It has long been said by Edmonton visitors and locals alike that there are only two seasons in Edmonton – Winter and Construction. Looking to branch out from walks in our little city to the South, yet, not wishing to experience either muddy hiking paths or mosquitoes, resulting from our July rains, we hatched a plan for an exploration day in Edmonton, to see how the construction projects were going.
Parking on the South side of the river, we set off to achieve our mission. The heavy morning fog was dissipating in Edmonton faster than the surrounding countryside. Edmonton summer humidity is pretty rare, but with all our July rain, has become the norm.
Crossing the Low Level Bridge, we looked at the muddy, swollen river and wondered if it would ever be clear again. Recent rains had stirred things up a bit, but, it was not until we got across the bridge that we noted the log jam on the West side of the bridge pier. Construction of the new Valley Line LRT bridge was progressing….slowly.
Standing on the cantilevered portion of the river viewing platform, we stopped to survey the view, before crossing Grierson Road to reach the funicular.
At the upper viewing deck, we looked about once more. Things were certainly green this summer.
Passing the SW corner of the nearby Hotel McDonald, we paused to read the historic plaque, showing how the land around the hotel looked at the time it was completed in 1915. Things have certainly changed.
Two blocks further North is where the chaos all started. 102 Avenue was still shut down and torn up for construction of the new Valley LRT line, the Stanley A Milner Library reno was still ongoing and the City Hall wading pool/reflecting pond was not yet complete. Recent media comments on the library’s appearance have not been kind. Fingers crossed that the city finds a way to pretty this up by the time it is complete.
The new gleaming tall glass towers, now in the final stages of completion shone down on us. This weekend is the grand opening for the new JW Marriot Hotel in ICE District.
As we came to 101 Street, we opted to take a look at the Epcor Tower. It had been built in 2009, but we had never been inside. Our visit was primarily to see the Bosendorfer piano that was Canadian, Oscar Peterson’s favourite. But, it was the lobby art of the bear eating a salmon that really impressed us.
Back outside, we continued West along 104 Street, through ICE District. Past the new Edmonton, Stantec and JW Marriott towers, we meandered through construction hoarding, and along street edges by closed sidewalks. What must first time visitors trying to find their way in our city, think?
All this trudging through construction hoarded streets was tiring and we both realized we were hungry at the same time. We also both decided lunch would be at Tres Carnales, our local Mexican Taqueria. The downtown office crowd were not yet on lunch break, so we had no trouble fining a table and chowing down. Yum.
Back on the street, we walked East down Jasper Avenue past the Convention Center, but there was not much shaking on this street. The sun was now fully out and it was starting to warm up. Iced coffees were calling our names on our back deck, so we returned to the funicular….
…and the Low Level Bridge. As we crossed the bridge, we could see uprooted tree trunks drifting on the fast moving current. We hoped the pleasure boaters would not run into them. Turns out, there were some workers below us trying to dismantle the log jam on the bridge pier, towing each log out into the middle of the river, before letting it go. Where are the lumberjacks when you need them?
We paused for one more look at the skyline and the Low Level Bridge and headed back to our car. Mission accomplished.
Weeds compete for beauty with the potted plants, making for a pretty scene.