The Pulse: Jan. 26, 2022

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

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  • 2°C: Increasing cloudiness then 60% chance of flurries in the morning and early in the afternoon. Clearing late in the afternoon. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High plus 2. (forecast)
  • 1,377: There are 1,377 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Alberta, including 111 in intensive care. (details)
  • 3-2: The Oilers (20-16-2) defeated the Canucks (18-19-5) in overtime. (details)

A mockup of Innovate Edmonton's new office

Innovate Edmonton to move into new home on Jasper Avenue this fall

By Emily Rendell-Watson

The leading voice of Edmonton's innovation community will move into its first home this fall, in a street-level, loft-style office at the heart of downtown.

The new public space at 10107 Jasper Avenue will serve as a hub for Innovate Edmonton's operations, program delivery for its three divisions, co-working, and events.

"It's going to be a whole new era. We are ourselves a startup and people have been working from home, so when this finally comes to fruition, we are so thrilled to be getting together at last," CEO Catherine Warren told Taproot.

The space in the Melcor-owned building is more than 18,000 square feet, larger than where Startup Edmonton is based in the Mercer Warehouse on 104 Street and 104 Avenue.

The Mercer lease will be extended until October 2022 to support Innovate Edmonton's operations in the leadup to the move, but its future home will provide more room for the recently expanded Scaleup Edmonton, Accelerate Edmonton's programs and fund, and other growth opportunities within the ecosystem.

Warren is hoping the added attention and visibility of a street-level location will draw in Edmontonians who are walking by.

"We're making a showpiece for the city, but we're also helping to demystify innovation and put it a bit more in the public realm ... to just make sure everyone really understands and appreciates the magnitude, volume, and diversity of innovation in our city," Warren said.

Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, added that she hopes the new office will serve as "a nucleus" for innovation and economic diversification, and become "an anchor for the ongoing revitalization of Jasper Avenue."

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By Mack Male and Doug Johnson

  • In a first-person column published by CBC News, hometown favourite Rollie Pemberton — also known as Cadence Weapon — spoke about how the Prairies shaped his career. He called the cold weather "my secret weapon as a musician," saying that because it prevented him from going outside sometimes he had "ample time to hunker down and be creative."
  • Correctional officers at the Edmonton Institution have broken up two fights between inmates in just two weeks using live-round warning shots. "These are extreme measures that usually don't happen," said Calgary lawyer Jill Shiskin. Staffing challenges have led to a scaling back of out-of-cell time and access to programs and services.
  • Tyler Gamblin, who is sleeping in a self-made igloo to raise money for multiple sclerosis research, has passed his $10,000 goal. He had pledged to sleep three nights in the icy structure but has added a fourth to see if he can raise $15,000.
  • Alberta Enterprise Corporation is investing $12.5 million in Builders VC Fund II to support the growth of tech businesses focused on "modernizing industries including real estate and construction, agriculture, healthcare and industrials." Builders VC led a $2.5 million funding round for Edmonton's QuoteToMe last July. AEC is also investing $13.7 million with Yaletown Partners and $5 million with Amplitude Venture Capital.
  • As of Jan. 25, there were 123 acute, long-term, and supportive living facilities in the Edmonton zone in outbreak status. There were just seven outbreaks in those facilities on Dec. 21, Global News reports.
  • The Omicron variant may be slowing down in Alberta, according to Health Minister Jason Copping. "But make no mistake, the coming weeks are going to be the toughest yet for many Albertans and for the people working in core inpatient units in our hospitals," he said at a press conference on Jan. 25.
Emily Rendell-Watson and Faaiza Ramji record their first episode

Taproot launches Bloom, a podcast on innovation in Edmonton

By Emily Rendell-Watson

Taproot is about to dive deeper into innovation in Edmonton with a new podcast called Bloom.

The weekly series will cover the opportunities available in the Edmonton region and how the ecosystem is growing. In addition to commentary and analysis on the latest news, there will be interviews with innovators tackling some of the world's biggest challenges, previews of what to expect in the coming weeks, and more.

Bloom will be co-hosted by Emily Rendell-Watson of Taproot Edmonton and entrepreneur Faaiza Ramji, principal of On Purpose and founder of Field Notes, which makes liqueurs using distilled field peas grown in Alberta.

Bloom is brought to you by Innovate Edmonton. The theme music is by Dave von Bieker and cover art by Vikki Wiercinski.

New episodes are published every Thursday, starting Jan. 27. Listen to the trailer and subscribe so you don't miss an episode.

Photo: Co-hosts Emily Rendell-Watson and Faaiza Ramji are ready to explore innovation on Bloom.