The Pulse: July 22, 2021

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

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  • 20°C: A mix of sun and cloud. 60% chance of showers in the afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Hazy in the afternoon. Wind becoming west 20 km/h gusting to 40 in the morning. High 20. (forecast)
  • 55: Edmonton has been blanketed by smoke for 55 hours so far this year. The average between 1981 and 2010 was 14 hours. (details)
  • 1/5: One in five Albertans are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine according to a new poll by Angus Reid Institute. That's twice the national average. (details)
  • 350: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is deploying 350 military personnel to fight the wildfires in B.C. The next wave of troops are waiting in Edmonton. (details)

A collection of Brasstactics band members holding instruments

Music is in the air, pretty much everywhere

By Fawnda Mithrush Fawnda Mithrush in the Arts Roundup

As in-person events return to myriad outdoor settings, the summer staple of the moment may be the trusty lawn chair.

Outdoor music series are cropping up on every corner, with many of them encouraging patrons to bring along their own seating. Among some of the cozier settings are Alberta Avenue's Front Porch Series, Christ Church's Garden Concerts, and Opera Nuova's Tailgate Cabaret Series.

Robust local lineups featuring artists such as Celeigh Cardinal, Mallory Chipman, Martin Kerr, and F&M are on offer at this year's Taste of Edmonton, set to kick off July 22 at Churchill Square. Downtown Live is also back with weekly performances at the Downtown Farmers Market and almost daily shows at numerous venues throughout the core.

"It certainly feels weird that there's a return to live music and audiences," says the ever-ready Brent Oliver, event manager for Downtown Live.

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By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

Photo radar truck in Edmonton

Municipal election rundown: July 22, 2021

By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

Every week in the lead up to Edmonton's municipal election on Oct. 18, we're rounding up the news and announcements you need to know to stay informed.

  • Mayoral candidate Diana Steele published her first YouTube videos explaining what inspired her to run for mayor and her previous education and work experience.
  • Mayoral candidate Mike Nickel is calling for an end to photo radar in the city, arguing that it is "reactive," a "cash cow," and "designed to tax the rich on driving." He is also collecting signatures in support of a letter to the province asking for a "potential reduction or complete phaseout of photo radar."
  • In a blog post about addressing climate change, mayoral candidate Brian (Breezy) Gregg has suggested more funding for public libraries to "displace the commercial services that persistently encourage us to buy more than we need" could play a part in the solution.
  • This coming Saturday, Amarjeet Sohi invites Edmontonians to his community barbecue where they can share their priorities and questions about his mayoral campaign. Earlier that day, mayoral candidate Cheryll Watson will be hosting an event at Jubilee spray park for "door knocking, playing in the sun, and ice cream."
  • For the first time since the 1960s, Edmonton's zoning bylaw is facing a complete overhaul. The next city council will "play a deciding role" in the future of development dictated by this bylaw, and candidate Erin Rutherford pledged in a blog post to keep a "close eye" on the project on behalf of Ward Anirniq.

A list of all of the candidates who have announced they are running in the Edmonton municipal election is available here.

Learn more about Taproot's effort to ground our election coverage in what is important to Edmontonians on our People's Agenda page.

A newspaper clipping with the headline "Canadian music high on '67 plans"

A moment in history: July 22, 1965

By Scott Lilwall Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1965, Edmonton's public library was building a music collection for its soon-to-be-built new downtown building.

The EPL had already gathered 180 scores by Canadian composers, according to the Edmonton Journal. It was all in preparation for the opening of the Centennial Library in 1967. The ambitious music plans included having a listening room and adding to its collection of "chamber music, piano and violin sonatas" and other musical works.

Edmonton's original library was built in 1923, where the ATB Tower now stands. By the 1960s, its collection had grown large enough that a new building was needed. The city decided to move the location two blocks north, just off Churchill Square, to create a hub of civic buildings in the city's core. City Hall had been relocated on the north side of the square a decade before and the Edmonton Art Gallery was planned for the northeast corner.

In 1996, the Centennial Library was given its current name in honour of Stanley Milner, a businessman, alderman, and library board member who had been a strong advocate for the new downtown building. Over the decades, the Stanley A. Milner Library has served as the main branch and has housed many innovations, such as the Makerspace and an increased emphasis on community services that garnered international attention.

The Milner temporarily closed in 2016 for an $85-million renovation. When it reopened in 2020, opinions on the new design were decidedly mixed. The interior spaces were widely praised, while the exterior was compared to everything from a tank to a stranded cruise ship. (Quite a few were happy with the new design, however.)

Music still has a big place at the Milner. The library's Makerspace includes recording studios available to local musicians. And the Capital City Records project offers a streaming collection from Edmonton's music scene.

This is 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.

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A tilted view of the swing ride on the midway

Weekend agenda: July 23-25, 2021

By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

  • The outdoor Summer Fun Midway begins July 23 and runs until Aug. 1 at the Edmonton Expo Centre grounds, where K-Days would usually be at this time of year.
  • The 2nd Annual Grindstone Comedy Festival runs until July 25. The four-day event features standup, improv, and sketch comedy from local and national talent.
  • Africanival, a free festival celebrating Edmontonians of African descent, runs July 24 and 25 at Selasi's Grill. The event will feature cultural and artist performances, movie screenings, and a fashion show.
  • Toy Story 4 is the next Movie in the Park. Stop by Lake Summerside with chairs, blankets, and snacks around 9:30 pm on July 24 to catch the free event.

Midway photo courtesy of Explore Edmonton