Ask a University of Alberta student where they hope to live after their studies are completed and depending on who you ask, you’ll rarely hear “Edmonton.” The most common complaint is that the city is stuck in the past, or that it’s just plain boring. This might have been true a few years ago, but recent developments prove that we’re moving forward at a rapid pace. And if you think this city is boring, you probably just don’t know what it has to offer.
One sign of progress is the election of Edmonton’s new mayor Don Iveson. His core campaign promises included improved bike lanes, increased urban density and an expanded LRT system. It was speculated that Kerry Diotte could win the election by gaining the senior’s vote with promises for reduced taxes and less civic spending. Instead, Edmontonians of all ages gave Iveson the highest percentage of votes in city history — proving that it’s not just young people that want to see this city grow.
Iveson’s policies aren’t completely new though. Former mayor, Stephen Mandel and previous city councils worked hard to promote urban development, with a new LRT line opening up and the construction of the controversial arena beginning this spring. The idea of becoming a world class city has become almost cliché at this point, and these two examples are just a small part of the efforts that have been made to turn the city into a place people want to live.
But despite this growth, Edmonton still has a stigma attached to it of being a working city where there’s nothing to do except sit in your house in the suburbs watching reruns on television — and that’s just not true. For one, there’s the massive river valley that’s just as nice, if not nicer, in winter as it is in summer. Fort Edmonton Park is an attraction that’s often forgotten, and the Valley Zoo is a great way to spend an afternoon. There are also a slew of national and provincial parks a short drive outside of Edmonton.
If nature isn’t your thing, the city now has more than just Whyte and Jasper Ave. for entertainment. There are new communities springing up around Edmonton, such as both 104 and 124 St. Even the notorious 118 Ave. is undergoing a push for revitalization. These neighbourhoods also have many local stores and businesses worth visiting, some of which show up at the city’s numerous farmers’ markets. Then there’s Edmonton’s food truck scene, one of Canada’s biggest. Along with the many restaurants, there’s always something new to try.
Apart from retail, Edmonton plays a significant role in building Alberta’s technological future. It’s a great city to start a company, with organizations like Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton providing resources and workshops to aid entrepreneurs. And although the University of Alberta is facing tough budget cuts, it remains one of the top educational institutions in the country.
Of course, there’s still room for improvement. While we have a lot of festivals in the summer, they die down in the winter. Churchill Square could be used for more than just festivals, and yes, our roads get pockmarked by potholes when spring comes. However, these are problems the city is actively working on. Roads in particular are part of a revitalization project, and they should be a lot more manageable once the new LRT lines are running.
Although Edmonton might eventually become one of Canada’s major tourist cities, it’s also on track to become one of Canada’s most livable cities. Edmonton is growing, it will cost money and require some effort, but it’s growing; We need to stop sitting at home complaining that there’s nothing to do, and go enjoy the city. In doing so, you’ll give new businesses incentive to invest here. It’s time for all of us to quit dwelling on Edmonton’s negative aspects, and instead focus on and utilize its positive attributes.
On this special short edition of The Gateway Presents, we celebrate the Gateway’s 103rd birthday by telling some birthday stories and talking about The Gateway’s history.
Since this is a music blog and not an exhausted-consideration-on-moments-in-my-life Tumblr blog, what better way to gain some clarity to what I’ve listened to in the past 11 months than order and number songs (one for each month) that I’ve found to be the best and most worthwhile from the past eleven months?
Pandas basketball player and starting point guard Jessilyn Fairbanks didn’t always envision herself leading one of the hottest teams in CIS. In fact, Fairbanks’ path — from Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) standout to leading the charge for the Pandas on both ends of the court — has become one of the more intriguing storylines in varsity sports this year.
The statistics are staggering. In the last 10 years, the University of Alberta Students’ Union has had only two female presidents, and out of 50 executives only 11 were women.
What renowned paleontologist Phillip Currie initially thought was a turtle shell poking out of the ground turned out to be an almost fully intact baby dinosaur — and one of the most significant finds of his career.