The Pulse: May 24, 2024

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  • 15°C: A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches dissipating in the morning. High 15. UV index 5 or moderate. (forecast)
  • Blue/Yellow: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue and yellow for the UFest Edmonton Ukrainian Festival running May 24-25 at Borden Park. (details)
  • 3-2: The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars in overtime in Game 1 of the third round of the NHL playoffs on May 23. (details)
  • 6pm, May 25: The Oilers play the Stars at American Airlines Center in Game 2 of the third round of the NHL playoffs. (details)

Two smiling people pose in a space filled with comic books and boxes.

Variant Edition finds new Bat Cave after Stony Plain Road flood

By Colin Gallant

Variant Edition has opened a new sanctum after catastrophic flooding at Revolution Square forced it and at least nine businesses to leave. Now the indie comic shop's owners are forging a future where the bricks-and-mortar store is just the origin story in a hero's arc.

"We thought to ourselves, 'What ways can Variant Edition adjust to really see through to tomorrow?' One of those ideas was building a space that was more like a comic book store as a showroom," co-owner Brandon Schatz told Taproot.

The new space at 10086 164 Street NW is slightly smaller in square footage than the Revolution Square location: about 1,700 compared to the square's footprint of 1,800. That's not a problem for Schatz and co-owner Danica LeBlanc, because they are experimenting with a new business model, with a more tightly curated sales floor and space for multimedia endeavours."

"You still have a lot of our product, but in more of a storage capacity," Schatz said of the store, which opened on May 15. "You have that common shared space, and you have the ability to do videos or podcasts, and … act as sort of Canada's local comic book store, that you can visit through these videos and conversations and livestreams."

A flood in late January resulted in more than a million litres of water rushing into the basement of Revolution Square at 15115 Stony Plain Road NW, Schatz said. He and LeBlanc spent much of their time between then and mid-May operating as a pop-up at Pe Metawe Games. The tabletop gaming space at 11805 94 Street NW, which hosts a monthly queer board game night and held a fundraiser for Nék̓em last year, did not charge Variant Edition rent or commissions on sales.

"It wasn't a permanent fixture at Pe Metawe, although (owner David Plamondon) would love us to be," LeBlanc told Taproot with a laugh. "We had a blast being there."

LeBlanc and Schatz felt the need to move along quickly after the flood due to insufficient updates from property managers Property Masters, even though she appreciated the company's position. (Property Masters would not comment for this story.)

"The women we've worked with (at Property Masters) have been amazing," LeBlanc said. "At some point, the communication dropped. I don't want to come out of this blaming them, because this is literally something no one could have planned for."

Variant Edition wasn't the only tenant to head for drier ground. Revolution Cycle's Edmonton location permanently moved into a former car dealership at 11445 Jasper Avenue NW, and Wolfhouse MMA is temporarily located at 4120 101 Street NW. The square's future remains uncertain.

"Regardless of what happens, we hope that if that building needs to be levelled, I think it's a great opportunity to reimagine what that site could be," said Todd Janes, the executive director of the Stony Plain Road Business Association.

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Headlines: May 24, 2024

By Kevin Holowack

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: May 24-26, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening this weekend in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.