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Edmonton

Edmonton Theatre Preview (November 2014)

As the cool weather begins to settle in Edmonton, the live theatre starts to heat up! It’s a wonderful relationship, as theatre is great entertainment to seek out when avoiding the cold. Here’s a list of all the comedy, drama, and action that will hit our city’s stages this November — presented in the order of their openings so that you can plan ahead and catch them all!

One Man, Two Guvnors One-Man-Two-Guvnors| Through Nov 16
This British farce is a marvelous concoction of satire, songs, slapstick humour, and one-liners. The play follows the tale of a man who is hired by two different criminals and must keep each from learning about the other.
Citadel Theatre | 9828-101A Ave. | 780-425-1820

Sequence | Through Nov 16
A nearly blind professor receives a surprise visit from an unlucky student, and a pregnant young woman confronts a celebrated author. These two encounters intertwine with unexpected twists and turns in this new work that explores the mysteries of science, destiny, and faith.
Varscona Theatre | 10329-83 Ave. | 780-433-3399

Sherlock Holmes | Through Jan 31
When Dr. Watson throws his friend, the world’s greatest detective Sherlock Holmes, a retirement party, he believes nothing can go wrong — but then a guest is murdered! Everyone at the dinner is a suspect — even you! Set to the best “killer” tunes of all time, this modern spin on a classic tale will make you sing and laugh along.
Jubilations Dinner Theatre | West Edmonton Mall | 8882-170 St. | 780-484-2424

Loveplay | Nov 1, 3–8
Set in one location in London, Loveplay moves through time to explore human nature’s constant quest for love and sex. This satirical romp asks: with every advance in intellect, does our human capacity to feel keep pace or fall behind?
Timms Centre for the Arts, Univsersity of Alberta | 112 St. & 87 Ave. | 780-420-1757

The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble | Nov 6–23
A mother calls her three children to a family meeting to announce the news of her early onset of Alzheimer’s. Drizzled with heart, this play has all the right workings to remind us what keeps families together.
Roxy Theatre | 10708-124 St. | 780-453-2440

Top of the Pops: A British Rock Invasion | Nov 11 ­– Feb 1
For their annual holiday rock ‘n roll revue, Mayfield Dinner Theatre is hopping across the pond to celebrate all things British! From the 60s to today, the show covers the best British idols, from the Beatles to Amy Winehouse. Prepare for an evening of high-energy hilarity!
Mayfield Dinner Theatre | 16615-109 Ave. | 780-483-4051

Maggie-Now | Nov 14–22
A favourite of the Fringe, The Maggie-Now Cycle of Plays includes a cast of 9 portraying 72 characters on an epic journey from 1890s Ireland to 1930s Brooklyn. This bold, bittersweet tale covers the themes of life, disappointment, love, and redemption for a Brooklyn Irish immigrant’s family.
ATB Financial Arts Barn | 10330-84 Ave. | 780-409-1910

Flashdance | Nov 25–30
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this iconic film is now a live musical! With electrifying dance numbers, Flashdance tells the inspiring story of Alex Owns, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night, who dreams of becoming a professional performer. In addition to big hits like “What A Feeling”, 16 catchy new songs have been written for this show!
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 780-427-2760

A Christmas Carol | Nov 29 – Dec 23
A favourite holiday tradition, this Dickens’ classic is sure to delight audiences young and old. Now on its 15th consecutive year of performance, this show provides exceptional entertainment with its unforgettable story, rich characters, and dazzling special effects.
Citadel Theatre | 9828-101A Ave. | 780-425-1820

— Matthew Stepanic

Join Indiana Jones on an Adventure in Edmonton!

Indy4

Solve puzzles to collect pieces of a lost artifact as you explore the exhibition!

Dust off your high-crowned sable fedora and unbury your whip from the sock drawer — it’s time for an adventure! Indiana Jones™ and the Adventure of Archaeology offers you the perfect opportunity to practice your hand at archaeology!

The exhibition features authentic relics from ancient societies around the world that were selected by archaeologist and National Geographic fellow Dr. Fredik Hiebert. The artifacts represent some of the most significant discoveries in archaeology, including the oldest known map written on a Mesopotamian cuneiform tablet and gold artefacts from the Royal Cemetery at Ur.

As you learn about the science of archaeology, you’ll explore 14 different locations where Indy himself has travelled. You’ll also encounter actual props from each of the movies and sketches from iconic scenes, alongside cool movie trivia. For instance, did you know rimless glasses were invented for Sean Connery’s character in The Last Crusade? There’s more to learn about the movies and archaeology at the exhibition—so unfold your map and plot your course to the TELUS World of Science to begin your search for “fortune and glory”!

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A sketch from the famous boulder scene.

Indy5

The oldest known map.

TELUS World of Science—Edmonton | 11211-142 St. | 780-451-3344
Daily 10 am – 5 pm | Exhibition runs through April 6

— Matthew Stepanic

Six Free & Fun Events in Edmonton for Alberta Culture Days

Alberta-Culture-Days-credit-Justin-Wondga

Photo by Justin Wondga

All across Alberta this weekend, communities will be hosting FREE activities to highlight their unique arts culture — and Edmonton is no exception! The selection in this city for Alberta Culture Days seems endless with movie screenings, dance performances, visual arts, live music, and tours of historical attractions, so we rounded up a few great possibilities — all of them free and all of them fun!

1. Art Before Dark | Sep 26 | 5 – 7 pm
The Alberta Jubilee Auditoria Society is partnering with many prestigious arts organizations in Alberta, including Theatre Alberta, Guru Digital Arts College, Edmonton Opera, and more for this educational event! Take a backstage tour of their world-class facility, learn some musical insight from local performers, and enjoy tasty treats from Bully Food Truck and One Cool Cookie!
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium | 11455-87 Ave. | 780-427-2760

2. Alberta Culture Days at Metro Cinema | Sep 27 – 28
Metro Cinema will be celebrating the wealth of talent and creativity in the community with a variety of short and feature-length films, all of which will be family friendly! Films will cover topics of prairie tales, indigenous perspectives, and more! For a full listing of what’s playing, check out Metro Cinema’s website.
Metro Cinema at the Garneau | 8172-109 St. | 780-425-9212

3. Pro Coro Canada: Everything Under the Sun | Sep 28 | 2:30 pm
Pro Coro Canada will be joined by the Richard Eaton Singers to perform the powerful “Path of Miracles” by Brit Joby Talbot. Tickets are free, but must be reserved through the Winspear Centre box office, so don’t delay in reserving yours! More details are available on their Facebook page.
Winspear Centre | 4 Sir Winston Churchill Sq. | 780-428-1414

4. Winspear Centre Tour | Sep 26 | 12 pm
Take a free tour of the Winspear Centre and discover shows are run and put together! Winspear will also be hosting other free events throughout the weekend, such as an instrument petting zoo and a big drum workshop, so be sure to check out the website for more information.
Winspear Centre | 4 Sir Winston Churchill Sq. | 780-428-1414

5. LEGO Competition with MADE | Sep 27 | 11 – 2 pm
Compete to win a golden brick of LEGO with your team as you build your version of the Art Gallery of Alberta’s building from the past, present, or future! This is a great challenge for any age! Find out how to register here.
Art Gallery of Alberta | 2 Sir Winston Churchill Sq., 99 St. & 102A Ave. | 780-422-6223

6. All provincial and historical sites and museums have FREE admission, so don’t miss out on amazing exhibits, such as “Finding Place: Exploring Home Through Field Journal Art” at Royal Alberta Museum or “Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne” at the Art Gallery of Alberta!

For a complete listing of all the wonderful free events you can check out this weekend, visit the Alberta Culture website!

Fall Fashion From the Front Row

The change in season brings with it a change in fashion, and with Western Canada Fashion Week coming to Edmonton this month, people are curious about what’s trendy to wear. Here’s a look at some of the exciting new fashions writer Janis Galloway picked up at Toronto Fashion Week!

Texture Play: For both men and women, touch-worthy fabrics from fur, wool, velvet and leather were mixed and layered for interesting ensembles. Menswear line HD Homme showed us dapper texture at its best with velvet suits in festive green, red and blue. We’re favouring these suits as the perfect fit for swanky holiday parties. The designer also paired leather pants with a silk lapelled blazer, a bit daring for most, but strong inspiration for mixing up fabrics in your own wardrobe. For the women, one of the best layered textured looks was Mackage’s sleek interpretation of a modern, urban witch — a faux fur skirt topped with a leather jacket.

Roll Call: Scholarly dressing passed the test as a major trend for both the sexes. Edmonton’s own luxury womenswear designer, Malorie Urbanovitch, sent svelte models down the runway in pastel miniskirts accessorized with mini, white leather backpacks and sheer knee high socks. Urbanovitch’s muted and sophisticated colour palette means the private schools looks are very wearable, easily taken off campus and mixed and matched for both water cooler chat or a fashionable function. In the Outclass menswear presentation, varsity jackets were the star quarterback of the show in versions of yellow and red plaid with leather sleeves. We can see Edmonton’s young and hip taking these jackets to the streets on their way out to a night on say, The Common’s dance floor.

WorldFashionWeek

Photo by George Pimentel; Courtesy of World MasterCard Fashion Week

Fancy Fur: The fur was flying in many collections, and in such vivid colours it was hard to miss. Brightly coloured faux fur as well as the real deal (sorry, PETA) were wrapped around hoods, shoulders and torsos in numerous collections from some of Canada’s biggest style influencers such as Joe Fresh and Pink Tartan. Line Knitwear had the most exemplary designs, with an ultra sleek feminine collection of body hugging, brightly hued angora pieces in bold fuchsias and blues. One of the strongest looks was a simply sweet pairing of fuzzy, royal blue angora shorts and matching cropped sweater. Practical for an Edmonton winter? Probably not, but we’ve never preferred function over fashion. Still not convinced? Make the look more cold weather friendly by layering a pair of nylons under the shorts and slipping on heeled ankle booties.

Think Pink: Every season, one colour always reigns supreme and, similar to 2013, pink is on designers’ minds. Designer Mikhael Kale played up the shade in stunning splattered silk prints to create slinky cocktail dresses, while Mackage let pink pop on sophisticated, tailored outerwear. The happy hue is a welcome concept amongst what is normally a sea of black parkas on Edmonton’s dreary winter sidewalks.

To catch up on more exciting trends in fashion, read Janis’ blog Dress Me Dearly. Or to discover the best new fashions for yourself, check out Western Canada Fashion Week: September 19 – 27! (ATB Financial Arts Barns | 10330-84 Ave. | 780-409-1910)

5 Spots for Perfect Pints

Visit any of these great Edmonton spots for a perfect pour!

BeerMug1. O’Byrnes Irish Pub (10616 Whyte (82) Ave.)
Guinness aficionados know that it needs to be poured just right — and the bartenders here know how to serve it up as smoothly as at a pub in Dublin.

2. The Underground Tap & Grill (10004 Jasper Ave.)
Craft beer fans will appreciate Underground’s dedication to being a true craft beer bar, with a menu full of unique brews in lieu of big-name macro-brew beers. In September their rotational taps include beers from Selkirk Abbey Brewing Co. and Evil Twin Brewing, and in October the taps will feature beers from Hopworks Urban Brewery.

3.Beer Revolution (11736-104 Ave.)
The beer here is fresh — you can see for yourself on the airport-style arrivals and departures board exactly when the kegs were tapped. Their 24 draught beers are all on rotation so every day there is something new to try.

4. Sugarbowl (10922-80th Ave.)
The food here is so delectable that it’s given this eatery its good reputation, but don’t skip over the beer list. Their impressive selection of bottled beer includes gluten free varieties, ciders, lambics, dubbels, and saisons.

5. Sherlock Holmes Pub (Three locations in Edmonton; click here for a complete list)
Want a no-frills pub experience? This cozy, British-style pub has got familiar lagers and ales served just right with traditional pub fare.

— By Breanna Mroczek

Country Music Stars Mosey Into Edmonton

Edmonton country fans are polishing their boots and spurs in preparation for next week’s big events: the Canadian Country Music Association Awards and Country Music Week are riding into town, and Edmonton fans have many reasons to hoot and holler in celebration.

This year marks the second year that Edmonton has hosted the events, which CCMA President Don Green attributes to the hugely successful event back in 2010. “There are many reasons why we love [hosting the event in] Edmonton,” says Don Green, “including: incredible government, business and community support, spectacular venues, a dedicated and solid volunteer base, and many local enthusiastic and passionate music lovers.”

Not only should Edmontonians celebrate for their fantastic hosting skills, but homegrown Brett Kissel — recent winner of the 2014 JUNO Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year — leads the pack with 8 CCMA Award nominations, including Male Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year! “It’s an indescribable feeling to be leading the way,” says Kissel. “I remember watching my first CCMAs in Edmonton with my mom, Brenda, and telling her that, ‘One day I’ll be up on that stage!’”

Brett1Kissel’s happy to be visiting Edmonton, and admits that what he misses most about the city is attending an Edmonton Oilers game. “Whether I’m with friends, family, or business associates, it’s always a blast watching a game in Oil Country!” The city holds a special place in Kissel’s career, as it’s had a strong influence on his music and songwriting. “Growing up on a cattle ranch outside of Edmonton allows me to sing about country music freely and from a special point of view,” says the country star. “Having performed thousands of times in the Edmonton area, I’ve been able to develop my craft and morph into the entertainer I am today.”

Kissel’s also looking forward to being back in the same city as one of his top 5 favourite restaurants in all of Canada: Hardware Grill. “The servers Garry and Steve take excellent care of my wife and I when we come in, and I feel as though we’re family there. Not to mention it’s likely the best restaurant in the city for presentation and flavour.”

The CCMA Awards take place on Saturday, September 7, and Kissel will perform along with other greats such as Terri Clark, Jann Arden, Kira Isabella, and Dallas Smith. And Country Music Week starts Thursday, September 4 with artists taking the stage at various venues throughout the city including the Citadel Theatre, Shaw Conference Centre, and West Edmonton Mall. These events will feature performances from Tom Cochrane, MacKenzie Porter, Paul Brandt, and many more!

For full details on performers, event times, and purchasing tickets, visit the CCMA website here!

— By Matthew Stepanic

Wander The Edmonton Valley Zoo!

Congratulations to the new The Wander Trail System at Edmonton Valley Zoo — our pick for the WHERE Edmonton Magazine 2014 Best New Attraction!

Since 2010 Edmonton Valley Zoo has undergone expansive renovations to complete three new phases of the zoo. The Wander is a new themed walkway that connects the new entry plaza to the rest of the zoo, andre-enacts the story of the North Saskatchewan River with features that mimic its origin as glacial water in the Rocky Mountains, to its presence in Edmonton. “We’re so connected to the river in Edmonton and with The Wander we want everyone to understand a little more about it” Denise Prefontaine, Director of the Zoo, says.

The Entry Plaza, where you’ll find a Wild Earth Cafe and the Zoo-tique Gift Shop, represents the urban city of Edmonton. Sharp eyes will notice that the floor of the plaza is formed by non-uniform concrete squares of various sizes — it’s because they depict the dominion grid of how Edmonton was settled. Non-artificial rocks, a mosaic path, and water features make up the rest of the walkway, which ends at a structure resembling an ice cave in the Columbia Icefields. With coloured stained glass-like windows and a reflective surface that keeps things cool, the structure is a serene spot to take a break on a hot day.photo

Between the two points, the “river” takes guests by a beaver dam play structure that children can climb on, a beach area with sand and a wading pool, a trout pond and wetland marsh, rock steps and benches, shallow streams of water that are meant to be walked and splashed in, and smaller rocks that children can move and stack within the water. Despite its intricate setup, there are flat pathways around the features so that The Wander is completely accessible for those with mobility issues.

Of course, an attraction at the zoo wouldn’t be complete without some animals, and all of the enclosures that surround The Wander contain animals from mountainous regions to fit with the theming: “[w]ith the re-designs in the zoo, we wanted to educate people about the habitats and land that animals live on as much as the animals themselves” Tammy Wiebe, Executive Director of the Valley Zoo Development Society says.

Though The Wander serves to make the animal enclosures at the zoo more easily accessible, all of its features make it an attraction itself. It’s fun, it’s functional, and it’s also beautiful. The spot at the very top of the attraction provides a stunning view of the deep green trees in the river valley, and it’s the perfect place to snap a few group photos and commemorate the outing to the newest phase of the fantastic Edmonton Valley Zoo! —by Breanna Mroczek 

Fringed and Confused: The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival

Edmonton Fringe Theatre Festival

Photo By Pedro Escobar

The 33rd Annual Fringe Theatre Fest will be the grooviest one yet, with the official theme “Fringed and Confused” being a throwback to the grassroots spirit of the festival that encourages guests to experience something new and different. At its core, the fest is a showcase of theatre; troupes from around the world participate, and hundreds of shows are performed. The performances take over theatre venues and spaces in Old Strathcona, and the whole area is bustling with food trucks, children’s activities, street performers, beer gardens, live music, and laid back attitudes. There are comedies, musicals, dramas, original material, classics of the stage, and everything in between — it’s a live entertainment destination with something for everyone. “You come and experience the Festival and it leaves you feeling not quite sure about what just happened” the festival’s Executive Director, Jill Roszel, says. “But you had fun… and you can’t stop talking about it.”

Fringe Tips

  • Guests are invited to get groovy and dress up in disco or 70s inspired fashions, so pull on some bell bottoms and platform boots, don a flower headband, or wear some fringe to the Fringe. While festival spirit is encouraged, there’s no dress code required for any of the shows — your usual summer or fest attire will do!
  • Most shows require tickets ($5-$20), and 100% of the ticket revenue goes to the artists. Don’t have the dough for a show? Just head to the festival site and soak in the atmosphere, plus buskers perform theatre, dance, music, poetry, and comedy around the festival site. Their shows are always free to watch — but if you enjoy the show, tossing a few coins their way is a welcome gesture!
  • Prove you’re the coolest cat at the festival with a Fringe Fan Club membership! A new addition to the festival this year, membership allows festival-goers to celebrate their love for the Fringe with benefits like contests, a members-only block party, a program guide, and a signature t-shirt. Fans can sign up for a basic membership for free, or receive more exclusive perks with a $25 or $50 membership.

The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival runs August 14-24 at various venues in Old Strathcona. Call 780-409-1910 or visit fringetheatre.ca for more information.

—By Breanna Mroczek

The Dream World of Odysseo: A Review and Tips for a Great Viewing Experience

Odysseo2

There’s a buzz of excitement from grown men in cowboy hats and giddy laughter running through the stands from little girls sitting with their parents. The audience clearly can’t wait for the curtains to part and the stage to light up. The moment suddenly arrives. The screen transforms from a wall of black into a scene of a forest. A heavy silence falls on the audience and out of the darkness a vision appears: a woman in an ethereal gown of rose pink walks up from a mossy green hill, her angelic voice singing in Italian. Then, a pack of snow white horses comes charging in across the stage, as if out of a dream. Petite women with the train of their cloaks flapping behind them stand on the backs of two horses. They strut side by side, making their way from one end of the stage to the other, disappearing through the stage left doors with their riders — but this is only the beginning of the show and there are many more surprises to come.

Cavalia’s Odysseo is a show that heightens the senses and leaves you with a strange sense that you’ve entered into another world –– like something out of a magical page of a Narnia book, or The Shire from The Lord of the Rings, or even a Game of Thrones realm. It’s a show for both children and adults to escape the realities of the real world and to remember that as humans we are made of dreams. This break from everyday living is being offered in Edmonton from July 13 – August 10, 2014.

The Montreal based production Cavalia has brought one of the largest touring tents in the world to our city. Inside the white pavilions, 69 different breeds of horses hit the main stage –– each one clearly bringing a different personality to the production, making the show charmingly spontaneous at times. Audiences who are fans of Cirque du Soleil will recognize a similar use of acrobatics and dance sequences from male and female performers throughout Odysseo. All the choreography is based on the imagination of the director, Normand Latourelle, who was one of Cirque du Soleil’s co-founders.

The show itself is two hours long with a half hour intermission in-between. To make the most of your time at this dreamlike show here are some logistics and insider tips:

  • When buying your tickets, spend a little extra on the VIP package if you can. It has great perks, like a buffet in the Rendez-Vous tent an hour and a half before the show starts. Delicacies include melted brie cheese smothered in pecans, feta and spinach stuffed spanakopita, smoky and thinly sliced, cured salmon, and more. For adults, there are beverages such as prosecco, white and red wine, and beer. For the little ones, there are sodas, juices, and waters. To top it off, during intermission, the buffet is cleared away to make room for deserts – including a chocolate fountain!
  • Inside the VIP Rendez-Vous tent or at the Box Office in front of the tent buy a keepsake or gift like a recording of the beautiful music (which will be performed live during the show) or a stuffed toy horse for that special someone.
  • Parking can be found on site for $15, or $12 if it’s purchased ahead of the show on the show’s website. If you want to save your dollars, park across the service roads by the gas stations for free. There’s no cross walk to get across to the big tents, but if you’re polite, there will be police officers on site stopping traffic when you need to cross.
  • When buying tickets for seats, aim for rows in the middle (like rows HH and A) so you can see the whole vista of the stage. There’s also a great scene involving a lot of water towards the very end of the production, so if you don’t want to get a bit wet, avoid the very front row.

Visit cavalia.net/en/odysseo for driving instructions, ticket prices, and more information.

Enjoy the show!

— Becky Hagan-Egyir

10 Summer Patios in Edmonton

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The Sugarbowl in Edmonton. Photo by Jennifer Linford

When the sun is shining nothing beats dining outdoors with a cool drink in hand. Here are ten restaurants with great patios in Edmonton to get some sun and good food:

1. Craft Beer Market — One of the newest patios in the city, and one of very few rooftop patios, this spot comes with an incredible view of downtown and more than 100 beers on tap to enjoy in the sun.

2. Leva — Located on the corner of a sleepy, historic street just a few steps off the U of A campus, this shady spot is a great place to relax with a cappuccino or while away a warm afternoon with homemade gelato.

3. Earls Downtown — The perfect spot to see and be seen, you can snuggle in a booth, perch at high tables, or lounge on a couch in this sleek, always-busy outdoor space.

4. MKT — Comfortable picnic-table-like seating and a massive outdoor bar makes this space a local favourite during the warmer months.

5. Wildflower Grill — This cozy, street-level patio is surrounded by fresh flowers and is the perfect spot to indulge in summer menu items like the incredible Miso Seabass and the Watermelon Salad.

6. Urban Diner on 102 Ave. — Tucked behind the restaurant is a tree-shaded outdoor space that has such a relaxed vibe, you might mistake it for your own deck!

7. Chiantis — Escape the hustle and bustle of Whyte Avenue, on this sunny patio that comes with the scent of beautiful flowers and freshly made pasta.

8. The Confederation Lounge — No one can argue that the view of the river valley from this patio is anything but breathtaking. A summer menu full of items straight off the BBQ makes this spot one that can’t be missed.

9. Sugarbowl — With the garage-door-style windows at the front of this trendy spot rolled open wide throughout the summer, you will feel like you are outside even if you don’t snag a coveted seat on their always-busy patio.

10. Julio’s Barrio — Arguably the best spot in the city to people watch, this patio spills out onto the Whyte Avenue sidewalk in the summer months and is filled with people celebrating the season with margaritas, nachos, and tacos.

What’s New at Edmonton Valley Zoo—Edmonton’s Best New Attraction 2014

Glacier exterior (1)

Congratulations to the new The Wander Trail System at Edmonton Valley Zoo — our pick for the WHERE Edmonton Magazine 2014 Best New Attraction!

If your most recent memory of Edmonton Valley Zoo involves posing for a photo with the statue of Humpty Dumpty, it’s time to plan another visit. A lot has changed since its days as Storyland Valley Zoo, and the new additions are proof that change is good.

Since 2010 Edmonton Valley Zoo has undergone expansive renovations to complete three new phases of the zoo. The Wander is the second phase of the re-design and parts of the attraction have been open since December 2013, with the Grand Opening taking place on July 11, 2014. The Wander is a themed walkway that connects the new entry plaza to the rest of the zoo, andre-enacts the story of the North Saskatchewan River with features that mimic its origin as glacial water in the Rocky Mountains, to its presence in Edmonton. “We’re so connected to the river in Edmonton and with The Wander we want everyone to understand a little more about it” Denise Prefontaine, Director of the Zoo, says.

The Entry Plaza, where you’ll find a Wild Earth Cafe and the Zoo-tique Gift Shop, represents the urban city of Edmonton. Sharp eyes will notice that the floor of the plaza is formed by non-uniform concrete squares of various sizes — it’s because they depict the dominion grid of how Edmonton was settled. Non-artificial rocks, a mosaic path, and water features make up the rest of the walkway, which ends at a structure resembling an ice cave in the Columbia Icefields. With coloured stained glass-like windows and a reflective surface that keeps things cool, the structure is a serene spot to take a break on a hot day.

Between the two points, the “river” takes guests by a beaver dam play structure that children can climb on, a beach area with sand and a wading pool, a trout pond and wetland marsh, rock steps and benches, shallow streams of water that are meant to be walked and splashed in, and smaller rocks that children can move and stack within the water. Despite its intricate setup, there are flat pathways around the features so that The Wander is completely accessible for those with mobility issues.

Of course, an attraction at the zoo wouldn’t be complete without some animals, and all of the enclosures that surround The Wander contain animals from mountainous regions to fit with the theming: “[w]ith the re-designs in the zoo, we wanted to educate people about the habitats and land that animals live on as much as the animals themselves” Tammy Wiebe, Executive Director of the Valley Zoo Development Society says.

Though The Wander serves to make the animal enclosures at the zoo more easily accessible, all of its features make it an attraction itself. It’s fun, it’s functional, and it’s also beautiful. The spot at the very top of the attraction provides a stunning view of the deep green trees in the river valley, and it’s the perfect place to snap a few group photos and commemorate the outing to the newest phase of the fantastic Edmonton Valley Zoo!

Canada Day Celebrations in Edmonton in 2014

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Canada Day Fireworks in Edmonton Photo courtesy City of Edmonton

1. Alberta Legislature | 10 am – 10 pm | Free Admission | assembly.ab.ca/canadaday/event.html
Official ceremonial activities include a 21-gun salute at 12 pm, tours of the legislature building, and welcoming remarks from the Premier of Alberta and the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. There’s plenty to do throughout the day, including roaming performers (magic shows! stilt walkers!), food trucks, activities and crafts for kids, and is a good spot to view the evening’s fireworks spectacular. Ten local music acts will keep things rocking throughout the day, with a showstopping performance by elctro-dance group Shout Out Out Out Out to close out the day.

2. Telus World of Science—Edmonton | 9 am – 6 pm | $4 General Admission; $4 IMAX Theatre Shows | telusworldofscienceedmonton.ca
The science centre is celebrating Canada’s birthday—and theirs, too! To celebrate their 30th birthday, Telus World of Science is offering vintage admission prices. For $4, you can see all the great exhibits plus two summer feature exhibits—K*NEX Thrill Rides and Wildlife Rescue—and shows in the full dome theatre. For an additional $4, check out one of the fun 3D films in the IMAX theatre.

3. Edmonton Valley Zoo | 11 am – 4 pm | $13.25 Adult; $11 Senior/Youth; $8 Child (2-12) | valleyzoo.ca
Celebrate the zoo’s 55th Birthday and Canada’s 147th Birthday with Canadian animal enrichments, Canadian Geographic games, crafts, cupcakes, and live entertainment. Plus, check out the new The Wander exhibit with interactive water features and climbing structures for children.

4. Mayfield Dinner Theatre |  Dinner 6 pm; Show 8 pm | $59 | mayfieldtheatre.ca
See a special presentation of The Last Romance at Mayfield Dinner Theatre to celebrate Jamie Farr’s (the star of the show) 80th birthday! Tickets for this night only are $59 and there will be birthday cake served after the show.

5. Edmonton Prospects Game | 7 pm | $14 Adult; $12 Student/Senior; $8 Child (6-14); Children under 6 are free | prospectsbaseballclub.com
Watch Edmonton’s Western Major Baseball League team take on the Regina Red Sox. After the game stick around for an amazing view of the fireworks over the river valley. Join in the tail gate party on the field from 5:30 – 6:45 for live entertainment, a great view from first base, and a barbecue. There’s an additional charge for the tail gate party.

6. Muttart Conservatory | 12 pm – 4 pm | $12 Adult; $10.60 Youth (13-17)/Senior; $6.50 Child | edmonton.ca
View the new display in the feature pyramid, enjoy live music, Canada Day crafts, face painting, activities, and snacks.

7. Fort Edmonton Park | 10 am – 6pm | $18.15 Adult; $13.55 Child (2-17); $63.55 Family | fortedmontonpark.ca/events/dominion-day-2014
Celebrate Dominion Day at the historic village that celebrates Canada’s history all year-round. Special programming for the day includes a citizenship ceremony and a parade.

8. City Hall | 1 pm – 4 pm | Free! | edmonton.ca
Soak up the sun by the outdoor wading pool or take in some of the entertainment and activities including live music, roving performers, and children’s crafts. Plus, cross the street to Churchill Square and take in the fun, free exhibits at The Works Art and Design Festival.

9. Art Gallery of Alberta | 11 am – 5 pm | Free! | youraga.ca
View all of the current gallery exhibitions and enjoy children’s activities and a barbecue.

10. Light Up the Sky: Canada Day Fireworks in Edmonton | 11 pm | Free | River Valley
The High Level Bridge will unveil it’s brighter display when it’s lit up in full for the first time. The lights on the bridge will be synchronized to an Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performance of “O Canada!”, which can be heard on CKUA on your radio or smartphone app. Finally, the evening will end with a majestic fireworks display over the river valley.