Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • February-March 2024 • Circulation 5000

Donate

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. The red sand symbolized both the blood of Jesus Christ 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 hiockey 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.

Agreement is a Community Win

Legally enforceable agreement will guide Boyle Street Community Services’ development.

The building where BSCS will open the okimaw peyesew kamik (King Thunderbird Centre) on 101st Street and 107A Avenue. Leif Gregersen

It was like a high stakes courtroom drama.

Minutes before a hearing on May 31st, 2023 to review the relocation of Boyle Street Community Services (BSCS) to McCauley, community stakeholders and BSCS signed an agreement outlining conditions for operating the okimaw peyesew kamik (King Thunderbird Centre).

Since BSCS’s proposed relocation to the corner of 107A Avenue and 101st Street was announced in December of 2021, a loose coalition of community stakeholders has opposed the move. These included the Chinatown and Area Business Association (CABA), Chinese Benevolent Association of Edmonton (CBA), McCauley residents, and parents of students attending Victoria School.

According to McCauley resident Anna Bubel, “Resistance and persistence allowed us to hammer out a deal. Boyle Street promises not to operate a drop-in or safe injection site at that site. That’s a win.”

BSCS’s Executive Director, Jordan Reiniger, agrees it’s a win-win.

“We are excited that we were able to agree with the community to conditions on this iteration of our development permit application for okimaw peyesew kamik (King Thunderbird Centre). These conditions clarify our intended uses under this development permit, and our commitment to apply for a new development permit for any changes to how we would use the building in the future. We believe the okimaw peyesew kamik will be an important part of the solution to many of the challenges community members from all walks of life are facing.

“We hope this agreement with the community begins a new chapter of collaboration as we work together to ensure a better future for everyone in the neighbourhood.”

Unfortunately, no none from the CABA or CBA was available for comment by the time of the deadline for this issue of the paper.

Michelle Patterson Nipp has an eight-year-old son attending Victoria School. She, along with two students from the school, presented their concerns to the SDAB (Subdivision and Development Appeal Board) hearing.

“The over-concentration of services near Victoria School has led to an increasing number of unsafe interactions for students. That’s why members of the school community came together as the Victoria School Parent Coalition and worked with other local groups to appeal the development.

“We’re relieved that the SDAB ruled in our favour and that the conditions of their recently approved development permit prevent Boyle Street from operating a drop-in.”

Last November, the SDAB overturned the issuing of a development permit to BSCS. The agency revised its plans and resubmitted them to the City. When a new development permit was issued to BSCS in January of 2023, community stakeholders again appealed the decision to the SDAB.

With the second appeal to the SDAB pending, BSCS and community stakeholders signed a legally enforceable agreement that outlines conditions that will guide BSCS’s development.

The SDAB set a legal precedent in its decision by linking the issuing of a development permit to the agreement on conditions. Unlike Good Neighbourhood Agreements, this deal with BSCS is legally enforceable because the agreement has been integrated into the SDAB decision.

Phil O’Hara is a long-time McCauley resident. He was part of the loose coalition of community stakeholders opposing BSCS’s relocation to McCauley.

McCauley Community League AGM Report

From left: MLA Janis Irwin, McCauley musician Dana Wylie, and the MCL’s Corine Demas at the Family Day party on February 19th. Paula E. Kirman

Here is a look at the various activities of the McCauley Community League (MCL) over the past year. A version of this report was presented at our AGM on June 28th.

With the help of employees Dan Glugosh and Albert Bernard, we ran the rink’s drop-in skating program. The connections that were made and relationships built at the rink are very important to our community.

We successfully ran our casino and look forward to utilizing the funding we will be receiving. Thank you to our volunteers and to Colleen Chapman for organizing.

Here is a report on the soccer program, prepared by Suzan Gluko:

The McCauley Soccer Program has had a bustling past year, hosting both an indoor and outdoor season. The McCauley Community League, under the leadership of Allan Suarez (the head coach) and parent volunteers, had kids from age 4 up to age 11 receive training in soccer along with fundamental physical skills and fun games.

This program is so much more than soccer itself. It facilitates community and connections to families. The program is premised on being accessible to all The program is premised on being accessible to all. It does not charge fees for participation and welcomes all families within McCauley and beyond.

During the past year we held a few successful events, including Community League Day where we heard many bands play and saw demonstrations of martial arts. At the event we handed out 450 hot dogs and served other refreshments. We hosted a holiday skating party with hot chocolate and hot dogs. There was a sleigh ride, food, and the music of Dana Wylie at our Family Day party, and we hosted a very successful New Year’s Eve bonfire and skating party with hot chocolate and other refreshments.

Our largest and most successful annual event almost didn’t happen this time around. We were told last minute by the Edmonton Police Service that they would not be co-hosting the McCauley Cup, the annual hockey game between EPS and community kids. However, our rink manager Dan Glugosh got on the phone and made a few calls to ensure that the event went on. The weather was beautiful. With over 356 cops, kids, and community members in total, the event was a wonderful success. It is confirmed that we will be hosting the McCauley Cup in December of 2024.

This year the League made the difficult choice to appeal the move of Boyle Street Community Services to our neighbourhood due to lack of community engagement on the part of Boyle Street Community Services. With support from other individuals and organizations, the appeal was successful. Please see the cover story in this issue for more details.

With the help of Reach Edmonton, we executed the “Light Up McCauley” initiative, in which we gave out lights to community members.

We plan to do another round of “Light Up McCauley” in the future, with the support of Reach Edmonton. We will continue to work toward securing a building for our neighbourhood. We plan to have another New Year’s Eve Skating party. The McCauley Cup, and parties for Family Day and Community League Day are also on the schedule. In addition, we plan to develop programming for seniors and families who live in the neighbourhood.

Sarah Pearson, John Gee, and I, Corine Demas, joined the board in 2022. Also remaining on the board are Rickard Enstroem and Kevin Jones. Joining the board this year are: David Williamson, Ruth Sorochan, Imai Welch, Dale Johnson, Beth Storheim, Crista Ferland, and Misty Wells.

We wish to thank supporters of the League including Sports Central, Bijou, Zocalo, the Italian Centre, Boyle McCauley News, E4C, Reach Edmonton, City of Edmonton, Edmonton Police Service, the Pagnotta and Mannarino families, and Canadian Tire. On behalf of the board, I would also like to thank all of our stellar volunteers.

Corine Demas is the Interim President of the McCauley Community League.

Elliot Taylor: “I try to reflect the joy that is actually in my neighbourhood.”

Elliot Taylor. Supplied

Elliot Taylor is a visual artist, musician, and writer.

“I’m doing the central art for Heart of the City this year but I’ve lived in the neighbourhood for a long time right across the street from where it’s happening and so I’ve been there a lot,” he says of his connection to Heart of the City. “So there’s a lot of years of painting records. I have a couple hanging up in my room.”

Regarding other aspects of the arts in which he works, Elliot says, “I’m primarily a songwriter and a musician and then I do some writing but mostly to support my music. I’m in a band called Borderline Thrills. We are working on an album. It’s self-titled because we thought it worked with what we were writing about. It’s like all these things that we are almost doing.”

When asked to describe his voice in art, Elliot says, “It’s a hard thing to describe because I do visual art in a lot of different contexts. I really like portraiture and I really like drawing people. That’s the biggest thing I do. I draw a lot of musicians, I draw a lot of performers. I really like that. It’s art nouveau inspired. I really like obnoxiously bright colour pallets. It’s things that I like to do, rather than a coherent idea of what my art should be.”

He continues: “I have a thing to say and I think that using the tools that I have to say the thing that I need and want to say the right way is more important than making sure that it’s cohesive and fits into the brand model of art. I am a trans person, a queer person in a time where it is increasingly dangerous to be both of those things. I grew up in an at-risk community with a bunch of people who were in much worse situations than I was in and these people were my friends and I empathize with them. Then I moved to a bigger school with people who had more money and I felt different and I wasn’t even at-risk in the way that all of my old friends were. I think speaking to an experience like that and creating an experience like that is something I do in my art.”

Elliot is also trying to break down misconceptions about his neighbourhood through his art. “I try to reflect the joy that is actually in my neighbourhood. I think a lot of people are very afraid of places that are like this: the streets, and the cars, and the sketchy people. That’s not what it is for the most part. There is so much joy, so much creativity, so much interest here. I love reflecting creativity and I take all of that in, growing up here in a big city.”

You can look Elliot up on Instagram: @Elliotataylorart and @Elliotthrills.

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

Lights, Camera, Action!

Big news from Heart of the City.

Heart of the City is making a movie! It will be a short documentary, to be specific. We intend to include as many memorable moments from over the years as possible. We will also include community members, community sponsors, and previous board members who have helped in the continuing success of Heart of the City Festival Society.

We are always accepting new members and volunteers. If you would like to be a part of this project we would love to hear from you! Our goal is to premiere the short film next summer and we can’t wait to update you along the journey.

The board has been busy with this year’s theme, Reboot, and would like to extend a thank you to our central artist for 2023, Elliot Taylor. Check out our website and socials to see Elliot’s amazing artwork!

We would also like to thank The Canadian Native Friendship Centre for inviting us to their Indigenous Peoples Day festival at Borden Park on June 17th. We had an absolute blast at our tie-dye workshop. Despite the rain and the overcast weather, over 150 Heart of the City t-shirts were tie-dyed!

We also had the opportunity to pop up at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market on July 1st. We spent the day on the second floor next to the Indigenous Artists Collective Market crafting and creating photo booth props for the market’s selfie booth. We are always so grateful for the ongoing support from our fellow community organizations.

We have so much more in the works, and as always, we are looking to add local and emerging artists and volunteers to our roster for upcoming events. You will find all updates and upcoming events on our website and social media. Our website is www.heartcityfest.com, and we’re @heartcityfest on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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

Advocating and Listening

Friends,

As we move into August, I’ve been enjoying the warm weather, sunshine, and beautiful outdoor spaces here in Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. I’ve also been lucky enough to connect with many of you at community events this summer, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to join you as the summer continues.

In my last letter, I mentioned that the provincial election was right around the corner. Now, a few months later, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for once again putting your faith in me to represent you, your families, and our communities over the next four years. I am so excited to use this time to work with you to keep building a better future for our neighbours in Boyle Street, McCauley, and across the communities I serve.

I’m also truly honoured to have been named the Official Opposition Housing Critic. I asked our leader Rachel Notley for this role, as I know just how critical this issue is for my constituents. Many of you have shared with me that the lack of affordable, accessible, and safe housing is one of the biggest issues that our communities face. I believe that housing is a human right, and that it demands will and collaboration from all orders of government. I’m committed to do all I can to push for better for our unhoused neighbours and for all who are impacted by the housing crisis.

As I said the last time I wrote to you, I know that we have a long way to go toward building an equitable, kind, and supportive province for all Albertans. I will keep advocating and I will keep listening, and I’m so honoured that you’ve again given me the opportunity to continue this work together with you.

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

Canada Day Thoughts

“It’s never felt more Canadian to be Canadian than it does now.” – Douglas Coupland (Canadian novelist).

On July 1, 2023, we celebrated Canada’s 156th birthday, with fireworks, gatherings, and concerts held here in Edmonton to recognize the event.

I recalled bits and pieces of Canada’s Centennial in 1967. I was residing in my city of birth, Ottawa, the capital of our nation, and I mostly remember the spectacular fireworks from the parliament grounds. I also remember hearing the song “C-A-N-A-D-A Centennial Song” (French version: “Une Chanson du Centenaire”) by Bobby Gimby which was played everywhere that year. If you are unfamiliar with the song, you can find it on YouTube. You will hear a line in the song: “Now we are 20 million.” As of April 1, 2023, we are almost double that at 39,858,480 million! We nearly doubled in 56 years.

Canada is my home. Every country has its good and bad features. I like to reflect on the good.

Here are some interesting facts about our country. Source: Canada Crossroads

  • Canada is the most educated country in the world.
  • Canada has 20% of the world’s freshwaters.
  • Canada has a large number of lakes. To be precise, there are more lakes than in any other country.
  • Canada has two of the largest lakes in the world: Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake.
  • Canadians drink more fruit juice per capita than any other country.
  • Alberta’s oilsands have the third-largest oil reserves in the world.
  • New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada.

We are a large and diverse country. Let’s keep up the reputation of being friendly by being kind and getting to know each other.

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

Four Holidays

A poem about a year in a flawed society.

Beyond Canada Day
lies the rest of summer
along with the crisp autumn season
across August, September, and October

Over that span
four holidays pay homage
to our heritage, history,
work, and spirit of gratitude

As the heat rises
past the solstice
August long awaits
among these lazy days

Dates full of activities
gardening, barbecuing,
socializing, sport, music,
and cultural celebration

A time for relaxation
before back-to-school shopping
and the Labour Day transition
of swinging into September routines

Now, established just this decade
we have a day to reflect on the truth
and reconcile with the colonial paradigms
that wrought the residential school system

The colour orange
takes on new meaning
beyond the changing of leaves
a resolve against future injustice

October then provides us
space to be thankful
and gather as nights dim
while the coming winter settles in

Jon is an aspiring researcher and writer. He believes everyone has creative abilities.

Ansgar Lutheran Celebrates 100 Years

Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church (9554 108A Avenue) will celebrate a significant anniversary on Saturday, September 16th and Sunday, September 17th. We are pleased and proud to be celebrating our little church’s 100th birthday!

The present Church was built 1940-42, at a very difficult time in history. Funds were hard to find during the war years, but the many skilled craftsmen in our congregation, supported by many skilful women, were able to build the church with a bank loan. The unique frame and stucco structure of the church was built according to Danish architectural design, with the noticeable step design over the entrance and at the side of the gable roof. The parsonage was built next door at the same time. 

Ansgar Lutheran is a testament to the continuing existence of a Danish community in Edmonton. Our church has been a place for Danish immigrants and their descendants for about 100 years and has maintained many Danish traditions, both religious and secular. Although originally established as a Danish immigrant church, many others who feel that our church has given them a safe place to gather and hope in a world full of struggles have joined us. Ansgar’s doors are open to anyone who wishes to join in our services.

On Saturday, September 16th, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., bring your family and come enjoy a Street Party outside the church with entertainment for kids and adults, food for all, and lots of music. We’ll also have an Open House in the church to show off our new pipe organ and introduce it with a couple of mini concerts. The day will finish off with a brief Vespers service at 7 p.m. in the evening. Come and have some fun and see what we’re doing to maintain and beautify our little Church!

Information submitted by Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church.

Ribbon Rouge Foundation (RRF)

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.

Ribbon Rouge Foundation (RRF) was selected in February of 2023 by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre’s Board of Directors to occupy a rare office space vacancy in the EIC facility. The EIC welcomes RRF as a Member Tenant and is looking forward to working with this fine and progressive organization.

Ribbon Rouge Foundation (RRF) is a non-profit organization with a primary mission to achieve health equity for African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) people across Alberta. They strive to achieve equity and improved opportunities for Black people experiencing poorer outcomes because of racialized health disparities. Their grassroots organization facilitates storytelling, advocacy, networking, and community-engaged arts to create transformative system change.

RRF supports highly vulnerable ACB clients, focusing on people who identify as 2SLGBTQ+, have substance use issues, and are at risk of living with sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), mental health issues, and experiencing incarceration. They take an asset and strengths-based approach that seeks to enhance the gifts and wisdom of community members, volunteers, and stakeholders.

For more information about RRF please visit their website at ribbonrouge.com.

New Owners at Van Loc

Maintaining tradition while planning for the future.

William Chen (left) and Wilson Wong serving up coffee at Van Loc. Paula E. Kirman

For over two decades Van Loc café in Chinatown (10648 – 98th Street) served the delicious Vietnamese sandwiches called banh mi. Two entrepreneurs in their 30s, Wilson Wong and William Chen, took over the business in January of 2023 after the previous owner retired.

Boyle McCauley News had the opportunity to interview Wong, who handles public relations and marketing while Chen is more involved with the menu and food service. This energetic and enthusiastic pair are using most of the original recipes and suppliers, and maintaining the shop’s traditional Asian décor, including shrines. At the same time, they are also full of ideas about changes that will move the business forward.

Wong has been promoting Van Loc on Instagram every day since January 19th. He posts on TikTok, and he has been able to land interviews with local media, including Global and CTV.

Wong says their goal is to build something fresh and new in a community that he describes as, “tired but full of potential.”

“I believe in Edmonton and I believe in Chinatown,” Wong says. Wong and Chen are doing as much as they can to support the revitalization of Chinatown. They also support the Front Row Foundation, a charity that provides tickets to concerts and shows to people who could not otherwise attend.

When asked who the customers are, Wong says, “Everyone.” He and Chen are trying to attract youth by organizing social activities for them. Elders who patronized the business in the past are also giving the new version of Van Loc a thumbs up. People with low incomes appreciate a menu that can offer lunch for under $10. “They are coming in several times a week. If the prices were higher, it would be once a week,” Wong says. Allowing customers to use credit cards, which is not always the case in Chinatown cafés, is also a draw for people who rarely use cash.

Wong and Chen are paying their staff above minimum wage. The people behind the counter and in the kitchen are mostly students between the ages of 18 and 22. They can speak many different languages (some are international students), which is also a draw for quite a few customers in this part of the city.

“Try us out, give us a shot,” Wong says.

The Back Story

Wilson Wong and William Chen met when they were second-year students at MacEwan University. Wong was enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program with a major in Psychology and a minor in Business. Chen was working towards a Bachelor of Commerce in International Business. They found they had a lot in common and soon became best friends. They are both Vietnamese Canadians and Edmontonians. Their parents, who were refugees in the 1980s, established restaurant businesses in Chinatown. So entrepreneurship and Asian food – including banh mi – are in their genes.

“I tried a job in insurance and banking,” Wong says, “to have more financial stability. Several of my friends were getting married and having kids, and I saw that they needed a secure income to support their families. I committed to three years to give it a fair try, but it was not a good fit. I enjoy the freedom and risks of entrepreneurship.”

The writing was on the wall for Wong as early as age 18. “I was a salesperson for Cutco Knives,” he says – “making phone calls, visiting people in their homes, getting referrals, making a presentation, and then closing the deal.”

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

August-September 2023

Welcome to our August-September 2023 edition. We’ve got a lot of community news and events in this issue. We have also been publishing actively on our website and social media.

If you are part of the online world, visit bmcnews.org 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. You can also follow us on social media: we’re bmcnews on "Facebook":https://www.facebook.com/bmcnews and "Twitter":https://www.twitter.com/bmcnews, and bmcviews on Instagram.

New volunteers are always welcome. We are always looking for people who write, take photos, deliver papers, proofread, and work casinos. Our next casino – our biggest fundraising event – is scheduled between January and March of 2024. If you’re interested in volunteering for a shift (or two) or have any other volunteer-related questions, send me a message at
editor@bmcnews.org.

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 rest of your summer. See you again in October.

The Measure of a Year

My mind sometimes wanders and tries to recall what was happening a year ago on approximately the same date. What was I doing? Who was I with? How was I feeling?

Somehow a year represents a benchmark for expectations of change. Usually something has changed within a year, but a lot can stay the same too. As well, sometimes things that change, whether good or bad, are beyond our control. What we can control is how we roll with those changes. What we learn from changes that disrupt our lives can be lessons that we carry forward as we continue to deal with challenges that life throws our way.

When one door closes, another opens – many of us have heard that saying before. However, instead of entering through the newly-opened door, some of us try to pry the old one open, and when that doesn’t work, we take a crowbar to the window and try to crawl in that way.

Why can we be so resistant to change? Sticking with the comfortable and familiar can feel natural. Sitting with discomfort is, well, uncomfortable. But it’s that discomfort that sometimes moves us forward closer towards where we are supposed to be. And on an intellectual level, many of us know this, even as we try to continue to cling to the past.

So, the next time you’re tempted to stay where you are or even move backwards in the face of change, ask yourself: where was I last year? Where do I want to be in a year? What can I do now to make that happen? Chances are, it will require making the uncomfortable choices.

In a way, every day has elements of stepping out into the unknown. Those little steps can add up. A lot can happen in a year. Or not. The choice – at least of what is within our control – rests with us.

Storytelling in Chinatown from Within

Event reflected on the difficulties faced by Chinatowns locally and abroad.

Presenters at the event Storytelling in Chinatown from Within. Beth Storheim

On May 28th, a community film screening event, Storytelling in Chinatown from Within, was held at the Edmonton Chinatown Multi-Cultural Centre as part of Asian Heritage Month. The event was supported by the Centre’s staff and volunteers, as well as Eye Steel Film, the City of Edmonton’s Chinatown Recovery Fund, and the Chinatown Business Association.

The event opened with live harp music. Several booths offered community info and merchandise, including artwork and posters pertaining to the films being screened, as well as a few remaining Chinatown Greetings posters by local artist Ray Dak Lam. Coffee and tea were available, as well as popcorn and snow cones, and mandarin oranges donated by Lucky 97 Supermarket.

The film screening began with a special cut of the first episode of A Portrait of Chinatown, a six-part docuseries by local photographer and filmmaker Jordon Hon. The series explores his formerly tangential but growing relationship with Edmonton’s Chinatown, in contrast to his family’s more intimate experience of it before they moved to the suburbs and then to the Chinese cultural enclave of Richmond B.C.

The second film shown was Bowl Cuts, a short film directed by Alexander Milo, featuring local interdisciplinary artist Vivian Han-Tat as she reminisces on her own changing experience of Edmonton’s Chinatown and of the memory of her mother’s beauty salon there – all of which inspires her current art using photography and 3D renderings.

The third film was the main event: Big Trouble in Little Chinatown, by Karen Cho, screened as part of a coast-to-coast community tour. It details the struggles of four Chinatowns through 2020 to 2022: New York, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, Cho’s hometown. The film documents businesses struggling through the pandemic, the reckoning of rising anti-Asian violence, and the fights undertaken by each community for their survival – some more desperate than others – as they face the monumental odds against them.

Following the film screenings at the close of the event a panel discussion and Q&A with Hon, Han-Tat, and Cho was hosted by local Chinatown historian Lan Chan-Marples.

Hon said that the genesis of this whole event came through his collaboration with local producer and director Shawn Tse on the project Chinatown Greetings. Later, Tse became the lead organizer of the coast-to-coast tour for Big Fight in Little Chinatown, and he made sure that one of the stops would be in Edmonton. At the same time, Hon had been waiting for a chance to screen some of his own docuseries, having not wanted to put all the spotlight on himself with a solo screening. So, Hon and Tse collaborated to make Storytelling in Chinatown from Within a reality.

“Shawn was kind of the spark for this event and [we] just worked together for the last couple of months to collaborate with all the Chinatown organizations to . . . see if they want[ed] to support [us] in some way and all of them did,” said Hon, “ . . . everyone was so supportive. And just so excited to gather here and I think that’s the energy of the Chinatown that I have fallen in love with and just inspires me to keep working in this community.”

All proceeds from the event’s ticket sales will go towards funding future Chinatown community programming.

Beth Storheim is an active volunteer for the Heart of the City Festival Society Board and the Kiwanis Club of South Edmonton. She lives in McCauley.

Chinatown to Boost Downtown Vibrancy

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi bows with family members of Hung Trang and Ban Phuc Hoang at the May 19th memorial for the two men. Paula E. Kirman

The Chinatown and Area Business Improvement Association’s economic recovery program continues to gain “steam” – and not just from power washing sidewalks.

While only three months into the Chinatown Solution, a long-term project to revitalize the area, the change has been remarkable. The solution starts with cleanliness, pure and simple. After washing all of the sidewalks and storefront windows in Chinatown on a bi-weekly basis, shoppers and shop owners have felt the change on the street. This partnership program has now been expanded to include vacant lot and alleyway cleaning. We believe that the best recovery is grassroots recovery and we are providing a level playing field for commerce to thrive in an environment where people are safe and want to visit and shop. We believe in the free economy and it is important to note that we did not have to market to people – they were waiting to come to us and have been very vocal about the difference they see.

The BIA began closely working in unison with our partners months ago with the goal of achieving a better community. We are trying every good idea and concept to make a positive difference for all in Chinatown and we proudly acknowledge that “all” includes not only businesses and residents, but also the social agencies and the people in need of services from these agencies and, of course, all Edmontonians.

Our actions are well thought out and we have moved slowly to ensure that our economic recovery is done right with caring, with reason, and with results. We feel that success only comes if every single person in the Chinatown area shares in the benefits of having their quality of life improve.

We have had our struggles to get where we are today. I would personally like to thank the Chinatown and area community for joining in the memorial for Hung Trang and Ban Phuc Hoang on May 19th, when we honoured two men who were killed in a terrible tragedy that must never be allowed to happen again. One of the most poignant moments at that memorial came from Christina Trang when she said, “I want my father to be remembered as a catalyst of change in Chinatown, to bring back safety and restore this once great community.” Paying respect on that day were shop owners, visitors, EPS, Sheriffs, EMS, the Mayor and City Councillors, and people referred to as “houseless” who are currently calling Chinatown home. This loss touched all of us in the community and this loss binds us together. Christina, I believe that your wishes for your father are being fulfilled.

The Chinatown and Area Business Improvement Association continues to publicly applaud the City of Edmonton for their initiatives to revitalize the downtown core. It is the right “first step” to healing Edmonton. Look no further than Chinatown for the proof. We were the worst affected area in downtown Edmonton.

Further changes are planned in the coming months. We are well along the way to restoring safety and security and plan to “Disney up” Chinatown by installing year-round lanterns across 97th Street – and a few other surprises. We want Edmontonians to be proud of Chinatown – that is our goal. After all, this is your Chinatown and it does not exist without you.

In addition to sidewalk and window cleaning we have added clearly signposted areas in Chinatown that will remain open to allow for regular cleaning and easy foot traffic. The “Chinatown Solution” includes everybody but it is much more – it is based on respect and it involves all in the community.

Over the past eight weeks we have made great strides improving Chinatown with a simple homegrown solution that works. We have alleviated many of the unique problems that face Chinatown and have improved the quality of life for all in our community. This has increased commerce and provided dozens of people in need of an opportunity to re-enter the work force and to regain a sense of pride and community belonging.

The Chinatown Solution has exceeded all of our expectations and we will continue to expand its scope. It does not fix everything but it is a model that other communities should consider following. Our success is measured by our results, and we have seen exceptional results with increased vibrancy, a strong community partnership with all residents of our community and, of course, a very clean and welcoming Chinatown.

We could not have accomplished this without the dedicated work of Hope Mission’s staff and the wonderful people in their recovery program. We wish you continued success and Chinatown is proud to be a part of your journey.

The City has taken the steps in the right direction, but downtown Edmonton and Chinatown still have much work to do. Chinatown is proud to have a lead role to play in Edmonton’s downtown vibrancy and recovery.

Stephen Hammerschmidt is the Chinatown and Area BIA’s Director of Economic Recovery.

Ben Calf Robe Traditional Pow Wow

Event returns to McCauley following a pandemic break.

The 39th Annual Ben Calf Robe Traditional Pow Wow took place on May 13th at Clarke Stadium, the first time since 2019. This year’s theme was “Honouring Our Sacred Gifts – Our Children.”

The Ben Calf Robe Traditional Pow Wow is organized by Edmonton Catholic Schools and Indigenous Learning Services, in partnership with the Ben Calf Robe Society and the City of Edmonton.

Photos by Paula E. Kirman.

CEASE Announces New Executive Director

Kate Quinn (left) and Liz John-West at Red Dress Day on May 5th. Paula E. Kirman

Liz John-West, known to many in McCauley and Alberta Avenue, is the new Executive Director for the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).

Jessica Steingard, CEASE Board President, welcomed Liz to her new position: “She comes to us having spent many years serving vulnerable Albertans. We are confident CEASE will continue to grow and thrive under her leadership.”

“The buying and selling of human beings, especially vulnerable women and girls, is one of the world’s fastest growing crimes,” says Liz. “This crime leaves deep and lasting scars on its victims. CEASE has dedicated the last 25 plus years to ending sex trafficking. I am honoured to take the baton from Kate Quinn and further the action and dialogue needed to end sex trafficking in Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada. CEASE is a force for change, and I strongly believe that with collaboration and hard work we can build a society where traffickers are held accountable, buyers are charged, and women and girls are freed.”

As outgoing Executive Director, I wish to express my profound gratitude for the past 27 years of working with CEASE, formerly PAAFE. The work was rooted in our experiences in McCauley and other core communities in the early nineties. CEASE has offered me rich learning opportunities and inspirational moments. It is a community initiative that requires the insights, skills, and experience of many, especially those whose lives are touched by any aspect of sexual exploitation, sex trafficking, and social inequality.

It has been my privilege to work with dedicated staff throughout the years. They are fierce advocates for the women and men who trusted them to walk alongside, bearing witness to painful histories and celebrating milestones of healing and forging new pathways. Past and current Board members give generously of their time to lead the organization and support the staff team and the vision and mission of CEASE. I wish to thank the women, men, and 2SLGBTQIA people who have so graciously been great teachers, sharing and challenging me to deepen my understanding. I look forward to hearing about new opportunities that Liz will create for CEASE!

Kate Quinn is the past Executive Director of CEASE. She lives in McCauley.

Red Dress Day 2023

The movement is growing.

Red Dress Day on May 5, 2023. Paula E. Kirman

In 2018, there was a small gathering of supporters led by April Eve Wiberg, a grassroots activist with Stolen Sisters and Brothers and Judith Gale from Bear Clan Beaver Hills House. They gathered in Amiskwaskahegan—Beaver Hills House Park, hung red dresses in the trees, and planted posters around the park. Waving at pedestrians and drivers, they called out to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, men, boys, and Two-Spirit people.

In 2019, Red Dress Day expanded to a walk, starting at Canada Place and moving down Jasper Avenue to Amiskwaskahegan Park. The pandemic in 2020 prevented people from gathering, but, in 2021, over 400 people wearing masks marched from Churchill Square to Amiskwaskahegan Park.

In 2023, the Red Dress Day march increased to over 1000 people, many wearing red. Chants rang out, including: “Stop the Violence, Stop the Hate” and “No More Stolen Sisters and Brothers.” Traffic stopped, cars honked, drums sounded. Although I was unable to be there in 2022, I have been told that numbers were similar.

Red Dress Day events are organized in cities across Canada. This year, Winnipeg MP Leah Gazan led the call for a “Red Dress Alert” system like the Amber Alert when children are missing. The motion, which was adopted with unanimous consent, also called on the Federal Government to declare the ongoing violence a national emergency.

Kate Quinn lives in McCauley.

Return of the McCauley Community Orchard and Gardens

The McCauley Community Orchard and Gardens is back! Thanks to all the community members and organizations who worked tirelessly to get the space back up and running for the 2023 season under the new stewardship of Sustainable Food Edmonton!

Do you wish you knew more about fruit trees, orchards, and what it takes to grow great fruit in Edmonton? We are looking at dividing up the orchard into 12 sections (2-3 trees per section) and providing interested individuals and groups with the opportunity to learn how to grow, maintain, troubleshoot and harvest their sections. Each section would require approximately 3-4 hours of work per month – done on your schedule each month!

We also have 20 raised bed garden plots available for gardeners for this season – individuals and groups are welcome to inquire for a bed to grow all the annual veggies and flowers they’d like.

We will be hosting work bees, gardening workshops, orchard workshops, cider pressings, and more. We would love to have you all join us on the site this summer. The outdoor space will be available for events, celebrations, festivals, and more.

Questions? Suggestions? Do you want a garden plot or an orchard section? Do you want to volunteer with us? Would you like to host an event or workshop at the site? Please reach out to Shannon at edirector@sustainablefoodedmonton.org.

Information provided by Sustainable Food Edmonton.

An Update from City Council

Hello! As the proud City Councillor for Boyle Street and McCauley, I’m pleased to share a few updates with you. From addressing challenges to creating fun, here are some of the projects the City is undertaking in your neighbourhoods.

Neighbourhood Renewal
Both Boyle Street and McCauley will be going through Neighbourhood Renewal, including reconstruction of sidewalks and roads. Construction is starting this spring in specific parts of the neighbourhoods and will be phased over three years. Search “Boyle Street McCauley Neighbourhood Renewal” for the website and feel free to reach out to the Project Manager, Donny Fung at donny.fung@edmonton.ca or 780-496-4055 with any questions or to get more information.

Encampments
As the Councillor for Ward O-day’min and resident of Oliver, I’m aware of the continuing challenges posed by encampments.

Council approved an Enhanced Encampment Strategy focusing on two outcomes: rapid access to housing for those in encampments and minimising safety risks. A number of new strategies are being taken to meet these goals, including:

  1. An active priority list that will work to move 100 people living in encampments into housing this summer.
  2. Prototype projects aimed at improving the cleanliness and fire safety of encampments to reduce the most immediate risks and impacts to neighbours.
  3. A new community liaison, providing follow up information to let you know what actions have been taken and what you can expect to see after an encampment has been reported to 311.

While I’m hopeful these enhanced approaches will alleviate some pressures, housing is the only true solution to encampments. My Council colleagues and I continue to stay focused on securing the housing our community needs to ensure every Edmontonian has a place to call home.

Healthy Streets Operations Centre
The Healthy Streets Operations Centre (HSOC) in McCauley is a collaboration between numerous agencies. It provides a visible safety presence, engages with the community, and proactively addresses public safety issues in portions of central Edmonton communities. If you have any questions about the centre, you can connect with the HSOC Project Manager, Dallas Dyson, at dallas.dyson@edmonton.ca.

Summer Fun!
The Green Shack program is back this summer! Starting in July, kids can drop by to enjoy fun and free activities, including games, sports, crafts, music, drama and special events.

Boyle Street (in partnership with the YMCA), Neighbourhood Playspace at Boyle Plaza:
Tuesday July 4- Thursday August 24, 2023, 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

McCauley, Giovanni Caboto Park:
Tuesday July 4- Thursday August 24, 2023, 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

*In Closing *
If you’d like to stay up to date, please sign up for my newsletter at annestevenson.ca/connect or follow my social media accounts. You can reach out anytime at anne.stevenson@edmonton.ca or 780-496-8333.

I’m also looking forward to spending time enjoying Boyle Street and McCauley this summer (especially my daughter’s favourite parks at Boyle Street Plaza and Giovanni Caboto!) so please be sure to say hello if we cross paths!

Heart of the City Reboot

Establishing new beginnings.

Twenty years ago, members of Action for Healthy Communities, Bissell Centre, the Our Voice street newspaper, and the neighbourhoods of Boyle Street and McCauley got together to help inner city artists record and produce a CD showcasing the diverse musical voices within the communities. This CD, or rather project, was named “Patchworks” and would go on to inspire a daughter project entitled “Heart of the City.”

On June 12th, 2004, the first annual festival was held at Giovanni Caboto Park with 19 musical acts performing. The park hosted around 300 people that day, going up to 700 the following year. Heart of the City would continue to grow, adding free workshops, free activities for the whole family, and a second day of programming in 2010.

As we gear up for our 20th anniversary in 2024, the Heart of the City Festival Society (HOTCFS) has decided not to host our annual two-day festival in 2023. Instead, we intend on stretching the festival’s regular programming over the remainder of the year by hosting a series of events throughout our district. We have an almost brand-new Board of Directors and we plan to take this time to strengthen and reboot our organization while still upholding our mission to support and promote the artists and artisans in our communities.

We want to thank you, our community members, the Boyle McCauley News, all of the artists and creatives who have contributed to the festival thus far, and, of course, all of the board members and volunteers before us for their diligence over the years. HOTCFS would not be possible without the support and dedication of our volunteers and sponsors.

We will continue to update you regularly on our socials and website at www.heartcityfest.com, but, as always, you can reach us by email at heartcityfest@gmail.com with any questions and suggestions. We’re also @heartcityfest on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If you have any photographs or footage of previous festivals or any stories you wish to share, please do not hesitate to pass them along. We have something special in store for our 20th anniversary! Stay tuned.

Jakki is HOTC’s Producer and a member of the festival’s Board of Directors.

Let the Sun Shine

“Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s alright”- George Harrison (1943-2001), member of the legendary group The Beatles.

The first day of summer arrives with the solstice on Wednesday, June 21st. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Earth is tilting towards the sun.

Summer activities abound, such as festivals, concerts, and holidays. Perhaps you will have a vacation or a “staycation.” Maybe this can be a time to leisurely get to know our city and community!

You can have your own festivals right outside your door. Be creative – gather neighbours and explore. Our community holds a lot of significant history. Multiple generations of families have lived here, so there is always a story to tell!

Church Street (96th Street between 107th and 111th Avenue, formerly “Kinistino Street”) is considered historically significant and was visited by well-known people such as Pope Francis who was here last summer, and the cast of SCTV who filmed a segment there in the early ‘80s.

Even a nice relaxing afternoon in Giovanni Caboto Park across from the historic Italian Centre can make for a wonderful time.

Enjoy your summer – I know I will! And don’t forget to let the sun shine!

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

Meet With Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative

Problem Property Initiative Meet & Greet
Wednesday, June 14th, 2023
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Edmonton Intercultural Centre
9538 107th Avenue

This spring, Edmonton’s Problem Property Initiative (PPI) is hosting a series of Meet and Greets across north central Edmonton, where the highest number of problem properties exist. The final event will be held at the Edmonton Intercultural Centre in McCauley on June 14th.

Free for all Edmontonians to attend, these events aim to strengthen relationships with community members and increase awareness of the PPI’s long term strategy and increased resources to address problem properties.

Each Meet and Greet features a presentation and question and answer session, followed by an opportunity for community members to share their knowledge and experiences directly with the PPI team members working in their neighbourhoods. Several new public information resources will be available. Light snacks and refreshments will be provided.

On April 29th, 62 people from 14 neighbourhoods attended the first Meet & Greet that took place in Eastwood. Guests were invited to provide their feedback about the event and the information presented by the PPI. An overwhelming 93% reported that the event helped to increase their knowledge of how the City and its partners address problem properties; 86% reported that the event gave them confidence that the City had a good strategy in place to address problem properties; and 86% signed up for a newsletter to receive information about the PPI’s progress and future events.

*Resources and Contacts *
To learn more about the Problem Property Initiative, visit edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties.
To report a problem property call 311, contact 311 online or use the confidential reporting form at edmonton.ca/ProblemProperties.
To report an unsecured vacant property call 311 or email communitypropertysafetyteam@edmonton.ca.
For general inquiries or to engage directly with the Problem Property Initiative, email problemproperties@edmonton.ca.

Information from the City of Edmonton.

Latta Bridge Replacement Continues

Despite traffic interruptions, the benefits outweigh the inconvenience.

The Latta Bridge construction site as seen in early May. Leif Gregersen

The Latta Bridge (90th-91st Street on Jasper Avenue) has been closed since August 2022 to accommodate a bridge replacement project. The roadway will not re-open until fall of 2023 (estimated date). The resulting detour has presented some challenges for residents, visitors, the staff, students, and families at St. Teresa of Calcutta School, and the many others who use this section of Jasper Avenue to get to points east and west.

The new Latta Bridge is replacing a bridge built 87 years ago, in 1936. This is the third version of a small but important ravine crossing (see sidebar: First and Second Latta Bridges). Approximately 20,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. The approved budget of $19.7 million is intended to cover the cost of demolition, rebuild, the installation of a new bridge deck and shared-use path, and landscaping.

The contractor, PCL Construction, has had one notable setback to date. “In April a girder rolled onto its side and a new girder has had to be fabricated,” says Nicole Boychuk, communications coordinator, Integrated Infrastructure Service, City of Edmonton. “We will keep the public informed about any potential changes to the project timeline,” she adds.

The detour reroutes traffic, mainly on 92nd Street and north and south of St. Teresa of Calcutta School. Speed bumps and other traffic-calming measures are in place. “To address shortcutting concerns,” Boychuk says, “we worked with the Edmonton Police Service and the community. The safety of both residents and construction workers is a priority, and we’re continuing to monitor and adjust.”

This writer’s informal and unscientific survey of the impact on local residents, the school, and businesses suggests that the detour and changes to the ETS service are being taken in stride. Those who live near Jasper Avenue on the east side of 91st Street are enjoying the temporary lack of traffic noise, particularly the sirens of ambulances and fire engines. A small shuttle bus (#998) now runs between Jasper Avenue and the Stadium LRT Station every 12 minutes. The shuttle also connects with frequently running bus routes 2, 3, and 101 just north of the station.

As a result, transit trips might be even better than before. Riverside Towers resident Ernie Koch certainly thinks so. “After 60 years, I have the best, most consistent, and convenient services ever. The LRT takes us wherever we need to go. It goes often and quickly.”

Another local who drives is going with the flow. He says, “I have learned to avoid the detour route, especially during rush hour and drop-off times at St. Teresa of Calcutta School.”

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

First and Second Latta Bridges
The first Latta Bridge was built in 1911 by its namesake, David Latta, an early resident of Edmonton whose home was on Jasper Avenue just to the west of the ravine. This relatively primitive wooden structure served the needs of the time. As more motorized and larger vehicles started to use the bridge, it became necessary to make improvements. But the Great Depression of the 1930s prevented the City from moving ahead. Finally, in 1936 the second bridge was completed, made possible by the availability of relief workers receiving low wages – a form of social assistance – and by using a lot of recycled materials, including components left over from the construction of the High Level Bridge. Filling in the ravine was considered but the old coal mines discovered underneath the crossing caused a problem. (See the article in the October, 2017 edition of Boyle McCauley News and an entry in the Forgotten Edmonton blog.)

Kinnaird Bridge
Rehabilitation of the nearby Kinnaird Bridge (on 82nd Street just south of 112th Avenue) began on May 1st, 2023. One lane of traffic in both directions and one sidewalk remain open. This project, combined with the ongoing closure of the Latta Bridge, has led drivers to find new routes.

A Taste of the Philippines in McCauley

RJ Tasty Bites is another hidden gem in Chinatown.

The full meal spread at RJ Tasty Bites. Alan Schietzsch

RJ Tasty Bites
9711 107 Avenue NW
780-422-4186
rjtastybites@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/rjtastybites

While a great many of McCauley’s restaurants are visible on our famous Chinatown strip along 97th Street, there’s also more excellent food hiding just out of sight.

RJ Tasty Bites is a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall tucked inside a doorway just half a block to the west, kitty-corner from Lucky 97 or south across the avenue from Lee Garden Korean. At 9711 107th Avenue, it’s easy to get to by walking or bus, as well as having street parking right at the door.

Julia (the “J” in RJ) immediately welcomed us inside, with no reservations needed.When I mentioned that my spouse and I lived in the area and hadn’t noticed the restaurant before, she told us that they were attracted to the neighbourhood because of cost and location. Buying a restaurant space in McCauley beat other areas of Edmonton, while the central location made their delivery and take-out business so much easier than from other neighbourhoods.

Julia and “R” (her husband) had run a popular restaurant in the Philippines before settling in Edmonton, so they are able to offer an extensive menu of Filipino cuisine. Their clean and bright space is fairly simple with just a couple of larger tables for families and a few smaller tables for one or two. There was a brisk delivery and take-out business happening, definitely evidence of R’s cooking reputation in the Filipino community, which had spread through years of catering parties and weddings.

Combining Asian cuisine with Spanish empire influences, Filipino foods centre around combinations of sweet (tamis), sour (asim), and salty (alat). Popular dishes include adobo (vinegar and soy sauce-based stews), caldereta (meat stewed in tomato sauce and liver paste), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), pinakbet (veggies like kabocha squash, eggplant, beans, okra, bitter melon, and tomato as a stew, flavoured with shrimp paste), sinigang (meat or seafood with vegetables in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (deep-fried spring rolls).

We ordered the Beef Adobo, which we learned is a super-popular item. It was already sold out by the time we’d arrived! So Julia suggested the pork version. While it was cooking, we decided to try the lumpia (spring rolls) appetizer, which arrived in a small basket. The rolls were tight, golden, small and crispy and not at all greasy, awakening the appetite for more. The Pork Adobo came nicely seasoned and plenty meaty, with well-cooked chunks to dig the fork into. We also shared a Chicken Mami, shredded chicken pieces in a big bowl of noodle soup, served with green onions, roasted garlic, bok choy, napa cabbage and boiled egg. This soup (or the Pork Siomai and Beef Pares version) would make a great one-person meal, bringing to mind a Japanese ramen or Vietnamese pho.

Counterpoint is a feature in Filipino cuisine which normally comes in a pairing of something sweet with something salty or sour. For example, Puto, mildly sweet rice cakes almost like miniature cupcakes we were offered for dessert, each featured a surprise – a tiny decorative strip of salty and fatty processed cheese. It was a surprisingly tasty combination!

Stomachs filling from the hearty food, we noticed that RJ’s also served bubble tea as well as calamansi juice, sago, and summer coolers for drinks. Wanting to see what a Filipino bubble tea was like, we each ordered one, and were happy to find they were absolutely loaded with bubbles and jelly – tasty bites indeed!

The two of us enjoyed the tasty and very substantial meal, with two containers left over for the next day’s lunches, for about $50. And there’s so much on the menu that we couldn’t yet try, like the Silog rice meals and the Beef Pares. We’ll be back.

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

Edmonton Ramps Up Cleaning and Graffiti Removal to Boost Downtown Vibrancy

Chinatown north as seen in May of 2022. Paula E. Kirman

The Chinatown and Area Business Improvement Association publicly applauds the City of Edmonton for their recently announced sidewalk cleaning and graffiti removal initiative. It is the right “first step” to healing the downtown core and we know, we “were” the worst affected area in downtown Edmonton.

Edmontonians should know that Chinatown has a very comprehensive cleaning and graffiti removal program which we term the “Chinatown Solution” but it is much, much more than graffiti removal and power washing sidewalks: it involves our entire community. Over the past six weeks we have made great strides improving Chinatown with a simple “homegrown” solution that also works to alleviate some of the unique problems that face Chinatown, namely houselessness, social disorder, and large-scale encampments. We made a very conscious choice when designing our “Chinatown Solution” to partner with Hope Mission and employ individuals from Hope’s recovery program to power wash Chinatown’s sidewalks, to squeegee all storefront windows, to remove garbage, and so much more. This has provided dozens of people the opportunity to re-enter the work force, and regain a sense of pride and community belonging.

This program has exceeded all of our expectations and we are now expanding its scope. In light of the City’s recent focus on cleaning and graffiti removal for downtown, our “Chinatown Solution” is a model that other communities should consider following. Our success is measured with our results and we have seen exceptional results with increased vibrancy, a strong community partnership with all residents of our community and, of course, a very clean and welcoming Chinatown. The new Chinatown has been noticed by shoppers and our repeat visitors as well as by our residents and shop owners. Everyone wants to have a sense of pride in where they live and where they work; it is human nature and the Chinatown Solution has moved the needle in a very positive direction. We welcome all of Edmonton to come and see for yourself. We could not have accomplished this without the benefit of the Alberta Government’s Civil Society Grant which started us on this path, the dedicated work of Hope Mission’s staff, and the wonderful people in their recovery program. We wish you continued success and Chinatown is proud to be a part of your journey.

The City’s graffiti removal and cleaning program is a powerful “first step” in the right direction, but downtown Edmonton and Chinatown still have much work to do before we see a full recovery. I want to let Edmontonians know that there is hope and if the hardest hit area like Chinatown can resolve the bad stigma of unkept streets and blowing garbage while lifting others to rejoin our society, then the downtown core can surely do the same.

Stephen Hammerschmidt is the Chinatown and Area BIA’s Director of Economic Recovery.

Gabriela Mistral Latin American School (GMLAS)

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 Intercultural Centre (EIC) would like to welcome Gabriela Mistral Latin American Society (GMLAS) as the newest Tenant Partner operating in the EIC Facility.

The Gabriela Mistral Latin American School was founded on October 9th, 1987 by a group of parents and teachers who sought to maintain and promote the Spanish language and Latin American culture among their children. It is a non-profit organization which relies solely on the efforts and generosity and support of each one of the members of Edmonton’s Latin American Community.  

The school counts on an energetic group of dedicated teachers. Their aim is excellence in teaching Spanish through literacy, language, dance, music, and culture. Those are some of the reasons why, at their school, learning Spanish is fun! 

The school has an enthusiastic student community including children, families, volunteers, and adults wishing to learn Spanish and enjoy the Latin atmosphere that permeates the school.  

At Gabriela Mistral, everybody is welcome! 

For more information about GMLAS, please visit their website at www.gabrielamistralschool.ca

Information provided by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre.

June-July 2023

Welcome to our June-July issue. We hope you enjoy our presentation of community news and events.

If you are part of the online world, we also publish stories in between our print issues at our website: bmcnews.org. You can also subscribe to our free e-newsletter there. It is delivered directly to your inbox when we publish a new issue.

This community newspaper would not function without the efforts of our volunteers who write, photograph, proofread, deliver, sit on our board, and help at our casinos. Speaking of casinos, our next one is scheduled for some time between January and March of 2024. Our casino is our biggest fundraising event. Although the date might seem like a long time in the future, it’s never too soon to let us know if you’re interested in volunteering for a shift (or two). For this, and any other volunteer-related questions, send me a message at editor@bmcnews.org.

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 operation 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.

Have a wonderful start to your summer. See you again in August.

High Hopes in Perilous Times

By the time many of you read this, another provincial election in Alberta will have come and gone. What changes the election may (or may not) bring are not yet known, since I am writing this in advance of voters heading to the polls. No matter what the election results are, I have some high hopes for the future, despite the grim few years behind us.

I hope that healthcare stays public and is properly funded so that people won’t have to start paying to see a doctor or to have a medical procedure, and that people won’t have to experience long wait times, especially to treat critical illnesses.

Further to the above, I hope that healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, and everyone else involved in caring for patients, are treated with the respect they deserve, so that they will stay here and not be compelled to move to another province.

I hope that housing is a priority and that the unhoused will have access to safe, affordable homes. After all, if someone is housed, issues like mental health or addiction are easier to address.

Like the healthcare system, I also hope that education stays public and is funded properly to keep the teacher to student ratio reasonable and that supports are in place for students with special needs. I also hope that the curriculum being taught is developed by experts in education and includes both sound knowledge and values that reflect a diverse and inclusive society.

Frankly, all of these hopes should be unquestioned aspects of reality in a well-functioning society. The problem is that we haven’t functioned very well for a while now. My biggest hope is that those in power will do better, and that the rest of us will hold them accountable.

Weaving Threads of Hope

New transitional housing in the west end offers help to those in immediate need.

Whether we are housed, unhoused, tenting, or just driving through Boyle Street and McCauley, we are affected by the visible weight of homelessness and the wait for positive shifts in this continuing crisis. It’s been a hard winter with the devastating impact of frostbite, the shigella outbreak, fires, and deaths. Housing Outreach Teams at Bissell Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, and others actively engage with those sleeping rough. They work tirelessly to connect them with community resources and housing options, while Homeward Trust coordinates the city-wide responses.

One additional thread of hope opened in late January, thanks to partners like the Jasper Place Wellness Centre, the Tallcree First Nation, and the City of Edmonton, which invested $7.5 million from its Sustainability Fund. The Bedfort Inn on 155th Street and Stony Plain Road provides a transitional space for those in need of immediate safe lodging. Fifty-nine separate rooms equipped with a mini-fridge, microwave, and bathroom offer steps towards improved health and affordable housing. There are also daily meals plus mat spaces in the former banquet hall.

Homeward Trust reports that 45% of those seeking safe, affordable housing identify as women. Separate rooms with private bathrooms are especially valued by women. CEASE staff can refer women fleeing trafficking and exploitation to the Bedfort. The Safety Network Coordinator (identity protected) works with ALERT Human Trafficking Counter Exploitation Detectives. One woman felt her only option was to return to her trafficker. When she was offered a spot at the Bedfort, she took it! Knowing that she had a safe place to stay for 90 days where she could regain her autonomy and connect to a housing worker lifted her hopes.

Maureen Reid, CEASE Coordinator, asked a woman she had referred to the Bedfort about her experience: “Oh my goodness, I finally had a safe bed to sleep in after being homeless for four months. The stress immediately left me and the first night I slept nine hours straight, and I was warm! The staff were extremely kind to me and I felt really supported and cared for. The housing support worker was so helpful with my move and helped me with getting food and furniture.”

Maureen said, “As a staff person, this is a tremendous resource gift and a very gratifying experience working with the JPW staff to help participants reach their goal of finding a safe and affordable home”.

There are many other hopeful stories emerging from these 59 rooms. These stories strengthen us all. But, will this be a last chapter? The original funding expires May 31st.

Kate Quinn is the Executive Director of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE). She lives in McCauley.

GAPSS Hits the Streets of McCauley

From left, Yasushi Ohki (community guide) discusses the concept of “narrow streets” with Peter Kosowan, Daniel Witte, Dezmond Coyes, Jamie Yakimets and Stephen Yakimets. Sheila Thomas

On March 9th, the Geography And Planning Students’ Society (GAPSS) hosted a walking tour of McCauley, focusing on innovative ways to improve the well-being of a neighbourhood. Although GAPSS advocates for students at the U of A, Daniel Witte, VP of events, says “anyone who is interested in these topics is also welcome to join.” The tour was expertly guided by Yasushi Ohki of Green Violin, a non-profit community development company. The following is a partial summary of the outing.

Dependant on zoning approval, Green Violin wishes to construct three small cottages, named Base Camp, on a single lot located at 10718 92nd Street. Along with its mission of building innovative spaces, Yasushi insists, “all Green Violin’s projects must be economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.” The objective is to continue with designs that are best received by a community.

Nearby, at the juncture of 107a Avenue and 92nd Street, Yasushi directs attention to a neighbourhood icon that had served as a corner store. A City of Edmonton program hopes to revive these community hubs through a system of grants for qualifying applicants.

The history fans among the group were treated to the story of the “jailers’ homes.” These are the tiny houses that were built for staff working at the Alberta Penitentiary that used to stand where the stadiums are now. More than a century old, the remaining few are identical to each other in their unique architecture. Sadly, not one is registered as an historical resource, running the risk of disappearing forever. Jamie Yakimets, a U of A student studying towards a degree in planning, suggests that “they could be turned into mini museums, focusing on the jail and the construction of the homes.”

As the tour moved through McCauley’s alleyways, Yasushi discusses the concept of “narrow streets” and why we needn’t feel afraid to walk these routes alone. He visualizes the transformation of garages into cafes and small shops, creating a safe and welcoming environment for community gatherings.

During the tour, Yasushi pointed out three properties owned by the Edmonton Community Development Company. The ECDC is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with communities to purchase and dispose of derelict residential and commercial entities, then rebuild or transform them into safer, family-friendly properties. An excellent example is the Piazza Plaza. This site now has more community-minded commercial tenants. Peter Kosowan, a graduating business student, says of the ECDC: “Seeing the residents come together like this really showcases the importance of our neighbourhoods across the city and the role they have to play in promoting urban vibrancy.”

Daniel encourages community members to contact GAPSS with event ideas as it is “a really good way to broaden our horizons and bring value to our members.” He can be contacted at GAPSS@ualberta.ca.

Sheila is semi-retired from the hospitality industry and is an Edmonton history enthusiast.

Spring Streets

Before the bloom
of leaves and gardens
rain must provide refreshment
for the awaking environment

Days extend while nights dim
as icy conditions abate
and snowbanks deplete
the glow of snowlight retreats

The air is light
as are the jackets
anticipation is on the rise
with plans to hatch a surprise

Festival season draws near
there is a call for patios and beer
new opportunities await
to mingle and associate

Jon is an aspiring researcher and writer. He believes everyone has creative abilities.

Subscribe to our newsletter

News from the neighbourhood delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up and stay in touch!