The Pulse: Oct. 21, 2021

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  • 12°C: Mainly sunny. High 12. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • 3,006: The total number of Albertans that have died of COVID-19. (details)
  • 8pm: The Oilers (3-0-0) will play the Coyotes (0-2-1). (details)

How Edmonton's next city council answered Taproot's survey question on the arts.

How Edmonton's next council will support arts and culture

By Paul Blinov in the Arts Roundup

Elections often have the local arts community crossing their fingers, but the municipal election results in Edmonton should have artists (mostly) breathing a sigh of relief.

The city's mayor-elect, Amarjeet Sohi, is deeply supportive of the arts, with the rest of council at least warm to the sector, according to their responses to the Taproot Survey.

Sohi emphasized the city's arts community in his acceptance speech on Oct. 18, saying: "We will nurture arts and culture. In return, arts and culture will nurture us."

He included the industry as one of the focal points of his campaign platform, saying he would create a Mayor's Arts Advisory Committee to better understand the sector's evolving needs, as well as recommit to Connections and Exchanges, the city's existing 10-year arts and heritage plan.

Sohi's platform also said that he wants the next city budget to include a $1.2 million Arts Recovery Fund, to help artists still struggling from the impact of COVID-19 on the industry.

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By Mack Male

  • A request from Ward Ipiihkoohkanipiaohtsi candidate Rhiannon Hoyle for a recount has been denied by Edmonton Elections. "After reviewing the information provided, in accordance with the Local Authorities Election Act, officials determined the election results are correct based on our voting processes and therefore a recount will not be completed," said spokesperson Suzzette Mellado. Jennifer Rice won by just 33 votes.
  • The City of Edmonton tweeted that following concerns about safety, a temporary railing is being installed on the new Ada Boulevard Bridge "while a permanent railing is being fabricated."
  • All of Edmonton's newly-elected public school board trustees have come out against Alberta's controversial draft K-6 curriculum, reports Postmedia.
  • Elections Alberta has apologized for a series of tweets posted on election day that it called "inappropriate" and "unacceptable." The agency has since deleted the tweets and said it will review its social media policy.
  • Starting April 23, 2022, Alberta is adding a fifth area code: 368 will join the existing 403, 780, 587, and 825.
An ad showing how real estate firms were throwing their support behind a rail line connecting Edmonton to St. Albert in 1912.

A moment in history: Oct. 21, 1912

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1912, real estate firms were throwing their support behind a rail line connecting Edmonton to St. Albert.

The ad drops some not-so-subtle hints that potential land buyers should hurry, as the company claims it has received "numerous enquiries" about plots along the Edmonton Interurban Railway — even though the railway didn't actually exist yet.

The early 20th century was a time of explosive growth for Edmonton. It had a population of 8,350 in 1904 when it graduated to city status. A decade later, it had ballooned to 72,516 residents. As the population swelled, so did the city's borders. However, poor transportation made it difficult for those on the outskirts to reach other parts of the city, and for those in the centre to find relief from the blocks of roads and buildings.

A rail connection to St. Albert was seen as a solution to those woes. In 1912, the main road connecting the two communities was a muddy mess, often unusable in wet weather. But if a reliable rail link was established between Edmonton and St. Albert, it would allow new arrivals to choose where to live and encourage development along the entire line. Discussion of the urban railway had gone on for years, but it was Raymond Brutinel who would actually build it. The wealthy financier came to Canada in 1905 after deserting the French army. Once in Alberta, Brutinel made a small fortune investing in coal mines and setting up electric streetlights in St. Albert.

In 1910, Brutinel formed a company to build the all-electric railway connecting the two areas. The line was meant to be the first step in a railway that would connect Edmonton to Tofield, Pigeon Lake, and Namao. Construction began two years later and was finished the year after. By that time, the Edmonton Interurban Railway couldn't afford to run only on electricity. Instead, it bought two hybrid gas-electric train cars, an uncommon vehicle.

By December 1913, the line started running with one car (the other was on its way from England, but would never actually see service on the line). The 45-minute journey from St. Albert to Edmonton had five stops, including at Summerland, a proposed subdivision north of Calder. The Edmonton terminus was at 124th Street, where passengers could then transfer to the Edmonton Radial Railway to reach other parts of the city.

Fate almost immediately turned against the Interurban Railway. Its single car, while quite comfortable, broke down often; the wait times to transfer between railways were long and frustrating; and the economy slowed. The final spike in the railway's coffin came when a fire in 1914 destroyed its train barn and the railway's only operating car. While there was some talk of rebuilding, the ambitious dream was dead less than a year after the railway opened. Brutinel went on to form a machine gun company for the British army and returned to France to join the war effort in 1915.

Over the decades, St. Albert and Edmonton have both continued to grow. No longer attached by just a single muddy road, the two cities are far more closely connected than a century ago. The question of a rail link between the two remains an open question and Edmonton city council has approved a proposed route that would bring the LRT right up to St. Albert's borders. And both cities, like much of the province, are going through a housing construction boom that once again brings up questions of how they will continue to grow in the future.

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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Elvis" officiates a wedding at a previous Edmonton Craft Beer Festival.

Weekend agenda: Oct. 21-24, 2021

By Andy Trussler

Photo: "Elvis" officiates a wedding at a previous Edmonton Craft Beer Festival. (Alberta Beer Festivals)

Launch Party 12

Launch Party 12 is TONIGHT!


A message from Startup Edmonton:

"Launch Party is Edmonton Startup Week's flagship event that showcases our city's brightest entrepreneurs and their technology-enabled products, celebrating everything that our startup community has to offer.

Launch Party was modeled after the highly successful Launch Party Vancouver series from the Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, which has grown into the city's flagship tech/startup event."

This is the 12th annual edition of Launch Party, and this year the following 10 companies are showcasing their products:

Launch Party 12 takes place tonight at 7pm. RSVP now!

Learn more