The Pulse: March 15, 2023

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!


  • -1°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. Wind up to 15 km/h. High minus 1. Wind chill minus 19 in the morning and minus 3 in the afternoon. UV index 3 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Blue: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue for the Mental Health Foundation Annual Breakfast. (details)
  • $1.67 million: The Western Canada Lottery Corporation said someone in Edmonton won $1.67 million in a Classic Jackpot draw on March 11 with the numbers 6, 13, 21, 29, 33, and 49. (details)
  • 6-3: The Edmonton Oilers (37-23-8) defeated the Ottawa Senators (33-30-4) on March 14. (details)

A view inside a Ribeye Butcher Shop, with a smash-burger menu up front, a drawing on the far wall showing where the cuts of meat come from, and a display of meat and deli items

Butcher shops multiply to meet consumer demand

By Colin Gallant

Edmonton is seeing a bit of a boom in butcher shops, capturing a growing desire among consumers for local, high-quality meat, say both a newcomer to the local scene and a veteran.

"COVID happened and my business went berserk," Ribeye Butcher Shop co-owner Sam Gundy told Taproot. Gundy ran a number of butchery businesses in the Toronto area between 2009 and 2021 before he "did pretty well" selling them to VG Meats.

Last year, Gundy moved to Edmonton to open the first Ribeye Butcher Shop with partners Mike Wheeler and Roger Newton, owners of The Canadian Brewhouse, a national restaurant chain that is headquartered here. "They know how to scale, and I know how to operate," Gundy said.

Originally tapped as a consultant for Wheeler and Newton's idea to expand into the butchery market, Gundy quickly decided to become a co-owner of the venture and took over operations. Ribeye is a butcher, market, and eatery concept that has already opened two shops in St. Albert and Manning Town Centre, with plans to open three more soon.

"The proliferation of butcher shops is because of the service, and the quality as well," said Gundy. "And it's the familiarity. It's going and having pretty close relationships because when you're the local butcher, you're going to get to know a lot about everybody in the neighbourhood."

Ribeye isn't the only new game in town when it comes to butcher shops. Modest Meats, a whole-animal butcher shop, opened in Strathcona Junction this month, while Arpa Farm Fresh Butchery (which shares ownership with Sofra Turkish Cuisine and Zula Kitchen and Wine Bar) opened at the end of 2022 in Glenora.

Corey Meyer, a third-generation butcher who bought Ritchie's Acme Meat Market in 2008, agreed that the kind of customer service one receives at a butcher shop is key to its popularity.

Continue reading

Headlines: March 15, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • Five Canadian artists took home awards during the 2023 JUNO Awards ceremony at Rogers Place on March 13. Toronto-born singer The Weeknd won album of the year for Dawn FM but also earned boos for not appearing at the ceremony. The event was briefly interrupted by a protester who took the stage while Avril Lavigne was introducing a performance by singer AP Dhillon. Live cameras cut away from the woman, who was topless and had the words "land back" and "save the greenbelt" written on her body, but audience members captured recordings of the incident. Police say a 37-year-old Vancouver woman is facing mischief charges.
  • The province announced it plans to mandate all police officers in Alberta to wear body cameras in an effort to improve transparency and public trust. Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis provided no clear timeline but said a working group will supply a draft plan in the next "three or four months," which is after the May election. Chief Dale McFee of the Edmonton Police Service said EPS officers support the idea, adding that technology has improved since a 2014 study found cameras for officers would be $1,000 each on top of significant costs for data management. If it goes through, the policy would make Alberta the first province to mandate body-worn cameras for all police services.
  • The federal government announced a $3.7-million investment to support Edmonton's tourism sector through the Tourism Relief Fund administered by PrairiesCan. Fort Edmonton Park is getting $1.2 million to develop year-round experiences including exhibits focusing on Indigenous stories and culture; the Edmonton Valley Zoo is getting $1 million for various enhancements; the Muttart Conservatory is getting $1 million to create new exhibits and upgrade facilities; and the City of Edmonton is getting $500,000 for programming, interactive art, and downtown lighting.
  • City council has declared the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, observed annually on Sept. 30, a civic holiday in Edmonton. The move is part of the city's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Municipal Response Plan, which focuses on efforts to enhance inclusion and reduce barriers to city services and programs. Declaring a civic holiday does not create any legal requirement for businesses or employers to close or provide stat pay to employee. The day is already recognized as a federal statutory holiday.
  • Edmonton Journal columnist Keith Gerein drew attention to a potential "impending crisis" facing Edmonton's community league halls, many of which were built in the 1960s and 70s, fail to meet today's accessibility standards, and are seeing rising maintenance and construction costs that outpace revenue from hall rentals and casino nights. The city is helping the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues conduct site assessments over the next few years, after which it will need to "seriously consider what value these venues have" and potentially adjust funding, land use, and ownership frameworks, Gerein wrote.
  • The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) released its 2023 platform priorities ahead of the provincial election in May and is asking the public to sign a letter calling on all party leaders to commit to the priorities, which include a $300-million investment over three years and a strategy to strengthen the non-profit workforce. In 2022, CCVO released Too Essential to Fail, a report that described the crisis in the non-profit sector and called on the province to provide immediate funding, which CCVO CEO Karen Ball said is still "desperately needed." The priorities are an extension of The Nonprofit Vote, an Alberta-wide advocacy campaign that also represents the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations.
  • Stephen Jones, CEO of Edmonton-based budget airline Flair, said the company is getting back to business as usual after the seizure of four of the company's planes by New York-based hedge fund Airborne Capital on March 11. Jones told reporters the company is caught up on payments, but if it can't recover the planes, it will need to procure more or reduce its summer schedule.
  • Leigh Ann de Ruiter, who is married to self-proclaimed spiritual leader John de Ruiter, was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual assault in relation to separate incidents from 2017-2022. Police said her charges are related to some of the same incidents that led to charges against her husband, who was arrested on Jan. 22 and released on bail on Jan. 27. Leigh Ann de Ruiter is scheduled to appear in court on March 15.
Newspaper clippings of a story headlined "Cheery Chums Hold Colorful Banquet in Honor of St. Patrick" and ads for a masquerade dance, shamrocks, and green carnations

A moment in history: March 15, 1929

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1929, Edmontonians were all set to cheerfully celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

"Cheery chums" filled a room at the YWCA for a lively banquet that was bright with "green and white candles, narcissi and festive place cards," according to a newspaper account. A masquerade party was in the offing, and shamrocks were for sale starting at 25 cents. However, there have been times in Edmonton's history when St. Patrick's Day was a more controversial affair.

The earliest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in North America date back to the 18th century. Irish soldiers marched in Boston as early as 1737. But Western Canada's Irish population was relatively sparse until a wave of immigration from Europe in the late 1800s. By 1916, there would be over 58,000 people who identified as Irish living in Alberta, the vast majority of those being Canadian- or American-born descendants of Irish immigrants.

In contrast to cities in the United States, the majority of Irish immigrants to Edmonton were Unionists who wanted Ireland to stay as part of the United Kingdom. Even so, some Irish Edmontonians saw the holiday as a way to push for self-rule. In 1906, the city woke up on St. Patrick's Day to find that someone had replaced the British flag above City Hall with an Irish one. Whether it was a prank or a political statement, the Edmonton Journal wrote about the "Home Rule emblem" being flown above the city.

In 1909, the Edmonton Irish Association was founded. Within a few years, it had grown to about 300 members. In addition to starting a number of athletic clubs and leagues for the city's Irish community, the association would sponsor St. Patrick's Day events every year until it was dissolved in 1916.

St. Patrick's Day became even more of a sticky topic when the First World War broke out. For many, the celebrations always meant an uneasy balance between loyalty to Ireland and loyalty to the British (and Canadian) Crown. But with the United Kingdom now at war, that balance was more complex, and public St. Patrick's Day festivities faded away. This trend continued even after the war ended, following Ireland's Easter Rising and the Irish Civil War.

When St. Patrick's Day celebrations did start to pop up in Edmonton again in the 1920s, they were much more muted in their nationalist sentiments and more mainstream within the city's wider population. St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Edmonton now extend far beyond the city's Irish community, with Celtic music, discounted Guinness pints, and neon-green milkshakes found all over the place on March 17.

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.