It was only May 1st, in this year of early spring (and even earlier summer-like weather), but there was already a bit of activity on the North Saskatchewan River in central Edmonton on a lovely Sunday afternoon:
In recent posts I’ve featured images of various parts of downtown Edmonton – Jasper Avenue, Churchill Square, the convention center and Canada Place, all with their own beauty and architectural beauty.
In this post, we will look at another side of Edmonton, another part of downtown Jasper Avenue. This part is much less modern, classy and comfortable, but perhaps with a beauty of its own (if you will allow your mind to see things in that light).
I’m talking about a part of downtown that is across the street from Canada Place, kitty-corner from the convention center and right on the mighty and historic Jasper Avenue, but the block east of 97th street is in another world. The actual northeast corner of 97th Street and Jasper Avenue is home of one of Edmonton’s most renowned restaurants, the Hardware Grill (the name coming from the fact that the building was once home to the bustling old-time W.W. Arcade hardware store).
At the top right of the above photo is Jasper Avenue; turning the corner you enter another world:
This old bar, just east of the Goodridge Building is the last of the seedy old bars in Edmonton’s east end. Next to it, a vacant lot:
It has long bewildered me why this section of Jasper Avenue, with its proximity to the central core and with great views over the river valley, has not been redeveloped. It does however still retain some historic old buildings so I’d not like to see them lost.
Next to the east, is one of those historic old buildings, the Brighton (Ernest Brown) Block. This three story brick building and the one next to it are beautiful but have definitely seen better days. Fortunately, this property has been recognized as a Municipal Historic Resource:
The building seems to have been vacant for many years now – the doors and many windows boarded up:
Next to (east of) the Brighton Block is the old Lodge Hotel. This building has been undergoing some exciting renovation to turn it into the Ukrainian Canadian Archives and Museum (UCAMA). Unfortunately,the project ran out of money so is currently on hold.
A stark contrast between the two ends of this half block of Jasper Avenue but coincidentally both bookends feature yellow.
Addendum: After posting this blog I took a photo (below) from across the river showing the Brighton (Ernest Brown) Block and Lodge Hotel / UCAMA renovation – quite a different look from the shots that were all taken from the sidewalk next to the buildings.
The North Saskatchewan River flows through the City of Edmonton and is its lifeblood. Through the seasons the river will change its character and every winter it will for the most part freeze over. Typically in February the ice will soften and show signs foreshadowing it’s breakup. By the end of March the breakup is well underway. Today (March 27) I was able to capture the ice and river from the pedestrian bridge linking Rundle and Gold Bar parks in the City’s east end.
Further upstream, from the 50th Street footbridge, the ice shows a different character :
With something on the ice:
Late November in Edmonton and the days are short. By 5 pm the sun is setting. On the plus side, one can catch a gorgeous blue sky and sunset on your end-of-day commute.
Today (2015 February 15) I was wandering around downtown Edmonton, taking photos of what ever caught my eye: buildings, the sky, snow and ice. What I don’t take pictures of generally are people (too shy to ask anyone if they’d mind). A few months ago I posted about how I passed a guy sitting on some stairs in the river valley and he asked if I would take his photo. That was the first time that happened and happily obliged.
Today it happened again. I was standing on the corner of 100 St. and 101A Ave. in downtown Edmonton, waiting for the light to change when a fellow standing next to me asks if I would take his picture. “Sure”, says I. He asked if I worked for a paper and I said no but he still wanted his picture taken. I don’t really know why but it doesn’t matter. Without any prompting from me he assumed a nice, serious pose. I pushed the shutter; we said thanks to each other and the walk light changed. I crossed the street and I am not sure where he went. I never thought to even ask his name.
He couldn’t have thought that he’d ever see the photo of him, but here it is and perhaps somehow , someday he will.
As we approach Thanksgiving Day 2014, I would like to share an experience of mine from this past week. Before I tell the story though take a look at this portrait photo that I took of my neighbor:
A proud and serious man, my neighbor. Well I call him my neighbor but I don’t really know him. I just met him in my neighborhood one afternoon last week as I was walking home from work.
I was walking (my camera around my neck as it often is) and coming down some stairs where three people were sitting. They were spread right across the stairs but as they saw me coming they cleared a way for me to get by them. Once past them, the older of the three spoke to me. He said “Do you want to take a picture of three homeless”. I was a little surprised by this but said “Sure, if you want me to”. So he quickly set up on the stair below and between the other two and I snapped this photo:
I took the picture, said “I got it” and continued on my way. Nothing more was said but I have thought a lot about this simple encounter since then. Were they really homeless? Would that matter? What was their story? How nice that he/they would just ask to have their photo taken – and pose seriously and proudly. He did not ask for a copy of the picture, just somehow wanted to have his image recorded for posterity. He would not know that I would post this (it didn’t even occur to me at the time) and normally I wouldn’t without the subjects okay but somehow it seems like posting this proud image of my neighbor is the right thing to do.
Welcome to this new blog from Randy Talbot. This blog will be my outlet to comment about my city – Edmonton (in the province of Alberta, Canada). I was born and raised here, educated and worked here. There are many things I love about the City and a number of things that leave me scratching my head. I hope some of these posts on this blog will encourage discussion, and I most certainly welcome thoughtful comments.
Oh, and I’ll also be sharing some of my photos of Edmonton scenes, just to keep things interesting.