The Pulse: June 2, 2022

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!


  • 21°C: Sunny. High 21. UV index 6 or high. (forecast)
  • 6pm: The Oilers play the Avalanche in Colorado in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. (details)
  • 51: Alberta reported 51 deaths from COVID-19 in the past week, bringing to total to 4,558. (details)

A smiling woman stands in front of an installation at the Indigenous Art Park in Edmonton

'Nothing is too crazy for us': Story City seeks Edmonton pitches for app

By Brett McKay

There are stories lining the streets of Edmonton, waiting for you to step into them. An interactive storytelling app aims to immerse users in these fictional worlds crafted by Edmonton artists.

Story City uses geolocation to lead people through tales written into a map of the city. The company is currently seeking pitches from writers who live in Edmonton or know it well to expand its library of local stories. The deadline for submissions is June 5.

"In terms of selecting pitches and experiences, nothing is too crazy for us," said Story City co-founder Emily Craven. "This is a new type of storytelling format, and it opens the gates to telling stories in a way that doesn't necessarily have to be that kind of linear start-to-end."

Billed as a choose-you-own-adventure platform, the closest parallel to Story City's format is probably the player-determined plotline of a video game. Craven's co-founders, Brett Ludwig and Justin Khan, have backgrounds in the gaming industry — at one point, both worked for Edmonton's BioWare — and Craven said members of the local gaming community were early supporters of their idea.

"With this type of technology, you can really play with, well, what happens if this person makes a different choice? How does that change things around different themes? Do you end up with a different genre completely? That's something that's really exciting about this type of storytelling, and was kind of locked up in game development."

Story City has eight experiences in Edmonton so far, including a "downtown social issues walk" with The Mustard Seed and a curated poetry showcase created for Found Festival.

Continue reading

Headlines: June 2, 2022

By Kevin Holowack

  • Pride Month has returned to Edmonton in full force with events planned at dozens of venues throughout the city. Find many listed at Capital Pride Edmonton, including this weekend's Pride Reunited, featuring a free and family-friendly street fair in Old Strathcona put on by Fruit Loop with The Grindstone. The annual celebration traces its roots to a riot in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York City, on June 28, 1969 — an event echoed by the 1981 police raid on the Pisces Bathhouse in Edmonton, noted a statement from Whitney Issik, associate minister of status of women, whose department will be sharing stories from 2SLGBTQQIA+ history in Alberta throughout June.
  • City council's executive committee passed a motion recommending a tax increase over the next four years to cover the loss of revenue from photo radar fines. The Traffic Safety Automated Enforcement Reserve (TSAER), which is projected to end 2022 with a deficit of $9.1 million, is the source of $22.3 million annually to the Edmonton Police Service and funds traffic safety programs. "Just to be very clear: there's no defunding of the police, which needs to be said probably a million times," said Coun. Andrew Knack. "It's either coming from our tax base or a dwindling fund, so in my mind, there's no way I can't support (this motion) because I support giving them that base amount." The final decision rests with council.
  • Enoch Cree Nation and Surgical Centres Inc. are partnering to establish a surgical facility on Enoch Cree Nation land, which will offer around 3,000 publicly funded hip and knee replacements and other joint-related procedures every year. The facility, which is expected to increase the number of annual orthopedic procedures in the Edmonton area by 13%, is scheduled to be constructed by 2023 and operational for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.
  • Edmonton's Commercial Clean Energy Improvement Program (CEIP) will be open to commercial building owners starting at 10am on June 7. As much as $8.54 million in funding and rebates will be available for up to 17 major energy efficiency projects. The city has released terms and conditions for commercial applicants to give them time to prepare.
  • The city released a list of local events happening in June as part of National Indigenous History Month. A launch event will be held in Blackburne Park on June 4 in partnership with the Roots for Trees program.
  • City council's urban planning committee voted 3-2 in favour of converting the eastbound lane of 102 Avenue between 99 and 103 Streets into a pedestrian-only walkway, sending a one-year pilot project proposal to a city council vote on June 7. "There's been, I would say, considerable interest from a lot of Edmontonians to sort of reimagine what this street could be — turn it into more of a vibrant, walkable area," said Coun. Ashley Salvador, who championed the committee's motion.
  • Mountain bikers and conservation groups are advocating for the city to implement a trail strategy to encourage a balance of preservation and fair use of single-track river valley trails, CBC reports. The city's urban planning committee voted unanimously to recommend that council let the Edmonton Mountain Bike Alliance (EMBA) maintain natural surface areas in declared preservation areas until a trail strategy is researched and approved. A recent city report reflects on the 4,000+ resident feedback responses to the city's proposed river valley plans.
  • Several participants in the recent Edmonton Real Estate Forum suggested that improving Edmonton's 19.8% office vacancy rate, the second-highest rate in Canada, requires focusing on social problems impacting downtown such as homelessness, poverty, and mental health issues affecting residents, reports the Real Estate News Exchange.
  • Flair Airlines is allowed to keep its operating licence after a federal regulator found the company is sufficiently Canadian to satisfy ownership requirements defined in the Canada Transportation Act. The Edmonton-based budget airline was under investigation by the Canadian Transportation Agency due to its close relationship with a Miami-based investor called 777 Partners. Flair met the 49% ownership minimum by "rejigging the composition of its board" and removing 777 Partners' unique shareholder rights, CBC reported.
  • K-Days released its 2022 concert lineup as it gears up for a big summer comeback under the auspices of Explore Edmonton, which took over the event after the demise of Northlands last summer. This year's 10-day festival will also have lower admission prices, new rides, and new 10-day Indigenous culture, art, performance, and education experience thanks to Explore Edmonton's new partnership with the Indigenous Edmonton Entertainment Group Association (IEEGA).
  • CBC's First Person project is inviting writers to submit personal essays of 500 to 700 words that "reflect contemporary Alberta but are outside of the regular news cycle." Some will be paired with video when they are published.
Cover art for In Development, featuring a drawing of two funky buildings with vibrant street life and a bus, with IDEA's lightbulb logo on the front

Podcast pick: In Development

By Karen Unland

If you're a nerd for how our city is put together, In Development from the Infill Development in Edmonton Association (IDEA) is aimed squarely at you.

"This is the podcast for all you city-builders, city-shapers and city-dwellers out there that care about driving change towards people-centred communities," the podcast declares. It's hosted by Mariah Samji, executive director of IDEA, and Ryan Eidick, a planner and development consultant.

They talk to people involved in various aspects of "how Canadian cities develop in and up," prefacing the central interview with an explanation of any obscure terms or acronyms that may have come up, and rounding out the episode with informed commentary on issues raised by their guest.

The podcast launched in September 2021 with Tegan Martin-Drysdale. She talks about the origins of the IDEA, which she founded to advocate for high-quality development in mature and existing neighbourhoods, as well as a couple of developments her company, Ocheller, is involved in, as well as Homestead, her coworking space.

Other notable episodes among the 15 released so far include a wide-ranging and newsy interview with Puneeta McBryan of the Downtown Business Association and a deep dive into Edmonton's Infill Roadmap with senior planner Sean Bohle. If you like that sort of thing, you might also want to check out Making Space, the City of Edmonton's new short-run podcast on how zoning works through the lens of real-life stories.

You can find this and the rest of Taproot's podcast picks in our Listen Notes list.