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Ask The Expert: James Grant (Woodwork)


Photo by Caitlin Varrin

WHERE: What are some trends in cocktail mixing that interest you right now?
Grant: Sherries are becoming incredibly popular in cocktails—either using them as a base or to replace a fortified wine. It offers a different kind of complexity and an acidity and dryness that vermouth doesn’t necessarily have. And using one of those in place of the other drastically alters a cocktail—whether it’s a classic drink like a Martini or a Negroni—but it expresses very different aspects of the spirits involved.

W: What would you recommend for someone who enjoys a classic cocktail but wants to try something new?
G: If you really like a rum and coke, try a Tiki cocktail. If you like a classic Old Fashioned, try a modern riff on a Manhattan, such as a Greenpoint or a Meat Hook. Finding a modern expression of a classic drink is usually not difficult if you have a bartender that’s willing to engage with you. When you really get down to it, there’s only about nine cocktails and everything else is a variation on them.

W: What’s your tip for pairing cocktails with food?
G: I think pairing cocktails with food sometimes requires a slightly different thought process than pairing wine or beer. For wine and beer, often you want to contrast the beverage with the food. So you have contrary flavour profiles, such as a big rich meat dish with a tannic and acidic wine. With cocktails, you’re creating a small complimentary flavour profile.

W: Do you have a go-to pairing?
G: One that I love is charcuterie and a classic cocktail called a Bamboo—it’s dry vermouth and sherry. Dry vermouths tend to be very herbaceous and astringent and a macchiato sherry is very nutty—and those compliment cheese and cured meats so well.

W: Any last tips?
G: It makes me sad when people come in, sit down, and order a drink in a sheepish way. “It’s probably below you to make this, but can I get a Long Island Iced Tea?” At the end of the day, it’s your time and money, and I’m lucky that you’re spending it at my bar. If you ever want to get out of that comfort zone, I’m happy to help. If someone wants to have something familiar and enjoy themselves, they should not be ashamed.

7 Famous People From Edmonton

Alberta’s capital city has inspired talent, bravery, and success. All of these famous people have called Edmonton home at one time or another.


k.d lang

This famous singer-songwriter was born in Edmonton on November 2, 1961, and raised in Consort. She has a reputation for crossing boundaries, and brought an alternative punk edge to country music. Since coming out in 1992, lang has been a major LGBTQ advocate, and she received the Order of Canada. Alberta Ballet has immortalized the singer in Balletlujah!, a pop ballet inspired by her life and music.

Emily Murphy

Born on March 14, 1868, in Cookstown, Ontario, Emily Murphy moved to Edmonton in 1907. When she was barred from a trial of women arrested as prostitutes, she argued a court held for and by women was needed. In 1916 Murphy was appointed as the first female magistrate in the British Empire. When her role was challenged because women weren’t “persons” under the British North America Act of 1867, Murphy joined the Famous Five who paved the way for women’s equality in Edwards v Canada (AG)—the Persons Case. Emily Murphy Park is located in the river valley.

Alex-DecoteauAlex Decoteau

Alex Decoteau was born on November 19, 1887, on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan. After he finished school, he moved to Edmonton, and in 1909 he joined the police force, becoming the first Indigenous police officer in Canada. Decoteau enlisted in the army in 1916 and was killed in 1917 in the Battle of Passchendaele. A park on 105 St. & 102 Ave.—to be completed this year—will commemorate his achievements.

John M. “Red” Pollard

John M. Pollard was born in Edmonton on October 27, 1909. At 15, he convinced his parents to let him pursue a career as a horse jockey. He travelled across Western Canada and the U.S. without much success until 1936, when he met Seabiscuit. Pollard became the primary jockey for the horse. Of the 30 races Pollard and Seabiscuit ran between 1936 and 1940, they won 18 of them, and in 1940 they won the $100,000 San Anita Handicap. The 2003 movie Seabiscuit follows their journey through that final race.

Wilfred-RWilfred R. “Wop” May

This renowned pilot was born on March 20, 1896, in Carberry, Manitoba, and moved to Edmonton with his family in 1902. May went on to become a pioneer of Edmonton’s civilian aviation scene. He was awarded the McKee Trophy for delivering diphtheria antiserum to Fort Vermilion in 1929, after several failed deliveries by land. In the First World War, he became the last pilot to be pursued by the infamous Red Baron, just before the Red Baron was shot down. The community of Mayfield is named after May.

William Patrick “W.P.” Kinsella

A legendary fiction writer, Kinsella was born May 25, 1935, in Edmonton, and raised just outside the city in the small community of Darwell. He studied writing at the University of Victoria in 1970, and was a professor at the University of Calgary before becoming a full-time author. The 1989 movie Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner was based on Kinsella’s best-known novel, Shoeless Joe. Kinsella has won numerous awards for his writing, and passed away on September 16, 2016.


Illustrations by Gina Tsang/ Ginsang Creative

Nathan Fillion

Nathan Fillion was born in Edmonton on March 27, 1971. His first acting gig was with Rapid Fire Theatre, where he appeared in the improvised soap, Die-Nasty. He started on TV in One Life to Live, but Fillion is best known for his role in Joss Whedon’s Firefly series. In 2015, Fillion donated a meeting with a fan to fundraise for the Varscona Theatre rebuild, to honour the beginning of his acting career.

Chef Spotlight: Shane Chartrand


Photo by Jerry Jin

The Executive Chef of Sage, Shane Chartrand seemed destined to work with food. At a young age, his father taught him how to hunt and fish and respect the great outdoors, and both of his parents taught him a respect for food that has continued into his professional life. “I market myself around the Indigenous background, Indigenous food, and food sovereignty and reverence. Being a good, responsible chef and getting the best ingredients we can,” says Chartrand.

For this chef, that means taking advantage of the Edmonton area’s plethora of farmers and producers and trying to buy local as often as possible. Wandering through a farmers’ market can inspire a future dish. “I like to take ingredients and mess around with them and figure them out in a way that’s interesting,” says Chartrand. “I’m addicted to art. I love painting, music—and food is in the same circle.”

His creativity and passion have propelled him into various projects, including competing in Gold Medal Plates and an episode of Chopped Canada. Chartrand is currently excited to gather with other amazing Canadian chefs during Northern Lands, as well as the REDx Talks Indigenous speaker series in Enoch in July. He also wrote a cookbook titled, MARROW: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine. “It’s story-driven, picture-driven, emotion-driven… There’s no Aboriginal cookbook like it that’s ever been done.”

To get a better sense of Edmonton’s food scene, Chartrand recommends visitors don’t limit themselves. “Take a couple weeks and do a mini food excursion. Have apps here, have a dessert there, try a couple things in one night. Don’t just go to one restaurant and stay there,” he says. If you’re looking for a place to start, try Bar Bricco, the chef’s personal favourite.

Author Spotlight: Jennifer Bowering Delisle

Jennifer-Delisle-author-photoHow do our ancestors’ homes and histories haunt us? Author Jennifer Bowering Delisle investigates this theme in her moving and fragmented approach to her family history. The Bosun Chair is a lyrical exploration of Bowering Delisle’s ancestors that draws together memoir, poetry, photographs, interviews, and historical documents to create a love letter to Newfoundland and its people. From shipwrecks and wars to resettlement and labour movements, this diverse book collects the lore of the author’s family and their home province.

Born and currently residing in Edmonton, Bowering Delisle has a doctorate in English from the University of British Columbia and previously wrote another book on her ancestral homeland called The Newfoundland Diaspora: Mapping the Literature of Out-Migration. Both books deal with the economic motivations behind the migration of many Newfoundlanders and how it continues to affect those displaced people and their children.

The-Bosun-Chair-final_CMYKAnyone who’s missing this eastern province or their own home may feel a deep connection to this memoir and the themes at the heart of its story. And like the titular object—a bosun chair is a short plank attached to a rope that would raise a worker high up on a ship—readers will feel suspended above Bowering Delisle’s narrative, the perfect vantage point to the stirring pieces contained within. And do not fear: the author’s delicate language will have you feeling comfortable as you swing from moment to moment and piece together her myriad stories.

Tour the Capital City

Etours-BusDiscover some of the capital’s secrets from the comfort of your bus seat on the new Edmonton Tours! The southwest tour takes you along the beautiful river valley through to the Old Strathcona neighbourhood to learn about the civic politics that shaped the city. And the southeast tour explores the industrious nature of the city, starting with its beginning as a fur-trading fort to its growth into a cosmopolitan complex. Both tours are 90 minutes long, and you can book one or learn more by visiting their website.

Artist Spotlight: Dawn Marie Marchand


Photo by Brad Crowfoot

Edmonton’s first Indigenous Artist-in-Residence, Dawn Marie Marchand is a visual artist, author, and educator who’s been mentored by incredible artists, such as Alex Janvier, Joane Cardial-Schubert, and Jane Ashe Poitras.

WHERE: Why art? What made you want to be an artist?
Marchard: I don’t know if I chose to be an artist as much as it chose me. I didn’t take any art classes in primary or secondary school. I took a drawing class in post-secondary at Keyano College. Other people noticed it in me and encouraged me, which sent me to the Boreal Forest Institute where I met other Indigenous artists. There are many times where I don’t really want to be an artist, but I can’t seem to shut it off.

kokum-flowers-17W: What themes or issues do you explore in your art?
M: I do visual storytelling. I prefer to work on Indigenous oral history and current Indigenous issues. I love learning about the ceremonies and language and strive to incorporate them respectfully. I also have done a lot of research into Treaties, Indian Residential Schools, 60s scoop, funding, governance, and colonialism. I have done a lot of artwork around the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

W: What artists or works inspire your own?
M: I have a huge list. I am very inspired by grassroots artists and artists that work in their home nations. There’s literally too many to list. I love it all—everything from very contemporary to things that adhere to strict ceremonial protocols. I think there’s room for the whole spectrum of creation within Indigenous Arts.

W: What do you hope people take away from your art?
M: I hope they think hard and differently and are seduced by beauty.

W: Where can readers view and purchase your work?
M: I have a website and a Facebook page. Most of my exhibits are announced through the Facebook page, and I usually put new work up for sale on there, too.

Talent Spotlight: Katherine Semchuk


Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

After completing her program at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Katherine Semchuk had an important decision to make about where her future would be. Luckily for the Edmonton arts scene, she decided to come home. “Coming back to Edmonton gave me a lot of time and space to reflect on the past three years and create my own aesthetic,” says Semchuk. “I’ve had opportunities to create my own work, perform them and be able to discuss them with other people as equals.”

This was especially important considering Semchuk left for Toronto when she was only 17 and had barely begun to scratch the surface of what Edmonton can offer. Since returning, the dancer, choreographer, and instructor has participated in numerous festivals and events, including the Feats Festival of Dance, the SubArctic Improv and Experimental Arts series, and the SkirtsAFire Festival.

For this year’s NextFest, Semchuk is evolving an improvised SubArctic piece as a duet that physically demonstrates the struggles of roadblocks. The work is especially personal for the dancer because she is often drawn to physical expression, whether her own or someone else’s, to conquer her own creative and mental barriers. “Physicality has always been inspiring. That visceral feeling… It’s something that heightens your adrenaline,” she says. “I like that when I watch dance and when I’m dancing, where you feel like you’re about to fall. It’s that risk-taking element of it.”

Her risk-taking, creativity, and hard work have led her to some amazing opportunities and recognitions. This year, Semchuk was the recipient of the Good Women New Work Award, which includes a mentorship through the Good Women Dance Collective and a spot in the 2018 Chinook Series. Although she teaches at local studios and mentors at her old high school, Victoria School of the Arts, Semchuk knows she has more to learn. “I’ve always looked up to all those ladies (at GWDC)… They’re all quite mature performers and it’ll be nice to be in a room with them and be pushed that way.”

Cult Footwear


Photo courtesy Fluevog Shoes

With a dedicated fan following that includes celebrities such as Whoopie Goldberg, Jack White, and Madonna, Fluevog Shoes has returned to the capital with a new shop for Fluevogers. For over 40 years, this Canadian shoe designer has been crafting art-deco inspired styles that are as comfortable and functional as they are fashionable. Rush your comfort-craving feet over there as soon as possible: some Edmonton-only, limited-edition shoes (pictured) will be available only while supplies last!

Dean Brody: Beautiful Freakshow Tour

Dean-BrodyReady for a little bit country? Canadian country music artist Dean Brody is on his Beautiful Freakshow tour, and the city’s lucky to be one of the stops. The superstar has numerous awards under his belt, including the 2016 Juno Awards’ Album of the Year for Gypsy Road and several years as the Canadian Country Music Association’s Male Artist of the Year. Soak in the talent as Brody showcases an album that mixes in a little rap and reggae to push some of the preconceptions of country. Joining him are Canadian country singer Madeline Merlo and country group the James Barker Band.

Dean Brody | May 26 | $39.50–$65
Northlands Coliseum | 7424-118 Ave. | 1-855-985-5000

5 Unique Caesars


Illustration by Rudy Smith

Synonymous with summer and patio weather, this classic Canuck cocktail is Canadian culture for your taste buds! So dive into Canada’s favourite salty sip (with a unique twist!) at these local hot spots.

1) Tavern on Whyte boasts a loaded Caesar with a grilled cheese sandwich, boiled egg, pickle, asparagus, celery, stuffed olives & more!

2) Chartier uses Old Bay spice for their rims and tops their Caesar with home-made pickles and house-smoked meat.

3) Try 1ST RND’s Maple Bacon Caesar, which is mixed with a bacon vodka and maple syrup and garnished with bacon and asparagus.

4) MEAT makes their tasty Caesar with Buffalo Trace Bourbon and horseradish.

5) Available only on request, Black Pearl Seafood Bar’s signature Caesar comes with a crab claw!

Chris Hadfield’s Canada 150 Tour


Courtesy Chris Hadfield Inc.

After winning the hearts of people from across the planet with his entertaining videos from space, Colonel Chris Hadfield has become an international (and possibly intergalactic) sensation. Now a retired astronaut, Canada’s first spaceship commander will be sharing stories of the country’s history and future that promise to be out of this world on his Canada 150 Tour. His fun-loving singles—including “In Canada” and “Beyond the Terra”—are sure to give you a patriotic feeling! From the Canadian land and skies to the space beyond, this entertaining evening will have you re-imagining Canada’s role not only on the planet, but in the greater universe.

Chris Hadfield | May 15 | $45 – $79.50
Winspear Centre | 4 Sir Winston Churchill Sq. | 1-800-563-5081

Ask the Expert: Les Clefs d’Or Corner (May/June 2017)

We asked Edmonton expert and Les Clefs d’Or Nella Mirante at The Fairmont Hotel Macdonald for her advice about celebrating spring’s weather, holidays, and festivals in the city!

1. As the weather warms up, what spot would you recommend for a drink on a patio?
I love the patio at the Confederation Lounge! Sip on a refreshing Pomegranate Paloma or the citrusy Right Word while admiring the fantastic view of the blooming river valley below.

2. Where would you send a guest to buy a special gift for Mother’s Day?
My Mother’s Day shopping starts at LUX Beauty Boutique. Spoil your mom with a special package of indulgent bubble baths and hard-to-find beauty brands used by celebrities!

3. And what about for Father’s Day?
Head down 104 Street to The Helm, where you will be greeted by warm and welcoming associates who will help you find the perfect gift, including casual clothes and stylish accessories!

4. What festivals in May and June are your top recommendations for visitors?
My fave festival in May is the International Children’s Festival with tons of free and fun activities! In June, the Works Art & Design Festival showcases local artists and their creations throughout the downtown core.

5. What’s your favourite restaurant that’s opened in recent months?
I love the look and feel of the new Baijiu located in the historic Mercer Warehouse. My fave dishes are the Devilled Tea Eggs and Fried Bao Ice Cream Sandwich. Finish off with a Hennessy & Green Tea shot!

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 at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald.