Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • April 2020 • Circulation 5500

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Crisis and the Neighbouring Effect

Seeing all the good will in our city and our neighbourhood is encouraging, heartwarming, and has been fundamental to an ongoing sense of well-being through the COVID-19 crisis. It has been a reminder that when trouble hits, the ability for us as neighbours to contact each other can be among the most valuable assets we have.

The first assets in a crisis are neighbours. In fact, it turns out that your neighbours have everything to do with your well-being in a crisis. Your neighbours and their collective extended connections determine how well and how fast a community will recover.

Often before agencies arrive, there are neighbours. Neighbours check on the well-being of others nearby and provide immediate lifesaving assistance. Following the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns, survivors in Japan indicated that many of the elderly and infirm were saved from the incoming tsunami not by their own actions, but by the assistance of neighbours, friends, and family.

The more connected the neighbourhood before a crisis hits, the stronger its ability to bounce back. Resilience describes the collective ability of a neighbourhood to deal with stressors and efficiently resume the rhythms of daily life through cooperation following shocks.

As a community league we want to thank those people who we know are caring for their neighbours. Our “collective ability” depends on ensuring that no one falls through the cracks. As we move through, and past, this frightening and uncertain time, we as a community league want to ensure that every neighbour knows who on their block they would call if they needed help.

In Boyle Street, this means having one person or a group of neighbours on most blocks who might take the responsibility or be the point person to organize their block. If you would like to know who to call on in the event that you may need help please be in touch. If you would like to assist on your block, also be in touch.

Article submitted by the Boyle Street Community League.

Boyle McCauley News Editor an Expert at Working From Home

COVID-19 caused thousands of workers to leave their offices and begin working at home. They struggled with the change. “How do I maintain a routine?” they asked. “How do I avoid the temptation to spend the day in pyjamas, and how do I cope with feeling isolated?”

Paula Kirman, editor of Boyle McCauley News, has never lived the 9 to 5 office life. So when Edmonton Journal reporter Tom Murray contacted her, Paula was ready and willing to offer advice. As just one example, “Set boundaries with the people in your life. Between this hour and this hour, I’m working.”

The story, published on March 21, included a large photo of Paula in her doorway, holding her laptop, and wearing her uniform of a plaid shirt and jeans. Why in the doorway? She and the photographer, Shaughn Butts, agreed that he should not come into her house and that they should maintain social distance.

McCauley Writer An Open Book About His Mental Health

McCauley’s Leif Gregersen is a prolific writer and poet. Much of his work is autobiographical, dealing with his mental health and experiences with medications and the system. His latest book, Alert and Oriented X3, is about a hospitalization in 2019.

“The book is about a psychosis I went through (a breakdown which includes loss of contact with reality) as a result of a simple change in my medications,” he says. “I was given the change in medications in the fall of 2018, and by the last day of January 2019, I was literally certifiable.”

The book is not just a narrative of what happened. Leif includes poetry, observations from others, and even clinical notes from his nurses and doctors. “Some of this book was written while I was in the hospital. There are around 30 poems in it that were handwritten, which I pasted into the book and to which I added my own commentary. There are also introductions (family impact statements, if you will). I add in such things as essays and poetry from a time when I was not ill, and other things like an appendix for mental health services and a glossary of terms. Lastly, I added in my actual clinical notes from my nurses and doctors,” he explains.

“I am hoping that just about anyone with a family member who has a mental illness, professionals who work in the field, and, certainly, people who have mental illnesses themselves will read this book and find comfort in it,” says Leif of his intended readership.

Leif’s writes candidly about his personal experiences throughout his collection of 12 self-published books, which include autobiographies and poetry collections. “I feel one of the ways I help others with mental illness is by being open and honest about it. It is not a shameful thing to get sick, and I really feel that attitudes towards mental illness need to change,” he says. “If more people were able to talk about mental illness when I was younger, I wouldn’t have lost years of my live being in denial and feeling ashamed about having schizoaffective disorder.”

In fact, writing helps Leif, who also does in-person teaching and speaking engagements, deal with his mental health. “It is something that takes my time and energy, and also something I greatly enjoy doing that allows me to have productive and meaningful days. I never feel worse than when I let a day go by and I haven’t engaged in something I love doing. I also love writing because it gets me out in the public teaching others about what I have learned and what I have experienced in public talks through the Schizophrenia Society and in the classes I teach in places such as Prosper Place and Alberta Hospital,” he says.

Readers can order the paperback version of the book directly through Leif, or through Amazon. The eBook version of Alert and Oriented X3 is available as a free download from Leif. You can reach him at viking3082000@yahoo.com. His website is www.edmontonwriter.com.

Our Ever-Changing Times

There is an old Yiddish saying that roughly translates to: “People make plans and God laughs.”

Whether or not you believe in the Almighty, the last couple of months have been a rollercoaster of change leading most of us to make adjustments in our lives that are unprecedented. From working at home, to having the kids home from school (when the school year is still on), to limiting when we leave our homes, where we go, and with whom we physically associate is testing our resilience, patience, and, in some cases, our relationships.

The speed at which everything is changing is also stressful, requiring quick adaptation. When our previous issue of Boyle McCauley News went to the printer, we were just hearing about the first cases of COVID-19 in Edmonton. Within days of the paper hitting the streets, all events were cancelled and we were being asked to stay at home as much as possible. From there, we have seen schools and businesses close, the number of people that can attend gatherings drop dramatically, and everyone being asked to practise social distancing and not to leave home unless absolutely necessary.

As I write these words in late March (at my home office, in between washing my hands), I have no doubt that by the time you are holding this issue in your hands (or reading it online) we will be experiencing even more changes to our lives. This community newspaper can hopefully make people feel less isolated and bring us together – even though we have to be apart.

May 2020

Welcome to our May issue. You may notice the paper is smaller than usual. This is a result of all of the community events scheduled to take place since publishing our previous issue and our deadline for this one, being cancelled. Still, we have important community news and updates for you.

Our micro-donation campaign is in full swing. We need your support more than ever so we can continue bringing the community together. Committing to a small monthly donation can help us out a lot. Head to bmcnews.org/donate for more information.

While we still plan to do another raffle this year, COVID-19 has changed our plans since we currently can’t be to be out and about selling tickets. We are also looking into changing the prize from a trip to cash. We’ll let you know when we have more details.

Our new and improved website has launched. Visit bmcnews.org to check it out.

Finally, if you use Facebook or Twitter, we’re on there as bmcnews. On "Instagram":https://www.instagram.com/bmcviews, we’re bmcviews.

Stay safe and stay well!

McCauley Writer is An Open Book About His Mental Health

The cover of Alert and Oriented X3. Supplied

McCauley’s Leif Gregersen is a prolific writer and poet. Much of his work is autobiographical, dealing with his mental health and experiences with medications and the system. His latest book Alert and Oriented X3 is about a hospitalization in 2019.

“The book is about a psychosis I went through (a breakdown which includes loss of contact with reality) as a result of a simple change in my medications,” he says. “I was given the change in medications in the fall of 2018, and by the last day of January 2019, I was literally certifiable.”

The book is not just a narrative of what happened. Leif includes poetry, observations from others, and even clinical notes from his nurses and doctors. “Some of this book was written while I was in the hospital. There are around 30 poems in it that were handwritten, which I pasted into the book and to which I added my own commentary. There are also introductions (family impact statements, if you will). I add in such things as essays and poetry from a time when I was not ill, and other things like an appendix for mental health services and a glossary of terms. Lastly, I added in my actual clinical notes from my nurses and doctors,” he explains.

“I am hoping that just about anyone with a family member who has a mental illness, professionals who work in the field, and, certainly, people who have mental illnesses themselves will read this book and find comfort in it,” says Leif of his intended readership.

Leif’s writes candidly about his personal experiences throughout his collection of 12 self-published books, which include autobiographies and poetry collections. “I feel one of the ways I help others with mental illness is by being open and honest about it. It is not a shameful thing to get sick, and I really feel that attitudes towards mental illness need to change,” he says. “If more people were able to talk about mental illness when I was younger, I wouldn’t have lost years of my live being in denial and feeling ashamed about having schizoaffective disorder.”

In fact, writing helps Leif, who also does in-person teaching and speaking engagements, deal with his mental health. “It is something that takes my time and energy, and also something I greatly enjoy doing that allows me to have productive and meaningful days. I never feel worse than when I let a day go by and I haven’t engaged in something I love doing. I also love writing because it gets me out in the public teaching others about what I have learned and what I have experienced in public talks through the Schizophrenia Society and in the classes I teach in places such as Prosper Place and Alberta Hospital,” he says.

Readers can order the paperback version of the book directly through Leif, or through Amazon. The eBook version of Alert and Oriented X3 is available as a free download from Leif. You can reach him at viking3082000@yahoo.com. His website is www.edmontonwriter.com.

Postponed and Cancelled Events

This is a list of events in McCauley and Boyle Street that are being postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. It will be updated on a regular basis.

Last updated: March 19, 2020

  • The McCauley Community Rink is now closed for the season.
  • All Inner City Rec and Wellness drop-in programs are closed, including those held at Boyle Street Plaza and Bissell.
  • McCauley Dog Walkabout (scheduled for March 19) – Postponed
  • Lana Whiskeyjack art exhibit grand opening at Câhcacêp Art & Tea House (scheduled for March 21) – Postponed
  • Edmonton Intercultural Centre Family Movie Night (scheduled for March 21) – Cancelled
  • GLOW lantern workshops and parade (scheduled for March 21) – Cancelled
  • McCauley Community League Annual General Meeting (scheduled for March 29) – Postponed
  • Coffee with a Cop (scheduled for April 7) – Postponed

From Homeward Trust:

These events are cancelled until further notice:

  • Indigenous Gathering – March 23
  • Homeless Count – April 7 and 8
  • Homeless Connect – April 26

Safer McCauley March Update

PROBLEM PROPERTIES, ACTION PLAN: – POSTPONED
City Council, Urban Planning Committee Meeting
Monday, March 16th, 1:30 p.m.

In consultation with community, the City of Edmonton Problem Properties Initiative has reviewed its practices and developed a new action plan. The plan will be presented to City Council’s Urban Planning Committee on March 16th. All are welcome to attend, and to register to speak. To view the action plan click on the meeting agenda link below, then click on “addendum.”

Meeting agenda: http://sirepub.edmonton.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=2655&doctype=AGENDA

Request to speak: http://coewebapps.edmonton.ca/rqspeak/

Online Reporting: Community members can now report a problem property confidentially online:

https://www.edmonton.ca/residential_neighbourhoods/report-a-problem-property.aspx

MCCAULEY DOG WALKABOUT: – POSTPONED
Thursday, March 19th. Meet shortly before 7 p.m. at Giovanni Caboto Park fountain.

Knowing our neighbours, and being present together outside our houses increases vibrancy and safety in McCauley. Join neighbours and fellow dog-lovers for a monthly 30-minute “pack walk” in McCauley. All are welcome. Bring your family and friends. Dogs are optional! We’ll explore a different area of our neighbourhood each time out.

NEEDLE CLEAN-UP:

Boyle Street Ventures (BSV) now picks up stray needles from private property. Barring any change to funding, this service is available free of charge, Monday to Friday (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m.-noon). Community members can call BSV at 780-426-0500 for service. Calls to 311 requesting needle clean up on private property are now referred to BSV. Capital City Cleanup continues to respond to calls regarding needles on public property. Crews from BSV and the Mustard Seed are proactively cleaning up needle debris throughout McCauley on a regular basis.

Needle boxes: We continue to encourage community members to practice safe needle disposal. If your household requires a free sharps container, please let me know.

COFFEE WITH A COP – POSTPONED

The Coffee with a Cop event tentatively scheduled for April 7th is postponed. The deployment of the EPS Downtown Division Beats Team is currently being redesigned. Upon the completion of that redesign, we will reschedule an opportunity for community members to engage with our local EPS members.

EDMONTON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, SURVEY:

The Edmonton Community Development Company wants to hear you thoughts on the best possible use of the Paskin Site at 95 Street and 106 Avenue. Access their survey here: https://fs29.formsite.com/K9Ys0y/McCauley-Paskin-Site/index.html

Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca.

Be Nice - Clear the Ice!

A dangerous sidewalk in McCauley. Joanne McNeal

The City of Edmonton’s Community Standards Bylaw 14600, Section 7, requires all property owners to clear all snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to properties they own or occupy as soon as possible after a snowfall ends. They say that means down to the bare concrete. We need to do this so other people can walk SAFELY on the walks in front of our houses. Sometimes it is not easy, with the repeated snow, freezing rain, and thawing which turns to ice. Areas below downspouts are the worst, as the ice builds up.

Several products can help get the snow and ice removed: salt, sand, small rocks, gravel, or mixtures of these, in addition to shovelling or pushing it aside. Free sand is available at the McCauley Rink.

As a dog-walker I am terrified of falling on some of our sidewalks that are covered in ice and/or snow. Some residents pay someone to blow the snow away, but that does not work with ice. The whole purpose of clearing the snow is so people can walk safely on our sidewalks. So please do your part and clear the ice from the sidewalk in front of your home. Thank you for keeping your walks safe.

Property owners who are not compliant with keeping our sidewalks safe and free from ice and snow can receive a $100 fine, as well as the costs for the City Contractor to clear the sidewalks. A huge thanks to those who do keep their walks clear. It is really appreciated by those that walk our neighbourhood daily. Thank you.

Joanne McNeal is a senior in McCauley who is a daily dog walker.

Safer McCauley Mini-Update

PROBLEM PROPERTIES

A Safer McCauley Community Conversation in May 2019 kickstarted a series of developments leading to a shift in the city’s approach to problem properties. The Problem Properties Initiative team has met several times with a group of community members to better understand their concerns and collect input on how to more effectively deal with problem properties. The team has reviewed its practices and developed a new, more aggressive action plan. Administration will present the plan to City Council’s Urban Planning Committee on March 16. It will be publicly available two weeks prior.

A confidential online problem property reporting form is now available: https://www.edmonton.ca/residential_neighbourhoods/report-a-problem-property.aspx

For some background regarding the evolving Problem Properties Initiative: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dY1ANkpjkHT1-eOxaNi51Jqfjggzr-U-y3Gz1Zq5Ncc/edit?usp=sharing

RESOURCE CONNECT 2020
Feb 28 (10am to 4pm)
Santa Maria Goretti Centre (11050-90 St)
All welcome. Free of charge. Drop in anytime

Are you interested in learning about Edmonton’s community of social agencies – many of which are located in McCauley? If so, please consider visiting Resource Connect 2020. 90 organizations representing 24 service sectors will gather to share information about their programs and services. This will be a great learning opportunity for volunteers, students, newcomers, job seekers and community-minded individuals.

Stay tuned for updates regarding the McCauley Dog Walkabout, the McCauley Litter Squad, Coffee with a Cop, and back alley beautification.

Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca

Can Urban Gardening Reduce Food Insecurity?

Maybe a bit, for a brief season each year.

Operation Fruit Rescue’s micro-orchard between 95th and 96th Streets along 107A Avenue, by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre. Paula E. Kirman

I really wanted to write an article about how community gardens, patio planters, and re-growing veggies from grocery store cuttings would help people living on a low income to access a healthy, cheap food source. The thing is, it’s not nearly enough. People need access to healthy, affordable food year-round, and in a place like Edmonton, having a green thumb is not the key to food security.

Please don’t misunderstand: I love gardening. Pulling a bright orange, crunchy sweet carrot out of the earth is a special pleasure that I hope everyone gets to experience. Trading a zucchini for some ripe tomatoes with the lady down the street feels like winning the lottery. Seeing butterflies and bees snooping around our flowers makes me feel like some kind of eco-hero – I’m helping the pollinators, hooray for me!

I know that there are skilled people who are able to grow vast amounts of in very small spaces, who dehydrate and can and make jam and stock up for the winter. I grew up with a cold storage room filled with jars of cherries, peaches, tomatoes, dill pickles, and bins of apples and potatoes that lasted until the new year. I regret not learning those skills, thinking them old-fashioned at the time. I also know that the circumstances of my life are not a good match for the time and effort required to prepare and preserve large quantities of food. I have lots of changing to do before I will be in a position to invest that much energy in growing and using my own food. I also know that people on severely limited incomes have even less time, energy, and supports to produce their own food.

I am privileged. I have enough resources and support to accomplish many things with few barriers. And still I find it hard to amass enough veggies to feed my family for more than a couple of weeks! Expecting people on a low income to invest large amounts of time and effort to provide fresh food for themselves as an alternative to accessing fresh food from our food system is not a reasonable expectation.

Please, join a community garden and fill your planters with gorgeous blooms. Hold workshops to learn how to preserve food. Practice meal planning and host collective kitchens. Celebrate and share in the abundance of the harvest with friends and neighbours. This is how strong communities are built. Just don’t expect poor people to grow a garden instead of receiving a living wage, purchasing healthy food, and participating as full members of our society.

Kathryn is the Manager of Community Development, Housing & Mental Health Division, with e4c.

A New Podcast, First Aid Training, and a Parade

Street Prints artist, Sherien, poses with her flying saucer created for the GLOW Festival. Mike Siek

Keep Moving Podcast
Rebecca recently had a conversation with a co-worker who was advocating for a shift in the way society views people experiencing marginalization. The focus has been heavily on services, on offerings, on numbers. However, the reality of the situation is that people are people, not labels, not numbers, and certainly not just clients. Every individual facing barriers to participating in society is more than the sum of those barriers. If we take a shift towards getting to know people, their strengths, and their challenges, if we had the resources to work more in a relational approach, we’d help more people feel like they belong and help them access the skills to overcome societal barriers.

This is something that the Inner City Recreation & Wellness Program has a unique opportunity to do and exactly what the new podcast, Keep Moving, is trying to capture. Keep Moving is a show about the leisure lives of some of Edmonton’s most marginalized community members and the effects of gentrification of the downtown core. The podcast aims to provide a platform for individuals facing barriers to tell their stories, humanizing community members by highlighting the dynamism and depth of each person’s story, while challenging and reducing negatively-viewed labels. Keep Moving held a launch event this month at The Grizzlar. The event was also the release of the Underground City Project recordings. Underground City is a youth-focused music initiative that brings to life the collaborations of youth experiencing marginalization, another platform for community members to advocate for their stories to be heard and seen.

Community-Focused First Aid
Boyle Street Community Services is holding a Community-Focused First Aid session, in partnership with the YMCA Boyle Plaza and the Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program, on March 27th. This course came about in response to several incidents of violence that occurred in the vicinity in 2019. These events resulted in the loss of one community member and the serious injury of another. Their friends and fellow community members reported being there, witnessing it, and wishing they could have done more to help. It is also a common occurrence that community members are together in the event of an overdose, and programs like Street Works have played an invaluable role in educating community members on overdose prevention training.

With the common fluctuation in winter temperatures, chances of overdose, and possibility of injury, there is an obvious need to provide access to basic first aid information to the community. On March 27th the first session will be held in the Willow room at YMCA Boyle Street Plaza location from 3-5 p.m. Please call Rebecca at 587-337-9860 to sign up. The training is free of charge, does not finish with a certification, and is open to all community members. More sessions will be held in the Bissell Centre on April 9th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Anyone over 18 is welcome to join!

GLOW Lantern Parade: EVENT CANCELLED
March 21st is the Spring Equinox, which means Quarters Art Society is orchestrating another Community Arts Lantern Parade in celebration of the coming season. This year’s theme is magic, and community members of all sorts will come together to create illuminated paper lanterns to carry together on the evening of the Equinox. Inner City Rec. team members brought workshops to the Boyle Street Drop-in, Bissell Community Space, and Boyle Street Plaza during the launch of Fresh Routes, a mobile grocery store that graces the YMCA every Thursday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

These workshops, held throughout the community in the lead-up to the festival, generate a myriad of beautiful and diverse lanterns, created by community members from all walks of life. As such, some of the lanterns that arrive at the event cannot be carried by their creators, and are instead carried by those who show up to the parade to be involved at the last minute. This connection between artists and parade-goers highlights the connections that can be made through art and community engagement. This year’s Glow Community Arts Lantern Parade will be held at Quarters Arts’ new facility CO*LAB (9641 102a Avenue), with lantern workshops starting at 3:00 p.m. on the day of the event (March 21st).

Rebecca Kaiser and Mike Siek are Program Coordinators with ICRWP.

Safer McCauley: Updates and Events

Problem Properties
In May 2019, a Safer McCauley Community Conversation hosted the Residential Living Governance Committee (RLGC) to speak about its work addressing problem properties. That meeting kickstarted a series of developments that have led to a shift in the City’s approach to the long-standing issue.

At an October meeting of City Council’s Urban Planning Committee, the RLGC was instructed to develop a more aggressive action plan, in consultation with members of communities most affected by problem properties. City Administration has since met several times with a group of community members to better understand their concerns and collect their input on how to more effectively deal with problem properties.

Amongst community members’ concerns are the need for 1) improved public communication, 2) accessible reporting mechanisms, 3) ongoing public engagement, 4) a meaningful role for community in developing solutions, 5) a sustainable long-term strategy, 6) a clear definition of what constitutes a problem property, and 7) improved enforcement of existing legislation.

The Problem Properties Initiative team has reviewed its practices and developed its new action plan. Administration will present the plan to the Urban Planning Committee on March 16. It will be available to the public two weeks prior. A confidential online problem property reporting form is online – go to edmonton.ca. and search “report a problem property.” Please see page 10 in this paper for a City bulletin regarding the Problem Properties Initiative.

Needle Debris
Needle debris is also a concern in McCauley. Safer McCauley has convened 16 organizations to co-design improved responses to the concern. The meetings have produced positive outcomes.

Boyle Street Ventures has confirmed they will pick up stray needles from private property. Service is available Monday to Friday (9 a.m. – 4 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. -noon). Community members can call Boyle Street Ventures at 780-426-0500 for service. This service is currently free of charge, barring any change to funding. Calls to 311 requesting needle clean up on private property are now referred to Boyle Street Ventures. Capital City Clean Up continues to respond to calls regarding needles on public property.

Crews from The Mustard Seed and Boyle Street Ventures proactively clean up needles on public property. Talks are underway to expand this service, bring more organizations into the work, and co-design a coordinated model.

If your household requires a sharps container for safe needle collection, please contact me directly. Safer McCauley currently has containers available free of charge. Used containers can be dropped off at MINT Health Church Street or an Eco Station.

*McCauley Dog Walkabout *
(next walk March 19th)
The Walkabout promotes presence, connectivity, vibrancy, safety, and health. Please consider joining your neighbours for a 30-minute “pack walk” through our community every month. A new route is explored each time out.

These events are great ways to test out possibilities for promoting safety through vibrancy, cleanliness, and beautification.

Coffee with a Cop
(next event April 7th at Zocalo – EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED)
Coffee with a Cop brings community and EPS together to build relationships and share information. Join Downtown Division Beats for coffee and learn about recent changes to their personnel and deployment.

McCauley Litter Squad
The Litter Squad is a collective community approach to addressing loose garbage. One-hour “litter blitzes” are organized in coordination with City of Edmonton Big Bin Events and the MCL-E4C Annual Community Clean Up. Trucks circulate on these days to pick up unwanted large items free of charge. Stay tuned for event dates.

Vibrancy
A March 2019 Community Conversation brought stakeholders together to discuss possibilities for positive street-level activities. The McCauley Community League, McCauley Revitalization, and Safer McCauley subsequently partnered on a back-alley activation party. That partnership is now discussing an alley beautification event, involving building and installing flower boxes. These events are great ways to test out possibilities for promoting safety through vibrancy, cleanliness, and beautification.

Thank you for taking an interest in the well-being of McCauley. Consider getting involved. Reach out to your neighbours. Follow Safer McCauley on Facebook to learn about events and engagements. And, don’t hesitate to share your ideas with me directly.

Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca.

City Update on the Problem Property Initiative

Problem properties are an unfortunate reality in many cities. Problem Properties are magnets for crime and disorder and are often neglected, in disrepair, and, in some cases, unsafe. They represent a significant risk to the well-being, community safety, and vibrancy of any city. Addressing the complex issues associated with problem properties requires the participation of community, city and provincial governments, multiple agencies and the private sector. The need for a multi-pronged approach is particularly important when addressing chronic, long standing problems that adversely impact neighbours, tenants, and communities.

In response to increasing community concerns, the Problem Properties Initiative team recently spent three months reviewing its existing approach and from this, has developed new strategies and action plans to more effectively address problem properties. More than 65 actions or ideas were identified, including 11 directly from community representatives.

Since October 2019, City of Edmonton staff has met with a small group of community representatives to begin the process of better understanding individual and community concerns. Significant effort has and is being made as to how to best gather community input and ideas to effectively address problem properties. Key community concerns identified were:

  • better communications
  • easier reporting
  • ongoing public engagement
  • a meaningful role in solution development
  • a sustainable long-term strategy
  • a clear definition of what constitutes problem properties (including criteria and where to report)
  • thorough and faster enforcement of existing legislation.

The City of Edmonton’s Administration has identified six major themes that capture action plans, broader tactics and overarching strategies:

1. Enforcement strategies
2. Resource allocation
3. Administrative / process improvements
4. Data analytics
5. Enhanced communication
6. Housing development, redevelopment and improvement

While the majority of action plans are short to mid term, the development of a problem properties long-term strategy was identified by community members, partners, and City staff as a top priority. Over the next year, the Problem Properties Initiative, in collaboration with community members, City staff, stakeholders, and partners, will move forward to implement action plans and finalize a longer-term strategy.

Information from the City of Edmonton.

Tony’s Tummy Gets Tricked!

Meatloaf burger and tater tots. Tony Forchetta

Pêche Café #101, 10255 97th Street
780-249-2137

I was hanging with a buddy last week and we’d missed lunch. I know, right? How did ol’ Tones miss that? Anyway, someone had mentioned that there was a new lunch spot across from Canada Place called Pêche Café. It says that it is “Plant-Based” and your buddy Tony has been around a lot of plants. The cement plant, the tile plant, etc. You get the picture – and the food around them plants is always good on account of lots of hungry folks eating there all the time. So, we figure this is a great place to go.

We walk in and there’s a few tables of folks and a giant picture of a peach painted on the wall. “What’s wit dat?” I wonder. They’ve got a cooler full of sandwiches and drinks, a decent coffee maker, and a kitchen with cooks in there. So we have a look at the menu – well, Mamma Mia! There’s a ton of stuff – calzones, sandwiches, burgers, and even brunchy stuff.

So, my buddy gets a cheeseburger calzone and yours truly orders the Meatloaf Burger. Because I love that meatloaf! We grab a couple drinks from the cooler – I got a Peach Ice Tea (there it is again, peach!) We cop a squat to wait for the food. The place is bright and open with a simple kinda café feel, so old Tony likes it right away. Food comes right out and man, is there a ton of it. Tasty tater tots surrounding a huge meatloaf burger with melted cheese, onions, lettuce, and sauce on a nice, fresh soft roll. My buddy’s calzone is stuffed and oozing tasty goodness. Now this is real plant-based chow! The meatloaf is thick and tender, with lots of flavour, and the tots are perfect and crunchy. Buddy’s calzone is served with a side of chipotle dip that has him running for the water fountain. And a half an hour later I’m pushing the plate away with a few tots left. I couldn’t do it. The bill for the two meals and drinks came in around $40, but worth every bite.

As we head out to the truck my buddy says to me, “That was pretty good vegan food, eh?”

I stop dead and says “What? What do you mean vegan?”

He says “It’s all plant-based!”

I says, “You mean plant like begonia or zucchini? Not plant like cement?”

He smiles. Darn. Fooled again. So, if you’re in the mood for a change and want to try something new like your buddy Tony always does. Get ya butt over there to Pêche Café. Maybe you can figure out what the deal is with all the peaches.

*Editor’s Note:* In case you haven’t already figured it out, pêche is French for “peach.”

Tony lives in McCauley.

Keeping Up the Fight

I wrote an article back in November about a number of residents dealing with problem properties. I endeavoured to capture the sentiment of those who were on the frontline and had taken the initiative to speak to the City’s Urban Planning Committee.

Since then, the City appears to have taken this seriously. Through a motion from Ward 6 Councillor McKeen, City Administration staff has begun looking closely and intently at actually dealing with the issue. Now, for the record, a large part this has come from the community not only in McCauley, but Alberta Avenue and Parkdale Cromdale. Problem properties, while not exclusive to McCauley, are a problem across the city to varying degrees. The classification of what constitutes a problem property is varied, as are the impacts on residents and business. But for the case of our focus I was concerned about the safety, happiness, and general well-being of the community.

The existence of many problem properties has stemmed from the lack of housing options and barriers for some to enter into safe and affordable housing. This is a failure by government (municipal, provincial, and federal) to support and develop housing options and ensure people have access regardless of their circumstances. I heard through conversations that, in some cases, Bylaw Enforcement and others related to the Residential Living Governance Committee (RLGC) were reluctant to issue closure orders against a property because those involved didn’t want to put people on the street. They, in effect, would rather leave them in a roach-infested building with no functioning plumbing at the mercy of whatever evils than see them on the street.

But know this: there is strength in numbers and we are legion.

I call BS. We’re supposed to look back to the City and say, “Your failure to provide adequate and safe supportive housing means people have to die?” Unacceptable.

The City is developing housing strategies; we’re waiting for the City’s Housing and Homelessness group to make some announcements. Edmonton’s Community Development Corporation (ECDC) has made an effort to get involved, and we applaud them. Now is the time to walk the talk. I’ve expressed confidence in the City’s administration to actually act on promises is low. This is a chance to get it right and set an example for the rest of Canada, and perhaps North America, of what can be done when you think outside the box. I have been told that for the first time perhaps the City will “aggressively” attack this issue.

So, now we wait and see. As the snow melts and the Province has put all their money into rebuilding the Herb Jamieson, can the City actually move the needle? – pun intended. As always, I remain cautiously optimistic. But know this: there is strength in numbers and we are legion. Reach out, talk to your neighbours, email or write council, your MLA, and your elected officials. Tell them we’re watching and taking note.

Greg is the President of the McCauley Community League. He can be reached at league@mccauleycl.com.

Little Italy Lego Competition Sparks Creativity

Kids from all over Edmonton brought their colourful creations to the Italian Centre for fun and prizes.

Teresa Spinelli

The Viva Italia District Association was pleased to hold its first Annual Little Italy Lego Competition on February 10th at Spinelli’s Bar Italia. With prizes of up to $250 in Little Italy gift cards, we had kids from all over Edmonton bring examples of their Lego building brilliance: Leaning Towers of Pisa, Roman Coliseum Scenes, perfect Pantheons of Rome, and one very cool robot.

The tribunal of judges had a difficult time making their choices, but after much deliberation and tabulation they selected three winners in the ages 5 to 10 category and three more in the ages 11-16. Congratulations to Antonio, Benjamin, and Kiev; and to Myles, Daphne, and Carson. We hope that you have fun spending your winnings in Little Italy and we look forward to seeing you all, and your Lego, again next year.

Special thanks to Greg Brandenburg of McCauley Revitalization for sourcing our prizes and venue.

Photos by Teresa Spinelli.

Danny Hoyt is the Development Coordinator, Viva Italia District Association.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year

Paula E. Kirman

The Year of the Rat was welcomed in Chinatown on January 26th. The outdoor program featured a Dragon Dance from the Hong De Cultural and Athletic Association, a Lion Dance from the Ging Wu Martial Arts and Kung Fu Association, speeches from various dignitaries and elected officials, and the lighting of the firecrackers. The event was organized by the Chinatown and Area Business Association with support from McCauley Revitalization. Around 1,000 people attended the event. This year, there was also an indoor program at the Ukrainian Federation Hall on 98th Street with a variety of entertainment.

Photos by Paula E. Kirman

Mobile Grocery and Tax Preparation Help at Boyle Street Plaza

Fresh Routes Mobile Grocery Store

Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at YMCA Boyle Street Plaza, 9538-103A Avenue.

Healthy affordable food including veggies, fruit, eggs, bread and dry goods.

Cash, Credit and debit accepted.
Bring your own bags.
Open to all community members.

Make Tax Time Pay

The Boyle Street Plaza is offering FREE tax preparation for individuals that might have a financial barrier to having them done otherwise. There are income thresholds people will need to be under:

Family Size and Max. Income

1 person – $35,000
2 persons – $45,000
3 persons – $47,500
4 persons – $50,000
5 persons – $52,500

Additional Person: + $3,000

To make an appointment please contact the YMCA Boyle Street Plaza, Front Desk at 780-426-9265.

New HOTC Board Members!

Let’s give a big “hip hip hooray” to the new Heart of the City Board for 2020-2021! Jakki Duttenhoffer is stepping into the President’s role, and we know she’ll do a great job!

Next, we have long-standing – and super creative – Corine Demas as Vice-President, and Valorie Squires will be in charge of “our treasures” (a.k.a. as Treasurer).

We even have two brand new members! A mighty welcome to Sarah Seburn and Jenny Tsang. It sounds like they both have done a lot in the arts community, and we’re thrilled to have them join!

Lastly, it just wouldn’t be Heart of the City without the return of Mike Siek, Faytima Goble, Sebastian Barrera, and Elizabeth MacEwan.

Charity Slobod is past-president of Heart of the City, and current Community Liaison for the festival.

Edmonton Intercultural Centre Events

Location: 9538 107th Avenue

EVENT CANCELLED:
Saturday, March 21 – Family Movie Night
5:00 p.m. – Missing Link (USA)
7:00 p.m. – Like Father, Like Son (Japan)
Free admission. Popcorn and concession items for sale,
featuring Turkish cuisine

Saturday, April 25 – Family Movie Night
Follow us on Twitter @YEGIntrcltrlCtr or
on facebook.com/YEGIntrcltrlCtr/ to help choose the next
movie lineup!

To See or Not To See: A Meditation on the Year 2020

The visual acuity Snellen chart
is a typographical work of art,
a column of capitals crowned with an E
normal eyes can see at 200 feet.
If you can read line 8 in an exam,
D E F P O T E C, you pass.

This year for 366 days,
the first time ever, everyone who sees
has 2020 vision 24/7
without the aid of a chart or Snellen.

As Oedipus discovers, his demise:
the truth is invisible to the eyes.
King Lear divides his realm for flatterers,
rejects the wrong one of his three daughters.
The Duke of Gloucester’s eyes gouged out on stage:
a metaphor for our electronic age.

A smart phone’s become a hand prosthesis;
the screen, a bright bauble, does hypnosis.
Charts measure the acuity of eyes,
but can’t tell us what is true and what lies.

Gary Garrison is a McCauley resident and the former Chair of the Board of _Boyle McCauley News. This poem was written in January to kick off a project he calls “Twenties Aplenty: the 20/2020 Trifecta”, which Gary explains, “basically plays with the fact that every month this year we have a date that includes three 20s. Like today, 2/20/2020. I simply couldn’t resist working up some poetry based on all those 20s.”_

EndPovertyEdmonton Has a New Executive Director

Erick Ambtman. Sharon Pasula

Edmontonians had an opportunity to meet the incoming Executive Director for EndPovertyEdmonton in the gym at the YMCA Welcome Village, Boyle Street Plaza, on Wednesday, February 19th. Erick Ambtman has a long list of accomplishments, particularly for a young man under 40. He is a member of the Edmonton Police Commission, the out-going Executive Director for the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers, and a former Executive Director of the Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Calgary, Rocky Mountain House, Red Deer, and Fort McMurray. He is also an alumnus of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40, the current vice-chair of the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, and a board member of Edmonton’s Vital Signs Committee. He holds degrees from the U of Manitoba and the London School of Economics.

Ambtman confessed, in spite of the fact he has spoken widely, that he was nervous and scared at the podium. Nevertheless, he seemed genuine and sincere in his comments. Personally, I gained some hope for movement in this area after his brief speech. This in spite of the fact I don’t agree with him.

He apparently believes, “that as a community we have what it takes to end poverty in a generation.” However, we will always have poor people. Trying to eradicate poverty is admirable, but the reasons for the ills in society will not be fixed by mere mortals, as spiritual issues are at play beyond the scope of created beings.

Nevertheless. I appreciate his question, “How many people have we taken out of poverty?” I look forward to seeing his influence.

What really encouraged me, however, was the brief history of the Edmonton Police Service given by Deputy Chief David Veitch who had introduced Mr. Ambtman.  Deputy Chief Veitch explained the changes in the approach to policing in Edmonton over the years and the reasons for them. Currently, the model is Community Safety and Well-Being. I was quite impressed with the apparent efforts of the EPS to address community law enforcement.

Sharon Pasula is an Indigenous spiritual and cultural resource person who lives in Boyle Street.

Spring Cleaning

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”- Charles Dickens (English writer, 1812-1870)

March is a month of the in-between: it’s not quite winter, but not yet spring. March could also be known as a “to do” month, including income tax, spring cleaning, storing away our winter wear, and anticipating longer daylight!

If spring cleaning is one of your plans, agencies are always in need of donations like clothing and small household items. Donating works two ways: it helps you declutter and helps those in need. The Edmonton Donations Program (www.edmontondonations.ca) is a great resource to find agencies needing support, including locations of donation bins and how to schedule pick-ups.

Spring cleaning happens outside the home as well. As the snow melts, we start to see remnants of winter debris. Try to keep walkways free of clutter. Even sweeping a walkway in front of your home or business is great for accessibility for those who use mobility aids. However, never strain yourself. Neighbours and friends can always help. In my building we arrange a community clean-up and volunteer in our capacity to clean the surrounding area. You can turn cleaning up into an enjoyable event!

So, while the weather can be unpredictable in March, remember that spring is just around the corner!

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

Connecting Neighbours

When I told my neighbours on the Promenade in Oliver that I was moving to Boyle Street, they said I was going to “skid row.” This community is so much better than that. The majority of people in this neighbourhood have always been friendly and helpful to me. My next door neighbour shovels my walk in winter and mows my lawn in the summer. If I’m out first, I do the sidewalks in front of our three houses. My neighbours recognize that as a senior, I’m not as strong as I used to be. Perhaps many of you who live next door to an older person can help them out with lawns and sidewalks too. If you have a neighbour who is frail, you can offer to check in by calling them daily at the same time to make sure they are okay.

Boyle Street has a real sense of community. My very first month here, strangers off the street were helping me with yard work. Ours is a diverse population of many races and creeds, and we seem to get along well.The Sahaba Mosque down the street opened their doors to the homeless during the really cold spell we had. There are formerly homeless people who help me with maintenance and repairs on the house. As homeless and under-housed people trudge down our alleys, perhaps we can hire them to do odd jobs. Boyle Street Community Services also operates a social enterprise called HireGood, where vulnerable people can be hired for cleaning, junk removal, snow removal, and property maintenance. They offer special rates to the elderly or disabled.

The vulnerable people in our neighbourhood are not a burden – they are a resource. Let’s make this a community where no one is left behind. Let’s make sure that everyone is safe and fed. There is food being passed out by the Mission on the SW corner of 95th Street and 103A Avenue, for those who don’t have money to shop in a grocery store. For those of us on a budget, there is fresh food every Thursday from 3-5 p.m. at the Boyle Street Plaza. As the community comes into its own, we now have a great farmer’s market in the old Army and Navy building. I hope that those who can afford to, shop at the market to support the vendors who sell locally-made goods.

Many of you were invited to join the social networking site Nextdoor, as I was. I’m glad I joined. People are watching out for each other. I had a chance to borrow a meat grinder from another Nextdoor member so I could grind up beef fat to put out for the birds. People are buying/selling things and offering services.

Let’s all look for ways to connect to our neighbours. When you’re in a grocery line-up chat with the people around you. Any time you’re standing around waiting, start out with a compliment to the person next to you and see if they are interested in a conversation. Above all, let’s be kind to each other.

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.

For the Love of Boyle Street

In the winter of 2019, my partner and I moved into our home in Boyle Street. I knew a number of people in the neighbourhood, as one often does, but the connections were loose. I had yet to exchange a “hello” with the people who lived on either side of me. In fact, having previously lived in apartments, I had never seen the neighbours to my right. This was not unusual, as we had come from Oliver to the west of downtown and are well acquainted with the hustle of urban life. 

Living in urban spaces, especially apartments, while amenity-rich, can be isolating despite being intimately connected through shared spaces, tight corridors, and thin walls. Despite being so full of life, the blocks of our cities can be the loneliest places on earth. As do others, I often address this pang for connection through commitments outside the sphere of my neighbourhood, connections based on interests and similarities rather than proximity.

However, Boyle Street has nearly 7000 folks within a five-minute walk of my little door. Certainly, it is not for lack of diversity that I remain unconnected. Over 35 percent of our homes in Boyle Street have more than one language spoken within. I know that we are a generous mix of students at MacEwan, the U of A, and NorQuest. We are office workers with such short commutes it’s brag-worthy, condo-dwelling singles, couples, retirees, newcomers to Canada, artists, and a long-term few who are lovingly restoring the historic homes peppering our streets. I live in Boyle Street very intentionally, and I long to share this experience with others – just like I would share a great meal. 

Boyle Street is already a livable, walkable, urban community. Boyle Street works because it offers access. The River Valley, downtown cultural institutions, MacEwan, Chinatown, and Little Italy are all a quick bike ride or easy walk away. What I long for is not the neighbourhood of my dreams – it’s a collective Boyle Street experience. It’s a group of people to share it with. 

City builders and urban planners have much to say about this concept of shared connection and shared experience. Urban renewal activist Jane Jacobs’ concept of “eyes on the street” offers one often-referenced safety benefit of connection. However, in addition to safety benefits, surveys find that connected neighbours are more politically engaged, have better physical health, and that optimism and life satisfaction can actually be reliably enhanced. 

Luckily, there’s growing awareness of the power of connection and lively streets, along with efforts to make neighbourhoods across Edmonton look more like ours, by introducing programs to add more infill development within close proximity to quality public transit, amenities, and services. There is also substantial investment in Asset Based Community Development programs like the Abundant Communities program that provides neighbourhoods with resources to intentionally weave together the skills, gifts, and abilities of residents. 

So how do we connect with each other in Boyle Street? The answer lies partially in amplifying the diversity of approaches already working. As neighbours, we can invite others to participate in activities that we wish to share or would love to lead (volunteering, knitting, dog-walking, mountain biking, game watching, or perhaps eventually sharing meals). As well, the Boyle Street Community League should, as a core responsibility, encourage and facilitate connection between neighbours.

Social media is one way to spark connections in a winter city. Boyle Street is already connected on Next Door and Facebook, and over the coming months we will be encouraging neighbours to connect with the hashtag #BoyleStreetSocialClub on whatever platforms you already use. The Community League will be sending invitations for a free membership in March, along with information on membership benefits and activities going on in our neighbourhood.

If you can, I encourage you to download Facebook and Nextdoor, to share and watch for ways to connect with your neighbours through your Boyle Street Social Club: 

Go to Nextdoor at:” https://ca.nextdoor.com”:https://ca.nextdoor.com and use Invite code: LQPPRJ

Go to Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/BoyleStreetCommunityLeague
 
Jonathan Lawrence (Twitter: @Jonathanlaw_ ) is a Boyle Street Community Member and serves on the BSCL Executive Team.

The EPS Fitness Test

As McCauley residents, we unfortunately need to interact with the Edmonton Police Service from time to time. In my experience, officers are kind, professional, hardworking folks engaged in trying to make a difference in our community. When I started to question my current career path, I realized I wanted to find more meaningful and fulfilling work. I decided to explore the possibility of joining the EPS.

The EPS has an eight-step application process. Each step must be completed before you can advance to the next. For my 42 year-old body, step three, The Fitness Test and its evil cardio component, was where I stalled out.

The Alberta Physical Evaluation for Police, or A-Prep, requires medical clearance before you can participate. There are two parts: A pursuit/restraint circuit that requires you to run up and down stairs, scale a five foot fence, wrestle a 75 pound machine, compress an arm restraint simulator, and drag a 150 pound dummy 15 metres. All this must be accomplished in under two minutes and 10 seconds while wearing a 16.5 pound weight belt. After I attended an orientation and some practice sessions, this didn’t seem easy but with some added weight training it was doable.

Part two of the A-Prep was the real problem: the Leger (or beep) test. You are required to reach Level Seven of the test, which involves running a 20 metre shuttle before each beep sounds. Supposedly, at the beginning you are at a relaxed jog with nine seconds for each 20 metres, with beeps getting closer and closer together so that by the time level seven is reached, you have only 6.55 seconds between beeps. When completed, you will have covered 1220 Meters in 7.49 minutes, including 52 stops and turns. I would describe myself as more of a St. Bernard than a Greyhound: cardio is not my go-to exercise.

I hired a running coach (a.k.a. my father, who was a hotshot runner in his day and willing to be paid in hugs) who constructed a five month running plan to get me up to speed. On my first pathetic attempt at the Leger, I barely got to level 0.7. Fact: at five foot three, running 20 meters in nine seconds is not a relaxed jog. I had a long way to go!

My neighbours can attest to my running up and down our block all summer long. I ran as much and as far as I could, including an empty room in my office building that was exactly 20 metres long. Slowly, I improved. By the time I was invited to do the test I could reach level 5.9. I was hoping adrenaline would carry me the rest of the way at crunch time.

The day before my test, I put a wood gouge through my index finger (a wood carving class fail is the short explanation), but it was too late to reschedule the test. Even if I could have, I had put in so much time and energy into my training that nothing was going to stop me. I showed up with a bandaged hand and tried to stay positive.

Even if I could have, I had put in so much time and energy into my training that nothing was going to stop me.

On test day, I was one of three females in a group of 25 mostly men in their 20s, which is intimidating when being measured for physical fitness. Women tend to weigh less, be shorter, and have smaller hands than men, so the fitness requirements can be a lot more challenging. I was way outside my comfort zone, having never played sports or participated in any sort of military adjacent activity (I was also, predictably, the oldest person in the room).

The pursuit/restraint circuit went okay, despite the too-loose weight belt jostling around my torso, until the arm restraint simulator. The simulator requires 32 pounds of grip strength per hand to operate. My swollen hand refused to cooperate, so I had to repeat the step a few times before I was successful. This cost me time I didn’t have to spare. I finished the circuit at two minutes and 28 seconds – 18 seconds too slow. By this time, my hand was dripping blood, so at least it looked like I had an excuse. Since I failed the circuit, I did not advance to the Leger. Despite my months of training, I was really relieved.

Will I do the test again? I don’t think so. My aversion to running is probably a good sign that the 28 weeks of recruit training would be miserable for me. It’s nice to know that the EPS has very high standards (by contrast, the RCMP and Ontario Police have done away with fitness testing altogether) but I think easing the focus on physical fitness a little in lieu of life experience, community connections, and individual skill sets would help with diversity within the EPS. After all, someone will never have to pass the Leger test again.

Lindsay Brommeland is a McCauley resident of 14 years who will try anything once.

Forging Hope

Joanna Gladue speaks of the need to prevent sexual exploitation of Indigenous girls and women. Kate Quinn

It started with a hope. Rachel Quinney, a young Indigenous woman, shared with her family that she hoped to go to NorQuest that September. Sadly, in June of 2004 she was brutally murdered. In their deep grief, her family worked with CEASE and NorQuest to establish a bursary called “Rachel’s Hope.”

Years later, the light of hope still burns. Since 2006, the Rachel’s Hope bursary has disbursed $277,835 to 115 students. Eighty-four began by academic upgrading. Completing upgrading is both a confidence-builder and a door-opener to jobs or further education. Nineteen carried on to a post-secondary career program.

Thirty-one additional recipients began their NorQuest journey in a post-secondary career program. A total of 50 students have done a post-secondary career program, and 88% of them enrolled in a health and/or community studies program. These include Social Work, Community Support Worker, Practical Nurse, Health Care Aide, and Physical Therapy Assistant.

Education is key to creating pathways of hope. Edmonton’s Sexual Exploitation Working Group hosted a Lunch & Learn at NorQuest on February 7th. Joanna Gladue, a practicing psychologist with the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) and CEASE, presented the ongoing challenge to “Prevent Sexual Exploitation of Indigenous Girls and Women.” Afterwards, members of Rachel’s family spoke. Another mother described how her daughter had nearly died as a result of a knife attack. Her daughter shared how the bursary helped her become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) with a job in the hospital Trauma Unit where she had recovered.

Rachel’s Hope Endowment is $78,330, earning around $4,000 per year to disburse. In addition, there is an “Expendable Balance” of $35,932 with the annual disbursement ranging from $17,000 – $40,000. Thanks to several recent donations, the expendable bursary fund will extend four more years. The Stollery Family Charitable Foundation donated $25,000. An anonymous donor will add $12,000 into the fund for each of the next three years (total $36,000), and a generous couple contributed an additional $25,000.

“When a Rachel’s Hope recipient enters a career path of service, whether it be a health career or community studies career, that bursary is not only helping the student but also helping the community on an exponential scale. Rachel’s memory will live on through the service careers that our students choose to follow,” said Tanya Horvath, NorQuest Scholarships and Bursaries Advisor.

Donations to either the Endowment or the expendable bursary are always welcome. This helps NorQuest, CEASE, and Rachel Quinney’s family keep building hope. Readers can view the presentation on Reach Edmonton’s YouTube channel.

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

What is Boyle McCauley News?

A reflection from a community resident and volunteer.

When I moved to Boyle Street seven years ago, I occasionally picked up a copy of the Boyle McCauley News at Zocalo. At first it seemed to be of little interest. It featured a lot of stories about ice rinks and solar panels and community gardens – even poetry! And that didn’t really fit into my idea of a newspaper.

Gradually, though, I became more immersed in my new surroundings. I regularly visited the Italian Centre and Chinatown. I attended fabulous events like the lantern festival organized by Quarters Arts and the annual Viva Italia, Viva Edmonton (now Fiesta Italiana) festival in Giovanni Caboto Park. I surfed the net to find out more about Alex Taylor School, the Ernest Brown building, and other historic places in the area.

In other words, I started to care about and understand the richness of my new surroundings. Then the Boyle Street Community League, then led by Candas Jane Dorsey, suggested that I write some stories for the paper. That turned out to be a lot of fun and a learning experience.

A while later, I attended the semi-annual pizza night that the Boyle Street McCauley Community Newspaper Society holds to thank its volunteers. What other organization does that? At that event, Editor Paula Kirman and Board Chair (at the time) Gary Garrison got me to fill out a form to apply for membership in the society.

One thing led to another, and now I am on the society’s board. I am still learning about the very strong sense of community among the people this newspaper serves. Perhaps you are the same. If so, you may be interested in the sidebar to this story, which outlines the vision and goals of Boyle McCauley News.

Vision Statement
The Boyle Street McCauley Community Newspaper Society aims to foster a greater sense of community by acting as a forum for community views, information and individual opinion. As a catalyst for community development, the newspaper can help residents participate in the inner city milieu.

Goals

  • To regularly publish a (non-profit) community-orientated newspaper to serve the diverse needs of the Boyle Street and McCauley residents.
  • To be a vehicle, through which community organizations can inform local residents of their services and activities, providing opportunities to be involved in the neighbourhood.
  • To be a voice for residents who wish to express their concerns, interests, and ideas.
  • To report on local issues and events that occur in the community or are of community interest.
  • To work cooperatively with the local businesses regarding advertising services and points of interest.
  • To be a community-based newspaper which strives towards financial self-sufficiency and which functions through the use of volunteers.

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

Hope Springs Eternal

Some of us look forward to spring with hope. We anticipate a time of rebirth and renewal.

Yet over the past while it’s been hard to feel optimistic. Cuts to public services have threatened our health care and education systems by affecting nurses, teachers, and other front-line workers who care for our children, the elderly, and vulnerable. Many of these same public sector workers have been bringing in a steady income while their tradesperson spouses were laid off. The bottom line is: austerity will not bring back the oil and gas industry to its former glory.

Some are feeling despair, while others fear what the future holds. Rather than give in to fear or despair, we can still have hope. We can work together for a better community, city, and province. We can share our voices about what matters to us and our families, and take action to ensure our future.

For some, that means putting on our marching shoes and hitting the streets. For others, it means getting involved with political campaigns for parties and candidates that share their values. It can mean writing letters to the editors of newspapers, engaging in discussions on social media, and even one-on-one conversations with friends and family members.

After all (and I know I have said this before), changing the world starts with changing the world around you. That change can start with a glimmer of hope this spring, and always.

Become a Block Carrier

Boyle McCauley News is still looking for Block Carriers for the following routes:

Route 1
North: 111 Avenue
South: 110A Avenue
East: 96th Street
West: 97th Street
15 papers

Route 2
101a Avenue on both sides of the street between 95th Street and the alley, including drops to EICHS #8 and Alex Taylor School. 50 papers.

The time commitment is 30 minutes to an hour for each issue, depending on the length of the route. Papers will be dropped off at your home.

If you are interested in any of these routes, contact editor@bmcnews.org.

Reading the Table

Food-focused book club coming to the Downtown Farmers Market in May.

Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market. Stephanie Ould

Are you an avid reader who is interested in food? Then you’re in for a treat. Boyle Street resident Virginia Durksen and her team are planning a regular gathering of book people at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market (in the old Army and Navy building on 97 Street).

Date and time: May 16 or 17 (Saturday or Sunday morning; to be determined: For more information, email “vdurksen@gmail.com”:mailto:vdurksen@gmail.com.)
Place: Upstairs at the EDFM, 10305 – 97th Street.
Free parking; everyone welcome.

Possible topics include books or writing about growing, sourcing, preparing, and celebrating food. But participants will have extensive input into the direction the group will take.

As a starting point, Durksen notes that a whole raft of food-related writing is available in our own backyard, including but not limited to cookbooks. Just recently in Edmonton, for example, these titles have been published:

Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup: The Inspiring Life of Chef Gail Hall (Twyla Campbell)
Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism and the Fight to Feed the World (Trina Moyles)
Food Artisans of Alberta: Your Trail Guide to the Best Locally Crafted Fare (Karen Anderson and Mathilde Sanchez-Turri)

Other possibilities are works of fiction featuring recipes and/or a focus on restaurant menus, cooking at home, and so forth. Nora Ephron’s Heartburn comes to mind. It includes several excellent recipes: one is for the key lime pie she smashed into her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s face.

Durksen hopes these regular meetings will have an active relationship to the market itself. Snacks and beverages for these meetings will be self-catered … and of course are readily available at the market. And who knows? Some market vendors might be willing to provide food information that is relevant to the club’s discussions.

For more information, send an email to vdurksen@gmail.com. Or watch for news at https://visible-ink.ca.

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

April 2020

As we approach spring, we’re looking at new ways of keeping our community newspaper sustainable. If you would like to support independent, local, community journalism, we can now accept online donations through PayPal. Even committing to a small monthly donation of $2 can help us out a lot. You can find more information about our micro-donation campaign elsewhere in this issue, or just head to bmcnews.org/donate.

We still plan to do another raffle this year. Information will be posted on our website and social media as soon as we have the details, as well as in print.

Do you want to help the paper by volunteering? We still have several Block Carrier routes up for grabs. Contact me at editor@bmcnews.org for more details. You can also reach me there to discuss writing or taking pictures for the paper.

Have you checked out our website lately? Visit us at bmcnews.org for current features and web exclusives. Our refreshed website should be launching any time now – possibly by the time you read this.

Finally, if you use Facebook or Twitter, we’re on there as bmcnews and on Instagram we’re "bmcviews”:https://www.instagram.com/bmcviews. Follow us!

Positive Developments in Addressing Needle Debris in McCauley

Needle debris was identified as a concern by McCauley community members. Safer McCauley has convened 16 organizations to collaborate and co-design improved responses to the concern. Two meetings have taken place. We would like to share some positive outcomes with you.

  • Boyle Street Ventures has confirmed that they will pick up stray needles from private property. Service is available Monday to Friday (9am to 4pm) and Saturday (9am to noon). Community members can call Boyle Street Ventures at 780-426-0500 to access service.
  • City of Edmonton’s 311 has adjusted its script to reflect the above-mentioned service. Calls to 311 requesting needle clean up on private property will be referred to Boyle Street Ventures. Capital City Cleanup will continue to respond to calls regarding needles on public property.
  • The Mustard Seed and Boyle Street Ventures have crews proactively cleaning up needle debris on public property in McCauley. A conversation is underway to expand this service, to bring more organizations into the work, and to co-design a coordinated model for the work.
  • We continue to encourage community members to practice safe needle disposal. If your household requires a sharps container, please let me know.

Safer McCauley would like to recognize the following partners for their valuable contributions to the ongoing conversation: 24/7 Crisis Diversion, Alberta Addicts Who Educate and Advocate Responsibly, Bissell Centre, Boyle McCauley Health Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, City of Edmonton’s Capital City Clean Up, Edmonton Police Service, George Spady Centre, McCauley Community League, McCauley Litter Squad, McCauley Revitalization, Mustard Seed Street Works, and Ward 6 Councillor’s Office.

Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca

Classic Cherry Dump Cake

Easter season is often a time of great treats: chocolates, candy, and sweet desserts. When you are preparing Easter lunch or dinner, there’s sometimes not enough time or space to add a baked dessert. With a traditional dump cake you can quickly bake this simple dessert the night before.

A dump cake is essentially a cake that has a base of two main ingredients: cake mix and fruit pie filling that can easily be “dumped” into a baking pan in layers. The recipe I’m sharing with you has only five ingredients, all of which can be found at any major grocery store.

This cake can be stored in the fridge for several days. Not recommended for freezing.

Ingredients:

  • 21oz Cherry pie filling
  • 20oz Crushed pineapple (undrained)
  • 1 pkg (432g) moist yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • ½ cup shaved almonds

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a 9×13 baking pan, dump the crushed pineapple including the juice. Spread it along the bottom of the pan.
  • Next, add the cherry pie filling. Spread it across the top of the crushed pineapple.
  • Then, evenly add the dry cake mix across the top of the cherry pie filling.
  • Next, sprinkle the almonds across the top.
  • Place the butter into the microwave until melted. Spread the melted butter evenly over the cake mix.
  • Next, place the baking pan into the oven and bake ingredients at 350 degrees for 50 -60 minutes. Once fully baked, it should be browned and bubbling on top.

Let cool and serve with ice cream if desired.

This cake can be stored in the fridge for several days. Not recommended for freezing.

Yovella is a former resident of McCauley who still works and volunteers in the area.

Mercury Opera Presents La Boheme at The Citadel

McCauley-connected Mercury Opera presents an immersive La Boheme at The Citadel’s intimate Rice Theatre March 5th, 6th, 7th – March 12th, 13th, 14th, 2020.

En route to Off Broadway, NYC, the Edmonton-based Mercury Opera previews their take on Puccini’s timeless story about youth, love and loss, La Boheme, at Edmonton’s landmark theatre company The Citadel, where 2019’s Tony award winning Hadestown found its Broadway legs. Transplanting the action to 1979 New York City, when disco, drag, punk rock, and poets converge, the tale asks the ultimate question: Is. Love. Enough?

A writer, an artist, a drag queen-come-musician, and philosopher/hip-hop artist room together as they try to make their living creating art while navigating their tumultuous relationships.

Staged in Edmonton’s prestigious Citadel’s intimate Rice Theatre (AKA The Club) as part of their new Heart and Hub initiative, the production stars American tenor Glenn Seven Allen as Rodolfo alongside soprano Kate Fruchterman as Mimi. The two join a hand- picked cast from here and afar as well as conductor Martin Yazdzik to tell the tale of Puccini’s beloved tearjerker.

About Mercury Opera

Mercury Opera’s award winning director and founder Darcia Parada established the company in NYC 1999 and “delights in messing with the public’s perception of opera. Her often site specific shows have inhabited, the Rideau Canal, a riverboat on the North Saskatchewan, a commuter rail platform, a circus tent, the famed Coney Island Circus and Sideshow, a legendary strip club, the home of the Badlands Passion Play, a saloon, and even more recently a downtown Diner.”

Information submitted by Mercury Opera.

Calling All Boyle Street Neighbours

Transience is one of the words that best describes Boyle Street. While the term often evokes images of struggle and instability, the constant movement of projects and people are part of what makes this neighbourhood an interesting place to live, and an exciting place to be a volunteer.

Needless to say, the rapid rate of change keeps us, as Boyle Street community organizers, on our toes. Because our area’s population is on the move, there are peaks and dips in our volunteer base.

In the near future, we will be seeking volunteers for our board of directors. Board members commit to regular participation in our monthly meetings and are willing to chip in on ad hoc leadership tasks. In addition to formal leadership roles, we have volunteer opportunities in the areas of administration, programming, and communications.

We are looking for people who

  • Live in Boyle Street. If you are east of 97 Street, west of 84 Street, south of the LRT tracks, and north of the river bank, that’s you!
  • Take pride in calling Boyle Street home, and are passionate about seeing the neighbourhood thrive.
  • Have with a creative vision for Boyle Street – present and future.
  • Are committed to Truth and Reconciliation, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Will advocate for the interests of all neighbours: renters, homeowners, and people in-between addresses who call Boyle Street home.

Our mission as a community league is to strengthen community ties in Boyle Street through civic advocacy and grassroots initiatives that serve to unite our diverse neighbourhood behind a distinct and positive community identity. If you can get behind that, connect via our website: boylestreet.community. Any questions? Send us a note at info@boylestreet.community.

Join our movement.

Joelle Reiniger is Vice President of the Boyle Street Community League.

Get Social:

  • Sign up for Next Door, a neighbourhood networking app to stay in touch with your neighbours and the local issues Boyle Street residents are talking about.
  • Follow the Boyle Street Community League Facebook page for updates on community news and events. Keep an eye out for details on upcoming neighbourhood meet and greets at our favourite places.

McCauley Cup 2019

Back row, from left) MP Kerry Diotte, Councillor Scott McKeen, and MLA Janis Irwin drop the puck for EPS Chief Dale McFee (front left) and a young hockey player. Supplied

The annual McCauley Cup friendly hockey game between Downtown Division police officers and area kids, took place on December 28th. Here’s a look at some of the fun.

Photos by Dan Glugosh

Winter in Little Italy

A full wagon led by tour guide Colleen Chapman. Paula E. Kirman

Another successful Winter in Little Italy was organized by the Viva Italia District Association on December 8th, 2019. Hundreds of people came from all over the city to enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides, free hot chocolate at Zocalo, roasted chestnuts prepared by the Associazione Giovani Italiani di Edmonton (Italian Youth Association) outside the Italian Centre, and crafts and activities at Studio 96 from the McCauley Community League. McCauley Revitalization was also a partner in the event. Here’s a look!

Photos by Paula E. Kirman

Food Security in Boyle Street and McCauley

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. (World Food Summit, 1996)

With Chinatown on one side and Little Italy around the corner, our neighbourhood is a pretty delicious place to be. However, we have many neighbours who can’t enjoy the treats available at local eateries because even their most basic food needs are not being met due to lack of affordable, healthy food.

There are already many people and groups working to improve food security in Boyle Street and McCauley, and I hope to share most of the available local programs here. There is a lot happening across Edmonton, but I am going to stay focused on the hyper-local: just our two neighbourhoods.

Please help to keep this list current by contributing ideas and resources not included here. It takes a community to feed a community!

Discounted Groceries:
WECAN Food Basket Society: Prepay at the start of the month for a basket of fresh produce and frozen meat items, to be picked up in the 3rd week of the month. The depot for our neighbourhood is McCauley Boys & Girls Club on 95 Street. More information: wecanfood.com

Fresh Routes: NEW!! A mobile grocery store made from adapted trucks and buses that brings fresh, affordable food to us! Visit the nearest Fresh Routes stop on Tuesdays 4:15-5:15 p.m. at the Norwood Child & Family Centre, but more nearby stops are coming. Check the website for updates: freshroutes.ca

Free Groceries:
Food Bank: Provides free food hampers and other support services. Has a number of secondary depots for food pick up within Boyle Street/McCauley. Registration generally required. edmontonsfoodbank.com

Bread Run (Salvation Army): Every Monday and Thursday at 11:00 a.m., a truck drops off day old baked goods (and often other food) on 96 Street in front of Sacred Heart Church. No registration required – just show up with a grocery bag.

Collective Kitchens: Prepare a bulk amount of food cheaply, together with others. Usually you can take home a number of meals to serve at home.

Weekly classes and collective kitchens occur at the YMCA Family Resource Centre, where you can prepare 2-3 meals per session, at a price of $3 per portion (bring your own containers). Pre-register at 780-426-9265 or visit northernalberta.ymca.ca and click on Boyle Street Plaza location information.

Free Drop-In Meals: There are many nearby places to access a free meal, so many that they can’t all be listed here! Please visit edmonton.cmha.ca/211-resource-lists and click on their list of meals. There is also a list at www.edmontonsfoodbank.com/need-help/workshops-collectives

Kathryn is the Manager of Community Development, Housing & Mental Health Division, with e4c.

Safer McCauley: Small Breakthroughs on Big Issues

Safer McCauley’s mandate is determined by the members of our community. Your direct input regarding safety-related priorities helps us work with partners like the Community League, Revitalization, and EPS to develop relevant community engagements and citizen-driven actions.

Some priorities identified by community members are less complex, such as addressing garbage, promoting positive street-level activities, increasing neighbourhood vigilance, and developing closer ties between neighbours and with police.

In recent months, responses to less complex issues have included three Litter Squad “Litter Blitzes,” three Dog Walkabouts, two Coffee with a Cop events, a back-alley party, an EPS Stand Up Parade, an EPS Crime Prevention Workshop, enhanced online “Who to Call” resources, and Community Conversations around problem properties and how to increase neighbourhood vibrancy.

But what about the more complex issues like problem properties and needle debris? These issues are harder to address, and they won’t be resolved as rapidly as we would like. But lately there have been some small, but notable, breakthroughs.

Problem properties have been identified as McCauley’s top priority. Their negative impacts are many (see Greg Lane’s summary of the situation in January’s Boyle McCauley News). Several recent house fires and the repeated appearance of the EPS Tactical Unit highlight the seriousness of the issue.

In May, a Safer McCauley Community Meeting hosted the Residential Living Governance Committee (RLGC) to speak about its work addressing problem properties. Many attendees were disappointed by the engagement and left with unanswered questions.

Among the disappointed was Councillor McKeen. He soon forwarded a motion to have the RLGC report to Council about the effectiveness of its work. That motion passed on July 9, but the report submitted in October lead to further disappointment. At an October 29 meeting of Council’s Urban Planning Committee, the report was called “vague, opaque, passive, and impossible to understand.” Efforts to address problem properties were called a “long time fail.” The RLGC was instructed to develop a more aggressive action plan by March 2020, in consultation with community and housing organizations.

With the pressure on, Administration sent front line City staff to consult with community members to better understand the impacts of problem properties and to inform the RLGC’s future work. And, on December 13, City management met with several community members to discuss how to integrate community input in strategies moving forward. We look forward to seeing where these consultations lead.

These small breakthroughs are overdue. They won’t yield immediately visible improvements, but they are unprecedented – and reasons for cautious optimism.

Needle debris is also top of mind in McCauley. After a door-to-door survey last summer, the issue ranked number two amongst identified safety-related concerns. In response, Safer McCauley convened representatives from fifteen organizations to discuss the improvement of needle clean up efforts.

This process has revealed that 1) several groups were already involved in clean-up efforts, unbeknownst to one another; 2) individually, some groups don’t always have the capacity to do the work, and; 3) there is enthusiasm for co-designing a more robust, coordinated response to the issue of needle debris. The City is now changing 311 operators’ scripts to include information about clean-up services offered by Boyle Street Ventures on private property. And a number of organizations are considering joining forces with The Mustard Seed to support its existing clean-up efforts.

These small breakthroughs are overdue. They won’t yield immediately visible improvements, but they are unprecedented – and reasons for cautious optimism. What’s more, they are testaments to the power of community input.

Thank you for taking an interest in the well-being of McCauley. Consider getting involved. Reach out to your neighbours. Follow Safer McCauley on Facebook to learn about events and engagements. And don’t hesitate to share your ideas with me directly.

Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca.

Compassion, Family, and Amazing Food

Veggie Garden is an outstanding restaurant that believes in kindness and understanding for all living beings.

Vegan ginger beef and wonton soup. Charity Slobod

Veggie Garden Restaurant
10582 100 Street
780-757-9060

Oops. I excitedly gobbled my wonderfully warming hot and sour soup and forgot to take an iconic photo of my beautiful meal. Perhaps I was too impatient, hungry, or maybe I knew the food was too good to wait to eat. Despite missing my soup’s “photo-op,” I still took a few pictures of another’s order, which properly displayed the aesthetics and portion sizes of several meals served at the Veggie Garden Restaurant (10582 100 Street)! This restaurant is honestly the most amazing vegan/vegetarian establishment I have ever frequented. When I say, “frequented,” that’s an understatement – it is the only restaurant where I spend my money. It is always truly special to understand the story of the two sisters who made such a deliciously warm bowl, even during such a cold day in January.

Ky and Luang Nguyen – sisters, and Veggie Garden Restaurant’s owners – have the most outstanding and savoury food for vegans and general foodies alike. New to their menu? Try their “hot and salty crispy tofu” to start, and then enjoy their rich curries with bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and sate sauce to share. Chances are whatever you order will be extraordinary. Everything is always made freshly, served in an environment designed to support relaxation and authenticity.

Interestingly, the two sisters opened the restaurant in November of 2011, after they both lost their jobs within six months of one another. Ky – who had two very young children at the time (aged one and three) – said that the flexibility of establishing their own business was good for their family. In the early days, it was quite common to see her kids playing in the restaurant. When we spoke last, she told me how both her kids – now nine and 11 – are now vegans (quite passionately so).

This inviting, tasty, and affordable establishment is unfortunately dealing with the hardships of being situated in a neighbourhood right next to the Hope Mission on 9908 106 Avenue. They’ve experienced vandalism, smashed windows, and the need to often lock their doors to ensure the safety of their restaurant. If you arrive during business hours only to find the door locked, just knock and you will be welcomed. At times, the exterior of the Veggie Garden Restaurant seems uninviting, but please know the food and the company inside is one of Edmonton’s best.

Their lease is for two more years, and this amazing and kindly establishment needs to maintain its business so it can potentially open its doors elsewhere in the community. Family owned, affordable, and a friend to all animals, it’s always a unique restaurant. Together, let’s ensure they stay here, while bringing warmth and compassion – just like their soup does.

Charity Slobod volunteers in the community and is not lying when she says she only frequents Veggie Garden Restaurant.

Get Involved With HOTC

Given how cold it is currently outside, it’s hard to imagine that an outdoor festival like Heart of the City (HOTC) is only several months away from showcasing in Giovanni Caboto Park (9425 109A Avenue).

If you are unfamiliar with HOTC, we are a year-round organization that promotes local and emerging artists through the curation of music and arts events, including a free, annual, family-friendly festival in central Edmonton. Together, let’s help envision, plan, and make another community celebration to remember! Our vision is to create “inspiration and opportunities through the arts” in all forms, and we see you – the downtown core – as crucial in making this event happen through your continued support.

Come join us for our Annual General Meeting on February 9th, from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Parkdale Cromdale Community Hall (11335 85 Street). We will go over our report from 2019, and elect new board members. Once the official business is finished, please share food and fellowship with an inclusive group.

If you have any questions about how to participate with the Heart of the City Festival Society of Edmonton, please contact heartcityfest@gmail.com. We’re looking forward to seeing you all in the park on June 6th and 7th!

Charity Slobod is President of Heart of the City Festival (at least until after the AGM).

Winter Programs With Inner City Rec

Also: Ethical guidelines for community research.

Phil and Mckayla on the hill. Rebecca Kaiser

Community Research Guidelines
The Boyle Street and McCauley area is heavily researched by academics, social organizations, and consulting companies. While these researchers may have internal ethics reviews, there are no shared community guidelines that researchers must also follow. Instead of ensuring a mutually beneficial research process for everyone involved, current research processes can lead to researchers parachuting into the community, extracting data, and leaving no benefits for participants in the study.

A template for ethical research guidelines was created during a series of community workshops held in late 2019. It will be reviewed by workshop participants on Wednesday, February 12th at MacEwan University. If you are interested in attending the presentation, or have any questions, please talk to a member of the Inner City Rec team, or email Rylan at rkafara@ualberta.ca.

Winter With Inner City Rec
The warmth that filled the homes of families fades out in stark comparison to what the holidays mean for so many of our neighbours, for whom the holidays amplify the effects of social isolation and marginalization. Sometimes people’s eyes glaze over at these words, especially those of people who live in an inner city community, due to the fear and pain associated with them. These words mean not spending the holidays with family, not accessing work to provide for themselves and others, demeaning interactions with authorities, finding ways to cope with the cold and loneliness, and not letting all the expectations of a better year feel so heavy.

Playing through all of this is one of the ways community members cope with the challenges of winter in Edmonton – playing through the cold, playing together, creating together, singing together and continuing to build community in active and meaningful ways. Here are some of the ways the Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program, alongside the community, are trying to build community this winter.

*Youth Snowboarding *
Inner City Rec took youth from YOUCAN Youth Services, Boyle Street Community Services, iHuman Youth Society, and other organizations serving youth snowboarding at Snow Valley to kick off the new year during the month of January.

Weekly ICRWP Activities in February

Floor Hockey: Friday Drop-in Floor Hockey has returned to its regular time on Friday afternoons from 1-3PM at Boyle Plaza. We have new pinnies, so if you have yet to come play with us, come check us out in our new colours!

Soccer: Drop-in Soccer has also returned to the regular time of Tuesdays from 1-3 p.m. at Boyle Street Plaza.

Women’s Wellness: On Thursdays, from 12:30-1:30 p.m., the Iskwew health program continues to offer space and opportunities for women experiencing barriers to accessing physical activity to gather and engage in play, movement, and sharing.

Pet Food Bank: Monday and Friday from 9:30-11:30 a.m. you can drop in to the basement of Boyle Street Community Services and get some food or supplies for your family pet. (Due to Family Day we will not open on February 17th, but we will open on Tuesday, February 18th.) Again, this can be a difficult time of year, especially for Albertans out of work, so if you would like to help out with a donation, please feel free to drop your items at BSCS from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rylan Kafara, Rebecca Kaiser, and Mike Siek are Program Coordinators with ICRWP.

What Does it Take to Build a Shack?

The skate shack at the McCauley Community League Rink has to go. It was never intended to be there as long as it has. It is a temporary structure, and the City deems that it is not appropriate for long-term use. If you have a closer look and think of all the use it’s seen over the years, it seems hard to debate its value – even if it is just a worksite trailer turned into a skate shack.

The League board, as most non-profit boards go, has itself come and gone numerous times. As such, our time is likely to fade into the sunset one day. We’re hoping that we’ll leave the community with a new, purpose-built building that will continue to serve the needs of the community and rink users well into the future.

As the land is owned by the City and granted to the McCauley Community League, and then held in trust by the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, should the MCL fade into the ether, the process for building a structure has proven to be a complex and time-consuming beast to say the least. We’re fortunate to have a team of committed residents and members who have helped to move the ball forward with respect to tackling this mountain of required documentation.

While the process is too lengthy and, quite frankly, too boring to describe in this article, the sum of it is, there is a lot of detail to the process. If you want to read what’s involved, search for ”Community Group Led Construction Project Guide” on the City of Edmonton website. The initial document set is just about done, and once we’ve done this recent survey we can move onto the next stage.

So far, the Community League has created a building committee, which has been meeting weekly to work through the required documents to submit to the City.  The committee has

  • Refined and presented to the League a Terms of Reference which was approved to guide the work going forward.
  • Collected demographic information to understand the community make-up.
  • Developed a project description.
  • Prepared an organizational profile.
  • Considered the context and alternatives.
  • Drafted an engagement plan to ensure we are talking to the community throughout the process. 

We are hoping to close this first critical phase shortly so we can leverage some much-needed funding and open the door to hiring a project manager who will assist the team with moving through to design, development, and eventually construction.

As part of the process we are required to solicit community feedback so we can find out what the community wants and desires from the project. And before you say, “We did that before!” – yes, I know. But we need to do it again, and there’s no harm in that. Measure twice, cut once as the saying goes.

So, you will see lots of posters and notices about the survey. We encourage all McCauley residents (rink users and everyone in general) to contribute. It is online at mccauleycl.com and linked from our Facebook page. There will be lots of opportunities to tell us what you (McCauley) desire. Take the time and tell us (again maybe) what you want to see. I will note that this is time-sensitive, so make sure to have your voice heard. Please take the survey by February 20th. This is your chance to have a say, get involved, and see the project and all our efforts come to fruition.

Greg is the President of the McCauley Community League. He can be reached at league@mccauleycl.com

Homelessness: Thinking Outside the Box

Apparently, Edmonton is unique when it comes to homelessness. An article in the December 21, 2019 edition of the Star Edmonton (www.thestar.com/edmonton/2019/12/21/edmonton-homeless-shelter-death.html) quoted a City report on homelessness as saying, “People sleeping outside is not unique to Edmonton, but what is unique is the volume of people sleeping outside when there is sufficient capacity within the shelter system on any given night.”

I am not going to discuss all the reasons why some people choose not to sleep in shelters. A point I want to make that no one else has, is that some people are wired differently. They get claustrophobic sleeping inside. They need to sleep outside, for the good of their mental health. Many of these people are Indigenous. I met some of them when I worked in a winter shelter a while back, and I also know someone personally who described this to me. He has moved to Vancouver where he hopefully won’t freeze to death.

My point is, why is the colonial system forcing people to live inside a box when Creator has wired them contrary? Basically, they have a right to live the way they want. Of course, there are issues like cold and wind that will kill you, but there is a way to address it – think outside the box. In this case, think outside the bedroom. I can see a housing unit of tiny homes modified for someone to sleep outside. Simply, it would be like sleeping on a patio with a high fence around it for safety and privacy with some kind of overhead protection until tall trees grow big enough to provide natural shelter. The person has a locked unit – their tiny house – to take their sleeping gear in and out. How hard is that?

Another idea is a tipi village. My ancestors did not experience homelessness until the Europeans came. They lived in tipis and longhouses. Imagine that! I know there will always be pushback, but that comes from those who don’t want to be inconvenienced by anyone “not like them.”

Another thought comes from a documentary I saw about a “homeless village” in Hawaii. Everyone was responsible. They had a clan mother who managed it. This is easier there because they don’t have life-threatening extreme cold, but people are making it work. No doubt others will have other ideas.

Instead of trying to change people, work with them. It is totally possible that some people who are compelled to sleep outside are more intelligent and have greater emotional capacity than many sitting in overpaid elected positions.

Life is precious. I know people worry about homelessness because of the economic cost, not because they really care. But it is time now to think beyond the veil. What is Creator thinking? There are spiritual implications for every decision. Personally, I don’t think Creator is pleased with the blatant disregard for life demonstrated in so many ways in society today. It is a new year. Take a chance, throw off oppression and doing what is convenient, and embrace life. Let Creator bless us for doing good. We just might see a turnaround from the recession we are in.

Sharon Pasula is an Indigenous spiritual and cultural resource person who lives in Boyle Street.

New Executive Director at the EIC

Sim Senol. Supplied

A little over five years ago, the old McCauley School building started a new journey as the Edmonton Intercultural Centre (EIC). Since its inception, the EIC has become a home to 10 non-profit organizations, which share a similar mandate or vision of antiracism, inclusion, and intercultural sharing and learning. The EIC also has common rental spaces, utilized by numerous smaller community groups, who have needs both for space and for a welcoming, safe, and diverse environment.

EIC has a few updates to share with the McCauley and Boyle Street communities as we start the 2020s. Rose Carmichael, the long time Operations Administrator of the EIC, retired in late 2019 and Sim Senol joined the organization as its inaugural Executive Director at the end of November.

Sim has more than two decades of experience working for post-secondary institutions, including six years of service as an Administrative Professional Officer at the University of Alberta. She has been a Board Member for several non-profit organizations including the Parkallen Parents Association and the Islamic Family Support Services Association.

Having managed the day to day operations of the Turkish Canadian Society, a non-profit cultural society that owns the old Canora School building on the West side, Sim is ready to tackle the challenges of serving the diverse needs of the EIC tenants and of McCauley and Boyle Street community members. She will be reaching out to the community members in the next few weeks to get feedback about the future direction of the EIC and to identify opportunities for collaboration with the various community organizations. If you have any suggestions or ideas for making the EIC an even more vibrant intercultural community hub, feel free to email her directly at exdireic@gmail.com.

Information submitted by the Edmonton Intercultural Centre.

Câhcacêp Art & Teahouse Opens in McCauley

Artist Dawn Marie Marchand with one of her pieces of artwork. Paula E. Kirman

On December 13th, 2019 the building at 11051 97th Street was officially renamed Mihcêtohtâwin – The place where things happen. It was also the grand opening for the Câhcacêp Art & Teahouse, featuring tea and treats, the launch of the new book I Feel Great by Lana Whiskeyjack, and amazing art by Dawn Marie Marchand.

In addition to the teahouse, the building now also houses the offices for the Dreamspeakers Film Festival. At the building, there will be bow making classes, drum making, Cree language instruction, art sales, and film screenings (outside in the summer).

The building is the former site of the Blue Cross Animal Hospital, and now houses Hopkins Law.

Photos by Paula E. Kirman

Compensation

Over the holidays, the Robert Collier quote came to my mind: “In every adversity there lies the seed of an equivalent advantage. In every defeat is a lesson showing you how to win the victory next time.” A less elegant way to say the same thing is, “when life hands you lemons; you make lemonade.”

The same truth is told by most New Age thinkers, whether they lived 100 years ago or yesterday. Oprah Winfrey gave credit to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “Compensation” for helping her to set her mind towards her great success. Today, we would use the word “karma” to refer to what Emerson described as “compensation.” The idea is that by serving others you will be served, and by loving others you will be loved. Everything has its price, and if you take something that is not rightfully yours, you will pay the price at some point.

Emerson, in his essay, talks about how each person is compensated in like manner for whatever that person has contributed to the world. Like karma, in every sin lies its own punishment and in every kindness lies its own reward. That’s the balance of nature, and no one can cheat nature.

When I had more money, I was more generous with panhandlers. Now that I’m poor, I withhold my money and I remain in a mindset of poverty. Yet I know that if you give something away, another thing – most likely better – will take its place, because nature abhors a vacuum. I will be compensated for what I give away, and I will be denied what I withhold from others. Likewise, a tragedy builds up my strength. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

The ebb and flow of life is the mechanism of compensation, according to Emerson. A reversal of fortune might bring about a simpler life that is more peaceful to the heart. A sudden gain might cause a frenzy of celebration that steals away our peace of mind. Finding new love makes us anxious with fear of losing it. A break-up inspires us to self-reflect and improve ourselves. How many dowdy divorcées get fit and cheerful?

As for those who would go against the laws of compensation (or karma), be certain nature will catch up with them. If a person is hurt and they become angry and hurt others, their pain will only be magnified. If a person chooses to find happiness in excess – in material things, in power – their soul will darken. There will always be compensation – even for the pain which causes us to look inwardly and do soul work, and for the great happiness that inspires us to give back to others in gratitude.

I pray to the Universe that I get what I deserve when I need it. I have the same wish for all others, but there’s really no need to “wish” because it’s the natural law of “compensation.”

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.

Being a Good Neighbour

How do you define a good neighbour? In my experience, we help each other and are considerate of the needs of others, while communicating our own needs as well. I have a neighbour who calls me weekly to take her to the bank or to the store, and we arrange a time that works for both of us. It is fun, and we have become good friends.

People can be good neighbours by being mindful of each other’s vehicles, as well as being flexible and sharing the right-of-way. Access to our houses is often done from our driveways, or wherever we park our cars. Most people have garages in the back of their lot, but a few of us have access only from a side alley. Either way, when we are backing out of our driveways, we have to watch out for cars coming along the alleyways. It’s a matter of common courtesy to avoid a collision, which nobody wants.

Sometimes we have to take the long way around a block if there is no way to pass, and that’s okay. Nobody has the right to access narrow alleyways without considering the needs of other drivers and residents. Give and take is a courteous way to get along with neighbours.

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year of sharing our narrow alleys and streets. Happy 2020!

Joanne lives in McCauley.

#RethinkYourChoice

An invitation to sex trade buyers.

One of the online pop-up ads from EPS encouraging would-be sex buyers to #RethinkYourChoice. Supplied

Throughout the past 30 years, neighbourhood communities impacted by sexual exploitation and human trafficking have seen different awareness campaigns initiated by the Edmonton Police Service. A sign from the 90s still stands by La Dolce Vita in McCauley as a reminder of the terrible years when hundreds of cars cruised the neighbourhood preying upon vulnerable children and women, some of whom were later found murdered. Some readers may remember the EPS signs stating: This community doesn’t tolerate EXPLOITATION “report-a-john”. Or, the ads in VUE Weekly opposite massage parlour ads: “Buying Sex is a Crime: Don’t Be Part of the Problem,” and billboards and transit ads with slogans like,“What if it was your daughter?” When cars were seized in 2007 as part of undercover operations, transit ads warned: “You Cruise, You Lose.”

While there are men still seeking to exploit youth and adults in the survival sex and drug trade, many more are cruising the internet. Much of the exploitation activity has shifted from street corners to online buy-and-sell sites and apps. To educate these online buyers, the EPS Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit recently launched a new digital campaign called #rethinkyourchoice. There are pop-up ads on internet websites and would-be buyers will be redirected to a page on the EPS website. There are other social media campaign elements on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to raise awareness. Another initiative is an automated text reply attached to some ads, linking to helpful resources.

It’s a simple analysis of a complex situation, yet it does speak to a simple consumer truth. If there were no demand for commercialized sex services, there would be no supply, no traffickers, no business. The sex trade has multiple impacts, and this awareness campaign seeks to address the effect a father’s actions could have on his family.

The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit responds in creative ways to decrease the impact of exploitation activity in Edmonton. The Unit has a threefold approach: investigation of those who are traffickers, abusers, and exploiters; support for those who are victimized; and initiatives to reduce the demand that creates commercial sexual exploitation.

Staff Sergeant Colin Hughan commented, “The EPS is committed to the prevention, protection [of the vulnerable], and prosecution of human trafficking and exploitation activity through our continued partnerships with the community in a victim-centred manner.”

Learn more at this link: https://www.edmontonpolice.ca/CommunityPolicing/FamilyProtection/SexTrade/ProstitutioninEdmonton

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

Family Day Fun

“Rarely do members of the same family grow up under the same roof.”- Richard Bach, American Author

You don’t have to be a blood relative to be considered family. Anyone who supports you, cares about you, listens to you, and respects you can be considered family and a loved one.

We have a holiday on February 17th: Family Day

There will be Family Day events taking place on the 17th throughout the city, and you can choose to spend the day with yourself or anyone you choose!

Our Alberta Legislature will be open to the public. It is a beautiful building where important decisions are made and the architecture is stunning, containing a lot of artifacts and history!

According to their website:

Family Day at the Alberta Legislature promises free family fun around every corner! Explore the Legislature Building with the Lost in the Legislature History Hunt. Sing along to the playful tunes of Rattle and Strum. Unravel the sleight of hand of magician Ron Pearson. Play dress up in the Agora Interpretive Centre. Whatever you choose to do, Family Day at the Legislature promises to be fun for your whole family.

Time: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Alberta Legislature, Edmonton Federal Building and the Legislative Assembly Visitor Centre

Cost: Free

And again, the Art Gallery of Alberta is having Family Day free admission. From their website:

The Art Gallery of Alberta invites families to enjoy exhibitions and art activities for free in celebration of Family Day. Visitors can enjoy family-friendly activities themed after our current exhibitions.

Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Last entry at 4 p.m.)

Location: 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square

Cost: Free

Also, if outdoor activities are what you seek, the Silver Skate Festival is taking place! Here is information from the website:

Celebrating its 29th year, the Silver Skate Festival is Edmonton’s longest running winter festival. Rooted in the Dutch tradition of a love of the outdoors and of experiencing winter’s cultural and aesthetic beauty, the festival has exploded into an extravaganza of art, culture, recreation and sports programming.

Edmonton Transit Service will run a shuttle service to and from the University Transit Centre (bus stop #2636) to Hawrelak Park. Shuttles will run every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to noon, and then every 15 minutes until the last departure from Hawrelak Park at 6:15 p.m.

Finally, don’t forget that here in McCauley we have our very own Family Day Skating Party on the afternoon of February 17th (noon to 4 p.m.) with bonfires, hot dogs, hot chocolate, wagon rides, and, of course, skating. It’s free and there are skates and helmets available for kids to borrow if needed.

So, enjoy your Family Day. Remember spring is still a ways yet to come, but every season has reasons for it to be enjoyed!

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

Aerial Fitness

Lindsay does an inversion move. Shayne Brommeland

My daughter, Shayne, is always conspiring to get me out of my winter cocoon and out doing things. Farmer’s Market early Saturday morning? Pass. Brunch at a trendy new restaurant? No thanks. Hang from a 30 foot ceiling by a stretchy piece of silk? For some reason, this sounded good to me, so we signed up for Beginner Silks at a local aerial fitness studio.

The studio’s promotional video states that there is no need to be able to do a pull up to take beginner silks, and all fitness levels are welcome. As someone who is a fairly regular gym-goer, I thought I would be able to keep up at least enough not to embarrass myself. At the time I was 40, and as it turned out easily a decade older than anyone else in the three different classes they had running that day. More on that later.

Our instructor was fantastic. It is not a reflection on him that my feet refused to tie knots strong enough to stand on while holding my body weight in the air (by a piece of silk!). He was very patient and encouraging, and we were soon able to do some moves that looked impressive and became doable after step-by-step instruction.

I have to disagree that this is for all fitness levels: an hour-long silks class is not for everyone. It does require a fair amount of upper body, grip, and core strength. Out of our six-person class, one woman dropped the class after the first couple sessions out of frustration that she was not strong enough to climb the silks and hold herself up. As the ‘aged’ student, I found it really hard on my wrists and joints to grip the silks hard enough to hold my body weight and minimize impact while less-than-gracefully navigating between poses.

Then, there is the upside-down factor: though inversion therapy has long been touted as an alternative cure for back pain, sagging skin, etc. it can be very uncomfortable (and dangerous in extreme situations) due to the added pressure on your heart, lungs, and eyes (do not try this if you have glaucoma!). For me, I always had extreme nausea following more than two or three inversion moves. It didn’t seem to bother any of the 18 to 20-somethings (including my 21-year-old kid), though that was probably just a crazy coincidence.

Our final class assignment was to create, perform, and record a silks routine. Our ever-patient instructor filmed Shayne and I performing our self-choreographed sequence of moves (and misses) to the triumphant strains of ”The Final Countdown” while we laughed and sweated our way to glory. I have the video to prove it.

Altogether, Aerial Fitness is a lot of fun if you don’t take yourself too seriously. It is on the expensive side, and better suited for younger, agile bodies, so I did not continue after the six-session beginner classes.

But I did leave my house in winter, so my daughter considered it a win.

Lindsay Brommeland is a McCauley resident of 14 years who will try anything once.

After-School Music Lessons at St. Teresa of Calcutta

Doing what is best for the children.

Students perform at the instrument graduation at St. Teresa. Leah Rempel

Every school day, 30 students at St. Teresa of Calcutta School gather between 3 and 6 p.m. to practice choral singing and learn to play a musical instrument. This program, called Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta-Sistema, is funded and managed by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

The “Saint T” students, in grades 1 to 3, start with cardboard replicas of violins and cellos. When they have learned the parts of the instruments and how to respect them, they graduate to real instruments provided through donations.

Site Manager Kristin Swirles keeps it all organized. She ensures that the children have snacks and a bus ride home, takes them outside during breaks to play and burn off pent-up energy, communicates with parents and teachers, and much more.

The day this writer visited St. Teresa, the children were in choir practice. The lesson included chanting exercises, singing together (not faster or slower than others, as the group leader explains), clapping in unison, volume up and down (with the musical terms forte and piano introduced), and telling a story with your voice (a version of charades).

The activities are designed to allow extensive physical movement and provide emotional support and encouragement. “We’re very proud of you,” Stephanie Urquhart tells the students. Urquhart is an accompanist who works alongside the teaching artists hired by the ESO to deliver the program. “The teachers and staff have an astonishing amount of patience,” says D.T. Baker, the ESO’s musicologist and interpreter.

In keeping with the El Sistema philosophy (see sidebar), Baker says, “Participants are chosen on the basis of interest and need rather than musical talent.”

“Several members of the ESO are very committed to the program,” Baker says, “as is President and CEO Annemarie Petrov.” They have promoted it by contacting school boards, and working to ensure that funding and donations make the program available at no cost to the families.

“The program is very popular and very successful,” Baker says.

Edmonton’s YONA-Sistema program serves a total of 115 students. In addition to the St. Teresa program, the main YONA-Sistema site is at St. Alphonsus School, where the senior orchestra is based. St. Alphonsus is also home of the woodwind and percussion sections. At Alexander First Nation, a modified version of the Sistema program is offered twice a week during school hours.

On January 24, students from all three sites who had graduated to the full YONA-Sistema orchestra (La Bruyere Orchestra), performed at a free concert at the Winspear Centre.

About YONA-Sistema
YONA-Sistema is modelled on the El Sistema project developed in Caracas, Venezuela during the 1970s. In this city – one of the poorest in the world, with accompanying social issues such as gang violence – Dr. Jose Abreu used music instruction to promote social change and teach the values of unity, harmony, and mutual compassion. Abreu encouraged other cities to adopt or adapt his idea, and Edmonton’s became the third such program in Canada, established in 2013 at St. Teresa of Calcutta.

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

Letting Go Leads to Growth

I’ve been spending a few weeks dealing with clutter. For some reason, while I tend to be highly motivated in most regards, when it comes to downsizing and organizing a physical living space, I am a terrible procrastinator.

However, sorting through a couple of decades’ worth of photographs, notebooks, clothing, keepsakes, and more has been rather enlightening, albeit requiring a great deal of physical and mental energy.

I’m seeing glimpses of the person I was, as well as the one who I have become. I’m making decisions as to what memories I would like to hold on to, and which ones I need to let go.

In fact, it’s really all about letting go. In the physical realm, this involves ridding ourselves of material possessions that no longer fit us, both physically and mentally.

But clothing isn’t the only thing that may no longer fit. In our lives, there often come times when we have to take stock of the people around us, the places we go, and the things we do. We have to make decisions about letting go of relationships and life choices that no longer suit us.

Though a physically daunting task, the space around me is becoming bigger, brighter, and more inspiring. The effort is paying off. Likewise, walking away from friendships, groups, and activities that are not adding anything to our lives anymore can be really scary. Yet doing so will provide the room necessary for new relationships and experiences that make us grow as people.

Valentine Thumbprint Jam Cookies

Here is a tasty treat that is fun to make for someone special – including yourself!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter softened
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup raspberry or strawberry jam

Tools:
Hand mixer
Parchment paper
Cookie sheet
Measuring cups and spoons

Instructions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees

Part 1

  • In a bowl combine butter, granulated sugar, and almond extract. Next, using a mixer at medium speed, beat to creamy consistency.
  • Add flour, then beat at a low speed. Be sure to scrape the bowl. Continue until all ingredients are well mixed together.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Part 2

  • Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.
  • Using the dough, make 1-inch balls. Place them approximately 2 inches apart from each other on a cookie sheet.
  • Gently press down on the centre of each ball of dough twice with your index finger at opposite diagonal angles, to create the indented shape of a heart.
  • Fill each indentation with your choice of either ¼ teaspoon raspberry or strawberry jam. Be careful not to fill it too much.
  • Place in oven and bake for 14-16 minutes. Edge of cookies should only be lightly browned. If they are in the oven beyond this point, they will become rock hard when cooled.
  • Remove from oven and let cookies cool.

Yovella is a former resident of McCauley who still works and volunteers in the area.

February 2020

Welcome to our February 2020 issue. We’re back after a short holiday break with community news, event coverage, and more from our local writers and photographers.

What’s new this year? Well, I am glad you asked! We are still (at the time I am writing this) in the process of getting things together for our next raffle. If you would like a chance to win a trip to Italy and help support Boyle McCauley News, stay tuned. We will post details on our website and social media as soon as we have our license, and will also include details in our print edition.

You can also help support the paper by volunteering with us. We have several Block Carrier routes up for grabs. See page seven for more information. If you are inclined to write or take photos, get in touch with me to discuss possibilities to contribute to the print issue, website, and social media. If you use Facebook or Twitter, we’re on there as bmcnews and on "Instagram":https://www.instagram.com/bmcviews we’re bmcviews. Give us a follow and help us build our online presence.

Speaking of which, later this year we will be launching an updated version of our website, with a new, modern design. In the meantime, check us out at bmcnews.org. Happy reading!

McCauley Development Co-operative:  Investment Project Engages Community

The Board of the McCauley Development Co-operative is delighted that the required investments were raised by the end of 2019. Effective January 15th, 2020 the ownership of The Piazza on the corner of 95th Street and 108A Ave. will be transferred to the community-led investment co-op.

A huge project, tight timelines, and an overwhelming drive from community members enabled the project’s success. Over $1M in investments were made, primarily from residents and supporters of the McCauley neighbourhood. Over 80 individuals invested, all of whom are keenly interested in seeing a revitalization of this park-side gem in Little Italy. Indeed, their investments are a huge testament of the commitment and passion that this community has for positive change and vibrancy in our inner city.

The project would not have been possible without the considerable assistance of The Edmonton Community Development Company. The ECDC staff and board offered guidance, meeting space, expertise, bridge loans, an incredible amount of staff support hours, and much more to assist the fledgling, newly-formed co-operative. We are very grateful to the Board and leadership of the ECDC for their vision and contributions to contribute to this process in such a monumental way.

While there will be a lot of work going on in the background, one of the first visible activities of the McCauley Development Co-operative Board will be to celebrate. Keep your eyes and ears open for information about a Spring Block Party that will bring together our neighbours and businesses to celebrate the Piazza – as a newly energized contributor to life in McCauley.

Article submitted by the McCauley Development Co-operative.

Become a Block Carrier

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to volunteer more? Boyle McCauley News is looking for Block Carriers for the following routes:

Route 1
North: 110A Avenue
South: 110 Avenue
East: 96th Street
West: 97th Street
35 papers

Route 2
North: 111 Avenue
South: 110A Avenue
East: 96th Street
West: 97th Street
15 papers

Route 3
101a Avenue on both sides of the street between 95th Street and the alley, including drops to EICHS #8 and Alex Taylor School. 50 papers.

The time commitment is 30 minutes to an hour for each issue, depending on the length of the route. Papers will be dropped off at your home.

If you are interested in any of these routes, contact editor@bmcnews.org.

Nativity on 95A Street

Wise Man Paula E. Kirman

In 2017, some of McCauley and Boyle Street’s neighbours in Norwood at 95A Street between 112 and 113 Avenues set up a gigantic Nativity scene for the holidays.

After taking a year off due to the larger-than-life figures needing maintenance, in late November they set it up again. Spread out on four front yards, the figures depict Mary and Joseph (with a basket representing where baby Jesus would be), and the Three Wise Men. It’s definitely worth the walk to view.

Gillian Kerr, a resident of the area and friend of the artist who created these figures, was instrumental in making this happen. “The Nativity of 95A Street is a perfect community project for our block,” she explains.

The Nativity scene was created by Vicki Martin, who needed to find a new home for her creations when she moved from the city in 2017. Gillian, a friend of Vicki’s, volunteered to help.

“I knew my little yard was too small to host a full set of 8 to 12 foot creatures, but a collective of yards could do it. Vicki, always creative, built these majestic and almost intimidating figures. Now, we (the neighbours of 95A) are going to make them part of our holiday tradition.”

“Thinkathon” Brings Young Minds Together in McCauley

Participants in Edmonton at the Thinkathon. Paula E. Kirman

On November 29 and 30, Studio 96 became home for about 30 young people, mostly in their late teens and early 20s, who took part in a 24-hour “Thinkathon.”

“Our Digital Future, C’est Ici” was organized by the Goethe-Institut Montreal, as well as the Goethe-Institut Toronto, Edmonton’s NextGen, European Union in Canada, and the CJD NDG, a non-profit organization in Montreal that helps young people enter the job market.

The Edmonton event was the second in a series of Thinkathons in six Canadian and six European cities between now and the end of 2020.

The project offers young citizens (18-30) an open, inclusive platform for a debate on our digital futures. During the 24 hours, participants co-created videos and social media campaigns, as well as recommendations, for Canadian and European politicians. The work took place both on-site and online, connecting with a group meeting at the same time in Milan, Italy.

The first Thinkathon took place in October in Montreal and Brussels, Belgium on the topic of Digital Citizenship 4.0.

I was asked to be a guest speaker because of my work in community and digital media, as well as community organizing. The fact that the location happened to be in McCauley was a coincidence, but definitely fits the kind of work I am doing here with the paper, which has grown and expanded its readership with its website and social media.

My topics included online hate, and encountering hate groups and bullying in the digital age, particularly how to deal with it and how to protect themselves (and each other) from such behaviours. I was also asked lots of questions about the current state of the media, and how the digital age has changed how we get our information and how we interact with social media and the Internet.

After my talk, the participants broke back into their small groups to work on their projects. I am looking forward to learning about their outcomes.

For more information, click here.

What’s in the Cards for Boyle McCauley News?

Frank Phillet interprets his Tarot cards. Paula E. Kirman

Frank Phillet has been doing Tarot readings for over 40 years. It’s a hobby that he is expanding into a part-time business. A regular reader of Boyle McCauley News (Phillet always picks up a copy when he stops by Zocalo), he wanted to offer his services to the paper.

When we sit down (in Zocalo, of course), he explains that while many people think Tarot only deals with telling the future, it also involves the past and the present. Also, the end result of the reading has much to do with the question – if there is one – being asked. Ask a general question, and get a general answer. Be more specific, and so will the reading.

I opted to go with a general reading about the direction of the paper and how things are going, financially and otherwise. Phillet asked me to shuffle the cards, then cut them three ways and reassemble them back into one (well-worn) deck. He then made a 10-card arrangement on the table called a Celtic Cross (which, he explained, has nothing to do with the Christian cross in this context).

Here’s the summary of his reading, which lasted about 45 minutes.

After spending a few minutes silently pondering the cards, Phillet said that the current state of the paper has much to do with its past. That a small group of people came together to form the paper, some who already knew each other, and others who didn’t. It was to fill a need in the community. Some of those founders are still involved with the paper today, while others drifted away when their own vision for the paper was not realized. However, most of the people involved with the paper have realized that you can’t please everyone, and have stayed the course.

The direction of the paper was more solidified this past fall by those who run it, Phillet interpreted, and that by late August, we will be able to see that the paper is doing well on this path. He also predicted financial stability between now and the summer (late August), thanks to the competent management of the paper. (Editor’s note: our next raffle will help with that financial stability. We will let you all know as soon as we have our license!)

While it is true that some of the information presented by Phillet in his reading is readily available online (such as the history of the paper), or simply by reading it on a regular basis, much of what he said was clearly by intuition. As to whether or not he was right, I guess we will find out in August.

Frank Phillet is available to do readings by appointment, and can be reached at mfrankphillet@hotmail.com.

McCauley Development Co-operative Raises One Million Dollars

It is with much gratitude that the Board of the McCauley Development Co-operative thanks its new roster of investors for raising $1M in investments for The Piazza project in Edmonton’s Little Italy!

To date, there are approximately 68 investors who have contributed between $5,000 and $100,000 to purchase and revitalize the commercial strip mall at 108 Avenue and 95th Street. Little Italy is a strong, vibrant and committed community and we are all excited for this next phase of development.

The Board lifted purchase conditions on the property November 26th and the purchase and possession dates are early in the new year.

The investment raise could not have happened without our committed investors, the administrative, visionary, and interim loan support of the Edmonton Community Development Company, financing from the Social Enterprise Fund, and the hard work of your McCauley Development Co-operative Board.

GRAZIE!

Information submitted by the Board of the McCauley Development Co-operative.

A Local Dining Landmark

This time, your ol’ buddy Tony took a trip back to Sorrentino’s Little Italy, just because it has been so long since we talked about of one of the ‘hood’s finer Italian eateries.

I gotta say that Sorrentino’s is a landmark here, just like the Italian Centre Shop. I remember the old Sorrento in Castledowns and have been to probably every one of Carmelo’s and Stella’s shops at one time or another. What makes this particular location so special (apart from it being within walking distance at 10844-95th Street) is the atmosphere. It is so reminiscent of a typical ristorante in bella Italia: the tile floor and dark wood, the open fireplace, and the simple table settings.

Much of what Sorrentino’s has to offer is based on regional and familiar interpretations of specialities from where the owners come from. Quick geography lesson: Sorrento is in the Campania region of Italy along the coast south of Naples. Sorrentino means “little” or “tiny” Sorrento. So, it makes sense that dishes represent that part of the country, and a little from Calabria to the south where a lot of our neighbours are from. This is a region famous for its hospitality.

The missus and I settle in, grab some bread, and start to read the menu: lots of antipasti (first course), with a mix of seafood, a little funghi (mushroom), bruschetta, and, Tony’s favourite Sicilian street food, Arancini – balls of tender Arborio rice stuffed with cheese, fried, and served wit a tomato sauce. These little “Oranges” are a great starter and worth sharing.

We skipped the Insalata ‘cause Tones ate some veggies already that day. But if I was to grab something it would be the Bocconcino – little mozzarella balls with basilico fresco, pomodoro, olio extravergine d’oliva. And, always nice in the fall – a tasty bowl of Ministrone.

Now, a pasta course (primi piatto). So much to choose from. Missus Tony grabs the Penne Arrabiata with spicy sausage, sugo di pomodoro, and perfectly al dente Penne. And your ol’ buddy Tony? He goes for a secondo piatto (second plate or Main), a dish more familiar to those fancy northern folk from Milano, the beloved Osso Buco. Tender veal shank braised in white wine, veggies, and tomato served over creamy garlic risotto. Bone with Hole is extra special for the jelly-like marrow you can spread on a slice of bread.

Dinner with a decent tip for excellent service and a wee bit of wine was about $80. Remember, you can get smaller plates on most pastas, and there’s a special now where you can bring your own vino and don’t have to pay for them to open it (corkage).

So, if ya just want a quick bite, it’s pretty simple to pull up a chair and dig in, or you can call a few friends and make a night of it.

Tony lives in McCauley.

New Street Prints Calendars and Cards

Also: Christmas Rock and Roll Dinner, and a new recreation program for Indigenous women.

New cards and a 2020 calendar from Street Prints. Mike Siek

Street Prints Calendars Hot Off the Press!
Over the past year, the Street Prints Artist Collective has been involved in community initiatives, art sales, and gala events. We have seen our artists grow through changes and challenges, and we have watched as they create beautiful artwork throughout the year. Each year we celebrate our artists with a calendar and hand-made greeting cards.

This year, we have brought together 12 of the most colourful pieces of frame-ready art and put them into a beautiful 2020 wall-hanging calendar, and several new designs for cards – perfect as a gift this holiday season! We just received the first batch, hot off the printer from our supportive friends at UR Signs (111 Avenue and 90th Street). The calendars cost $20, and cards are $5 each (or six for $25), with all profits going directly to the collective artists!

You can contact streetprintscollective@gmail.com to order your calendar or if you have any questions. We hand deliver within the Boyle Street and McCauley area, or we can hold yours for pickup at Boyle Street Community Services. You can also get your calendar from Mint Drugs on Church Street (10631 96th Street). Visit us on Facebook for more information:
facebook.com/streetprintscollective.

Fifth Annual Live Rock & Roll Christmas Dinner Planned at BSCS
Every year for the last four years, Barefoot Bob Cook and his crew of talented musicians come down to Boyle Street Community Services drop-in on Christmas day, and perform a few hours of live rock-and-roll music for the folks having Christmas dinner at the drop-in. They have dubbed this the Boyle Street Music Fest! This infusion of loud, energetic, and danceable music is just the ticket for a cold and sometimes lonely day. The whole crowd can be seen shaking their heads and clapping along while they eat, and the dance floor is rarely empty throughout the afternoon.

This Christmas will mark the fifth annual event, and although Bob won’t be able to make it out this time, he will be getting his gang of musicians together to once again rock the drop-in for another Boyle Street Music Fest. Come down and join the festivities if you’re in the mood to share your holiday with us. Heck, you might be able to dance with a few new friends!

Threads: An Iskwew Health Program
The Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program has launched a new program aimed at reducing barriers to recreation for young Indigenous females residing in Edmonton. Although the program caters to Indigenous females between 16 to 36, the program is open to any female-identified community members who want to learn about the basics of exercise – movement and play – in a safe space provided by the Native Healing Centre. The program runs on Thursdays at the Edmonton Native Healing Centre (11813 123 Street) at 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Boyle Street Community Services provides transportation departing from the Bissell Centre at 11:30 a.m. and from BSCS at 12:00 p.m. A bagged lunch, runners, exercise clothing, and a water bottle are also provided. All members of the community are encouraged to join us as we come to learn new ways to move, play, and inhabit space!

Rebecca Kaiser and Mike Siek are Program Coordinators with ICRWP.

Revelation and Inspiration

I was sitting in the kitchen on a bright, sunny afternoon. I asked Creator about revelation. How do we get it? How does it work?

As I sat there meditating on this, I had an open vision.* I saw what looked like a cloud. It was whiter than white and seemed to have form and substance. Suddenly, a window appeared in the middle of the cloud. Then the window opened. After a few moments, light streamed out from the cloud through the window. It had layers of yellow and gold and translucence. It was very beautiful and seemed to have a quality of joy to it, like it was alive. I knew this was the answer to my question. Revelation is something revealed from heaven.

But what is the difference between revelation and inspiration?

Recently, I had a prayer/devotional time with a friend. We read from the November 23rd entry in Jesus Calling, Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young. An action was suggested: “As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way. I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day. Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one.”

My friend pondered this and asked what I thought. I shared an experience I had a few days earlier. While driving to a meeting I had the radio on. I wasn’t fond of the song so I changed to the AM band of Shine and one of my favourite songs was on: “I see the Lord” adapted from Isaiah 6:1: “ . . . I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” I was driving and worshipping in tears of awe, being blessed by His presence. This was a gift. This was more than a “tiny treasure” to me, but I felt this was an example of what the author was talking about.

Was this revelation or inspiration? It is not “either/or.” It is “both/and.” It seems they go hand in hand.

The Christmas season can be difficult for some people. I have a friend who starts to get depressed around mid-November and into all of December. For him, it is memories of residential school. For others, this may be the first Christmas without a loved one. Whatever the reason, I invite you to ask Creator to open a window of heaven and pour out some light to help you on your way. Or, ask Him to open your eyes to some of those “tiny treasures strategically placed along the way.”

I pray this Christmas season will be filled with inspiration and revelation like you have never experienced before, and may the New Year be more blessed than the last.

*My eyes were open.

Sharon Pasula is an Indigenous spiritual and cultural resource person who lives in Boyle Street.

More Than a Little Problem

I started writing this article about three times, and each time I found myself either not being able to capture all the information I wanted to share, or going down a rabbit hole of despair.

The issue is about Problem Properties (PP) in our and other inner city communities. These places (and we can all bring an image of them to mind) represent a clear and present danger to the health, safety, enjoyment, and general well-being of all our community. I’ve heard stories of threats of violence against people and their families, while others have been subjected to directed vandalism and intimidation for reporting incidents through the City’s 311 line. One resident has had 11 tires slashed in the last month alone. We’ve witnessed everything from simple squatting and vandalism, to alleged cases of human trafficking, illicit drug sales and use, depots for stolen property, and the practice of unlicensed rooming houses operating in plain view of the City and Bylaw Enforcement. In late November, we watched as two houses burned midday under suspicious circumstances – fire investigators will have to resolve the cause. I personally watched a drug house or “trap house” (to use the term EPS is familiar with) operate across from us unimpeded for months.

The last incident I witnessed could have been a scene from a TV crime drama unfold, with speeding cars and drawn firearms. I’ve watched a grown woman walk from the house sobbing like a child, her belongings stripped from her and nothing but the shirt on her back. My heart broke and I can still hear that sound as I write this. And as I researched this issue I was finding articles dating back five or six years where the City claimed it was going to do something about this.

Today, I was reading the City’s Charter and their Mission Statement. There’s an item about safety and I wonder how many actually feel safe living next door to one of these places. I’m not talking about just abandoned houses and vacant lots – I’m talking about active criminal enterprises that prey on the vulnerable, thumb their noses at authority, and have been allowed to terrorize our community like some Frankenstein monster. EPS members feel like their hands are tied and have to stand before us giving the same answers time and again. Council has claimed (yet again) to actually do something and move the needle.

Six residents, including myself, pleaded our case yet again before City Council’s Urban Planning Committee on Oct 29th. The plan is to come back (again) in March to present a plan. But can we wait? Why is it not more urgent? This issue does not end at 4 o’clock and take weekends and holidays off. How many more victims do we need to log before something is done? Mayor Iveson, if this was going on next door to your family how long would you wait?

I ask you to write a letter to the Mayor and your Ward 6 Councillor Scott McKeen (who, in my experience, has been nothing less than supportive and empathetic), send an email, call 311, raise your voice – stand by your neighbours and show them your support. Tell the media, tell anyone who would listen. If you love this community like I do, then fight for it – stand beside your neighbours and say, “Enough!” While its roots are unclear, the practice of flying a flag upside down has widely been accepted as a distress call – meaning drop everything and come help. City of Edmonton, if you’re listening, our flag is upside down.

Greg is the President of the McCauley Community League. He can be reached at mccauleycommunityleague2014@gmail.com.

From East to West: Developments to Watch in Boyle Street

In recent years, The Quarters district has stolen the spotlight for up-and-coming projects in our neighbourhood, but signs of a Boyle Street building boom are everywhere. Here a few developments that are turning heads, from 97 Street all the way to Stadium LRT Station.

River Lot House
(10434 91 Street NW)
River Lot House is a residential project in the heart of Boyle Street. The proposed building would offer 75 residential units at six stories. The proposal provides a mix of affordable suites and three bedroom units. Please come by Boyle Street Plaza (Willow Room), 9538 103A Avenue, for a public open house scheduled for December 10th.

Muttart Lands at Stadium LRT Station
Muttart Lands Phase One is well under way with the first new residents expected to move in by the fall of 2020. Phase one will include 243 rental apartments and 2,500 square feet of commercial space. This transit-oriented project provides a fantastic link to Commonwealth Stadium and Stadium LRT Station. We are very excited at potential opportunities to partner with Rohit (the developer) to welcome new businesses and residents to Boyle Street.

Brighton Block
9666 Jasper Avenue
The historic Brighton Block has been one to watch. A partnership between Primavera and Sparrow Capital, this is a local Edmonton company known for revitalization of a number of Edmonton’s historic gems. This project, which mixes office and retail in the fully restored building, is expected to be completed in early 2020.

Stovel Block
10327 97 Street
Stovel Block has been a landmark structure in the area for over 100 years. The historic commercial building that sits kitty-corner to the new Royal Alberta Museum, was approved for restoration and redevelopment by the City of Edmonton on October 22nd. The building was bought and is being redeveloped by Gather Co., the owners of the historic Mercer Warehouse. We are very excited to keep engaged as we know more about this future Boyle Street amenity.

For more information on the Boyle Street Community League and its programming, visit our website (boylestreet.community) or find us on Facebook.

Jonathan Lawrence is a board member with the Boyle Street Community League.

Heart of the City Festival: Join Our Board

It’s that time again. A whole year has passed, and like the change of a season, so too must come another Annual General Meeting.

Heart of the City: A Celebration of Music, Arts, and Spoken Word Festival is looking for keen individuals to round out its board. That’s right – we’re looking for new board members or people who just want to get more involved with this community initiative! Rumour has it, the current President – Charity Slobod – is stepping down to encourage someone else to take on the leadership role (since I’m the one writing this article, I know it’s true).

Please join us for the official part of the AGM on February 9, 2020 from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at Parkdale Community Hall (11335 84 Street). This will of course be followed by food, fun, and fellowship! Contact heartcityfest@gmail.com if you have any questions!

A Week in the Life of a Natural Neighbourhood Connector

Shelley Hollingsworth. Kathryn Rambow

Edmonton has been at the forefront of a movement to stimulate and support the practice of “neighbouring” – of being a caring and connected, active participant in the life of your neighbourhood. You may have heard of the Abundant Communities Initiative, where community connectors find and create opportunities for people to connect and build relationships across the back fence, at the café, or while pushing kids on a swing.

While many people have signed up to become connectors, there are many more who practice the fine art of neighbouring every day, without support or recognition. I’m going to tell you about Shelley, one of the finest neighbours in McCauley.

Shelley Hollingsworth has long, straight, graying hair, a bit of a Maritime accent, and a fondness for rock music t-shirts and plaid flannel overshirts. She loves dogs, kids, Halloween, and helping out around the community. This is a week in her life.

Monday: Up early for a walk through the halls of McCauley Apartments, a four-storey walkup just east of Sacred Heart Church, calling out “good morning, hun” to anyone she sees. If someone has been sick, she’ll knock on their door and check in. In the summer, she will water the garden boxes at the back of the building, or coordinate this task with someone else. At around 10:30, she arrives in front of Sacred Heart Church to help set up the folding tables that will hold all the day-old bread delivered by the Salvation Army truck at 11:00 a.m. She greets all the people gathering to collect a loaf or two, and calms frayed nerves if someone tries to push in front of others. This has evolved into a leadership position, where Shelley and a few other folks from McCauley Apartments coordinate the distribution of bread (that’s you, Barry Daniels!). Later that night, she will make her rounds around the apartment building again.

Tuesday: Early morning patrol, plus disposing of some needles found in the alley. Then, a stop in at the McCauley Apartments e4c office to work on the collective puzzle and ask if anyone needs bread or any other food. If it’s the third week of the month, Shelley calls ahead to all of the people who have ordered a WECAN food basket to remind them of the depot on Thursday.

Wednesday: Shelley pops in at the office to ask if we need a snack for the Wellness Wednesday program later in the day, and if there is anything she needs to prepare for the program, as she regularly leads the scheduled activity. Memorable moments from Shelley’s Wellness Wednesdays are: writing and performing the lyrics to the “McCauley Blues” during Karaoke, decorating the office for every occasion, and bringing her puppy for everyone to enjoy.

Thursday: Every third Thursday, Shelley helps to coordinate the WECAN food depot with long-time volunteer Elizabeth McEwan. She lugs all the supplies and equipment from the McCauley e4c office, and sorts the food delivery into individual baskets with Elizabeth, Daniel, Rocky, and other volunteers. Once that is taken care of, she hurries back to Sacred Heart for the second bread delivery of the week, then back to the WECAN depot to pack up and bring everything back to the office.

Friday: A few large bags of COBS bread are delivered to Shelley’s doorstep. A team of people congregate in the e4c office to separate the bread into individual bags, and then the tables go up in front of Sacred Heart once again.

This is just her regular routine, but there is more. Shelley is the auntie or fairy godmother of dozens of kids and families in the neighbourhood. If they don’t have food or if they need help talking with authorities at school, Shelley is who they call. And, of course, there is her Halloween Party! Now in its 24th year, Shelley and a loose group of friends and volunteers have organized and hosted a Halloween party every year, for anyone who would like to attend. Apart from treats and games, she always has a bin of extra costumes for those kids who arrive without one. This event is now a tradition for the children of those kids who first attended Shelley’s Safe Kids Halloween.

With someone like Shelley, there is always more. She is the fire-keeper at the Family Day event at McCauley Rink, and the traffic boss at the annual McCauley Clean Up. Of course there is more – sharing and neighbouring are Shelley’s particular gifts. Our community is more connected, more interesting, more fun, and more kind because of Shelley.

Kathryn Rambow is the e4c Manager of Community Development.

Resolutions

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” – Hal Borland, American author (May 14, 1900 – February 22, 1978)

The festive season is upon us, but soon a new year and a new decade is upon us as of Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Under a Waxing Crescent Moon, we will begin a new adventure.

It is a common practice for some to make resolutions and promises to keep in the new year. These could range from breaking a bad habit, making healthy choices, traveling, making amends with a situation, or moving. A new year brings the hope of new things and changes.

I personally have made many resolutions in my past. Some lasted months, some days, and some minutes!

Not sticking to a resolution is not a sign of defeat or failure. I view it as it not being the right time.

Look around you. See what you think could use a bit of a change for yourself and the community. Sharing ideas with others is one of the best ways to bring those ideas to fruition. By speaking with neighbours and community leaders, you may be able to find common ground to make positive, well-intentioned changes.

Even if you are not one to make resolutions, you can still start a new year with a feeling of hope for ourselves, our loved ones, and our community.

I will be sticking to the resolutions I try to live by daily: to listen more, care more, learn more, and be more at peace.

As a proud columnist for 10 years with Boyle McCauley News, I wish everyone a happy new year!

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

Indoor Farmers Market Opens in Boyle Street

The indoor location of the Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market officially opened on October 26th at the historic GWG Building at 10305 97 Street. The grand opening was later than expected due to a permit issue between the City and the building owner, and the following Saturday the market was closed due to another permit issue. However, the market is now open every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The building is accessible, and there is free parking. Here is a look at some of the vendors and their displays.

Photos by Paula E. Kirman

Halloween in McCauley

From left: Mike Siek, Taro Hashimoto, and Shelley Hollingsworth at the Safe Kids Halloween Party on Oct. 31st in the Boys and Girls Club. 

A number of groups and organizations held events in McCauley with fun activities leading up to Halloween – including two events on the scary day itself (one indoors and one outdoors). Here’s a look!

Photos by Paula E. Kirman

Six Treats

My dog Knight (a 90 pound Lab) and I have a long bedtime routine. I hand out tiny bits of dried chicken, we share popcorn, and, lastly, in the tin canister there are dried liver treats (high value moola in doggyland). I count out treats. “One, two, three, four, five, SIX! That’s how many you get!” Even though the canister is full, Knight paddles away, knowing that six is how many he gets.

I’ve been struggling with finances these last few years. Maybe somehow I’ve decided that six is all I get. Maybe I’ve decided that’s all I’m worthy of. Because of health problems I haven’t worked, and if you don’t work you generally don’t get money. I’ve made money from investments in the past but somehow I’m not motivated to venture that way. Somehow I’ve decided that poverty is my lot in life.

Back when I was 11 years old I wrote in my diary, “life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.” I don’t remember how that came to me, but I’ve found it to be true in so many ways. If we expect trouble we often are guarded and tense, which causes people to react negatively towards us. If we think a new acquaintance might become a dear friend, we are warm and sunny with them and sure enough we become bosom buddies. If we expect to fail at something, we use tentative language like “try, could, maybe” and our downtrodden attitude brings us to failure. On the other hand, when we are feeling positive about a project we use words like “will, going to, for sure” and we take small steps daily to bring us to success.

In the past I’ve used anger to program my brain to expect good things. In a fit of rage I’ve promised myself that I would achieve something I desired, and I would suddenly choose to do things that led me to my desired outcome. When I lost my home to an ex, I swore I would buy a new home within a short period of time, and I found myself wanting to work 15-18 hour days in order to make my promise to myself come true.

So maybe it’s time for me to smarten up and stop accepting that I only get six treats. I’ve always known that you can’t get anywhere unless you know where you want to go. I know a person needs to set goals and not be afraid to dream of better things. So, I will make a list of what a better life will look like. Will you join me in dreaming big, or at least bigger? What would your ideal life look like?

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.

Ted Green

March 23, 1940 - October 8, 2019

Ted Green Supplied

The McCauley area recently lost a very good friend. Ted Green passed away after a long battle with illness.

Ted had a long and successful career in professional hockey as a player and coach. He played many years for the Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets, and Hartford Whalers. He coached many years for the Edmonton Oilers (five Stanley Cups) and New York Rangers.

Ted retired in Edmonton and became very involved in the inner city. He served as Chairman of The Mustard Seed’s Golf Tournament for many years which raised thousands of dollars. He also was involved with serving meals etc. at The Mustard Seed.

In 2007, Ted had an idea to restore the old outdoor rink in McCauley. A group of businessmen and Oilers Alumni formed to raise money to restore and manage the facility. It was Ted’s dream to have a safe place for kids and families to skate and play shinny. That group became KIDS and a very successful 10 years have passed with many hundreds of kids benefitting from the use of the McCauley Rink.

Ted served on the Board of KIDS until his passing, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Remembering Our Seniors at the Holidays

In a recent interview with the CBC, Margaret Atwood made a profound observation about turning 80. To paraphrase what she said: we don’t know where life’s road will take us, but we journey on. We cannot know what is around each corner, or how it will end.

We all know that life can be very busy. As we rush through roles of child, student, parent, and worker, we don’t have much time for reflection. For me, raising a family as a single parent was full of various multiple jobs – sometimes four at a time. Besides work, life’s road included caring for children, siblings, aging parents, neighbours, students, friends, family pets, and renovating old houses. I enjoyed every adventure. I won scholarships and earned three university degrees as my daughters grew into adults. As life flew by, I’m proud that I found opportunities to make a difference, I stood up for those less fortunate, and actually risked my life to make the world a better place. That mindset continues in retirement, and I want to pass on the wisdom I earned, but does anyone really care?

Many seniors will tell you about their family, of years of caring and kindness, and of career and work challenges. Now retired, they may have good friends and family close, yet some live alone, far from family, and sometimes nobody calls them for weeks. They may still drive neighbours to the store and try to help others, and they may have pets to keep them company. But, as they age, they need to know that family, friends, and neighbours remember them and care about their welfare.

So during this holiday’s family celebrations, please check in on the seniors in your life and neighbourhood. They may be a friend or neighbour, a parent, or relative. Or, you may barely know their name, but they may have shovelled your walk when you were sick. Now they need to be included and to know someone cares. Do it for your own ancestors who shaped you. Just get in touch – call them, walk with them, ask how they are and what they would like, enjoy tea or coffee together, hug them, and say thank you for being kind. It will do your heart good, and help you both remember the good things as you share life’s road together.

Margaret Atwood was right in that we don’t know what lies ahead in our life’s journey, but we can make the present better by showing seniors that we care about their welfare. When we keep in touch, we will all enjoy the true meaning of holiday giving.

This local senior has requested that their name be withheld, because they could be any senior in our area.

Gary Garrison Receives Spotowski Award

Dedicated volunteer has served the paper in a variety of roles.

From left: Paula Kirman, Gary Garrison, and Colleen Chapman. Mike Siek

Gary Garrison was surprised to receive the Garry Spotowski Volunteer Appreciation Award at the annual general meeting of the Boyle Street McCauley Community Newspaper Society on November 5, 2019. Gary was chairing the meeting, but staff members Paula E. Kirman (the newspaper’s Editor) and Colleen Chapman (Volunteer Coordinator) managed to introduce the award presentation without his knowledge under the agenda item, “Other Business.”

Paula and Colleen also had a back-up plan in the event that their chair inquired about the award. They planned to tell him that since two Spotowski awards had been given at the society’s 40th anniversary gala on March 9, they would not be offering another one at the AGM.

The Spotowski award recognizes and honours long-term volunteers who have made invaluable contributions to the paper and the community. Using those criteria, it is easy to see that Garrison is exceptionally well qualified.

Gary is a long-term, dedicated volunteer who is retiring from the newspaper’s board after six years (five as chair). He has written articles for the newspaper and is a block carrier.

“It was absolutely wonderful working with Gary,” Paula says, “and I know I speak for all of the staff. He was an incredible chair, with so much wisdom and knowledge. He is an accomplished author and editor, he understands the publishing of a community newspaper, and he helped us through some difficult times. I learned a lot from him.”

The “difficult times” Paula refers to include periods of political turbulence in the community, and the possible demise of the paper this past couple of years due to precarious finances. “He had heavy responsibilities, handled with kindness, strength, and competence,” Paula says.

Gary’s involvement in the McCauley neighbourhood since he moved here in 2003 extends well beyond the newspaper. Board member Mike Siek says, “Gary is a prominent member of the community. I see him at most of the local events I go to, often sharing his songs and poetry.”

Gary co-authored McCauley Then and Now, a booklet about the history of McCauley, with Sara Coumantarakis, and he wrote the copy for smaller booklets about Church Street and Chinatown.

“I moved here because I wanted to be able to live without a car in a place close to downtown where there was a sense of community in the neighbourhood, where people cared about each other,” Gary says. And he stayed because of “the friendliness and hospitality of McCauley and the diversity of people from all over the world, the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic rainbow of people, including homeowners, renters, and people in need all coming together.”

“I am honoured to get this award,” Gary says, “and grateful for the opportunity to be part of the effort to work on a vision for the paper’s future while figuring out what to do to ensure it even had a future. But in all honesty, this was a team effort, and all I did was play my part. I’m glad that was enough to keep the paper going.”

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

“Problem Properties”

Innovative and aggressive measures are needed to tackle slum housing.

Honest, I try to keep my cool as your representative at City Hall.

But there are days.

One such day was October 29th in Urban Planning Committee. We discussed a report on how government tracks, inspects, and enforces safe conditions in what we politely term “problem properties.”

Such properties are known to us as derelict housing or slum housing, or by terms unsuitable for general audiences.

My frustration? The report was so vague in its language, so bland in its terminology, so bureaucratic in voice and structure, that it defied understanding.

Example: The Problem Properties Task Force was renamed the Residential Living Governance Committee.

Yeesh.

I’m a fan of plain language. Plain language allows us to understand issues, develop opinions, and convey those opinions to decision makers.

The report – and the rebrand to Residential Living Governance Committee – failed completely to convey: A) the problem; or B) government response.

Why the weasel words and jargon? I suspect it’s because we lack conviction to follow through on slum housing.

Why? Imagine if the City shut down each and every substandard house. Where would the residents reside? We have few options at this point, outside of shelters. And as the recent tent city in McCauley reveals, scores of homeless folks refuse to stay in shelters.

I remain hopeful. City staff will have reported on December 4th concerning options to safely house vulnerable people in the short- and medium-term, as we plan the long-term: building 900 units of permanent supportive housing.

I’m also hopeful because governments around the world are using the lens of human rights on housing. Our most wounded citizens deserve to be cared for with compassion and with their health and humanity respected. This is in line with the federal government’s announcement of the National Housing Strategy based on Canada’s obligations under international human rights law to implement the right to housing.

Research on vacant or problem properties shows that partnership between city agencies and community members is critical in devising a strategic plan. The Safer McCauley meetings organized by Mark Davis and REACH are a great example of that. It was through one of those meetings I was alerted to the limitations of the Residential Living Governance Committee.

So I tabled a motion, supported by committee, asking administration to create an action plan with innovative and aggressive measures to tackle the scourge of slum housing. We need to call out exploitation for what it is.

Councillor Scott McKeen represents Ward 6 on City Council.

Boyle McCauley News 2020 Publishing Schedule

Interested in contributing to the paper next year? Or perhaps advertising? Here is our publishing schedule for 2020.

The “distributed by” dates are the target dates to begin distribution (so bear that in mind for time-sensitive material).

Any questions or comments should be directed to the editor at editor@bmcnews.org.

• Volume 41, Issue 1
Distributed by February 1
Editorial Deadline: January 12
Advertising Deadline: January 15

• Volume 41, Issue 2
Distributed by March 15
Editorial Deadline: February 20
Advertising Deadline: February 25

• Volume 41, Issue 3
Distributed by May 1
Editorial Deadline: April 12
Advertising Deadline: April 15

• Volume 41, Issue 4
Distributed by June 15
Editorial Deadline: May 22
Advertising Deadline: May 25

• Volume 41, Issue 5
Distributed by August 1
Editorial Deadline: July 12
Advertising Deadline: July 15

• Volume 41, Issue 6
Distributed by September 15
Editorial Deadline: August 22
Advertising Deadline: August 25

• Volume 41, Issue 7
Distributed by November 1
Editorial Deadline: October 12
Advertising Deadline: October 15

• Volume 41, Issue 8
Distributed by December 15
Editorial Deadline: November 22
Advertising Deadline: November 25

Panini’s Italian Cucina

A truly local business.

Rob (left) and Tony Caruso. Supplied

Brothers Rob and Tony Caruso opened Panini’s Italian Cucina at 8544 Jasper Avenue on July 11, 2016. More than three years later, they are still enthusiastic about the venture.

Rob (age 26) is the foodie in the family. He loves to cook and is happy to be in the kitchen seven days a week, constantly creating new versions of pizza, pasta, and panini.

On the other hand, Tony (age 34) is an opera singer who studied for years at the University of Alberta, the University of British Columbia, and the Giuseppe Verdi conservatory of music in Milan. Turns out, though, that Tony has a real talent for handling the public relations side of the business, and charming the customers as they come through the door – and everything else that needs to be done other than cooking. “I am not afraid to get my hands dirty,” he says.

Rob and Tony chose the location at 8544 Jasper Avenue in part because this area has few places to eat, other than chains like Subway and McDonald’s. As well, the population is increasing quickly as several new residential buildings are being built.

Another reason for the location is the owners’ fondness for the Boyle Street and McCauley communities. Their grandparents were among the many immigrants who came from southern Italy to Edmonton in the 1950s and 1960s and settled in what is now called Little Italy. Their grandmother worked at the GWG factory a couple of blocks north of where Panini’s is now.

Rob and Tony are surprised to have acquired about 500 “regulars” – people who are in the restaurant or ordering takeout every week, or even more often. They are a bit surprised as well at the level of sales via Skip the Dishes. This writer, who lives across the street from Panini’s, can testify that mountains of pizza boxes get carried out every evening.

The growth of the business has caused the Carusos to upgrade the ovens in order to cook more pizzas at once. They have also had to hire more staff.

Tony says the restaurant business can be tough financially – the average profit margin is only about 10 percent. So what are their secrets of success? Although they don’t say so, it is clear that the dynamic Rob-and-Tony team is a major factor. Rob says another of their secrets is “teaching the staff to love the food.” The patio with a view of the River Valley is also a drawing card (although the weather this past year allowed it to be open only about 10 times all summer).

Most of the staff live within three minutes of the restaurant, as does Tony. And Rob says he might consider moving here too. These folks have deep roots in this part of town, and no doubt the customers can sense that.

Panini’s website is: paninisitalian.com.

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

As Christmas Approaches . . .

Frost on a leaf in winter. Leif Gregersen

As Christmas approaches, I often have warm memories of what it was like for me to celebrate the holidays as a child. For a month before December 25th, my elementary school would go all out to make it a time to remember. Year after year, we would have celebrations and pageants where there were endless cakes and cookies supplied by parents and teachers.

In those days, we always got a lot of snow, which meant that each parking lot and sidewalk had a huge pile of ice and snow churned up by the street cleaners. One of my favourite games back then was to play King of the Hill. All you really had to do was push everyone else off the snow hill and you were king.

Then, of course, there were the inevitable snowball fights, which mostly took place early in the winter season or late, because in deepest winter the snow was so cold that you couldn’t make it into projectiles, and it was an absolute no-no to use chunks of ice to throw at each other. Those very cold times were reserved for sliding. The other day at the bus stop, watching the children at the McCauley School play in their yard, I felt a little bad because they only had a small hill to slide down – maybe five feet high. At my school in St. Albert, being further out in the suburbs, we had huge hills that would send us racing at unsafe speeds, and an even bigger hill in the middle of town reserved for evening and weekend pleasures.

Of course, there was also the hockey rink nearby where I loved to just skate around in circles by myself for hours. I never did get into hockey – my parents felt it was too violent – but still later on they put me into Air Cadets where we had real guns. I don’t know if life would have been better for me if I had gone into hockey. I always felt people took the game a little too seriously, though I liked just as much as anyone to go to a live game.

Some people out there dread the onset of our Canadian winters. I have always felt that there are so many advantages to being cold for a few months. The first advantage is that I always sleep so much better in a bit of cool air, wrapped up in bed. Then comes the fun and games like skating, sledding, Christmas parties, and having the option of listening to cheery carols on the radio at any time. Since I turned 18, I also found a new passion that I have neglected as of late: downhill skiing. In my whole life I have never had an experience greater than skiing on a mountain in the Rockies. The feeling of speed, the excitement of cornering, avoiding obstacles, and going over jumps added to the incredible scenery is absolutely unequalled.

However, our neighbourhood is one where there is so much need. So many places need donations and volunteers, like Bissell Centre or The Mustard Seed and others. Sometimes when I haven’t got much cash to donate or time to spare, I like to try to do small gestures. I go to the dollar store and buy the best quality toques they have and pass them out as I see them needed. Places like Bissell that offer showers to people who normally can’t access them are in need of items like shampoo and soap. And something else I learned is that Edmonton’s Food Bank can do a lot more with a cash donation than a donation of food.

It is my hope that those who read this can contemplate for a moment how to see the cold months as opportunities. Opportunities for fun, for new things to discover and see, but especially for giving. And not just to children or loved ones, but to those who need it and who should remain in our thoughts and prayers all year round.

Leif lives in McCauley. You can learn more about him and his work at edmontonwriter.com

Thoughts on a New Decade

Those of you reading this who are old enough will remember that the months leading up to the year 2000 were fraught with anxiety. Experts were exclaiming that the end of the world as we knew it was possibly on the horizon.

Translation: all of the computers in the world were going to explode (or something like that) as soon as the clock hit midnight on January 1.

As the eve of the new millennium approached, we unplugged and turned off our computers, both our laptops and desktops. Smartphones and tablets weren’t even a thing yet. Then, the chilling moment arrived, and – nothing. After all of that hype, my computer still worked when I turned it on that morning.

Now we are on the brink of a new decade. As we enter the 20s, some people I know are reflecting on what they have accomplished in the last while and are re-evaluating their goals. I think it’s good to do that on a regular basis, and not just at major intervals on the lunar cycle.

However, we tend to be really hard on ourselves if we haven’t achieved certain things by a particular year or age. That’s why so-called milestone birthdays seem like such big deals. Why should someone’s 40th birthday be any more significant than their 39th? Any year is ripe for reaching or setting goals – or even just having fun.

After all, time is just a collection of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. It’s what you do with that time that matters – not some arbitrary date on a calendar.

Urban Beekeeping

Lindsay with the honey extractor. Todd Homan

My staple diet consists of homemade granola bars and energy balls, so my household goes through A LOT of honey. We all know that the world’s bee population is in peril, and that we need bees to sustain our food supply. So, it seemed like a win–win for my husband and me to become urban beekeepers.

Before long, we had taken the class, registered with the City, and ordered our supplies. On the spring day I went to pick everything up from Beemaid (a familiar brand to most grocery shoppers in Edmonton, but also a co-op where small producers can sell their honey and buy bee keeping supplies), the staff was pretty skeptical that I was picking up an un-built hive and a tube of hungry bees at the same time. Apparently this is not the normal order of operations, but hey – there’s a first time for everything!

After a few hours of assembly, we suited up and managed to get everyone into the hive without any major disasters. Over the next few months, we consulted our books many times to make sure we were doing everything we learned about in class. Despite our fumblings, the bees worked their miracles, and at the end of the summer we had a few frames of delicious, clean, flowery-tasting honey. City bees tend to gather pollen from fruit trees and flowering plants (as opposed to their canola gathering country cousins) so the flavour tends to be pretty unique.

Our honey yield in the first year was pretty small since the bees were busy building honeycomb and getting their hive set up. The second year our yield was double the first (about 35 half pint jars). As an added bonus, the flavour and yield from all our fruit plants was amazing as well. We were on a roll and saving the world at the same time!

Sadly, things did not end on a high note. We had to move our hive and it did not survive the second winter. It was devastated by a wasp attack in late fall, followed by an early snow and an extra cold winter. Alberta beekeepers have only relatively recently begun over-wintering their hives. It used to be a matter of course that the hive died off over winter and new bees were brought over in spring (our bees came from New Zealand, which we were told are friendlier than grumpy American bees).

All in all, we really enjoyed our beekeeping experience and will definitely be starting up again in spring now that we are moved and settled. Every time I look at our hive with its custom paint job courtesy of my five-year old niece, I think of our calmly buzzing bees, delicious honey, happy plants, and look forward to next spring.

Lindsay Brommeland is a McCauley resident of 14 years and will try anything once.

January 2020

Welcome to our final issue of 2019 (and, due to our publishing schedule, technically the first one of 2020). What a year it has been! We celebrated our 40th anniversary with a grand gala on March 9th. Our publication schedule changed to eight issues per year, while we focussed additional attention on our website and social media.

As always, we could do none of these things without the support of our volunteers. I have a few to thank. Gary Garrison has completed the maximum number of terms as a board member (three two-year terms), so he steps down (for now) as a board member and as our Chair. His wisdom and presence will be greatly missed.

Also stepping down from the board for the same reason is Ian Young. We look forward to his continued involvement with the paper as a columnist.

Finally, Nathan Binnema steps down after four years on the board, as he has moved out of the community. We thank him for his contributions and wish him all the best.

And to you, our readers: have a wonderful holiday season and beginning of the New Year. We’ll be back in February.

Gala to Raise Awareness About Brain Injuries

The Brain Awareness Movement (BAM) is a student-led club at the University of Alberta. This group works closely with two local charities in Edmonton – the Brain Care Centre and the Networks Activity Centre – to support victims of traumatic brain injuries and their families. They also work within the community and on campus to advocate and educate the public regarding the prevalence of brain injuries in Alberta and their preventability.

BAM will be hosting their 10th annual “Big BAM Gala,” their largest fundraising event of the year, at Meridian Banquet Hall (4820 76 Avenue) on February 21st at 6:30 p.m.. This fundraising event has a typical attendance of over 150 people and consists of a dinner, speakers, live performances, and a silent auction. This event will be open to members of the public, including those in the community and across campus. The ultimate goal of the gala is to raise awareness about brain injuries.

Tickets are $25 (early bird; $30 at the door). Anyone interested can email bamclub@ualberta.ca to reserve a ticket to purchase on the day of the event for the early bird price.

Information supplied by BAM.

Booklet Explores the History of Little Italy

Writer Adriana Davies (centre) speaks at the Little Italy booklet launch on November 18. Paula E. Kirman

The latest booklet in the McCauley historical series has been released. Little Italy: A Place of History and Culture in McCauley was written by Adriana Davies, one of Edmonton’s foremost authorities on Italian culture and history in Edmonton. The Italian Centre’s Teresa Spinelli served as the project’s Cultural Consultant. Boyle McCauley News‘ Paula E. Kirman handled the photography and editing, while Vikki Wiercinski did the design.

Kirman and Wiercinski have worked on all five of the booklets in the series, which began with the overview McCauley Then and Now, written by Gary Garrison and Sara Coumantarakis, and published in 2013. Four smaller booklets on specific areas and cultures followed: Church Street, Chinatown, Indigenous, and now Little Italy. All of the booklets were created with the support of the City of Edmonton/McCauley Revitalization.

The booklet launch on November 18 at Spinelli’s featured a talk from writer Adriana Davies, and the sharing of memories from some elders of the Italian community.

All of the booklets can be downloaded in PDF form from the Boyle McCauley News website at bmcnews.org/pamphlets.

Mashed Turnip

In Alberta, turnips and rutabagas are an in-season produce during November and December. If you are interested in trying an alternative to traditional mashed potatoes, you might like this recipe.

Either turnips or rutabagas can be used. Rutabagas are sweeter than turnips. I recommend smaller turnips for this recipe due to larger ones tending to have a slightly more bitter taste.

To add variety to your mashed turnips or rutabagas, add the same types of ingredients as you would for regular potatoes such as herbs, milk or cream, dill, garlic, etc.

When using turnips as an alternative, you will quickly notice that mashed turnip looks different from mashed potatoes. They lack the fluffiness that we are used to seeing. Turnips also tend to have a nuttier, sweeter taste than potatoes.

This recipe is made without milk or cream to accommodate those who are lactose intolerant. Omit the butter and this recipe is vegan.

Mashed Turnip

  • 2 medium sized turnips
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Instructions:

  • Peel, wash, and cut turnips into 1.5 to 2-inch chunks.
  • Peel the garlic.
  • Place the chunks of turnip and cloves of garlic into a pot with just enough cold water to cover the turnips.
  • Add a bit of salt to the water.
  • Bring to a boil, then turn the temperature down to a simmer for approximately 20 – 25 minutes or until turnips are tender enough when pierced with a fork.
  • Once cooked, fully drain the turnips in a colander.
  • After draining, return the turnips to the pot they were boiled in. Keep the pot on low heat.
  • Add the butter and the brown sugar to the pot with the turnips and mash with a potato masher or with a fork. Add salt to taste.
  • Once finished, transfer the mashed turnips to an oven-safe serving dish.

Yovella is a former resident of McCauley who still works and volunteers in the area.

Booklet About Little Italy Now Available

The latest booklet in the McCauley historical series has been released. Little Italy: A Place of History and Culture in McCauley was written by Adriana Davies, one of Edmonton’s foremost authorities on Italian culture and history in Edmonton. The Italian Centre’s Teresa Spinelli served as the project’s Cultural Consultant. Boyle McCauley News‘ Paula E. Kirman handled the photography and editing, while Vikki Wiercinski did the design.

Kirman and Wiercinski have worked on all five of the booklets in the series, which began with the overview McCauley Then and Now, written by Gary Garrison and Sara Coumantarakis, and published in 2013. Four smaller booklets on specific areas and cultures followed: Church Street, Chinatown, Indigenous, and now Little Italy. All of the booklets were created with the support of the City of Edmonton/McCauley Revitalization.

All of the booklets can be downloaded in PDF form from the Boyle McCauley News website at bmcnews.org/pamphlets.

Safer McCauley - November Events

EPS SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION NIGHT
Tuesday, November 19, 7 to 9 p.m.
Edmonton Intercultural Centre, 9538-107 Ave (McCauley School)

Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is based on the idea that the design and use of a physical environment can improve the quality of life by deterring crime and reducing the fear of crime. Break & Enter, Theft of Vehicle, and Theft from Vehicle are regular challenges for the McCauley community. Join Sgt. Paul Looker and Cst. John Beatson for a CPTED workshop, and learn some tactics that you can apply to your vehicle, home, business, and neighbourhood. Light snacks will be provided.

MCCAULEY DOG WALKABOUT
Thursday, November 21, 7 to 7:30 p.m. (arrive a few minutes early; we’ll leave at 7pm!)
Meet at Giovanni Caboto Park

October’s walk brought together a fantastic group of people – and dogs! Meeting neighbours and being active outside adds to vibrancy and safety in our neighbourhood. Join us for a 30-minute “pack walk” in McCauley. All are welcome. Bring your family and friends. Dogs are optional! Meet a new buddy for those dark winter night walks. We’ll explore a different area of our neighbourhood each time out.

A connected community is a safer community!

Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca.

Deadline for 2019 City of Edmonton McCauley Revitalization Grants

The deadline for applying for the City of Edmonton’s Revitalization Small Sparks and Matching Funds grants is Saturday, November 30.

Small Sparks grants are for innovative ideas that will benefit McCauley in some way. Individuals and groups can request up to $250 and turn around time is pretty quick.

Matching Fund grants match the volunteer efforts, in-kind donations, and cash contributions for a project that benefits McCauley. The cap for what Revite will match is up to $20,000.

Projects could include but are not limited to:

  • Enhancing community safety
  • Inspiring community connections
  • Celebrating multicultural connections/awareness
  • Promoting beautification and cleanliness
  • Building community capacity
  • Advancing arts in the community
  • Improving parkland (up to a maximum of $10, 000)

For more information and application forms go to:
https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/funding_grants/neighbourhood-revitalization-matching-fund.aspx

Raffle Winner Update

We are excited to report that the winner of our trip for two to Italy has picked her travel dates and booked a beautiful penthouse Airbnb. Next summer, we hope to publish photos from her trip.

Stay tuned for information about our next raffle. Maybe you will be the lucky winner of a trip to Italy!

Supervised Consumption Services

Saving lives and making our community safer.

The past two months have seen intense debate over supervised consumption services in the core neighbourhoods. The Boyle Street Community League believes strongly that we need supervised consumption services in our community.

Since their inception over a year ago, there have been nearly 70,000 visits to the three sites. That’s 70,000 times that someone has not used injection drugs in our back alleys, playgrounds, and storefronts. That’s also 70,000 times where needle debris has not been discarded in these locations for our children to find. Shutting down these services will force the current service users to move outside. That makes our neighbourhood less safe.

More importantly, when we speak about community safety, a key element seems to be missing from the debate: those using these services are our neighbours. They are part of our community. Their safety is as important as anyone else’s. Over 700 times since they opened, these supervised consumption sites have overturned an overdose. They are very literally saving the lives of our neighbours.

We urge the province to continue funding these important, life-saving health interventions. They make our community safer for everyone.

Submitted by the Boyle Street Community League Board of Directors.

Cultivate Community Block Party

Warming up by the fire pit. Taro Hashimoto

The fire pit crackled as people huddled around giggling and enjoying hot chocolate and marshmallows on a crisp cold evening at McCauley Apartments on September 27th.

The warming sounds of local musicians including Sebastian Barrera and others filled the walls with the vibrations of what community cultivation can do to an otherwise bland space. It was a happy event where community workers, volunteers, and neighbours helped each other make things go smoothly and easily. If you weren’t offered a hot dog or hot chocolate, you weren’t at the right venue. One of the highlights of the event was when MLA Janis Irwin came along and offered her support to the community and the Community Collaborative Mural Project.

This event presented the possibility for beautification and activation of a space in the neighbourhood that is important for so many people. We are thankful for all the helping hands and positive energy that were shared – even after everything was shut down, and just a few old hippies were singing silly songs by the last burning log of wood.

For more information, and for ways in which you or your business/organization can become involved as a mural sponsor and plaque honouree, contact: krambow@e4calberta.org or call 780-424-2870/780-964-3444.

McCauley Development Cooperative

Change you can invest in.

An exciting new chapter in real estate development has arrived in Edmonton, and a group of business owners and residents in McCauley is leading the way. The newly-incorporated McCauley Development Cooperative, signals a new alternative to how real estate development is financed in Edmonton. This type of investment vehicle, unlike a regular corporation, is authorized under the Income Tax Act to accept investments made by way of cash and/or by transferring RRSP or TFSA funds into a self-directed RRSP or self-directed TFSA.

The McCauley Development Cooperative is preparing its first real estate development offering, and the plan is to launch in early November. The initiative could potentially change a pivotal commercial corner in McCauley by garnering local fiscal and social investment.

What is an investment co-op?
An investment cooperative is a for-profit business owned and governed by its members.

Because an investment cooperative is a for-profit business it can provide members with a return on their investment. By issuing investment shares, the McCauley Development Cooperative gives people the opportunity to pool funds for investment opportunities that benefit the local community.

Other successful investment co-ops in Alberta including financial institutions such as Servus Credit Union, retail stores such as Mountain Equipment Cooperative, housing co-ops like Sundance Housing Cooperative, natural gas cooperatives such as the Foothills Natural Gas Co-op, and agriculture cooperatives such as UFA, one of Canada’s largest cooperatives.

The first board of the McCauley Development Corporation includes Anna Bubel, Jonathan Christenson, Shafraaz Kaba, Miranda Ringma, Alayne Sinclair, Teresa Spinelli, Sian Williams, and the Edmonton Community Development Company.

For more information about investment cooperatives please contact Karen Gingras, Director of Neighbourhood Development with the Edmonton Community Development Company at kgingras@edmontoncdc.org or 403-866-6387.

Information submitted by the Edmonton CDC.

Safer McCauley - Driven by Community Input

Direct consultation with community members is the cornerstone of Safer McCauley. This summer, we went door-to-door to ask our neighbours about their concerns and how they would like to see them addressed. The information collected helps us work with partners such as the McCauley Community League, McCauley Revitalization, and EPS to bring you relevant community engagements and citizen-driven actions.

While speaking with our neighbours, we asked:

  • “Have you ever been surveyed about safety and well-being in McCauley before?”
  • “What makes you feel safe in McCauley?”
  • “What are your top three safety concerns?”
  • “What would you like to see happen to improve safety in McCauley?”

It has been said that McCauley has been “surveyed to death.” However, among those we spoke with, almost none had been formally consulted about safety and well-being before, and all were happy to share their perspectives.

Participants reported that the key element that makes them feel safe is knowing their neighbours. This was followed closely by target hardening (such as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, and self defense) and the presence of police – particularly Beat Officers. While many generally feel safe, it is unfortunate that others do not. And, sadly, several stated that the way to feel safe is to stay home.

Participants identified the following top 10 concerns:

1) Homelessness
2) Needle Debris
3) Trespassing and Loitering
4) Theft
5) Drug Use and Dealing
6) Problem Properties
7) Garbage and Litter
8) Sexual Exploitation
9) Break & Enter
10) Speeding

Throughout 2019-2020, we will continue to facilitate engagements and actions that consider the concerns and solutions identified through community members’ feedback.

The number one identified solution to safety concerns is increased police presence (and closer relationships with police personnel). Many community members would like to see an improved response to needle debris. Some would like to see improved services and housing for street-involved individuals. An equal number would like to see a reduction in the concentration of poverty in McCauley and a broader distribution of services throughout the city.

The information collected allows community members to influence how and where Safer McCauley focuses its efforts. In response to community input, a busy summer and fall has included multiple McCauley Litter Squad “litter blitzes,” Coffee with A Cop, a back-alley party, an EPS Stand Up Parade, a Dog Walkabout, an EPS Safety and Crime Prevention Workshop, enhanced online “Who to Call” resources, and a Community Conversation around the topic of problem properties. Several community members are currently discussing the re-building of a McCauley “Safety Council,” and several stakeholder groups will soon gather to discuss a more comprehensive approach to stray needles. Watch also for a McCauley Safety Social, and Resource Connect 2020, taking place on February 28 at the Santa Maria Goretti Centre.

These events all represent different takes on promoting connectivity, vibrancy, safety, and community health. And all were developed in response to community input. Throughout 2019-2020, we will continue to facilitate engagements and actions that consider the concerns and solutions identified through community members’ feedback.

Thank you to all community members and supporters who give generously to promote well-being for all in McCauley. Consider getting involved. Reach out to your neighbours. Visit safermccauley.ca and Safer McCauley on Facebook. And don’t hesitate to share your ideas with me directly.

Mark is REACH Edmonton’s McCauley Community Convener. He can be contacted at
mark.davis@reachedmonton.ca.

What’s Been Happening at Inner City Rec?

Game celebrates sportsmanship; Street Prints heads to Just One World; Poetry at BSCS; Lady Flower Gardens Wraps Up.

Eugene enjoys a horse and carriage ride at a Lady Flower Gardens event during the fall of 2019. Mike Siek

Sims Memorial Sportsmanship Cup
The free drop-in floor hockey program has been running for several years out of the Boyle Plaza gym. We have watched this program cultivate community by connecting diverse individuals over a common love for the game. This year marks the third annual Reginald Sims Sportsmanship Cup, which took place on October 18th, celebrating one such person who came into the program through the McCauley Apartments and showcased the epitome of sportsmanship character. This is the first year that we will be bringing in teams from outside of the drop-in players, and we hope to continue to grow this celebration and commemorative event even further in the coming years. Look for a picture of the winning team in next month’s paper!

Street Prints at Just One World Market
The inner city artist collective Street Prints will be at the Just One World Market on November 23-24, 2019. This annual event features arts, crafts, and goods from all over the world, as well as live music and delicious food. We plan to sell a new set of greeting cards, new colourful t-shirts, and our 2020 calendars including all-new artwork from several of our artists. Join us at St. Basil’s Cultural Centre (10819 71 Avenue) Saturday, November 23, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, November 24, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information: justoneworldmarket.com

Poetry at BSCS
After a few months off, the Boyle Street Community Services drop-in once again has a regular poetry event every Monday from 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Come join in and create some poetry of your own at this open, inclusive, and free program. Corine Demas, who is the Manager of the Beat Stage at the Heart of the City Festival, is heading up this interactive and dynamic event every week.

Lady Flower Gardens Wrap Up
We’ve watched the lush season of summer come and go and autumn trickle off into the distance. Now we are preparing for whatever winter means to us, whether that means embracing winter activities, tucking in at home, or seeking shelter whenever possible.

For the community members who take part in the Inner City Recreation and Wellness Program’s Lady Flower Garden Program, summer means growing food for Edmonton’s Food Bank and addressing barriers to food security at a beautiful garden oasis in the northeast end of the city. Each year, community comes together in the spring to sow seeds that will eventually bloom into new connections between inner city community members, as the season progresses. June and July sees seedlings develop into brilliant leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, and arugula. The climax of summer finds the group, who endures the cramped van ride out to Lady Flower Garden every Wednesday morning, busy weeding and harvesting the first offerings.

But it is the very brightest rays of August that enrich the harvest of corn, beets, carrots, and big potatoes. As is the tradition, this year October kicked off with the core group of gardeners coming together to wrap up the season by sharing a feast, playing “Minute to Win It” games, and saying our goodbyes to the forest and river on an afternoon walk. The first bites of frosty mornings have bid farewell to another good season of growing together at Lady Flower Gardens for 2019. We are looking forward to next spring already!

Rebecca Kaiser and Mike Siek are Program Coordinators with ICRWP.

Seasons of Our Lives

Photo of the River Valley and Muttart Conservatory in autumn. Leif Gregersen

Fall is upon us. The leaves have changed and temperatures have begun to drop. It feels like it shouldn’t be fall yet because here in Edmonton there really wasn’t much of a summer to speak of. Still, fall to me is a special time for many reasons.

One of the first things I think about when the weather turns to fall is that I can count on some pleasant changes. One is the return of students to school. This year I am making a special effort to attend a class at the University called Humanities 101. It gives me great joy to head out once a week to the prestigious and beautiful U of A campus to fill my head with knowledge.

Next is that when the weather cools, one truly starts to appreciate the indoors. I sleep better in the cool, fresh air. I don’t find myself wanting to do a lot more with my evenings than sit and watch a movie, read a book, or even have a long phone conversation with a close friend.

Many of my friends take part in some of our city’s awesome festivals, not the least of which is Heart of the City. Some of us have to adapt our work as each new season comes. The job market can be a bit tough, as there are so many students trying to make ends meet, to save for their first car, or even tuition. In my line of work – community education – I had many opportunities to speak at high school Career and Life Management classes. But when fall came, perhaps for the first time, I found myself becoming part of the education system, going back to teaching creative writing and other subjects.

In a way, our own lifetimes are similar to the four seasons. As young children, we are in the springtime, with all new experiences and opportunities for growth and fun. Summer hits in the years when we have finished school and find ourselves bonding with friends, discovering adulthood, and, if we are lucky, falling in love. As time passes, the autumn of our lives come, the time when we must work hard to provide for the needs of our families, the young ones, and our elders. This is the time when we must prepare for the winter of our lives, when it is so important to lay down the roots that will hold us up in the chill and cold.

Right now, I see myself as in my fall season of life, and to be honest, it feels great. As a younger person, I wasn’t trusted with things like I am now. I have become someone responsible enough to lead a support group for vulnerable patients in a hospital, to manage my own home and my own money. And with experience and contacts, it has become much easier for me to find fulfilling and good paying work.

Soon, as we know, time will slip away, and barring disaster, I and others in my age group will find ourselves in the winter of our lives. Retirement comes, and hopefully with it savings, some travel, many family gatherings, and the joy of another generation being born. We have hopes that, with our help and experience, they may avoid some of the pitfalls of life we had. I find it to be truly beautiful when I can pick up the phone and talk to my niece across the country, and just feel so privileged to witness her growing up and becoming a wonderful young adult.

And then there was something that came with a great deal of joy and pride. I was recently asked to teach poetry to an entire school of elementary students, and I really felt like I connected with these young ones. This was perhaps the best gift I have received in the “fall” of my lifetime: to be well-known and respected and to have the ability to pass something on to the newest generation in our society. Spring, summer, fall, winter. Seasons really are beautiful things each year, and in each of our lives.

Leif lives in McCauley. You can learn more about him and his work at edmontonwriter.com.

Tony Goes to Greece - Sort Of

Gyro platter. Tony Forchetta

Oil Lamp
10247 97 Street
780-429-0808

Yo! How’s it going? So, lately we’ve been feeling like we needed a little escape to somewhere warmer. Missus Tony wanted to go to Greece – something about pictures she’s seen of Santorini.

I says, “I’ll do ya one better without the jetlag,” and took Missus Tony to the Oil Lamp Restaurant. It’s across from the Winspear (10247 97 Street). So ol’ Tones here is well-versed in most cuisine from this part of the world, having grown up with lots of Greek folks, and I know the real deal when I taste it. Since it was lunch we thought, “Hey – let’s eat a lot and we can sleep it off all afternoon.”

The menu has a lot to pick from. Most are traditional Greek items like spanakopita, calamari, and tzatziki, and then they also make pizza and some pasta dishes. They also make Saganaki which is pan-fried Kefalotyri cheese – amazing. For bigger dishes you’ve got things like souvlaki, steak, and lamb, as well as salmon and prawn dishes.

Now, Tony doesn’t have anything against vegetables, so if you are feeling a bit like, “I ain’t eatin’ no meat today,” there are plenty of choices there too – in fact, they have a whole section for it. But we were there for Greek and dove into that side of the menu.

Missus Tony ordered the appetizer platter and it was loaded with spanakopita, calamari, hummus, tzatziki, and dolmathes – those tasty little rice-stuffed vine leaves – and a basket of warm pita bread. Since Tony was hungry with a capital H, I went for the open-face Gyro platter. That’s Gear Oh not Ji Row, which, when pronounced that way, is actually a helicopter. Anyway, it was tasty Greek Gyros on pita with onions, tomatoes, and tzatziki along side some perfectly roasted potatoes and a small Greek Salad. (Hey – I already said I like vegetables.)

The meals gave us a perfect taste of everything and even some to take home, so Tony could have a snack later after his nap. Since it was lunch we really thought best not to have a cocktail, cause once you start . . . but with a soft drink and a decent tip for the amazing service it was about $50. Granted, the appetizer plate was pretty large.

So, if you’re in the mood for the warm white sand and Mediterranean vibe of Santorini, book a flight and get yourself there. But if you want to eat some really good Greek food and lie to your friends about going – go to the Oil Lamp, get your Greek on, and then head home for a nice nap just like your ol’ buddy Tony.

Tony lives in McCauley.

Get to Know Your Neighbours

Good day neighbours.

Cooler air and shorter days have a certain appeal. With the lush boulevards and trees in the area, McCauley is extra special in the fall. We may as well enjoy it because we didn’t have much of a summer.

As the weather changes and we start to spend more time indoors, we say goodbye to some of our neighbours and wait to see them in the spring. This is true for a lot of people in the community who seem to put their connection with their neighbours on hold for a while.

I am a huge advocate of getting to know your neighbours. I’ve been fortunate to meet and get to know so many of them. Whether it is just saying hi or giving a passing nod, it begins. We start to connect and get to know and care about each other. This is how community starts: over one fence at a time, one neighbour at a time.

Edmonton faces a relatively high number of individuals reporting feelings of social isolation – so if you see someone you recognize, say hi. Reach out. As we’ve expanded our day-to-day reliance on social media and technology, we’ve sadly done so at the expense of human interaction. Nothing can replace that, so put your phone down, take a breath, and look around. From the changing colours, kids playing, and dogs (or cats) sniffing the leaves, there is plenty to smile about. Now, show that smile to someone else. It costs nothing and perhaps starts a conversation. I suspect you might find in that dialogue, that you share one or two things in common.

The League is representative of you and your neighbours – we are your neighbours. We work, live, play, and shop in the community every day. If there is a chance you have a wee bit of spare time and want to get to know more people and maybe bring an idea for an event or program or concern to the rest of the community, I would encourage you to come out and meet us. Come to a meeting. We meet the first Tuesday of every month at the Boys and Girls Club boardroom. It is located on the west side of the building on 95th street and 109a Avenue. We start the meeting at 7 p.m. and run until about 9 most months.

We are nothing without our neighbours and friends, so if you want to meet some more people who care about what your community looks like – come join us and hang out for an evening.

Greg is the President of the McCauley Community League. He can be reached at mccauleycommunityleague2014@gmail.com.

Caring For Our Cats

When I first moved into my house, the previous owner’s cat came around so I put food out for him. This attracted a feral female. I thought she was a kitten, but neighbours told me she’d been around for several years.

She had kittens in my garage. At the time I didn’t know that there is a prime socialization period in kittens between five and 12 weeks. I made feeble attempts at making friends with them, but they remained skittish.

One cold November night, when the thermostat plunged to -30, she brought her three kittens to my back door and meowed until I let them in. Down my basement steps they went. The mother, her son, and his two sisters.

I ended up with three pregnant females. The kittens were socialized and adopted out. The Clampetts – Granny, Jethro, Ellie May, and Daisy – were fixed and vaccinated by a rescue called Little Cats Lost. In gratitude for their help, I started feeding the feral cat colonies that this rescue maintains and does TNR (Trap NeuterRelease). A rescue called KittyHawk has taken responsibility for caring for many TNR colonies and I’ve been working with that great organization.

But this summer has been different than past years. I’ve been contacted by many people who reported pregnant cats or mother cats with their kittens. Just a few weeks ago, a pregnant cat came to my attention. We caught her and she gave birth to eight kittens in a safe place. The young woman who brought her to our attention had been feeding her for weeks though she didn’t have money for her own necessities.

Thank you to those of you who take care of a community cat by offering food and shelter. Our relationship with ferals tends to be symbiotic: they provide valuable rodent control. I’m sure my old house would have been reduced to ashes by mice chewing my electrical wires, if it weren’t for my cats.

Yet homeless cats are often not appreciated and are viewed as pests. This is why I’m begging my neighbours to neuter and chip their feline friends. Many cats that are given access to the outdoors meet an untimely end. Unfixed cats will wander far from home in search of romance and end up lost. Cats can be startled by a loud noise, chased by coyotes, and run too far from home to be able to scent their way back. Some cats are left behind when owners move to a pet-less building.

Cats in distress need to be taken into Animal Care and Control (ACC). Cats who appear to be healthy should just be left where they are as they could be an indoor/outdoor cat and have a home. Turning those cats into ACC means that they might never find their way home. Only approximately 18% of cats turned into ACC ever go home.

The best solution would be for everyone to keep their cats indoors. Some people feel they can’t and to those I beg you to make sure your cat has some ID, a collar with your phone number, or a chip. Let’s take care of the cats in our community.

Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.

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