The Pulse: July 28, 2022

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  • 31°C: A mix of sun and cloud. High 31. Humidex 37. UV index 8 or very high. (forecast)
  • 649: There were 649 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Alberta as of July 25, including 26 in intensive care. (details)
  • 91-100: The Edmonton Stingers lost to the Ottawa BlackJacks. (details)

Portraits of Celia Taylor, Joseph Halden, Bruce Cinnamon, and Domini Gee

Story City announces a new slate of adventures

By Dustin Scott

Story City's call for Edmonton stories earlier this year has resulted in a fresh batch of interactive experiences set to hit the app on Aug. 5.

The new adventures invite the user to play the role of a journalist trying to solve a murder, a criminal mastermind planning a heist at the legislature, or the organizer of an alien invasion of Oliver, among other scenarios. The app uses geolocation to lead players through a story connected to specific locations.

"We have real-world trails and choose-your-adventures; you get to choose where you want to go through those experiences," said Story City CEO Emily Craven.

The latest batch of stories includes:

  • Tips from your Barista: Aka Ways to Survive Your Coffee Shop Experience, a choose-your-adventure based in Old Strathcona by game developer Domini Gee;
  • The Coronet Caper, a puzzle trail/escape room based at the legislature grounds by Celia Taylor of Empress of Blandings Productions;
  • An Embarrassment of Riches, a choose-your-adventure based in Ritchie, Westmount, and Glenora by writer Lizzie Derksen;
  • Two activities by writer and narrative designer Eliot M.B. Howard: The Psychometrist, based downtown, and Cloudship, based in Oliver;
  • Hole in the Netaverse, a puzzle trail set downtown by science fiction writer Joseph Halden;
  • Two choose-your-adventures based at the legislature grounds: Murder on the River Valley by Sierra Larson and Woglins and Wozzips by Jennifer Kennedy;
  • Spring, a choose-your-adventure based in Highlands by Bruce Cinnamon;
  • The Case of the Garden Jubilee, a choose-your-adventure based at the University of Alberta Botanic Garden by Ahmar Rana;
  • Edmonton Queer History Loops 1 & 2, two historic walking tours through downtown by the Edmonton Queer History Project.

The creators whose pitches were chosen were to go through a six- to eight-week mentoring and development process to shape their ideas into works suited for the platform, Craven said when she issued a call for creators in the spring.

The new stories join eight other Edmonton-based experiences on the app.

Photo: Clockwise from top left: Celia Taylor, Joseph Halden, Domini Gee, and Bruce Cinnamon are among the writers whose stories are slated to appear in the Story City app on Aug. 5.



By Kevin Holowack and Mack Male

  • Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for most of Alberta, including the Edmonton area, with daytime temperatures nearing 29°C and into the mid-30s and overnight temperatures between 14°C and the high teens. "Monitor for symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, such as high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting, and unconsciousness," it said. Edmonton weather nerdery reports that Edmonton may have already reached the "top" of the summer, after which temperatures will gradually decline.
  • The Edmonton Heritage Festival is happening this weekend, opening at 10am daily on July 30, July 31, and Aug. 1. Hawrelak Park will host 69 pavilions with food and souvenirs from about 80 countries. New participants include the Uyghur and Oromo pavilions, but the Russian pavilion has withdrawn this year. Free water will be available, and items can now be purchased directly with credit and debit — but not cash, which was dropped during the pandemic. The festival's 50th anniversary next year will have to take place somewhere else, as Hawrelak Park will be closed for three years for major upgrades. "We continue to work with the city and we're going to have an amazing site for our 50th anniversary," executive director Jim Gibbon told Postmedia.
  • Coun. Aaron Paquette spoke about the papal visit to Edmonton on a recent episode of Real Talk with Ryan Jespersen. Paquette spoke about how, for security reasons, the area around Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples was cleared ahead of the arrival of Pope Francis. "We're talking about homeless people, people suffering mental health and addictions, and the majority of those folks happen to be Indigenous, because that is the aftermath of residential schools and breaking up families and communities," Paquette said. As a result, dignitaries travelling through the area "did not see the living reality of the impacts of residential schools," he explained. "I think that was a mistake."
  • The city is accepting expressions of interest for the Anti-racism Community Safety Funding (ARCSF) Program, which is providing one-time funding of $150,000 to $250,000 to support local initiatives focusing on community justice, mental health, employment, and social participation within BIPOC communities. Interested applicants must submit an expression of interest form online by 5pm on Aug. 24.
  • The International Ice Hockey Federation is committed to hosting the 2022 World Juniors in Edmonton next month, Hockey Canada president Scott Smith told reporters while on break from parliamentary hearings. The statement comes in the wake of new sexual assault allegations against several former Team Canada players at the 2003 World Juniors in Halifax.
  • Aher Uguak, who spent five years in the United States playing college basketball for the Loyola Ramblers and the New Mexico Lobos, has started his professional career in his hometown and has been with the Edmonton Stingers since June.
  • The Edmonton Corn Maze, located just west in Parkland County, opened to the public on July 26 and runs until September. This year, the maze design is a tribute to the Edmonton Elks.
Taproot Edmonton's Bloom podcast, brought to you by Innovate Edmonton

Bloom: Driving growth while saving lives with connected trucks

By Karen Unland

Episode 24 of Bloom features a conversation with Brian Heath, CEO of Drivewyze, a company that is intent on growing from Edmonton even though most of its customers are in the United States.

"Tier 1 venture capital companies and private equity companies from around the world have really taken notice of the quality of the enterprise that's been built," said Heath, whose company has raised about $130 million in investment to build software and equipment to connect truckers with the information they need to drive safely.

"To know that the big component of that is Edmonton — our Edmonton headquarters and our Edmonton staff — is really cool. And that's validating to anyone in Alberta that wonders, 'Do we have the wherewithal to create world-class technology companies?' Absolutely we do."

Scaling the company to 200+ employees and 2.8 million trucks was somewhat beyond their imagination when Heath and his co-founder Fred Ko started building Drivewyze's parent company, Intelligent Imaging Systems, in 2003.

"Yes, we had big aspirations, but there's no way we could have premeditated what we've become," he said, crediting his team for finding the path that led the company to where it is today, with an impressive new building ready to welcome the startup community on Calgary Trail.

As the technology of trucking evolves, whether it's towards autonomous vehicles or something we haven't yet imagined, Drivewyze is well-positioned to take advantage, Heath said. "We're the bridge between the vehicle and the transportation network around it. And whether there's a driver today or in the future it's driverless, there's still an incredible need for that bridge."

Learn more about how Heath wants to shape Drivewyze's future and how he is fuelled by the memory of a grateful trucker on a highway in West Virginia on the July 28 episode.

You'll also hear co-hosts Faaiza Ramji and Karen Unland discuss the Clean Air Strategy Alliance's efforts this summer to measure what heavy-duty trucks are emitting, a new development in TransPod's efforts to create a high-speed connection between Edmonton and Calgary, and more. and In our sponsor spot, hear Darrell Petras of Innovate Edmonton discuss developing innovation in post-secondary institutions.