Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • April-May 2024 • Circulation 5000

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Stella Johnson: “Music was always a part of my life.”

Stella Johnson is a McCauley-based singer/songwriter who performs regularly around Edmonton. 

“My dad’s a musician, and my mom’s a music lover. I was an only child and they always brought me to jams and festivals. Music was always a part of my life. It felt kind of inevitable that I would love it in some capacity and then I just took it my own way,” she says of her love of music. 

About her involvement with Heart of the City, Stella explains, “I’ve lived in McCauley my whole life. I remember being there when I was really little, and it was probably some of my first experiences getting up on stage because my dad would play, and I would get up and play some terrible harmonica with him or sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.’ I’ve always loved that festival. It was a big part of my growing up.”

When asked to share more memories of the festival, Stella said, “The first two things that come to mind are Netti Spaghetti who would be there with the hula hoops and Mary Rankin’s song circle. I remember face painting - it was Rhonda Hardcastle who would have done it back in the day. These people are still so close to me and my family. I think Heart of the City was a necessary community in this area.”

As someone who grew up in the inner city, Stella says, “I saw a difference. I look like this hippy chick but that doesn’t always represent how I was raised and what I saw. I made some really bad decisions and hung out with some really risky people. I don’t think my friends in other places would have done such risky things. Luckily, I had it a lot better than a lot of people but I think it gave me a really unique perspective having gone through that and coming out on the other side a much stronger person. I knew that I lived in a worse off area than a lot of people I went to school with.”

She continues, “I was aware that growing up in the inner city was a unique experience. I don’t think I was aware of how that would affect me or the decisions that I made. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and I’m very grateful for it. In different places that I go I’m not a judgmental person, and I could have been if I lived somewhere else.”

Stella tells me that despite being the daughter of Steven Johnson, the McCauley Community League’s long-term guitar teacher, she taught herself to play the guitar. At the same time, she says,  “I have my dad to thank for my musical awareness.”

She goes on to say, “Music - it sounds cheesy, but it’s like an extra limb for me. It’s something that I have to do. It keeps me somewhat sane. I like finding different ways that I’m going to take it. I’m kind of at a point where I don’t know what I’m going to do next, but that’s exciting in itself.” 

Corine Demas lives in McCauley where she is the President of the McCauley Community League and a board member with Heart of the City.

Events Coming Up: Save the Dates

Spring is here. Ice Man Dan has hung up his skates and our season of skating is over. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to do with McCauley Community League. We’ve got lots of events on the horizon.

Saturday, June 8th, Noon to 10 p.m. and  Sunday, June 9th, Noon to 5 p.m.
Our community partner, Heart of the City Festival, happens this June 8th and 9th. It is back in Giovanni Caboto Park with an addition to the festival this year. The Indigenous Fashion Show is being integrated onto the main stage. 

Did you miss the festival? Check out the website (heartcityfest.com) for a link to our Story City App walk and take a virtual tour of the happenings. We’ll link you to videos and highlights.

Saturday, June 22nd, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The McCauley Community League (MCL) is holding our Annual General Meeting (AGM) and lunch with an ice cream social at the Hull Block (9664 106th Avenue). Following the meeting there will be a short Q&A with Anne Stevenson, our City Councillor. 

Saturday, July 13th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Come on out to the McCauley Carnival featuring bouncy castles, cotton candy, popcorn, hot dogs, and kids’ floor games. We will also have stand-up comedy from Kamal Alaeddine (who has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno), and circus-style sideshow performances by Istace. Istace is a multi-disciplinary circus artist who serves a one-of-a-kind experience. They have honed their craft by training with top coaches in Las Vegas and San Francisco, as well as studying at the Beijing International Arts School. In 15 years of performing, Istace’s genre-blending shows have been seen internationally, toured across Canada, and have earned awards for originality. They juggle swords, swallow a sword, and spit fire.

Information provided by the McCauley Community League.

A Community of Incredible People

Dear friends,

Happy summer! Like so many of you, I’m a big fan of this season, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of warm weather and long, sunny days to spend lots of time out in the community. I’m especially looking forward to connecting with you all at events throughout Boyle Street and McCauley. 

We all know that these opportunities for connection couldn’t happen without the dedication and hard work of so many of you. I’m so proud to see you all continue to show up for each other—not just once in a while, but throughout the year. 

I’m thinking of community builders like the fabulous Rosalie Gelderman, who recently won an Alberta Seniors Service Award for her nearly four decades of advocacy for seniors in our province. It was an honour to join her and her family and friends for the celebration. 

I’m thinking of Dan Glugosh, who once again dealt with the most adverse of conditions in an unpredictable winter, but managed to maintain the most beautiful ice in town down at the McCauley Rink.

I’m thinking of all the people who I’ve met who are doing so much to keep Chinatown vibrant – from the incredibly dedicated group of young folks bringing new energy and ideas to the community, to the elders who helped to build the Chinatown we have today and are still continuing this work. 

And I’m thinking of people like those who keep the McCauley and Boyle Street Community Leagues going strong, and all those who volunteer so much of their time. 

I wish I could name everyone who I know does so much to keep our neighbourhoods going. Know that we see you and appreciate you.

I look forward to continuing to connect with you, and to celebrating all the ways in which our community comes together. Whether it’s on housing, health care, education, or any issues that are top of mind for you, I want to hear from you. Please reach out, and know that as always, I’m here. 

Take good care of yourselves and each other.

Janis Irwin, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Email: Edmonton.HighlandsNorwood@assembly.ab.ca
Phone: 780-414-0682

Community Safety Liaison Gives Support and Hope to Those Living in Problem Properties

Christie Smith stands outside a residential building, preparing to meet the individuals living inside. 

She’s a Community Safety Liaison working with the City of Edmonton’s Residential Inspection Safety Compliance (RISC) Team. RISC provides a coordinated multi-agency approach to complex residential living situations involving vulnerable individuals, families, and places. The team works to uphold minimum housing standards at high-risk properties and to reduce impacts in the surrounding community. 

Christie’s civilian clothes set her apart from her uniformed team members. She is not an enforcement officer, but a registered social worker providing support to people staying in or working at problem properties.

“My role is to assess the needs of vulnerable individuals and provide connections to resources and services that help meet their basic needs and enhance their overall social well being,” says Christie.

In 2023, RISC conducted 2,031 inspections at 207 properties citywide, with a significant number of these being located in the neighbourhoods of McCauley, Alberta Avenue, and Central McDougall.  

At every visit, Christie takes an individualized, human-centred approach that addresses the specific needs of each resident. 

“Every visit is different and every individual is unique,” says Christie. “Someone might need a connection to income support or health-care assistance. In the context of problem properties, many folks need support to leave an unhealthy living situation and access safe and secure housing.”

This work requires a variety of skills including active listening, patience, advocacy, and, above all, empathy. It also requires a knowledge of Edmonton’s broad network of social agencies - knowledge which Christie has acquired through years of work with Edmonton John Howard Society, Bissell Centre, and Sage Seniors Association.

Currently, Christie is working with Bruce (not his real name), a resident in his 80s. Bruce was renting a suite in a building that was very poorly maintained by its owner. Safety and health violations at the property led to the intervention of the RISC team, who learned that the company that owned the building was dissolved, the property was being sold, and the tenants were being evicted. 

“When I met Bruce he had less than two weeks to find another place to live,” says Christie. “I arranged an interview for him with GEF Seniors Housing, and supported him at the interview. Unfortunately, there were no GEF units available before Bruce’s eviction date. Then, to complicate the situation, the property Bruce was preparing to leave caught fire and he was forced to move immediately.”

Christie succeeded in locating a space that Bruce could move into quickly, then began helping him replace the furniture that had been damaged in the fire. 

“Bruce’s insurance company told us that most of his furniture was too old to replace,” explains Christie. “So I set him up with an inflatable mattress and connected him with Find furniture, a social enterprise of Homeward Trust Edmonton that offers essential furnishings free of charge to folks who are transitioning out of homelessness.”

Over the first five months of her work as a Community Safety Liaison, Christie has supported 51 unique individuals to overcome a variety of challenges. Her human-centric role is an important part of the overall work of the RISC team, ensuring that the people in need are connected to services and transitioned into healthier and safer environments.

The RISC team’s membership includes five City departments, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton Police Service, and three Government of Alberta areas. Each partner plays a unique role and brings different strategies and legislation to the team. 

RISC’s work is part of Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative. In December of 2022, City Council approved permanent funding to implement the City’s long-term strategy to address properties that cause frequent and serious safety concerns and complaints to the City. 

In developing the strategy, the City took into consideration the perspectives of tenants, landlords, enforcement partners, and community members. This research revealed that the City’s approach to problematic residential properties would benefit from the inclusion of a Community Safety Liaison at property inspections. 

To learn more about the Problem Property Initiative or to report a problem property, visit edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties or call 311.

Information provided by the City of Edmonton.

Lots of Great Events - and Construction

McCauley is home to one of the city’s most dynamic commercial areas: Chinatown. While the area has faced challenges in recent years, I am so inspired and hopeful by many events and celebrations that are coming up.

One initiative that the City introduced this year to support the area is the Chinatown Vibrancy Fund. This $480,000 fund was open for applications from April 8th to May 31st, 2024. It aims to support the implementation of the Chinatown Strategy by bringing visitors into the area through festivals, events, and cultural projects building community cohesion and empowering both housed and unhoused residents. We’ll find out which projects were selected in July, and I can’t wait to hear about all the great events and ideas that will be able to come to life. 

I’m looking forward to taking part in the Van bLoc Party on June 8th and 9th! Based at 98th Street and 106th Avenue, this event will have local DJs, live music, food, dance showcases, and more. Follow @vanloc.ca on Instagram for the latest details or visit vanblocparty.ca. Also on June 8th is the Dragon Festival Parade on 97th Street at 11 a.m. More information is available at yegdragonfest.com

There are many events going on in Chinatown throughout the summer - be sure to watch Chinatown Transformation Collaborative events page (www.ctcyeg.ca/events) and the Chinatown Business Association Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ChinatownYEG/events) to stay posted on all the goings-on.

Outside of Chinatown, don’t forget that June 8th and 9th is the Heart of the City Festival at Giovanni Caboto Park, featuring music, art, spoken word, and more. Visit www.heartcityfest.com for the weekend’s schedule.

Along with great events and festivals, summer also brings construction. Neighbourhood Renewal should be well underway by the time this article is published. While I hope it’s going as smoothly as possible, I know that construction near your home or business can be challenging. Be sure to check out the website (edmonton.ca/BuildingBoyleStreetandMcCauley) or reach out to the project manager (ariel.couture@edmonton.ca) if you have any issues or questions.

It’s always a delight to connect with you so please never hesitate to connect with my office, and don’t forget that 311 is there to help too, on the phone or online. Thank you for reading, and happy summer!

Email: anne.stevenson@edmonton.ca
Phone: 780-496-8333

40th Annual Ben Calf Robe Traditional Pow Wow

Indigenous culture and traditions celebrated at Clarke Stadium.

The Ben Calf Robe Annual Traditional Pow Wow celebrated its 40th anniversary on May 11th at Clarke Stadium. 

This year’s theme was “Honouring Our Sacred Languages.” The Pow Wow featured dancing, drumming, and singing from hundreds of participants of all ages. In addition, there were artisans selling crafts, and food trucks offering a variety of treats and meals.

The event was presented by Edmonton Catholic Schools in partnership with the City of Edmonton, Ben Calf Robe Society, and Football Alberta. As always, it was free to attend and open to anyone to experience.. As always, it was free to attend and open to anyone to experience.

Here are some photos from the first Grand Entry, held at 1 p.m. that afternoon.

Photos by Paula E. Kirman.

Exciting News: The Canadian Dental Care Plan is in Action

Tansi!

I’m excited to share that beginning May 1st, 2024, dental coverage for the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) began for the first group of eligible applicants. Tens of thousands of Canadians across the country have already received care, some for the first time in their lives.

This program is life-changing for many Canadians, and by 2025, over 9 million Canadians will be eligible. The CDCP will cover a wide range of oral health care services aimed at maintaining teeth and gum health, and preventing and treating oral health issues and diseases.

Seniors aged 70 and above who missed the early phone registration can now register online. Additionally, seniors aged 65 to 69 can now register online. Adults with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and children under 18 can begin online registration on June 1st, 2024. All other eligible Canadian residents can register starting in early 2025. For CDCP online registration, visit: www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/dental/dental-care-plan/apply.html.

If you have registered for the CDCP and received your welcome package from Sun Life, you would have been notified of the date you can begin seeing a dentist or oral health provider. If you registered over the phone but haven’t received your welcome package, please contact the CDCP directly at 1-833-537-4342 to check your application status.

Over 300 dentists have already enrolled in the program in Edmonton alone. That’s more than 50% of dentists registered with the College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta in Edmonton.

We hope to have as many dentists and oral health providers sign-up for the CDCP as possible. The participation of oral health providers across the country in this plan is critical to build a foundation for more equitable access to oral health care and make a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians.

If your adjusted family net income is lower than $70,000, the CDCP will cover 100%. You may have to pay additional charges directly to the oral health provider if:

  • Your adjusted family net income is between $70,000 and $89,999, or
  • The cost of your oral health care services exceeds established CDCP fees.

If you are seeking an oral health provider in Edmonton that accepts the CDCP, please visit: www.sunlife.ca/sl/cdcp/en/member/provider-search/

For questions about any federal government program, please contact me by phone at 780-495-3261 or by email at Blake.Desjarlais@parl.gc.ca.

Blake Desjarlais
Member of Parliament,
Edmonton Griesbach

Valley Line Offering New Horizons

The Valley Line LRT finally opened in November, and one of the stops (Quarters) is in Boyle Street, at 96th Street and 102nd Avenue. Boyle Street resident Audrey Whitson recently led me and another friend on an enjoyable and interesting tour of the line, which extends to Mill Woods.

Starting from The Quarters at about 10 a.m., we first visited the revamped Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre, where you can find a small art gallery with a wide range of artists working in various styles and mediums. Then it was time for coffee, and the Aum Café in the mall filled the bill nicely. The service was most hospitable and the prices lower than in downtown Edmonton (Americano: $3.50).

We hopped back on the line and went to the Grey Nuns Stop, where we toured the spacious Mill Woods library, an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certified (energy-saving) building that features natural light and houses the Mill Woods Seniors and Multicultural Centre. The search for a late lunch took us to the nearby Punjab Parantha Hut in a strip mall at 6574 28th Avenue. Once again, a fine feast was extremely affordable.

On the way back home, we got off at the Muttart Stop and had another coffee at Café Bloom, located inside the Muttart Conservatory. We are looking forward to returning to see the exhibits at the Muttart at one or more future dates. The offering at the time of our visit was a display of spring bulb flowers.

There is a lot more to see and do at or near the various Valley Line stops and stations, especially restaurants and cafés that we downtown folks may not have visited. Now that the LRT is on our doorstep, we can do that quickly and easily.

Note: This tour, or a similar one, would be enhanced by a visit to Double Greeting Wonton House, right next to the Quarters Stop at 10212 96th Street (cash only!).

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

Find Homemade Flavour Surprises North of Chinatown

Team Cafe serves family style Ethiopian food.

Team Cafe
10858 97th Street NW
Phone: 587-520-6669 

Everyone knows 97th Street is full of interesting food, but did you know that restaurants extend well beyond Chinatown?

On the west side of 97th Street just north of St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Cathedral, which is on the east side, you’ll find Team Cafe, which has been open for about a year. Owner Semir brings a delicious, homemade style of Ethiopian cooking to the area.Owner Semir brings a delicious, homemade style of Ethiopian cooking to the area.

Our curious group of five went on a Wednesday night and discovered that it’s a small space that does mostly takeout and delivery. There are a handful of tables for one or two as well as a small room off the side which had a booth perfect for our family group. We were charmed that the table was an oval kitchen table. It was like being invited into someone’s house!

With a smile, Semir gave us the small menu showing a variety of many different main meals on one side, and a breakfast menu on the flip side. We were lucky to go as a family, as it let us explore the choices, from mild to spicy, with something for each person’s preference.

After ordering, we each were served a complimentary bowl of soup based on red lentils, with small chunks of potato and carrot, seasoned almost like a very mild vegetable curry.

Dishes were served family style to share, arriving as each one was cooked rather than all at once. First came the Hanide (a roasted leg of lamb), then the (huge!) chicken thigh, both on a bed of amazing rice that is among the best I’ve ever eaten. Perfectly cooked, the grains were topped with crispy onion for a contrast in texture and were not at all dry. Never did I think that rice would be the part of a meal that I’d especially want to go back for. The seasoning was deep and mild, and may please even those who are hesitant to try Ethiopian food. Both dishes also came with salad on the side. After gnawing on the flavourful meats, only a bone was left where there was once roast lamb.

The Zilzil Tibs arrived next. It was little chunks of beef served on a “pancake” of injera bread. A little mound of berbere spice on the side of the platter is there for you to sprinkle on as much or as little spice as you like. There are also a few slices of a mild jalapeño pepper. You tear off a small piece of the bread, scoop up a few morsels of beef, and pop it into your mouth as a little parcel of meaty flavour. I considered this dish to be medium spicy.

Next came a traditional dish, Hulbat Marakh, a deep stew bowl with layers of injera under a very robust spicy sauce. This one’s for folks who want an experience: over-the-top flavour from a very spicy sauce covering two enormous hunks of beef, cooked to falling-apart perfection. 

At the end, we were given a big plate of fries with ketchup, which was like a mild dessert after the intense flavours - an unusual (for us) and very smart way to end the meal. Also smart was the price: just $82 for enough food for five stuffed people, including a bottle of water each, and with a container of food for tomorrow’s lunch. What a deal! As I write this, it’s just an hour afterwards, and we can’t stop talking about the flavour. We’ll definitely be back for another homemade Ethiopian meal.

Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors.

Explore Our Community

I recently travelled overseas for the first time in my life. I explored the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, as well as Helsinki, Finland. My time was spent learning about history, trying local cuisine, and taking in the experience of being so far from home.

While in Helsinki, I had a conversation with a cab driver about Edmonton. The city was on his list to visit, and I emphasized that there is more to Edmonton than a certain large shopping mall - a fact of which he was thankfully already well aware.

Being away certainly helped me appreciate home. The timing of the trip was purposeful. Besides being between deadlines for the paper so as not to affect our publication schedule, I also could not imagine missing my favourite seasonal festivals like the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Blues Festival, and, of course, our very own Heart of the City that takes place in Giovanni Caboto Park. 

I’ve always been a huge fan of staycations. They are more affordable, less stressful, and don’t come with days of jet lag. I also enjoy conversations with people from outside the McCauley and Boyle Street neighbourhoods who find they enjoy coming here to shop, dine, or take in local events. Some of them never knew how much the area has to offer.

In fact, in the cities I visited I was able to go beyond just the “touristy”  areas into other parts that helped me to learn more about the cultures and histories of these places. Anyone abroad who is reading this should be sure to visit McCauley and Boyle Street if you are privileged to have the opportunity.

June-July 2024

By the time you read this, I anticipate that spring will be in full bloom, with summer on the horizon. I hope we will all have a chance to enjoy some great weather. 

In this issue we pay tribute to two community members who died recently. I don’t think I ever met Ceno, but I knew of him and his incredible artwork. Linda Dumont is someone I knew  for quite some time through our various community and journalistic involvements. Both of these notable people will be dearly missed.

Part of what we do here at the paper is give space for people doing interesting things and unique events that may be overlooked by other media outlets. If you have suggestions about community happenings we should cover, contact me at editor@bmcnews.org.

On a related note, if you are interested in volunteering with the paper, drop me a line at editor@bmcnews.org to find out about current volunteer opportunities. We currently have a couple of block carrier delivery routes available, and always seek writers  and photographers available to cover local events.

Have a wonderful couple of months. We’ll be back in August.

Remembering Linda Dumont (November 24, 1944 - April 15, 2024)

McCauley resident lived in service to others.

Linda Dumont was a McCauley resident with an influence that reached far beyond the neighbourhood she called home. With her recent death from cancer, a powerful force for fair treatment of people living in poverty has been lost.

Dumont is best known as the publisher and editor of Alberta Street News (formerly Edmonton Street News) since 2003, one of the few surviving street newspapers in the world. The paper was her initiative to permit people to have the dignity of earning a living if they were not able to maintain more conventional employment. At the same time, it brought perspectives and personal experiences from marginalized people to a wider audience.

From her arrival in Edmonton in 1989, Dumont was anchored in her Christian faith and always active with urban core missions, her own and others. She loved to organize and host meals and parties for those who had little opportunity for a social life. She loved to share what she was learning about God’s love. And she loved to make a fuss whenever she encountered injustice, once setting up a tent at City Hall for several days to call attention to homelessness.

Dumont’s connection with newspapers began with selling the first street paper, Spare Change, on street corners to make money to support her family. But she went on to study journalism at MacEwan and worked for Our Voice and Boyle McCauley News (where she was Editor) before founding Edmonton Street News, which expanded to become Alberta Street News. As sales of street papers began to decline, Dumont never hesitated to take on teaching a few extra yoga classes to secure the funds to publish for another month.

Dumont had talents in abundance. In addition to journalism, she published several volumes of poetry and was a talented visual artist. She and a friend had the idea of an arts event for people living in poverty that became the Art from the Unknown show, still presented each year by MLA Rachel Notley. She served on the board of Songs of the Street, an organization that published anthologies of poetry by street-involved folks during the 1990s. The writers received awards donated by various organizations, and the anthologies were sold by the street newspaper vendors.

When she was honoured with an award as a peacemaker by Project Ploughshares in 2016, I said in introducing her, “Linda is a peacemaker because she never hesitates to disturb the peace of those who allow injustice. She is genuine, daring, tough, and loving.”

Dumont’s blunt message when something upset her was not always appreciated, but the hundreds of people who were blessed by her practical help when they needed it to survive have a much more generous opinion of her. She will be deeply missed by her children, grandchildren, and a host of friends.

Jim Gurnett is a social justice advocate who is also a former board member of Boyle McCauley News.

A Tribute to Ceno (November 11, 1962 - March 22, 2024)

A talented artist and dedicated community member.

People may not have known William St. Savard personally, but in scores of homes and offices his distinctive drawings - often featuring feathers, eagles, and human faces - command attention. 

Known best as Ceno, St. Savard lived much of his life in McCauley and Boyle Street, after moving as a youth from Athabasca. He could often be seen around the community with a large piece of paper and his pens creating a work of art for someone. He loved to share his drawings and his sense of humour, and he was always quick to offer assistance and support to others who were struggling. 

In the final years of his life he lived at Ambrose Place, continuing to draw until arthritis made it difficult to use his hands.

Jim Gurnett is a social justice advocate who is also a former board member of Boyle McCauley News.

Intercultural Child and Family Centre (ICFC)

Cultural richness and education for children.

The Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC) is a community full of love, caring, and support. In this and future articles, we will inform readers of the non-profit organizations operating in the EIC facility in order to bring light to their many good deeds.

Located in the heart of Edmonton at the Intercultural Centre (9530 107 Avenue), the Intercultural Child and Family Centre (ICFC) epitomizes high-quality, culturally responsive child care and education. With operational hours from 6:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and plans to extend these hours to 9:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday, ICFC aims to support parents working nontraditional hours, ensuring flexibility and inclusivity for all families.

At the core of ICFC’s mission is a deep commitment to celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of its community. This commitment is woven into the fabric of its playrooms and educational programs, designed to support not just the child care needs of families but also to foster a robust sense of community and enhance the professional development of its educators.

Serving more than 75 children ranging from newborn to 12 years, ICFC prides itself on providing individualized care. Each child’s educational journey is captured through detailed portfolios, which include educator bios, artifacts, and learning stories. This documentation process makes the learning journey tangible and engaging for children and their parents, ensuring a collaborative and transparent educational experience.

The centre’s educational philosophy is a blend of cultural richness and education, manifested through uniquely named playrooms such as El Nido, Salaam, Natonam, and Kapatiran. Each name reflects core values like nurturing, peace, wonder, and brotherhood/sisterhood, fostering an environment of creativity, exploration, and a strong sense of belonging among children of various age groups. For more information about the names of the playrooms, visit www.icfc.ca/ICFCMcCauley_Playrooms.

Beyond its educational ethos, ICFC emphasizes the importance of extended child care hours to meet the diverse schedules of families. This flexibility, coupled with the inclusion of nutritional, homemade, whole-food meals, underscores ICFC’s comprehensive approach to family support.

Visit the ICFC website to discover more about the Intercultural Child and Family Centre’s innovative offerings, educational philosophies, and unwavering commitment to community and cultural responsiveness: www.icfc.ca. The website provides a window into the pioneering spirit that defines early childhood education at ICFC.

Information provided by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre, which is located at 9538 107 Avenue.

Rosalie Gelderman Receives 2023 Minister’s Seniors Service Award

Rosalie Gelderman is a recipient of a 2023 Minister’s Seniors Service Award. The awards were announced in mid-April of this year. She is one of three recipients of an Individual Award. 

Here is the official communication from the Government of Alberta about Rosalie and why she was chosen as a recipient. 

Rosalie Gelderman, a devoted advocate for seniors, has dedicated over four decades to seniors’ well-being in Alberta and beyond. Her extensive contributions include over a decade of impactful work with the Edmonton Seniors Coordinating Council, where she played a pivotal role in shaping projects such as the seniors home supports program, diversity resources for seniors centres, and outreach service models, leveraging her insights, extensive connections, and wisdom. With 26 years at Operation Friendship Seniors Society and subsequent roles as the Aging in Place Project Coordinator in Edmonton, Rosalie has been a catalyst for innovative strategies, ensuring housing and support for marginalized seniors. Her extensive volunteerism, spanning 28 years, includes chairing the Keiskamma Canada Foundation, which supports South African seniors, and serving on many non-profit and city boards. She is known for fostering community understanding, safety, and compassionate responses in all her roles. Rosalie is a positive role model and is described by her colleagues as a one-woman harm reduction program, embodying quiet determination in her decades-long commitment to improving the lives of seniors. Rosalie’s exceptional service, wealth of knowledge, and unwavering dedication to serving Alberta seniors across multiple sectors stands as a testament to over four decades of quiet activism, leaving an indelible mark on the lives of those she has touched.

Rosalie said that she is honoured to receive the award and also to meet the Lieutenant Governor. In her acceptance speech, Rosalie said that, “it was in the inner city where I found a home and spent most of my working life – supporting and advocating for seniors on the margins, often struggling with mental illness and addictions. I learned that respect goes farther than the best laid plans to fix them.”

Rosalie's speech concluded with some words of wisdom: “We say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to age. May we all live well in community, giving and receiving a helping hand.”

Rosalie lives in McCauley, where she has volunteered with numerous community organizations, including the McCauley Community League and Inn Roads Housing Co-op. She is also Boyle McCauley News’ bookkeeper as well as a block carrier and proofreader. 

Congratulations Rosalie! 

Helen Keller: A Life of Advocacy

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”-Helen Keller (June 27, 1880-June 1, 1968), American author, disability rights advocate, and lecturer.

Helen Keller, a legendary advocate for disability rights, was born and died in the same month: June (of course, in different years).

She lost her sight and hearing as an infant. This was attributed to an unknown illness at the time, but is believed to have been either rubella, scarlet fever, encephalitis, or meningitis.

Keller was non-verbal until age seven, when she met a remarkable teacher, Anne Sullivan, who taught her language, reading, and writing.

She then went on to graduate from Radcliffe College at Harvard University and became the first deaf-blind person in the United States to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Keller spent her lifetime lecturing, penning 14 books and hundreds of articles. She not only advocated for disability rights, but also other social justice causes such as world peace and women’s right to vote.

An example of strength, determination, and courage, she is heralded as one of the most notable humans in history.

As a disability advocate myself who was also born in June, I cherish Helen Keller as an inspiration and someone who worked to make the world a better place.

Ian is a columnist with the paper. He lives in the area.

George Spady Centre Relocation

Questions and uncertainty surround the potential future uses of the current site.

The George Spady Centre in its current location at 10015 105A Avenue. Paula E. Kirman

While the George Spady Centre Society is moving from McCauley to the west end, it is unclear what will replace the social agency in the provincially-owned facility. Equally concerning is the future of the supervised consumption services currently offered at the Centre, but which will not be relocating to the new location.

At a public hearing on February 20th, City Council approved the Society’s request to rezone the lot at 15625 Stony Plain Road to allow for a 2,000-square-metre medically supported detoxification unit. This will double the floor area used for detox services compared to its current location in McCauley at 100th Street and 105A Avenue. 

In a statement to Boyle McCauley News, Hunter Baril, Press Secretary of the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction, explained that the Province approved the Society’s expansion of its detox program from 31 to 41 beds. As well, the number of residential recovery beds will increase from 10 to 19. In total, 19 new beds will be added. 

“An increase in detox and residential treatment services means a different location is needed,” Baril said. “This is also in an effort to decentralize services from the downtown core.”

During Council’s discussion about the Society’s rezoning application, Councillor Andrew Knack also addressed the need to decentralize social services from the inner city. He said the move would fulfil the City’s goal of offering services to address homelessness, mental health, and addictions outside the inner core, where agencies have been clustered for many years.

City Administration supported the rezoning application, while also citing the need to decentralize social services. 

Last November, a number of residents and organizations in McCauley and Chinatown opposed The Mustard Seed’s rezoning application to develop 124 emergency shelter beds in the former Operation Friendship facility at 9526 106 Avenue. This facility is also owned by the Province. City Council approved  this rezoning, which means that 88% of permanent emergency shelter beds in Edmonton are located in McCauley.

On April 8th, the Community and Public Services Committee will be discussing a much-delayed report on the decentralization of social services in the inner city, along with an inventory of services located in McCauley, Boyle Street, and Central McDougall. 

A key strategy in Edmonton’s Downtown Core and Transit System Safety Plan, the City’s 2022 report to the Province on safety issues, is that the “Administration will work with community, stakeholders and other orders of government to create a five-year plan to redistribute social services from Chinatown and Downtown to other appropriate areas of the city.”

Phil O’Hara lives in McCauley. He was one of the residents who spoke in opposition to The Mustard Seed’s rezoning application in November 2023.

 

Zocalo Fire Update

Zocalo is rebuilding and renovating its store and greenhouse space following a fire in January.. Paula E. Kirman

Zocalo, the beloved community garden shop and cafe at 10826 95th Street, was severaly damanged in a fire in early January. Here is an update from the business at to how things are progressing. This update was sent directly to Boyle McCauley News, and versions of it have also been posted on Zocalo's social media accounts.

Zocalo continues to rebuild and renovate the store and greenhouse space. We are looking forward to the seeds of new beginnings and fresh starts. 

To our community, we thank you wholeheartedly for your support. Your thoughtful and caring messages cheer us on. We are grateful to every person who has left us warm notes of kindness and hope. Also, a big thanks to those who have purchased gift cards or sent smiles our way.

As we thaw from the winter storms, we look forward to enjoying warm coffee with you in the greenhouse. You are in our minds and hearts, and we look forward to kibitzing with you soon.

We want to assure you that, while it may look like little is happening from the outside, we are here. As the fire caused major damage to the electrical and heating systems, the renewal process will be long. However, we are working hard with project managers, insurance and staff to re-open our doors as soon as we can. 

Stay tuned for warmer, brighter, colourful new things coming your way.  Spring is coming and we hope to bask in its warmth with you soon.

Co-owner Miranda Ringma also adds that neighbouring businesses Venetian Barber Shop, Violets, and Love Object will likely re-open soon following some final details concerning the cleaning of their spaces.

McCauley Cup and Family Day: Annual Community Traditions

A group photo of participants, organizers, and supporters of the 2024 McCauley Cup. Paula E. Kirman

Winter is almost over and our skating season was wonderful, albeit late to start. The McCauley Community League wishes to thank Rink Manager Dan Glugosh and his team for putting in the ice and running the rink. 

We held the McCauley Cup later in the season than usual due to the warm weather. On January 27th, Chief of Police Dale McFee played in the game and Mayor Sohi attended, along with our City Councillor, Anne Stevenson. The event was organized by Dan Glugosh and many Edmonton Police Service officers from the Downtown Division. The kids won the game and Mayor Sohi presented the cup to them. 

It was a fairly warm and sunny day and the event was well-attended. Folks were treated to doughnuts, sandwiches, coffee, and hot chocolate. The event was funded by the Edmonton Police Foundation and the Oilers Entertainment Group. Sponsors included United Cycle, Sport Central, Italian Centre Shop, Italian Bakery, Tim Hortons, Elite Sports Promotional Marketing, and Oilers Alumni, in addition to the McCauley Community League. 

On February 18th our community celebrated Family Day. More than 200 people came out on a beautiful afternoon to enjoy skating, face-painting, music, food, and more. We couldn’t have done it without the help of our volunteers. We would like to thank the following people: Jakki, Leanne, Laurie, Shelly, Roma, Re, Ruth, Maia, Nekoola, and Jackie.  

We especially want to thank the Pagnotta/Mannarino family for providing the most delicious meal of meatballs (so good!), hot dogs, doughnuts, and water. The meal was in memory of long-time McCauley resident Albert Pagnotta.

We are still seeking folks who live in the neighbourhood or own a business here to join our board. If you have an interest in coming to one of our meetings, we meet at The Boys and Girls Club on the third Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. (doors at 6:30 p.m.). We meet in the conference room that is accessible by the side door which faces 95th Street. You can ring the bell marked “conference room.” We can also be reached at league@mccauleycl.com.

Corine Demas is the President of the McCauley Community League.

Become a Part of Heart of the City 2024

Heart of the City’s AGM on February 26th had over 40 people in attendance. Paula E. Kirman

Get ready to showcase your talent and be part of something extraordinary! We’re thrilled to announce that artist applications for the Heart of the City Festival, scheduled for June 8th and 9th, are now officially open. While our festival typically lands on the first weekend of June, this year, due to ongoing construction in Giovanni Caboto Park, we’ve moved the dates to the following weekend. Whether you’re a musician, dancer, visual artist, or another kind of artist or performer, we invite you to join us in making this year’s festival an unforgettable experience for all. Don’t miss out on this chance to showcase your talent and connect with our diverse audience. Visit our website at heartcityfest.com to access the application form.

Heart of the City’s AGM, held at Culina McCauley on February 26th, saw a robust turnout with over 40 community members in attendance. The event served as an inclusive platform for residents, local businesses, and volunteers to gather and reflect on the organization’s accomplishments over the past year. Overall, it was a testament to the strength and unity of Heart of the City’s mission in fostering a thriving and connected neighbourhood. Heartfelt gratitude goes out to the staff at Culina McCauley for their invaluable support and warm hospitality during the AGM. Their dedication and assistance played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the event, creating a welcoming atmosphere that facilitated meaningful connections and fruitful discussions among attendees. We extend our sincere appreciation for their hard work and commitment to serving our community, and we look forward to continued collaboration in the future.

We’re also excited to introduce the newly implemented - and free - Heart of the City (HOTC) membership program, designed to bring our community even closer together. With a HOTC membership, individuals gain exclusive access to workshops, events, and up-to-date information on society happenings. This initiative aims to provide members with enriching experiences, opportunities for personal and professional growth, and a deeper connection to our vibrant community. You can now become a member of HOTC by signing up on our website. Simply visit heartcityfest.com to register and become a part of our vibrant community. 

Information provided by Heart of the City.

Mike Tulley: “In the arts community the rewards are other than money.”

Mike Tulley. Paula E. Kirman

Mike Tulley and I sat down for coffee and a chat at Spinelli’s in Little Italy.

“I’ve been doing sound and helping with production for Heart of the City since the beginning,” he says. “I came in right from the start as a sound technician [with] my previous company, which we named after my initials, MKT Systems. We were cheap but it was not volunteer work.”

He continues: “Heart of the City is a great little festival for introducing new performers to the world. Every year there are performers for whom Heart of the City is their first time on stage in front of an audience and they are terribly nervous but sometimes it’s still a great performance.”

When I asked Mike what has kept him going all these years, he responded: “Partly the fun, partly because I live in the neighbourhood. I’ve recently moved north to Alberta Avenue, but for most of the time of the Heart of the City Festival I lived in either Boyle Street or McCauley.”

Mike has officially retired but you can still catch him occasionally doing sound with Listen Louder Productions. He also mentors emerging sound techs.“The CO*LAB inner city venue is a place not only for emerging artists to perform, but for emerging techs to improve their skills and so we are getting young techs coming from MacEwan University helping us and improving their real world skills by working in a real world venue,” Mike says.

Mike shared the good news that “CO*LAB, as a venue, is going to pull through.” He said that many people made calls to the City and that our City councillor, Anne Stevenson, has been very helpful in saving the inner city venue.

Mike has been living in Edmonton, aside from one year in Toronto, since April Fools’ Day (April 1st) of 1970. “I didn’t actually pick that day consciously, but I needed to get out of the United States in a hurry because the U.S. Army had found out where I was living.”

Mike is an American citizen who fled to Canada so that he would not be sent to war in Vietnam. I asked him if we could keep this on the record and he said, “At my age I don’t think they want me back.”

He explains that he chooses to live in the inner city mostly for financial reasons. “Let’s face it: this is the least expensive place to rent a home in the city. When you’re supporting the arts, the paycheque is not great.” 

However, Mike also adds that, “In the arts community the rewards are other than money. The artists have always found cheaper places to live. What’s right about this [area] is that we have a lot of artistic and creative people here. I think that among people who are poor there is a better sense of mutual support.” 

Mike wanted to give a special shout out of thanks to McCauley-based musician AV (Ann Vriend) for her porch concert series during the pandemic. He said that it was a bright spot for those dark days. 

Corine Demas lives in McCauley where she is the President of the McCauley Community League and a board member with Heart of the City.

Rob’s Famous Fried Chicken

A new venture for the owners of Panini’s.

Rob’s Famous Fried Chicken. Paula E. Kirman

A takeout and catering outlet that opened on March 1st is the third component of the Caruso family’s thriving restaurant business. It joins the two Panini’s restaurants: one next door on Jasper Avenue and 85th Street and another in Sherwood Park.

Co-owner Tony Caruso says his brother Rob, the head chef for the company, was often frying chicken at home for family gatherings. “This is so good,” people said, nicknaming it “Rob’s famous fried chicken.” They teased him, saying, “Why don’t you serve this at Panini’s?” (They know that the Panini’s menu is firmly focused on pizza, pasta, and - of course - paninis.)

Then one day the Edgewater building’s landlord told Tony and Rob that a space was available next door to the Jasper Avenue Panini’s and asked if they wanted to expand. There was a need for storage and a cooler, so a deal was made. 

As things progressed, it became apparent that the front part of the newly acquired area was unused. “The rest is history,” Tony says. The added space is too small for a sit-down restaurant, but it works fine for takeout, and there is room for what Tony calls a “mighty kitchen.”

Rob’s father, who was a tile contractor and home builder, took over the construction job. The Carusos have high standards. For example, there are checkerboard tile floors and a custom railing for customer line-ups. So Tony ended up helping a lot, which meant extremely long days as he has many other duties in the business.

Tony says takeout only has proven to be a profitable business model, as “many people prefer to stay home.” The Carusos have also found that weddings currently include a late lunch featuring foods like pizza and even donairs. So why not fried chicken? Rob’s Famous Fried Chicken also plans to cater to company parties and events. 

The manager of this new venture, Reid Wald, has worked at Panini’s for the past two years. “Reid has mastered every single station,” Tony says. “It is great to have someone so responsible and talented to take over.”

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

Cultivate the Millennium

Growing an ancient tree in each community.

Imagine a future Edmonton where community groups tend and celebrate thousand-year-old trees. What would these ancient trees tell us about our past and our responsibility to the future? A group of Edmontonians calling ourselves the Secret LongTree Society have an ambitious plan to answer these questions and make this vision a reality.

More Abundant Futures

What does it mean to be a good ancestor? We have one past, one present, and many potential futures. Unfortunately, our cultural narrative has turned dystopian. From post-apocalyptic blockbusters to 24-hour news coverage, the future feels less certain than ever. Planting thousand-year-old trees challenges our narrative by suggesting that the future could be more abundant.

Join the Secret LongTree Society

Growing ancient trees means growing a community of dedicated, long-term thinkers. What better place to start than planting thousand-year-old trees in each Edmonton community league? Leagues are community-led organizations that often have access to centrally located green spaces, making them a natural fit for the planting and care of neighbourhood trees. That is why we’re searching for interested leagues and reaching out to community members to get involved in the project.

The Secret LongTree Society is a volunteer group of Edmontonians dedicated to propagating, planting, and tending better futures. You can learn more about us, get involved, and steward a LongTree in your community by visiting publicecology.com/longtrees.

Information submitted by the Secret LongTree Society.

Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative (MCHB)

Supporting newcomers to Edmonton.

The Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC) is a community full of love, caring, and support. In this and future articles, we will inform readers of the non-profit organizations operating in the EIC facility in order to bring light to their many good deeds.

Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative (MCHB) merged out of a public health initiative to enhance maternal and infant health within immigrant and refugee communities. Since 1995, MCHB has supported immigrant, refugee, and other newcomer families isolated because of cultural and linguistic distance. 

What is a Multicultural Health Broker? A Multicultural Health Broker is a bilingual and bicultural community health worker who practices “cultural brokering” and is often a member of the community they serve. The practice of cultural brokering is an intentional act of linking, bridging, and mediating between our families or communities with formal systems for the purposes of reducing conflict and creating change. 

MCHB is an award-winning cooperative recognized for its services to communities by Public Interest Alberta, the Alberta College of Social Workers, the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation, Capital Heath, and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers.

MCHB is dedicated to fostering reciprocal exchange, mutual transformation, and equitable relationships. These are values that resonate throughout their diverse range of programs and services, such as the “First Step to Integration” initiative, a cornerstone of the English for Employment program launched in September 2016. This program has successfully assisted more than 190 newcomer students in acquiring training and securing meaningful employment in Canada. It not only imparts essential linguistic skills, but also aids participants in navigating and seamlessly adjusting to the intricacies of Canadian work culture. MCHB recognizes the importance of embracing multicultural perspectives as a means to enrich communities and fortify the fabric of society. 

Other programs and services include Perinatal Health Outreach, Multicultural Family Connections, Family Support for Children with Disabilities, Food Dignity Program (such as the MCHB Grocery Run), Mental Health Counselling and Therapy, and more. 

MCHB has more than 100 multilingual community health workers of diverse cultural backgrounds. They serve families within 25 local communities including Arabic-speaking, Bhutanese, Chinese, English-speaking African, Eritrean, Ethiopian, Filipino-speaking, South Asian, Somali, Spanish-speaking, Sudanese, Turkish, and Vietnamese, all working to deliver MCHB’s programs and services in the first language at no cost to the individual or family. 

For more information, please visit MCHB’s website at www.mchb.org or call 780-423-1973.

Information provided by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre, which is located at 9538 107 Avenue.

Looking Ahead

Dear friends,

As I write this, the days are getting longer, and I am so enjoying the sunshine. And when you read this, I hope we’re all the way into spring and enjoying warm weather and green leaves!

Because my letters are due a couple of weeks before they’re published in the wonderful Boyle McCauley News, writing them is a great exercise in looking ahead. What community events am I looking forward to? What are my hopes for all of us over the next couple of months, and what are some challenges that we may need to address together?

I know that this past winter was tough for so many of our neighbours. During some of the coldest days on record, we saw people scrambling to save their belongings and find safe places to stay. The cost of living has continued to rise, meaning that so many people cannot afford even the basic necessities they need to get by.    

I mentioned in my last letter that I know that we have a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, to meet the needs of everyone in our community. We must ensure that we are all able to live safely, that we are all treated with dignity and respect, and that we all have access to community care and support. This is truer than ever.

I also mentioned that, back in December, I had the opportunity to introduce my first private member’s bill in the legislature: Bill 205, the Housing Statutes (Housing Security) Amendment Act 2023. This bill includes a proposed four-year cap on rent increases in Alberta, and a requirement for the provincial government to report to Albertans on how much affordable housing is being built each year. I am pleased to share that this bill will go to debate in the legislature during the second week of March. 

As I prepare to debate Bill 205, please know that I’ll be thinking of all my constituents, including all of you in Boyle Street and McCauley. I’ll be thinking of the heartbreaking stories I’ve heard about spiking rents, and of folks who have been waiting for years to access safe, affordable housing. I’ll urge my colleagues in the legislature to do what’s right - to ensure that all of us have steady and secure access to this basic need.

I know that housing is an important piece of making life affordable, but it’s not the only piece. So please be assured that my Alberta NDP Caucus colleagues and I will also fight for things like funding for municipal infrastructure, including for the schools and hospitals that our communities desperately need.

I know that we have a lot more work to do together and, as always, I want to hear from you. Please reach out and know that I’m here to listen and to work alongside you as we build a better province for folks in Boyle Street, McCauley, and in communities all across Alberta. 

Take good care of yourselves and each other.

Janis Irwin, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Email: Edmonton.HighlandsNorwood@assembly.ab.ca
Phone: 780-414-0682

Indoor Activities in the Area

Sue Mah, one of the curators of Jour- ney of the Horse, with the poster at the start of the exhibit. Paula E. Kirman

Greetings everyone! 

I hope you are enjoying the lengthening days and promise of warmer weather ahead - I know I am. As we switch from one season to another, there can be a gap where there isn’t enough snow and ice for winter fun, but it’s still not warm enough for summer activities. This makes it a perfect time to turn to some of the great indoor activities there are to enjoy around the ward.

Journey of the Horse is a new installation that showcases the life of the Chinese community that has been so crucial to our city’s history. The thoughtful displays offer a glimpse into Edmonton’s past and also the resiliency and strength of our whole community. I’m so impressed by the volunteers at the Mah Society who made this exhibit a reality and I encourage you to check it out at 9643 101A Avenue. For information on dates and times of public tours, visit journeyofthehorseyeg.wixsite.com/home.

While you’re in the neighbourhood, you can also visit the incredible Ociciwan Contemporary Art Centre located at 10124 96th Street. This beautiful gallery showcases contemporary Indigenous artists. The Centre is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

In addition to these local gems, there are also great opportunities nearby. Did you know the Alberta Art Gallery offers free admission on the last Thursday of every month, from 4-7 p.m.? Take advantage and go check out their wonderful exhibitions, like Tom Thomson: North Star (until May 26th), and Dwayne Martineau: Boreal Fortress (until August 4th). The Royal Alberta Museum also offers free admission to all seniors during Seniors’ Week in June. Plan a trip and check out their special exhibit, Angkor: The Lost Empire of Cambodia, until July 28th.

Don’t forget other great public indoor amenities like the Stanley Milner Library and Commonwealth Recreation Centre. Whether you want to get active in the pool or the gym, or relax with a good book or enjoy a free movie screening, these facilities have you covered.

While there are so many great places to enjoy in our neighbourhoods, what truly makes it fantastic is all of you: the people who make it a community. I’m grateful to everyone who has taken the time to reach out or say hello in recent months. It’s always a delight to connect with you so please never hesitate to connect with my office, and don’t forget that 311 is there to help too. Thank you for reading and happy spring!

Email: anne.stevenson@edmonton.ca
Phone: 780-496-8333

Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative Expands Derelict Building Demolitions

Before a demolition coordinated by DARC in Parkdale. Supplied by the City of Edmonton

Before and after images of a demolition coordinated by DARC in Parkdale.. Supplied by Civida Residents of a central Edmonton community say they are feeling safer now that a long-standing derelict property has been demolished and the lot cleared of debris thanks to Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative (PPI).

“The house was always derelict and falling apart and it just got worse and worse,” says Jeremiah Valleau, who also expressed feeling anxious for his personal safety living next to the Parkdale property since 2015. “The roof caved in. I’m sure it was full of mould and, for whatever reason, no one was willing to take care of the property. Living next to it, I noticed myself feeling a lot of anxiety. Fire was always a big fear. I was always worried about someone starting a fire. It was two metres away from my house and the main exit for my basement renters.”

Demolition of the derelict home, which included removing the structure, cleaning debris, and returning the property to level grade, took crews approximately one week.

John Bale, Operational Supervisor of Safety Codes Compliance who led the demolition project team with the City of Edmonton, says it’s all about engaging with communities and keeping neighbourhoods safe. “Our primary focus is on public safety and the well being of communities. Derelict properties are very unsafe structurally, but they also attract unwanted activity like illegal dumping and squatting which can lead to fire related issues.”  

The Problem Property Initiative coordinates the efforts of multiple City departments, the Edmonton Police Services, Alberta Health Services, and the Government of Alberta to address the issues associated with problem properties. Each organization brings different regulations and enforcement approaches to the initiative’s teams. 

One key team in the initiative - the Demolition Assessment and Response Committee, or “DARC” - is leading the City’s approach to the demolition of larger unsafe structures. 

DARC combines the regulations and enforcement approaches of four different City areas: Community Standards & Neighbourhoods, Fire Rescue Services, Legal Services, and Safety Codes. The committee identifies and prioritizes properties for demolition and uses the most effective legislation available to expedite demolitions where required.

The recent demolition in Parkdale was DARC’s first large-scale project. The property had caused considerable concern for neighbours, repeated calls for service, and had been dealt with by various PPI partners for several years. Ultimately, it was identified by DARC as unsafe to the surrounding community. And in December 2023, DARC, led by Safety Codes, demolished the house and backfilled the basement with dirt.

After years of such dealings, residents like Jeremiah Valleau are happy that something could finally be done. 

“For a long time it felt like the City wasn’t able to do anything about these properties,” he said. “It’s good to know that’s changed. And it’s good to know someone’s listening. The demolition company did a good job. Everyone in the neighbourhood was so happy to see the fences go up and the house come down. It was a glorious day. It was a joy to watch it come down.” 

The property is surrounded by other residential properties and having this derelict structure removed has improved the safety of the surrounding community. 

In all cases where the Problem Property Initiative facilitates the demolition of unsafe buildings, the costs incurred by the City are transferred to the property owner.

This work is part of Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative. In December of 2022, City Council approved permanent funding to implement the City’s long-term strategy to address properties that cause frequent and serious safety concerns and complaints to the City.

Keep in Touch with Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative

Edmontonians can now access several resources to stay informed about how the City’s Problem Property Initiative and its partners are addressing problem properties. 

An electronic newsletter - The Problem Property Initiative News - has been launched and is available for anyone interested to subscribe to get news delivered directly to their email inbox. Residents can sign up by visiting edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties

To learn more about the Problem Property Initiative or to report a problem property, visit edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties or call 311.

Information provided by the City of Edmonton.

April-May 2024

The second issue of Volume 45 is in your hands (or on your computer/device screen). Hello, and thank you for taking the time to read the April-May 2024 edition. 

If you happen to be reading this on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, please take some time to explore our website (bmcnews.org) and enjoy the web exclusives, archives, and other features. You can also subscribe to our free e-newsletter which is delivered directly to your inbox with each new issue of the paper. We also post links to new features and photos from events in between issues at X (formerly Twitter) at @bmcnews.  

Our casino took place on February 28 and 29 and was organized by our Volunteer Coordinator, Colleen Chapman, who tirelessly worked to get positions filled for our biggest fundraising event. Thank you Colleen! As well, thank you to everyone who volunteered to take a shift (or two). 

Volunteers are a huge part of Boyle McCauley News. Most of the paper’s content is written and photographed by volunteers. Volunteers also proofread and deliver the paper. To learn about current volunteer opportunities, drop me a line at editor@bmcnews.org

Thanks again for reading. Enjoy the issue, and we’ll be back in June

Marking Milestones

As many of you already know, Boyle McCauley News has been publishing for 45 years. That’s quite a milestone, especially considering just a few years ago we were unsure if the paper was going to be able to continue.

We mark milestones in our lives usually through some large act of pomp and circumstance. In my life, “Pomp and Circumstance” was literally played in my presence as I graduated with a Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta in November.  It was an experience I shared with hundreds of others who graduated from various programs, and their loved ones. That collective experience alone made it a big deal.

As I completed my studies, I also celebrated a milestone birthday, which I consider to be one that ends in a “5” or a “0”. I kept things low-key with a small family celebration. After all, it was just about me, and when it comes to birthdays I prefer to keep them on the quiet side.  

If I were to be asked the biggest way we are marking 45 years of publishing, I would respond that it’s by still being here. Shortly after the start of the pandemic we found ourselves in a financial crisis that threatened the future of the paper. Fortunately, we pulled through, thanks to the efforts of our staff, board, and greater community. 

The work and effort it took to save Boyle McCauley News reflects the importance this non-profit, independent community newspaper has to its readers and supporters. In celebrating its survival, we also celebrate the dedication of its community. What an incredible milestone. Congratulations, and thank you.

The Canadian Dental Care Plan is Here!

No matter how hard it is to pay the bills, people shouldn’t be forced to neglect their dental health because of high costs. That’s why, for years, the NDP fought to deliver dental care for everyone who needs it. We used our power in this Parliament to force the implementation of a national dental care program for Canadians.

Since December, over 600,000 seniors have already been approved for the Canadian Dental Care Program and 9 million Canadians will be eligible by 2025. This is an important step toward the universal health coverage that Canadians need. It will make life more affordable for families and keep everyone healthier. 

Who is eligible?

  • Who is eligible?
  • Have no access to employer/pension-sponsored or private dental insurance;
  • Have an annual adjusted family net income under $90,000;
  • Be a Canadian resident for tax purposes; and 
  • Have filed their tax return in the previous year.
  • NOTE: Canadian residents already covered by provincial, territorial or federal dental programs are eligible for the CDCP.

When can you apply?

  • Seniors aged 70+ began receiving a letter inviting them to apply by phone starting in December 2023 through March 2024, in sequence based on age.
  • Seniors aged 65-69 will be able to apply online starting in May 2024.
  • People with a Disability Tax Credit certificate and children under 18 will be able to apply online in June 2024. 
  • Applications for all remaining eligible Canadian residents should start by 2025.

I’m excited to share that I’ll be hosting a Dental Care Open House with Norwood Dental on Sunday, April 28th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Alberta Avenue Community League. Childcare will be available from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Come and learn more about the program, take home some dental swag, and enjoy oral health freebies and education for parents, children, and adults with Dr. William Chin. 

For more information on the CDCP or the open house, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at Blake.Desjarlais@parl.gc.ca or by phone at 780-495-3261, or visit www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/dental/dental-care-plan.html

Every Canadian deserves health care that covers them from head to toe. That’s why the NDP is using our power to secure new investments like dental care, pharmacare, mental health, and more. 

Thank you, Merci, Hiy Hiy,
Blake Desjarlais
Member of Parliament, Edmonton Griesbach

Satisfying Our Love of Pho

Low prices; high quantity and quality at Pho Satay & Grill.

A table of food at Pho Satay & Grill. Alan Schietzsch

With so many dining options in our neighbourhood, restaurants change, yet some things stay the same. So while restaurants come and go, our love of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) stays the same! In our October-November issue, we covered Delicious Pho, which moved from its old space on 106th Avenue. Now that emptied space has been filled by a new restaurant called Pho Satay & Grill.

The new owners have renovated the space with a clean and modern design using grey wood and black furniture. The look features big wall menus, as well as glossy table menus that offer a broad selection of dishes. There’s not only Vietnamese cuisine but also a selection of Thai and Chinese items.

Being a group of four allowed us to try quite a few items, starting with crispy fried coconut shrimp which was a standout appetizer. The six pieces arrived with a creamy dipping sauce and was followed by four salad rolls filled with steamed shrimp and sliced pork and ham. The very meaty salad rolls came with a jumbo-sized bowl of peanut sauce which I especially enjoyed.

Any restaurant with pho in the name is all about the soup, and since this spot offers more than just pho, we gave the wonton soup a try. We didn’t expect how large each of the slightly sweet tasting meat-filled wontons were, and there must have been ten of them. It was certainly a filling meal in itself.

Next up was the #30 pho with flank, brisket, and tendon. If you’re hungry, I recommend this one - you’ll be very happy with the quantity of meat and noodles. The only surprise was that it didn’t come with the bean sprouts and basil that typically accompany most pho soups.

My partner enjoys pho bo kho, a traditional beef stew, so had to try the #49. It arrived with a plentiful, rich, deep red broth, the richness countered by a leaner beef that was well seasoned and slow-cooked.

To experience more than just soups, we also ordered a vermicelli bowl with grilled shrimp skewers, chicken, and spring roll. This was different in that it didn’t come with fish sauce that accompanies most Vietnamese bowls, and it might have been the biggest menu item. There was plenty left over for tomorrow’s lunch.

No matter what we chose, all the servings were substantial, most dishes being priced between $14 to $18, and with the choice of large or small soups. Alongside our meals we enjoyed two iced coffees, as well as a red bean smoothie and an avocado shake. And maybe next time we’ll get to explore the Thai items on the menu. This might be a great choice if you’re dining with companions who each enjoy different Asian cuisines.

Pho Satay & Grill is open 10:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. Wednesday to Monday. It is closed on Tuesdays.

Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors.

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Red Sand ceremony at Sacred Heart Church.

Participants reading prayers and stories of survivors. Paula E. Kirman

February 22 was the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Canada. A small group marked the date with a Red Sand prayer vigil and ceremony in front of Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples.

Participants  took turns reciting prayers and sharing stories from survivors of human trafficking.

The vigil and ceremony concluded with the spreading of red sand in sidewalk cracks. Organizers explained that the red sand symbolized both Jesus' sacrifice and people who have fallen through the cracks in society.

World Autism Awareness Day

“I am different, not less” - Dr. Temple Grandin (American academic, animal behaviourist, and autistic person.)

April 2 marks World Autism Awareness Day. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal 1-2% of the Canadian population is on the autism spectrum. Testing and diagnosis are usually done at an early age (3-8) but many adults also receive an autism diagnosis. 

According to WebMD

Autism, also called autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complicated, lifelong condition that includes problems with communication and behavior. It's a spectrum disorder, which means it affects people in different ways and in varying degrees. It usually appears by age 2 or 3. 

People with autism have trouble with communication. They have trouble understanding what other people think and feel. This makes it hard for them to express themselves, either with words or through gestures, facial expressions, and touch.

People with autism may have problems with learning. Their skills might develop unevenly. For example, they could have trouble communicating but be unusually good at art, music, math, or things that involve memory. Because of this, they might do especially well on tests of analysis or problem-solving.

Here in Edmonton is a supportive non-profit organization called Autism Edmonton. From the About section of their Facebook page

Since 1971, Autism Edmonton (Autism Society of Edmonton Area) has provided services and support to autistic individuals in our community. Autism Edmonton has built a reputation as the "go-to" Autism Centre in Edmonton that connects families, individuals and professionals with autism-related resources and programs.

Their great services and experienced staff are very knowledgeable and communicate updated information via their newsletter, which can be accessed on their website.

There are myths and false information about autism. You can find a number of them debunked by Nevada’s Autism Treatment Assistance Program (ATAP) here like this one:

Myth: All individuals with autism have mental disabilities. a. Truth: Individuals on the autism spectrum are unique, with a wide range of intellectual abilities. Individuals with autism can be harder to test so IQ and abilities can be under or over-estimated unless testing is done by an expert in IDD and autism. Tests designed to include language and interpersonal analyses may misrepresent the intelligence of people with autism, who struggle with social skills. Many individuals on the autism spectrum have earned college and graduate degrees and work in a variety of professions. Conversely, it is sometimes mistakenly assumed that an individual with autism has a higher level of understanding than they do, based on their behavior, language skills, or high level of ability in a specific area.

The more we are aware, the more we can be supportive and help each other.

Our Paper’s Editor Wears Many Hats

Paula E. Kirman’s musical career.

Paula E. Kirman on stage. Johnny Blackburn

The editor of Boyle McCauley News, Paula E. Kirman, is not only energetic but also multi-talented. Music – not just printed words – has been an important and decades-long part of Kirman’s life. She is a singer/songwriter who plays the guitar (and dabbles with other instruments).

Kirman’s most recent achievement is the release of two full-length albums, The Crow (December, 2022) and Corners (May, 2023). The pandemic is in part responsible for kickstarting work on Corners, as Kirman was in isolation and set up a home studio for recording.

In 2019 Kirman began recording songs in collaboration with the late Bill Bourne, a prominent Canadian musician who often served as a mentor to aspiring artists. But the project had to be delayed: Bill had a busy touring schedule, his computer crashed, the pandemic hit, and then he was diagnosed with cancer and died in 2022. 

“However, [Bourne] left the bed tracks with me,” Kirman wrote about The Crow on her blog, “and I spent some time playing with them at home, adding backing vocals and other instruments like keyboard and mandolin. In the spring of 2022 I reached out to John Armstrong, a local musician and producer who used to work with Bill, and he was able to take what Bill and I recorded and brought in some of the most in-demand musicians in town to complete the album. I am especially grateful that, thanks to John and I being able to find Bill’s hard drives, we’re able to present Bill playing guitar on three of the tracks.”

Since around 2007, Kirman has performed in clubs and at events such as Heart of the City. Since the CDs were released - and pandemic restrictions lifted - Kirman has been appearing more often in local music venues. One show was scheduled at the Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse during the January deep freeze and had to be postponed until May 3. Such is the life of an artist – the path is never smooth.

Paula, the superwoman

The title of Paula E. Kirman’s website is Words - Pictures - Music. This sums up her various and ambitious pursuits in communications, journalism, photography, and music. On her Facebook page, she has added “Community” to the above slogan. Kirman attends numerous social justice protest events taking place in Edmonton, often for causes she believes in herself. Her commitment to documenting progressive social movements was a reason she received the Human Rights Champion Award from the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights in 2016 and the Edmonton Social Planning Council Award of Merit for Social Advocacy in 2018.

Recently added to this impressive CV: earning a Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree from the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Alberta. Kirman proudly accepted her diploma on November 22, 2023.

Kirman is also a proud recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Medal, presented to her by MLA Janis Irwin in November of 2022.

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

Sunshine and Fun for Family Day in McCauley

Music by Mira Campbell (@embracemagnificence on Instagram). Paula E. Kirman

February 18th was a beautiful day filled with sunshine and fun at the McCauley Rink. The McCauley Community League once again organized its annual Family Day event featuring music, food, skating, face painting, wagon rides, and more. Food was provided by the Pagnotta/Mannarino families in memory of Albert Pagnotta. Here's a look!

Year of the Dragon Celebrations in Chinatown

Local politicians and organization representatives post with the lions. Paula E. Kirman

The Year of the Dragon was welcomed in Chinatown on February 11th outside of Pacific Mall on 97th Street and 105th Avenue. Lunar New Year celebrations included the lighting of firecrackers by local dignitaries, a dragon dance, and a lion dance. Lion and dragon dances continued along 97th Street, while incdoor cultural performances took place at the Ukrainian National Federation building on 98th Street. 

Experience the Journey of the Horse at the Mah Society of Edmonton

Curator Sue Mah with the “Journey of the Horse” poster leading to the exhibit. Paula E. Kirman

The Mah Society of Edmonton may look like it occupies a small space at its location at 9643 101A Avenue, but its interior resonates with history.

One of the oldest Chinese association in Edmonton, the Society has occuped its current location since 1982. The Society is a network of the Mah family, offering an opportunity for members to stay connected while also giving back to the Chinese and greater Edmonton communities. 

A new exhibit on the main floor of the Mah Society features the family's history with photographs featuring Mah family members, framed lists of donors who helped support previous Mah Society buildings, and a timeline of the Mah family in Edmonton with notable members and their accomplishments.

However, the main attraction is in the basement of the building. "Journey of the Horse" is an extensive exhibit showcasing a century of Chinese history in Edmonton particularly through the lens of the Mah family. In fact, the surname "Mah" means "horse."  The exhibit includes photographs; immersive displays such as a laundromat, restaurant, and general store; and artifacts representing different aspects of Chinese culture and customs. "Journey of the Horse" is a unique, largely first-person look at Edmonton's Chinese history, curated by volunteer community members. There is a lot to see and absorb. Anyone interested in local history and the Chinese community should not miss the opportunity to check out the exhibit.

Opening ceremones for "Journey of the Horse" will take place on February 10th (Lunar New Year) from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The exhibit will be open to the general public starting on Sunday, February 11th, and will be available for viewing on several following Sundays. The opening ceremonies and exhibit viewings are free but require registration. For more information and to register, visit the Journey of the Horse website.

Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market Shuts Down

The final day of the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market. Paula E. Kirman

The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market closed permanently on January 28th, marking the end of an era.

The market moved into the GWG/Army & Navy/Red Strap building on 97th Street and 103rd Avenue in 2019. The COVID pandemic and high operating costs of being in the building, which is over a century old, resulted in the association operating the market voting to cease operations and declare bankruptcy.

Here's hoping that the market can eventually be revived - it's the oldest farmers market in the city and one of downtown's gems. 

The photos here were taken on the market's last day of operations.

The 2024 McCauley Cup Brings Skating and Smiles

Group photo with the cup before the game started. Paula E. Kirman

The weather could not have been better for the 2024 McCauley Cup, which took place on January 27th at the McCauley Rink. The annual hockey game between neighbourhood children and Downtown Division beat cops from the Edmonton Police Service was met with sunny skies, glistening ice, and lots of smiles. Participants got to enjoy doughtnuts and sandwiches from the Italian Bakery, as well as coffee and other snacks. There were appearances by former Oilers like Kevin Lowe and Al Hamilton, and Mayor Sohi presented the cup at the end of the game. 

Steven Johnson: “In life, music makes the storms go away.”

Steven Johnson (left) performing with daughter Stella. Supplied

Steven Johnson was five years old when he started playing guitar. “My parents signed me up for guitar lessons and I played this beat up guitar with rusty strings and my fingers were actually bleeding from that old guitar. I’m surprised I didn’t get tetanus,” he recalls. “Then, on my sixth birthday, I woke up in the morning and I saw a brand new electric guitar. It was way better after getting that guitar. I didn’t put it down for many years after that.”  

Steven wasn’t sure if he actually played the first year of the Heart of the City Festival or if the music lured him over to Giovanni Caboto Park to listen. He said that he’s pretty sure he had to apply to play and that he played the next 10 years consecutively.

“When the sun was out, [Heart of the City] was beautiful and busy. When it rained, the crew still did their jobs and the performers would play to no one,” Steven says, also noting that back then performers volunteered their time.

Speaking of volunteers, Steven adds: “A bunch of volunteers came out every year diligently. I saw the same people every year. The new faces on the team were ambitious and forthright and made sure [the festival] grew and it’s still going strong.”

Those of you who know Steven can’t help but remember watching his daughter Stella grow up alongside him at Heart of the City, starting from when she was a baby. As time went by, Stella began performing with her dad but later became a solo performer. “I got her playing harmonica initially and then she got over her stage fright doing that. She decided to sing, and she decided she was going to teach herself to play guitar and write her own songs. She started with the ukulele and wrote some wonderful songs. She began playing at the Heart of the City on her own.”

When I asked Steven what keeps him playing, he replied, “I sometimes have no idea what I’m doing. I have no idea why a guy works so hard. Well, it’s those times that you can make the sun come out, make the storm go away, if you play properly. In life, music makes the storms go away.”

Steven, who lives in McCauley, started teaching guitar lessons at the Boys and Girls Club 22 years ago after Dan Glugosh told him he needed to be teaching. Dan arranged for the McCauley Community League to sponsor the lessons. “There were some wonderful people that I met and the music changed their lives I believe,” he said. “It’s funny watching people get a guitar and a few weeks later, a month later, they start making headway and then they show up [with] a black leather jacket on and a different attitude.”

Steven is still doing the singer-songwriter thing and has a “psychedelic” solo project. As well, he has been playing with a band called Circle the Wolves for the last two years. The band’s music is on Spotify and Bandcamp. He continues to teach guitar lessons with the support of the McCauley Community League at 8 p.m. every Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club here in McCauley. The lessons are free, open to anyone, and offered on a drop-in basis. 

Corine Demas lives in McCauley where she is the President of the McCauley Community League and a board member with Heart of the City.

HOTC AGM Invitation

Welcome to the new year, friends! Heart of the City’s 20th anniversary year has finally arrived! 

We will be hosting our Annual General Meeting at Culina McCauley (10821 95th Street) on Monday, February 26th at 6 p.m. 

This will be a family-friendly event with refreshments provided. We are so excited to share with you all of our updates and plans for the upcoming festival. 

We will be updating our socials with more information regarding the AGM as the day approaches. You can follow us at @heartcityfest on Facebook and Instagram.

In the meantime, stay warm!

Information provided by Heart of the City.

 

 

 

Affordable Housing for All

Dear friends,

At the time of writing this, temperatures here in Edmonton and across Alberta are plummeting and nearing record lows. I hope you’re all doing your best to stay safe and warm. 

I’ve been hearing from so many of you lately that as times get tougher and temperatures drop, the safety and well-being of our unhoused neighbours are at the top of your minds. I want you to know that this is true for me too. And I know that we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to meet the needs of everyone in our community. We must ensure that we are all able to live safely, that we are all treated with dignity and respect, and that we all have access to community care and support.

When I wrote to you back in December, I noted that I would be introducing a private member’s bill in support of affordable housing. I’m proud to share that at the beginning of December, I did get to introduce this bill: Bill 205, the Housing Statutes (Housing Security) Amendment Act 2023. This bill includes a proposed four-year cap on rent increases in Alberta, and a requirement for the provincial government to report to Albertans on how much affordable housing is being built each year. I know that this bill, if passed, won’t solve the housing crisis in our province - this will take a multi-pronged, truly cooperative and collaborative approach. But I am confident that it will offer relief as we work towards permanent solutions.

This is hard work, but it’s work that we must do - and we’ll do it together. We’ll keep pushing to build the just, safe, and forward-thinking society that we all deserve. As I said in my last letter, it’s knowing that we’re together in this that makes me prouder than ever to be your MLA.

In addition to fighting for affordable housing for all, we’ll keep fighting for everything we need to build a strong, resilient province. We’ll keep fighting to protect your hard-earned pensions, to support renewable energy, to rebuild and strengthen our public healthcare system, and to ensure that our kids receive the education that they need and deserve.

I know that we have lots more work to do together and, as always, I want to hear from you. Please reach out, and know that I’m here to listen and to work alongside you as we build a better province for folks in Boyle Street, McCauley, and in communities all across Alberta. 

Take good care of yourselves and each other.

Janis Irwin, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Email: Edmonton.HighlandsNorwood@assembly.ab.ca
Phone: 780-414-0682

Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC) Newcomers Network

When newcomers connect directly to people in their new communities they have an easier time understanding English, making new friends, and learning more about Canadian culture. Therefore, they are able to have a smoother transition to life in Canada.

Getting settled in a new country is hard, but our Newcomer to Newcomer group will provide the chance to meet older and experienced newcomers who understand, and have been through, the transition of settling in Canada.

Our goal is to give newcomers the chance to learn about Canada and their new community from a personal viewpoint, one where they can also ask questions from other members who have been through the transition from their home country to life in Canada.

Newcomers are welcome to join us every last Sunday of the month. We look forward to seeing you! Come meet experienced newcomers who will share information that might help you simplify settling here in Canada.

For more information, please call the EIC at (780) 756-2655 or email EventsAtEIC@gmail.com.

Information provided by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre, which is located at 9538 107 Avenue.

Keep in Touch with Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative

Edmontonians can now access several resources to stay informed about how the City’s Problem Property Initiative (PPI) and its partners are addressing problem properties. 

An electronic newsletter - The Problem Property Initiative News - has been launched and is available for anyone interested to subscribe to get news delivered directly to their email inbox. Residents can sign up by visiting edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties

The PPI has also developed a data dashboard that uses charts, graphs, and maps to display details about the initiative’s performance. The PPI dashboard will provide residents with such information as the numbers of problem property files opened, inspections conducted, and days to close a file. This resource will also soon be found at edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties

These new resources add to several that already exist, including an increasingly informative and user-friendly web page, a confidential problem property reporting form, a PPI booklet, and a printable one sheet.

Through regular public communication, the PPI aims to build awareness of its work and strengthen relationships with residents affected by problem properties. These two new communication resources increase the ways that Edmontonians can keep in touch with the PPI.

Public communication is an essential part of the PPI’s long-term strategy to address problem properties. Since beginning to implement the strategy in late 2022, the PPI has:

  • interacted with 4,891 people from 225 neighbourhoods and 62 stakeholder groups
  • participated in 28 stakeholder meetings or neighbourhood events
  • hosted 3 Meet & Greets with 157 community members from 26 neighbourhoods
  • delivered 17 presentations
  • surveyed 3,994 community members
  • sent 8 newsletters 
  • published 18 news articles or blogs
  • activated 20 social media posts, with over 72,000 views
  • received 12,329 web page visits
  • mailed information to 32,464 addresses
  • and distributed 600 PPI booklets

Resources and Contacts 

Information provided by the City of Edmonton.

The Mustard Seed Central Opens in McCauley

The Mustard Seed Central. Paula E. Kirman

The Mustard Seed and Radius Community Health and Healing received a provincial grant in March of 2023 to provide a unique 24/7 program in a provincially-owned building at 9526 106 Avenue, previously operated by Operation Friendship Seniors Society.   

The Mustard Seed Central, which opened in December, is intended to be a stepping stone to bring those who are unhoused into appropriate housing. A ratio of 1 staff per 8 guests increases successful transitions. Individuals experiencing health issues are supported by nurses and social workers through the main floor’s “Respite to Recovery Program.”   

This required a rezoning application. City Council met on November 6, 2023. Six people spoke against the rezoning application, including McCauley residents and representatives from Chinatown associations. After a lengthy, emotional discussion, Councillor Anne Stevenson crafted a motion that passed: “Any Development Permit for Supportive Housing for the purpose of providing temporary accommodation for persons requiring immediate shelter and assistance shall be temporary and shall expire on July 1, 2025.”

McCauley resident Phil O’Hara spoke against the rezoning. I invited him to comment. He said, “With the opening of the Centre, 88 percent of all the permanent emergency shelter beds in Edmonton are in McCauley. That’s clearly unfair to the residents and businesses in McCauley as well as to the people who use the shelters. In 2019, former Edmonton Journal columnist Elise Stolte characterized the concentration of emergency shelters in McCauley as a ‘shelter ghetto’.” 

He continued, “Given our experience with encampments and the increasing need for affordable housing, we desperately need to rethink the operation and location of emergency shelters. Of course, the best solution is to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing that doesn’t involve staying in an emergency shelter.”

I met with Megan Schuring, the Community Engagement Specialist for The Mustard Seed, to learn how things are unfolding since The Mustard Seed Central opened in December.  

The 40-year-old building came with challenges. There is no elevator, so people with mobility limitations cannot easily access the second and third floors.  

The third floor is for women and has a secure entrance. The narrow rooms have built-in bunk beds. Although a best practice is for women to have a room of their own, this isn’t possible.  

It’s encouraging that couples feel comfortable accessing the 2nd floor cots, removing one barrier for those who don’t want to be separated. People who use drugs walk to the safe consumption site at Radius. 

It’s early days for this new program. Megan said, “Our commitment is to provide quarterly updates to business and community associations.” 

Kate lives in McCauley.

A Rocky Start to 2024

Greetings everyone! 

As I’m writing this article in early January, the new year is off to a rocky start. We experienced a big loss with the fire that impacted Zocalo and other businesses in the area. This is a hub of our community and it’s hard to see the damage that was caused. I’m grateful that only the physical building was hurt, and I know that the true heart of this space is the people who created it and gathered in it. The fire hasn’t changed this, and I know our community will make it through this setback more resilient than ever. 

The other challenge that has defined the beginning days of this year is encampments. I’ve heard from many of you highlighting the very real and unacceptable risks that encampments create for everyone in our community. This includes those living in encampments, as well as the people and businesses surrounding them. 

I hear universal agreement that encampments are not what we want in our community. What we need are durable solutions, including housing, supportive services, and health care options for all Edmontonians. This is something I remain committed to, both with the City’s own resources and through advocacy with the Provincial and Federal governments. In the meantime, the City continues to try to manage the symptoms of the housing and drug poisoning crises as best as possible. This involves a lot of uncomfortable balances as we look to manage the risk to those living in and around encampments.

Recent weeks suggest that we need better checks and balances to manage all risks. We also need action from all levels of government. I’m hopeful that with everyone working together, we’ll be able to provide the safe and supported housing that will make encampments a thing of the past.

Despite the difficult start, I believe 2024 will be a turning point for our ward and our city. We have a choice about how we respond to challenging times, and I know we will collectively choose to turn towards community and strength-based solutions. My confidence in saying this comes from knowing the incredible people like you who make up O-day’min. 

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to reach out or say hello in recent months. Please never hesitate to call 311 or connect with my office if we can help. Thank you for reading!

Email: anne.stevenson@edmonton.ca

Phone: 780-496-8333

Fast Food Served With Warmth

Grab quick and delicious snacks and meals inside Stadium Mini Mart.

Stadium Mini Mart owner Sammy Teki (right) with Teklu Alazar, who staffs the food counter most evenings. Alan Schietzsch

For the last 10 years, Boyle Street and McCauley residents have been used to grabbing quick snacks, lottery tickets, and drinks from the Mini Mart on the southeast corner of 107A Avenue and 95th Street.

Things changed in June, when owner Sammy Teki opened the new food counter inside his family’s convenience store. They had the vision to leverage what had been a storage space into a brand new kitchen, with a take-out counter in front serving pizza, donairs, fried chicken, poutine, samosas, and ice cream.

When they opened in summer, the first thing I went there for was the ice cream. There are many flavours of hard ice cream, as well as soft serve. When the heat ended in fall, I enjoyed the fried chicken, which was well cooked and quite crispy. So I asked about it and found that they marinate the chicken overnight in eight different spices before preparing it fresh each day.

More recently my partner and I returned to try the samosas and the chicken shawarma and beef (combo) donair. The large mixed donair contained both chicken shawarma and spiced beef, as well as your choice of sweet or garlic sauce. We chose the garlic sauce which thankfully was mild instead of overpowering as many are.

The massive donair roll was made before my eyes as they sliced homemade marinated chicken shawarma from the grilling skewer, placing the meat on the hot grill until slightly crispy on the edges, with a candied Turkish spice flavour. I enjoyed the caramelized BBQ-like grilled texture, while my partner prefers more rare meats, so next time she might ask to have it grilled a little less. The beef was nicely spiced, and with the onion and tomato it definitely overflowed the pita bread - the one large donair was enough for two of us!

Next we had the samosas, which were beautifully seasoned, and full of carrots, potato, peas, and corn. The vegetable filling is wrapped in pastry, then deep fried into a warm triangular snack.

There are usually three kinds of pizza, with pepperoni, Hawaiian, and donair meat being the most popular flavours. They’re the regular crust, not thin or light as the Italian style, or as thick or heavy as the deep dish style.

I often see visitors enjoying a hot, cheesy poutine as a nice meal to warm up while sitting along the window counter, as it’s perfect in the cold weather.

Over the 10 years the Tekis have operated this unique space, I’ve seen the family grow to include six children, with ages up to thirteen. The Teki family keeps the space safe by having cameras inside and outside that are continuously monitored, and because of a mutually respectful relationship with unhoused neighbours, there’s never a problem.

The store is a neighbourhood icon, as the Teki family takes pride in serving everyone in the community, from rich to poor, young to old. For anyone who hasn’t dropped by, owner Sammy Teki says to come in and try it. He would be happy to know the preferences of and receive input from community members. Says Sammy, everyone is welcome here and “it’s part of our humanity to contribute to society.”

Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors.

Save the Dates: McCauley Community League 2024 Events Schedule

Here is the schedule of events for McCauley Community League for 2024. All of them will be taking place at the McCauley Rink. Please note that all of these events are free and open to the public. We also need volunteers to help hand out food, staff tables and bounce houses,  and sit at the first aid station. If you want to volunteer with us, please send us an email at league@mccauleycl.com.

McCauley Cup 
January 27th, 1-3 p.m. 
Kids from the neighbourhood play hockey against the beat cops who work in McCauley. The Chief of Police usually attends as well as our government representatives. Food and door prizes available.

Family Day Party
February 18th, 1-4 p.m.
We are hosting a Family Day Party with a sleigh ride, food, and Mira Angela will be playing violin for us.

Mini Carnival with sideshow performance 
July 13th, 1-4 p.m
We will have food and beverages, street/sideshow performers, prizes, bounce houses, cotton candy, and popcorn. 

Community League Day Celebration 
September 21st, 1-4 p.m.
We are planning something very special for Community League Day but the only thing we can say is that it will be on September 21 from 1 to 4 p.m.

Zocalo Damaged by Fire in January

Popular café and greenhouse forced to temporarily close.

Zocalo is a popular meeting and shopping destination in McCauley. Paula E. Kirman

In the early morning hours of January 4th, a fire that was started behind Zocalo spread to vehicles and the business. 

“While the direct fire damage was limited to the vehicles, back storage area, back yard, and back of [the] greenhouse, there is substantial smoke damage throughout all three buildings,” says Miranda Ringma, co-owner of Zocalo.

Zocalo, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in the fall of 2023, is located at 10826 95th Street. However, it is now closed until further notice. As of press time, Ringma did not know how long the closure would last, saying that “it looks like it will be at least two months and likely quite a bit longer.” 

The costs of the clean-up and renovations were also not yet known. “Adjusters and insurance folks are busy sorting that out. While we have decent insurance, there are always a lot of extraneous costs to be considered, and we are still absorbing this,” Ringma said.

Neighbouring businesses Love Object, Violets, and the Venetian Barber Shop were also affected by the fire and were temporarily closed. 

When the news about the fire reached the public, the community immediately began expressing its support. For example, on social media posts pertaining to the fire, people in McCauley and beyond shared their love of Zocalo and memories of time spent there. 

“We are amazed and overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support and care,” says Ringma. “We have literally hundreds of messages and so many kind words. We really are awash in the love shared by our customers, friends, and community. We truly thank them all for their care.”

There have been several other fires in the immediate area in the recent past. A fire broke out at the rooming house just north of Zocalo in November of 2023, which also caused some damage to the outside wall of the Italian Centre’s warehouse. As well, numerous fires behind the Italian Centre Shop have occurred in the past few months.  

To stay connected and to learn about ways people may be able to help, follow Zocalo on social media (@Zocalo.ca on Facebook and @ZocaloEdm on Instagram) or visit Zocalo’s website: zocalo.ca. Readers can also follow the online version of this story at Boyle McCauley News’ website (bmcnews.org) for updates.

Paula E. Kirman is the Editor of Boyle McCauley News.

Being a Voice for the Community

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” - Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th president of the United States.

Greetings for 2024 and welcome to my first article of the year. My column is titled “Ability and Community” for a reason. I enjoy my community and want everyone to enjoy it to their ability.

Accessibility is collaborative and should include the voice of those it affects. Statistics Canada’s most recently released public data from 2022 showed that 27% of Canadians aged 15 years and over (8 million people) have one or more disabilities that limit their daily life activities. So, chances are we all know someone in this category, or are in the category ourselves.

Awareness is relevant, and action is key. Some disabilities are recognizable and some are not. Some are born with a disability and some acquire it. Disability understanding and knowledge is a community, civic, provincial, and federal concern and issue. Thankfully, our community has great support from all levels.

We have an agency near the area called Voice of Albertans with Disabilities (VAD). You can look VAD up online at vadsociety.ca. VAD is located at the Hys Centre (11010 101 Street) and is a great source of information on many issues concerning the disability community. You can subscribe free to VAD’s monthly publication The Voice via the website. To access VAD’s services, visit the website, or call or e-mail to arrange an appointment: 780-488-9088 or vad@vadsociety.ca.

VAD often looks for volunteers of any ability to be involved in fundraising, be a board member, or to serve in other roles. If you would like further information on anything, contact VAD or me at ianyoung.ca. And remember: together we hold the power!

Ian is a columnist with the paper. He lives in the area.

Izwi Lethu Arts Society

Harmonizing cultures and fostering growth in Edmonton.

The Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC) is a community full of love, caring, and support. In this and future articles, we will inform readers of the non-profit organizations operating in the EIC facility in order to bring light to their many good deeds.

In a vibrant initiative aimed at addressing the unique needs and challenges faced by the youth community in Edmonton, the Izwi Lethu Arts Society has emerged as a powerful force for cultural exploration and skill development. The name “Izwi Lethu,” meaning “our voice” in Zulu, aptly captures the essence of this community-driven project that resonates with diverse voices.

The project responds directly to the pressing need for educational opportunities that empower those members of the McCauley community who come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Izwi Lethu Arts Society invites children and individuals from all walks of life to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of African music, theatre, and visual arts. This inclusive approach not only hones participants’ artistic abilities, but also fosters cross-cultural understanding, creating a melting pot of creativity and diversity.

Guiding this cultural exploration is Clayton Pasi Gunguwo, originally from Zimbabwe and a Canadian resident for over two decades. Alongside him are local associate artists from around the globe, forming a collective that transcends borders and barriers. This dynamic team provides participants with a comprehensive learning experience. Participants in the project will develop a wide range of skills which will foster their personal and professional growth.

The Izwi Lethu Arts Society is more than a creative space: it is a community hub where voices from different cultures harmonize to create something beautiful. Through this initiative the youth in Edmonton are not just learning about traditional rhythms and arts, but also gain a deeper understanding of one another. The Society’s commitment to cultural exchange and skill development makes it a beacon of unity and growth in the heart of Edmonton. Izwi Lethu: where diverse voices come together to create a symphony of shared experiences.

Classes are every Friday from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. For more information email pasigunguwo@gmail.com or call 780-802-2289.

Information provided by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre, which is located at 9538 107 Avenue.

February-March 2024

Happy new year! Welcome to our February-March 2024 edition, which marks the first issue of Volume 45 of the paper. A lot has changed in Boyle Street and McCauley - and in the world of publishing - since 1979. The print edition is still here, along with a robust website, and a presence on a much newer phenomenon called social media. 

Speaking of our web and socials, you can find exclusive news and content published regularly at bmcnews.org. We are always publishing new content between print editions. If history is what you’re into, there is also a full, searchable archive of all of our past editions. 

At our website you can also subscribe to our free e-newsletter which is published to announce the new issue. We occasionally also publish an extra edition if we have a lot of new stories and photos on our website. 

On the social media side of things, our content is still unfortunately blocked to Canadian users at our Facebook and Instagram. However, we’re still on X (formerly Twitter) updating regularly at @bmcnews.  

If you have any questions or comments, or would like to find out about current volunteer opportunities, my email inbox is always open: editor@bmcnews.org. Enjoy the issue - see you in the spring!

Spreading the News

I recently had the opportunity to introduce Boyle McCauley News to people who had either never heard of the paper (if you can believe it!) or had perhaps seen a copy in print or online, but were not overly familiar with the publication.

In every case, I emphasize the fact that Boyle McCauley News exists because of the dedication of its volunteers who write, photograph, proofread, deliver, sit on the board, and so much more. 

I have the chance to explain how the paper helps to build community by getting news and information out there that is often overlooked by other media, such as many of the great events that happen here and local folks making a difference in the community. 

I also talk about how the paper presents a different perspective in general about the neighbourhoods of McCauley and Boyle Street. While there are important social issues in the area that need to be addressed, the positive aspects of life here should not be ignored. I can’t recall how many times someone has told me they had no idea about all of the cool things that happen here until they started following the paper.

Boyle McCauley News gives people the chance to discuss issues and concerns from a first-person point of view. Many of these people would otherwise not have the opportunity to access a media platform. 

As we begin our 45th volume of publication, the role the paper has in building community and giving it a voice is more important than ever. We’re doing our part in keeping independent, community-based journalism alive.

New Year’s Eve at the McCauley Rink

Skating on the fresh ice. Paula E. Kirman

The unusually warm weather brought lots of people to the McCauley Rink for the annual New Year's Eve skating party. Folks who attended enjoyed hot dogs, hot chocolate, snacks, marshmallows roasted over the fire pit, and prizes for the children. A broadcast of the OIlers game played over the speaker system and people also had the chance to view the City of Edmonton's early fireworks from the rink at 9 p.m. The rink officially opened just a couple of days before due to the challenges of making ice in such warm termperatures.

John Gee: 2023 Spotowski Award Recipient

A supporter of the paper since 1993.

John Gee (left) accepts the Garry Spotowski Volunteer Appreciation Award from Alan Schietzsch, chair of the Board of Directors of the Boyle Street McCauley Community Newspaper Society. Paula E. Kirman

John Gee received the Garry Spotowski Volunteer Appreciation Award at the annual general meeting of the Boyle Street McCauley Community Newspaper Society on November 13th, 2023. The Spotowski Award recognizes and honours long-term volunteers who have made invaluable contributions to the paper and the community.

In presenting the award, Boyle McCauley News’ Editor Paula Kirman said, “John Gee has volunteered for the paper much longer than any staff members have been around,” noting that John has been a block carrier for over 20 years, and for the past six years served as the paper’s treasurer.

John has lived in McCauley since 1993, and he began volunteering for the paper then. “Doing paste-up,” he says, “which was a step in producing a newspaper in those days. Before that I had spent a number of years working for Alberta Report magazine doing several different jobs including production, so I had applicable skills.”

John was the bookkeeper and/or treasurer for the paper in the 1990s and was treasurer again in 2011-2013 before taking on the most recent six-year term. “I enjoy accounting/bookkeeping,” he says, "which I also do for the McCauley Community League, Inn Roads Housing Co-operative, the Greater Edmonton Alliance, and the Alberta Party, as well as in my day job.” (John is ordained as a deacon in the Anglican Church and is the secretary-treasurer of the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton.)

The current bookkeeper for Boyle McCauley News, Rosalie Gelderman, really appreciates working with someone with such excellent accounting skills. “His attention to detail makes my job easy,” she says.

John adds, “It was especially rewarding that I was able to play a role in the survival of the paper during COVID, when finances were precarious. I think it is a special institution that is the envy of other communities in the city. I also enjoy doing delivery for the exercise and to see what is happening in the neighbourhood.”

The Spotowski Award is presented to volunteers who have given exceptional service to the Boyle McCauley News. It is not awarded every year. The first recipients have been volunteers since nearly the beginning of the paper: Kate Quinn, Rosalie Gelderman, Bob McKeon, Larry Brockman, John Kolkman, Gary Garrison, and Phil O’Hara. For details, go to the Awards section of the Boyle McCauley News website. 

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

Life at O-day’min Village

The ups and downs of living in affordable housing.

O-day’min Village. Supplied by Civida

What’s it like living in an affordable housing apartment building in the inner city? We’d like to share with you the mix of experiences, emotions and challenges from the point of view of two people who are relatively new arrivals at O-day’min Village on 95th Street and 103rd Avenue.

First, some background. O-day’min Village, once known as Melcor YMCA Village and now operated by Civida, has 148 apartment units spread over six stories with more than 200 people living here. It’s an interesting mix of Indigenous people, newcomers, single mothers, and formerly unhoused folks - all surviving on low incomes.

In such a diverse and large group, it’s a real challenge to make this place feel like a home. But with the help of a City of Edmonton grant (and a part-time coordinator), many residents are working together to create a sense of belonging in this large apartment building.

It started with creating a space on our main floor where residents gather for coffee, a chat, a game of cards, or doing one of those impossible puzzles. We have talked about physical health, shared the pain of abuse as youngsters, and how it feels to be Two-Spirit. But we also laugh and help each other too.

We have tapped into weekly deliveries of best-before dated food from the Italian Centre through the Leftovers program, hold the occasional bingo with the help of Mike from E4C, have an exercise class especially for people with mobility issues, and listen to cultural lessons and practice Indigenous crafts with Bent Arrow.

One of our long-time residents dips into his own funds to put on barbeques in the summer and group meals in our lobby. We meet once a month with Civida to discuss maintenance issues and ideas to build a stronger community, and to share concerns about safety.

We live in a challenging neighbourhood in a challenging time. There is a lot of drug use on the streets. We are hoping the City will take effective steps in the future to work with the people in a nearby encampment to help them transition to safer spaces.

It’s all part of turning a building into a community. It takes time to bring more residents into the circle, help residents feel comfortable with each other, and pursue new ideas to create stronger bonds and trust. We are just starting, but by creating a sense of community we aim to redefine the idea of home.  

Cathy and Ahmed are residents of O-day’min Village.

A Positive Look at Transit

Ian, I loved your article about the Valley Line in the December 2023-January 2024 issue of Boyle McCauley News [“Accessibility on the Valley Line”]. 

Public transit has been beaten up so badly in the news lately, and I don’t think most of the reports are all that accurate. (Well, the more-than-a-few hiccups in the Valley Line construction were a bit much, but I have read that similar things happened around the world when cities were establishing train lines.)

Does the Valley Line have a station near the place where you live? Hope so.

-Anita Jenkins

Ian Young responds:

Yes, I do have the Quarters stop near me. It is so convenient and accessible. The ride is very smooth and quiet. It opens a lot of options for me to access things. 

Christmas at Hull Block

Making paper bouquets. Paula E. Kirman

Christmas at Hull Block on December 16th featured food, crafts, window art, and a visit from Santa. As well, volunteers filled and distributed 1,000 bagged lunches to seniors, families with kids, and social agencies in the Chinatown area. The event was organized by the Chinatown Transformation Collaborative Society. 

Photos by Paula E. Kirman.

Winter in Little Italy 2023

Horse-drawn wagon rides in Giovanni Caboto Park. Paula E. Kirman

While the warmer temperatures and lack of snow made this year's Winter in Little Italy feel a little less seasonal, lots of people still headed to McCauley to enjoy roasted chestnurs, horse-drawn wagon rides, and free hot chocolate on December 10th and 17th. The chestnuts were roasted and sold once again by Amici Italiani as a fundraiser towards their summer festival. The Culina event space at La Piazza provided free hot chocolate on December 10th, and on December 17th at Zocalo. Winter in Little Italy was organized by the Viva Italia District Association (VIDA). 

Photos by Paula E. Kirman 

The Holidays are Upon Us

Giovanni Caboto Park in December of 2023. Paula E. Kirman

No time of year is as wonderful and magical as winter. It is created by God with the colour white, so that each one of us can get a great opportunity to start a new path in our lives from a blank page. Every year is as unique as the delicate patterns of snowflakes on the windows of houses on a frosty morning. They go by as quickly as the small heavenly messengers. The snowflakes melt, leaving moments of happiness as a gift. 

Every year in our lives is the best gift from God. We may all be different, but deep in our souls we always remain children, waiting for miracles. We constantly believe that the new year will take away all the misfortunes and hesitations, as well as a new book will be opened with 365 pages, a book of hope and good fortune. The snowflakes fly, like birds whirl in a starry night, and there comes the most wonderful time of the year: the season of Christmas and the New Year. The bells on reindeers' necks are ringing, Santa's sleigh is racing, and children's eyes are filled with joy and hope. It is a time of good deeds, as well as providing care and support to those who need it the most. 

The main aspect of a human is humanity: the ability to show compassion and mercy towards others. Charity is one of the most important things in our lives, teaching each one of us to help others in need. Support the falling, feed the hungry, warm the freezing, give a smile to those passing by - isn't this happiness? This is the time of passing warmth from one heart to another. Each bit of warmth, assists in melting the coldness of the surrounding world. It is a time of forgiving grievances, as well as making wishes. It is a time of creating new goals and plans in order to change life for the better. 

During those days, in houses around the world, decorated Christmas trees shimmer with bright lights. Children gather at the festive table to mark this great holiday season, and often check under the tree to see whether their letters to Santa have reached their destination. The holiday candles are lit, and, gathered around the festive table, people remember all the good things that occurred in the previous year. 

During this holiday season, I would like to wish all people that faith in miracles will never fail us, that peace will come on our planet, and the fire of kindness will not go out in the human heart. Let Santa put the three most important gifts under the tree: peace, health, and happiness. And, when luck knocks on the door for each of you, I wish that at that moment you will be home. 

Natanel Krieksfeld is a grade 10 student at St. Joseph High School.

“The Dickens You Say!”

Christmas Trivia and Inspiration

Nearly 200 years ago, Charles Dickens (1812-1870) wrote his timeless classic, A Christmas Carol, during the six weeks preceding Christmas. Broke at the time, with his last book still an abject failure, he was struggling to support a large family. He self-published his timeless Christmas Classic on Dec 19th, 1844. It was an immediate success and went into reprint several times before the New Year arrived. It was the turning point of his career. The world is enriched because he believed in himself and overcame his personal challenges in life. 

A prolific and well-disciplined writer, Dickens created numerous classics that people all over the world still make time to read and enjoy. People continue to be inspired by his recurring theme of individual triumph over human adversity and impossible odds. Despite the many modern adaptations available, many prefer his original source with its archaic style of dialogue and prose. He provides supporting detail that brings his characters and tales to life and gives a deeper and more meaningful experience to the reader. His work is credited as the cause of the sweeping social reforms of the Victorian Era. Those transforming changes defined the freedoms of democracy that our entire culture is based upon.

His work is informative, instructive, and accurately depicts the social climate of his time. It covers some of the darkest corners of social experience and the harsh realities that are suffered by many through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, many of the problems and conditions that he wrote about continue to be chronic social issues and concerns today. 

Unfortunately, many of the problems and conditions that he wrote about continue to be chronic social issues and concerns today. 

He was a great humanitarian who valued connection to family and community. He never wavered in his belief that people respond well to opportunities to make a better life for themselves or for others. He had little patience with bureaucratic barriers or materialistic worldviews that interfere with helping the downtrodden improve their living conditions. He defied the conventions of his day to make his stories available to people from all walks of life. He reduced their cost so much that any could read and learn from them. Throughout his own journey from poverty and destitution to wealth with fame and acclaim, he maintained his code of ethics and expected others to do the same.   

His personal tips for success and effectiveness in daily life survive through his most-famous quotes. His messages are as relevant today for people to understand, to appreciate, and to act upon as they were when he first delivered them.

As Dickens tells us, “The most important thing in life is to stop saying ‘I wish’ and to start saying ‘I will.’ ” 

Misty lives in McCauley.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2023

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly. It promotes the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in every sphere of society.

December 3rd is the noted date. Each year IDPD has a theme. For 2023, the 31st year of IDPD, the theme is “United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for, with, and by persons with disabilities”.

Those living with disabilities are still facing barriers. This is a call to action to end poverty and inequality, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy health, justice, and prosperity. It is critical that no one is left behind.

This year the only thing happening in Edmonton is a virtual event hosted by Voice of Albertans with Disabilities. This virtual event will have discussion, information, and guest speaker advocates from the Edmonton community, everyone is welcome! It is free but registration is a great way to let the organizers know the capacity. Sign up here.

Ian is a columnist with the paper. He lives in the area.

Heart of the City Festival: Rebooting in the New Year

Seasons Greetings from Heart of the City (HOTC)! We have been hard at work this year with our chosen theme: Reboot. We took advantage of courses and webinars available online and through the Alberta non-profit learning centre. We connected with community leagues and collectives who share common core values to discuss the future growth of the Heart of the City Festival and how we can improve. We continue to discuss the upcoming 20th anniversary in 2024.

HOTC will announce the exact date for our AGM in February, so make sure you are following us on all of our socials or visit our website in the coming weeks. Our website is www.heartcityfest.com, and we’re @heartcityfest on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

For National Volunteer Week coming up in April, we have plans in the works for a volunteer-focused event so we can celebrate and show appreciation for all of our volunteers: past, present, and future! For almost 20 years Heart of the City has been run completely by volunteers - community members with full-time jobs, commitments, families, and challenges. The festival’s many years of growth and success are thanks to each volunteer who has donated their time and skill, even just for a couple of hours.

In 2017, when I had far too many jobs, a friend reached out in search of volunteers for the Heart of the City Music and Arts Festival. I didn’t really have the availability, but this friend was impossible to say no to. Before I knew it, I was side stage, working as an assistant stage manager, something I thought I’d never get the chance to do. I did not hesitate to accept an offer to join the board, and I will be forever grateful that I did. I have learned so much over the years, made new friends, and gained experience in an industry I am passionate about.

I am so happy that James Jarvis was that person who was impossible to refuse. James passed away suddenly in October. James, thank you for your many years as a volunteer and board member, and your never-ending support to the festival. We will miss you greatly. 

We here at Heart of the City hope the readers of Boyle McCauley News and all community members find time for joy this holiday season and we wish you all the best in the new year.

Jacqueline is the Producer and Director of Marketing and Communications with HOTC.

Mike Siek: “What sustains me as a musician is the music itself.”

Mike Siek. Jayden Eric Beaudoin

Mike Siek moved to McCauley in 2008. He has worked for a local alternative newspaper and is a filmmaker. He began his work in community development when fellow Heart of the City (HOTC) board member, Rylan Kafara, hired him to work at Boyle Street Community Services. He is currently working at e4c as a Community Developer. Mike can’t remember exactly how long he served on the board of Heart of the City. Our best guess is that he served for 12 years before he retired in 2022.

“When I moved into this neighbourhood, I moved away from the outskirts of the city where all the houses kind of look the same and nobody talks to each other,” Mike says. “As soon as I started working in the yard, I realized that everyone talks to each other here; there’s constantly people chatting about the neighbourhood and talking about things. I started to meet the neighbours. Part of my goal in moving into the neighbourhood was to get involved in community and volunteering. You know - spend less time working and more time living.”

Mike discovered the festival when he could hear it from his house, and began volunteering shortly thereafter. “I went over. I had a good time. Then I saw an article in the [Boyle McCauley News] that said if you’d like to be involved, come to the Boys and Girls Club.” He went and at that meeting became part of the festival’s Board of Directors.

When it comes to the kind of art he makes, Mike says, “I am mostly a musician. I do art otherwise, when the fancy strikes. I have a little space set up in my living room where I can do art, but for the most part I play guitar and noodle about recording and playing music with friends. That’s my release.” 

What sustains Mike as a musician “is the music itself. I’m mostly about creating music with other people and building in-the-moment musical relations. It’s like a conversation or a game or a sport, all of these things combined, you’re reading what this person has put out. You are trying to create with that person. You are building a language together. It’s all really interesting. The process of making music is what sustains me.” 

Mike has played in many Edmonton bands, including The Skips, Brother Octopus, Spring Crush, and, most recently, the band he founded with Patrick Pillay and John Aram called Funk Cove. At the time of writing this article, Funk Cove was scheduled to open for Boney M at the River Cree Casino in late November. You can check Funk Cove out at their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/funkcove). 

On volunteering in the community, Mike says, “I have an able body and some skills, so I try to make community events run more smoothly. Sometimes I’m a DJ at a Halloween event or I’m helping set up tables at another. Often I’m bringing folks from my work trying to get them involved and engaged in those events. It’s pretty much whatever I can get my fingers into in a way that helps as best I can when I can.” 

He adds, with his characteristic humility, “I do small things in small ways in a small community. I’m not doing anything amazing, just living. I’m just a human. I’m struggling and doing what I can. The types of things I like doing just happen to be art and community-based.”

Check out Funk Cove's cover of "Keep Bringing Me Back" here.

Corine Demas lives in McCauley where she is the President of the McCauley Community League and a board member with Heart of the City.

McCauley Community League Seeks Volunteers for Building Project Committee

Are you looking for a way to volunteer in your community? Are you passionate about creating welcoming gathering spaces? Do you want to be part of something with lasting impact?

The McCauley Community League (MCL) is very excited to share that we are moving into the next phase of planning and design to replace our current rink shack with a new pavilion. We’d like to invite interested residents to be part of the project committee to help make it happen. A wide range of skills and experience are needed and welcome including project management, building design and construction, grant writing, administration, fundraising, communications, and more.

Please contact Corine Demas at league@mccauleycl.com.

Property Owners Responsible for Abandoned Trash and Snow

The City of Edmonton has rules about who is responsible for cleaning up abandoned trash and snow/ice removal on boulevards and sidewalks. The Community Standards Bylaw requires property owners to manage the garbage and remove the snow and ice on the sidewalk and boulevard near their property. 

Property owners are responsible for cleaning up the garbage even if they didn’t put it there. Owners are also responsible for cutting the grass and maintaining the boulevards in front of their property.

Property owners include owners of private property and businesses as well as non-profit organizations, such as churches, social agencies, etc. 

If a property owner fails to maintain the boulevard near their property, or remove abandoned trash near their property, or clear the nearby sidewalk of snow and ice, you can complain to the City by calling 311. If a City Bylaw Officer validates your complaint, the City may clean up the site of garbage and remove the ice and snow and charge the property owner with the cost of the clean-up and/or issue a ticket. 

When a property is located beside a laneway, the owner is also responsible for maintaining the area to the centre of the laneway. The property owner on the other side of the laneway is responsible for maintaining the area to the middle of the laneway. 

All property owners are responsible for ensuring the sidewalks around their property and the area between the boulevard and halfway into the street are free from garbage. The bottom line is that if someone abandons a mattress or other garbage on the sidewalk near a property or on the boulevard or on the street in front of the property, the owner is responsible for removing it. 

 

The bottom line is that if someone abandons a mattress or other garbage on the sidewalk near a property or on the boulevard or on the street in front of the property, the owner is responsible for removing it. 

The Community Standards Bylaw also requires property owners to clear sidewalks of snow and ice around their property as soon as possible after it snows. However, there is no timeframe for when snow and ice must be removed. 

The City standard for a “clean” sidewalk is that all the snow and ice is cleared to the cement/asphalt for the entire width and length of the sidewalk. Sand, gravel, and/or ice melt can be spread on the sidewalk as a temporary measure while the snow and ice is being removed.

Failure to maintain your sidewalks free of ice and snow could result in a $100 fine plus the cost of their removal. Fines can be appealed.

Free sand is available in a box by the rink on 96th Street. Seniors needing help with snow and ice removal can call 311 or 211 to connect with the Edmonton Seniors Home Support Program. You can also access information about the program at https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/for_seniors/help-around-the-home.

Phil lives in McCauley.

Accessibility on the Valley Line

“Nothing about us without us.” - A phrase originating from political movements in Poland in the 1500s and became used in disability activism in the 1990s.

The above phrase has been adopted by the disability community worldwide as a way to say that decisions about us should include us. And I’m very happy to say it is actively recognized in our city!

Consultations on upcoming civic building, renovations, and other developments now include persons with disabilities, whether they are physical, cognitive, or impairments with vision or hearing.

After a few hiccups, the Valley Line LRT has opened with a stop in The Quarters, part of our community, at 9516 102nd Avenue. The station provides transit to Mill Woods and in the other direction to 102nd Avenue and 102nd Street, just by City Centre Mall and Churchill Square.

I was honoured to be involved with the consultation on accessibility from the start of the Valley Line construction, along with several other accessibility advocates, representatives from organizations, everyday citizens, and members of municipal and provincial groups.

You will see many improvements in the Valley Line LRT trains and stations. There are tactile textures on the ground to let you know you are close to the track. My favourite change is that one no longer has to push a button to open the accessible doors to the train. Those doors open by themselves, while the other doors have a button. There is a red button with the International Symbol of Access at the accessible doors if you need a ramp. The ramp comes down quickly and does not have a big gap.

The seats are colour-coded. Green is for accessible seating and blue for regular. There are padded areas if you need to stand and lean. Every stop is equipped with ramps. The Davies stop, which is raised, has an elevator to get to street level. I find the ride to be very smooth. Crossing the Tawatinâ Bridge over the North Saskatchewan River is beautiful.

Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) offers the Mobility Choices Training Program. For information, visit: https://transforming.edmonton.ca/accessibility-on-transit-ets-travel-training/. You can also call 780-496-3000 or email ETSCustomerTraining@edmonton.ca. I can confirm from experience that this free program is great. Someone can ride along with you, teach you schedule planning, and make your ride on the bus or LRT pleasurable, accessible, and safe!

Ian is a columnist with the paper. He lives in the area.

Three Haikus for the Season

ritual music
echoes in the bustling mall
hasty vibrations

liminal week of
inbetweeness, introvert 
catnip and slumber

fresh calendar year
resolute in its blank state
look before you leap

 

New Resources Addressing Issues at Problem Properties

Before and after images of a demolition coordinated by PPT in Boyle Street. Supplied by the City of Edmonton

Problem properties are occupied or vacant properties that have serious negative impacts on the community, as well as on the people living or working there. They cause frequent and serious safety concerns and complaints to the City of Edmonton. 

Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative (PPI) coordinates several teams to address issues at problem properties. These teams are composed of representatives from multiple City departments, the Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Health Services, and the Government of Alberta.

Increased funding, more resources, faster action
In 2022, City Council approved funding to implement the long term strategy to address problem properties. Since then, the PPI’s teams have expanded and more problem property files are being resolved.

The Problem Properties Team (PPT) is composed of Municipal Enforcement Officers (MEOs) dedicated to the neighbourhoods most affected by problem properties. These officers can issue enforcement orders related to a variety of nuisance conditions. Between August 2022 and September 2023, the team conducted approximately 2,300 inspections and issued 862 enforcement orders.

The Community Property Safety Team (CPST) reduces fire risk in Edmonton by ensuring vacant properties are secured at the landowner's expense. Between April 2022 and September 2023, the team inspected 593 properties that were known or suspected to be unsecured vacant properties (UVPs), issued 295 enforcement orders, and secured 320 UVPs.

Demolitions eliminate unsafe vacant buildings
PPI partners bring different regulations and enforcement approaches to the initiative. This helps create multiple pathways to demolish unsafe, vacant buildings. 

Enforcement orders issued by PPT and CPST are making it increasingly costly for owners to neglect their problem properties. As a result, many unsafe, vacant properties are being demolished by their owners. 

Where owners continue to neglect their properties, PPT can now facilitate the demolition of smaller buildings such as garages that are in extreme states of disrepair. And the PPI’s Demolition Assessment and Response Committee (DARC) is combining the resources of four City areas to speed up the demolition of larger, unsafe structures.

All vacant buildings, including those in the process towards demolition, are monitored to ensure that they are secure and inaccessible to the public. When needed, fencing and 24-hour security can be ordered at the property owner’s expense. 

New tax subclass increases taxes at derelict residential properties
On October 5th, 2023, City Council approved a new tax subclass for derelict residential properties in mature areas. Edmonton is the first city in Canada to make a subclass specifically for derelict properties as part of a larger effort to combat problem properties and encourage community vibrancy.

New Resources Addressing Issues at Problem PropertiesStarting in 2024, the new derelict tax subclass can be applied to residential properties in mature neighbourhoods that show serious signs of neglect, are dilapidated, are falling into significant disrepair, or are unlivable. The subclass will allow the City to charge a higher tax rate to owners of such properties.

“The derelict tax subclass is a new tool in the City’s toolbox for addressing the harmful impact that derelict and problem residential properties can have,” said Cate Watt, Branch Manager, Assessment and Taxation. “Managing derelict properties often comes with additional costs to the City and a higher tax rate will help to cover those costs while encouraging property owners to clean up derelict houses. We hope this will play a role in improving the vibrancy of mature neighbourhoods in the long run.”

For more information:
edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties
edmonton.ca/DerelictSubclass 

Information provided by the City of Edmonton.

Italian Bakery Reopens on 97th Street

Success based on family solidarity and staff appreciation - and providing hockey fans with hot dog buns for decades.

Italian Bakery co-owner Rosaly DeVenz in the rebuilt store on 97th Street. Supplied

The newly-constructed Italian Bakery at 10644 - 97th Street opened for business on October 2nd. This was a major event, as the original building had burned to the ground in 2020. Between a devastating fire and the pandemic that arrived at about the same time, this long-time, three-generation family business (see sidebar) was severely challenged. There were material shortages and contractor challenges related to COVID-19. 

But the outcome is a larger and more extensive range of products and services in an exceptionally attractive and functional space. The new bakery, of course, offers the traditional wide array of pastries and bread and doughnuts. It has also expanded to include fresh pasta and pizza, as well as ice cream and deli/grocery items, including ice cream and milk.

A visitor immediately senses the collegial relationship among staff and their interest in offering a “happy” customer experience. Co-owner Rosaly DeVenz says they run their business like a family. They are a family, as her partner in the business is her brother Renato Frattin and several employees past and present are relatives. “It’s in the blood,” DeVenz says.

The employees are unconditionally respected and supported and therefore often continue to work for the bakery for decades. 

“For us, it is natural to take care of staff,” DeVenz says. “If a single mom has a sick child, we send her home to look after her family. If you do that, the employees will give you 20 times more when they are back on the job. You are nothing without your staff.”

When asked about secrets of success, DeVenz mentions hard work and good recipes. “Wholesale contracts have kept us in business,” she says. “As just one example, since the 1970s we have been providing the hot dog buns for Northlands and now Rogers Place.”

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

An Italian Bakery in Chinatown

Why is an Italian bakery in the middle of what is now Chinatown?

Antonio and Aurora Frattin opened a small bakery on 93rd Street in 1960, and in 1962 moved to the current location on 97th Street. At the time, many recent Italian immigrants like the Frattins lived, worked, and played in that neighbourhood. The 97th Street location included an apartment above the business, which was the Frattin family’s home. Five children grew up in the apartment and helped to operate the family business from their earliest years. 

The new structure includes an apartment that was meant to be a retirement residence for Antonio and Aurora. Sadly, though, they both died in 2022.

An Extensive Menu of Comfort Food

Viet Huong Noodle House features a welcoming atmosphere and reasonable prices.

A table of food at Viet Huong. Alan Schietzsch

Viet Huong Noodle House
10715 98th Street
Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesday through Sunday
Phone: (780) 424-9910

Edmontonians often think of only 97th Street as being “Chinatown”, but Boyle Street and McCauley residents know that there are plenty of interesting places to eat clustered just a block west on 98th Street. While there are some new or renewed ones, such as Van Loc and Delicious Pho which we mentioned in previous issues, there are also some old school places that have built a steady clientele over many years.

One such original restaurant that I’ve been returning to is Viet Huong Noodle House, just south of 107th Avenue at 10715 98th Street. Relaxed and homey, Viet Huong is hidden in plain sight. Due to recent construction works in front, you might not immediately see it, but parking is available just a little further along, and rear parking will still be accessible.

Inside is a fairly large space with all sizes of tables in ebony-coloured wood, as well as a TV and an aquarium. On the left you’ll see an ATM and BitCoin machine, which is handy because it’s cash-only, as many small restaurants are. Fridays and weekends are their busiest times (even for Vietnamese breakfast or a leisurely and social Sunday afternoon), but it’s never crowded. I find it’s a wonderful home-like spot where you can enjoy long uncrowded conversations with no rush at all. When I say “home-like,” that compliment applies not only to the atmosphere, but also to the hospitality and flavours.

The owner is very friendly and welcoming, treating guests like family, with warmth and relaxed respect. When I spilled my tea all over the table, he was quick to wipe it up for us. While I was embarrassed at my clumsy mess, he was not at all upset, instead caring and only wanting to make it clean and comfortable for us again.

Comfortable is the theme here. I’d certainly call the cuisine Vietnamese comfort food.

We started with spring rolls, which were small and crispy, the filling having a contrasting creaminess. We couldn’t figure out what created the texture, but we enjoyed how it felt  similar to the way that cream cheese or mashed potatoes are comforting. I also ordered a green onion cake, and it arrived perfectly golden. With a sweet hot chill sauce on the side it was ideal during the recent cold weather.

The menu is quite extensive, especially for soups, so we chose Thai Noodle Soup with Seafood (Sour & Spicy), as there’s more than just Vietnamese. The fish balls were plentiful, as were fine noodles covered by a fish-based broth with red chili oil shimmering above. We also tried seafood pho for a non-spicy alternative. It had just the right amount of sea-saltiness, as well as some sorrel or gai lan for a green touch next to the shrimp. Next up was Beef Fried in Lemongrass with Spring Rolls and Vermicelli. This combination of tangy grilled meat, crispy salad, and noodles makes a terrific one-person meal, as you get everything in one big bowl. 

And finally (followed by endless tea), for another hearty and complete meal in itself was the rice plate with a fried egg and pork prepared three ways: shredded, grilled, and as a patty, accompanied by plenty of green scallions.

Prices are very reasonable, with most items being $16 or less. A very relaxing and friendly spot indeed!

Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors.

 

Community Care and Action

I know that things can feel heavy these days, both globally and here closer to home. Caring for ourselves and our loved ones feels more important than ever right now. But we know that it’s also so important to care for our neighbours and our local communities, and to build and strengthen our community ties.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about community care, something that we see a lot of throughout our neighbourhoods of Boyle Street and McCauley. This comes in many forms, like checking in on neighbours or sharing a meal. For people on the receiving end, these moments of care can make all the difference.

I’ve also seen folks in our community fight tirelessly for change, whether through advocating for their unhoused neighbours, pushing for accessible healthcare for all, or standing together against bigotry and hate. It’s these things that make me prouder than ever to be your MLA, and it’s truly an honour to work alongside you to make our communities, and our world, safer, more equitable, and better for everyone.

I hear from you every day that you want to see action on a number of issues: the housing crisis, mental health, the drug poisoning crisis, climate change, public healthcare, a robust education system, and other vital ground-level supports. I couldn’t agree more, and I’m proud that I’m a part of the Alberta NDP team that is in the Legislature right now fighting for these very things. 

This session, we’re proposing real action on these issues. We’re tabling legislation on class sizes through reinstating class size reporting. We’re standing up for our public healthcare system, and the workers who support it, by fighting the government’s plans to balloon the bureaucracy and add more layers. And as the Official Opposition Critic for Housing, I’m so proud to be introducing a private member’s bill that includes greater investments in affordable housing and action on skyrocketing rents. 

As always, I want to hear from you. Please reach out, and know that as always, I’m here.

Take good care of yourselves and each other.

Janis Irwin, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Email: Edmonton.HighlandsNorwood@assembly.ab.ca
Phone: 780-414-0682

Thanks for the Opportunity

Letter to the Editor.

I filed my 50th article for the paper on November 12th. This current piece is about the rebuilding of a bigger and better Italian Bakery on 97th Street after a devastating fire. My first contribution, in March of 2017, was about the new Hyatt Place Hotel (now DoubleTree by Hilton).

All of the other interviews and research I did over the years have allowed me to meet talented and interesting members of this neighbourhood and to learn more about Boyle Street and McCauley’s unique culture and history. 

At times, there was uncomfortable or sensitive controversy and debate. More commonly, it was just difficult to track down the right people to interview. But it has all been well worth the effort.

For various reasons, I am now planning to contribute less regularly, or perhaps not at all. So I want to thank Boyle McCauley News for giving a retiree a great volunteer opportunity. Much better (for me) than bridge tournaments or playing pickleball!

-Anita Jenkins

Dr. Bob McKeon Receives Leadership Award

From left: Dr. Bob McKeon and Justice Kevin Feehan, Chancellor of Newman Theological College. Supplied by Newman Theological College

Dr. Bob McKeon received the 2023 Kevin Carr Christian Leadership Award at a ceremony and luncheon hosted at the Santa Maria Goretti Centre on October 24th. Kevin Carr was the seventh president of Newman Theological College (1993-2001), the first layperson appointed to the position. The award recognizes individuals whose outstanding Christian leadership, witness, and service reflect the qualities exhibited by Kevin Carr in his work. 

A lifelong advocate for social justice, Bob has served on numerous boards, created new initiatives, and consistently volunteered to help others, especially in the areas of housing and food security. Among his many contributions, he is a founding member of the Edmonton Food Bank (formerly the Edmonton Gleaners Association), the Right at Home Society (formerly Edmonton Inner City Housing), and the Inn Roads Housing Cooperative.

Bob was a long-time resident of McCauley, was an instrumental part of this community newspaper from its inception, and continues to volunteer with Boyle McCauley News as a Block Carrier. 

Bob was nominated by McCauley resident Kate Quinn who has served alongside Bob in many community capacities.

With information provided by Newman Theological College.

December 2023 - January 2024

Welcome to our final issue of 2023! First, some expressions of gratitude. After serving the maximum number of terms in a row, John Gee and Karen Matthews have stepped down from the paper’s Board of Directors. Anita Jenkins has also decided to step down after five years on our board. I thank all of them for their invaluable service as volunteers.

We also welcome Diana van der Stoel,  Beth Storheim, and John Kolkman to our board. Diana and Beth are new to the paper, while John has a long history that goes back almost to the paper’s beginnings. Thank you all for stepping up to serve on the board.

Speaking of volunteers, if you would like to sign up for a shift (or two) for our casino coming up on February 28th and 29th at Pure Casino Yellowhead, send me a message at  editor@bmcnews.org and I will forward your information to Colleen Chapman, our Volunteer Coordinator who is organizing the casino. 

For exclusive news and content concerning community news and events, please visit bmcnews.org regularly, where you can subscribe to our free e-newsletter. You can also sign up to become a member of the society that operates the paper - it’s free and you will occasionally receive information specifically for members.  

Enjoy the issue. Have a wonderful holiday season and new year.

Taking Those Long Shots

Last year, I began doing something that was both new for me and out of character: I began playing organized sports.

I’m the athletic one in the family. If any of you know my family (or at least know me well enough), this should elicit peals of laughter. My feats of athleticism have been limited to walks, bike rides, and shooting baskets by myself  in schoolyards near my home. 

Last year, in an effort to meet new people and make some healthier life choices, I joined a non-competitive women’s basketball group. We don’t keep score, we have no referee, and body contact is  not permitted (at least, not deliberately). Once a week I join with other mature women in a public school gymnasium as we dribble, pass, and shoot. In fact, I’ve gotten a reputation for making baskets from as far back as the foul line. However, in reality I miss as many baskets as I make.

Which got me thinking: if I didn’t take any shots, then I would at once never miss, yet always miss. As the saying goes, which is believed to originate with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. 

That saying can be applied as a metaphor to many opportunities that life presents us: applying for jobs, going back to school, or simply trying something new. I’ve known many people who avoided doing something out of fear of failure. Or maybe what holds someone back is a fear of success. But if you don’t try, you will never know what the outcome ultimately would have been.

So I am going to continue taking those long shots. When I make a basket I will celebrate, and when I miss I will shrug it off and try to do better next time.

Take Someone by the Hand

We can help improve the lives of the unhoused.

An encampment near Rowland Road with an ironic real estate sign. Paula E. Kirman

No one becomes houseless by choice. Who are those people, living in the tents outside, standing in line to receive a bit of free food, and shivering from the cold? 

For us who live in warm houses and have food every day, it is difficult to imagine that somewhere outside there are people who are cold, who have nothing to eat, as well as do not have roofs over their heads. Certainly, it is easy to lower your head and imagine as if you do not notice them. When I look at those people standing in lines, I imagine them as being very similar to us. They all went to school and had plans regarding the future, but life turned out differently. 

World Homeless Day was observed on October 10th. This was a day to remind ourselves that every person is firstly a human and requires our help, since each one of us could have ended up being in a similar situation. Many individuals ended up in this situation as a result of many reasons: the inability to provide for themselves as a result of losing stable employment, various mental illnesses, being addicted to alcohol or drugs, or because the individual is lonely and no one wants them. None of us ever imagines that we can become houseless. A war or natural disaster can strike at any moment - no one is insured from that. 

Many organizations provide the houseless with free food, but that is only the fish being put on the table. It is better to give them the hook to be able to catch that fish by providing the houseless with stable employment. When an individual is sinking, we throw a life jacket to help those individuals survive. In a similar manner, we need to stretch a helping hand to the houseless when they need it the most. The opportunity must be provided for the houseless before they become indifferent towards living. If even one out of ten broken fates will be changed, that is already a success. 

In order to improve the situation for the houseless, it is important to provide them with the basic means of survival through social housing and expanded social programs. We are all humans, and we all can fall. If we stretch our helping hand to the fallen, one day we will always be given that helping hand. 

Natanel Krieksfeld is a grade 10 student at St. Joseph High School.

Inner City Kids Safe Halloween 2023

Inner City Kids Safe Halloween 2023 Paula E. Kirman

The Inner City Kids Safe Halloween party on October 31 at the McCauley Rink was another success, with lots of fun for kids and their adults. It was volunteer-driven once again by lead organizer Shelley Hollingsworth, and sponsored in part by e4c and the McCauley Community League. Here's a look!

Multicultural Family Resource Society (MFRS)

The Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC) is a community full of love, caring, and support. In this and future articles, we will inform readers of the non-profit organizations operating in the EIC facility in order to bring light to their many good deeds.

MFRS was founded in 2005 out of the aspirations of parents from numerous ethnocultural communities that identified the need for group programs to assist with integration into Canadian culture, which was culturally responsive and linguistically specific. Eighteen years later, THRIVE (ethnocultural parent-child programs) is still going strong providing groups for nine ethnocultural linguistic communities in Edmonton. 

MFRS programming has expanded over the years and now includes English for Community Integration classes. There, participants improve their English skills and their ability to use numbers in a safe and welcoming environment. Those new skills improve their confidence and self-esteem, and help them integrate into the community.

MFRS provides an innovative model of holistic support for newcomers facing complex barriers and challenges at the MFRS Family Support Office located in North Central Edmonton at 13026 97th Street.

Their work across these programs is guided by four principles: being Relational and Culturally Responsive, fostering Empowerment, and using Participatory programming.

Relational: A way of interaction with and within the community in which they take time to listen, care, connect, and love to build mutual support hand in hand.

Culturally Responsive: Safe spaces to maintain a home culture and adapt to new connections and diversity; and develop a deeper understanding of cultures that are always changing.

Empowerment: Building community and working together to share space, opportunities, skills, and knowledge for mutual learning, self-determination, and ultimately, well-being.

Participatory: Participants identify what’s important to them, what they need, and what they want to achieve. This program meets participants where they are at and supports them in reaching their goals.

For more information, visit: https://mfrsedmonton.org/

Information provided by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre.

Standing Together Community Walk

For the seccond year in a row, the Standing Together Orange Shirt Day Community Walk took place on September 30. Participants gathered at Mary Burlie Park, then walked to Giovanni Caboto Park for a gathering. The walk was supported by YWCA Edmonton, Bissell Centre, and the City of Edmonton. 

Photos by Paula E. Kirman

New Mural in Chinatown

“White Tiger of the West” by Branden Cha. Paula E. Kirman

A new mural was completed behind China Marble on the weekend of September 23rd. "White Tiger of the West" was created by Branden Cha and is the first of a four-part mural series that will see different animal-themed murals go up in various parts of Chinatown. The mural symbolizes the area's unity, existence, and longetivity.

Edmonton Chinatown’s Summer Festival

Another successful and fun event on 98th Street for the second year in a row.

Paula E. Kirman

This year’s Edmonton Chinatown’s Summer Festival took place on August 20th on 98th Street between 105th and 107A Avenues. The street was packed with people enjoying the performances, market, food trucks, and other activities. One of the highlights was a simultaneous Lion and Dragon Dance presented by several groups together, as well as an appearance by Hunter, the mascot of the Edmonton Oilers. The event was organized by the Chinatown and Area Business Association with support from the City of Edmonton. Here’s a look!

 

Photos by Paula E. Kirman

Displaced: An Opinion

Construction along 92nd Street. Kate Quinn

The Boyle McCauley Pharmacy recently moved to a new location in Central McDougall. This relocation was not their choice. They chose to open and invest in McCauley in 2012, thinking they were a welcome and needed community business. As a renter, your future is never secure when owners have other plans. The pharmacy’s lease was not renewed in May. An eviction notice was delivered to vacate by August 31st.

I am a patient of the pharmacy. The relocation of the pharmacy means I can no longer walk a few blocks to pick up prescriptions. I recognize I am a patient with privileges. I have a car and can drive to the new location. I am able-bodied and can walk to the new location. I imagine that many of the 3,000 pharmacy patients do not have cars and struggle with various physical and mental health issues. It will be harder for them to adjust to this new location, although the pharmacy will continue to deliver to home-bound patients.

I recently had the privilege to be in a major European city. There were small pharmacies every one to three blocks. I know, because I easily found one to purchase a medication. Communities benefit from small, friendly pharmacies where you are welcomed by name. This is what the Boyle McCauley Pharmacy offers its patients.

Another displacement involves replacing sidewalks, creating bike paths and multi-purpose trails, raising intersections, making 92nd Street one-way, and adding corner extensions. At one Neighbourhood Renewal meeting, a few of us questioned the need for the scale of these changes at this time. We stated we would rather the City spend taxpayer money now on increasing affordable and supportive housing as one solution to encampments. But, that’s a different department budget. These changes are a strange priority while people still languish in their tents and the whole community is impacted. New streetscapes alone can’t change harsh realities.

Neighbours along 108A Avenue invested time and money in beautifying the avenue by planting flowers and shrubs beyond the fence line. One of the first City ideas was to remove the beautiful old elm trees. Community input changed that. However, the flowers and shrubs had to go. Our neighbour made the best of this by transplanting some flowers to encircle the trees. We relocated two of his plants to our front garden so he can see those continue to flourish. Creative coping.

Kate is a longtime resident of McCauley.

Addressing Issues This Fall

Friends,

Happy fall! Like so many of you, I’m a big fan of summer, and I’ve done my best to take advantage of the warm weather and the sunny days that we’ve had over the past few months. I was so happy to connect with many of you at community events this summer. I may be wearing more flannel as we move into fall, but you can still expect to see me out and about – and I’m looking forward to seeing you, too.

Anytime I’m in our Boyle Street and McCauley neighbourhoods (which is a lot!), I’m proud to say that I’m most struck by the great work that I see you all doing together to take care of each other. Last year at this time, I’d written that I’d heard from so many of you that times were tough – for some, tougher than they’d ever been. We know that this trend has continued over the past year. Food, transportation, and housing costs are getting more expensive by the day, our overloaded healthcare system is straining to meet the needs of Albertans, and many of you are concerned about ensuring the health and safety of our neighbours.

My colleagues and I are headed back to the Legislature at the end of October, and I’m ready to keep fighting for our communities here in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. You’re telling me that you want to see action on a number of issues: affordable housing, mental health, the drug poisoning crisis, accessible healthcare, a robust education system, and other vital ground-level supports. I couldn’t agree more. I’ll keep pushing for this action, and I’ll keep amplifying your voices at every opportunity.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to continuing to connect with you, and to celebrate all the ways in which our community comes together. Whether it’s on housing, healthcare, education, or any issues that are top of mind for you, I want to hear from you. Please reach out, and know that as always, I’m here.

Take good care of yourselves and each other.

Janis Irwin, MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood
Email: Edmonton.HighlandsNorwood@assembly.ab.ca
Phone: 780-414-0682

Heather Bouchier Uses Traditional Techniques to Create Upcycled Modern Fashion

Heather Bouchier. Supplied

Originally from Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, Heather Bouchier has been in Edmonton since 2005. She attended fashion design school in Saskatoon and has been sewing since 2001.

Heather’s design aesthetic includes the use of thrifting and upcycling with some traditional techniques and materials. She is inspired by vintage styles and blends them with modern design. She owns her own business as a custom seamstress, costume designer, tailor, and jewelry artist.

Heather has shown her collections all over North America and Japan. She completed an Artist Residency at the Banff Centre For Art and Creativity for Indigenous Haute Couture. One of Bouchier’s award winning gowns was featured in Chatelaine’s Spring 2023 issue.

Heather serves as Fashion Director for the Heart of the City Festival Society of Edmonton and is the Creative Director of the Indigenous Empowerment Fashion Collective. This organization focuses on creating opportunities for Indigenous people who wish to follow dreams in the fashion industry.

Heather produced the first Heart of the City Fashion Show as a consultant and contractor. The next year at our AGM, Bouchier was invited to join the board as our first Fashion Director. She and the board successfully produced a second Indigenous Fashion Show in 2022. Bouchier tells us that Heart of the City is in the midst of producing the third annual event coming up in November of 2023.

I asked Heather to describe her fashion. “I like to create gowns haute couture style and I also like to incorporate my culture by using traditional techniques. I like to utilize traditional materials such as horse hair beadwork. I’m learning how to porcupine quill and use dentalium shells which used to be used as currency in the old days. I also utilize traditional methods of dying horse hair and things like that to bring the traditional methods to use in a modern sense,” she said.

“Something that I use in my current aesthetic is a mix of avant garde along with my inspiration to upcycle and thrift,” she continues. “The older I’ve gotten, the more climate change has become important to me. It’s always been important to me to upcycle. When I was younger we were very poor, when we got clothes we would be thrifting them and it is one of the teachings that we have in Indigenous culture not to be wasteful and so whenever I make things with leather, I find ways to use the scraps.”

Heather speaks of founding and running the Indigenous Empowerment Fashion Collective. “I would love to see more Indigenous fashion shows in Edmonton, big events, sponsored events. We are hoping to turn Edmonton into a hub for Indigenous fashion and art. That will create opportunities for everyone who wants to work in the fashion industry. What we are trying to do is to change the fashion industry at a grassroots level. We are trying to create events that will not only enrich the fashion designers and organizers, but also enrich our models, photographers, hair stylists, and other artists involved in the fashion world.”

Heather’s work can be found on Instagram and Facebook @heatherbouchierdesign.

Corine Demas lives in McCauley where she is the President of the McCauley Community League and a board member with Heart of the City.

The Edmonton Multicultural Coalition (EMC)

Children playing soccer during the EMC’s Soccer BBQ on August 19th. Paula E. Kirman

The Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC) is a community full of love, caring, and support. In this and future articles, we will inform readers of the non-profit organizations operating in the EIC facility in order to bring light to their many good deeds.

The Edmonton Multicultural Coalition (EMC) was formed in 2007 by Dr. Lucenia Ortiz as a sister organization to the Multicultural Health Brokers to take on advocacy activities on behalf of immigrants and refugees. Over time, it has evolved to focus on building the capacity of individuals and organizations from ethnocultural communities. In July of 2018, EMC members adopted a new mission statement that shifts EMC to taking an intercultural approach in its work.

This intercultural approach focuses on building relationships between ethnocultural communities, Indigenous peoples/organizations, and the mainstream culture, which can lead to mutual and reciprocal transformation. As the Coalition is a small organization with limited resources, most of its work is done through collaboration, as we combine a community and systems approach.

The Coalition connects with other immigrant and refugee communities, learns about initiatives, successes and barriers in other communities, and has opportunities to engage with policymakers, funders, or mainstream agencies and organizations. It is a safe, inclusive, culturally relevant space that fosters openness, sharing, honesty, collaboration, and personal leadership.

EMC’s leadership development training strengthens the capacities of leaders from ethnocultural communities to create opportunities where these leadership skills could be practised within their organizations, in their communities and neighbourhoods, and in the larger society. Beyond capacity building, leadership development deepens their awareness of community issues and finds solutions to these within their cultural context and builds creative and respectful collaborations with organizations and agencies serving their communities.

Community animation opens the door for relationship building between one’s ethnocultural community and external stakeholders, including the City of Edmonton, the provincial and federal governments, and voluntary sector organizations. The training offered by the Coalition supports new and ongoing animators

  • to develop their informal leadership in the community,
  • to become objective and socially conscious effective motivators throughout the changing dynamics in the community,
  • to be facilitators and,
  • to develop their ability to share information, ideas, with and to inspire other leaders in the community.

Community-based research is an opportunity for community members to be trained as community researchers, to practise developing and articulating their ideas to each other in the community and, ultimately, to prepare to articulate their ideas to policymakers and funders.

Collaborative, group, and one-on-one support is provided at monthly meetings where community members help each other, including access to space, sharing of ideas, connections with key contact people, event and program coordination, and unique resource people found in each community. One-on-one support is also available from the coordinator.

ECM contributes to strengthening the richness of a multicultural society and making active citizenship a daily reality. For more information, visit: www.emcoalition.ca.

Information provided by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre.

Talking About Housing and Zoning

Hello readers! I’m so happy to connect with you again. I hope you’ve all had time to enjoy summer in the city and all the great events our community has to offer.

The first phase of Neighbourhood Renewal has begun in Boyle Street and McCauley! As exciting as this new infrastructure is, I know that the construction phase can come with its disruptions and frustrations. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the project manager, Felix Lam, at 780-944-7695. You can also sign up for project email notices at edmonton.ca/BuildingBoyleStreetandMcCauley.

In October at City Hall, we’ll be talking about our corporate and city-wide housing strategy. I know how big of an impact homelessness is having in our community – not only for those experiencing homelessness but for all residents and businesses in the area. I’ll be advocating for strategic approaches that make the most out of the City’s resources and ensure that we continue to advocate for other orders of government to do their part, too. There’s been some encouraging news recently on that front: the Province announced 300 new shelter beds for Edmonton this winter, which will all be located in areas outside of the city centre. I think this is a good first step in relieving the pressures being felt across McCauley and Boyle Street.

Another big item at City Council will be the proposed new Zoning Bylaw. Our city looks a lot different than it did in the 1970s. The population has more than doubled, we have almost 25 km of LRT track, and far fewer bell bottoms (though moustaches seem to be making a comeback!). Despite all of these changes, the growth of our city is still dictated by many zoning rules that were set down in the 1970s, and even earlier! The Zoning Bylaw Renewal project has been looking at bringing our land use regulations into the 21st century and is an exciting opportunity to set Edmonton up for success in the years to come. For those who haven’t been involved already, I encourage you to get more information at edmonton.ca/zoningbylawrenewal and share your thoughts with City Council at the Public Hearing on October 16.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to reach out or say hello in recent months. Please never hesitate to call 311 or connect with my office at anne.stevenson@edmonton.ca or 780-496-8333 for information or assistance with City programs and services. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the changing seasons.

McCauley Community League Shines With Our Neighbours

Skating at the McCauley Rink on New Year’s Eve last year. Paula E. Kirman

The McCauley Community League (MCL) is happy to report that we had a successful Annual General Meeting on June 28th at which we served food from Kim Fat Market, cotton candy, and drinks. We even had a candy bar. Members of the MCL elected nine new Directors-at-Large. Currently sitting on the McCauley Community League Board are myself, (President), Beth Storhiem (Secretary), John Gee (Treasurer), and Directors-at-Large Ima Welch, David Williamson, Ruth Sorochan, Misty Wells, Dale Johnson, Christa Ferland, and Rickard Enstrom.

Many of you may wonder: what is a community league’s role in the community? According to the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues:

A Community League is a volunteer, not-for-profit organization formed to meet the needs and interests of residents within a defined geographic area.

The role of a Community League is to:

  • speak on behalf of their Community League Members, and
  • report on behalf of all residents within the Community League’s specified geographical area.
  • Bring neighbours together.
  • Provide recreation and social programs.
  • Develop amenities
  • Represent community interests to government and other organizations

  •  

From: https://efcl.org/about/

This summer, the MCL hired McCauley resident Stella Johnson to open the rink shack for children ages 12 and up to play ball hockey, basketball, and to do crafts. The rink will continue to be open in October for after-school fun from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. We’d like to encourage kids to come and meet up at the rink to do homework together. In November, Dan Glugosh will return as our Rink Manager/Coordinator. He will open the rink when weather permits for kids and adults alike to come out and play hockey. Thanks to Sports Central we have equipment at the shack for use at no cost.

As we do every year, we are planning to host a Family Day event with sleigh rides and hot chocolate, and a New Year’s Eve bonfire celebration with marshmallows and hot dogs. At the time of the paper’s publication deadline, the MCL was planning our Community League Day event for September 16th which we called “Light Up McCauley” in reference to the fact that we once again partnered with Reach Edmonton to give away outdoor lights to McCauley residents at the event. We also gave community members the chance to shine by telling a family friendly story, reciting a poem, singing a song, or doing a magic trick at our open stage hosted by Paul Woida. Blake Desjarlais, MP for Edmonton Griesbach, signed up to tell us a story. We served soda, popcorn, cotton candy, and empanadas. We hope to have coverage of the event in the next issue of the paper.

Prior to COVID, the MCL hosted free group guitar lessons with Steven Johnson on Monday nights. We are thrilled to announce that Steven will once again be teaching group guitar lessons. However, we will now be holding them on Tuesday nights at 7:30 at the Boys and Girls Club (9425 109A Avenue). Lessons are for all ages. Bring your own guitar. 

Do you have some extra time and a desire to get involved in the McCauley community? We have two spots open on our board, and we would love to invite McCauley residents to consider joining our dynamic board of directors. We are in need of a Vice President, and encourage those who would like to build strong connections in the community to take on this role. However, you can join as a Director-at-Large without taking on an executive role. One of our goals is working toward securing a new Rink Pavilion and we would love to have folks with engineering and construction expertise join the board.

It is an exciting time to be a part of this board and I am grateful to have been elected president. My goals for the term are to provide quality programming and events, and to ensure that the process of securing the new Rink Pavilion continues. Please check our Facebook page regularly for updates and community engagement.

Corine Demas is the President of the McCauley Community League.

Paper Birch Books

McCauley welcomes independent used bookstore.

Benjamin Hertwig (left) and Céline Chuang, owners of Paper Birch Books. Jordon Hon

Paper Birch Books has been going strong since opening in Little Italy in December of 2022. Owners Benjamin Hertwig and Céline Chuang state on their website that they are bibliophiles. On a recent visit, Boyle McCauley News found this description to be entirely accurate.

The shop, located in the Piazza across from Zocalo, has an extensive stock of nonfiction and fiction, poetry, art and cookbooks, children’s books, graphic novels, and more. The books are attractively displayed on shelves built by Hertwig, with signage created by Chuang. The website states that the owners strive to offer stock “at a variety of price points, editions, and conditions.” The store has a high turnover of titles so there is always something new to look at.

The books are obtained via visits to people’s homes, estate sales, library sales, and any other locations that Chuang and Hertwig become aware of. “You can find rare and interesting books anywhere,” Hertwig says.

Chuang and Hertwig say their approach to marketing is primarily through word of mouth. They have dedicated neighbourhood regulars as well as customers from all over the world, either visiting as tourists or contacting the store online. This reporter introduced Merrill Distad, retired University of Alberta librarian, to Paper Birch. “I was impressed,” Distad says. “They have a well selected stock in many subject areas, as well as very fair and reasonable prices.”

The store welcomes everyone, even those who don’t have a lot of money to spend. For example, one regular, an AISH recipient who often comes to browse, has an arrangement for reserving a pile of books to be purchased at a later date, when funds permit. “It is important to us to be flexible,” Hertwig says. Hertwig and Chuang have also committed to redistributing a set portion of their proceeds each month to grassroots organizations addressing food insecurity and houselessness. The primary focus is on doing what suits the community – both business owners are huge fans of Edmonton and especially McCauley, where they live.

The meaning of the name “Paper Birch”

The name Paper Birch refers to the birch trees that grow in Alberta, which have bark that you can peel off and write on. The reference to writing/reading is clear, but Chuang and Hertwig also see it as recognition of the local environment.

Visit Paper Birch Books at 10825-95 St in Little Italy. Hours: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday.

Anita Jenkins is a retired writer and editor who lives in Boyle Street.

Red Shoe Walk

Why is no one talking about FASD?

Red Shoe Day raises awareness of and support for FASD. Supplied

Ten years ago, RJ Formanek wanted to start a conversation about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. As an adult who has FASD, he thought educating people and showcasing his diverse skillset and reliance was important.

RJ figured he should stand out – red shoes did the trick. With his crimson kicks, RJ took to the street, stopping to talk with anyone willing to learn about FASD. And no wonder he wanted to start a conversation about FASD – especially when it feels like no one is talking about FASD.

This year, our Red Shoe Walk sees us walking from Hope Terrace, our supportive living apartment for folks with FASD, through the King Edward Park community, and all through Bonnie Doon and into Strathcona and then returning to have lunch and an art sale at the Shamrock Curling Club. The art sale will feature artists who have FASD. Register today to join us on September 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to walk through the community and bring awareness to a disorder that needs to be talked about more.

4% of Canada’s population has FASD

There are more people in Canada who have FASD than autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome combined. And no two people who have FASD are alike. Many people who have FASD have rewarding careers and fulfilling lives – they uncover their strengths and lean on them to find success.

FASD affects people differently depending on when alcohol was introduced to their fetal development. Alcohol slows down development, both physically and mentally. This means how FASD affects a person is highly individualized, often requiring individualized programs and supports to help them live with dignity.

FASD is a hidden disability as most people who have FASD have no physical signs of impairments. Adolescents and adults who have FASD can experience high rates of difficulties in daily living and adverse outcomes, including school disruption, mental health issues, and challenges with independence.

There is shame in an FASD diagnosis

Often, people miss or never receive an FASD diagnosis because of the shame involved – not on the people who have FASD, but on those who carried them in utero. There are ad campaigns and information packages all over highlighting the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant.

A person may consume alcohol while pregnant without ever knowing they’re affecting the fetus they carry. They may not know they’re pregnant, have been told a little alcohol doesn’t hurt, come from a community where that information isn’t available, are experiencing mental health or stress related illnesses prompting them to drink, or for many other reasons that have nothing to do with other issues like poverty. With a better understanding of how a person can end up consuming alcohol while pregnant, we can better understand FASD.

FASD can affect anyone – not only people in poverty

A common misconception around FASD is it only affects people experiencing poverty – we know this is false. People who have FASD can come from a range of backgrounds and situations, sometimes even from affluent families. We’ve seen this firsthand at Bissell Centre with participants in different programs telling us their stories and experiences.

Where the issue around poverty gets cloudy is how people who have FASD can be more likely to experience houselessness. That difference in understanding and mental processing can make navigating systems that we take for granted more difficult. We designed our programs specifically with this in mind – ensuring that services for folks who have FASD are readily available no matter the individuals’ personal circumstances.

Helping people live with dignity

Our Fetal Alcohol Spectrum of Services program works to understand individuals who have FASD as whole people. We work one-on-one with our program participants to identify their unique strengths to guide them toward personal fulfillment.

Part of our FASS program is Hope Terrace. This is a supportive housing building specifically designed for people who have FASD. Wraparound services for FASD are included in this building, which also features a Snoezelen room to help individuals with emotional regulation.

Recently, a group from our FASS program contributed to the book Born Broken, detailing what our participants found most important to them in their own voices. This book highlights what folks who have FASD have to offer the world, their fears and struggles, and how they’re moving forward.

Maybe no one is talking about FASD simply because they don’t understand it. On September 9, keep an eye out for some folks walking all in Red Shoes. Ask questions and ensure we are all talking about FASD.

Information submitted by Bissell Centre.

Comfortable and Refreshing

A new space with familiar favourites at Delicious Pho.

Satay soup and more at Delicious Pho. Alan Schietzsch

Delicious Pho
10725 98th Street
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. 7 days a week
Phone: (780) 421-7082
Menu: deliciousphorestaurant.com

It’s comforting to enjoy something old, and refreshing to have something new. Delicious Pho is both of those things, and I now find myself returning there fairly often.

For about 18 years, the original Delicious Pho was located on 106th Avenue, half a block west of 97th Street where China Marble is (and Pagolac was). With rising rent and increased challenges (such as some customers being fearful of nearby encampments), they recently moved to the corner of 98th Street and 107A Avenue.

Their new space is open and bright, with full-length glass windows. With lots of traffic along 107th the new storefront and awnings get noticed more too, and I’m happy to see the clean, modern look is drawing more people into the area. The sidewalk is wide, and there’s angle parking in front. A guest who joined my wife and I biked from Westmount and was happy there’s bike parking right in front where he could keep an eye on his ride as we dined.

Upon entering, we received a friendly greeting and were offered to sit wherever we liked. There are booths, big and small tables, and, on the left, an especially nice spot in a little alcove surrounded by windows with a fun view of the street.

Menus quickly appeared, and the smiling server was very friendly, gladly explaining dishes on the extensive Vietnamese menu. We decided to try an appetizer or two. Spring rolls are a staple, and they arrived crispy and piping hot, just how you’d expect. The surprise was the Vietnamese-style chicken wings. They have other flavours, but do order the Vietnamese style. They’re our new favourite flavour: a perfect blend of meaty, crispy, and fresh, served with a garnish of colourful vegetables. Of everything on the menu, they’re my “must-try” recommendation.

Of course, pho is the restaurant’s main theme so next up was the soup, with the traditional rare beef slices in an aromatic pho broth, and plenty of noodles, bean sprouts, and garnishes. We also enjoyed a bowl of beef satay, which was just the right mixture of heat and richness, without being over the top. The bright red soup would be the perfect lunch on a cool rainy day.

There’s much more than soup, so I next tried the yellow curry, with your choice of vegetarian (vegetables only), tofu, beef, chicken, shrimp, or pork. It comes as a fragrant curry gravy mixed with the meat and stir-fried veggies, and a companion bowl of rice. The combination was delicious. The veggies were properly cooked yet still crisp. How do they do that? And the menu offers both green and red curries too. Our companion enjoyed his vermicelli bowl with crispy spring rolls, saying it tasted very fresh with a nice range of textures.

To try the drinks, we all ordered Vietnamese iced coffees, which are drip-brewed over sugary condensed milk, then poured over ice. These are an ideal dessert treat. If we hadn’t eaten so much, I probably would have tried one of their bubble teas, which several other tables had ordered.
 
Service was friendly and genuine, with plenty of repeat customers. While paying I noticed you could peek into a very clean kitchen, so the place is very professionally run. I’ve been back several times since they moved in, and it’s been consistently good every time.

Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors.

Becoming an Advocate

“As one we are a voice, as two we are a concern, as a group we become an action.” – Ian Young

When I wrote this quote which I often deliver at functions, I reflected on my journey to where I am now: an advocate for human rights, with a big focus on the disability sector, as I am a man living with a disability.

Becoming an advocate is actually pretty simple. You can start small, and ask yourself, “what concerns me? What do I think is important to the community and my friends? What issues do I care about?”

Then, do a quick online search of keywords (for example, “animal rights”) and add the name of your city or area (like, “Edmonton”). You will get search results with links to newsletters, events, and meetings. Go at your own pace and ask for information. Choose a level of involvement in which you feel comfortable. You can soon meet people with similar concerns and interests.

In this age of technology, a lot can be done remotely from your home, library, or other locations where you feel comfortable. Many meetings are online, or have an option to take part remotely if you can’t be there in person.

As well, many non-profit and charitable organizations are seeking volunteers. This is something you may want to consider depending on your time and skills.

It is a glorious feeling when I feel someone has benefitted from something with which I was involved. I have met influential people and built relationships with politicians at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels who have helped and informed me. Becoming part of this community newspaper was one of my favourite accomplishments, leading me to meet wonderful people who I admire.

In the end, everyone benefits from advocacy. If this is something that interests you, and you feel comfortable in taking the first steps, getting involved is like an education because of how much you get to learn.

Ian is a columnist with the paper. He lives in the area.

October-November 2023

Welcome to our October-November 2023 issue. As I discuss in my editorial in this issue, we are currently facing some challenges in terms of getting our content on social media. If you want to see exclusive news and content concerning community news and events, please visit bmcnews.org regularly to read website exclusives and to subscribe to our free e-newsletter. It is delivered directly to your inbox when we publish a new issue.

We have the dates for our next casino: February 28th and 29th, 2024 at Pure Casino Yellowhead. If you’re interested in volunteering for a shift (or two), send me a message at editor@bmcnews.org and I will forward your information to Colleen Chapman, our Volunteer Coordinator who is organizing the casino. This is our biggest fundraising event to keep the newspaper going. You can also contact me any time at editor@bmcnews.org to discuss any other volunteer opportunities which may interest you.

Do you love Boyle McCauley News and want to see it thrive? Perhaps you would like to become a member of the non-profit society that oversees the operations of the paper. It’s free to join and you will occasionally receive notices and information. The sign-up page is here: bmcnews.org/membership.

Enjoy the issue – see you next time!

Social Media Content Blues

In the paper’s Editor’s Notes on the right-hand side of this page, I always take the time to direct you to our social media for additional content, particularly photos, from community events. However, because we are a news outlet, our content is currently blocked to users in Canada on Facebook and Instagram. This is because of how Meta (the parent company of Facebook and Instagram) is responding to Bill C-18, the Online News Act, which requires tech companies like social media sites to pay news outlets for showing their content.

Unfortunately, Big Tech’s reaction to this law ends up hurting smaller media like us, as we use social media platforms to increase our visibility, as well as promote local events and other time-sensitive content. We spent years organically growing our online audience and don’t want to see our hard work be wasted.

Therefore, our workaround for now is to publish even more extra content on our website: bmcnews.org. This will include photo galleries from local events that we normally would have published on our socials.

We will keep publishing on Facebook and Instagram to a limited degree in the hope that the situation will change. Following us still helps build our numbers for when our content can be freely shown to our Canadian visitors again. We’re @bmcnews on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/bmcnews" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and bmcviews on Instagram. As well, we’re @bmcnews on X (formerly Twitter, and which is not currently blocking news to Canadian users).

You can also subscribe to our free e-newsletter at our website (bmcnews.org) which features current stories from our print edition as well as exclusive website features.

Edmonton Chinatown Summer Festival 2023

Edmonton Chinatown Summer Festival. Paula E. Kirman

The Edmonton Chinatown Summer Festival took place on August 20th on 98th Street between 105 and 107A Avenues. The street was packed with people enjoying the performances, market, food trucks, and other activities. There was a combined Lion and Dragon Dance presented by several groups together, as well as an appearance by Hunter, the mascot of the Edmonton Oilers. The event was organized by the Chinatown and Area Business Association with support from the City of Edmonton. Here’s a look!

AV and the Inner City at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival

AV and the Inner City. Paula E. Kirman

AV and the Inner City brought their soulful sounds to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, which took place at Gallagher Park August 10th-13th, including a full concert on Stage 7! “AV” is, of course, McCauley’s own Ann Vriend (pictured on vocals and keyboard).

94th Street Extravaganza 2023

94th Street Extravaganza. Paula E. Kirman

A group of community members just north of McCauley organized the second annual 94th Street Extravaganza on August 19th. The bazaar and art market took place Between 112th and 116th Avenues (including a short stretch closed to cars). Here’s a look!

Edmonton Multicultural Coalition’s Soccer BBQ

The soccer players make their entry. Paula E. Kirman

The Edmonton Multicultural Coalition’s Soccer BBQ took place on August 19th in the field of the Edmonton Intercultural Centre. Young soccer players took part in a match, including one with members of EPS. Attendees also enjoyed a number of cultural performances and some delicious food. This is usually an annual event, but was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s BBQ is the first one since the start of the pandemic. Here’s a look at some of the action.

Here Comes September

The long hot days are coming to an end. The memories of summer vacation have still not left our minds, and here comes the golden season of the year: fall. Just like a painter, fall mixes all its bright and beautiful colours on the large leaves of trees, creating a mosaic. The leaves – which are trying to hold tight on trees’ branches, their homes during the spring and summer months – fall down and fly with the stormy fall winds. They circle squirrels and fall down on the ground, creating a red and golden carpet. Through the gray-eyed autumn days a ray of the sun will hatch and the blue sky will sparkle among the clouds. September has come, the bridge between summer and fall.

The first of September is the beginning of a new stage for all students. The doors of schools open wide to welcome to give a start to the new school year. This is a day of smiles, happiness, bright backpacks, new books, and colourful pencils. The first bell rings. This day is especially important to those who for the first time walk into a classroom and begin taking the first steps as they enter this new wonderful country of knowledge. It is a long trip which lasts for 12 years.

School is a ladder of knowledge and with each year we take another step, beginning from the first light years of school and ending with the more difficult ones which are found at the top of the ladder. A school is a shop which establishes the future generation of specialists. Our teachers and parents help us to pass through this unique and long journey. They teach us to believe in ourselves, our minds to think, our hands to create beautiful pieces of art, as well as our hearts to be kind and help others in need. Each child is a flower and its petals are their knowledge.

For many students this year will be their last year at school and it will be the students’ last step before entering adulthood. For them it is both a happy and sad day, since they will always remember their school years, their teachers, friends, and various achievements. They also know that they can always come to visit their second home: their school.

For the parents of students this is also an exciting day. Looking at their smiling children, each one of them remembers their first day at school, their first teachers, as well as their first school bell.

I want to congratulate all students on the beginning of the new academic year. The sails of the school frigate are already raised. Let the wind of hope be strong and come to the rescue when storms arise in your school life.

Natanel Krieksfeld is a grade 10 student at Argyll Centre.

Impactful Results of Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative

A before and after look at the cleanup of a problem property in McCauley. Marko Skendzic

Problem properties are occupied or vacant unsecured properties that have serious negative impacts on the well-being of the surrounding community, as well as the people living or working in them. They cause frequent and serious safety concerns and complaints to the City of Edmonton.

In December of 2022, City Council provided Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative (PPI) with permanent funding to implement its 2023 – 2026 long-term strategy and expand its resources to address problem properties. Since then, the new strategy has had several impactful results, including decreased fires at derelict properties, streamlined demolition of derelict buildings, and increased inspections at high risk residential properties. In 2024, a tax subclass will be introduced to triple taxes at derelict properties where owners have not taken accountability for the conditions.

Property Clean-Ups
One very visible example of the PPI’s new strategy is the increased clean up of properties that present significant, often unsecured hazards to the surrounding area. In these cases, the PPI can order the property owner to clean up the property. If the owner does not comply, the PPI can undertake the clean-up itself and hold the owner accountable for the costs incurred by the City. This process has been particularly noticeable in McCauley, where several properties destroyed by fire have recently been cleaned up by the PPI.

These clean-ups take several days and require the coordination of multiple agencies and contractors to remove an average of 120,000 pounds of debris and backfill the property with clean dirt.

PPI Meet and Greets
Another example of the PPI’s new strategy is increased communication and engagement with community members affected by problem properties.

This spring, the PPI hosted a series of Meet and Greets across north central Edmonton, to strengthen relationships with community members and increase awareness of its strategy and new resources.

Each Meet and Greet featured a presentation and question and answer session, followed by an opportunity for community members to chat directly with PPI personnel. The three events were attended by 210 people, including 157 community members from 26 neighbourhoods. Community members were invited to provide feedback about the event and the work of the PPI.

  • 94% reported that the events increased their knowledge of how the City and its partners address problem properties.
  • 88% reported that the events gave them confidence that the City has a good strategy to address problem properties.
  • 51% reported that they were beginning to see the impact of the PPI’s new teams and resources in the neighbourhood where they live or work.
  • 87% registered to receive information through a PPI newsletter.

To learn more about the Problem Property Initiative, visit edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties.

Information provided by the City of Edmonton.

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