The Pulse: May 31, 2023

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  • 21°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy late in the afternoon. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 21. UV index 7 or high. (forecast)
  • Red/Yellow/Blue: The High Level Bridge will be lit red, yellow, and blue for the 150th anniversary of the RCMP. (details)
  • 7:30pm: The Edmonton Stingers play the Niagara River Lions at the EXPO Centre. (details)

Rapper Mouraine poses in profile with his eyes closed. He is wearing a simple black T-shirt and his hair is braided.

Rapper Mouraine reps north Edmonton on debut album

By Colin Gallant

Northside rapper Mouraine is sharing love for his hometown — especially his corner of it — on his debut album, In Search of Gold.

"(The north side is) a very special place in Edmonton. It's a big melting pot, where you run into people from different backgrounds, who have different stories, and we all come together," he said. "It's amazing how people from all different walks of the world come together in one place and bond or have a brotherhood. And what we bonded over was what side of the city we're from."

Mouraine, who only discloses his stage name in interviews, was born in Sudan and briefly lived in Egypt before coming to Edmonton at the age of 10 in 2005. He delves into his upbringing on the album cut Tonight, mentioning an incident on the No. 8 bus, which wends its way from the University of Alberta up to Abbottsfield.

"Here's the point of view of a child in immigration / Tryna reach heights, took flights to elevation / When you gotta leave home and everybody that you know, that's a … that's a tough situation," he raps on the track, which has a video featuring highlights from JUNOFest in Edmonton last March.

Mouraine is proud of his community and his city, even if he sees challenges for artists here.

"We need a little bit more industry and people that play in the background in Edmonton," he said. "We need to develop our own ecosystem and music industry rather than having to move or look to Toronto … For the greater good and for the culture and to see a shift, it takes all of us, not just one person or just one artist to blow up."

Edmonton has had its share of musicians explode in global popularity over the years. Perhaps most relevant is rapper/producer Cadence Weapon (a.k.a. poet and author Roland "Rollie" Pemberton), who is currently based in Hamilton, Ont. There's also Mac DeMarco, who saw his greatest success after leaving Edmonton for bigger cities in Canada and the U.S. Given his druthers, Mouraine is hoping to stick around for the long haul.

"I think a lot of artists end up leaving due to the lack of infrastructure and industry out here," he said. "I am trying my best not to do that. I want to be able to embrace the city, and bring the spotlight that I get and shine it back on the city."

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Headlines: May 31, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • Edmonton and surrounding areas elected 13 new MLAs to serve in the Alberta legislature. Within Edmonton, the new members are Sharif Haji, the former executive director of the Africa Centre, in Edmonton-Decore; Peggy Wright, who is currently an assistant principal, in Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview; Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse, the executive director of the Yellowhead Indigenous Education Foundation and a member of the Edmonton Police Commission, in Edmonton-Rutherford; Rhiannon Hoyle, an entrepreneur, former president of the Heritage Point Community League, and the first Black woman elected to the Alberta legislature, in Edmonton-South; Nathan Ip, a three-term Edmonton Public School Board trustee, in Edmonton-South West; and Brooks Arcand-Paul, who serves as in-house legal counsel for Alexander First Nation, in Edmonton-West Henday. The NDP's complete sweep of Edmonton means the city is left without a single representative on the government benches for the first time since 1993.
  • Postmedia columnist Keith Gerein wrote that the provincial election results are a "near-worst-case scenario" for Edmonton. Gerein dismissed the idea that the NDP's sweep of the city sends a "strong message" to the UCP, noting that the party "didn't respond well to that message back in 2019," and further predicted that the UCP's losses in Calgary will create a government cabinet focused more on rural issues than big city issues. Gerein also suggested it is "not inconceivable" that the far-right Take Back Alberta movement, whose members comprise half of the UCP board, will push for policies that conflict with the values of most Edmontonians, such as less focus on climate change and potential rollbacks on birth control, LGBTQ protections, and sex education in schools.
  • The Court of King's Bench has declined to overturn a conviction against Const. Hunter Robinz of the Edmonton Police Service, who was found guilty last August of carelessly storing an unlocked service rifle and ammunition in his bedroom closet. Robinz had already been on desk duty due to a separate disciplinary probe and had been ordered to surrender his service weapon. He is now suspended without pay until an internal investigation is completed. His conviction came with a $1,000 fine and a criminal record. Robinz is set to start a new trial next fall on four other charges, including sexual assault.
  • Officials say a new wildfire near Fort Chipewyan in northern Alberta, which grew to 3,000 hectares on May 30 and prompted an evacuation order, has become firefighters' top priority in the province. As of May 30, 62 wildfires were burning across Alberta, with 19 considered out of control. CTV News spoke to residents of the East Prairie Métis Settlement about their hopes of rebuilding the community, which lost at least 14 homes and numerous barns, sheds, and vehicles earlier this month. Parkland County, which is west of Edmonton, lifted its local state of emergency on May 26 and downgraded its fire ban to a fire restriction. Edmonton's fire ban remains in place until further notice.
  • Casey Hatherly, the topless protestor from Vancouver who took the stage during the Juno Awards in March to raise awareness about climate change and other issues, pleaded guilty to trespassing and received a $600 fine. In April, the climate advocacy group On2Ottawa posted a picture of Hatherly protesting topless at the entrance of the prime minister's office.
A newspaper clipping with the headline "Plan Last Passenger Run On Historic Rail Link"

A moment in history: May 31, 1952

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1952, Edmonton's littlest railway was preparing to see its final passenger train.

There's a peculiar trend in the history of the Edmonton area's railways; they have a habit of being named after places they don't actually go. When the Edmonton Yukon and Pacific Railway closed in 1952, it had only reached one of the destinations in its name. At its peak, the rail line stretched from south Edmonton to Stony Plain — just a teeny bit short of either Yukon or the Pacific.

The EY&P owed its existence to another transport system with a slightly misleading name: the Calgary and Edmonton Railway. When the C&E was finished in 1891, it didn't actually reach the settlement of Edmonton. That was deemed too expensive. Instead, it stopped just south of the river, in the newly formed town of Strathcona. (At the time, the area was sometimes referred to as South Edmonton, so maybe the C&E gets a pass.)

With no rail link on the north side of the river, many assumed that Strathcona would flourish and Edmonton would wither away. That might have happened, if not for the EY&P Railway and the Low Level Bridge. The federal government built the bridge in 1900, making it the first to cross the North Saskatchewan. Only pedestrians and wagon traffic could cross it at first. But in 1902, the first EY&P train steamed over the river. Edmonton was finally connected by rail to Strathcona, and thus, the rest of the continent.

There was so much excitement around that first crossing that the mayor at the time, William Short, declared it a civic holiday. Far from disappearing, Edmonton continued to grow, eventually amalgamating with Strathcona in 1914.

A few years after its first crossing, the EY&P would merge with a third company: the Canadian Northern Railway (which bucked the trend by being both Canadian and northern). In 1906, it was extended to Stony Plain, with an eventual eye on Vancouver. But money woes and more practical routes west ended those plans.

By the 1920s, the company was bankrupt and being managed by the federal government, which began tearing up rails to consolidate the lines. The former EY&P continued to limp along for the next few decades, shuttling coal and pigs across the river occasionally. It was eventually shut down in the 1950s and the tracks were ripped up.

While the EY&P is long gone, the city still carries some of its history into the modern day. The fact that Edmonton exists at all is the major one. And many of the company's right-of-ways through Mill Creek Ravine have now given over to trails and multi-use paths. And of course, there is the Low Level Bridge, which has spanned the North Saskatchewan for nearly 125 years.

Its age is beginning to show, however. Recent assessments have determined that the bridge is in need of major rehabilitation in the next year or two to extend its lifetime.

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.