Downtown Edmonton’s momentum continues with exciting announcements

What an exciting time for downtown Edmonton! We’re in the height of festival season, with the annual K-Days Parade and Taste of Edmonton both bringing thousands of Edmontonians into the core, and we seem to be in the height of announcement season too. Here’s a look at some of the encouraging downtown-related news that has made headlines over the last week or so:

Jasper House & North on 106 Street

Toronto-based developer Brad Lamb has announced two new condo projects in Edmonton called Jasper House and North. Located on 106 Street at 102 Avenue, the 36-storey Jasper House will get rid of another empty parking lot downtown. Sales are expected to begin this fall, with construction starting next year.

Jasper House

If all goes well with Jasper House, Lamb would undertake North, a 40-storey tower that would be located on 105 Street at 103 Avenue. Together, the two buildings represent about $260 million of investment.

You can register to receive updates on Jasper House here. No website exists yet for the North project.

More: Edmonton Journal, Metro Edmonton

Stantec Headquarters in the Edmonton Arena District

This morning, Stantec announced that their search for a new headquarters has come to an end with the signing of a lease agreement for a brand new building inside the Edmonton Arena District:

“This agreement represents our commitment to the community of Edmonton and the downtown redevelopment,” said Bob Gomes, president and CEO of Stantec. “Our decision is the result of an intensive selection process over the last year, and we are looking forward to moving ahead with design and construction.”

The new building will allow Stantec to consolidate its five current Edmonton locations into one. As the news release says, it’s “a true commitment to the city’s downtown.” The company has about 1,500 employees in Edmonton. Their existing leases are all up by 2019. Back in May, Stantec indicated they had narrowed their search for a new home to downtown.

Proponents of the downtown arena deal will no doubt hail this as a major victory, while critics will point out that we’re simply moving around offices that already existed in Edmonton. I think it’s an encouraging sign for the arena district, and I hope Stantec’s decision will help to attract outside investment as the district evolves. We still aren’t seeing the promised dominoes falling, but at least this is a very encouraging step in the right direction. The Katz Group’s Bob Black said to expect further announcements related to the district, so let’s hope this is a sign of things to come!

The specific location within the EAD site hasn’t been announced, but there’s speculation it could be where the Greyhound Station exists today. Preliminary design work for the new building is underway, and Stantec anticipates sharing more information at a press conference in late August.

More: Edmonton Journal, Metro Edmonton

Alley of Light Pocket Park Redevelopment

Michael Phair has shared an exciting update on the Alley of Light project! The initiative has long wanted to redevelop the pocket park behind the Sobeys building adjacent to Icon I, and it looks like that will finally be happening.

“The City of Edmonton has awarded a contract to Paving Stone Plus and construction will likely begin in the week of July 28-August 1.”

The work involves new paving and stone work, new power distribution, security lighting, and LED bollards, new retaining walls, chairs and tables to seat 64, and landscaping.

Alley of Light Pocket Park

Downtown certainly could use more functional, attractive park space, so this is great to see. Kudos to Michael Phair and the entire Edmonton on the Edge team for persevering! Hopefully Scott Park on 105 Street and 102 Avenue will be moving ahead soon too.

Calgary’s Mainstreet Equity sees downtown opportunity

It’s not clear exactly where in the Edmonton Arena District that Calgarian landlord Bob Dhillon is consolidating land, but a recent article in the Journal highlighted his interest in Edmonton’s rapidly improving downtown:

“While many Calgarians look on with envy as the Edmonton Oilers plan a magnificent new building to play in, landlord Bob Dhillon sees only the opportunity.”

Mainstreet’s Edmonton portfolio currently consists of 3,683 units at 119 sites, according to the article. It’s great to see interest in the Edmonton market from a Calgary-based business!

Downtown Perception Survey

For all of these reasons and more, perceptions about downtown are changing. The Downtown Business Association is hoping to learn more about the opinions that Edmontonians have of downtown and is running an online survey. Preliminary results show that more than half of respondents say their opinion of downtown has become “more favorable” over the last year. The full results will be released on August 27.

Sign of things to come?

All of these new projects will join existing ones already underway, including the Fox Towers, Ultima, Kelly Ramsey Building, Symphony, new Royal Alberta Museum, and many others.

Kelly Ramsey Building Construction

This is what happens when thousands of people start living in the downtown area. Demand, demand, demand. The next few years are going to be extremely exciting!

A look at Instagram usage in Edmonton

In this post I’m going to share some data on how Edmontonians are using Instagram1. This data was collected using the Instagram API over the 30 days between June 9 and July 8. My aim in this post is not to try to quantify every Instagram photo posted in Edmonton, but rather to give you a flavor of what Instagram usage looks like in our city.

instagram photos by day

During the month in question, I tracked 90,679 total photos posted by 15,395 different users. The average number of photos posted per user was 6, while the median number was 3. Just 4 users posted more than 200 photos over the month, while 25 users posted 100 photos or more.

Filters

One of the things I was most interested in was filter usage. Which filters are the most popular? It turns out that 59% of all photos posted did not use a filter at all! Here’s the breakdown:

instagram photos by filter

The top five filters were: Amaro, Valencia, Mayfair, X-Pro II, and Lo-Fi.

Likes & Comments

I tracked the number of likes & comments posted on each photo for a short period of time only, so some may have accumulated more over the course of the month than I captured. A total of 15,825 photos or 17.5% received no likes, while just over 64,000 or 70.7% received no comments.

instagram photos by likes

The average number of likes a photo received was 13, and the average number of comments received was less than 1. One photo received more than 4,000 likes and one received more than 260 comments.

Tags

Here’s a tag cloud of all the tags used on the photos posted during the month:

instagram photo tags

Here are the top 25 tags used:

  1. yeg
  2. love
  3. edmonton
  4. summer
  5. cute
  6. instagood
  7. follow
  8. photooftheday
  9. followme
  10. beautiful
  11. selfie
  12. tagsforlikes
  13. tbt
  14. like4like
  15. girl
  16. happy
  17. smile
  18. picoftheday
  19. canada
  20. instadaily
  21. tflers
  22. food
  23. likeforlike
  24. amazing
  25. bestoftheday

Roughly 40,252 or 44% of the photos posted did not have any tags.

Neighbourhoods

One of the interesting things about Instagram photos is that they are geotagged. That means I was able to see where in the city they were posted. A total of 349 neighbourhoods had at least one photo posted. Here are the top 25 neighbourhoods by number of photos posted:

  1. Downtown
  2. Oliver
  3. Strathcona
  4. University of Alberta
  5. Garneau
  6. Queen Alexandra
  7. Summerside
  8. Westmount
  9. Cumberland
  10. Queen Mary Park
  11. Boyle Street
  12. Ritchie
  13. Summerlea
  14. McCauley
  15. Central McDougall
  16. Edmonton Northlands
  17. Brintnell
  18. Rutherford
  19. River Valley Victoria
  20. Inglewood
  21. Alberta Avenue
  22. South Edmonton Common
  23. Silver Berry
  24. MacEwan
  25. Ormsby Place

Here’s a rough look at some of the data on a map:

neighbourhoods

The top 5 neighbourhoods accounted for 19.1% of all the photos posted.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this look at Instagram usage in Edmonton useful! Remember, this is not meant to quantify usage, but rather is intended to give you a sense of the way Instagram is used throughout our city. Obviously it would be interesting to analyze what exactly is being posted on Instagram, but that kind of analysis is much more complicated.

Happy Instagramming!


  1. It would be more accurate to say this is a look at photos posted in Edmonton. To gather the data, I asked the Instagram API for photos posted within the limits of the City of Edmonton. While most of those were likely posted by residents, some would have been from tourists or other visitors. 

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #120

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

K-Days Edmonton 2014

K-Days Edmonton 2014
Corus Entertainment tent at K-Days

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for 7/20/2014

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Diner en Blanc
Diner en Blanc, more photos here

Upcoming Events

K-Days Edmonton 2014
K-Days midway, more photos here

Edmonton moves forward with urban beekeeping

Urban beekeepers are buzzing in Edmonton now that City Council has given the green light to a pilot project that will allow hives in backyards within city limits. On July 7, the Community Services Committee approved the pilot with urgency, pushing for the rules against urban beekeeping to come to an end. The City will now undertake a pilot and will report back with recommended bylaw changes in early 2015.

Bee in a Peony
Bee in a Peony by Martin Male

The battle to keep bees has been going on for quite some time and given that numerous other cities allow urban beekeeping, this decision was seen by many as long overdue. Importantly, it’s another recommendation from Fresh that will see implementation, and it’s a sign from Council that they are serious about food and agriculture in Edmonton.

Here’s an audio story about the news:

You can listen on Mixcloud or you can download the episode here.

Further Reading

Sources

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #119

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

  • Two local radio stations are among the nine being sold by Rawlco Radio to the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Subject to CRTC approval, both 102.3 NOW! Radio (CKNO-FM) and up! 99.3 (CIUP-FM) will both join the growing stable of stations under the Broadcast Group umbrella. I talked to a few people who work at the stations and also saw other reaction online, but it was all the same – employees expressed great respect for Rawlco and uncertainty about the future (despite assurances that “all of the existing team members at the nine Rawlco Radio stations will be offered positions and the opportunity to grow with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group.”)
  • Edmonton’s newest media experiment is called Dispatch 7. Though based here in Edmonton, their focus goes beyond #YEG to cover “issues that matter to our city, province, and country.” Here’s their intro post. I recorded a brief podcast about the site, which you can check out on Mixcloud or via download here.

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for 7/13/2014

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

High Level Looking Rad
High Level Looking Rad by Jeff Wallace

Upcoming Events

  • The first Make Something Monday event takes place bright and early at Startup Edmonton. The theme this week is social entrepreneurship.
  • Odysseo continues its run under the White Big Top this week.
  • Dishcrawl is back with its latest event on Tuesday evening, this time in the 124 Street area.
  • Head over to the Edmonton Journal on Wednesday for the next Capital Ideas Edmonton event, How do turn an idea into a business?
  • Wednesday is when the Edmonton stop on the Five Hole for Food tour takes place. Check out all the action behind the library downtown in Centennial Plaza.
  • The 2014 edition of Taste of Edmonton kicks off on Thursday in Churchill Square!
  • Wear white on Thursday evening for Diner en Blanc, location TBA to attendees at the last possible minute!
  • The annual K-Days Parade starts Friday at 10am at 99 Street and 102 Avenue. The gates at Northlands open immediately following the parade at noon to start another season of K-Days.
  • If you’re looking to take in some baseball, the Prospects host the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets on Friday and Saturday at Telus Field.
  • On Saturday, why not help to plant an edible forest in the river valley?
  • For more upcoming events, check out ShareEdmonton.

Edmonton International Street Performers Festival
Street Performers, photo by IQRemix

Media Monday Edmonton: Update #118

Here’s my latest update on local media stuff:

You can follow Edmonton media news on Twitter using the hashtag #yegmedia. For a great overview of the global media landscape, check out Mediagazer.

So, what have I missed? What’s new and interesting in the world of Edmonton media? Let me know!

You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here.

Edmonton Notes for 7/6/2014

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Borden Park
‘Willow’ at Borden Park

Upcoming Events

Edmonton Street Performers Festival
Street Performers Festival in Churchill Square

Edmonton’s High Level Bridge has lights…now what?

In case you missed it, here’s my recap of the light up that took place on Canada Day. Now that the lights are turned on, I had some questions about them, and I heard some common questions from others too. So I reached out to the Light the Bridge team for answers. Here’s what I found out!

High Level Bridge

When will the bridge be lit?

Every single night, 365 days a year. You can always go check out the lights at night!

What time do the lights come on and off?

It varies depending on the time of year. In the summer, they’ll come on later at night and turn off sooner. In the winter the lights will come on earlier in the evening, and may also be on in the early morning to brighten the commute. The City of Edmonton will control this, and the exact schedule is still being determined.

How are the colors/animations decided?

Right now the bridge lights seem to alternate from one solid color to another – green to blue to yellow to red, etc. For special events, the bridge may be lit differently (for instance, green and gold for an Eskimos game). The City of Edmonton’s Civic Events department has final say over the light colors and animations. In the future, individuals and organizations will be able to request special colors or animations – processes for that are being developed now.

Can the lights be used for advertising?

No. Not only was this a core principle established early on in the project, but the trellis structure of the bridge means there are no flat surfaces upon which words or ads could be placed. The bridge is not meant to be a billboard.

How can I find out what the colors on a given night are for?

I love the Tower Lights site for the Empire State Building in New York. You can always go and see what the colors meant for any given day. I understand the City will be creating a similar online tool so that you can see why the bridge is lit a certain way.

Where are the lights controlled from?

The lights are controlled from the City of Edmonton’s Network Operations Centre.

Who maintains the lights and pays for that maintenance?

The City of Edmonton will maintain the LED lights, just as they maintain all other lights on the bridge.

How much does it cost to light the bridge?

The annual electrical costs of running the new LED lights on the bridge are about the same annual costs as running 3-4 houses (assuming the lights are on an average of 7 hours every day).

Will the bridge contribute to light pollution?

Lights on the bridge are pointed downwards, and using LED lights allows the lights to be projected at specific points on the bridge, which minimizes the impact of light pollution. There is little to no light pollution.

I bought one or more bulbs, how can I find their location?

There’s a tool up on the Light the Bridge site now that lets you search for the location of your bulb(s) by last name, email address, or dedication. I bought two: one is light #3-1-6 (East Facing) and the other is light #4-4-56 (East Facing). You can also browse the lights manually and look at all the names and dedications. It’s a pretty neat collection of stories!

High Level Bridge

We’ve come a long way from the waterfall. Go check out the lights!