Weekend Fun & Building Community

by marilynk

I had a really good weekend health-wise and spent as much of it as possible with friends. First was my weekly visit to the City Market, with visits to my bread guy, a few vegetable stalls, and my BC fruit guy (apricots are in season right now, guys…so delicious!). My weekly trip to the market is part entertainment, part shopping, and part ritual. I love seeing everyone, catching up with the vendors that I know, meeting dogs and kids, and seeing all the beautiful piles of food. Saturday mornings between May and October are some of my favourite times.

Another reason the market is important to me is that I’m supporting local businesses and local farmers. It would be virtually impossible to eat a solely local diet in Edmonton, but part of my “More with Less” philosophy is reducing the impact my eating has on the environment and supporting the local economy over huge multi-national corporations. By connecting with these vendors, we are each contributing to our local community and making that community stronger.

That afternoon and evening I was the sober “Course Official” for a friendly game of Pub Golf. It was a hilariously good time and I’m really looking forward to round two! We played 9 holes at bars along Whyte Avenue and while it may not have done much to build the wider community, it was a great way to build our friend-based community.

Sunday was Critical Lass day! My friends Deb and Angel over at Loop Frame Love have been organizing these lovely lady (and sometimes dapper gentlemen!) rides since June 2010 and they have become an excellent addition to my summer activities. Deb did a great post about Sunday’s ride with lots of photos, so head over there to check it out. I’m going to talk more about something that really struck me as we were cycling back downtown from Alberta Avenue.

We approached downtown via 96 Street, then rode along 106 Avenue to 107 Street. This route took us right past the area where the new hockey arena is proposed. I have some serious reservations about the project – mainly about how it will be funded and what effect it will have on the livability of our downtown. My friend Zoe did a wonderful post about the north side of downtown being “the servant’s quarters” and it was definitely top of mind as we approached downtown from the north. What really struck me on Sunday was just how huge the arena complex will be and how critically important the design will be in either connecting the neighbourhoods to the rest of downtown or completely severing them from the rest of downtown.

As this development proposal moves forward (I’m not naive enough to think it will stop at this point), I think I will be most vocal about the design. I will be taking every opportunity available to me to try and ensure the design has a 360 degree perspective. If the design doesn’t include the neighbourhoods to the north, it will only serve as a divider to the community rather than any sort of catalyst for community building.


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