The Pulse: June 12, 2024

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  • 14°C: Showers. Risk of a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 in the morning. High 14. UV index 2 or low. (forecast)
  • Red: The High Level Bridge will be lit red for Stroke Awareness Month. (details)

A model walks on a runway wearing Augusta designs.

Sustainable fashion house hosts runway experience to build city's scene

By Stephanie Swensrude

Fresh off an appearance at Vancouver Fashion Week in April, the founder of an Edmonton-based sustainable fashion brand is set to hold a multimedia art and fashion event of her own.

Maria Wozniak of Augusta Fashion + Textiles is overseeing Mirage, a runway show meets art installation meets live-music experience that will run on June 13 at the Pendennis Building at 9660 Jasper Avenue NW. The show will include four other Edmonton fashion designers — Azach, Threads by Thea, Ndidi, and Gio & Rio.

"The show is all about supporting local designers here in Edmonton and promoting our fashion scene," Wozniak told Taproot.

Wozniak earned her master's degree in Fashion and Collection Design at Polimoda in Florence, Italy, and worked in the fashion industry there for two years. "It was a real eye-opening experience to how much waste is created in the fashion industry, the ethical issues that go on, and the amount of water that's used," she said.

The experience prompted Wozniak to start her own brand after returning to Edmonton, one that she could ensure was sustainable. "Sure, there's not maybe as much opportunity within the fashion industry (in Canada), but there's also opportunity in the sense that not too many people are doing it, and it's sort of an emerging art form here in our city," she said.

Augusta gets its fabrics and textiles from Albertan artisans and from dead stock from Italy. Large luxury brands often have excess high-quality fabric that they sell to other designers. This keeps costs down, and it's more eco-friendly, Wozniak said. "You're using something that's already in production in a way, so you're not creating something new," she said. "Nothing in fashion, unfortunately, is perfect in terms of sustainability, but it is a more sustainable option for sure."

Sustainable fashion may conjure images of oatmeal-coloured muumuus, but Wozniak said this is not the case with Augusta's offerings, which are versatile, functional, gender-neutral, and have creative, bold prints. "We like to call it 'Dressing for being and not just having,'" Wozniak explained. "We're trying to create clothing that is timeless and that you can have for many years to come."

Wozniak said before she left Edmonton for Italy there wasn't much of a fashion industry in Edmonton — no shows to volunteer with, nowhere to learn about fashion. Now, she takes interns from the MC College fashion design program, and mentioned the Nulla Art & Fashion Collective, which supports emerging local designers. "I just keep meeting new designers that keep popping up," Wozniak said.

Augusta got its opportunity to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week after being noticed at a Nulla show in 2023, and Wozniak said she hopes her event can be a similar opportunity for local designers. Tickets are on sale on Augusta's website.

Image: Augusta Fashion + Textiles takes the runway at Vancouver Fashion Week 2024. (Supplied/Augusta Fashion + Textiles)


Headlines: June 12, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

A newspaper clipping that reads "Recruiting problem at Camsell denied"

A moment in history: June 12, 1971

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1971, officials at the Charles Camsell Hospital were denying news reports that the institution was struggling to recruit new medical staff.

For many, the Charles Camsell Hospital is known as an abandoned, decaying structure that has stood unused in Inglewood for nearly 30 years. But the Camsell, as it's colloquially known, is a building with a long, dark history because of its role in the mistreatment of Indigenous patients.

Before it became a hospital in 1945, the building was a boarding school. Francis Xavier Academy, a Jesuit college, was opened in 1914. The college ran until the 1930s before shutting down for financial reasons. In the 1940s, the Canadian military bought the land and buildings. It then leased them to the United States during the Second World War, which expanded the site and used it to house military members living in Edmonton to help with the construction of the Alaska Highway.

In 1944, as the war still raged in Europe and Asia, the site was converted into a veteran's hospital. In 1945, it was then handed over to the federal government's new Indian Health Services to serve as a site to house patients with tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis rates in Canada are today extremely low, and the illness is treated with antibiotics. In the early 1900s, however, tuberculosis outbreaks were a serious concern. Infections could spread quickly through communities and lead to many deaths. Patients were often isolated in tuberculosis sanatoriums to let the disease run its course without the person infected spreading it to others. The newly-named Charles Camsell Hospital became the largest of these sanatoriums with more than 510 beds. Canadian officials took First Nations and Inuit patients with tuberculosis from all over Western Canada and what is today the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to the Camsell, often without a patient's consent or information given to their families about where they were being taken.

Many spent years at the Camsell. There are accounts of Indigenous patients being pushed to stay at the hospital longer still to receive "citizenship training" as part of the Canadian project of assimilating Indigenous peoples. There are also accounts of abuse and prejudice in the system, as well as chronic underfunding and substandard care compared to what was given to non-Indigenous patients at other facilities.

Some patients never returned home from the Camsell, either because they died or because indifferent officials kept poor records. Patients, including children, were often sent back to different communities than where they were taken from. A cairn in a St. Albert cemetery carries the names of some of those who died at the Camsell.

The design of the hospital itself was also a problem. Since many of the buildings were originally dorms, first for the college and then for the military, they weren't designed for their eventual use. In 1967, the old facility was torn down and a new, purpose-built hospital was erected in its place. Tuberculosis rates declined throughout the 1960s and '70s. The Camsell was eventually classified as a general-purpose hospital, and then transferred to provincial control. It continued to operate until 1996.

There is an ongoing, oft-delayed project to redevelop the hospital lands into housing. In 2021, people searched the site for potential unmarked graves, following similar discoveries at residential school sites across Canada.

Since the hospital's closure, there have been efforts to document its complicated history. A documentary, as well as symposiums and history projects, have gathered stories and experiences of those who were treated at the Camsell. Work continues to uncover the site's past, as well as to tell the larger story of the medical segregation of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It's a story that isn't confined to the past. A recent study headed by a University of Alberta researcher found that First Nations patients leave emergency rooms in Alberta without treatment at a higher rate than do non-First Nations patients.

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

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: June 12, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today 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.