The Pulse: July 29, 2021

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

Want this in your inbox? Sign up to get The Pulse by email. It's free!


  • 27°C: Sunny. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Hazy in the afternoon. High 27. Humidex 31. (forecast)
  • 63%: Alberta saw a 63% increase in healthcare vacancies in the first quarter of 2021. (details)

Celebrating diversity and inclusion, Heritage Festival moves ahead

Celebrating diversity and inclusion, Heritage Festival moves ahead

By Fawnda Mithrush Fawnda Mithrush in the Arts Roundup

As gatherings go, the Edmonton Heritage Festival is one of the largest to happen each summer, with typically more than 350,000 patrons busily commingling in Hawrelak Park over the August long weekend.

This year, the feast of cultural diversity and performance buffet returns to the park from July 31 to Aug. 2, with an additional preview series of concerts for World Music Week at the Heritage Amphitheatre starting on July 29.

"It's astonishing how well it's coming together, to be honest," executive director Jim Gibbon told Taproot. "Everything is so last minute, so just to have tents up on time and all these cultural groups working twice as hard to make it all happen, it's just been incredible."

After an entirely virtual delivery in 2020, attendance to this year's festival — free as usual — will be capped at 150,000 (around 40% of the usual total), with timed-entry bookings required in advance.

Instead of food tickets being sold for the sampling of international cuisines, each cultural pavilion will accept payment by debit or credit card; no cash will be handled onsite. Dance stages — among the liveliest sights on the grounds — will have distancing areas fenced for viewers and artist safety, and visual guidelines will be posted around the festival site to ensure communications are understood by all.

Continue reading


By Michelle Ferguson Michelle Ferguson

Correction: An earlier version of the headlines said Kristopher Wells is an Edmonton doctor, which has been corrected to reflect that he is Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University.

A screen capture from the BEYOND2021 panel on July 22.

Municipal election rundown: July 29, 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.

  • Four mayoral candidates — Amarjeet Sohi, Cheryll Watson, Michael Oshry, and Kim Krushell — participated in a KV Capital panel that columnist Keith Gerein called a "secret debate" and a "blow to transparency." While the event was not open to the public, the recording is available to watch on YouTube. In a blog post, candidate Mike Nickel commended Gerein for denouncing the "swanky" event.
  • The Philippine Media Association of Alberta will host a mayoral candidate forum at Manila Grill and Restaurant on Aug 14. Tickets should be reserved ahead of time by calling 780-758-2045 or 780-952-3521, or you can watch the event live on Facebook.
  • CTV News digital journalist Matthew Black curated a zoomable and searchable Google map displaying new ward boundaries. Users can find councillors and candidates by ward and compare the city's electoral boundaries over time.
  • Mayoral candidate Cheryll Watson was interviewed regarding her work with Innovate Edmonton, her economic plans, and the reason she's running for mayor. CTV Edmonton has promised a series of mayoral profiles in the near future, with Watson's debuting on CTV Edmonton and her Twitter in the upcoming days.
  • Ward Anirniq candidate Erin Rutherford discussed how the single-use plastic bylaw would negatively impact disabled and low-income Edmontonians on her blog. The post details the inaccessibility of reusable straws and how single-use plastics are not cost-efficient for many vulnerable Edmontonians.
  • Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi candidate Rhiannon Hoyle put out a survey asking which issues she should champion if elected.

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.

Photo: (KV Capital/Youtube)

More information
A clipping from July 29, 1950 depicting how the Army and Navy department store was opening on Whyte Avenue.

A moment in history: July 29, 1950

By Scott Lilwall Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1950, the Army and Navy department store was opening on Whyte Avenue.

The department store was the newest addition to the business area south of the river at a time when dozens of new stores and shops were opening.

The long brick building, with its large display windows and stark black-and-white signage, was an instantly recognizable landmark. But it wasn't the first location of the discount department chain to open in the city — after the company was founded in 1919 in Vancouver's Gastown, owner Sam Cohen opened a second store in Regina, and then a third in Edmonton in 1928.

The store served an important niche in the area. It got the majority of its stock from army surplus or overstocks from other stores, and sold it at low prices. The Whyte Avenue location was popular for those in need of winter clothing or work gear, but without a lot of money to spend. It was also known for its annual shoe sales. The Army and Navy chain was the first in western Canada to have self-serve shoe departments, and its sales would often find hundreds of people packed into the store with many more lined up outside.

The Army and Navy chain started to hit harder times in the 21st century. A second Edmonton store, east of downtown in the GWG building, closed in 2003. In 2020, the company announced that it would close its five remaining stores, including the Whyte Avenue location.

While the brick building was shuttered in late 2020, it hasn't remained totally empty. The location has played host to a few seasonal events seeking shelter during the pandemic: the Edmonton Christmas Market spread a little cheer in the building last December, and this summer saw it host the Whyte Avenue Art Walk.

While the department store might be gone, there might be some new life coming to the building it left behind. There have been early plans for redevelopment on the corner of Whyte and 104th, which would include the site.

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.

More information
Long weekend agenda: July 29-Aug. 2, 2021

Long weekend agenda: July 29-Aug. 2, 2021

By Andy Trussler Andy Trussler

  • Heaven, a play about the life of a Black pioneer and schoolteacher, debuts on the Citadel Theatre stage on July 31. The two-person show starring Helen Belay and Anthony Santiago runs until Aug. 15.
  • SWEAT and The Grindstone will present the first Disco in the Park from July 31-Aug. 1. The outdoor event is slated to be a "weekend of all day dancing in a beautiful park" and will offer food, DJ sets, and live performances from local talent.
  • The Edmonton Heritage Festival runs July 31-Aug. 2 to celebrate multiculturalism through songs, dance, crafts and music. Visitors must present timed entry passes and should reserve tickets ahead of the event.
  • Afrodisiac Naturals' monthly Last Saturday Market is open 11am-5pm on July 31. Vendors will be selling handcrafted clothing, accessories, plus natural hair and skincare products.

Credit: (Robert Tyndale/Afrodisiac Naturals)