The Pulse: July 21, 2022

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

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  • 27°C: Sunny. High 27. UV index 7 or high. (forecast)
  • 20: Alberta reported 20 new deaths due to COVID-19 over the past week, bringing the provincial total to 4,652. (details)
  • Blue/Green: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue and green for the start of Taste of Edmonton. (details)

A long-haired dancer on stilts does a handstand while pointing her legs in opposite directions

Stage-less performers meet cycling audience at dance festival

By Brett McKay

Having been without a permanent venue for more than a year, Mile Zero Dance's 2022 season has been defined by unconventional locations and site-specific performances. So it's fitting that to wrap up the dance company's festival on July 24, a roving bike audience will be invited to take in "little snippets of dance" along a six-stop route.

"It's a very fun, secretive route. If you've never been on those trails before, it's going be a whole new revelation of what Edmonton has to offer," said Gerry Morita, artistic director of Mile Zero Dance and curator of The Magpie Collection: A Dance Festival. "We're hoping to expose dance people to cycling and cycling people to the dance."

The 5.5-kilometre bike tour was planned in partnership with the cycling advocacy group Bike Edmonton and includes pieces by Allarra Gooliaff, Tony Olivares, and the Usha Gupta Dance Entourage, among others. Morita said she expects the bike tour to move at a leisurely pace and take about two hours to complete.

"We've done a number of walking tours, parades, site-specific works, and our whole season this year is called Site Lines, because we didn't have a venue to work in," Morita said.

Because of the pandemic and a rent increase, Mile Zero Dance vacated its Spazio Performativo venue in Little Italy in June 2021. The company is currently trying to secure a new location in the Ritchie neighbourhood, Morita said, but has used this season to explore the "social choreography of space," wherein "the artist and audience are both free to define their own position without the constraints of the proscenium stage."

She notes that during walking tours, crowds tend to pick up interested spectators along the way. "I've done a few of these before, and I think that they're a really fun way to get people out into the community in the summer."

The bike tour begins at 3pm on Sunday. The route will be revealed to registrants only.

Photo: Stilt dancer Allarra Gooliaff is among the performers that cyclists will encounter during the finale of The Magpie Collection: A Dance Festival. (Mile Zero Dance)



By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

  • CBC News spoke to several experts who said getting a second COVID-19 booster shot will help reduce the likelihood of severe outcomes from the BA.5 variant, even though the vaccine is not particularly effective at preventing transmission. It is uncertain when a bivalent vaccine, designed to specifically target earlier versions of Omicron, might be available. "It doesn't make sense to wait when there is a vaccine available that can reduce your possibility of becoming seriously ill with this new variant," said Dr. Noel Gibney, professor emeritus in the department of critical care medicine at the University of Alberta.
  • The average sale price of a home in Edmonton reached $408,961 in 2022, up 4.73% from 2021, a relatively modest rise compared to Calgary (+5.85%), Winnipeg (+12.66%), and Vancouver (+19.69%), according to RE/MAX's 2022 Housing Affordability Report. The report attributes housing affordability challenges in the city to "residential construction delays; out-of-province/out-of-region buyers driving up demand and prices; and rising interest rates."
  • According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Edmonton saw a 5% year-over-year increase in housing starts from June 2021 to June 2022, but a 41% decrease from May 2022 to June 2022 when seasonally adjusted at annual rates. "The decrease in monthly SAAR housing starts in Canada's urban areas was driven by lower single-detached starts in June," said CMHC's chief economist Bob Dugan, who noted that the level of housing start activity has remained historically high since 2020.
  • MacEwan University's growing enrolment is good news for downtown, argues president and vice-chancellor Annette Trimbee in an op-ed for Postmedia. "Our grads become the business and community leaders who are building a more diverse and resilient future for Edmonton and Alberta," she wrote. MacEwan plans to increase the size of its student body by 60% over the next ten years.
  • EPCOR is setting up touchless water refill kiosks at K-Days this year, which runs July 22-31. Explore Edmonton CEO Traci Bednard said the kiosks — which feature a QR code to provide users with information about the North Saskatchewan River — will reduce costs for families who no longer need to buy water on the fairgrounds.
  • Former city councillor Jon Dziadyk, who lost to Coun. Karen Principe in ward tastawiyiniwak in last fall's municipal election, will represent the United Conservative Party in Edmonton-Castle Downs in the next provincial election. "I'm excited to be an advocate for Edmonton's north side on the United Conservative team. We have to protect the progress that's been made to balance the budget, pay down debt, grow the Heritage Fund, and bring jobs and opportunity back for families in Edmonton," Dziadyk said.
  • Mint Smartwash is giving away free car washes and food from July 22-24 as part of a media event at its locations on Argyll Road and in The Meadows. Mint describes itself as a car wash that "employs state-of-the-art computer systems, innovative wash equipment, and sophisticated water reclamation systems to ensure the shiniest vehicles in an environmentally responsible way."
  • Alberta Health Services has rescinded all visitor restrictions at acute care sites. "This includes removing limits to visitation and limits to the number of designated family/support persons and visitors permitted per patient," it said in a release.
Taproot Edmonton's Bloom podcast, brought to you by Innovate Edmonton

Bloom: Satisfying a hunger for restaurant software

By Karen Unland

Episode 23 of Bloom takes a big bite into some stories about food innovation in Edmonton and Alberta.

Mack Male joins co-hosts Faaiza Ramji and Karen Unland to discuss Taproot's recent story on Truffle, an Edmonton startup that seemed to come out of nowhere to secure $2.3 million in investment to further expand its cloud-based software platform for restaurants.

Truffle founder Omer Choudhary impressed Arden Tse of Yaletown Partners, whose Accelerate Fund III led the seed round.

"I could see that this is a guy that knows how to survive and can handle the pressure," said Tse, who is not only an investment manager but also a former restaurant owner. "So that certainly gave us a lot of confidence."

Learn more about where the idea came from, what makes Truffle different, and why Choudhary thinks his company can be "the next unicorn out of Alberta."

In the second half of the show, we dig into the new Agri-Food and Bioindustrial Innovation Program from Alberta Innovates, the farm-side innovations enabled by LandView Drones, and the limitations of online farmers' markets.

In our sponsor spot, learn more about Scaleup Edmonton from Darrell Petras of Innovate Edmonton.

Bloom is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and everywhere else you get your podcasts.