Recap: 2014 Yeggies

On Saturday night at La Cité francophone the 2014 Edmonton New Media Awards, better known as the Yeggies, were handed out. This was our third annual event and with over 300 nominations across 16 categories, there was a lot of really excellent work to highlight! About 200 Edmontonians filled the room to help celebrate some of our city’s best online content creators.

If you’re reading this blog I’d say it’s a safe bet that you know what the Yeggies are about, but just in case:

“The Edmonton New Media Awards, or the Yeggies, is an annual awards show created to recognize and celebrate outstanding social media content creators in the capital region. It’s an awards show to highlight some of the amazing talent we have here in Edmonton — from people who code websites themselves, to those who write, speak, draw, all on their own time. Yeggies recipients inspire, evoke, inform, educate and entertain us, and they do it because they have a passion for it.”

As you may have heard, Edmonton has a vibrant and strong social media community. The Yeggies are an opportunity to highlight the work being done and to say thanks for providing interesting content for us to enjoy. Not to mention it’s a fun evening of networking, catching up with friends, and putting faces to the Twitter names!


Adam and Trent were our emcees for the evening and I thought they did a great job. You might say they crossed the line once or twice, but I thought they were hilarious and kept the show running at a great pace! We went with a Back to the Future theme this year, given that 2015 is a very special year in the trilogy. Sadly no one dressed up in Doc Brown’s white radiation suit or Marty McFly’s orange vest, but as has become custom at the Yeggies, most people embraced the “cocktail comfy” dress code. It was a good looking crowd!

We had a very funny standup performance by local comedian Liam Creswick to start the second half of the show. DJ Polyesterday provided the perfect ambiance to the evening. There was food from Cafe Bicyclette, and the bar featured a special “#iheartyeg” cocktail.


From the full list of nominees, 90 were shortlisted. Our panel of judges then had the difficult task of choosing the winners, based on the quality of their work, their impact on Edmonton, and their ability to build community, among other factors.

Here are the winners for 2014, in order of awarding:

It was great to see so many of the winners in attendance this year. Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners!

I thought Phil Wilson, aka Baconhound, had two great speeches. He acknowledged the loss of BT Edmonton, noting that many people in the room had probably been given a leg up thanks to that show and the great people behind it. And in accepting his award for Best Twitter Persona, Phil recognized the huge impact that Marty Chan has had on Twitter over the last few months, especially during the hashtag election.


We’ve often joked about having a special lifetime achievement award, but this year it actually made sense to hand one out. Dave Cournoyer has been blogging for more than ten years now at, an incredible milestone, and without question he has had a huge impact on Edmonton and Alberta. He’s the go-to source for political news and analysis and for good reason. Dave talked about how he almost gave up on blogging until the Ed Stelmach domain name debacle launched him into the spotlight. I’m glad he kept it up!


I want to thank the volunteers who helped us out during the show, including Carol, Julie, Lindsey, and Sharon. We couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you also to our sponsors for helping to make the evening a success: TELUS, EEDC, Kiwi Productions, Northlands, EIA, Copy City, All About Flowers, Oodle Noodle, Focus Communications, and ACME Meat Market.


You can see the full set of photos from the evening here. Thank you Nanc Price for the incredible photos!

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to find out when nominations for the 2015 Yeggies open and for details about the 2016 event!

Edmonton in 2014

I think it’s safe to say that 2014 was an exciting year for Edmonton. One measure of that? Look at all the construction cranes! There are about 18 cranes up currently in Edmonton’s core (city-wide there are 39 cranes up), and by the summer of 2015, that’s expected to grow to at least 30. There are projects big and small underway in Edmonton – everywhere you look, things are changing.

Edmonton in a New Light

Of course, cities are about more than buildings, and it’s the people that truly made 2014 a great year for Edmonton. Whether it was coming together to tackle the incredible challenge of ending poverty in a generation, getting engaged in a community initiative or Make Something Edmonton project, or simply moving here and being counted, Edmontonians did some incredible things in 2014.

Below you’ll find monthly recaps from the past year. What I decided to do was read back through my Edmonton Notes for 2014 to pick out the highlights from each month. Below that, you’ll find links to all of the other Edmonton-related lists and reviews that have been popping up around the web. And finally, you’ll find some links to 2015 resolutions and goals for Edmonton. If I have missed a link, let me know!


There was a lot of economic news to start the year as we learned that one of every ten jobs created in Canada throughout 2013 was created in Edmonton. Potholes were also being discussed thanks to lots of snow and warm weather. Two other topics seemed to dominate the discussion in January: Premier Redford’s unwillingness to step up to the plate on LRT funding, and the ongoing lack of success for the Oilers. At the end of the month, Northlands President & CEO Richard Andersen announced his resignation.

Sunset over Whyte Avenue

Notes: January 5, January 12, January 19, January 26


The big announcements this month were related to the arena: the guaranteed maximum price was met enabling construction to begin, and the City and the Katz Group reached an agreement on a new civic office tower in the arena district. Ground was broken on the new Royal Alberta Museum, the Neon Sign Museum opened, the EPL Makerspace opened, and in anticipation of the High Level Bridge lights, ATB lit its downtown tower whenever Team Canada scored at the Sochi Olympics. The Mayor launched a social media campaign to build support for LRT funding called #yeg4LRT. Controversial topics discussed included the proposed Galleria, including a $40 million pedway, and bike lanes.

Royal Alberta Museum Construction

Notes: February 2, February 9, February 16, February 23


After lots of pressure, the Province finally agreed to commit the necessary funding for the Valley Line LRT extension. The Redford government delivered its Throne Speech, but faced increasing scrutiny over the travel expense scandal and later “penthousegate”. Just a couple of weeks later, Premier Redford resigned and Deputy Premier Dave Hancock was sworn in as interim premier. Construction on the downtown arena began on schedule, but the City announced that the opening of the Metro Line LRT to NAIT would be delayed until the end of 2014. Edmonton was named Canada’s Earth Hour Capital City for 2014. University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera announced she would not seek a third term. Mayor Iveson hosted a Symposium on Poverty to kick off his new task force to eliminate poverty in Edmonton. The month closed with the Truth & Reconciliation Commission’s Alberta national event.

TRC Walk of Reconciliation

Notes: March 2, March 9, March 16, March 23, March 30


The City announced plans to bid on hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The 2014 municipal census began this month, with online collection for the first time ever. Potholes were again in the news. Ryan Smyth played his final game. City Council reluctantly agreed to support the Galleria project to some extent, and the U of A made its support for the project clear. The Downtown CRL was officially approved by the Province.

Edmonton Wayfinding

Notes: April 6, April 13, April 27


Mayor Iveson called on the federal government to develop a national housing plan. Alberta NDP leader Brian Mason announced plans to step down. Work began on the Molson Brewery site, and Walterdale Hill was closed to accommodate construction of the new Walterdale Bridge. Plans to demolish the Paramount Theatre were announced and then shelved. Door-to-door collection for the municipal census took place throughout the month. The Oil Kings won the Memorial Cup. Council pushed ahead with the Blatchford redevelopment, and the U of A announced plans to create a land trust.

What the Truck?! on 104 Street

Notes: May 4, May 11, May 18, May 25


The federal government added another $150 million to the Valley Line LRT extension, and the new Kingsway/Royal Alex Transit Centre opened (for bus riders). The Edmonton Public Library was named the 2014 Library of the Year, the first Canadian library to receive the award. TEC Edmonton was named Incubator of the Year by Startup Canada. The City released its four-year Bike Lane Infrastructure Plan and the Blatchford redevelopment plan was approved by Council. The City broke ground on its new office tower in the arena district. Former mayor Stephen Mandel and his wife Lynn were inducted into the City of Edmonton Hall of Fame. The Oilers brought in Bob Nicholson, traded Sam Gagner, and selected Leon Draisaitl in the draft. The world’s first industrial-scale facility to produce biofuels from municipal solid waste opened in Edmonton. At the end of the month, the new Edmonton Insight Community launched.

Edmonton Pride Parade 2014

Notes: June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29


On Canada Day, the High Level Bridge was lit. Alongside the excitement of that project, there was lots of downtown-related news in July! Stantec announced it would stay downtown, Brad Lamb announced the Jasper House and North condo projects, and Earth’s General Store opened on 104 Street. The 102 Avenue Bridge over Groat Road closed, and Walterdale Hill reopened. The City announced plans to move ahead with electronic parking meters, replacing all 3,000 existing ones. The idea of an outer ring road resurfaced. The Province launched new license plate options and encouraged Albertans to vote online. They also announced support for Edmonton’s Commonwealth Games bid. Council approved a pilot project for urban beekeeping.

Canada Day 2014

Notes: July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27


The census results were released, revealing Edmonton’s population has grown to 877,926. Stantec unveiled its new 62-storey tower in the heart of the arena district. The Art Gallery of Alberta celebrated its 90th anniversary. Alison Redford resigned as MLA for Calgary-Elbow. United Airlines announced it would end its flight from Edmonton to New York. Mosquitoes attacked Edmontonians. The Oilers got on board the analytics trend hiring blogger and stats guru Tyler Dellow. The 2014 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup took place in our city, and the Fringe Festival celebrated another record-breaking year. Uber met with the City, Smart Bus technology expanded to another four bus routes, and the Province rejected a proposal to fund a regional transit smart card. Council approved a backyard hen pilot project.

Symphony in the City

Notes: August 10, August 17, August 24, August 31


Jim Prentice won the leadership of the PC party, and interim premier Dave Hancock announced his retirement. The Alberta Legislature was prorogued after the new lineup of cabinet ministers was unveiled. The license plate redesign was cancelled. Slower speed limits around elementary schools took effect. The upcoming park at 105 Street and 102 Avenue was officially named after Alex Decoteau, Canada’s first aboriginal police officer. The City announced it aims to acquire 40 acres of land from Sturgeon County. We got our first taste of snow this month, but it didn’t last.

At the end of the month, I married my best friend!

Downtown Edmonton

Notes: September 7, September 14, September 21


The Oilers hosted a 30th anniversary celebration of the 1984 championship team. Avenue Edmonton unveiled its latest Top 40 Under 40. Three new independent coffee shops opened in the core, including Burrow in the Central LRT Station. Council approved a full smoking ban on Churchill Square. Former mayor Stephen Mandel easily won his seat in the Edmonton-Whitemud by-election. The RFP for the Valley Line LRT was released and ETS launched a brand new Control Centre. The proposed 2015 operating and capital budgets were released. Edmonton Public Library CEO Linda Cook announced she would retire in mid-2015 after 18 years leading the organization.

I was away most of the month in Asia on my honeymoon!

Rough Around the Edges
Photo by Jeff Wallace

Notes: October 26


Northlands kicked off its Arena Strategy Committee, tasked with making a recommendation on the future of Rexall Place. The City became the first municipality to receive the Most Admired Corporate Culture award. KLM added a new route between Edmonton and Amsterdam, with service beginning in May 2015. David Turpin was named the new president of the University of Alberta. Mayor Iveson hosted a City Building Summit, to put pressure on the Province to better support Edmonton’s rapid growth. NorQuest launched its largest fundraising initiative ever. Janet Riopel was named incoming President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, and Johanna Ko became the first ever student trustee on the Edmonton Public School Board. The month closed with our first big snowfall of the season.

Mayor Don Iveson

Notes: November 2, November 9, November 16, November 23, November 30


The other big political story of the year took place just a couple of weeks ago: Danielle Smith and eight other Wildrose MLAs crossed the floor to join the PCs. At the municipal level, Council approved a 5.7% tax increase in approving both the 2015 Operating and 2015-2018 Capital budgets. City of Edmonton CFO Lorna Rosen announced she would be leaving her position to become Alberta’s deputy minister of education. After saying no changes were on the horizon, the Oilers fired head coach Dallas Eakins. The team finished 2014 dead last. The new Meadows recreation centre and public library opened in the south east. Uber launched in Edmonton, and was immediately branded “bandit taxis” by the City.

Alberta Legislature

Notes: December 7, December 14, December 21

Other 2014 Recaps

Here are a collection of other year-in-review articles and posts. I’ll keep adding to the list as I find more:

The Mayor did a series of year-end reviews with the local media. He told the Edmonton Sun he is “pleased” with how the effort to end poverty in Edmonton has come together. He talked about the property tax debate, arena district, transportation, and more with Global Edmonton. He told CBC Edmonton that being called “your worship” is awkward.

Happy New Year 2014!

If you’re looking for lists beyond YEG, check out Gawker’s List of Year-End Lists or BuzzFeed’s Best of 2014.

Looking ahead to 2015

Here are some resolutions and other lists for Edmonton in 2015:

I would like for Edmonton in 2015 to capitalize on the energy and momentum that we all can sense in our city. Maybe it needs a bit of structure, maybe it needs a bit of shepherding, or maybe we simply need to better define what “it” is, but whatever approach we take, we cannot let this opportunity pass us by!

Have I missed anything? Let me know and I’ll add a link! You can take a look at my 2013 recap here.

Top 10 Posts for 2014

It’s that time of year! According to WordPress, I posted 177 times this year. Here are the ten most viewed posts of 2014 on my blog:

  1. Your Guide to Summer Festivals & Events in Edmonton: 2014 Edition!
  2. Your Guide to Winter 2014/2015 Festivals & Events in Edmonton
  3. OneNote + OneDrive = Awesome
  4. Chasing the Northern Lights in Edmonton
  5. Avenue Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2014
  6. Edmonton’s High Level Bridge has lights…now what?
  7. Media Monday Edmonton: Update #111
  8. Edmonton Vaporware: The Arena District
  9. Downtown Edmonton’s Sobeys on 104 Street will close its doors on July 31
  10. Edmonton will officially join the skyscraper club with Stantec’s new tower

I didn’t do a version of this post last year for some reason, but you can check out the top ten posts from back in 2012 here.

Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing over the last year! All the best in 2015!

Edmonton’s population rises to 877,926

Mayor Don Iveson announced the results of the 2014 Municipal Census this morning, revealing that Edmonton’s population has grown by 7.39% since 2012 to a total of 877,926. That means we’ve added a population the size of St. Albert over the last two years, which is incredibly significant growth for a city of our size.

Edmonton Municipal Census 2014

Edmonton has grown by nearly 100,000 people over the last five years, and is on track to reach the 1 million mark by the end of the decade.

“Edmonton’s population growth indicates that we are a city of opportunity,” says Mayor Don Iveson. “Significant growth in the working-age population puts Edmonton in a good position for the long term. While our economic stability, educational opportunities and quality of life attract newcomers to Edmonton, we face pressure to manage our growth responsibly and effectively.”

In the last ten years, Edmonton has grown by more than 175,000 people, and the pace of growth seems to be accelerating.

2014 census growth

Edmonton is one of the youngest cities in North America, with an average age of about 35, the same as our Mayor. The single largest age group is 20-25, followed closely by 30-34, which account for a combined 17.2% of Edmonton’s population. “This is a population profile that any city would envy,” said John Rose, the City of Edmonton’s Chief Economist.

2014 census gender and age

We’re an evenly split city in terms of gender, with 49.5% of the population identified as female and 50.5% identified as male. Unfortunately, the census does not offer any options for transgender individuals.

2014 census marital status

We’re also fairly evenly split between single and married and Edmontonians.

Edmonton’s population is growing all across the city, but nine of the top ten fastest growing neighbourhoods over the last five years are in the south. Summerside, The Hamptons, Windermere, Ambleside, and Tamarack are all examples of fast growing neighbourhoods. Sixty mature neighbourhoods and forty-seven established neighbourhoods gained in population. A total of forty-four established neighbourhoods and thirty-nine mature neighbourhoods experienced a population loss over the last five years. Every ward gained in population, with Ward 9 and Ward 12 showing the strongest growth.

2014 census neighbourhoods

The population of Downtown now stands at 13,148, an increase of 7.8%. That signals significantly faster growth than the neighbourhood was experiencing previously, as it grew just 5.4% between 2009 and 2012.

2014 census employment status

Edmonton continues to have low unemployment, with 54.2% of Edmontonians employed, 25.0% in some sort of schooling, and 12.2% retired. Just 3% reported being unemployed.

2014 census transportation

A smaller percentage of Edmontonians are driving to work than in 2012, with carpooling and transit use seeing modest increases. The caveat is that groups aged between 12 and 18 and over 65 were included in the 2014 census and were not included in the 2012 census, so the difference is probably smaller than the numbers would suggest. Edmontonians continue to primarily drive to work.

We continue to live primarily in single detached houses, with 59.8% of Edmontonians reporting that as their dwelling type. As for the primary language spoken in homes across the city? Overwhelmingly, it’s English. The next most common languages are French, Tagalog, Cantonese, and Punjabi.

2014 census language

The City also asked how households access information regarding City services. More than 25% use the City website, with newspapers, radio, and 311 as the next most popular methods.

2014 census resource access

This year, the census was conducted online as well as door-to-door. The City says about a third of respondents used the web-based option. Those individuals had the opportunity to answer one extra question, which was which additional sources or channels they’d like to use to receive information about City services. Overwhelming, email was the most popular response.

I’ll be digging into the results further over the next couple of days, and you can too – the City has made 58 datasets available in the Open Data Catalog. You can read my post about the 2012 Municipal Census here.

The next municipal census will take place in April 2016.

Edmonton celebrates the best of women’s soccer in 2014 and 2015

Have you heard about this little tournament taking place in Brazil over the next month known as the World Cup? Of course you have! It’s the global game and perhaps the largest spectacle on Earth and I don’t know about you, but I’m excited. Every four years we get the opportunity to participate in a truly global phenomenon. Go England Go!

Here in Edmonton, we have two other major international football (soccer) tournaments to look forward to. We’re a host city for both the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015. These are the two most important tournaments in international women’s football, and we have front row seats.

The U-20 Women’s World Cup is taking place in Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, and Moncton from August 5 through 24. Matches will be played at Commonwealth Stadium on August 5, 8, 13, and a quarter-final game on the 16th. Here are the matches you can look forward to:

Date/Time Match Teams
August 5, 2014 at 5pm Group Stage China vs. Brazil
August 5, 2014 at 8pm Group Stage Germany vs. USA
August 8, 2014 at 5pm Group Stage Germany vs. China
August 8, 2014 at 8pm Group Stage USA vs. Brazil
August 13, 2014 at 3pm Group Stage Paraguay vs. France
August 13, 2014 at 6pm Group Stage Nigeria vs. England
August 16, 2014 at 6pm Quarter-Final Group 1B vs. Group 2A

You can see the full calendar here. Tickets for the games range from $10 to $30, so it’s very affordable entertainment. You can purchase individual match tickets here. When Edmonton played host to the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2002, we set the record for the largest single match attendance at 47,400. Let’s beat it!

The Women’s World Cup takes place from June 6 through July 5 in Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Moncton. In addition to hosting the first four matches, Edmonton will also host two matches in the round of 16, one quarter-final, one semi-final, and the third place match. You can see the full calendar here. Tickets go on sale September 10, with prices for passes to all 11 matches ranging from $235 to $495.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

Friday, June 6 marked one year to the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015, and to celebrate, a countdown clock was unveiled at City Hall. These clocks are pretty popular in host cities, and it’ll remain at City Hall until next year so you’ve got lots of time to take your photo with it.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, MP for Edmonton-Spruce Grove, was selected as an official Event Ambassador for next year’s tournament. The theme for Canada’s winning bid was “Welcome the World and Its Game” and Minister Ambrose spoke quite a bit about the multicultural aspect of the game and of Canada.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

There are more than 30 million women’s footballers in 185 countries, and more than 350,000 registered women footballers here in Canada. The tournament in 2015 will feature 24 nations and 52 matches, an increase from previous years.

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Launch

Could the men’s World Cup be coming to Edmonton in the future too? Some suggest that Canada will bid to host the 2026 World Cup, and successful tournaments this year and next will greatly improve our chances of winning.

For now we turn our attention to the World Cup in Brazil. But once that’s all over, you can look forward to some excellent international football right here in Edmonton! You can keep up-to-date with all the news here.

Edmonton’s 2014 Municipal Census goes online

The City of Edmonton is conducting its biennial census this year, and for the first time, you can participate online! The census is an important tool for collecting up-to-date demographic information that is used in decision-making and also for per-capita grants. Completing the census online is optional, so if you do nothing, a census worker will come to your door as in years past.

Here’s how it works. Over the next couple days, every household will be receiving a letter with information on how to complete the census online. That letter will include a PIN that you’ll use to access the online questions. The questions being asked online and in person are the same, except for one extra question that only online respondents will get to answer:

“In the future, what additional channels or sources would your household like added to receive information regarding City services?”

The idea is for the City to get an idea of citizen expectations for getting information out about services. The reason that question is only being asked online is because it requires a written response (presumably it would be too slow for door-to-door collection). If you’re wondering how to answer it, my suggestion would be to write “open data”!

The online census is powered by Dominion Voting Systems, a Denver-based company that sells electronic voting machines (it was founded in Toronto in 2002). Their solution for Canadian municipalities is also being used by Lethbridge this year.

In an effort to help people complete the census online, the City of Edmonton is hosting a series of outreach events over the next couple of weeks:

“The staff will be there offering guidance and support to individuals who wish to complete their census online using computers available at the various venues. Any one who would like information on the online census option, or assistance with completing their census online, are welcome to attend.”

The online portion of the census starts tomorrow, April 10 at 8am and will run until 8pm on April 27. Door-to-door collection will begin on May 10, which will enable workers to avoid visiting any household that has already participated online. Census workers present City-issued identification so you can ensure they are legitimate workers before answering any questions. If you’re interested in being a census worker, you can apply here.

I was disappointed when Council voted last year against adopting online voting, so I’m quite pleased to see the City taking another step in the online direction with this year’s census. I hope it is a success and builds confidence for future online endeavours!

You can see my post on the results of the 2012 Municipal Census here. If you’re curious, here’s Policy C520B, the Municipal Census Policy.

Province to Edmonton’s City Council: “You’ll like the 2014 budget…just kidding!”

Things were looking up for LRT expansion in Edmonton. As recently as a few weeks ago, Mayor Iveson sounded optimistic that the Province was going to provide money for LRT. Other members of City Council had also received positive indications from the Province. But talk is cheap, and the Province didn’t follow through with today’s budget, as Mayor Iveson made clear:

“Not in a position to celebrate anything today at this point. Little bit of disappointment that yesterday’s message and really the message our Council has been consistent about since last year hasn’t quite gotten through yet.”

The Province unveiled its 2014 Budget this afternoon, saying it “delivers the core services Albertans expect, makes strategic investments in innovation to improve the lives of Albertans today and into the future, and strengthens new and existing infrastructure to address the demands of our growing province and economy.” Unfortunately, LRT was not deemed a priority as evidenced by the complete lack of commitment to funding its ongoing expansion in Edmonton and Calgary.

The original GreenTRIP fund of $2 billion, created by the Stelmach government in 2008, has not been increased. MSI funding increased slightly, but not nearly enough to fund the LRT expansion to Mill Woods. Besides, as Mayor Iveson again pointed out today, Edmonton has a need for LRT funding on top of all the things that MSI funding is used for in other municipalities – building libraries, recreation centres, etc. The lack of increase in GreenTRIP funding was especially disappointing to the mayor:

“My interpretation of long-term commitment to GreenTRIP isn’t just saying we’re going to roll out all the money we announced serveral years ago by 2019 and announce this year’s money like its new when its actually money that we’re putting into the NAIT line today because its money that was announced previously.”

He clarified yet again what a long-term commitment would look like:

“For me, a long-term commitment to transit would be an open-ended or ten year commitment to sustained levels of funding for rapid transit expansion in our province.”

The reaction from local leaders was disappointment, as expected. “There’s no new commitment to transit here,” Mayor Iveson said.





There are two key risks the City faces by not receiving funding for LRT expansion from the Province. The first risk is that we miss yet another construction season, which could add around $65 million to the total cost of the project. The City has a deadline of April 30 to try to get all of the necessary funding in place. If that date isn’t met, then the completion of the Southeast LRT expansion by 2019 is in jeopardy.

The second risk is that the federal funding Edmonton has applied for under the P3 Canada program could be at risk if construction doesn’t begin by the end of 2015. “There is a timeline on the P3 grant,” Mayor Iveson said. “If we were to lose another year, then we would potentially begin to lose some of the federal funding, and then we’d really lose momentum.”

Mayor Don Iveson

But the biggest issue here is that the Province made noise about a long-term commitment to LRT, and simply hasn’t delivered. Mayor Iveson expressed his frustration with this:

“Frankly I received a lot of mixed messages from the Province over the last six to eight weeks, that we’d be happy, that we should manage our expectations, that we’d be satisfied, that we’re asking for too much, and often from the same people, so that is a frustration.”

Still he tried to remain optimistic, adding, “that just tells me that things are fluid still.”

You can listen to Mayor Iveson’s full remarks here:

If there wasn’t already a trust issue between City Council and the Province, there most certainly is now. Conversations can only be considered productive if they actually lead to an outcome that all sides are happy with. If the Province wasn’t prepared to make a commitment now, they should have made that clear to the mayor and the rest of Council.

Asked what he thought about his first provincial budget experience since taking office, Mayor Iveson sighed audibly. “That’s what I think,” he said. Ever the optimist, he said he remained dedicated to working with the Province to find a positive outcome for the city. “I think they’ve figured out in the last 24 hours that we really mean it, this is really important to us.”

You can read more about the Province’s Budget 2014 here.

Recap: Edmonton’s Economic Impact Luncheon 2014

“This is a new Edmonton, with a new mayor, a new confidence, and a new energy,” EEDC President & CEO Brad Ferguson told attendees of the sold-out 2014 EEDC Impact Luncheon today. Hundreds of Edmontonians, including a large number of political dignitaries, filled the Shaw Conference Centre for EEDC’s annual state of the economy. Brad wasted no time in reiterating a message he has been consistently delivering since taking over a little over a year ago. “Our ability to compete and to be different has never been more important,” he said.

Impact 2014

Deputy Premier Dave Hancock brought greetings from the Province of Alberta, and made note of the number of his colleagues that were in attendance. “There are so many of us here, because we believe that the partnership that we have with EEDC, with the City of Edmonton, and with the Capital Region, is so important.”

Mayor Don Iveson also brought opening remarks. “Right now our city is one of the best places in the world to take a risk, launch an idea, or start a business,” the mayor said. “There is a renewed sense of optimism here in Edmonton.”

After lunch, it was on the main event. You can listen to Brad’s entire speech here:

“Last year was a great year,” Brad said. “Our objective was to outperform every other regional economy in North America, and we did.” He highlighted our city’s economic performance and rosy outlook through a series of measures:

2013 2012 Change
GDP $81.675 billion $78.286 billion +4.3%
Population 1.2 million 1.15 million +3.9%
Net Jobs 19,700 26,500 -34.5%
Unemployment 4.8% 4.4% -0.4%
Inflation 1.1% 1.3% -0.2%
Building Permits $3.0 billion $2.5 billion +22.6%
Major Projects $220.0 billion $193.5 billion +13.6%

Obviously the increased GDP, population, and jumps in the number of building permits issued and major projects identified are positive. Brad noted that although the number of jobs created in 2013 was actually down, context is needed. “One out of every ten jobs created across the country was created here,” he told us.

Brad opened his speech with another measure, of course. Last year he rated Edmonton’s efforts on image and branding at 1.5 out of 10. “I didn’t want to understate the work that needed to be done,” he confessed. It was one of the catalysts for the major changes that EEDC has undergone over the last year. His ranking today? With some input from Councillor Sohi, 2.5 out of 10. “We have a long way to go, but it’s a 66.6% improvement over last year!”

Though Edmonton had a strong year in 2013, the future is even brighter. “We’re anticipating us contributing $2.1 trillion of economic contribution to the country” over the next two decades, Brad told the audience. A large reason for this, is development related to the oil sands. But for all the good work going on, Brad said we need to do more.

That led to his core takeaway for the day:

“The only way forward is to embrace the mantra of: cleaner, greener, safer, faster, cheaper. We need to build our industries and build our entrepreneurs, and activate the country in doing so.”

Embracing that mantra is what will lead to the next wave of innovation, key to diversifying our economy, Brad told us. “The oil sands and the industrial supply chain are the platform of which we get to diversification.” And now is the right time, because our capabilities have caught up with our ambitions. “There’s nothing holding us back.”

Brad went on to connect this opportunity with Edmonton’s place in the country. “We can’t do it alone,” he said. “We need to open up the access point and invite the rest of the country to participate.”

With that, Brad described five big priorities for the year ahead:

  1. Alert the world to the energy in Edmonton
  2. Attract & active those seeking opportunity
  3. Enhance & expand our influence as an economic powerhouse
  4. Diversify by using our strengths as a platform for innovation
  5. Operate as one interconnected, interdependent region

On that last point, he noted “that doesn’t mean amalgamation all the time.” Instead, Brad called for relationships and partnerships with other communities.

“Gone are the days where things happen to us,” Brad declared. “Our strategy is sound, our success lies in our ability to move forward with intention.” It was a confident conclusion to an excellent speech.

Impact 2014

Once again the Edmonton Journal livestreamed the event. You can watch part one here, and part two here.

The luncheon was also an opportunity for EEDC to launch its 2014-2016 Statement of Intent:

The decade ahead will be one where competitiveness will take on a whole new meaning in everything we do. Alberta is expected to continue as a high-growth jurisdiction in a low- growth world, making Edmonton a prime location for the attraction of business, investment and people. Global demand for resources will drive opportunities for capital expansion, while also attracting an aggressive assortment of new competitors in search of a share of the local market. These realities will have significant impact on our local economy, and the role of an effective economic development agency has never been more important.

You can learn more about EEDC and what they have planned for 2014 at their new website. You can read my recap of last year’s event here.

Edmonton in 2013

Happy New Year! In case you missed the celebration, here was my view of the countdown to 2014 in Churchill Square:

Here’s a collection of some Edmonton-related lists and year-in-review articles for 2013. I’ll keep adding to the list as I find more, so let me know what I have missed.

Happy New Year Edmonton!

You can take a look at the 2012 list here. Looking ahead to 2014? Here’s a list of things to watch for from the Journal. From Omar, here are five bad Edmonton habits to break in 2014.