The Pulse: May 3, 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!


  • 30°C: Clearing in the morning. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 in the morning. High 30. UV index 6 or high. (forecast)
  • Red/Yellow: The High Level Bridge will be lit red and yellow for Bladder Cancer Awareness Month. (details)
  • 7:30pm: The Edmonton Oilers play the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena for Game 1 of the second round NHL playoffs series. (details)

Planes from Air Canada and United in front of the air traffic control tower at the Edmonton International Airport

Airport projects 90% passenger recovery by end of 2023

By Colin Gallant

The Edmonton International Airport (YEG) expects its passenger numbers to reach nearly 90% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023, a recovery pace much faster than it originally projected.

YEG served 8.15 million passengers in 2019 before losing millions of trips to the global pandemic. It expects to hit 7.2 million passengers by the end of this year.

The speedier-than-expected recovery rate is a testament to support from YEG's ecosystem, said Myron Keehn, who became CEO in 2022. "It really has a lot to do with our community and our passengers and our airlines," he told Taproot.

Keehn cited the Regional Air Services Opportunity Fund, to which 14 municipalities contributed $15 million in 2021, facilitated by Edmonton Global.

Keehn wouldn't get into the specifics of how the money was spent, but the fund's stated objective was to "help attract strategic passenger and cargo flights," which it did.

"We had more non-stop destinations at the end of 2022 than we had in 2019. In 2019, we had 52 non-stop destinations and in 2022, we had 55," he said. "It allowed us to attract airlines to come back more quickly, or to launch new routes."

Some of those new non-stop destinations include Frankfurt, Nashville, Tucson, Quebec City, Moncton, and Charlottetown.

Edmonton is somewhat behind Calgary in its recovery, in part because YYC was permitted to operate international flights at the height of pandemic restrictions, while Edmonton was not. At YEG, domestic passenger rates are recovering faster than international ones.

"We have to rebuild our knowledge externally to Canada that people can fly internationally (to and from YEG)," said Keehn.

Continue reading

Headlines: May 3, 2023

By Kevin Holowack and Mariam Ibrahim

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued an extreme heat warning for Edmonton and surrounding areas for May 3 and 4, with afternoon highs expected to reach 27-30°C. Residents are advised to consider rescheduling outdoor activities, take frequent breaks from the heat, stay hydrated, and to never leave children and pets inside closed vehicles for any amount of time.
  • Edmonton Fire Rescue Services has issued a fire ban for the city effective May 2 prohibiting open burning, fireworks, backyard fire pits and cooking stoves, and BBQs that use wood or briquettes. David Lazenby, acting fire chief, said there is a heightened fire risk in natural areas this time of year and emphasized that carelessly discarded smoking materials can have "an especially devastating effect during these dry and windy conditions." The ban will remain in place until further notice.
  • Crews continue to fight a pair of wildfires west of Edmonton that began to grow rapidly due to unseasonably warm temperatures on April 29. However, evacuation orders have been lifted for Evansburg, Entwistle, and parts of Parkland County, allowing hundreds of residents to return home. Highway 16 has also reopened to motorists. An evacuation order remains in place for Wildwood. The wildfire northwest of Evansburg, which is around 2,400 hectares, and the one southeast of Entwistle, which has burned 330 hectares, both continue to burn out of control.
  • Transit peace officers have given out many more tickets and warnings for fare evasion in the first few months of 2023 compared to the previous four years, especially on the LRT system. Between January and March of this year, officers handed out 157 tickets and 2,798 warnings, compared to 17 and 92 during the same period in 2019. Steve Bradshaw, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 569, told CBC the drastic increase is part of a deliberate effort by the city to address safety and social disorder. Nearly 60% of tickets went to people who are homeless or who provided no fixed address. Coun. Ashley Salvador said fining homeless people for fare evasion is "absolutely concerning" and intends to question administration about the issue in mid-May. Erick Ambtman, executive director of EndPovertyEdmonton and chair of the Edmonton Police Commission, said people who don't appear in court to pay a ticket can be subject to a warrant, which can lead to an arrest the next time they interact with police. "It ties up that officer's time. It ties up the justice system's time," said Ambtman.
  • Edmonton has had the second-highest number of police-involved deaths in the country, behind Toronto, according to Tracking (In)Justice, a live database of police-involved deaths created by independent academics to build on CBC's Deadly Force database. According to Tracking (In)Justice, 39 people have died as a result of use of force by EPS officers since 2000, compared to 38 in Montreal and 29 in Vancouver and Calgary. It also shows that the number of police-involved deaths in Alberta increased far more than other provinces over the past 22 years. In communications with CBC, the Edmonton Police Service cast doubt on the reliability of the data, but lead researcher Alexander McClelland said he is "100% confident" in the numbers in the database, which represent a "minimum number" of police-involved deaths.
  • City council is expected to decide on May 16 whether to renew funding for Boyle Street Community Services and the Bissell Centre for a cost of $4.08 million. The city funded both day-use shelter operators for the past two years, but the funding agreement for Boyle Street expired on April 30 and the Bissell Centre's funding will end on May 30. Without renewed funding, both will need to reduce operating hours. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi told reporters that not funding the services will create worsened social disorder next winter.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have made its outdoor playoffs watch parties open to adults only following several chaotic incidents during the April 29 game. Fans who want to attend one of the outdoor watch parties in the Ice District will now need to show ID to enter, will receive a wristband, and won't be allowed to re-enter once they leave. A family friendly watch party will be hosted at Churchill Square, where there will be no alcohol sales.
  • Fans who travelled to Las Vegas for the NHL second round playoffs series between the Edmonton Oilers and the Vegas Golden Knights had their travel plans disrupted after Game 2 was rescheduled for May 6 rather than May 5. One man who travelled to Las Vegas for the pair of away games told CTV News changing his flights and hotel plans will cost him up to $1,400. The first four games of the series are now set for May 3, 6, 8, and 10.
  • The Edmonton River Valley Conservation Coalition is calling on the city to stop work on the Hawrelak Park Rehabilitation Project to allow for consultation with Indigenous communities and shift the project's approach. The coalition is also concerned about damage to trees after a report showed 741 trees could be at risk. The city has also estimated that 197 trees may have to be removed to accommodate rehabilitation work. "This project presented such an opportunity for a rethinking of the entire park to make it a model in sustainability and reconciliation," Kristine Kowalchuk, with the coalition, told councillors during a committee meeting May 2. Due to time constraints, further discussion on the issue is scheduled for June 1.
  • Rescue crews responded to the river valley just before 8am on May 2 after a cyclist fell in the river. The cyclist, who was taken to hospital with unknown injuries, had gone over an embankment alongside a bike path and fell 14 metres to the water.
A newspaper clipping with the headline "Dinosaur Bone 6,000,000 Years Old Being Uncovered in River Valley Here" with a picture of a large bone and discoverer C.C. Moller

A moment in history: May 3, 1941

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1941, an amateur paleontologist was unearthing what appeared to be a massive dinosaur fossil in Edmonton's river valley.

Modern Alberta is a landlocked province with a well-earned reputation for cold winters. But during the Cretaceous Period (which started 145 million years ago), it was pretty much the opposite — the area was covered by a warm, shallow inland sea surrounded by tropical forests. Both the land and sea were teeming with life, and while the water eventually receded and the climate changed, those creatures left their marks on the province, leaving behind some of the world's richest fossil deposits.

More than 50 fossil sites have been found within the city, with many yielding significant fossils. The Danek Bonebed is among one of the most fossil-rich. Tucked in somewhere in southwestern Edmonton (the exact location is not widely advertised over concerns about vandalism), it was discovered by sculptor and amateur fossil collector Danek Mozdzenski in 1989. Since then, nearly 900 separate fossils have been catalogued in the area.

The Danek deposit is especially rich in the remains of the Edmontosaurus. This massive hadrosaur was discovered near Drumheller in 1912. (It got the name Edmontosaurus because it was found in the Edmonton Group of rock formations). Despite being slightly bigger than a Tyrannosaurus rex, these giant dinosaurs were herbivores, likely feasting on trees. The Edmontosaurus was one of the last known living species of dinosaur; you can see what it looked like at the Royal Alberta Museum.

The Denek Bonebed might be one of Edmonton's most impressive fossil sites, but new treasures from the past keep surfacing in the city — and are usually found on accident. The 1941 find described in the newspaper article was discovered by C.C. Moller near a city golf course. The article doesn't describe the species but claims that it appeared to be about 100 feet long. If the bones did indeed belong to a dinosaur, they were much older than the six million years cited in the headline, as all dinosaurs (except the ones that evolved into birds) went extinct 66 million years ago.

Construction projects also occasionally unearth Alberta's former fauna. In 2010, workers spotted a tooth wedged in the dirt while digging out a new sewer line near the river valley. That tooth was from an Albertosaurus, an intimidating meat-eating tyrannosaur. More fossils from two different species of Edmontosaurus were eventually found in the same area. Fossil finds during construction are so common that many projects involve a paleontological survey to evaluate risks and preserve any remains found.

Anyone eager to follow the example of amateur bone collectors of old should be aware that Alberta has some of the strictest fossil protection laws in the world: violators can face tens of thousands of dollars in fines and up to a year in jail. Save for very few exceptions, fossils are considered the property of the province no matter where they are found. But you'll at least end up with credit and a cool story to tell, like a woman who found a mammoth shoulder blade fossil while walking her dogs near Devon last year. That specimen is now at the Royal Alberta Museum, which plans to send experts to the area this spring to look for more.

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.