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Alberta

Country Music Stars Mosey Into Edmonton

Edmonton country fans are polishing their boots and spurs in preparation for next week’s big events: the Canadian Country Music Association Awards and Country Music Week are riding into town, and Edmonton fans have many reasons to hoot and holler in celebration.

This year marks the second year that Edmonton has hosted the events, which CCMA President Don Green attributes to the hugely successful event back in 2010. “There are many reasons why we love [hosting the event in] Edmonton,” says Don Green, “including: incredible government, business and community support, spectacular venues, a dedicated and solid volunteer base, and many local enthusiastic and passionate music lovers.”

Not only should Edmontonians celebrate for their fantastic hosting skills, but homegrown Brett Kissel — recent winner of the 2014 JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year — leads the pack with 8 CCMA Award nominations, including Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year! “It’s an indescribable feeling to be leading the way,” says Kissel. “I remember watching my first CCMAs in Edmonton with my mom, Brenda, and telling her that, ‘One day I’ll be up on that stage!’”

Brett1Kissel’s happy to be visiting Edmonton, and admits that what he misses most about the city is attending an Edmonton Oilers game. “Whether I’m with friends, family, or business associates, it’s always a blast watching a game in Oil Country!” The city holds a special place in Kissel’s career, as it’s had a strong influence on his music and songwriting. “Growing up on a cattle ranch outside of Edmonton allows me to sing about country music freely and from a special point of view,” says the country star. “Having performed thousands of times in the Edmonton area, I’ve been able to develop my craft and morph into the entertainer I am today.”

Kissel’s also looking forward to being back in the same city as one of his top 5 favourite restaurants in all of Canada: Hardware Grill. “The servers Garry and Steve take excellent care of my wife and I when we come in, and I feel as though we’re family there. Not to mention it’s likely the best restaurant in the city for presentation and flavour.”

The CCMA Awards take place on Saturday, September 7, and Kissel will perform along with other greats such as Terri Clark, Jann Arden, Kira Isabella, and Dallas Smith. And Country Music Week starts Thursday, September 4 with artists taking the stage at various venues throughout the city including the Citadel Theatre, Shaw Conference Centre, and West Edmonton Mall. These events will feature performances from Tom Cochrane, MacKenzie Porter, Paul Brandt, and many more!

For full details on performers, event times, and purchasing tickets, visit the CCMA website here!

— By Matthew Stepanic

You Gotta Eat Here in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY

Comedian John Catucci hosts Food Network's You Gotta Eat Here. (Photo: courtesy Shaw Media)

Comedian John Catucci hosts Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here. (Photo: courtesy Shaw Media)

From posh urban eateries to down-home country diners, Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here showcases beloved Canadian restaurants, with host John Catucci sampling the most outrageous and mouth-watering dishes the nation’s chefs can concoct.

Fans of the show don’t have to just sit at home and drool, though. Head over to one of the 15 Calgary restaurants featured on the past three seasons and eat what John ate, or discover a hidden gem on the menu. You Gotta Eat Here airs Fridays at 7 pm on the Food Network.

BEER REVOLUTION
Premium beer and wood-fired, thin crust pizza are served at this unpretentious rock ’n’ roll bar. The 24 draft lines change several times per week with a focus on breweries outside the mainstream. Try the Blazing Saddle Pizza with blackened steak, banana peppers, white cheddar, mozzarella, crispy onions, cajun remoulade, seasoned arugula and horseradish aioli.
What John Ate: Pizza Spring Rolls — crispy, deep-fried rolls filled with pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, basil, mozzarella and spicy marinara sauce.
1080 – 8 St SW, 403-264-2739, beerrevolution.ca

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Wander The Edmonton Valley Zoo!

Congratulations to the new The Wander Trail System at Edmonton Valley Zoo — our pick for the WHERE Edmonton Magazine 2014 Best New Attraction!

Since 2010 Edmonton Valley Zoo has undergone expansive renovations to complete three new phases of the zoo. The Wander is a new themed walkway that connects the new entry plaza to the rest of the zoo, andre-enacts the story of the North Saskatchewan River with features that mimic its origin as glacial water in the Rocky Mountains, to its presence in Edmonton. “We’re so connected to the river in Edmonton and with The Wander we want everyone to understand a little more about it” Denise Prefontaine, Director of the Zoo, says.

The Entry Plaza, where you’ll find a Wild Earth Cafe and the Zoo-tique Gift Shop, represents the urban city of Edmonton. Sharp eyes will notice that the floor of the plaza is formed by non-uniform concrete squares of various sizes — it’s because they depict the dominion grid of how Edmonton was settled. Non-artificial rocks, a mosaic path, and water features make up the rest of the walkway, which ends at a structure resembling an ice cave in the Columbia Icefields. With coloured stained glass-like windows and a reflective surface that keeps things cool, the structure is a serene spot to take a break on a hot day.photo

Between the two points, the “river” takes guests by a beaver dam play structure that children can climb on, a beach area with sand and a wading pool, a trout pond and wetland marsh, rock steps and benches, shallow streams of water that are meant to be walked and splashed in, and smaller rocks that children can move and stack within the water. Despite its intricate setup, there are flat pathways around the features so that The Wander is completely accessible for those with mobility issues.

Of course, an attraction at the zoo wouldn’t be complete without some animals, and all of the enclosures that surround The Wander contain animals from mountainous regions to fit with the theming: “[w]ith the re-designs in the zoo, we wanted to educate people about the habitats and land that animals live on as much as the animals themselves” Tammy Wiebe, Executive Director of the Valley Zoo Development Society says.

Though The Wander serves to make the animal enclosures at the zoo more easily accessible, all of its features make it an attraction itself. It’s fun, it’s functional, and it’s also beautiful. The spot at the very top of the attraction provides a stunning view of the deep green trees in the river valley, and it’s the perfect place to snap a few group photos and commemorate the outing to the newest phase of the fantastic Edmonton Valley Zoo! —by Breanna Mroczek 

Fringed and Confused: The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival

Photo By Pedro Escobar

The 33rd Annual Fringe Theatre Fest will be the grooviest one yet, with the official theme “Fringed and Confused” being a throwback to the grassroots spirit of the festival that encourages guests to experience something new and different. At its core, the fest is a showcase of theatre; troupes from around the world participate, and hundreds of shows are performed. The performances take over theatre venues and spaces in Old Strathcona, and the whole area is bustling with food trucks, children’s activities, street performers, beer gardens, live music, and laid back attitudes. There are comedies, musicals, dramas, original material, classics of the stage, and everything in between — it’s a live entertainment destination with something for everyone. “You come and experience the Festival and it leaves you feeling not quite sure about what just happened” the festival’s Executive Director, Jill Roszel, says. “But you had fun… and you can’t stop talking about it.”

Fringe Tips

  • Guests are invited to get groovy and dress up in disco or 70s inspired fashions, so pull on some bell bottoms and platform boots, don a flower headband, or wear some fringe to the Fringe. While festival spirit is encouraged, there’s no dress code required for any of the shows — your usual summer or fest attire will do!
  • Most shows require tickets ($5-$20), and 100% of the ticket revenue goes to the artists. Don’t have the dough for a show? Just head to the festival site and soak in the atmosphere, plus buskers perform theatre, dance, music, poetry, and comedy around the festival site. Their shows are always free to watch — but if you enjoy the show, tossing a few coins their way is a welcome gesture!
  • Prove you’re the coolest cat at the festival with a Fringe Fan Club membership! A new addition to the festival this year, membership allows festival-goers to celebrate their love for the Fringe with benefits like contests, a members-only block party, a program guide, and a signature t-shirt. Fans can sign up for a basic membership for free, or receive more exclusive perks with a $25 or $50 membership.

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival runs August 14-24 at various venues in Old Strathcona. Call 780-409-1910 or visit fringetheatre.ca for more information.

—By Breanna Mroczek

Where to Golf in Calgary: Top 10 Local Public Courses

Blue Devil Golf Club is Calgary's newest course. (Photo: courtesy Blue Devil Golf Club)

Blue Devil Golf Club is Calgary’s newest course. (Photo: courtesy Blue Devil Golf Club)

Fooooore! Whether you’re looking to sharpen your game or just get in a few relaxing swings, Calgary has everything a golfer could desire—challenging courses, well-maintained greens and stunningly beautiful views. Here are Where Calgary publisher Brian French’s picks for the best public golf courses in the city and surrounding area.

1. Heritage Pointe Golf Course
Located 20 minutes south of the downtown area in Pine Creek Valley, this 27-hole facility is surrounded by scenic forested area, cliffs and beautiful flowing water. Heritage Pointe is among the best-maintained courses in the city and features the quickest greens. Green fees $55 to $118.
• 1 Heritage Pointe Dr, DeWinton, 403-256-2002, www.heritagepointe.com
Map and reviews

2. Silvertip Golf Course
Silvertip is perched on the benchlands of Mount Lady MacDonald in Canmore, 50 minutes west of Calgary. It’s a little further away from the city, but most definitely worth the drive. It seems like each of the 18 holes on this championship layout are signature holes, many with breathtaking elevations. Green fees $95 to $165.
• 2000 Silvertip Tr, Canmore, 1-877-877-5444, www.silvertipresort.com

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Calgary Can’t-Miss Events in August

By KARRY TAYLOR

GlobalFest is an international fireworks competition, featuring entrants from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and France (Photo: courtesy Travel Alberta)

GlobalFest is an international fireworks competition with entrants from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and France (Photo: courtesy Travel Alberta)

It’s the height of summer in Calgary and fun is in full swing. August is bursting with sports, performances and festivals. Check out our roster of can’t-miss dates for this month.

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6 Local Celebrations of Global Culture

By KARRY TAYLOR

Dancers spin and twirl at Calgary's Expo Latino. (Photo: Ken Mann)

Calgary’s Expo Latino is the largest Latin festival in Western Canada (Photo: Ken Mann)

Calgary is proud of its diverse cultural heritage, and August is packed with festivals celebrating the music, food and culture of the city’s international communities.

Afrikadey!
Aug 6 – 9
American Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group Arrested Development headlines the festival’s closing-night concert. The four-day celebration of African music and cultural identity also features lightning-fingered Congolese guitarist Diblo Dibala and Zimbabwe’s Mokoomba, an energetic, afro-fusion band.

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The Dream World of Odysseo: A Review and Tips for a Great Viewing Experience

Odysseo2

There’s a buzz of excitement from grown men in cowboy hats and giddy laughter running through the stands from little girls sitting with their parents. The audience clearly can’t wait for the curtains to part and the stage to light up. The moment suddenly arrives. The screen transforms from a wall of black into a scene of a forest. A heavy silence falls on the audience and out of the darkness a vision appears: a woman in an ethereal gown of rose pink walks up from a mossy green hill, her angelic voice singing in Italian. Then, a pack of snow white horses comes charging in across the stage, as if out of a dream. Petite women with the train of their cloaks flapping behind them stand on the backs of two horses. They strut side by side, making their way from one end of the stage to the other, disappearing through the stage left doors with their riders — but this is only the beginning of the show and there are many more surprises to come.

Cavalia’s Odysseo is a show that heightens the senses and leaves you with a strange sense that you’ve entered into another world –– like something out of a magical page of a Narnia book, or The Shire from The Lord of the Rings, or even a Game of Thrones realm. It’s a show for both children and adults to escape the realities of the real world and to remember that as humans we are made of dreams. This break from everyday living is being offered in Edmonton from July 13 – August 10, 2014.

The Montreal based production Cavalia has brought one of the largest touring tents in the world to our city. Inside the white pavilions, 69 different breeds of horses hit the main stage –– each one clearly bringing a different personality to the production, making the show charmingly spontaneous at times. Audiences who are fans of Cirque du Soleil will recognize a similar use of acrobatics and dance sequences from male and female performers throughout Odysseo. All the choreography is based on the imagination of the director, Normand Latourelle, who was one of Cirque du Soleil’s co-founders.

The show itself is two hours long with a half hour intermission in-between. To make the most of your time at this dreamlike show here are some logistics and insider tips:

  • When buying your tickets, spend a little extra on the VIP package if you can. It has great perks, like a buffet in the Rendez-Vous tent an hour and a half before the show starts. Delicacies include melted brie cheese smothered in pecans, feta and spinach stuffed spanakopita, smoky and thinly sliced, cured salmon, and more. For adults, there are beverages such as prosecco, white and red wine, and beer. For the little ones, there are sodas, juices, and waters. To top it off, during intermission, the buffet is cleared away to make room for deserts – including a chocolate fountain!
  • Inside the VIP Rendez-Vous tent or at the Box Office in front of the tent buy a keepsake or gift like a recording of the beautiful music (which will be performed live during the show) or a stuffed toy horse for that special someone.
  • Parking can be found on site for $15, or $12 if it’s purchased ahead of the show on the show’s website. If you want to save your dollars, park across the service roads by the gas stations for free. There’s no cross walk to get across to the big tents, but if you’re polite, there will be police officers on site stopping traffic when you need to cross.
  • When buying tickets for seats, aim for rows in the middle (like rows HH and A) so you can see the whole vista of the stage. There’s also a great scene involving a lot of water towards the very end of the production, so if you don’t want to get a bit wet, avoid the very front row.

Visit cavalia.net/en/odysseo for driving instructions, ticket prices, and more information.

Enjoy the show!

— Becky Hagan-Egyir

Reelin’ In the Fun: Fly-Fishing on the Bow River

By IAN DOIG

Out Fly Fishing guide Naoto Aoki prepares to release a freshly caught Bow River brown trout. (Photo: courtesy Josh Nugent)

Out Fly Fishing guide Naoto Aoki prepares to release a freshly caught Bow River brown trout. (Photo: courtesy Josh Nugent)

Fly-fishing outfitter and guide Josh Nugent loves his work. A day at the office involves wading and/or floating along the Bow River. Practicing catch-and-release fishing, Nugent and his team of seasoned guides help clients match wits with the river’s world-famous trout.

What kind of fishing experience do you offer clients?
We offer a really large variety of trips. The first question our guides ask customers in the morning is what do you want out of this day?

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10 Summer Patios in Edmonton

linfordj_sugarbowl-31

The Sugarbowl in Edmonton. Photo by Jennifer Linford

When the sun is shining nothing beats dining outdoors with a cool drink in hand. Here are ten restaurants with great patios in Edmonton to get some sun and good food:

1. Craft Beer Market — One of the newest patios in the city, and one of very few rooftop patios, this spot comes with an incredible view of downtown and more than 100 beers on tap to enjoy in the sun.

2. Leva — Located on the corner of a sleepy, historic street just a few steps off the U of A campus, this shady spot is a great place to relax with a cappuccino or while away a warm afternoon with homemade gelato.

3. Earls Downtown — The perfect spot to see and be seen, you can snuggle in a booth, perch at high tables, or lounge on a couch in this sleek, always-busy outdoor space.

4. MKT — Comfortable picnic-table-like seating and a massive outdoor bar makes this space a local favourite during the warmer months.

5. Wildflower Grill — This cozy, street-level patio is surrounded by fresh flowers and is the perfect spot to indulge in summer menu items like the incredible Miso Seabass and the Watermelon Salad.

6. Urban Diner on 102 Ave. — Tucked behind the restaurant is a tree-shaded outdoor space that has such a relaxed vibe, you might mistake it for your own deck!

7. Chiantis — Escape the hustle and bustle of Whyte Avenue, on this sunny patio that comes with the scent of beautiful flowers and freshly made pasta.

8. The Confederation Lounge — No one can argue that the view of the river valley from this patio is anything but breathtaking. A summer menu full of items straight off the BBQ makes this spot one that can’t be missed.

9. Sugarbowl — With the garage-door-style windows at the front of this trendy spot rolled open wide throughout the summer, you will feel like you are outside even if you don’t snag a coveted seat on their always-busy patio.

10. Julio’s Barrio — Arguably the best spot in the city to people watch, this patio spills out onto the Whyte Avenue sidewalk in the summer months and is filled with people celebrating the season with margaritas, nachos, and tacos.

Perfect Patios: Where to Dine Outdoors in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY

The Living Room's patio is an excellent spot to people-watch on 17th Avenue SW. (Photo: courtesy The Living Room)

The Living Room’s patio is an excellent spot to people-watch on 17th Avenue SW. (Photo: courtesy The Living Room)

When summer arrives, the city’s outdoor restaurant patios bloom. Here is a sample of Calgary’s best places to eat, drink and socialize in the sun.

THE LIVING ROOM
514 – 17 Ave SW, 403-228-9830, livingroomrestaurant.com
Hours: Mon – Fri, 11 am – 2 pm and 5 pm – 12 am; Sun, 5 pm – 12 am.
Venue and Vibe: Plush and contemporary, serving family-style dishes meant to be lingered over in good company.
Patio Appeal: Two outdoor fireplaces and light-wrapped trees cast a warm glow.
Sun and Shade: Mostly shade with dappled sunlight.
The View: Great street-level people watching on 17th Ave Retail & Entertainment District.
Recommends: Cheese fondue with aged white cheddar, black truffle and truffle oil, plus your choice of meat, seafood and veggies to dip. Pair with a light, dry white wine.

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What’s New at Edmonton Valley Zoo—Edmonton’s Best New Attraction 2014

Glacier exterior (1)

Congratulations to the new The Wander Trail System at Edmonton Valley Zoo — our pick for the WHERE Edmonton Magazine 2014 Best New Attraction!

If your most recent memory of Edmonton Valley Zoo involves posing for a photo with the statue of Humpty Dumpty, it’s time to plan another visit. A lot has changed since its days as Storyland Valley Zoo, and the new additions are proof that change is good.

Since 2010 Edmonton Valley Zoo has undergone expansive renovations to complete three new phases of the zoo. The Wander is the second phase of the re-design and parts of the attraction have been open since December 2013, with the Grand Opening taking place on July 11, 2014. The Wander is a themed walkway that connects the new entry plaza to the rest of the zoo, andre-enacts the story of the North Saskatchewan River with features that mimic its origin as glacial water in the Rocky Mountains, to its presence in Edmonton. “We’re so connected to the river in Edmonton and with The Wander we want everyone to understand a little more about it” Denise Prefontaine, Director of the Zoo, says.

The Entry Plaza, where you’ll find a Wild Earth Cafe and the Zoo-tique Gift Shop, represents the urban city of Edmonton. Sharp eyes will notice that the floor of the plaza is formed by non-uniform concrete squares of various sizes — it’s because they depict the dominion grid of how Edmonton was settled. Non-artificial rocks, a mosaic path, and water features make up the rest of the walkway, which ends at a structure resembling an ice cave in the Columbia Icefields. With coloured stained glass-like windows and a reflective surface that keeps things cool, the structure is a serene spot to take a break on a hot day.

Between the two points, the “river” takes guests by a beaver dam play structure that children can climb on, a beach area with sand and a wading pool, a trout pond and wetland marsh, rock steps and benches, shallow streams of water that are meant to be walked and splashed in, and smaller rocks that children can move and stack within the water. Despite its intricate setup, there are flat pathways around the features so that The Wander is completely accessible for those with mobility issues.

Of course, an attraction at the zoo wouldn’t be complete without some animals, and all of the enclosures that surround The Wander contain animals from mountainous regions to fit with the theming: “[w]ith the re-designs in the zoo, we wanted to educate people about the habitats and land that animals live on as much as the animals themselves” Tammy Wiebe, Executive Director of the Valley Zoo Development Society says.

Though The Wander serves to make the animal enclosures at the zoo more easily accessible, all of its features make it an attraction itself. It’s fun, it’s functional, and it’s also beautiful. The spot at the very top of the attraction provides a stunning view of the deep green trees in the river valley, and it’s the perfect place to snap a few group photos and commemorate the outing to the newest phase of the fantastic Edmonton Valley Zoo!