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These Shoes Were Made for Travelling

Poppy Barley's Spring/Summer 2016 Travel Collection. Photo by Nicole Ashley.

Poppy Barley’s Spring/Summer 2016 Travel Collection. Photo by Nicole Ashley.

The idea for Poppy Barley custom-made shoes came to co-founder Justine Barber while on a trip to Bali, and travel is once again inspiring Poppy Barley’s latest collection.

The story goes that while Justine was travelling in Bali in 2012 she saw a pair of shoes that she really liked but she couldn’t zip them up over her calves. The shop owner said “no problem, I’ll just make them for you,” and measured her whole foot. “Justine realized that it was strange that, in North America, we buy shoes based on just one measurement — foot length — and that there has to be a way to buy better fitting shoes,” says her sister and co-founder Kendall Barber. “So we started thinking: how do we create a shoe that is beautifully designed but also feels beautiful by using more measurements and high quality materials to give it that fit?”

The result was Poppy Barley: an ever-changing collection of shoes with customizable fabric and size options, handmade in Mexico for each customer. Their new Spring/Summer collection is travel-inspired — and the shoes are perfect for travelling.

“Our customers like to travel,” says Kendall. “This became apparent through the Instagram photos that [our customers] share of themselves wearing their Poppy Barley shoes when they travel, to places including New York and Paris and Moscow, and wherever they are they are in Poppy Barleys. I think that’s a testament to our shoes being that comfortable, that that’s what you wear all day. If you leave your hotel at 8 am to explore all day you can wear these shoes and they’ll work for you. The alternative would be a sneaker, which is also cool, but if you want something that has more of a polished look, our customers are gravitating to their Poppy Barleys.

The leopard print, calf hair strappy sandal has us in the mood for summer and sunny skies! Photo by Nicole Ashley,

The leopard print, calf hair strappy sandal has us in the mood for summer and sunny skies! Photo by Nicole Ashley.

Kendall’s Travel Tips
Poppy Barley’s co-founder Kendall Barber likes to travel — and knows her customers do, too. Here are her tips for a great trip no matter where you go:

  • “I always try to go on a food tour; in advance of going to a new city I book one for the first or second day I’m there. It really helps to navigate menus the rest of the trip, and trying new food is always fun.”
  • “All you really need is a passport and a credit card; just relax about everything else. There’s so much stress around packing and you really don’t need a lot, you can always buy it there. I’m a big believer in travelling carry on — even for a couple of weeks. It’s always the same price or cheaper to do laundry as it is to pay for extra luggage.”
  • “Choose a neutral colour of clothing, I usually pack all black and blue, and then add accessories for pops of colour.”
  • “Just say ‘yes’ to everything while travelling — while being smart about it — as you never know where it will take you and what you’ll get to try.”

Hot Tip: When Kendall travelled to Morocco, the weather was so hot that all of her shoes melted — except for her Poppy Barley shoes. Now that’s quality!


Poppy Barley’s New Slip-on Oxford in Ivory Snake is comfortable yet stylish for travelling. Photo by Nicole Ashley.

New Shoes 
The spring travel collection features new leathers in Desert Tan to keep things neutral, a fun leopard-print on calf-hair leather, and a texture snake print on white leather contrasted with smooth black leather, and a metallic silver leather. The collection has a lot of flat styles — perfect for everything from getting around the airport to day-long walking expeditions — including a lace-up flat, strappy sandals, the D’Orsay flat with fun side cut outs, the Slip-On Oxford that provides a lot of foot coverage, and a flat ankle boot. Of course, if you like your heels, there’s a new heeled, backless mule that has a vintage vibe.

Best Bets for Travelling
Poppy Barley’s Customer Service Lead, Yvonne, recommends the Slip-on Oxford to customers who want to use their shoes for travel. “We have a lot of customers tell us they’ll be travelling to a place with lots of cobblestone, and I always recommend the Slip-on Oxford,” says Yvonne. “It’s like a flat but it’s got the coverage on top which is nice as it makes it more multi-seasonal.” Community Manager Caroline Gault recommends the Chelsea Boot for travel: “I was going for a walk and I didn’t want to wear my runners, so I wore my boots and ended up going for a long walk in the river valley on uneven terrain, and they held up!”

Poppy Barley Shoes can be ordered online and delivered anywhere in North America from www.poppybarley.com.

Exercise Beyond the Gym in Edmonton


Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios.

If dragging yourself to the gym for a monotonous 30 minutes on the treadmill seems like the last thing you want to do, why not shake things up a bit with one of these unconventional workouts?

Yoga in the AGA
The instructor will help you calm your mind as you move through a series of poses while surrounded by the inspiring works of some of the world’s most celebrated artists. Each class takes place in a different exhibition space at the Art Gallery of Alberta, allowing you to view the art while also getting a great workout. The drop-in fee for classes is $10, and they are suitable for all levels. Visit the website for a schedule and more information.

Surfing in the Prairies
Hang-10 at The Surf Studio, which combines fat burning, muscle building, balance, and core training in one 45-minute class on top of a custom made, unstable surfboard! Both high-intensity and yoga-based workouts are offered. Drop-in classes are $17.85. Visit the website for more information.

Join a Biker Gang
Based on the popular Soul Cycle model, the 50-minute spin classes offered at YEG Cycle will kick your butt. The room is lit only by small strings of lights that change colour throughout the class, the music is loud, and the energy is amazing. Specialty bike shoes are required, but are included in your drop-in fee of $19. Visit the website for more information.

Walk of Art on 124 St.


Summer Lake XI by Pat Service, acrylic on canvas 48×36.

For two days every spring, the art galleries on 124 Street open their doors for the biannual Gallery Walk. This inspiring event brings live entertainment, snacks, and artists to the galleries and encourages the public to experience some fantastic works by very talented artists like Pat Service (pictured), whose colourful work can be found at the Scott Gallery. Take advantage of the gorgeous spring sunshine this weekend and explore the art of the city! Visit the website for more information.

Spring Gallery Walk | April 16: 10 am – 5:30 pm & April 17: 12 pm – 4 pm
124 St. between 103 Ave. & Stony Plain Rd.

5 Must-Catch Events at Edmonton Poetry Festival


Photo by Randall Edwards.

More than just rhymes and structure, poetry is an exciting force that connects communities and offers new insights into old problems. Coinciding with National Poetry Month every year, the Edmonton Poetry Festival celebrates poetry in all its forms — from haiku to spoken word — at engaging and unique events that lift the words off the page. This year’s festival boasts 41 events on the theme of “becoming”, and here are some of our picks for your best bets!

1. Everything but the Kitchen Blinks | April 18 | 7 pm
With only 30 seconds to read, poets attempt to impress with their best and briefest words in this rapid-fire poetry challenge.
The Mercury Room | 10575-114 St.

2. Poetry Becomes Identity | April 19 | 5 pm
At this showcase of queer poets, learn how labels help or harm identities—featuring celebrated American poet Richard Siken.
The Mercury Room | 10575-114 St.

3. Poetry Becomes Art | April 20 | 6 pm
Three poets, including Armand Garnet Ruffo, explore how their visual art interplays with their poetry. A private guided tour of the art gallery will follow the discussion.
The Art Gallery of Alberta | 2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq.

4. That Becomes You | April 21 | 5:30 pm
Local literary magazine Glass Buffalo hosts an engaging reading and discussion with four emerging writers about why they began writing poetry. Special guest Kayla Czaga will also read at the event.
Audreys Books | 10702 Jasper Ave.

5. Wine & Wild Women Wordsmiths | April 22 | 8:30 pm
Four talented female poets have each chosen a wine that pairs well with the complex flavours of their poetry. Enjoy both at this fun night of words and wine!
Latitude 53 | 10248-106 St.

The festival runs from April 17 to 24, and you can view the complete schedule of events on the website.

Author Spotlight: Todd Babiak


Photo courtesy of HarperCollins Canada.

In this hotly anticipated sequel to Todd Babiak’s first political thriller Come Barbarians, security agent Christopher Kruse is dragged back down into the seedy underside of Parisian politics. After the murder of a charismatic politician, a young woman hires Kruse to hunt down the unknown assassin. Violence and deception — and a little bit of romance — await him at every turn.

Babiak’s previous bestsellers, including Toby: A Man and The Garneau Block, were more humourous tales,SonOfFrance so his venture into drama and espionage may seem like an odd move, but Babiak handles the shift with confidence. A nightmare was the catalyst for the genre switch; he was haunted by a dream about a car hitting and killing his daughter in the south of France. The draw of that story — which became Come Barbarians — was so strong that Babiak left his columnist job at The Edmonton Journal and uprooted his family to France for some authentic research.

Son of France is as high-energy as the first novel with many twists, cringe-worthy torture, and a few explosions. Follow Kruse as he treads down neglected Paris streets to uncover the city’s darker secrets and prepare yourself for several shocking surprises. Packed with grit and intrigue, this literary thriller is a satisfying novel with a character who is clearly not one-note. —Matthew Stepanic

Three Cheers for Calgary Beer!


Toolshed Brewery. Photo courtesy of Toolshed Brewery.

Toolshed Brewery. Photo courtesy of Toolshed Brewery.

Thursday, April 7, 2016 marks National Beer Day! To celebrate, we’ve rounded up some great upcoming beer-related activities and events.


Calgary Craft Beer Tours | Fridays and Saturdays | $129.00 | www.calgarybrewerytours.beer
Take a guided tour and tasting of Village Brewery, CRAFT Beer Market, The Dandy Brewing Company, Tool Shed Brewing Company, and Last Best Brewery and Distillery. Lunch is provided at CRAFT Beer Market and transportation is provided by a driver guide from downtown Calgary.

Village Brewery Tour and Tasting | Saturdays, 12:30 pm or 2:30 pm | $15.00 | 5000 – 12A Street SE | www.villagebrewery.com
Book a tour at Village Brewery to get an exclusive pass behind the scenes. Taste all of the current beers and a custom Village Brewery pint glass to take home.

Toolshed Brewery Tour and Tasting | Saturdays, 12:00 pm | $15.00 | 801 – 30 Street NE | www.toolshedbrewing.com
Visit Toolshed Brewery to see just how far it’s come since its start as a five-gallon home-brew system in a backyard tool shed. A beer tasting completes the tour!

Wild Rose Brewery Tour and Tasting | Wednesdays, 7:00 pm | $29.00 | 4580 Quesnay Wood Drive SW  | www.wildrosebrewery.com
Learn all about Wild Rose Brewery’s fascinating history and their signature beers (and how to properly taste them!) on this tour. Guests will also receive six 5 oz tasters and a Wild Rose pint glass to take home.

The Dandy Brewing Company | Thursdays, 4:00 – 8:00 pm; Fridays, 4:00 pm – 10 pm; Saturdays, Noon – 10 pm; Sundays, Noon – 4 pm | 1826 – 25 Avenue NE | www.thedandybrewingcompany.com
Did you know that Dandy Brewing Company is Calgary’s first true Nano-Brewery? Stop into their space to taste their inspired ales made in very small batches to ensure a quality brew!

Big Rock Brewery Tour and Tasting | Thursdays, 6:00 pm, Saturdays, 1:30 pm | $25.00 | 5555 – 76 Avenue SE | www.bigrockbeer.com
Book a tour with Big Rock Brewery to get an inside peek behind one of Alberta’s leading breweries. This 90-minute tour will take you through their brewing process and you’ll experience a Big Rock tasting session.

Brewmaster’s Dinner at CRAFT Beer Market | April 19, 6:00 pm | $64.20 | 345 – 10th Avenue SW | www.craftbeermarket.ca
Every month, CRAFT Beer Market pairs up with a different local brewery for a fun evening of good food and good beer. This month, they are teaming up with Grizzly Paw, a brew pub located in Canmore for tastings and a four-course meal.

Calgary International Beerfest | May 6, 4 pm – 10 pm; May 7, 2 pm – 9 pm | $19 – $40 | BMO Centre | albertabeerfestivals.com
Sample from hundreds of craft beers brewed in Alberta and around the world while enjoying cooking with beer seminars, live music, food samples, and brew masters seminars.

For Culture Buffs in Edmonton


Photo by Randall Edwards.

Festival City never disappoints, and there are exciting art festivals, cultural events, and more to experience year-round!

If you’re feeling a little more spontaneous, take in an experimental long-form improv show during Rapid Fire Theatre’s Bonfire Festival from April 5–9 at the Citadel Theatre or check out one of the company’s other on-going improv shows.

Immerse yourself in the thriving poetry scene, where venues around the city celebrate the written and spoken word. Edmonton Poetry Festival from April 17–24 is a great way to sample the varieties — enjoy free live readings every lunch hour in Churchill Square, poetry paired with science and music, workshops to hone your own skills, and events with various noteworthy poets, including the poet laureates from both Edmonton and Calgary. Or head to the Rouge Lounge on Tuesday nights for a poetry slam, where amateur and veteran poets alike have three minutes to impress audiences with their original works. If you’re more into stories than poetry (or even if you’re not), take in a competitive storytelling event. Story slams occur on the third Wednesday of the month at the Mercury Room. Writers have five minutes to tell an original, captivating story, and five judges are chosen randomly from the audience to rate each story in turn.

Fancy a pint or a glass of wine? Enjoy yours with a side of local musical talent! Wander down the notable Whyte Ave. and make your selection from countless options. Head to O’Byrne’s Irish Pub for your fundamental Celtic needs, Tavern on Whyte on Thursdays for softer acoustic sounds, or Blues on Whyte to swing your hips to some bluesy rhythms. Journey north to Brittany’s Lounge for their open genre variety stage, with a different night of the week dedicated to a different medium: visual, oratory, auditory, or movement. Prefer to sip on a relaxing coffee or tea instead? Saturdays at The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse mean a medley of local musicians, poets and comedians, and you can catch various jazz, folk, RnB, and indie musicians at Café Blackbird from Thursday to Saturday. Or start your Sunday off right with a jazz brunch at the Blue Chair Café. —Tamara Aschenbrenner

Chef Spotlight: Zinc’s David Omar


Photo courtesy of David Omar.

An art gallery is the perfect place for creative expression, so it’s no wonder that Chef David Omar has been presenting his culinary creations as the executive chef of Zinc, located within the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Like many artists, Omar seeks and sees inspiration everywhere he goes, whether it’s collaborating with different chefs or merely walking down the street. The New Brunswick native looks particularly to other local chefs and restaurants, like Daravara and the Workshop Eatery, always searching for ways to stand out and learn. “Running a restaurant in Edmonton, you should be looking at other places, but really focusing on who’s your direct competition, partners in the industry,” he says. “This city has so many cool restaurants.”

The terms bored and boring do not sit well with Omar, whether in his own life or on a plate. The chef prefers to search for new challenges and opportunities and is regularly involved in various competitions and events throughout the year, such as Gold Medal Plates and Taste of Edmonton. He is particularly excited for the second year of Feast on the Field this summer, an outdoor dining event at Commonwealth Stadium that raises money for CapitalCare.

In terms of his cooking, Omar likes to ensure that he’s creating unique dishes, even if it’s just a fresh take on a familiar dish. For instance, Zinc’s new spring menu will include a twist on the classic pork and beans: succulent pork belly and white bean ragout with Gala apples, celery, and parsley. “It has to be the same and familiar so people recognize it, it has to be different so that it sets you aside, and it has to be new because the general public gets bored very, very easily,” says Omar. —Tamara Aschenbrenner

Western Canada Fashion Week


Photo by Lindsay Thompson.

One of Western Canada’s longest running and most established fashion weeks, Western Canada Fashion Week is strutting into Edmonton to showcase local talents and international couturiers who will be unveiling their spring collections and giving you a glimpse into the latest fashion trends for the season. Contests for emerging designers, stylists, and fantasy hair and makeup artists will be taking place throughout the week, and the event will also feature unique collaborations, exciting parties, and exclusive sample sales. Tickets to runway shows are $25, and are available at the door or through TIX on the Square. Shows start at 8 pm at the ATB Financial Arts Barns; visit the website for a calendar of events.

Western Canada Fashion Week | March 24 – 31
ATB Financial Arts Barns | 10330-84 Ave. | 780-409-1910

Celebrate Easter in Calgary


Easter Eggstravaganza at the Calgary Zoo. Photo credit: Calgary Zoo

Easter Eggstravaganza at the Calgary Zoo. Photo credit: Calgary Zoo

The Easter Bunny has been patiently waiting all year to deliver treats to Calgary! Celebrate the Easter season — Easter is officially on Sunday, March 27, 2016 — at these fun themed activities around the city.

Marda Egg Fest | March 19, 10 am – 5 pm | Marda Loop | 2032 – 33 Ave SW | www.mardaloop.com
Businesses located in Marda Loop that are participating in this community Egg Hunt will be hiding eggs for visitors to find! Found an egg? You’ll be entered into a prize draw to win a fantastic Marda Loop gift basket.

Easter Story Time | March 23, 10 am – 10:45 am | Jelly Modern Doughnuts | 1414 – 8 St SW | Free! | www.jellymoderndoughnuts.com
Toddlers under five years of age can enjoy decorating doughnuts and listening to stories.

Easter Petting Zoo | March 23, 10 am – 7 pm; March 24, 10 am – 7 pm; March 25, 12 noon – 5 pm | Westbrook Mall | 1200 37 St SW | Free! | www.westbrookmall.com
Bring the tots and pet the cute and fluffy animals in the petting zoo! On Friday, March 25, guests can receive a free 8 x 10 photo with the Easter Bunny from 12 noon – 5 pm.

Easter at the Market | March 25 – March 26, 10 am – 2 pm | The Calgary Farmer’s Market | 510 – 77 Ave SE | www.calgaryfarmersmarket.com
Stop by the market and decorate an Easter cookie, take a photo with the Easter Bunny, and shop for products from local farmers. Donations to the Calgary Food Bank are welcome.

Easter Eggstravaganza at the Calgary Zoo | March 25 – March 26, 9 am – 3 pm | General Admission (16 – 59) $24.95; Senior (60+) $22.95; Child (3-15) $16.95; Infant (2 and under) Free | The Calgary Zoo | 1300 Zoo Rd NE | www.calgaryzoo.com
The Calgary Zoo is partnering with Cococo Chocolatiers for a wonderful Easter event for the whole family! Kids of all ages will love the sweet treats, fun crafts, bunny races, and face painting. Don’t forget to visit the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit, free with admission.

Spring Sparktacular | March 25 – March 26, 9 am – 5 pm | Adult (18-64) $19.95; Senior (65+) $17.95; Youth (13-17) $15.95; Child (3-12) $12.95; Children under three are free | TELUS Spark Science Centre | 220 St. George’s Drive NE | www.sparkscience.ca
It’s sure to be a fun filled Easter weekend at TELUS Spark! Bring the family and try the egg drop challenge, make a mossy eco-system, and unleash your inner artist on their enormous easter egg canvas. Be sure to grab a photo with the science bunny and join the Atrium chicken dance!

An Italian Baroque Easter | March 26 | 3 pm – 5:30 pm | $15.00 | Knox United Church | 506 – 4 St SW
A variety of sacred choral works by Italian late-Renaissance and Baroque composers will be performed at the gorgeous Knox United Church to celebrate Easter.


Delectable Dishes at Downtown Dining Week in Edmonton

Where-Food_Nov-Dec-15Taste the varied flavours of downtown’s vibrant dining scene for a fraction of the cost! For 10 tasty days, participating eateries invite diners to enjoy a multi-course meal for a special price of $15, $28, or $48. Each restaurant creates a custom menu that shows off its culinary creativity with a selection of mouthwatering appetizers, entrées, and desserts. Participating restaurants include the artful Zinc Restaurant, the progressive Hardware Grill, the intimate Bodega Tapas & Wine Bar, and our third-place pick for 2015 Best New Restaurant, Alberta Hotel Bar + Kitchen. Find sample menus, a complete list of restaurants, and more information here.

5 Spots for a St. Patrick’s Day Pint in Edmonton

GreenBeer1. Your green pint will pair well with The Druid’s Irish Potato Nachos, which are house-cut crisps smothered in melted cheese, applewood smoked bacon, and more nacho fixings!
11606 Jasper Ave. | 780-454-9928

2. Fionn MacCool’s is imbued with Irish charm that will make you feel like you’re on the Green Island as you sip the Draught of the Day while enjoying a live Irish band.
Edmonton City Centre | 10200-102 Ave. | 780-424-4330

3. Gather with your friends at the trendy Kelly’s Pub, where pub fare’s always on order, including the soul-warming Dublin Coddle of fresh potatoes, carrots, and onion.
10156-104 St. | 780-452-8825

4. Start your festivities early at the welcoming neighbourhood pub Daravara — a hearty brunch of Chicken and Waffles will give you an excuse to have an early-morning pint.
10713-124 St. | 587-520-4980

5. With delicious upscale pub food and a friendly atmosphere, you don’t need the luck of the Irish to have a great time at the casual Central Social Hall.
10909 Jasper Ave. | 780-705-1900

—Matthew Stepanic