Recap: Blink Edmonton, Pedway Pop-up

A month ago we held Blink, a pop-up restaurant that Sharon and I organized. On February 26, sixty people filled the pedway that connects Commerce Place and Scotia Place across 101 Street for a six-course meal. We sold out just twelve hours after tickets went on sale, and had a number of people on the waiting list. There’s certainly a hunger for unique experiences in Edmonton!

Blink Edmonton: Pedway Pop-up

We had only minor glitches throughout the evening, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. The food that Chef Tony Le and his team created was delicious, and I love that they were able to do something different. As Century Hospitality’s VP Culinary Paul Shufelt wrote in the Edmonton Sun:

Yearning for any opportunity to express our creativity. #Blinkyeg was just the opportunity we needed, a chance to create with far less limited boundaries.

Because of the space constraints of the venue, we needed to limit the tickets to 60 people. This allowed us to play with ingredients and techniques that were a little more obscure, and seen far less often on the everyday menu.

So with that in mind, we set out to assemble a menu that would allow us to express a different side of our creativity.

Sharon did a great job capturing the dishes and other details about the restaurant, so check out her recap for more.

We really wanted to hold Blink in a pedway because it fulfilled our desire to utilize a forgotten or under-appreciated space. Usually I speak against pedways, because I’d rather see people on the street than indoors, but they’re an important part of the overall pedestrian system downtown. And even if we succeed at making the streets more attractive, welcoming, and filled with shops and other reasons for people to use the sidewalks, the pedways aren’t going anywhere. So we might as well make the most of them!

Blink Edmonton: Pedway Pop-up

As I mentioned in my post announcing Blink, the first hurdle was to figure out who owned the pedway and who we needed to get permission from. Fortunately the Downtown Business Association’s Jim Taylor was extremely helpful in that regard! He was able to track down the information and make the necessary introductions. As a member of the pedway committee, he was already working on gathering that information and they’ve made significant progress in the last year.

Last week, the Downtown Pedway Committee submitted its annual report to Executive Committee. Established in 2010, the pedway committee exists to examine and address the challenges & opportunities related to the downtown pedway network. While much of the committee’s initial work was focused simply on finding ownership, maintenance, history, and other information about the pedways (which culminated in the creation of a database), they are now starting to make some positive changes. By the end of Q2 this year, the committee hopes to have the existing maps updated throughout the system (with help from Edmonton Transit). And next on the list is an integrated way-finding signage system. The signs throughout the system are dated, some are incorrect, and they’re very inconsistent. Refreshing them also provides an opportunity to look ahead, by incorporating digital-friendly way-finding solutions (that was my initial feedback to the committee). All of those improvements will help make navigating downtown easier. And who knows, maybe we’ll see more exciting events take place in pedways!

Blink Edmonton: Pedway Pop-up

Thanks again to everyone who had a hand in making Blink happen, especially the Downtown Business Association, the Downtown Edmonton Community League, GWL Realty Advisors, Morguard, and of course, Century Hospitality and everyone at Lux.

And thank you to everyone who bought tickets to Blink – you made it a success! Check out Sharon’s recap here, and you can see my photos here. We are in the process of planning another Blink, so stay tuned for updates!