get off the beaten track just like the first Canadians used to—in snowshoes. Strike out on your own by trudging across Victoria or Hawrelak parks’ open snowscapes, or, if you require guidance, sign up for a guided tour with River Valley Adventure Co. Headquartered in Louise McKinney Park, the company doesn’t just rent out know-how, but snowshoes too. Gather a group of four or more, buckle on a pair of ergonomic MSR snowshoes (designed to improve your traction without weighing you down) and spend the day crunching over the river valley’s snowdrifts with a trusty guide. (Open Friday–Monday, 11am–4pm; 780-995-7347; rivervalleyadventure.com)

Skate Free
What’s more Albertan than an outdoor skating rink? The rink on the Alberta Legislature grounds. Revel in the limited but bright winter sun or appreciate the twinkling Christmas lights adorning the park through December and January. For more space and bigger crowds, head to the Victoria Park Oval—and while you’re there, check out the Winter Chalet at Victoria Golf Course (weekends, 9am–4pm) to warm up with hot chocolate and bannock by the fire. Both rinks are open for free public skating everyday (10am—10pm) until it’s about to melt—but don’t wait too long because climatologists are expecting a short winter. Make the best of it.

Ski the Valley
Take advantage of the well-groomed skiing trails in Hawrelak, Victoria and Kinsmen parks—all three locations are furnished with chalets, so you can thaw your toes before hitting the track again. The Edmonton Nordic Ski Club organizes group skiing in the river valley every Wednesday evening, as well as Sunday day-trips to venues outside the city. Whether your legs are a little wobbly or ready for Olympic tryouts, join the club’s Annual End-to-End River Valley Ski over the holiday season and keep your eyes peeled for “moonlight ski” events (think buddies, headlamps and a potluck). The club also facilitates an online ski swap in case your gear needs an upgrade or you haven’t any at all. Or you can rent skis from Mountain Equipment Co-op. (Edmontonnordic.ca)

Swing Away the Winter Blues
From January to February, Swing ‘n’ Skate Sundays turns winter blues to winter grooves at City Hall. Live jazzy musicians in the City Room provide the soundtrack while Sugar Swing Dance Club members provide free instruction on the dance floor inside. They’ll guide you through tuck-turns and walkthroughs before sending you off to do it on skates—the band is also broadcast over the outdoor rink out front. Don’t have skates? On-site rentals are free. (Sundays 1–4 pm; exploreedmonton.com)

Coast the Slopes
Some municipalities are cracking down on urban tobogganing, but not this one. Edmonton boasts prime sledding hills maintained by the City and made easy with run-outs and marked sledding areas. Whether you cruise on old-fashioned toboggans, “snow saucers” or Krazy Karpets (consult your childhood diary for definitions), bring along your sleds, helmets and besties to Emily Murphy or Gallagher Park hills. If you’re brave, hit the notorious hill at Government House Park. (For slope conditions and lists visit tinyurl.com/yegtoboggan)

Huddle Inside
Built in 1972, the Oliver Arena is a neighbourhood institution. On those few blisteringly cold days, take refuge on its 1,500-square-metres of pristine ice surface. Drop-in public skating for all ages is free for an hour every Sunday at 4:15pm, and skate rentals and sharpening are available inside. (10335 119th street)

Smarten Up

Woodworking 101

Spruce up your crib with new furniture built with your own bare, fully fingered hands, thanks to the guidance of acclaimed woodwork design boutique Oliver Apt. This daylong beginner class is safe and fun, taking you through the steps of crafting a beautiful contemporary bench. Sorry, Ron Swanson won’t make a cameo, but pizza will. Plaid clothing optional. ($600 in advance starting Saturdays in Sept/Oct; incl. materials and refreshments; Oliver Apt., 10225 100 Ave.)

printmakingFine Prints

Design stencils and layer colours as you construct your pop-art masterpiece during this six-week beginner workshop on the basics of printmaking. These techniques will pay off in vibrant design prints perfect for posters and shirts. Not your thing? The Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists can indulge your etching, letterpress and relief print courses. ($286 starting September 22; SNAP Print Studio, 10123 121 St.)

whiskeyExpand Your Whiskey Palate

It’s your chance to find out why Kavalan—this year’s “World’s Best Whiskey”—comes 10,000 kilometres from Scotland. The first step to becoming a connoisseur of Taiwanese and Indian single malt whiskies is attending deVine Wines’ tasting and presentation. Sip and learn about the extensive history and unique molasses distilling process of this new and exploding market.($50 in advance on Sept. 24 at 7pm; deVine Wines, 10111 104 St.;devinewines.ca

terrariumBuild Your Own Terrarium

Annie Parent, owner of the eclectic boutique Habitat Etc., walks you through the steps of building and caring for your own succulent garden. Perfect for an evening out with friends, each of you leaves with your own personalized arrangement of echeveria, stonecrop and more.($50 on Sept. 22, incl. materials and refreshments; Habitat Etc., 10187 104 St.)

abeltonChannel Your Inner DJ

No guarantee your set will top the charts, but this 12-week introduction to music software Abelton Live will teach you how to produce sick electronic music and hip-hop beats. These seminar-style classes with the DJs and concert promoters known as Night Vision will build your confidence with music theory, mixing and mastering as you transform into a pro. Wait, did we actually say “sick”? The transformation’s begun… ($700–$800 starting Sept. 13; Night Vision Music, 11231 Jasper Ave.)

Hors d’Oeuvres for the HolidaysBite sized potato rosti appetizer topped with fresh sour cream, smoked salmon and dill viewed from directly above

Ease your way into the season with the help of this holiday entertaining workshop. Learn some of the coming season’s trending eats, such as Spanish dates and chicken parmesan tidbits, alongside Gail Hall, one of Edmonton’s most knowledgeable chefs and culinary educators. ($175 on Nov. 14, incl. all ingredients, recipe kit, apron, wine and certificate; Seasoned Solutions Loft Cooking, 10249 104 St.)

gameGamers Unite

Think game apps are distracting? Wait till you’re creating your own with the world’s most popular video game design technology. The workshop hosted by Edmonton Digital Arts College covers design foundations, application and customization using the Unity 3D platform. Over 15 weeks, participants collaborate on a game from concept to completion, while each gets one-on-one time with an industry professional. Best of all, unlike level 147 of Candy Crush, this class won’t cost you a dime. (Free starting in October; Stanley Milner Library)