As temperatures rise and Edmonton drivers get slightly less terrible, it’s obvious summer is just around the corner. For the majority of University of Alberta students, this also means freedom from approaching deadlines and avoiding suffering through yet another eClass crash. With some free time on your hands, here are the best local summer activities to enjoy.
1. Support a local cause
Local community activists are constantly organizing in the Edmonton area. From the Black Lives Matter protests which took place last summer, to the recent Drive for Palestine rally, there are always opportunities in the city to make your voice heard.
Keeping an eye on social media, local news outlets, and the work done by local organizers is a great way to stay aware of what is happening in the Edmonton community, and find a cause that aligns with your views.
2. Hike at Elk Island National Park
My favourite way to spend time outdoors is an afternoon at Elk Island National Park, which is only 35 minutes east of Edmonton. The park offers facilities for hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and stargazing, but it may be a good idea to contact the park before your trip to see what specific services are running under Alberta’s COVID-19 health restrictions.
My favourite hiking path in the National Park is the Shirley Lake Trail, named after the daughter of Dr. Love, who was an early park superintendent. At around 11 kilometres, this path is great to observe some of Alberta’s lakes while occasionally catching a glimpse of grazing elk. Don’t forget an extra pair of shoes and socks, because the trail can definitely get muddy!
3. Visit a local shop
There is nothing I love more than justifying my frivolous spending habits. Instead of putting your money towards larger corporations and franchises, supporting locally owned Edmonton businesses is a great way to spend an afternoon.
If you’re looking to do some summer reading, Glass Bookshop is the place for you. Focusing on queer and racialized writers, Canadian writing, and independent publishers, Glass Bookshop carries a diverse selection of literature for any reader.
For quick food shopping, I love shopping at the locally owned Rayan Grocery & Halal Meats in northeast Edmonton. Carrying a wide variety of quick snacks, spices, and drinks, this is the perfect place for a quick snack break.
4. Volunteer for a local organization
Without the stresses of deadlines and due dates, you might be looking for something to keep you busy during the summer months. From soup kitchens to event organizing, there’s volunteer positions available for anybody.
One of the area’s most prominent volunteer organizations is the Edmonton Food Bank. By working towards seeking solutions towards hunger in Edmonton, the food bank is one of the many organizations making a difference in the lives of Edmontonians.
5. Relax and do nothing!
This past semester has been a difficult and stressful time for most students and staff at the U of A. Giving yourself some time to relax is essential in maintaining physical and mental well-being.
Putting aside some time in the summer to laze around is a great way to rejuvenate after a stressful year, and ensure you are ready for whatever comes your way this fall.