The Pulse: May 11, 2022

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

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Essentials

  • 14°C: A mix of sun and cloud. 30% chance of showers in the afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. High 14. UV index 5 or moderate. (forecast)
  • 4-5: The Oilers lost to the Los Angeles Kings in overtime at Rogers Place to fall behind 3-2 in the first-round series. (details)
  • 7pm: The Oil Kings look to sweep the Red Deer Rebels with a victory in Game 4 of their second-round playoff series. (details)
  • 97 & 41: A big 97 appeared on Whitemud Drive followed by a big 41 on Fox Drive, paying tribute to Oilers Connor McDavid and Mike Smith respectively. (details).
  • Aug. 14: Edmonton will host L'Etape by Tour de France, a 160-kilometre bike race. (details)

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi speaks onstage

Mayor slams province, praises region, in State of the City address


By Karen Unland Karen Unland and Brett McKay Brett McKay

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi used his first State of the City address to criticize the province for its lack of support for Edmonton.

Echoing his critical reaction to the provincial budget, Sohi called on the Alberta government to step up to tackle houselessness, mental health, addictions, and trauma. He also said Edmonton has received less than its fair share of transportation and infrastructure funding compared with Calgary, does not receive sufficient funding for being a regional hub for social services, loses out on $14 million per year in tax revenue on government buildings, and has seen disproportionate cuts to the University of Alberta's budget.

"Edmonton deserves a fair deal," he said, after pledging to convene community leaders to find ways to end such challenges. "Work with us. We are your capital city. We make outsized contributions. Please stop holding Edmonton's economy back."

Sohi also touted positive things happening in the Edmonton region, including investments from companies such as Air Products and HCL Technologies, as well as the recently concluded Canadian Hydrogen Conference.

"As global markets and economies shift to reduce emissions, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is poised to be a world leader in renewable energy in solar, geothermal and particularly in hydrogen," he said.

Sohi "maybe needs a memory lesson," Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver told reporters after the speech, listing other examples of provincial funding and citing a lack of context in the mayor's remarks. Edmonton Chamber of Commerce CEO Jeffrey Sundquist said he had hoped to hear more about how the city plans to attract investment as well as strengthen downtown and all the city's business districts.

Photo: Mayor Amarjeet Sohi delivered his first State of the City address at the Edmonton Convention Centre on May 10. (City of Edmonton/YouTube)

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Headlines


By Kevin Holowack Kevin Holowack and Mack Male Mack Male

  • Coun. Tim Cartmell says the city needs to pick up the pace in developing the Blatchford community. He said about $232 million has been spent so far, but just 32 of the 2,700 homes that were expected to be built by this time have been completed. "I think, frankly, it was a big audacious goal and perhaps unrealistic expectations were allowed to exist," Cartmell told Global News.
  • The Edmonton Regional Innovation Network and Innovate Edmonton have secured $4.8 million over three years from Alberta Innovates to support programs and services for entrepreneurs. The funding is part of a three-year, $18.7 million investment the province announced on May 10 for innovation across Alberta.
  • A report from the Canadian Centre of Policy Alternatives predicts that Edmonton will fail to meet the 50% child care cost reduction targets announced for 2022 as a benchmark in Canada's $3.8-billion plan to offer $10/day child care by 2026. The median monthly cost of preschool-aged child care in Edmonton is projected to hit $575 this year, lower than last year but $137 short of a 50% reduction. Only seven of 26 Canadian cities are expected to meet the 50% reduction target this year, Postmedia reports.
  • The Juno Awards are coming back to Edmonton next year, scheduled for March 12, 2023 at Rogers Place. Allan Reid, president of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, said his organization has been working to bring the show back to Edmonton for six years, drawn by the city's diverse music scene. Edmonton last hosted the Junos in 2004, hosted by singer Alanis Morissette.
  • Dave Bryenton, a volunteer for Edmonton's Battle Rattle Tactical Supplies, is going to Ukraine for the fifth time to deliver donations from Edmontonians. A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to help offset the cost of bringing large quantities of items oversees.
  • The Conservative Party of Canada's first official English language leadership debate is happening in Edmonton on May 11. One contender, MP Pierre Poilievre, drew 2,000 Edmontonians to a rally in the city last month, the Toronto Star reports.
  • FC Edmonton hasn't won any games in the 2022 Canadian Premier League season but still has a slim chance to represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League if they succeed in an upcoming knockout competition.
  • Tickets are now on sale for the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, which has been rescheduled for Aug. 9-20 at Rogers Place.
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Play equipment and toys in the child-minding space at the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre

Child-minding offered at five city recreation centres


By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson

The City of Edmonton and the YMCA of Northern Alberta have partnered to offer child-minding at Kinsmen Sports Centre and Terwillegar, The Meadows, Clareview, and Commonwealth recreation centres as a year-long pilot program. The service provides supervision for children who are 11 or younger to play and learn while their parents or caregivers use the city's recreation facilities.

"I have used the service and my kids love it. They constantly ask when we can go back; the staff definitely made an impression on them," said Andrea Tarasenko, the city's program manager for physical activities and partnership experiences.

She emphasized the need to break down barriers that parents face to being physically healthy, citing the importance of knowing a child is safely being cared for nearby and providing opportunities for kids to practice independence, problem-solving, and empathy towards others.

A similar child-minding program, run by the city, was suspended at the beginning of the pandemic. Then it was up for review, and it was proposed that the city seek a partner to provide child-minding at recreation centres.

"We thought that this was a good fit because the YMCA has extensive knowledge and expertise in early childhood programming, and they're the largest non-profit child-care provider in Alberta," explained Tarasenko. "It was an important step in bringing child-minding back quickly and efficiently and the city has been wanting to explore other partnerships, so this fit with that moving forward."

The drop-in program, which is costing the city about $1 million for the year, is similar to babysitting. Care is available for up to two hours at a time while the recreation centre is being used, and the service is free for those with a centre membership. Others can pay a drop-in fee or buy a punch pass to access the service.

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A legal notice from a newspaper, headlined "An Important Label Infringement Case Decided in Favor of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Ass'n of Saint Louis, U.S.A. by the Supreme Court of Alberta"

A moment in history: May 11, 1911


By Scott Lilwall Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1911, it became clear that Edmonton's first brewery was in big trouble for copying Budweiser beer.

A notice in the newspaper referred to a February decision by Alberta's Supreme Court that the Edmonton Malting and Brewing Company had sold beer with labels that too closely matched those by the much better-known Budweiser. And looking at the examples that were printed, it appears the court had a point.

When W. H. Sheppard opened Edmonton's first brewery in 1904, he probably had a good idea of the desire for beer in the city, given as he was already the owner of the Strathcona Hotel (as well as the mayor of Strathcona). But even he might not have been prepared for the demand. In its first year, the original Rossdale facility produced 2,000 barrels of beer. Three years later, production had increased tenfold.

The hand-slap doled out by the provincial supreme court didn't slow the brewery down too much. By 1913, Sheppard needed more space. So the company eventually settled on a patch of land on 104 Ave and 121 Street to build its "beer castle" — a five-storey red-brick building designed by Chicago architect Bernard Barthel, who was well-known for his ornate breweries across the United States.

Shepard sold off the company, and the beer castle, to the unfortunately named Fritz Sick, another major player in Alberta beer-making. The 104 Avenue building remained part of Sick's empire until Molson bought a controlling share in 1958. The company installed a massive rotating "M" sign on the roof and operated the building until it was closed in 2007.

Both the beer castle and the Rossdale brewery still remain in some form, protected as historical buildings and reminders of the province's history of beer-making. Alberta's brewing industry is a lot more varied than in those days, with dozens of brewers across the province — the Edmonton Brewing and Malting Company still among them. Some of them will be represented at various events this year, including the Canadian Brewing Awards in Calgary this week or Edmonton's Craft Beer Festival later this summer.

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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