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Alberta

Studio Bell, Home of the National Music Centre, Opens in Calgary

 

It’s time to play the music at Studio Bell and, believe us, it’ll be music to your ears.

The stories and memorabilia of Canadian music history can finally be enjoyed in a physical location. The beautiful Studio Bell building, opening on July 1, 2016, is home to the National Music Centre, the first concept of its kind in Canada, with attractions and activities for visitors and amenities and resources for musicians. It’s a one-of-a-kind facility that tells stories related to Canadian music, musicians, and industry pioneers past, present, and future — you’ll find everything from centuries-old instruments to the story of Drake’s rise to fame.

“Canada has amazing music stories,” Mary Kapusta, NMC’s senior manager of marketing and communications, says. “Many of the most iconic Canadians in the world are musicians. That’s something to be celebrated.”

“The entire building is themed as a music festival,” Jesse Moffat, NMC’s director of collections, says. “Each one of our 22 galleries — we call them “stages” — are thematic. It’s an open concept and you’ll be drawn to certain sights and sounds. We want to encourage people to go through it at their own pace and go to the stages that interest them but also discover something you might not have planned on seeing — just like at a music festival.”

NMC by the Numbers

3 Halls of Fame: Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame

3 historic recording studios from London used by 70s and 80s rock and pop artists: Rolling Stones Mobile Recording Studio, Trident Console, and Olympic Studios Console

9 interlocking towers make up Studio Bell, designed by Brad Cloepfil from Allied Works Architecture in Portland, inspired by musical instrument design and Western Canadian landscapes of hoodoos and mountains

22 “stages” (or exhibition areas) to explore

300 seats in the mahogany wood-decorated performance theatre

450 years of music and music technology are represented

450+ artifacts currently on display

2,000+ artifacts in the entire collection, to be rotated through the displays

220,000 individual terra cotta tiles — manufactured in Germany and glazed in Holland by a family-owned company with a custom colour — were each hand-hung on the interior and exterior walls of the building.

SUBHEAD: See

  • The iconic Ray-Ban sunglasses worn by Corey Hart in his music video for “Sunglasses at Night.”
  • The hockey-themed drum kit used by Rush’s Neil Peart to perform “The Hockey Theme.”
  • The Cheese Head worn by Deadmau5/Joel Zimmerman on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2012.
  • Avril Lavigne’s outfit and guitar from the music video for “Girlfriend.”
  • One of Michael Buble’s signature suits
  • Take a selfie with life-size versions of Kiesza, Fred Penner, Joel Plaskett, and 11 other notable artists

Hear

  • Music carries throughout the building thanks to its design and can be heard in most rooms, but it does not overpower.
  • Listen to distinct music from regions across Canada in an immersive audio-visual experience called Sound Effects.
  • Do you sound like a rock star? Find out in the sound booth where you can record your voice singing along to some memorable Canadian tracks.
  • From 1905 to 2004 the bar at King Edward Hotel was a local watering hole known for hosting live blues music concerts and its informal jam sessions. Now the National Music Centre is re-opening the beloved “King Eddy” and restoring its live music venue status. The first concert series takes place during the Calgary Stampede July 7 – 18 and departs from the blues tradition for ten nights of country music including headliners Carolyn Mark (July 11), Leeroy Stagger (July 15), and Tim Hus (July 16). During the day DJs will spin country music on vinyl, and some special guests will show up for daily impromptu jam sessions.

Visitor Information
Hours: Open 10 am – 5 pm daily in July 2016; open 10 am – 5 pm Wednesday through Sunday year-round.
Admission: $18 per adult; $14 per student or senior; $11 per child (ages 3-12); children 2 and under are free; individual and family annual memberships are also available.
Location: 850 – 4 St SE, 403-543-5115
Transit: City Hall C-Train stations; Buses 1, 305, 411, 412
Parking: Paid and free street parking in East Village

100+ Things to Do This Summer in Calgary

You won’t be bored for a second this summer with all the events and activities happening in Calgary in July and August — there’s practically something to fill your calendar with every day. The best part is that many events are free or affordable. Cheers to a fun summer!

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Oh Canada! Canada Day 2016 Activities in Calgary

Our country’s 149th birthday calls for a celebration! We’ve rounded up some great activities to do around the city on July 1st.

Photo courtesy of Heritage Park

Photo courtesy of Heritage Park

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Edmonton Cycling 101

CyclistExplore the city while perched atop a bike! No wheels? Rent one from MEC Edmonton (12328-102 Ave.), River Valley Adventure Co. (9735 Grierson Hill), or Bike Works (8001-102 St.). Enjoy your ride!

Rules of the Road
Cyclists are not permitted on sidewalks unless they are clearly marked as shared-use, but are allowed on all roads where they must obey the same rules as a motor vehicle.

Required Equipment
Your bike must be outfitted with a bell or horn, a bicycle brake, and reflectors on the front and back for cycling at night. Helmets are only required for riders under the age of 18. Make sure you have a strong bike lock with you as well so you have a way to secure your bike when you need to stop for a coffee break.

Share the Trail
Edmonton’s river valley has more than 160 km of multi-use trails, multiple parks, and is the perfect place to enjoy some fresh air no matter the season! The pathways are designated as shared-use, meaning that runners, walkers, bikers, rollerbladers, and skateboarders can all use them at any time of year. Anyone on wheels must yield to pedestrians, and it’s also a good habit to always keep to the right of the path so that people moving faster than you can pass easily.

Visit the city’s website for more information.
—Lindsay Shapka

The Tastiest Edmonton Street Eats

FoodTruck-InfoEdmPostNostalgic Noms
Bully Food Truck layers its yummy comfort food with an abundance of cheese and nostalgia. One of their most popular items, The Bully Mac, contains six different cheeses blended in their signature cheese sauce, which is poured over macaroni. The Turkey Burger, topped with pickled red onions, bruschetta, and a four-cheese blend, is another cheesy must-try.

Once featured on Food Network’s Eat St., Molly’s Eats serves up classic food with a sentimental and gourmet feel. The Mac and Cheese Sandwich is stuffed with cheesy goodness, crisp bacon, and slow-roasted pork shoulder — and you won’t want to skip dessert once you see the tempting Double Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.

Fusion Foods
Enjoy out-of-this-world fusion tacos from Orbit’s bright white truck. The Jerk Chicken Taco, smothered in a tasty mango and habanero salsa and a creamy lime sauce, is a pleasing combo of spice and citrus.

Food-truck favourites are given an Asian spin for the hungry foodies who come to conquer Attila the HUNgry’s eats. The Duck Tots, which are crispy tater tops covered with tender braised duck leg, lime sriracha sauce, hoisen aioli, and green onion, never disappoint!

Sandwich Artists
Chedda’ Heads serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches with fresh-baked breads and premium cheeses. From the Big Poppa — grilled jalapeños and cream cheese — to The Hellbent — a three-cheese blend with avocado and crushed nachos — one bite will feel like a trip to cheese heaven.

S’wich doles out (as you’d expect from the name) delicious sandwiches made with handcrafted breads, such as ciabatta and pretzel, homemade condiments, and cured meats. The glorious icecream sandwiches are a thick layer of ice cream with sweet cereals, like Cap’n Crunch, mixed in for a nostalgic experience.

Delightful Desserts
Choose your flavour and tasty mix-ins, and then watch your ice cream be made fresh before your eyes! At Scoop N Roll Creamery, your dessert is chilled on a cold sheet and rolled into cylinders, creating a unique (and delicious!) ice-cream treat.

The impressive donut machine at Go Nuts 4 Donuts can serve up to 2,400 fresh and hot mini-donuts in an hour! Pick from the classic cinnamon sugar donuts and other gourmet toppings — you’ll be mesmerized by the show of watching the machine work while you snack on these warm treats.

New Trucks on the Block
These trucks took to the streets just last year, and they’re sure to conquer more pavement with each return visit.

At Hot Mess, expect food that will make you sweat as its tasty sauces drip down your fingers. Smoked pork on cornbread with apple slaw makes up the signature Hot Mess dish. Be sure to have water and a napkin at the ready!

The classic English pastries served out of Meat Street Pies, including Cornish pasties and chicken pot pie, feature hearty ingredients baked into flaky crusts. The pies hold a simple blend of veggies and spices, but offer a complex and satisfying taste.

Food Truck Show and Shine
Once a month, over a dozen trucks gather in one spot for a food-truck fiesta at What the Truck?! Make a multi-course meal of the event by starting with an appetizer at one truck, find your main course at another, and then finish off with the most eye-catching dessert!
July 8 | 5 pm – 8 pm | Northlands Park | 7410 Borden Park Rd.
August 20 | 4 pm – 8 pm | Edmonton Ballpark | 10233-96 Ave.
September 25 | 2 pm – 5 pm | Churchill Square

—Matthew Stepanic

Violent Delights at Freewill Shakespeare Festival

Freewill-Shakespeare-Photo-by-Lucas-Boutilier

Photo by Lucas Boutilier.

Every year, the Freewill Players return to the “golden world” of Hawrelak Park for their theatre double feature, The Freewill Shakespeare Festival! This year, they’ve programmed a summer of romance with the classic tragedy Romeo & Juliet and the absurd comedy Love’s Labour Lost. Witness what violent ends await the star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare’s most popular romance, and appreciate the sophisticated wordplay in the untraditional play in which a king and his companions attempt to swear off all women for three years. You’ll regret it if you swear off the violent delights of either of these passionate plays!

For this year’s performances, the festival has planned some extra special events to introduce Shakespeare to new audiences! Worried that your kids may not understand the plays? Bring them early on Saturday & Sunday matinees for Thou Art Here Theatre’s Puppet Primers, which will explain the plot of the play in a fun 15 minutes! For alcohol connoisseurs, grab tickets for the Shakesbeer Cask Night on July 7 & 14, which features a special brew from Alley Kat Brewery for that night’s show. Or head to the Unwined Date Night on July 9 for a wine and food pairing before the evening’s entertainment. —Matthew Stepanic 

Freewill Shakespeare Festival | June 21 – July 17
Hawrelak Park | 9930 Groat Rd. | 780-442-5311

6 Spots for Father’s Day Gifts in Edmonton

Duchess-Provisions

Duchess Provisions. Photo by Pedro Escobar.

Having trouble finding a last-minute gift for dad? Try one of these local shops in Edmonton with great options for fashionable fathers or dads who appreciate delicious bites!

For Fashionable Fathers

The Briefing Room
Looking for top-quality products from the best designer brands? Specializing in men’s underwear — from conservative to funky — this local shop also carries a range of men’s lounge wear, sleep wear, swim wear, and socks. You can also find various grooming products, from shaving utensils and creams to beer soap (yes, beer) and an anti-static beard comb.
10151-82 (Whyte) Ave. | 587-521-0384

Henry Singer
For more than seven decades, Henry Singer has been outfitting men in everything from sleek formal wear to business wear with personality to trendy casual wear. Each location has a master tailor available to ensure that what you’ve chosen fits perfectly.
Manulife Place | 10180-101 St. | 780-423-6868
West Edmonton Mall | 8882-170 St. | 780-444-3444

Jaisel
This chic and exclusive menswear boutique focuses on modern classic looks in clothing, footwear, and accessories. A specialty includes raw denim, such as ethically produced Naked & Famous Denim and 100% organic cotton denim Nudie Jeans.
8133-104 St. | 780-702-1388 

Gourmet Food & Cookware

Barb’s Kitchen Centre
This gourmet kitchen store has everything you need to whip up your own culinary creations. They carry small appliances, cookware, flatware, stainless steel products, and innovative kitchen gadgets, as well as various cooking and baking necessities like flour, nuts, spices, and gluten-free products. Take in a cooking/kitchen class and learn how to prepare your own specialty breads, nutritious desserts, or holiday feasts.
9766-51 Ave. | 780-437-3134

Cavern
Find the perfect artisanal cheese at this retail cheese boutique and bistro wine bar. Sample their ample selection with a signature cheese board, or take a favourite home with you. For a unique gift, get a gift box (or customizable gourmet gift crate!) or a subscription to their monthly cheese club.
10169-104 St. | 780-455-1336

Duchess Provisions
Next door to the popular local bakery is their own baking supply shop. Here you can find bakeware, baking tools, cookbooks (including their own award-winning Duchess Bake Shop), and specialty ingredients (like almond flour, pistachio extract, and dried rosebuds). Make your own Duchess macarons at home with the elaborate macaron kit!
10720-124 St. | 780-705-3344

—Tamara Aschenbrenner

Chef Spotlight: Jan Trittenbach

Jan-Trittenbach-by-Chantelle-Tyler

Photo by Chantelle Tyler.

From Swiss hotel cook to military sergeant to Edmonton line cook to head chef of his own restaurant, Jan Trittenbach has certainly worked hard for a place in the Edmonton food scene.

With three friends who were also established in the food industry, Trittenbach opened Solstice Seasonal Cuisine over a year ago. The small restaurant consists of only four cooks, all of whom work together to ensure the success and integrity of both the restaurant and their other endeavours. Of all local competitions and events, the Solstice team is particularly drawn to the Gold Medal Plates culinary competition, for which Trittenbach is well known for his two first-place wins. “I love comparisons between sports and cooking, [because] I think they’re very similar in team efforts and teamwork. You need the whole team to succeed. It’s not a single-person sport,” says Trittenbach.

Solstice-Food-Photo-by-Aspen-Zettel

Photo by Aspen Zettel

This commitment to strong teamwork is especially important for a restaurant that changes its menu every three months. The main focus of Solstice — as the restaurant’s full title suggests — is on seasonally available foods, thus ensuring the freshness and quality of the ingredients. “Sometimes we have items that go really well, so we extend it a little longer… maybe a different vegetable. [But] we don’t run anything longer than six months,” says Trittenbach.

Lucky for Edmontonians, Trittenbach really has listened to customer feedback. The spring equinox menu includes a throwback to one of their most popular past dishes: the pig tail appetizer. And you can be assured that the revamped summer solstice menu will bring about something just as delicious. —Tamara Aschenbrenner

Check out the restaurant and current menu on its website.

Solstice Seasonal Cuisine | Mon – Sat 5 pm – Late
10723-124 St. | 780-488-4567

Whisky in Calgary

Selection of spirits at Vine Arts. Courtesy Vine Arts.

Selection of spirits at Vine Arts. Courtesy Vine Arts.

Whether whisky is your drink of choice or you’ve been curious to try it, deciding on a whisky to drink with thousands of varieties and price points available can be intimidating. Where Calgary chatted with Gabriel Cardarella — a trained whisky expert and the global brand ambassador for Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky — to get his advice on drinking and buying whisky.

What is the difference between a whiskey blend and a single malt?
“Single malts are rarely sold on their own, they’re usually used in blends,” Cardarella explains. “Single malts have a really unique character because they’re made just with yeast, water and barley. It’s what makes something like the Last Great Malts collection really special, it’s the first time that many people can taste whiskies straight from some of the oldest distilleries in Scotland.”

One of the whiskies in the collection, the Aberfeldy single malt Scotch whisky, is made with water that has gold deposits in it. “It bridges the gap between sweet, delicate whiskies and aged whiskies,” says Gabe. “If someone said they had never tried whisky before, I’d give them this one: it’s approachable and honeyed.”

What do the different age expressions of a whisky — 12 year, 15 year, 18 year, etc — mean?
“Younger whiskies tend to be vibrant, nice, light and sweet. With older whiskies you can’t avoid a smoky or woody flavour, they tend to linger longer on the palate,” Cardarella says. “70% of a whiskey’s character comes from the barrel. Age of a Scotch does not necessarily indicate the quality of the Scotch, but the material of barrel it’s stored in — and the type of the liquor that was stored in the barrel previously — has a lot of impact on the flavour.

How does someone who has never tried whisky or think they don’t like whisky approach it?
Inexperienced Scotch drinkers needn’t be intimidated by ordering Scotch in a restaurant. “There are no rules to follow,” says Gabe. “You might see someone ordering their Scotch ‘neat’ — no ice or water — and think that’s how you have to drink it ‘properly,’ but it’s not. That how they drink it, not how you have to drink it. Water is to whisky what air is to wine: you can add water to your Scotch! Water brings forward characteristics and flavor and gets rid of heavy alcohol flavours. Scotch can be personalized: add water, mix it with coconut water, or green tea — anything that gives it a flavor that you like. Don’t be afraid to try it your own way. There’s great whiskey everywhere, find one that you like and drink it in a way that works for you. You’re paying for the Scotch, drink it how you want.”

The Last Great Malts series includes a bottle of $15,000 Scotch, the Royal Brackla 35. What goes into pricing a bottle like that? “Every year a whiskey is casked, it loses 2-4% of it’s volume to evaporation,”Cardarella says. “That means that the greater the age of the whiskey, the less bottles of it can be produced.”

Places to Drink Whisky in Calgary
Brasserie Kensington is one of only 22 bars in the world that can serve the exclusive whiskies of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to non-members. These whiskies have complex flavour profiles that will help whisky drinkers of any level of experience find one that suits their tastes. Plus, the cozy dining room is the perfect setting to sip on whisky.

Buchanan’s is an old-school, distinguished spot for whisky with a cozy bar stocked with over 200 whiskies including Japanese whiskies and single malts.

One18 Empire serves whisky-focused cocktails and dozens of whiskies including single malt varieties and exclusive selections from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. They explicitly offer their whiskies neat, with water, or on the rocks, so choose the style that you most prefer. The sleek restaurant and lounge is laid-back yet has an upscale Mad Men feel to it.

Places to Buy Whisky in Calgary
Kensington Wine Market Thanks to owner Andrew Ferguson’s status as a Keeper of the Quaich, this is one of the best places in the world for whisky due to its access to exclusive and rare Scotches — including the Royal Brackla from the Last Great Malts Collection. It is also a retailer of Scotch Malt Whisky Society memberships.

Vine Arts This boutique wine and spirits store has a well-curated whisky collection including the Aberfeldy from the Last Great Malts collections.

 

Ask the Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (June 2016)

Nella-Blog

Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios.

We asked Edmonton expert and Les Clefs d’Or Nella Mirante at The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald‘s new Gold Floor for her advice about summer and great sips in the city!

1. Where would you send a guest if they are looking for somewhere to enjoy great wine?
I would recommend The Marc — a warm and inviting atmosphere to help you unwind after a busy day and enjoy a glass of wine and an assortment of wonderful cheeses and baguette!

2. What festival in June is a can’t-miss for visitors?
I enjoy Porkapalooza from June 17–19 where you can experience the art and culture of BBQ! There are competitors from all over western Canada competing for $16,000 in prizes. Get tips and tricks from the pros, try some incredible food, and take part in the Tail Gate Party when the Eskimos play the Roughriders at Commonwealth!

3. Where is the perfect local spot to enjoy a cup of specialty tea?
Without hesitation, it’s the High Tea at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald! Every Saturday and Sunday you can enjoy High Tea, a historic tour, and visit the Queen Elizabeth II Suite!

4. If a guest were looking for great nightlife, where would you send them?
I recommend Old Strathcona — there is so much diversity to experience in the night life. Visit O’Byrnes Irish pub or El Cortez — an old-style Mexican tequila and taqueria — or sit back and enjoy some live jazz music at Yardbird. There’s something for everyone, from bistros to cafés to live music!

Les Clefs d’Or Concierges have been opening doors for hotel guests in Canada since 1976, and today there are more than 150 members from coast to coast and more than 3,500 members worldwide! 

Learn the Mystery & History Behind Sherlock Holmes in Edmonton

Sherlock-Murder-Scene

The murder scene. Photo courtesy TELUS World of Science—Edmonton.

The game is afoot! Follow in the brilliant footsteps of the most famous fictional detective! The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes highlights the histories and mysteries of Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in the shadowy streets of Victorian London. Help solve a crime using Holmes’ 19th-century techniques, and learn how his style helped develop modern forensic science. The exhibition also features original manuscripts and artifacts, as well as props and costumes from the Warner Bros.’ films, CBS’s Elementary, and BBC’s Sherlock. The TELUS World of Science—Edmonton is the only stop in Canada for the exhibit, so don’t miss your chance to see it! —Tamara Aschenbrenner

The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes | Through September 5
TELUS World of Science—Edmonton | 11211-142 St. | 780-451-3344

#ABCraft Exhibit

Laura-O’Connor_CMYK

Heavenly Creatures by Laura O’Connor, 2014; embroidery thread, cloth and hoop, 6″ x 6″.

This innovative exhibition explores the effect that new technologies are having on the tradition of fine craft. Social media, 3D printing, and digital technology are challenging traditional ways of creating everything from pottery to needlepoint, and this exhibit is showcasing some of the creative ways that the two can be integrated. There are 14 participating artists including Laura O’Connor whose work is pictured. —Lindsay Shapka

#ABCraft | Through July 2
Alberta Craft Council Gallery | 10186-106 St. | 780-488-6611