The Pulse: Nov. 8, 2023

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  • 5°C: Mainly sunny. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High plus 5. Wind chill minus 7 in the morning. UV index 1 or low. (forecast)
  • Black/Red/Yellow: The High Level Bridge will be lit black, red, and yellow for Indigenous Veterans Day. (details)

A woman in a black dress and a woman in a black-and-white checkered suit stand next to each other.

Poppy Barley stitches knitwear into its lineup

By Ashley Lavallee-Koenig

Edmonton-born brand Poppy Barley has launched a knitwear line, its first foray into garments after a decade of focus on sustainable leather footwear and accessories.

"It was a product that we felt we could deliver on within our values that would also help with our growth," co-founder and co-CEO Justine Barber told Taproot.

The launch features three sweaters made with certified materials: a crewneck, made from 100% lambswool; a cardigan, which is 100% cotton; and a mockneck that is 50% merino wool and 50% recycled cashmere. The mockneck costs $348 while the cardigan and crewneck are $248.

"Something we did with sweaters is we said, 'No synthetics, only natural fibres,'" said Barber. "We looked for certifications for the different fibres that we chose, such as organic, our responsible wool, our 50% recycled cashmere. So we incorporated different material certifications."

The lambswool and recycled cashmere-wool blend are both sourced from Italy, and the cardigan's cotton comes from Portugal. A family-owned factory in Cuenca, Spain, manufactures the sweaters.

Barber said the decision to expand Poppy Barley's offering into sweaters came from the team's personal and professional experiences.

"We are very proudly Canadian, very proudly designed in Edmonton, so we definitely have an Edmonton perspective on what we bring to market," she said. "We live in a winter city, a cold city where sweaters are one of the most worn items in our closet, and for a very long season."

Barber said the company will expand the knitwear collection in 2024 to include summer knits, skirts, and tank tops, in addition to a second fall capsule.

Along with this year's online release, Poppy Barley held a knitwear launch on Oct. 3 at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. The company has an ongoing partnership with the hotel's Confederation Lounge, which has crafted a cocktail called "Knitwear" for its seasonal winter menu. The lounge will donate $1 from every cocktail ordered to the YWCA, a women's social service that advocates for equitable communities.

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Headlines: Nov. 8, 2023

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • Councillors discussed the details of the draft 2024 budget during a council meeting Nov. 7, including the proposed 7.09% property tax hike. The increase is 2.13% higher than what council previously approved for the four-year budget cycle and is largely attributed to police salary settlements, the new police budget funding formula, and utilities. The budget includes an additional $8 million from a higher than expected EPCOR dividend, which could be used to decrease the tax rate to about 6.7%, or to invest in services such as transit. Council begins its budget adjustment debate on Nov. 21.
  • Two people have died, and one person was seriously injured in recent fires at homeless encampments in central Edmonton. Advocates say the fatalities highlight the urgent need for more shelter and housing solutions as winter approaches. The fatal fires are part of a worrying trend, said Jordan Reiniger with Boyle Street Community Services. He noted that 118 of the agency's clients died between the end of June and first week of October. "Every trend that we're seeing is moving in a bad direction," Reiniger said. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi acknowledged the crisis and highlighted the city's efforts to provide 1,700 additional shelter beds this winter, and called for more federal and provincial support.
  • WestJet announced new non-stop service from the Edmonton International Airport to Atlanta, Nashville, and San Francisco as part of its 2024 summer schedule. The new routes are expected to boost tourism and business opportunities for the region, said airport president and CEO Myron Keehn. The Atlanta route begins April 29, the Nashville route on May 2, and the San Francisco route on June 20.
  • The Valley Line Southeast LRT, which opened Nov. 4 after a three-year delay, is receiving positive feedback from commuters. CTV News spoke to commuters on Nov. 7 who were impressed with the line's service and convenience. "This has opened up the doors for me, in southeast Edmonton, to services (and) stores that I wouldn't normally have downtown," Doug Brinkman said. The $1.8-billion line is expected to serve 30,000 passengers daily between downtown and Mill Woods. It will be operated and maintained by TransEd, the consortium that built the line as part of a public-private partnership with the city.
  • An Edmonton accessibility advocate called out the city for its lack of wheelchair access at the Pleasantview Dog Park grand opening on Nov. 4. Marla Smith said the issue reflects broader accessibility challenges in the city, and posted about her concerns on social media. The city apologized and referred to the situation as an "inconvenience," a term Smith criticized as dismissive of the broader human rights implications.
  • An escaped calf led authorities on a wild chase through city streets on Nov. 7 after it got loose from its owners at Farmfair at the Edmonton EXPO Centre. The animal was eventually roped and tranquilized under the supervision of a vet after evading capture for several hours. No injuries or property damage were reported.
  • The Edmonton Police Service reported a decrease in shootings for October 2023 compared to last year at the same time, with 13 incidents, but said there has been a 46% increase in shootings overall this year. "This threat to public safety remains an ongoing concern for us and is the reason we will continue to actively work to reduce gun violence on our streets," Staff Sgt. Eric Stewart said. Police said there have been 193 shootings in Edmonton between January and October.
  • An Edmonton man says his family is traumatized after Edmonton Police Service tactical officers forcibly entered his Kilkenny neighbourhood home on Nov. 2, mistaking it for a kidnapping scene. "They were ordering me to the ground at gunpoint," James Potts told CTV News. Kids in the home were also ordered to the ground, he said. The RCMP, which led the operation based on a false kidnapping report it received, apologized to Potts said he can make a claim for damages to his home. Edmonton police defended the officers' actions as necessary due to the perceived imminent threat. RCMP is investigating the incident as public mischief.
  • The Edmonton Oilers have placed 31-year-old goaltender Jack Campbell on waivers with the intention of assigning him to the American Hockey League's Bakersfield Condors. Campbell, who signed a five-year, $25-million contract with the Oilers 16 months ago, has struggled this season, with a 1-4-0 record, a 4.50 goals-against average, and a .873 save percentage. Over his career with Edmonton, he has played 41 games, maintaining a 22-13-4 record with a 3.53 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage.
A newspaper clipping of a photo of a pile of rubble with the caption "All that's left…"

A moment in history: Nov. 8, 1972

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1972, the Royal George Hotel checked out for the last time.

The hotel's founder, Abe Cristall, and his wife, Rebecca, became the first Jewish residents of Edmonton when they moved here in 1893. Abe entered into a partnership on a small storefront soon after arriving.

The early 1900s was a time of tremendous growth in Edmonton; scores of new residents and visitors packed train cars and arrived at the Canadian National Railway station on 104 Avenue.

Abe knew all these visitors needed somewhere to stay while in town. In 1909, he funded the construction of the posh Royal George Hotel, just a couple blocks from the train station. As noted at the time, the Royal George included top-of-the-line luxuries for the period — a telephone in every one of its 106 rooms, hot and cold running water, and elevator service. The ground floor also included a café for guests and other patrons.

The Royal George proved to be an instantly popular spot. It was frequently chosen as accommodations for politicians and other high-profile visitors, and the hotel's gathering spaces were often used by political parties, clubs, and other organizations for their events.

The hotel received a complete remodel in 1921. The work added a soda bar to the ground floor and a strong animal-head motif to the lobby, with taxidermied trophies of mountain lions, moose, bighorn sheep, and other Alberta wildlife.

Throughout its 60 years near the intersection of 101 Street and 103 Avenue, the Royal George attracted some controversy. Several times, the hotel was fined for having the bar open on Sunday in defiance of city bylaws, eventually leading to a legal battle that went to the province's Supreme Court in 1920.

In the 1950s, the hotel found itself in the sights of the fans of Edmonton's CFL football team when it sought to deny access to player Rollie Miles because he was Black. This did not sit well with the team, which rallied around the future Canadian Football Hall of Famer. Team owner Henry Singer reportedly kept public pressure on the hotel until it fired the employee who turned Miles away.

In the 1960s, the bar at the Royal George was a frequent gathering place for Edmonton's queer community. Similar to the rival King Edward Hotel across the street, the management of the Royal George was not exactly welcoming to queer patrons. But, they were at the least tolerant, which made the bar one of the few safe spaces in the city for the gay community to gather.

The Royal George remained in the Cristall family until 1970 when it was sold to make room for the Edmonton City Centre Mall. By 1972, all that was left of the storied hotel was a pile of rubble.

The Royal George, and the other hotels and shops nearby, were linchpins of early Edmonton and its once-thriving downtown. That vibrancy has dipped as of late, with research confirming a large amount of retail space is vacant. Recent initiatives have tried to tackle the amount of empty retail space downtown, including a grant to help independent businesses open in the area.

This clipping was found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse of @VintageEdmonton.