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Calgary Summer Festival Guide 2015


Brazilian Association of Calgary dancers Paula Regehr (left) and Marie Benoit rehearse for GlobalFest's 2013 One World Festival. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Brazilian Association of Calgary dancers Paula Regehr (left) and Marie Benoit rehearse for GlobalFest’s 2013 One World Festival. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

It’s festival time, Calgary! From culture to music to food, there’s a festival to suit every taste this summer—check out this handy guide and get ready to celebrate.



Calgary International Children’s Festival
May 20 – 23
A feast for the brain, this child-oriented fest includes award-winning theatre, interactive activities, and free, outdoor performances.

Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival
May 22 – 30
A film fest that celebrates queer culture across the LGBT spectrum, from hilariously campy to heart-wrenchingly poignant.


Ride a Wave in Edmonton!

TsunamiYour hair is tussled by a light breeze as water glides under your board. Your body shifts seamlessly with the wave, balance on point, and it hits you: you’ve mastered surfing — in the middle of the prairies. Now you can catch a sick — and endless — wave sans beach and sharks at World Waterpark in West Edmonton Mall! Challenge yourself or try to outsurf a friend, as Tsunami is the only attraction in Canada that is large enough for two to surf simultaneously. Just starting out on your surfing journey? Take a lesson from one of the experts and you will be shouting, “hang ten” in no time! (Surf slang lessons not included.)

Want to see the Tsunami in action? Watch the preview from WEM below:

World Waterpark, West Edmonton Mall
8882 – 170 St. | 780-444-5313

—Matthew Stepanic

Festival City Heats Up! Your Guide to Summer 2015 Festivals in Edmonton


Edmonton Folk Festival
Photo Courtesy Travel Alberta

Nuova Opera & Music Theatre Festival | Various venues | May 22 – July 4
Canada’s only summer opera festival celebrates emerging Canadian vocal artists through an accessible blend of classical performances that will engage and entertain all audiences. This year’s featured productions include Dead Man Walking, Our Town, and Oklahoma!

International Children’s Festival | St. Albert | May 26 – 30
Musicians, dancers, storytellers, artists, and puppeteers from around the globe converge to delight the young and young-at-heart with upbeat music, crafts and games, and funny stage performances.

NextFest | Various venues | June 4 – 14
There is something for everyone at this multi-disciplinary showcase of over 500 emerging young artists with 50 events encompassing theatre, music, dance, art, film, creative writing, and fashion.

Edmonton Pride Festival | Various venues | June 5 – 14
Celebrate diversity and acceptance of the LGBTQ community with a colourful parade, musical performances, parties, theatre performances, and more!

Edmonton Craft Beer Festival | Edmonton EXPO Centre, 7515-116 Ave. | June 5 – 6
Samples of over 700 different varieties of beer — from breweries in 44 countries! Sample beer and food from Edmonton’s best eateries, attend Brew Masters seminars, Cooking with Beer seminars, and Food and Beer Pairing workshops to learn more the characteristics and flavours of various beers.

Improvaganza Festival | Citadel Theatre, 9832-101A Ave. | June 17 – 27
Be prepared to laugh until it hurts at Canada’s largest improv festival where talented artists from across the country will compete in a series of hilarious theatresports matches and host improv comedy workshops.

The Works Art and Design Festival | Various venues | June 19 – July 1
Outdoor exhibits transform downtown Edmonton into the largest outdoor art gallery in North America with live artist demonstrations, an outdoor street market, music, and more!

Edmonton International Jazz Festival | Various venues | June 18 – 29
The Bad Plus Joshua Redman headline this annual festival that heats things up with performances by talented jazz musicians from around the world.

Freewill Shakespeare Festival | Hawrelak Park | June 23 – July 19
Local theatre troupe the Freewill Players bring back their Shakespeare double feature to Edmonton’s beautiful river valley. This year’s festival features the romantic comedy As You Like It and the violent drama Coriolanus.

Canada Day | Various venues | July 1
Celebrate our nation’s birthday with events and activities across the city, including free family activities and fireworks at the Alberta Legislature grounds and City Hall in Churchill Square.

Historic Festival & Doors Open Edmonton | Various venues | July 5 – 12
Celebrate Edmonton’s historic past with hands-on pioneer experiences including a horse-drawn carriage, tours of a church, cemetery, garden, and other historical buildings, streetcar rides, storytelling, live music, and more.

Street Performers Festival | Churchill Square | July 3 – 12
You never know who you’ll run in to when over 1,500 roving artists take to the streets for a variety of shows featuring magic, comedy, puppets, juggling, storytelling, music, fire tricks, and more!

Sand on Whyte | South Scona Parking Lot, 81 ave. & 105 St. | July 3 – 12
Sand carving exhibits are coming to Old Strathcona! Award-winning artists from B.C. and the Netherlands will be working on giant sand-carving creations throughout the festival.

Whyte Avenue Art Walk | 82 (Whyte) Ave., between 100 St. & 108 St.July 10 – 12
Art Walk transforms the streets of Old Strathcona into an outdoor gallery and studio featuring hundreds of working artists. Visitors can stroll along Whyte Avenue and admire the diverse selection of art in all mediums and purchase affordable, original pieces from local artists.

Taste of Edmonton | Churchill Square | July 16 – 25
Dozens of Edmonton’s finest chefs create special menus for this white-tented, ten-day affair where hungry guests can sample a variety of delicious food, wine, and beer while enjoying live music and street performers.

K-Days | Northlands Park, 7410 Borden Park Rd. | July 17 – 26
This action-packed extravaganza of carnival activities kicks off with a parade and follows with a non-stop week of live entertainment, midway games, thrilling rides, unique food, chuckwagon races, concerts, and extravagant nightly fireworks.

Interstellar Rodeo | Hawrelak Park | July 24 – 26
St. Vincent and Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires headline this music festival that showcases folk, country, blues, bluegrass, gospel, and rock talents from the Six Shooter Record Label.

Blueberry Bluegrass Festival | Heritage Park 5100-41 Ave., Stony Plain | July 31 – August 2
Take a sunny drive to Stony Plain, just west of Edmonton, for this celebration of roots and bluegrass music with great acts like Seldom Scene, a main stage show, jam sessions, lessons, and demonstrations.

Servus Heritage Festival | Hawrelak Park | August 1 – 3
Outdoor pavilions house a non-stop assortment of music and dancing, arts and crafts displays and cultural demonstrations, traditional costumes and the exotic cuisine of over 75 cultures.

Edmonton Folk Music Festival | Gallagher Park | August 6 – 9
Global stars of folk, blues, bluegrass, and gospel genres from around the world come together for four blissful days at this open-air festival where the Gallagher Park hillside serves as a natural amphitheatre.

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival | Various venues | August 13 – 23
This phenomenal alternative theatre fest is the largest and oldest of its kind in North America with over 1,200 shows and performances from over 200 theatre companies throughout the event. In addition to ticketed stage shows, its not uncommon for impromptu performances to break out in the streets!

Edmonton Dragon Boat Festival | Louise McKinney Park | August 14 – 16
A  series of intense and exciting Dragon Boat races on the North Saskatchewan River showcase the talents of impressive rowing athletes. Cultural events celebrating the Chinese-Canadian community keep the festive spirit with special events, activities, and plenty of food and drink.

Edmonton Blues Festival | Hawrelak Park | August 21 – 23
Top local and international acoustic and electric blues acts from around the world rock the house with everything from funk to zydecco!

Symphony in the Park | Hawrelak Park | August 28 – 30
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is in top form during this three-day al fresco summer extravaganza of classical music, pop-culture favourites and famous film scores. 

Sonic Boom Music Festival | Borden Park | September 5 – 6
Alexisonfire, Tenacious D, and Brandon Flowers headline this year’s two-day, outdoor music festival of amazing modern rock artists.

Kaleido Family Arts Festival | Alberta Avenue, 118 Ave., 90 – 94 St. | September 11 – 13
Over 200 musical and performance acts, visual artists, and artisans from both the professional and emerging arts create across various landscapes of Alberta Avenue including, rooftops, vertical surfaces, alleyways, playgrounds, and more. Admission to the festival is free!

Edmonton Author Spotlight: Timothy Caulfield


Tim Caulfield. Photo by Akiko Taniguchi.

Stop your juice cleanse right now — Gwyneth Paltrow may be wrong about everything! In his new book, Timothy Caulfield examines the influence of celebrity culture on the health, diet, beauty, and happiness of North American society. Why do we spend ridiculous sums of money on extreme beauty regimes or the latest superfoods — and do they have any health benefits?

Caulfield is a health-science expert, acting as the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and as a professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, so he’s naturally developed a skeptical eye and scientific lens over his career. Considering only evidence-informed research and advice in Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?, he searches for anything to back up celebrity health and beauty claims and — unsurprisingly perhaps — finds next to nothing. This book is a follow-up of sorts to his previous bestseller, The Cure for Everything!, which also works to eliminate the many health myths in the media.

Timothy-Caulfield-CoverWhile you can expect him to burst your beauty-obsessed bubble, you’ll also laugh at the crazy lengths Caulfield goes to in order to identify and debunk the messages and myths that come from celebrities. Between reading People Magazine cover-to-cover for a year, going on Gwyneth’s goop detox, and auditioning for American Idol, Caulfield unveils the many unhealthy side effects that celebrity culture has on our lives. The book is a fascinating examination of how celebrities and the foolish things they do control our lives, and it may have you second guessing everything Dr. Oz or Gwyneth tells you to do for your “health”. Buy a copy anywhere books are sold, such as local bookstore Audreys Books.


The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald Turns 100!


Photo courtesy of the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.

Located in the downtown core, The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (often referred to as Edmonton’s castle) is celebrating its 100th birthday this year!

The hotel has stunning views of the River Valley — particularly from its prestigious patio at the Confederation Lounge, where you can sip and savour an expertly crafted cocktail. Steeped in history, the hotel hosted King George VI and Queen Elizabeth back in 1939. Be sure to check out the events the Fairmont has planned to celebrate its birthday throughout the year!

Alumni Event | July 3 | 6 – 9 pm
All former employees are welcomed back under one roof to share stories of the hotel’s past at this inviting reception.

Birthday Brunch | July 5
A real birthday treat, be sure to reserve a spot at this gourmet brunch in advance as seats will fill up fast!

Birthday High Tea & Tour | July 4 & 5 | 2:30 pm
Wear your most fashionable hat, dine on an exquisite menu, and enjoy High Tea at the Hotel Macdonald. Afterward, you’ll also enjoy a walk through the garden and a historic tour of the hotel.

For more information about these and other events and to reserve tickets, please visit the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s website.

—Matthew Stepanic

Your 2015 Edmonton Farmers’ Market Guide

Escobar_2013_06_08-335City Market 
Sat 9 am – 3 pm
(until Oct 10, 2015)
Spend some time at the original outdoor downtown farmers’ market browsing a wide selection of local vendors with the freshest and highest quality products in town. You’ll find everything from gourmet foods to clothing to beauty products to artwork — truly a unique shopping destination! The market is outside until Thanksgiving weekend and then moves to City Hall for the winter months.
104 St. & 102 Ave., 780-429-5713.

124 Grand Market Thu 4 pm – 8 pm (until Oct 8, 2015)
Enjoy a twist on the traditional market with a combination of everything locals love about summer: trendy food trucks, live entertainment, artists, shopping, and of course, fresh and local foods all in the vibrant outdoors!
124 St. & 108 Ave.

Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market Sat 8 am – 3 pm (year-round)
Over 130 of the finest food producers, artisans, makers, and crafters bring a slice of rural life to the city at this year-round, indoor farmers’ markets. Every Saturday a bustling crowd in the heart of Edmonton’s historic Strathcona district unites to shop for unique handmade products, enjoy food at the height of its natural harvest time, and connect directly with local farmers and artisans whopersonally transport their wares to you.
10310-83 Ave., 780-439-1844.

Mother’s Market  Fri – Sun 10 am – 5 pm (year-round)
A three-day market open on weekends, Mother’s Market is the only year-round indoor farmers’ market located downtown. The market features over 130 stalls filled with a variety of in-season, fresh produce from farmers and hand-crafted, artisan goods. Parking here is a breeze with over 450 stalls in the area, including an underground, heated lot.
10251-109 St., 587-521-6255.

Callingwood Farmers’ Market Wed 2 pm – 6 pm; Sun 10 am – 3pm (until Oct 11, 2015)
This outdoor farmers’ market offers the finest of locally grown fresh, organic produce and meats, delicious home made food, garden plants, unique arts and crafts, exclusive hand made products and much more.
69 Ave. & 178 St.

St. Albert Outdoor Farmers’ Market Opens June 13! Sat 10 am – 3 pm (until Oct 10, 2015)
You’ll find fresh produce, homemade baking, preserves, woodwork, fruits, pottery, and much more in the over 250 vendors here at Western Canada’s largest outdoor farmers’ market.
St. Anne and St. Thomas St., St. Albert,780-458-2833.

—Lindsay Shapka & Matthew Stepanic


Spring Into Action: 6 Fun Family Attractions in May


Calaway Park's Vortex roller coaster. (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Calaway Park’s Vortex roller coaster. (Photo: courtesy Tourism Calgary)

Got some energy to spare after a winter indoors? Trade cabin fever for spring fever in May, when Calgary’s seasonal family-friendly attractions throw open their gates and invite kids (and the young-at-heart) in to stretch their legs and minds.

Opening Weekend: May 16 – 18
Thrill seekers, get ready for heart-pounding, scream-inducing fun when western Canada’s largest outdoor family amusement park opens for the season. From the rockin’ rollin’ Mind Blaster to the twisty-turny, upside-down loopy Vortex rollercoaster, Calaway Park features more than 30 rip-roaring rides. While some are for experienced riders only, there’s plenty of fun for younger kids on rides like the spinning Berry Go-Round and the Mini Express rollercoaster. Need a break from all the zooming and zipping? Check out exciting stage shows ranging from song and dance to magic shows, or head to the air-conditioned theatre for a 3D movie. The Park also features fun games of skill and chance, as well as three walk-up food concessions and two restaurants.
• 245033 Range Road 33, 403-240-3822, www.calawaypark.com

Opening Weekend: May 16 – 18
Travel back in time and interact with nearly 100 years of Alberta’s history at Calgary’s living history museum. Don’t let the word “museum” fool you, though—an entire re-created village sits outdoors on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir. Hitch a ride on a horse-drawn wagon, feast on a fresh cheese bun, get your kicks on the antique midway, take a photo with costumed interpreters, or hop aboard the thundering steam train. On opening weekend, the first 500 guests who arrive before 10 am will be treated to a complimentary pancake breakfast. On May 23 and 24, Heritage Park hosts the 20th Annual Festival of Quilts with hundreds of beautiful, handmade quilts on display throughout the park.
• 1900 Heritage Dr SW, 403-268-8500, www.heritagepark.ca

Mountie Day: May 18
Located at the junction of the Bow and Elbow rivers, where the first building in Calgary was erected, the National Historic Site features a colourful interpretive centre. See what it was like on both sides of the law by trying on a blazing red Mountie uniform and spending a little time in the antique jail. Celebrate the founding of the North West Mounted Police on May 18 with special activities, games, and birthday cake for Mountie Day.
• 750 – 9 Ave SE, 403-290-1875, www.fortcalgary.com

Festival Dates: May 20 – 23
Every year, 50,000 people gather to expand their imagination, creative thought, and cultural understanding at the Calgary International Children’s Festival, one of the most prominent festivals of its kind in Canada and the largest presenter of theatre for young audiences in Calgary. A feast for the brain, it features performances on a free outdoor stage in Olympic Plaza, interactive activities of all sorts, and award-winning theatre on the next-door Arts Commons stages. This year’s exciting line-up includes Quebec theatre company Tout à Trac’s twist on Alice in Wonderland, the comedic percussion group BAM, and the eye-popping spectacle of SQUONK, a wild act that uses music to activate air-filled costumes—it has to be seen to be believed!
• Olympic Plaza and Arts Commons, 205 – 8 Ave SE, 403-294-7414, calgarykidsfest.ca

The most expansive trampoline park in Canada recently opened in Calgary, with a staggering 42,000 square feet of interlocking trampolines enclosed in trampoline walls. Extreme Air Park allows jumpers to catch some serious air on the two main courts, or bounce down a 50-foot trampoline half pipe into a huge pit of soft foam. You’ve probably played basketball and dodgeball before, but they take on a whole new dimension when you’re springing off a trampoline court to make a slam dunk or rebounding off of a trampoline wall to dodge incoming missiles. Friday and Saturday nights feature cool themes, black lights, music, games, and competitions. Trampoline gymnastics and aerobics classes are also available. Everything’s indoors, so a rainy spring day is no problem for a fun time here.
• 1411 – 33 St NE, 403-265-2733, calgary.extremeairpark.com

Thanks to some unseasonably (but welcome!) warm weather, Shakers Fun Centre opened their outdoor go-kart track and mini-golf course early this year. Putt-putt your way through 18 fun and challenging mini holes on the golf course, or test your driving skills on Calgary’s newest go-kart track. Inside, there’s something to suit fun seekers of all ages with a lazer tag arena, a video game arcade, a climbing tower and an indoor playground.
• 9900 Venture Ave SE, 403-236-2213, shakerscalgary.com

Hot Docs: Global Visions Film Festival

Global Visions 2Canada’s longest-running documentary film festival, Global Visions (running from May 7–18, 2015) kicked off this year’s fest with one of the year’s most highly anticipated and critically acclaimed films, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. From director Brett Morgen, this film uses Cobain’s own journals, music, art, films, and audio recordings to paint a definitive portrait of Nirvana’s visionary frontman and highlight his lasting influence on popular culture.

Other notable docs featured this year include:

1 Dead Venues Created by locals Mike Siek and Eden Munro, this is a fond look back at some of Edmonton’s most beloved, “gone-but-not-forgotten” music venues.

2 Made In Japan From director Josh Bishop, this is the poignant and incredibly inspiring story of Japanese country music star Tomi Fujiyama.

3 How to Change the World Using never before seen archival materials, this doc is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.

Visit the website for screening times, and check out the current issue for more fantastic festivals!

—Lindsay Shapka

Hot Art In Edmonton

The Peter Robertson Gallery and The Front Gallery have both moved to a brand new, modern space on 124 Street. If a new space isn’t enough to entice you to visit, the incredible artists they are featuring is sure to!

PeterRobertson Gallery

Shimmering Light and Shifting Hues
May 1–19, 2015

With a dazzling variety of colours, artist Steve Driscoll presents variations on images of Ontario’s Algonquin Park — a setting that was heavily represented in works by the Group of Seven — using a new form of landscape painting in the exhibit Actually Everything is Just About the Same. Rather than fighting it, he acknowledges that even our view of nature is digitally mediated, and his works seem to be washed with Instagram filters, perfectly capturing the manipulated landscape of memory rather than fact.
Peter Robertson Gallery, 12323-104 Ave., 780-455-7479.

Human Form 
May 2–25, 2015

Provocative sculptural figures challenge viewers to explore the connection between the mind, body, and spirit in Blake Ward’s exhibit Silent Metaphors. Raised in Edmonton, Ward works out of a studio in Monte Carlo and exhibits his stunning figurative sculptures all over the world. The Front Gallery, 12323-104 Ave., 780-488-2952.

Lindsay Shapka

Made in the Shade: Calgary Summer Patio Guide


Watch the Fourth Street passers-by from Vin Room's rooftop patio. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Watch the Fourth Street passers-by from Vin Room’s rooftop patio. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

At the first sign of warm weather, Calgarians head to restaurant patios, even while wearing shorts, sandals—and a parka. While there are far too many excellent outdoor favourites to mention, here are a few great options for…


Ox & Angela: See and be seen at this authentic Spanish tapas restaurant, which is beloved for its expertly prepared menu and cocktails.
528 – 17 Ave SW, 403-457-1432, oxandangela.com

Vin Room: All sorts of fascinating people hang out in Mission, and you can watch them parade past from Vin Room’s rooftop patio while sampling 100 wines by taste.
2310 – 4 St SW, 403-457-5522, www.vinroom.com

Murrieta’s Bar & Grill: Get a bird’s eye view of downtown Calgary’s busiest pedestrian walk along with fresh, creative West Coast dishes.
808 – 1 St SW, 403-269-7707, www.murrietas.ca


Bonterra Trattoria: You’ll forget you’re not in Tuscany when you step into this rustic, vine-covered courtyard and taste the sophisticated Italian fare.
1016 – 8 St SW, 403-262-8480, bonterra.ca

Alloy: Sample Mediterranean and Asian flavours in the dappled sunlight on Alloy’s lush and peaceful patio (there’s plenty of parking space too).
220 – 42 Ave SE, 403-287-9255, www.alloydining.com

Raw Bar by Duncan Ly: Luxurious, poolside dining is a reality in downtown Calgary, elevated by Chef Ly’s award-winning “Vietmodern” cuisine.
119 – 12 Ave SW, 403-206-9565, www.rawbaryyc.ca


Oak Tree Tavern: This friendly pub has an excellent rooftop view overlooking the Kensington neighbourhood, the Bow River, and the downtown skyline.
124 – 10 St NW, 403-270-3347, www.oaktreetavern.com

Boxwood Café: The beautifully landscaped, Victorian-style Central Memorial Park is home to this modern café featuring rotisserie meats.
340 – 13 Ave SW, 403-265-4006, www.boxwoodcafe.ca

The Lake House: The patio juts out over the glassy surface of Lake Bonavista, and the sights coming out of the kitchen are just as appealing.
747 Lake Bonavista Drive SE, 403-225-3939, lakehousecalgary.com


Wild Rose Brewery: Go straight to the source at this small-batch, Alberta-exclusive brewery, which also boasts a large, sunny patio and tasty menu.
4580 Quesnay Wood Dr SW, 403-720-2733, www.wildrosebrewery.com

National on 17th: Everyone from hip artists to oil execs hangs out on the National patio, and not just for the large selection of North American craft brews.
550 – 17 Ave SW, 403-229-0226, ntnl.ca

1410 World Bier Haus: Look down on the commoners from their rooftop perch while sampling unusual beers from all over the world.
1410 – 17 Ave SW, 403-229-1410, www.1410bierhaus.ca


La Chaumière: The elegance of the classic French menu pairs perfectly with the beautiful patio, not to mention a wine list of over 800 vintages.
139 – 17 Ave SW, 403-228-5690, www.lachaumiere.ca

River Café: The only restaurant on Prince’s Island in the heart of downtown serves world-renowned cuisine with a focus on exquisite local ingredients.
25 Prince’s Island Park, 403-261-7670, www.river-cafe.com

Rouge Restaurant: Situated in a vast, verdant lawn, patio diners can enjoy inventive dishes prepared with ingredients grown in the garden right beside the tables.
1240 – 8 Ave SE, 403-531-2767, www.rougecalgary.com


Cibo: The menu at this bright, modern Italian restaurant manages to be both kid and adult-friendly, and the trellised patio has a lush garden vibe.
1012 – 17 Ave SW, 403-984-4755, cibocalgary.com

Dairy Lane Café: A fixture since 1950, this little diner with a streetside patio uses organic ingredients and features a special menu of kid’s favourites.
319 – 19 St NW, 403-283-2497, www.dairylanecafe.ca

Los Chilitos Taco & Tequila House: With a two-tier patio overlooking 17th Avenue SW and a menu of authentic Mexican food, there’s plenty of food and good views for everyone to love.
1309 – 17 Ave SW, 403-228-5528, www.loschilitos.ca

10 Things To Do in Edmonton Before the End of April


1. Gallery Walk This Saturday, April 18 from 10–5 and Sunday from 12–4, the art galleries on 124 Street will be showcasing incredible works and will also feature drinks, snacks, entertainment, and even a chance to meet the artists themselves!

2. Enjoy an Evening at the Opera The Edmonton Opera is closing out their stage season with the haunting, tragic opera Lucia di Lammermoor that takes place in the Scottish hillside. Performances are on April 18, 21, and 23.

3. Go House Hunting… but not in the traditional sense. Next week, U of A design students will be installing three tree houses in Churchill Sq. as part of a public art installation called Impose. They are going to look like actual mini houses that can be found in our neighbourhoods.

4. Edmonton Poetry Fest kicks off on April 19 and will feature 8 days packed with events such as slam poetry, vintage poetry, and even a night that pairs poetry with whisky!

5. The California Wine Fair is on April 22 at the Citadel Theatre and it is your chance to try more than 400 different wines from the region.

6. For the sports fans, the always-entertaining Harlem Globetrotters are in town from April 24–25.

7. Movie fans will LOVE the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra’s Bond & Beyond on April 25 that will feature hit songs from James Bond movies.

8. Try the Frickin’ Delights Vegan Donuts from the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market. They are locally made, and are the some of the best donuts we have ever tasted!

9. Avenue Q opens on April 25 at the Citadel. This is a hilarious coming-of-age musical that includes human actors and puppets. Don’t let the puppets fool you though — this is an adult-only show.

10. Lastly, it’s time to update your look for spring! Local blogger Kira Paron of Northern Style Exposure helped us out with some fashion tips this issue like recommending that both men and women pick up something gingham to refresh their look.

—Lindsay Shapka

Poetry Moves at Edmonton Poetry Festival

Iman Mersal Photo credit Randall Edwards

Poet Iman Mersal reading at last year’s Edmonton Poetry Festival. Photo by Randall Edwards.

Poetry is so much more than the dreadful rhymes your teacher forced on you in grade school. This sundry art form includes engaging styles such as spoken word in which poets focus as much on the performance of the piece as they do on the actual words, adding in clever word play and storytelling. When you hear poetry live, you connect with new ideas and perspectives through the poet’s use of images and metaphors to
convey their message.

Edmonton Poetry Festival returns to the city every April (or National Poetry Month as in-the-know beatniks call it) to bring poetry to the people over 8 days of unique events with music, dance, food, and anything that lifts words off the page. Founded in 2006 with the principle that poetry is a source of energy, entertainment, and joy shared by all societies, the festival aims to celebrate those elements with audiences across the city.

This year, Edmonton is welcoming a star-studded guest list of local and national poets, including the current World Poetry Slam Champion Ikenna Onyegbula and the Parliamentary Poet Laureate Michel Pleau. Another must-catch performer Taqralik Partridge blends in throat singing with her readings, while her work explores issues of Aboriginal rights. If you want to sample any of these poets’ words, head to YouTube to watch some of their live performances! (Warning: You may lose track of time as you jump from video to video.)

If you’ve never considered yourself a poetry fan, Executive Director Rayanne Doucet says the festival will have many surprises for you. “You never know when you are going to fall in love with words,” she says. “Poetry has a way of hooking you. You just need that one experience where someone touches you with their language.”

One of the festival’s goals is to highlight electrifying poets that you can only hear in Edmonton. “We have an amazing depth of spoken word talent in this city,” says Doucet. Programming for this year includes a Bring Your Own Venue Day on April 19, which showcases the skills of local poets who’ve organized their own unique events.

For an eclectic experience of the poetry scene, head to the Saturday night poetry party, “Poetry Meets” on April 25. At this eccentric event, poets will collaborate with a range of artists, including musicians and burlesque dancers, to bring their words to life through sound and movement. Or, attend “Whisky and Words from Wise Women” on April 22 to sample both whisky and the wisdom from four exceptionally talented female poets from across Canada.

“The Gala: Bouffant Poetry” (ou en français: «poésie décoiffante») on April 24 is a fantastic gala at the Pavillon Lacerte that embraces Canada’s two official languages. The night will merge New Orleans and Parisian culture, and you’ll want to show off your chicest fashions as you mingle and have your breath taken away by the evening’s performers.

No matter what event you catch at the festival, Doucet says, “I hope that audiences are struck breathless by a new poetic voice we introduce them to, and I hope they search for even more voices after seeing how our visiting poets move them.”

When you encounter “two roads diverged in a yellow wood”, don’t be sorry you could not travel both — follow the one that leads to Edmonton Poetry Festival! For full details on events and tickets, visit the website.