The Pulse: Oct. 20, 2023

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 12°C: Sunny. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 late in the morning. High 12. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Red/Black/White/Green: The High Level Bridge will be lit red, black, white, and green to "acknowledge the humanitarian crisis and all people struggling as a result of the violence and conflict in Gaza." (details)
  • 1-4: The Edmonton Oilers (1-3-0) lost to the Philadelphia Flyers (3-1-0) on Oct. 19. (details)
  • 5pm, Oct. 21: The Edmonton Elks (4-13) play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (12-4) at IG Field. (details)
  • 8pm, Oct. 21: The Oilers (1-3-0) play the Winnipeg Jets (1-2-0) at Rogers Place. (details)

A brick warehouse with a neon sign reading "Mercer" below an older painted sign that says "The Mercer Wholesale Ltd."

Boyle Street relocation to Work Nicer space seen as mutually beneficial

By Ashley Lavallee-Koenig and Karen Unland

It may seem odd for a business-oriented coworking space to offer its facilities to a social services agency in need of a new home, but for Work Nicer founder Alex Putici, it was completely aligned with his mission.

"No one succeeds alone. We believe that if you help enough other people get what they want, you will get what you want," Putici told Taproot. "Work Nicer is a community that exists outside of the four walls of the buildings that we occupy, so it doesn't just apply to our members, it applies to the community at large."

Boyle Street Community Services vacated its community centre at 10116 105 Avenue NW at the end of September after determining it wasn't financially viable to continue to lease the space from the Oilers Entertainment Group. Its new location at 10010 107A Avenue NW, called okimaw peyesew kamik (King Thunderbird Centre), is not yet ready, so the agency found temporary quarters for its services at Bissell East, CO*LAB, two trailers outside the new site, and Work Nicer's outpost in the Mercer Warehouse.

The Calgary-based Work Nicer took over the old Startup Edmonton space on the third floor of the Mercer in 2022. It operated for a few months, then closed for renovations earlier this year, sending members to the company's first Edmonton outpost, Beaver House. So the space was there when Boyle Street found itself in need.

"We had to do what we could to step up to bat and at least explore what that looked like," Putici said. Work Nicer paused renovations and moved to the second floor to make room for Boyle Street's Indigenous cultural support programs.

Offering those services in a somewhat commercial space will have its challenges, but this is also an opportunity to break down stereotypes about Boyle Street's clientele, said Lina Meadows, senior manager of adult programs.

"I think by integrating our community members into this building, it breaks down that wall of, 'Who are these people?'" she said. "And (it) really allows people who, more often than not, probably don't have a lot of intimate exposure to the clients that we would work with at Boyle Street, and really helps work towards building those healthier communities where we don't see 'us versus them' as much. We just see it as Bob, the guy who goes upstairs to access services at Boyle Street and is having a hard time."

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Headlines: Oct. 20, 2023

By Kevin Holowack

  • The Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association says it supports Coun. Michael Janz's proposal for stricter regulations on short-term rentals like those offered through Airbnb and VRBO. The association says home-sharing depletes the long-term affordable housing stock and lead to so-called ghost hotels that avoid business costs and strain municipal services. Short-term rentals reduce housing supply in the midst of a housing crisis and contribute to higher rents, argues Janz, who wants council to amend the Business License Bylaw to restrict short-term rentals from operating more than 90 days a year and require owners to remain on site during guest stays. Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver recently implemented similar measures.
  • The temperature in Edmonton reached 20°C on Oct. 19, making 2023 the third year in Edmonton's history to have more than 120 days with afternoon highs in the 20s. The other two years were 1897 and 1898. Only two years since 1900 have come close to the record: 1949 and 2022 both had more than 115 days of temperatures 20°C or warmer.
  • CWB Financial Group announced it is moving its national headquarters to Manulife Place. The bank says it chose the new location after ICE District Properties decided not to proceed with plans for a 16-storey commercial building next to the ICE District Plaza, which would have included space for CWB's new headquarters. ICE District Properties' decision "reflects the challenging macroeconomic landscape, which includes higher vacancy rates in downtown locations, compounded by the impacts of rising interest rates and construction cost inflation," CWB said.
  • CBD CBN ("Catering By Day, Catering By Night"), a new restaurant in downtown Edmonton, is now serving cannabis-infused food and drink on an invitation-only basis as part of a partnership with Token Naturals. Co-owners Stacey Mison and James Mulholland are the first entrepreneurs to receive a Health Canada-approved research kitchen licence, and said they hope their restaurant is a step toward creating more cannabis business opportunities in Edmonton. In recent years, local business groups and officials have explored the possibility of making Edmonton a cannabis tourist destination.
  • A Court of King's Bench justice has dismissed a challenge launched in 2022 by Prabjot Singh Wirring, an Edmonton law student, against the Alberta government and the Law Society of Alberta. The case centred on whether swearing an oath to Queen Elizabeth II, which all Alberta lawyers are required to do, is a contradiction of Wirring's religious beliefs as an Amritdhari Sikh. Justice Barbara Johnston wrote in her decision that the oath is "properly characterized as an oath to uphold and maintain the rule of law and the Canadian constitutional system" and "not to the Queen as a political or religious entity."
  • Mike Craig, an NHL facilities director, spoke to CTV News about creating and maintaining ice for the outdoor Heritage Classic game on Oct. 29. The process takes about a week and a half and involves 20,000 gallons of water sprayed periodically to build up a two-inch ice surface, which has to be kept cold.
A person rolling out dough to make Ukrainian perogies with some completed on a board

Weekend agenda: Oct. 20-22, 2023

By Debbi Serafinchon

This weekend offers a workshop on discerning fact from fiction, quite a few craft fairs, a chance to acquire some ski equipment, and a Ukrainian culinary experience.

Find even more things to do in the Arts Roundup and the Food Roundup.

Photo: The woman behind Janet's Kitchen will give lessons on how to make Ukrainian dishes from scratch, followed by a group meal. (Secret Ingredient YEG)