The Pulse: April 11, 2023

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  • 4°C: Rain mixed with light snow. Rainfall amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High plus 4. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Purple: The High Level Bridge will be lit purple for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters 40th anniversary. (details)
  • 6-1: The Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks on April 8. Connor McDavid surpassed 150 points for the season. (details)
  • 7:30pm: The Oilers (48-23-9) play the Colorado Avalanche (49-24-6) at Ball Arena. (details)

Kim Mahoney standing at a table with her hand on a chair inside the Prestons dining room

A Cappella Catering adds restaurant to its roster

By Sharon Yeo

After more than 30 years in business, A Cappella Catering has added a restaurant to its operations: Prestons, the eatery and lounge inside downtown's Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel.

A Cappella's chief operating officer, Kim Mahoney, still sometimes catches herself with how surreal it feels to be running a restaurant. "I look over and my 10-year-old son is sitting at a table doing his math homework," she laughed. "It's like something I see in the movies. Is this real?"

Prestons reopened on March 1 after being closed since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Mahoney said the hotel approached the catering company a little more than a year ago about taking on all food services at the facility, including the first-floor restaurant.

"They third-party it because it's not something they want to do themselves," said Mahoney. "We catered a few events for them, and we have the experience."

A Cappella has been offering catering and room service at the nearby Matrix Hotel for nearly a decade, and in 2021, it took over food services at Fort Edmonton Park. But a restaurant wasn't really in the plan.

"Our founder Todd (Rutter) had run a little café before going into catering, and had no intentions of doing a restaurant again," said Mahoney. "So the restaurant is not anything A Cappella has done before, but it's exciting. I see so much potential."

Prestons is open seven days a week for breakfast and dinner. It was important to Mahoney to ensure the menu reflected the best of what A Cappella could offer. "It's hard to take a catering menu and turn it into a restaurant," said Mahoney. "We wanted that 'A Cappella' flair and that 'A Cappella' touch."

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Headlines: April 11, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • Firefighters responded to the Talus Dome around 8:30pm on April 9 to rescue a man who became trapped inside the public art installation after climbing on top of it. Troy Brady, district chief for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services, said it took crews an hour and a half to rescue the man using the jaws of life and other heavy equipment. He was charged with mischief over $5,000 for damaging several of the balls while climbing. Crews also removed one ball in the process. A video of the rescue shot by passerby Connor Schwindt was widely shared online, and the event went viral on social media because of the Talus Dome's polarizing reputation among Edmontonians.
  • Coyotes in Edmonton are building their dens surprisingly close to human habitats, according to a new survey by the Edmonton Urban Coyote Project at the University of Alberta. Sage Raymond, a researcher who tracked and surveyed 120 dens in the city, said pups are emerging from unexpected places each spring, often under dense cover or on steep slopes, and that 500 to 1,000 are believed to live in Edmonton. The proximity increases the risk of conflict with humans and pets, especially when coyotes are protecting their young. The city advises residents to call 311 only if you or your pet comes into contact with a coyote or if the animal is exhibiting "fearless or aggressive behaviour." More information about reducing coyote risk is available online.
  • The Canada Permanent Building, located at 101 Avenue and 100 Street, has reopened to visitors following major internal renovations, including new ceilings, walls, floors, and electrical, but with many vintage elements retained. Originally built in 1910 as a bank for the Canada Permanent Mortgage Company, the building also housed a Japanese Village restaurant and has been declared an official heritage site by both the city and the province. Alex Hryciw with the Downtown Recovery Coalition said the building's restoration could support downtown revitalization, adding that revitalizing historic buildings can attract people from across generations. It is yet to be seen what the space will be used for.
  • Mark Anderson, vice-president for CBRE's Edmonton office, said there are signs of optimism despite a rising office vacancy rate, which follows a predicted trend as employers accommodate hybrid work. The city's overall office vacancy rate rose slightly to 22.3% in the first three months of 2023, up from 22.2% the previous quarter, and the downtown office vacancy rate rose half a percentage point, to 23.5%. Anderson noted the downtown office vacancy rate has increased 3.4% since the end of 2019, which shows the "fundamental strengths" and resilience of Edmonton's office market compared to other Canadian markets. In January 2024, Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers will move its offices, currently at 124 Street and 103 Avenue, to the Annex building, located downtown at 102 Street and 103 Avenue.
  • City council approved a motion by Coun. Andrew Knack asking administration to help attract mid- and large-sized esports events to Edmonton. Knack told council such events draw tens of thousands of players and spectators in other cities, and that Edmonton "has the capability of being the esports leader in this country, if not North America." The motion directs staff to leverage the Alberta Esports Strategy, a report released in November 2022 by a working group that includes the Edmonton Screen Industries Office, Edmonton Global, and Explore Edmonton.
  • Coun. Andrew Knack took to Reddit to answer questions from Edmontonians on April 7. He was inspired by a similar thread started by Coun. Aaron Paquette on April 5.
  • The Edmonton Elks have a new face for their franchise in Eugene Lewis, a receiver acquired on Feb. 14, the first day of CFL free agency. Lewis, who was named the East Division's top player last season while playing with the Montreal Alouettes, was signed to Edmonton for a two-year deal reportedly worth $320,000 annually, which would make him the highest-paid CFL player who isn't a quarterback.
  • Edmonton Oilers forward Derek Ryan was nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy offered by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, which is given to "the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey." The trophy will be awarded in June.
  • Alberta's ethics commissioner is launching an investigation into whether Premier Danielle Smith interfered with the administration of justice related to pandemic-related prosecutions, according to a statement from the premier's office. The statement says Smith is "fully co-operating with the commissioner, and is confident this examination will confirm there has been no such interference." On her Your Province. Your Premier. radio show on April 8, Smith said she took a call from controversial street pastor Artur Pawlowski in January, weeks before he went on trial for charges related to the Coutts border blockade, because she thought the discussion was in the context of Pawlowski's role as leader of the Alberta Independence Party. CBC reported that this is a "new version" of why she spoke with Pawlowski.
A stack of three TVs roughly in the shape of a showman, each displaying an abstract image, against a purple hazy background

Coming up this week: April 11-14, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

This week offers a couple of experiences with artists who challenge the status quo, plus an info session on seeking investment, a look at nature-based solutions to water challenges, a meetup for health innovators, and coffee at a casino.

Photo: Mile Zero Dance showcases the work of erψn temp3st, a choreographer, filmmaker, and glitch artist who borrows ideas from futurology, cyborgism, and mycology. (Mat Simpson/erψn temp3st)