Upcoming August events to check out!

Aside from eating our fill at the Heritage Festival on Saturday, Sharon and I had a relaxing long weekend up at Goose Lake. With a busy August and September ahead, we figured we had to make the most our down time! Here are some of the events we’re working on for the weeks ahead.

What the Truck?! at Borden Park

Our next big What the Truck?! event will take place on Saturday, August 16 in Borden Park from 4pm to 8pm. We struggled a little this year to find a suitable August location, but eventually settled on the newly renovated park.

Borden Park

Over the last three years the City of Edmonton has invested $9 million in Borden Park, and it shows. New sidewalks, benches, picnic tables, sculptures, and a beautiful reflective round pavilion containing washrooms all help to brighten an already lovely green space.

Borden Park

We think the park is the perfect setting for enjoying some great food trucks! Bring the family and hang out in the green space, at the picnic sites, on the walking trails, and elsewhere throughout the park.

You can check out the lineup of trucks here, and check back again next week for the menus. You can RSVP on Facebook and help us spread the word!

PS. Our biggest event of the year is coming up after this one, and will be on September 12 in Churchill Square. Save the date!

97 Street Night Market

The following weekend is another busy one! On Saturday, August 23 from 6pm to 10pm, come down to Chinatown to take in the second annual 97 Street Night Market. The event will feature food, walking tours, entertainment, and of course, vendors!

East Meets West 2014

The event is being organized by Sharon, Maria, and Roxanne, all of whom had a hand in last year’s 97 Street Night Market that took place in the parking lot behind the old post office (where the Royal Alberta Museum is now under construction). This year the event is taking place along 106 Avenue just west of 97 Street.

97 Street Night Market

I’m helping out with the digital stuff, and will be volunteering on the day. You can check out Sharon’s recap of last year’s event here. Then, RSVP on Facebook and tell your friends!

Blink: the ImMACulate Garden Party

The very next day on August 24, we’re excited to be hosting a garden party at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald from 2pm to 5pm! We have reunited the Blink team (myself, Sharon, Hannah, and Steph) to put together what we think will be a fun event in an underutilized space.

Hotel Macdonald

The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s patio was just named to enRoute magazine’s list of 5 Must-Visit Canadian Patios, but it’s amazing how many Edmontonians still haven’t been there. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, this event will be a great opportunity to do so! All afternoon, staff will be providing tours of the historic downtown gem which turns 100 years old next July!

Hotel Macdonald

You can expect a signature cocktail, tasty food, entertainment, and of course, an amazing view of the river valley! We’re still working on the details and will have more to share in the days ahead. In the meantime, you can RSVP on Facebook!

UPDATE: Tickets are now on sale for $40, proceeds support the Edmonton Humane Society!

I hope to see you at some or all of these events!

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!

Blink: Pedway Pop-up in Downtown Edmonton

blink edmontonOn Sunday, February 26, 2012 we are transforming the pedway across 101 Street that connects Commerce Place and Scotia Place into a sixty seat pop-up restaurant called Blink. The single-night-only restaurant will feature a delicious six-course meal prepared by chefs Paul Shufelt and Tony Le of Century Hospitality/Lux. Sharon and I have been working on this for quite a while, so we’re very happy to announce that tickets are on sale now!

Pop-up restaurants are all the rage in major cities like New York and London and they’ve started to become popular elsewhere too. The term “pop-up restaurant” is used to mean various things, but I think about three main categories of pop-ups: kitchen takeovers (a chef takes over an existing restaurant’s kitchen and space to create something new), temporary dining spaces (there may not be a kitchen on-site, but some sort of space has been transformed into a dining room), and full-on temporary restaurants (empty spaces completely transformed into restaurants outfitted with kitchens for a short period of time). We’ve had some kitchen takeovers here in Edmonton, but Blink is the first temporary dining space (we’ll have to wait for our first full-on temporary restaurant, an undertaking which requires considerable expense).

When we started discussing the idea for Blink, Sharon was immediately drawn to a pedway. We both love the idea of utilizing forgotten or neglected spaces, so a pedway seemed perfect. When was the last time you stopped in a pedway to look out the window? We walked through the pedways downtown, looking for power outlets, measuring dimensions, etc. We had a few candidate bridges, but decided that we needed a chef on board with the idea first. Knowing that Lux was conveniently located in Commerce Place, we approached Tony and thankfully he agreed to take part in our project right away! That made narrowing the pedway choice down to the one connecting Commerce Place and Scotia Place much easier.

Pedway between Commerce Place & Scotia Place

Next we worked on getting the necessary approvals in place. Jim Taylor, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, was incredibly helpful in that regard. He introduced us to the building managers, and helped us track down the owner of the pedway (we discovered as part of this process that ownership is uncertain for many parts of the pedway system). Everyone really liked the idea, so we quickly started working out the logistics. Thank you to the DBA, GWL Reality Advisors (on behalf of Commerce Place), Morguard Investments (on behalf of Scotia Place), and DECL for helping us make this pop-up restaurant happen!

Pedway between Commerce Place & Scotia Place

We’ve got some work to do still, but our goal is for Blink to look and feel as much like a real restaurant as possible. We have decided to go with a communal table for seating, to enhance the experience of eating in a unique space with other Edmontonians. The menu makes my mouth water every time I read it, with dishes like confit rabbit pot pie and Alberta pickerel – where possible it features local ingredients. Tickets are $65, which I think is a great deal for six courses, and a cash bar will be available as well. The restaurant will open at 5pm for cocktails, with dinner service beginning at 6pm.

We hope to see you on February 26 at Blink in the pedway!

You can read Sharon’s post on Blink here.