Alberta Railway Museum: All Aboard for History and Fun!

It may be a little off the beaten track, but the Alberta Railway Museum is worth the drive if you’re a history buff – or the parent of small children. In fact, when my family and I ventured over on Sunday, June 15 (Father’s Day), the majority of people there were young families, often with grandparents in tow. What a great way to get kids hooked on history!



Me and Andre with Stephen Yakimets, a volunteer with the museum and our conductor for the day. Thanks, Stephen!


Just my kind of humour!


Me and my little guy, Andre, who loved exploring the site during our walking tour.


We almost missed the train (it ran once every hour) because Andre was so absorbed by all the knobs and buttons.


We were issued these tickets, which Stephen-the-conductor punched when we were on board. Neat souvenir!


City Hall School – Citizenship Fair 2014

I hadn’t heard of Edmonton’s City Hall School program until instructor and coordinator Linda Hut contacted me this spring. Now I’m a huge fan – especially after getting to take part in a session earlier this month. On Friday, June 13, I got to attend the wrap-up event and was inspired by the student reps and all the kids (and grownups) who came out to mark their achievements this year. Here are a few photos from the celebration!





Mayor Iveson gave a great speech in his “casual Friday” best, and acknowledged that City Hall School classes were his place to get centred during the early days of his mayoralty.


School Trustee for Ward H, Nathan Ip, got my attention when he mentioned there are 87,000 kids in Edmonton’s schools – and that the school system has a budget of $1 billion annually!


Instructor and coordinator Linda Hut, who was recognized for her hard work with this lovely (surprise) bouquet of flowers.


World War II veteran Maurice White and his wife, Elsie, came to the festivities. Maurice is an active volunteer with City Hall School when they come visit the Loyal Edmonton Regiment Museum at the Prince of Wales Armouries.



Photographic Memory at River Ridge Seniors Centre

On Friday, June 6, I had the pleasure of meeting with a dozen residents in the colourful art studio at River Ridge. The workshop was part of an outreach program sponsored by the Creative Age Festival and allowed me to connect with these lovely folks from Memory Lane, a unit that caters to people with different levels of dementia. We had a great time drinking coffee, eating snacks, sharing laughs, and looking at photos from their amazing lives to come up with inspiration for character, setting, plot, and theme in various writing genres. At the end of the session, the artist in residence, Carly, suggested we work together to brainstorm details from one photo. I chose the following image from a series I discovered online, and these creative minds came up with great ideas, some drawn from their own experiences (Uncle Frank, sen-sen candies) and others out of their imaginations. IMG_6865 IMG_6864 The Creative Expression Director at River Ridge, Nicole Collyer, was kind to say the following: “I just wanted to say  THANK YOU for sharing your workshop with our residents and staff.  They definitely had a wonderful time. It was nice to see the collaboration between you and Carly to help our residents get the most out of the Art Workshop.” p.s. Thanks to Christina for her help as well!

#yeghistory talent: Rebecca Lappa and the Elephant Stampede of 1926

Wednesday, June 11 at 6pm
Friday, June 13 at 8pm
at The Living Room Playhouse

created, composed and performed by Rebecca Lappa

In 1926, the Sells Floto Circus parade turned into a full on stampede in down town Edmonton as a herd of elephants escaped from their enclosures.  Singer-songwriter Rebecca Lappa returns to the Azimuth stage after last year’s Nextfest hit “The Earl” to perform all nineteen characters in this one-woman folk opera based on a true, local story.


The War to End All Wars: Resources

With the 100th anniversary of the First World War upon us, I’ve had the privilege to research and think about this conflict in more depth than I have since I wandered around Montreal and Ottawa in undergrad snapping photos of war memorials. I was following in the footsteps of historian Jonathan Vance, whose wonderful book, Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning, and the First World War, helped put me on the path to a career in history. Here are a few resources I recently turned to, to understand the “Great War” (and how we remember it) in all its complexity:


I also found the CBC’s Michael Enright’s collected conversations on the topic incredibly interesting when I heard it on a recent edition of Ideas. What’s your favourite WWI book, film, radio documentary, or other resource?

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