« June 2011 | Main | August 2011 »

July 16, 2011

Edmonton Day 6

So on my final full day in the city I decided I wanted to get a look at some of the art in the city. So after a lazy breakfast starting with orange juice, continuing with coffee & finishing with bacon & eggs, Hardave drove Mavis and I to the train station and we took the LRT to the Art Gallery of Alberta, which was running an exclusive exhibition on Andy Warhol.

Here's a few pics from along the way.

Sobeys is a major supermarket presence in Edmonton:
[picture: IMG_8054.jpg]

This is assuming a lot:
[picture: IMG_8056.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8059.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8060.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8063.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8066.jpg]

At our destination! The train stops very close by, and you get an admission discount for showing your LRT stub:
[picture: IMG_8068.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8070.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8074.jpg]

We saw Traffic, which was about conceptual/political art in Canada. From the AGA's webpage:

TRAFFIC: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980 is the first major exhibition in Canada to track the influence and diversity of Conceptual Art in works produced across the country, placing emphasis on the intensely artist-driven involvement in the emergence of this global phenomenon.

The most transformative art movement of the late twentieth century, Conceptual Art became a global phenomenon during the 1960s post-war political unrest that gave birth to anti-war protests and the student, women's, civil rights and gay liberation movements.
Presenting works by over seventy Canadian and international artists, TRAFFIC: Conceptual Art in Canada 1965-1980 also offers a glimpse of some of the movement's most energetic institutions in the form of the artist-run centres and networks. Concerned with language, body, place and geography--all constitutive elements and primary interests of Conceptual Art internationally--TRAFFIC is organized around urban and regional centres in Canada but seeks to capture the effervescent, and often contentious, lines of traffic between them.

The Warhol exhibition, Manufactured, was actually a guided tour. Our guide was very personable & informative. If you find yourself in the area I definitely recommend checking it out.

Now on view until August 21, ANDY WARHOL: Manufactured features almost 90 works by one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. The AGA is the only venue to present this show in Canada, which the largest exhibition of Warhol's work ever to show in Edmonton. The exhibition comprises rarely exhibited drawings, early commercial work, large-scale, iconic works on canvas, Heinz ketchup boxes and small-scale sculptures. Also included are Warhol's portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy and Judy Garland, several selections from the Campbell's Soup series and even some of the wigs that Warhol used to transform himself. The exhibition will also include an installation of Warhol's Silver Clouds in the 4th floor Borealis Room, a room not typically used as exhibition space. This installation can be accessed by the public during Gallery hours.

Warhol Silver Clouds installation:
[picture: IMG_8090.jpg]

A full-time resident's look at the marketing megalith that is Banff:
[picture: IMG_8091.jpg]

Soup Can Drive at the gallery benefitting the Edmonton Food Bank, dovetailing nicely with the Warhol exhibition. At the time I couldn't tell if it was a real drive or art -- perhaps a bit problematic?:
[picture: IMG_8096.jpg]

Someone booked the gallery for a wedding; it was beautifully done (and must have cost a fortune!):
[picture: IMG_8097.jpg]

After the gallery, we stopped and got some food from the street vendor -- Mavis got poutine and I got onion rings. Healthy right?

Walking through the mall:
[picture: IMG_8146.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8147.jpg]

Catching the LRT:
[picture: IMG_8150.jpg]

Bubble tea for the ride home!
[picture: IMG_8155.jpg]

Some of the funny art at one of the stops along the way, Southgate mall:
[picture: IMG_8159.jpg]

[picture: IMG_8160.jpg]

Harddave picked us up and we brainstormed some ideas for dinner.
Millcreek Pizza is a little owner-operated shop that specializes in Indian-style pizza -- something I'd never heard of:
[picture: IMG_8161.jpg]

Plain on the outside:
[picture: IMG_8163.jpg]

Awesome on the inside. We picked up two pies, one butter chicken, and the other veggie-paneer:
[picture: IMG_8164.jpg]

Capped the night with ginger beer and the movie Inside Man, which was very good, and, interestingly, had many references to the film I just watched, Dog Day Afternoon.

Another excellent day in Edmonton.

July 7, 2011

Edmonton Day 5

Friday -- Canada Day! -- we got up slowly and went to dimsum at a tiny little place in the seedier area of downtown, "The New TanTan". We met up with Mavis' friends Jeni and Sean. The food was great, considering the unassuming exterior of the restaurant:

[picture: IMG_7807.jpg]

Nearby we saw the gateway to Chinatown, which reminded me a bit of Victoria as well:
[picture: IMG_7809.jpg]

From dimsum we walked to City Hall, which was filled with hundreds of Canada Day revellers enjoying the county-fair-like food:

[picture: IMG_7825.jpg]

...the pool:
[picture: IMG_7828.jpg]

...the petting zoo:
[picture: IMG_7844.jpg]

[picture: IMG_7846.jpg]

...and some kind of show taking place inside the glass pyramid roof inside City Hall:
[picture: IMG_7850.jpg]

...even the Edmonton Transit System was was feeling patriotic:
[picture: IMG_7855.jpg]

From there, we walked to the Alberta Legislature in order to get a tour. On the lawn adjoining the space in front of the legislature, we saw a sign for a dog demonstration, and it was just about to start! So we checked it out:
[picture: IMG_7877.jpg]


After the show, we entered the legislature for a self-guided tour. They've got a dome just after you enter, just like the BC leg:
[picture: IMG_7886.jpg]

The unwashed masses, on-tour:
[picture: IMG_7888.jpg]

Some of the 83 seats in the Alberta Legislative Assembly:
[picture: IMG_7891.jpg]

A view from the gallery:
[picture: IMG_7919.jpg]

Stained glass in the gallery:
[picture: IMG_7920.jpg]

View from the 5th floor:
[picture: IMG_7928.jpg]

So the story goes one of the MPs was not so happy with the bland cafeteria food, so he brought in a hamburger from and tabled it as a motion (and yes, it passed):
[picture: IMG_7948.jpg]

After we finished the walking tour, we took the "Pedway" (underground pedestrian walkway network) to the LRT (subway). One of the neat features of the Pedway at the legislature is a big set of mirrors that lets people in the Pedway see what it looks outside:
[picture: IMG_7972.jpg]

...a closer look:
[picture: IMG_7978.jpg]

Hardave and Mavis in the "proof of payment zone", heading down-downstairs to catch the LRT:
[picture: IMG_7992.jpg]

On the LRT:
[picture: IMG_8000.jpg]

The Shaw Conference Center:
[picture: IMG_8007.jpg]

Me and the North Saskatchewan River:
[picture: IMG_8016.jpg]

After leaving downtown, we hit Save On and headed home. Mavis and Hardave cooked a great meal, which we enjoyed with Sean and Jeni and good conversation. After, dessert (a patriotic red and white strawberry shortcake!) and coffee, then we walked down to Mavis' Lakehouse, flag in hand:
[picture: IMG_8027.jpg]

Lots of new construction going on in Mavis' and many other neighborhoods around Edmonton; a stark contrast to the multitudes of abandoned/bank-owned properties in Sarasota:
[picture: IMG_8028.jpg]

Why did we hit the Lakehouse?
[picture: IMG_8039.jpg]

To see the fireworks, of course :)
[picture: IMG_8041.jpg]

July 2, 2011

Edmonton Day 4

So last night we checked into the charming Lobstick Lodge located in downtown Jasper (well, almost anything counts as downtown in Jasper), and went for a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant. A thunderstorm hit while we were eating, and even produced a couple of short power outages. Then it was run-to-the-car time and back to the hotel. Some Facetime with Joy and then it was bedtime. Our room didn't have built-in A/C, but it DID have a table fan on top of the entertainment center. Guess it doesn't typically get that hot, but it was that night.

[picture: IMG_6790.jpg]

The next morning we went for breakfast & had an item to mail. But we nearly missed the post office, because it looks like a house. Built in 1939 and still operational:

[picture: IMG_6820.jpg]

That business taken care of, we headed south to Athabasca Falls, which are like the Sooke Potholes on steroids. But at the Athabasca Falls, you do NOT want to get in the water, which is unbelievably powerful, and the drop, deadly:

[picture: IMG_6929.jpg]

[picture: IMG_6940.jpg]

Did I mention it was powerful?

This little 5-petaled pink flower was common at the falls. Turns out its a wild rose, Alberta's provincial flower:

[picture: IMG_7019.jpg]

After that we drove to back to Jasper and had a short drive to the Jasper Tramway:

[picture: IMG_7075.jpg]

It's a 7-minute trip, and takes you from 1304 metres at the base to a final elevation of 2277 metres (7472 ft):

[picture: IMG_7090.jpg]

[picture: IMG_7096.jpg]

When we reached the Upper Station, the temperature had dropped from 15c/59f to 0.5c/33f, and it was hailing:

According to the staff, hail is pretty unusual at the top of the lift.

[picture: IMG_7122.jpg]

We decided to wait it out a bit in the restaurant with hot chocolate and food, and, sure enough, 15 minutes later, clear skies! But we just got our food, and so, in another 15 minutes, visibility was again zilch :) But it cleared up again and we could see a walking trail to the mountain summit through the window.

[picture: IMG_7128.jpg]

[picture: IMG_7131.jpg]

I thought about the potential views from the increased elevation and it was more than I could resist! Hardave and Mavis decided to stay back, though, so I struck out on my own:

[picture: IMG_7138.jpg]

A few hundred feet up from the Upper Station:

[picture: IMG_7171.jpg]

A little further up:

Despite the ground being mostly piles of slate, a few plants still managed to thrive:

[picture: IMG_7194.jpg]

The further up I went, the more the ground was composed of slate turned on its edge:

[picture: IMG_7211.jpg]

As I reached what I thought was the peak, I peered over the edge, to find yet another peak, and a surprise!

[picture: IMG_7221.jpg]

A closer look:
[picture: IMG_7255.jpg]

Once at the snowman, I decided to just go to the top, after all it was so close, and why go this far and not? Well, it turned out not to be that simple:

So I didn't make it to the top, but honestly, I don't mind :)

Not that going back down was all that much better:

Heh. Alright onto the next pic. I think it looks like a rock-igloo. I found a similarly sized rock to use as a tripod nearby, set the 10-second timer, ran back and jumped into position, and crossed my fingers that the wind didn't knock the camera over (it didn't):

[picture: IMG_7273.jpg]

I was pretty confused when I saw this shot:
[picture: IMG_7278.jpg]

...I didn't remember seeing a hill like that. Well it turns out to be an optical illusion, and what appears to be a house at the top of a hill is actually the Upper Station about 600 feet below me. The foreground is actually at a slope of 20-25 degrees negative to the horizontal.

There were many inukshuk like these along the hiking route:
[picture: IMG_7282.jpg]

Once I got back to the Upper Station, we had a brief opportunity to take a couple more photos with clear skies and look around the gift shop, then it was back down the tram and into the car to head home. But even heading home was not uneventful; we saw a couple white-tailed deer:

[picture: IMG_7434.jpg]

We reached Edmonton around 8:30, had dinner at Swiss Chalet and were home by 10pm, in time to enjoy a nice sunset and reflect on another amazing day.

[picture: IMG_7777.jpg]

July 1, 2011

Edmonton Day 3

Got Tim Horton's, put on Metric's "Fantasies" and hit the highway. Road trip!!

[picture: IMG_5626.jpg]

[picture: IMG_5758.jpg]

We headed South from Edmonton and passed through Leduc, Ponoka, Lacombe, Bentley, Rocky Mountain House, Horburg, Harlech, Nordegg, the Kootenay Plains, the Saskatchewan River Crossing en route to the Columbia Icefields.

[picture: IMG_5815.jpg]

The landscape is filled with a lot of canola at this time, which you can tell by its bright yellow colour. There's also an Amish presence. When we first left Edmonton the land was flat; slowly rolling hills appeared, then BIG rolling hills, then the first mountains appeared. Then the first bear!

[picture: IMG_5875.jpg]

And our first ridiculously-colored lake! The color is created by the rock-flour suspension in the glacial runoff-supplied water.

[picture: IMG_6039.jpg]

Eventually we got tired of being cooped up inside the car and I wanted some exercise so I did weights:

[picture: IMG_6327.jpg]

We made it to the Columbia Icefields, which were amazing; we got to stand right in the middle of it.

[picture: IMG_6489.jpg]

What we're standing on in this picture is actually a moraine, a hill formed of crushed rock that can no longer be supported underneath the weight of a glacier and get pushed out to the sides:

[picture: IMG_6638.jpg]

Once we finished with the ice fields, we headed north to Jasper. On the way we spotted a goat!

[picture: IMG_6723.jpg]

...and a rainbow! No, it wasn't a double rainbow :)

[picture: IMG_6769.jpg]