Thank You!

I just wanted to take a minute to say thanks!

Vue Weekly’s Best of Edmonton 2012 awards were published the week of September 20:

We asked your thoughts on over 150 categories—Yeah, we know, it was a little much. But we had over 1000 responses and upwards of 15 000 individual vote, so thanks for coming out, Edmonton.

This blog was named “Best Local Blog” and I was also named “Best Local Twitterer”. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled when I found out! I am also really happy that What the Truck?! was named “Best Local Pop-up Event”. What’s great about these awards is that Edmontonians decided who won, not a jury or other committee. That makes the recognition even more meaningful.

Best of Edmonton 2012

I want to give props to Sharon, Rev, Kikki, and Brittney who were all recognized alongside me in the Blog & Twitter categories. Check them out! Hopefully in future years we’ll see even broader recognition of the Edmontonians who are doing amazing things for our community through technology and the web.

As always, thanks for reading!

Edmonton’s new official population is 817,498

This morning the results of the 2012 Municipal Census were released, and Edmonton’s new official population is 817,498. That represents annual average growth of about 12,000 since 2009 when the last census was conducted.

Mayor Mandel seized on the numbers related to age – the largest proportion of residents are in the 25-34 demographic (about 14.5%):

“The growth in population indicates that Edmonton is a city of opportunity,” said Mayor Stephen Mandel. “It is gratifying and exciting to know that so many young people are calling Edmonton their home. This reinforces the appeal of Edmonton, and the value of what our City has to offer; opportunity, culture and quality of life.”

Here’s what our growth curve looks like:

Here’s a look at the population by age group:

One of the new questions asked this year was about mode of transportation from home to work. The results are not incredibly surprising – roughly 80% of Edmontonians get to work by automobile:

You can see all of the results here, including PDFs for each ward and neighbourhood. Unfortunately I can’t do a detailed comparison by neighbourhood, because the open data catalogue has not been updated and I’m not going to sift through 375 PDFs to get the data I need. A note on the website reads: “2012 results will be added to the Open Data Catalogue in early August.” While I suppose it’s a positive that the data will in fact be uploaded to the catalogue, there’s absolutely no excuse for it not already be in there. I feel like I’m fighting the same fight, three years later.

I was most interested in Downtown however, so I did look at the PDF. The population increased far less than I had anticipated, rising to 12,199 from 11,572 (growth of about 5.4%). In other words, just 1.8% of the city-wide population growth occurred in the Downtown neighbourhood. Clearly we still have work to do (perhaps surrounding neighbourhoods grew more, will wait for the open data to analyze that).

Last year City Council passed a new Municipal Census Policy which states that a census will be conducted every two years starting in 2012. Throughout the month of April, census workers knocked on doors asking Edmontonians a variety of demographic questions. The results are important because many grants from other orders of government are calculated on a per capita basis. Additionally, the City needs updated numbers to effectively plan services, and to ensure ward boundaries result in fair representation by population.

The next Municipal Census will be held in April 2014.

Your Guide to Summer Festivals & Events in Edmonton!

For the 2016 edition, click here!

For the last couple of years I have posted a list of all the summer festivals happening here in Edmonton. It’s a lot of work to pull together, but I think the list is quite handy so I have done it once again. Powered by ShareEdmonton, here is a list of the festivals, parades, and a few other notable events you can look forward to over the next few months. Click on the title of a festival to visit its website, click on the ShareEdmonton logo to see the event listing there, and click on the calendar icon to open up an iCal for the festival’s dates.

Edmonton International Athletics Festival May 25 – June 25
Vocal Arts Festival May 25 – July 1
International Children’s Festival May 29 – June 2
Dreamspeakers Film Festival May 30 – June 2
Bikeology Festival June 1-30
Oliver Community Festival June 2
Bonnie Fest June 2
Heart of the City Festival June 2-3
Highlands Street Festival June 3
Rubaboo Arts Festival June 6-17
Nextfest June 7-17
Edmonton Pride Festival June 8-17
Edmonton Pride Parade June 9
Creative Age Festival June 8-10
Open Sky Music Festival June 8-10
Al Fresco June 9
What the Truck?! June 9
Improvaganza June 13-23
The Works Art & Design Festival June 21 – July 3
Summer Solstice Festival June 22-24
Edmonton International Jazz Festival June 22 – July 1
Philippine Arts Festival June 23
Freewill Shakespeare Festival June 26 – July 22
Historic Festival & Doors Open Edmonton July 3-8
Edmonton Triathlon Festival July 6-8
Edmonton International Street Performers Festival July 6-15
Choralies Festival July 8-15
Race Week Edmonton July
Edmonton Indy July 20-22
A Taste of Edmonton July 19-28
Capital EX Parade July 19
Capital EX July 20-29
Interstellar Rodeo July 27-29
Servus Heritage Festival August 4-6
Edmonton Folk Music Festival August 9-12
Animethon August 10-12
Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival August 16-26
Rock Music Festival August 17-18
Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival August 17-19
Edmonton Latin Festival August 18-19
Edmonton Blues Festival August 24-26
Symphony Under the Sky Aug. 31 – Sept. 3
Kaleido Family Arts Festival September 7-9

You can see a listing of all the festivals here, and a calendar view here. You can also add all of the festivals to your calendar with this iCal feed.

If you know of a festival that I have missed, please let me know and I’ll add it. There are some festivals that have happened in previous years such as Rock the Square and Cariwest that will likely happen again, but they don’t have websites with information to confirm that. I’m sure there will also be events that get announced closer to the date (such as additional What the Truck?! events throughout the summer).

Be sure to check out ShareEdmonton for even more upcoming events – there are hundreds of additional listings such as Edmonton Eskimo games, farmers markets, and many more.

Happy summer!

2012 Alberta Election: Social Media Highlights

I don’t think there’s any doubt that social media played a significant role in this year’s provincial election. From witty tweets to conversation-shifting blog posts and everything in between, there’s no shortage of social media highlights to look back on. In an effort to capture how social media impacted the election, I have been tracking some of the most popular and memorable blog posts, photos, tweets, videos, and links.

Very early on, Danielle Smith’s campaign bus was the talk of Twitter for its unfortunate wheel placement. It attracted so much attention that even Jay Leno joked about it! The Wildrose quickly fixed the bus, sharing a new photo on Facebook that was liked nearly 800 times with more than 220 comments.

danielle-smith-bus-628

Social media proved to be an effective tool for the mainstream media to share their stuff throughout the election. For example, CBC’s Vote Compass was shared more than 5300 times on Facebook and more than 870 times on Twitter. Over 115,000 responses were completed.

On March 30, PC staffer Amanda Wilkie (@wikwikkie) posted a tweet questioning Danielle Smith’s lack of children. There was an immediate backlash which forced Wilkie to apologize and delete the tweet. Smith released a statement explaining that she and her husband had tried to have kids with the aid of fertility treatments, and Alison Redford released a statement announcing that Wilkie had resigned. The two leaders spoke on the phone and vowed to move on.

Smith’s tweet was retweeted more than 100 times.

On April Fools Day, the Wildrose issued a news release saying that if elected, the party would pursue a merger with Saskatchewan to form a new province known as Saskberta. It was shared on Facebook more than 2100 times and on Twitter more than 360 times. The Wildrose tweet itself was retweeted more than 140 times:

Candidates first felt the power of blogs on April 2, when Kathleen Smith (@KikkiPlanet) posted her widely-read piece entitled Pruned Bush: Confessions of a Wilted Rose. An impassioned and well-written post, it racked up more than 1400 likes on Facebook, more than 330 tweets, and 136 comments. More than that, it brought “Conscience Rights” into the spotlight.

Kathleen’s post even attracted an angry response from a Wildrose supporter. Paula Simons has a good recap of the whole story, so check it out.

Just two days later, Dave Cournoyer (@davecournoyer) posted an even more popular blog post. His entry titled thorny candidates could be the wildrose party’s biggest liability attracted more than 4700 likes on Facebook, more than 600 tweets, and 150 comments. Though we didn’t know it at the time, Dave’s post would be cited countless times over the next few weeks as Wildrose candidates made gaffe after gaffe. Even his follow-up post on April 16 attracted more than 600 likes, more than 70 tweets, and 75 comments.

The next day on April 5, Dave Cournoyer noticed that a Twitter account named @PremierDanielle had been created and was being followed by @ElectDanielle, Smith’s official account. While it only came to light during the election, it was actually created back on October 12, 2010.

I didn’t think there’d be many audio clips to note during the election, but on April 7 the Alberta Party launched its official campaign song, composed by JUNO winners Cindy Church and Sylvia Tyson. The page was shared on Facebook more than 100 times and on Twitter more than 40 times. The song itself, hosted on SoundCloud, has been played more than 3500 times.

It didn’t take long after Danielle Smith announced a $300 dividend for all Albertans for Sean Healy to launch Dani Dollars, a website that let users pledge their cash “to Wildrose Relief”. It was shared more than 280 times on Facebook, more than 130 times on Twitter, and attracted more than 170 pledges for a grand total of $51,600.

The leaders debate took place on April 12, and while it ended up being fairly boring (aside from Raj Sherman’s unintentionally comedic outbursts) there were a couple of highlights. One was Alberta Party leader Glenn Taylor’s live blog, which was followed by more than 1700 people. It was shared more than 480 times on Facebook and more than 300 times on Twitter.

The debate also resulted in one of the most memorable tweets of the election, retweeted more than 340 times:

Edmonton Journal videographer Ryan Jackson posted a really unique video on April 13. By stitching together four different videos, Jackson made it appear as if you were sitting in a coffee shop with four of the party leaders. The video was shared more than 140 times on Facebook and more than 50 times on Twitter.

On April 14, a new Twitter account known as @Adamwyork posted a tweet about Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger. It linked to an old blog post that Hunsperger had written that contained the shocking statement that gays and lesbians would “suffer the rest of eternity in the lake of fire, hell.” You can see a screen capture of the post here. It wasn’t until April 26 that the person behind the tweet was identified. Turns out it was Blake Robert, better known online as @BRinYEG. Paula Simons’ post about the outing has already been shared more than 275 times on Facebook and more than 144 times on Twitter.

Though the original tweet was only retweeted 13 times, the impact it had on the election cannot be overstated.

On April 16, the domain name INeverThoughtIdVotePC.com was registered. A couple of days later, the website launched featuring a short video that asked Albertans to vote strategically against the Wildrose. The website has been shared on Facebook more than 3700 times and the video itself has been seen more than 88,000 times.

On April 17, Vicky Frederick posted a Wildrose-edition of the “Downfall / Hitler Reacts” video meme. The video, titled Inside the Wildrose War Room, has been seen nearly 12,000 times.

It was a busy day on April 17. That was also the day that Wildrose candidate Ron Leech made controversial statements about having an advantage as a Caucasian. The Journal captured a copy of the radio interview here. The tweet from CTV Edmonton breaking the news was retweeted more than 250 times:

That same day, the Wildrose posted its “Momentum” ad on YouTube. With more than 112,000 views, it’s the most popular election-related video.

On April 20, Paula Simons wrote a blog post titled The Price of Free Speech. She discussed Danielle Smith’s stubborn refusal to reprimand candidates like Hunsperger and Leech. The post was shared on Facebook more than 1500 times and on Twitter more than 180 times.

In the final weekend of the campaign, photos of this graffiti wall here in Edmonton started circulating on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere online:

I don’t know how many times it was shared, but I saw it all over the place.

After all of the negativity of the election, I was quite happy to see Ryan Jackson’s next election video on April 23. A “whimsical parody video”, it featured the “strange new species” popping up on lawns across Alberta known was the election sign.

He posted a behind-the-scenes on the video just yesterday.

As the polls opened on April 23, many people tweeted that they had voted while others encouraged Albertans to get out and vote. With more than 200 retweets, Kathleen Smith’s call-to-action was probably the most visible of the day:

On election night itself there were many memorable tweets, but Todd Babiak’s post about how the public opinion polls were so wrong was one of the most retweeted with 195 retweets:

As far as I can tell, the most retweeted tweet of the entire election came at 9:27pm on election night, after it became clear that the Wildrose would form the official opposition. Calgary’s Nick Heer posted this tweet:

It has been retweeted more than 650 times!

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to imagine what the election would have looked like without social media! Through tweets, photos, videos, blog posts, and more, Albertans had no shortage of ways to share their thoughts on the candidates and the campaigns. And because of the nature of social media, those thoughts often spread extremely quickly and were frequently picked up by the mainstream media. Whether you’re a Twitter or Facebook user yourself or not, there’s no question that social media helped make the 2012 provincial election one of the most exciting in Alberta’s history.

Did you have a social media highlight that I missed? Let me know in the comments! For more on the role that Twitter played during the election, be sure to check out AlbertaTweets. Looking for election results and statistics? Check out my #abvote Results Dashboard!

Edmonton’s population is up 12.1% according to the 2011 Federal Census

Statistics Canada today released the first set of information for the 2011 Federal Census, focused on population and dwelling counts. The population of Canada has increased 5.9% since the 2006 census, compared with 5.4% for the previous five-year period.

Canada’s population increased at a faster rate than the population of any other member of the G8 group of industrialized nations between 2006 and 2011. This was also the case between 2001 and 2006.

Canada’s population now sits at 33,476,688. Looking at the provinces, Alberta leads the country in growth with an increase of 10.8%, taking our population up to 3,645,257, which is about 11% of the country.

Increasingly we are an urban country. A total of 69.1% of the population lives in one of Canada’s 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), and that number is going up:

The rate of growth between 2006 and 2011 was 7.4% in CMAs as a group, above the national average of 5.9%. The two fastest growing CMAs were both in Alberta: Calgary, where the population rose 12.6%, and Edmonton, where it increased 12.1%.

Here’s a look at the fastest growing CMAs in the country:

Looking at federal electoral districts in the Edmonton region, Edmonton-Leduc was the fastest growing with 28% growth since 2006 census, followed by Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont at 22%.

Looking at Edmonton more generally, the population of the city now sits at 812,201 while the population of the CMA is now 1,159,869. Here’s the population for the City and the CMA over the last fifteen years:

And here’s the percentage increase over that same time period:

Edmonton is now the sixth largest CMA in the country, and we’re growing more quickly than anticipated.

We’ll have to wait until May 29 to learn more about the age and gender breakdown, September 19 to learn more about households, marital status, and structure types, and October 24 to learn more about language.

The City of Edmonton is conducting another municipal census in April this year, and is looking for 1400 people to act as census workers. You can apply in person at City Hall. You can learn more about the municipal census here.

You can learn more about the 2011 Federal Census here, and also check out The Daily for today.

Recap: EEDC’s 2012 Economic Outlook Luncheon

EEDCOn November 15, EEDC held its annual Economic Outlook luncheon at the Shaw Conference Centre. Hundreds of Edmontonians filled Hall D on Tuesday to hear from a panel of senior leaders moderated by Dr. Mike Percy, the former Chamber of Commerce president and until this year Dean of the School of Business at the University of Alberta.

This year’s panelists included:

  • Dr. Jodi Abbott, President & CEO, Norquest College
  • Diane Brickner, President & CEO, Peace Hills Insurance Company
  • Pierre Gratton, President & CEO, Mining Association of Canada
  • Ron Liepert, Minister of Finance, Government of Alberta
  • Paul Verhesen, President, Clark Builders

The five panelists each shared their thoughts on the local economy before fielding questions from the audience. Here are a few of the more memorable statements the panelists made:

  • “We are very, very lucky to live where we do.” – Paul Verhesen
  • “Productivity and innovation are down as a result of not having to compete with others.” – Paul Verhesen
  • “I’m not sure there’s a better place than Alberta in the world to do business.” – Ron Liepert
  • “We do not have the population base to meet the expected labour-market demand.” – Dr. Jodi Abbott, indicating Alberta would have 77,00 unfilled jobs by the end of the decade.
  • “Mining is back.” – Pierre Gratton
  • “That will go.” – Ron Liepert, indicating the Royal Alberta Museum would in fact move ahead.

For more, check out the Edmonton Journal’s Storify of the event.

At the luncheon in 2009, I learned that Alberta’s aerospace industry is a billion dollar business. This year I learned a little more about the mining industry in our province. The Canadian Mining Journal summed it up well:

Canada’s mining industry will invest as much as $140 billion in this country over the next five years, and almost 50% of it will be in Alberta. The province will grow thanks to 12 mining projects proposed for development by 2016 with combined costs of $67.7 billion.

The $67.7 billion will be invested primarily in the oil, gas and oil sands development that Alberta is most known for, however significant investment is also anticipated in coal, limestone, salt, shale, dimension stone, ammonite shell, sandstone and sand and gravel.

Apparently Alberta accounts for 70% of Canada’s coal production (by weight) and is home to more than 540 mining industry suppliers.

Here is the Edmonton Journal’s story about the luncheon. Here is the Edmonton Sun’s take. And here is Avenue Edmonton’s article.

The Bridge

I thought EEDC did a great job with the event. The luncheon was livestreamed by the Edmonton Journal, and though they ran into some issues with the sound, it did appear to get more Edmontonians involved than usual. EEDC smartly chose a hashtag ahead of time, and made it clear to everyone that they should use #outlook12. They also displayed the tweets up on the big screen, and although it consistently ran behind, I thought it was a useful addition to the event. I expect both will get better in future years!

As enjoyable as the luncheon was, I found myself wishing there had been a handout or better yet, a QR code to scan that would take me to more information. I thought the panelists were great, but I can’t say I left with a strong sense of how Edmonton’s economy is expected to do in 2012. Fortunately, there is a bit of information online if you look for it.

Here is Cushman & Wakefield’s prognosis:

Overall vacancy is expected to increase in 2012 as a result of the market dynamics caused by recently completed Epcor Tower in the downtown core. Regardless, confidence in Edmonton’s economy is strong, despite continuing global economic uncertainty.

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) predicts 18% more housing units will be constructed across the province in 2012 than were built this year.

Edmonton will likely have 3,750 construction starts of multi-family housing this year, down less than four per cent from a year ago, says CMHC.

And from the City of Edmonton’s long-term economic outlook:

Few economies have prospects as bright as northern Alberta, at the geographic core of Canada’s economic future. As the research and industrial workhorse of the province, Edmonton stands tall as one of Canada’s most dynamic and prosperous urban centres.

The Economics Society of Northern Alberta is holding its 2012 Outlook Conference all day tomorrow at the Sutton Place Hotel, so watch for more news to come out of that event.

What else have you come across related to our economy in 2012?