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Chef Spotlight: Daniel Costa


Photo by Adrien Guyot.

Thanks to Chef Daniel Costa, Edmontonians don’t have to leave the city, much less travel overseas, to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine. And this year, joining the popular Corso 32 and Bar Bricco, is Costa’s third Italian restaurant, Uccellino.

Costa’s love for cooking arose early in his life, alongside a strong appreciation for his Italian heritage. Costa says that centring his restaurants on Italian cuisine “keeps us focused on a very direct vision, and that really showcases our passion.” Patrons of his restaurants will see immediately that the staff at all three are nearly as enthusiastic about Italian culture and cuisine as he is himself. “They’re truly investing in something they believe in every time that they do it,” Costa says of his staff. “I think that when people come into our restaurants, they can really feel our love for what we do.”

Costa notes that though he doesn’t branch out much from Italian cuisine, he doesn’t feel limited thanks to Italy’s diverse regions. “Each region is kind of like its own little country,” Costa says. Drawing on this diversity, each of his restaurants focuses on different regions and styles. Uccellino spotlights the lighter, everyday fare of southern and central Italy, while Corso 32 features richer, artisanal food typically found in northern Italy. Costa has a soft spot for spuntini-style Bar Bricco, the more laid-back of his three establishments.

While his inspiration is international, Costa himself was born in Edmonton. Between running three businesses and spending time in the kitchens, he sources seasonal and prime ingredients from local farms. From there, he and his teams transform local produce into mouth-watering international dishes worthy of a true Italian eatery. —Danielle Mohr

Visit Costa’s website for menus and more information on his restaurants.

LitFest Celebrates Its 10-Year Nonfictionversary

In_This_Together_Danielle_Metcalfe-ChenailReading may start as a solitary act, but you can experience much more after you’ve finished a book — or before you’ve even cracked the spine! LitFest: Edmonton’s Nonfiction Festival welcomes the best names in nonfiction to the city every October for events featuring food, music, art, discussion, and more! From October 13 to 23, the festival will ignite many great conversations and experiences surrounding topics affecting Canadians. “What excites me most about the festival every year,” says Fawnda Mithrush, LitFest’s Executive Director, “are the conversations generated between authors and audiences. It’s always amazing to see how people continue the discussion from an event after it’s over.”

Though every event is tied to a book, the festival focuses on more than what’s between the covers, and programs its events around the topic of the book. “Not everyone considers him or herself a book person, but everyone is interested in something,” says Mithrush. “Nonfiction covers a huge array of interests: we’ve got books about comedy, food, hockey, memoir, science, feminism, social inclusion, and Alberta politics.”

This year, LitFest is celebrating its “Nonfictionversary”, as it adopted its nonfiction mandate 10 years ago. The Canadian Literature Centre — which promotes the diversity of the country’s literature — is also celebrating its 10th year, so they’ve teamed up for a special soirée at the innovative arts hub Latitude 53 on October 22. The cultured night will feature five writers paired with five artists who will re-imagine their works. Expect the who’s who of the literary scene in the city to join in and mingle over craft cocktails and tasty appetizers.

The popular Food Matters event returns this year bigger than before on October 22. Ten local food writers will assemble at the new Duchess Atelier to discuss local food issues, including Edmonton’s real signature dish and the culinary talents’ vision for the city. This salon-style event will celebrate the launch of some local cookbooks, including Edmonton Cooks: Signature Recipes from the City’s Best Chefs, and attendees will sample light nibbles and wine as they learn from the food experts.

In-Between_Days_TevaAnother must-catch event features Lindy West, whose uproarious memoir, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, has become a rallying cry for feminists, as it touches on everything from body positivity to problems women face in the workplace. She’ll share her entertaining and blunt opinions on October 17, and this humourous talk should hopefully end the debate once and for all about whether women can be funny.

Want to welcome more joy into your life? Consider attending Neil Pasricha’s talk on October 18. He is the author of bestsellers The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome, both of which celebrate the good things in life, delving into simple ways to be happy. Mithrush hopes the book will bring a “boost of positivity, particularly to the many Albertans who have faced a very challenging year.”

Also in the lineup this year: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, whose report was published as a book last year. “It’s arguably one of the country’s most important nonfiction publications,” says Mithrush, so LitFest is honouring it with multiple events including a panel with several indigenous writers. The panel will explore the many issues First Nations peoples still face and the important work Canadians need to do to ensure reconciliation occurs in the country.

NeilPasrichaBookIf the thought of a long reading list before the festival is daunting, don’t worry — LitFest isn’t like a college class where you have to read the book beforehand. Books are on sale at every event where, after your interest is piqued, you can purchase a copy to take home with you. “You definitely don’t need to read the book before an event,” says Mithrush, “but I promise you’ll want to read it afterward.”

Most events are free. Visit the website to purchase tickets for some events and learn more. —Matthew Stepanic

WHERE Edmonton is giving away a pair of tickets to Neil Pasricha’s event, The Happiness Equation, on October 18! To enter to win, follow us on Twitter (@whereedmonton) and watch for tweets about the contest. Contest ends on Friday, October 7.

On the Big Screen at Edmonton International Film Fest

Film-EIFFThe cinematic feast that is the Edmonton International Film Festival is now one of five Oscar-qualifying film festivals in Canada for shorts! Chances are good that one of the short films you see at the festival may be nominated for an Academy Award. And this year, the festival had a record-breaking number of submissions: 3,000 from 65 countries — a 50% increase over last year. With so many entries, the festival promises to have a diverse selection of some of the best films.

More than an opportunity for someone to win a gold statue, this friendly festival gives a voice to indie filmmakers and can please any film fan as it covers all genres, including contemporary independents, world cinema, documentary, and Canadian films. Beyond watching movies, you can attend fun after-parties or Q&A’s with the filmmakers. The main screen at Landmark City Centre 9 is a great spot to spend your lunch break, as most weekdays feature Lunchbox Shorts where you can enjoy a sandwich and some great short films! Visit the website to find showtimes and buy tickets today.

Edmonton International Film Fest | September 29 – October 8
Landmark Cinemas 9 | City Centre Mall | 780-423-0844

Frightful Nights: Halloween Events in Calgary 2016

(Photo: Viktor Hanacek/picjumbo.com)

(Photo: Viktor Hanacek/picjumbo.com)

Things that go bump in the night are causing monstrous mayhem in Calgary this October. Get scared silly at these events in the spirit of Halloween.


Halloweekends at Calaway Park
Weekends through October 10
Don your costume and explore Hallo-Street, complete a scavenger hunt, and be thrilled on the rides. Line up to ride the roller coaster if you dare! This is a family-friendly event full of tricks and treats.

Calgary Corn Maze Flashlight Nights
September 30 & October 7, 14, 21
Navigate the Calgary Corn Maze after dark with just a flashlight and watch out for things that go bump in the night. Get there before dark to see pigs race and choose your own pumpkin from the farm’s patch.

Buttermilk Cinema
October 17, 24, 31
Every Monday night Buttermilk Waffles screens a movie (free of charge) and for the month of October they’re all Halloween-themed! Check out Death Becomes Her, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Shaun of the Dead, and order a delicious sweet or savoury waffle — it pairs with movies just as well as popcorn!

2016 Halloween Howl
October 23
Get the whole family in costume and take part in the 3K or 5K fun run/walks to raise awareness and support for life-changing diabetes research. There’s also a 10K chip-timed competitive run. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes!

Ghoul’s Night Out
October 27 – 30
This kid-friendly night at Heritage Park is perfect for families looking for a Halloween activity that is safe and fun. Dress in your costume and for the weather—the event is held outdoors—and get ready for carriage rides, witches’ flying school, a mad tea party, a monster mash dance, and more.

Thrill Calgary Zombie Flash Mob
October 29
Fans of Halloween, zombies, and Michael Jackson join forces for Thrill the World, an attempt to set a world record for the largest simultaneous dance to the horror anthem “Thriller.” Dress like a zombie, learn the Thriller dance, and join the flash mob—all participants welcome.

Monster Mash-Up
October 29 – 30
Kick-start your Halloween celebrations at this family-friendly event at TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre. Enjoy activities like pumpkin decorating and mad science. Or, perhaps the toy mash-up is calling your name—channel your inner Frankenstein and cut, sew, and glue together toys. (Grown-ups should check out the science centre’s blood-themed Adults Only night on October 13—prepare to get messy.)

Calgary Civic Symphony’s Space: The Final Frontier and Star Wars
October 30
Come dressed as your favourite Star Wars character to hear Gustav Holst’s great voyage through the astrology of our solar system and Calgary’s first live performance of the music from the latest Star Wars epic, The Force Awakens.


October 14 -15, 21 -22, & 27 – 31
Not recommend for children or the faint of heart, Screamfest is truly the event to be at for scare enthusiasts. Haunted houses (themes include The Bates Motel and Clown Town), chilling entertainment, and scary carnival games all make for a creepy and fun evening.

Fortune Falls
October 18 – November 5
Catalyst Theatre, who created the off-Broadway success Nevermore, is debuting a creepy new play about a haunted chocolate factory. It’s definitely not for kids, but those who are faint of heart need not worry: there’s lots of fun visuals, elctro-pop music, and humour among the spooky parts, too. Attend the October 29 show and stick around after the performance for a Halloween party.

Zombie Evasion
October 22
A 5k race like no other, Zombie Evasion will have participants on the run through North Glenmore Park trying to outlast and outwit a pack of vengeful zombies. Fortunately, the runners will have a slight head start over their pursuers. (There’s also a 1K Zombie Dash suitable for kids ages three and up.)

The Sinister SideShow
October 22 & 29
What happens when a ringmaster who doesn’t always play by the rules brings back something extra from one of his trips? Find out in this hair-raising interactive adventure from Calgary Ghost Tours that’s sure to amaze, mystify, and terrify.

Prohibition Era Cocktail: The Corpse Reviver #2
October 27
Be whisked away in a limo to Eau Claire Distillery’s barrel room where you’ll sample prohibition era cocktails, most notably the Corpse Reviver #2, but be warned — four Corpse Revivers in swift succession will result in the corpse being unrevived again. Transportation, four cocktails, snacks, and a distillery tour are included.

Dracula (Classical Ballet)
October 27 – 29
Get swept away to a Transylvanian village where something sinister lurks in the castle above. This legendary and opulent masterpiece is brought to life by the Alberta Ballet with mesmerizing choreography and extraordinary special effects. From the first kiss to the last bite, you’ll be entranced by this lavish production.

Green Fools Halloween Howl: Zombie Dance Party
October 28
This rollicking party features live bands Eve Hell and the Razors and Bigfoot Rocketship, along with DJ Tradgik Majik. And of course the legendary Green Fools will perform a smash up of circus, music, and immersive theatre. Get your tickets early, they tend to go fast!

Silent Movie: Metropolis (1927)
October 28
Secret catacombs, mistaken identity, a robot run amok — experience this spooky silent film with live accompaniment on the massive 1912 Casavant pipe organ of Knox United Church, improvised by Canadian concert organist J. Thomas Gonder. Suitable for ages 13 and up.

Dance With Dracula
October 29
Something wicked this way comes at the Azuridge Estate Hotel’s Halloween Haunted Gala. Grab a bone-chilling martini and make your way through the enchanted estate where you can be entranced by live DJ entertainment, dine on exquisitely frightening fare, and compete for the title of Best Dressed.

Ghosts and Gourmet
October 31 – November 2
Enjoy a frightfully delicious dinner, including ghastly ghost stories between each course, followed by a ghost tour through the dark and deserted streets of Heritage Park Historical Village. Get an exclusive after-dark look inside the park’s heritage homes to experience firsthand hauntings and spine-tingling stories.

Talent Spotlight: Stewart Lemoine


Photo by Andrew MacDonald-Smith.

From a young age, Edmonton playwright Stewart Lemoine has been an avid viewer of plays. “I started as a theatre-goer in high school,” says Lemoine. “As a teenager I always loved going to things.” He earned an English degree in university, and was later encouraged to write plays for his actor friends. “Around the time I was trying to figure out what to do,” explains Lemoine, “the Fringe started, and suddenly it became possible to put on theatre all on your own… It was really a fortuitous thing that happened when I needed it to.”

He started Teatro La Quindicina with another friend in the early 80s, and has built up a strong repertoire of plays and regular actors, including Leona Brausen, Davina Stewart, and Jeff Haslam. All of Lemoine’s plays are comedies on some level because, he says, “comedies can have very serious and sad moments, but there’s always a comic twist because I think that reflects life.” More than a laugh, people who see a Teatro production can expect to expand their vocabulary. Lemoine says, “Our language is a good one; I like to use all of it.”

Teatro’s home, the Varscona Theatre, recently re-opened after a major rebuild. “It’s now a purpose-built theatre,” says Lemoine (who’s also general manager for the building), “as opposed to a converted building, as it was previously a fire hall.” Though everything is new except three brick walls, the theatre has a familiar feel because they built it from a similar floor plan. The auditorium seats more people in much comfier chairs, according to Lemoine, and the sightlines make more sense. He’s looking forward to how the new theatre will improve Die-Nasty’s annual Soap-A-Thon. He says, “It always tested the limits of the building before to have people there for that long.”

On top of the upcoming shows and rebuilt Varscona, the playwright’s excited for the future of theatre in this city. Lemoine says, “We’re constantly being fed new great young actors, and that’s endlessly stimulating.”

Visit Varscona Theatre’s website to learn more about the theatre and upcoming shows. —Matthew Stepanic

Don’t miss Lemoine’s upcoming play:

Witness to a Conga | September 29 – October 15 
When a bride-to-be asks, “Should we have a conga line at our wedding?” she accidentally unearths her fiancé’s family secrets. A Fringe hit from 2010, this darkly funny play will connect with anyone who’s experienced a bit of family drama while planning a wedding.
Varscona Theatre | 10329-83 Ave. | 780-433-3399

Dreamspeakers Film Festival


Image courtesy of Dreamspeakers Film Festival.

A Dene elder once said that when you make films, “you are speaking your dreams”. Since then, Indigenous filmmakers have referred to their craft as “Dreamtalking”. This festival has become an annual international gathering of Dreamtalkers — filmmakers, performers, and artists — from around the globe who gather to share this common bond and link with the natural world through film. All film screenings or only $12, and their are a variety of panels and workshops where you can learn more about Indigenous cultures and filmmaking. Visit the website for a full program and to buy tickets. —Lindsay Shapka

Dreamspeakers Film Festival | September 23 – 28
Metro Cinema at the Garneau | 8712-109 St. | 780-378-9609

Get Your Geek on at Edmonton Expo


Alex Kingston as River Song in Doctor Who. Photo courtesy Edmonton Expo.

Get ready to celebrate science fiction, comic books, fantasy, animation, pop culture, and much more at the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo! Attendees of this three-day convention will be able to shop hundreds of vendors, take part in cosplay contests, check out panels and workshops, and meet some of the creators and stars of their favourite films, television shows, graphic novels, and comic books. This year’s list of guests includes Carrie Fisher from Star Wars, Alex Kingston from Doctor Who and Arrow, John de Lancie from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Breaking Bad, and Natalia Dyer and Shannon Purser from Stranger ThingsTickets are available at the door, but it’s safer to buy them in advance hereFor more information on panels and special guests, visit the Edmonton Expo website. —Lindsay Shapka

Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo | September 23 – 25
Edmonton EXPO Centre | 7300-116 Ave. | 780-471-7210

Beyond Calgary: Autumn Events in Alberta


Dark Sky Festival in Jasper National Park. (Photo: by Jeff Bartlett, courtesy Tourism Jasper)

Dark Sky Festival in Jasper National Park. (Photo: by Jeff Bartlett, courtesy Tourism Jasper)

Venture beyond city limits to experience some of the amazing events happening in Alberta this fall.


Bill Nye (Photo: courtesy Tourism Jasper)

Bill Nye (Photo: courtesy Tourism Jasper)

One bonus to shorter days and longer nights is that there’s more time for stargazing! Take the scenic trip out to Jasper National Park (one of the world’s largest dark sky preserves) for the Dark Sky Festival, October 14 – 23. This annual event takes place in October due to the ideal weather conditions to see the stars and constellations in the night sky. Visitors will be able to attend numerous events that relate to astronomy, including viewing the super moon through the biggest telescope in the Canadian Rockies on October 15, guided by Peter McMahon, an author and columnist who has written for Discovery Channel and numerous other publications.

George Takei (Photo: courtesy Tourism Jasper)

George Takei (Photo: courtesy Tourism Jasper)

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra will perform Vivaldi: The Four Seasons under the stunning night sky on October 15, while several talks by some of North America’s brightest astronomy professionals will take place at the Space Talks event on October 22. Join scientist, engineer, author, and inventor Bill Nye, known for his hit educational program Bill Nye the Science Guy, for his keynote presentation “Our Place in Space” on October 15. Star Trek fans won’t want to miss actor and activist George Takei on October 21 as he talks about his life and advocacy. A two-day photography workshop will also be offered to those hoping to take some unique pictures of the night sky, and those looking to warm up indoors can take in a show at the Jasper Short Film Festival.


(Photo: courtesy Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival)

(Photo: courtesy Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival)

Prepare to be blown away at the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival! Take the short 30-minute drive south of Calgary to High River, where more than 20 hot-air balloon from across Canada and the world will be competing for the Hot-Air Balloon Championship title from September 21 – 25. On September 23, the annual Glow event will take place. Once the sun dips down, more than 15 balloons will be lit up on display, giving visitors the opportunity to see them up close and to meet the pilots, while food trucks will be on site for some evening snacks. Don’t forget your camera — the entire festival is a photographer’s dream!


Alberta Culture Days is a province-wide celebration of diversity from September 30 – October 2 that highlights the province’s arts and cultural communities.

(Photo: courtesy Alberta Culture Days)

(Photo: courtesy Alberta Culture Days)

Dozens of towns and cities throughout Alberta participate with a variety of programming from theatre to live music to children’s activities — there are hundreds of festival events to enjoy. Participating communities include Lethbridge, Chestermere, Medicine Hat, High River, Pincer Creek, and Strathmore. Notable events in the Calgary area include a Build An Orchestra event, where everyone is welcome to play some instruments (October 2), a Brazilian mini-festival complete with musicians, dancers, and martial artists (September 30 – October 2) and a drop in Print It Yourself event hosted by the Alberta Printmakers Society, where guests can get a hands-on learning experience about the printmaking process (October 1). There truly is something for everyone during Alberta Culture Days!


(Photo: courtesy Town of High River)

(Photo: courtesy Town of High River)

If you’re a fan of the TV show Heartland (which has it’s season 10 premiere on October 2) then you must visit the town of High River. High River and area is where most of the show is filmed, and High River stands in for the town of Hudson on the show. Visit the Museum of the Highwood to see props and costumes from the show on display, or take a photo outside of the set of Maggie’s Diner (on 3 Ave & 1 St SW). You’ll find exclusive Heartland memorabilia to purchase at eight different shops and restaurant throughout the town (including the Museum of the Highwood). If you want a really authentic Heartland experience, check out the Heartland horseback riding experience available through the Heritage Inn.

Ask the Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (September/October 2016)


Photo by Jamie Tweedy of Tweedy Studios.

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

1. Where would you send a traveller who wants to take a yoga class?
I like to send my travelling guests to Noorish to maintain their daily rituals of yoga and mediation. Then, after the class, they can indulge at the restaurant with local organic, raw, vegan, and gluten-free options!

2. What is your recommendation for a great spot to try local beer? 
I usually recommend downtown’s Craft Beer Market! There are so many different types of beer to choose from and some great local faves too!

3. What is your favourite thing to have guests do in the fall in Edmonton?
My fave for fall is a segway tour with River Valley Adventure Co. through our river valley. The views are spectacular and you can take in all the beautiful fall colours!

4. Where is the best place to watch an Oilers game (other than the new arena)?
I would recommend watching an Oilers game at 1ST RND — every square inch is a TV!

5. The changing weather means it’s time to shop for new shoes! Where should visitors go to outfit their feet?
Treat your feet to Poppy Barley — the local brand is known for its style and comfort, and you will love their story of true craftsmanship and how their company came to fruition.

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! You can find Nella on the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald’s luxurious Gold Floor.

Die-Nasty or Die Trying in Edmonton


Photo courtesy of Varscona Theatre.

An event for only the most daring and talented improv actors in Edmonton, the annual Die-Nasty Soap-a-Thon is a 50-hour continuous improv show. Sleep is for the weak, and the Die-Nasty Soap Opera actors are ready to present a weekend full of laughter, tears, joy, and cheers. This year’s theme is “Airport 1975,” which parodies characters and cliches from 1970s disaster movies.

Head to the newly renovated Varscona Theatre between Friday at 7 pm and Sunday at 9 pm to join in on the fun. Drink a coffee (or three) beforehand and see if you can outlast the actors! If you purchase a Weekend Pass, you can leave the theatre between sets for a dinner or nap break. Call 780-420-1757 or visit TIX on the Square for tickets. —Danielle Mohr

Die-Nasty Soap-A-Thon | September 16 – 18
Varscona Theatre | 10329-83 Ave. | 780-420-1757

Catch an Adrenaline Rush at the FISE World Series in Edmonton


Photo courtesy FISE World Series.

The Festival International des Sports Extrêmes (FISE) will be setting up giant ramps and riding features in Hawrelak Park for the fourth FISE World Series stopover of 2016! This extreme sports competition will feature a BMX freestyle park, a demanding, technical cycling competition, and a BMX flat course. There will also be an MTB Slopestyle event, which is performed on a course built to reproduce elements that bikers would find on a mountain, including over-sized features and massive jumps. The fourth event will showcase skateboarding tricks as some of the best in the world compete on huge ramps built specially for the event. Between events, you can hang out in the Beer Gardens, or join in fun activities, such as jumping on a giant airbag or battling in bumper balls! —Lindsay Shapka

FISE World Series | September 16–18
Hawrelak Park | 9930 Groat Rd.

Book of Mormon Returns to Edmonton

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

The hilarious hit musical is back in Edmonton! Dubbed “the best musical of the century”, by The New York Times, this show from the creators of South Park follows the adventures of two Mormon missionaries who are sent to a remote Ugandan village to spread the Good Word.

Their attempt to share the scriptures meets resistance from locals who are more concerned with famine and oppression, so the young men decide to get creative. For as much as it may offend some attendees with vulgar moments, the show also offers some heartwarming lessons about believing in yourself and achieving your dreams.

Buy your tickets through Ticketmaster today!

Book of Mormon | September 13 – 18
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 1-855-985-5000