The Pulse: April 1, 2021

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 16°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 near noon. High 16. (forecast)
  • 871: Alberta reported 871 new cases of COVID-19 on March 31, the highest single-day total in 11 weeks. (details)
  • 31.9: Variant cases now account for 31.9% of all active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta. (details)

Clowning around with Play the Fool International Short Film Festival

Clowning around with Play the Fool International Short Film Festival

By Fawnda Mithrush in the Arts Roundup

In tandem with the arrival of the funniest day of the year comes Play the Fool's online incarnation: a film festival comprised of (very short) shorts from around the world, focusing on clowning in its myriad forms.

"I've always been a huge fan of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton," said Shreela Chakrabartty, the festival's film program coordinator, who curated twelve films with submissions from Edmonton and as far-flung as Rio de Janeiro, Tehran, and Paris. "I grew up with films that had the label of clown, mostly classic vaudeville clowning, and that made me want to deep dive into what this clowning thing is all about. Like, what's a clown film today? It was an opportunity to look into something humourous and fun and light."

All films are two minutes or under, making it one of the shortest short film festivals around. Though Edmontonians may be more familiar with the pathos of Mump and Smoot and other theatrical clowns, she noted that the tropes of creepy clowns are far more prevalent — something she hopes the 24-minute total lineup in Play the Fool might allay.

"There's a whole other side to clown that doesn't involve fear and creepiness," she added. And it's not circus, either.

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By Emily Rendell-Watson and Mack Male

LRT closures in April

LRT closures in April

By Emily Rendell-Watson

The city is in the midst of construction work on the Stadium LRT Station Redevelopment project, which will require several partial LRT closures in April. There will be no trains running between Churchill and Clareview during the following times:

  • April 2 until end of service on April 4
  • April 9 (starting at 6 pm) until end of service on April 11
  • April 16 (starting at 6 pm) until end of service on April 18

"During these times, LRT replacement buses will run every eight minutes between Clareview and Corona stations using bus stops with red 'LRT Replacement' signs. LRT will run every 15 minutes between Century Park and NAIT," the city said in a news release.

In other transit-related news, the city is hosting a livestream about the new bus network on April 1 at 1pm. Questions can be submitted to

But before you attend that event — our next People's Agenda listening session will be a discussion about concerns related to transportation on Edmonton's city council, and what the mayor and councillors to be elected this fall can and should do about it. Join us today (April 1) at 12pm.

A moment in history: April 1, 1933

A moment in history: April 1, 1933

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1933, newspapers lamented the death of Frank Oliver, the publisher, politician, and namesake of one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. “Edmonton is his monument,” states this obituary.

Four years after arriving in the then-tiny settlement of Fort Edmonton in 1876, he published the first edition of the Bulletin (later Edmonton Bulletin), the first newspaper in what would eventually become the province of Alberta, and a source of tireless boosterism for the interests of the fledgling city and the West's interests in Canada. His advocacy for the region continued after he entered politics, first elected to the Northwest Council, and later to the House of Commons. In 1905, he was made Minister of the Interior. His advocacy for Edmonton and the hand he had in drawing its electoral districts are said to have been key to the decision to name the city Alberta's capital.

Oliver’s legacy is seen much differently now. While he spent much of his life encouraging immigration to Canada, especially the West, he was very particular as to what kind of people he wanted to see: white and British. Oliver had vicious words for anyone who did not fit that category. And in a country that already had a history of racist immigration policy, Oliver made the system more strict, more exclusive, and more cruel.

His attitude towards Indigenous people was no better. As the publisher of the Edmonton Bulletin, he had argued for reserve lands to be sold off and used for development. As the Minister of the Interior, he was able to make that happen, coercing Indigenous people to surrender more than a dozen reserves and offering pittances in return. (In contrast to the glowing obituary he received, which lauded his “straightforward character,” Oliver had a habit of making sure those lands ended up in his hands and those of his allies for much less than they were worth.) In his role, Oliver also oversaw Canada's residential school system, although he had previously opposed the idea on the grounds that he considered education to be wasted on Indigenous students.

Oliver’s racist policies have led to many to demand changes to the places that still bear his name. Last year, the Oliver neighbourhood’s own community league called on the city to drop his name. Around the same time, the Edmonton Public School Board voted unanimously to rename Oliver School.

Written by Scott Lilwall, based on a clipping found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse — follow @VintageEdmonton for daily ephemera via Twitter.

More information

Weekend agenda

By Emily Rendell-Watson and Fawnda Mithrush

  • Downtown Spark presents Jason Carter's installation wâpos until April 3. The exhibit takes its title from the Cree word for rabbit, and features illuminated sculptures in Beaver Hills House Park.
  • Chinook Series runs until April 4. A mix of live and on-demand content, this year's Chinook is a collaboration between Expanse Festival, Sound Off: Deaf Theatre Festival, and Fringe Theatre.
  • Northern Light Theatre is running a digital holdover for the filmed production of The Look, starring Linda Grass, until April 4.
  • L’UniThéâtre presents a new installment of The Six Sense: Sensorybox by Ghost River Theatre from March 27 to April 10. A wrapped gift is delivered to your home, and you'll explore the contents of your box, guided by a performer online. Order your box at least three days in advance of the performance you'd like to see to ensure timely delivery.
Quiz time: Experiences

Quiz time: Experiences


Test your knowledge with this daily quiz, brought to you by the People's Agenda project:

What is the name of the pop-up restaurant coming to the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald in April?

  1. Ephemeral
  2. Evanescence
  3. Flash
  4. Fugacious
  5. Momentary

See Friday's issue of The Pulse for the answer.

The answer to the March 31 quiz was d — today's People's Agenda session will explore transportation through this question: "Will we be able move around the city easily?" Sign up to attend at noon.

Taproot wants to know what key issue you want the candidates to talk about as they compete for votes in the 2021 municipal election, and why. Add your voice to the People's Agenda.

Photo by Mack Male

Learn more