VOLUME 2 // ISSUE 2 // JUNE 2011
EDITOR IN CHIEF Sherree Elm
ASSISTING EDITOR Kristen Wagner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Carrie Mayhew
WEB Cam Linke
GUEST EDITOR: KEN BAUTISTA
PHOTOGRAPHY Larissa Mack Nicole Ashley
FRONT COVER Chris LaBossiere and Don Riep Photo by Larissa Mack
What are entrepreneurs? Unstoppable. Relentless. Passionate. Creative innovators who
aren’t afraid to start, fail and try again. Entrepreneurs transform ideas into products and bold
Megan Sarrazin, Lisa Babiuk, Kristen Wagner, Jen Hardes, Danielle Paradis, Teresa Fisher, Lindsay Holman, Sarah Kmiech, Devon Bryce, Krista D. Ball, Paula Kirman, Vance Ternowski, Jon Squires
new companies. They create jobs in every industry, in every sector, profit and non-profit.
As you’ll learn in this issue of Merge, these qualities are what allow entrepreneurs to
F E AT U R E
propel Edmonton into the new economy. I’m an entrepreneur myself, co-founding two
06 // RAISING THE DOMAIN
20 // YARDSTICK SOFTWARE
40 // INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION:
08 // FOOSH
24 // ART WITH PURPOSE
10 // CATALYST THEATRE
26 // ACCELERATORS 28 // MAKE IT:
tech companies including Rocketfuel Games, an educational games startup; as well as
Sherwood Park Toyota, Coventry Homes, Ken Bautista, Next Gen, Culina Mutart, Edmonton Humane Society, Utopia Music Festival
the next gen organizations artsScene Edmonton and Startup Edmonton.
INQUIRES & ADVERTISING email@example.com
and Cam Linke), I knew this would be a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on the
12 // EAT LOCAL FIRST
entrepreneurial individuals working to create, innovate and drive change right here in our
hometown—like Chris LaBossiere and Don Riep, co-founders of Yardstick Software,
14 // CITY OF CHAMPIONS
DISTRIBUTION: 30,000 at Safeway, Sobeys, Mac’s, 7-Eleven, Bank of Montreal, Servus, College and University campuses, Trader Corporation, Classified Media, Metro News and in the Classified Media magazine boxes on streets and at bus stops. Edmonton events, business events, and non-profit fundraising events.
So, as this month’s guest editor (with the help of my Startup co-chairs Sam Jenkins
one of Alberta’s fastest growing companies; and Catalyst Theatre’s Eva Cairns, who’s leading one of the city’s most innovative arts companies. Stories like theirs define how Edmonton’s creative entrepreneur ecosystem is evolving, and why it’s such an exciting time to be a next gen-er in Edmonton.
PRINTING: Central Web Printing
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start something.
JOIN US ON www.facebook.com/MergeMagCa www.twitter.com/mergemagca www.mergemag.ca
Copyright © 2011 Merge Magazine. All rights reserved.
16 // EDMONTON HUMANE SOCIETY
41 // NEXTGEN MONTH 42 // NEXTFEST 2011 43 // CORPORATE CHALLENGE CALENDAR
44 // EVENT CALENDAR
32 // CAPTAIN TRACTOR 34 // ELM CAFE
19 // FACEBOOK VS.
30 // FAILURE IS ALWAYS AN OPTION
36 // CREDO COFFEE 38 // FIND YOUR NICHE
B I DUESAI S NESS
Fun. Engaging. Valuable.
These words describe unique Edmonton-based company Empire Avenue, a social media exchange that is taking online networking to a whole new level of play. Some call it a game, but to CEO and self-proclaimed coffee boy Duleepa “Dups” Wijayawardhana, Empire Avenue is an experience. The New Avenue for Online Social Media STORY: LISA BABIUK PHOTO: NICOLE ASHLEY
Think about how much time you spend online. Whether you like
see their shares rise or drop. This concept has appealed to
to market your business or Tweet about how a crumb shaped
mass audiences worldwide. “The game itself is appealing and
like a pigeon inspired you to take more walks in the park, most
engaging,” says Dups. He also states that those using the site
of us use some sort of social media tool on a regular basis. Just
often become more effective users of social media. “Suddenly
this morning, I watched a video posted on Facebook of a friend’s
they know how to manage their sites in ways they weren’t aware
baby. She just sat there. Forty-one seconds passed and the
baby did nothing. But I was compelled to watch every second. Why? Because like most of society, I like to feel connected to those around me. So what if you could get rewarded for the time you spend on social media sites? What if all your online action earned you money?
resulted from a discussion on Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. Dups and two of his friends, Niall Brown and Dr. Michael Mannion, thought about Marx’s belief that everything we do has value. The idea struck a chord with the trio. Each logging around eight hours a
Unlike other social media sites, Empire Avenue allows people to
day on social media sites themselves, they saw an opportunity
invest in your profile by purchasing shares. “It’s a social media
before them. “We thought that the content we produced online
site where you can invest in virtually anyone on the social web,”
was becoming more and more valuable,” says Dups. “We
says Dups. Members can meet new people and increase their
started to see this ‘economy’ through the lens of a virtual market
network, creating a deeper connection that is more personal
and social game.” And so, with a new idea in mind, they decided
than a “follower” and less intrusive than a “friend.” “You’re
to create one.
much more likely to connect to someone who is not in your friendship circle and hence, find those valuable connections,” says Dups. “Empire Avenue fits into the system between Twitter and Facebook, spanning the gap between the completely anonymous to the completely vetted.”
After tons of thorough research in 2009 and a successful launch to friends and family in early 2010, the trio introduced Empire Avenue to the public in July of the same year. Not even a full year later, the company has expanded to reach over 150 countries worldwide. “We’ve seen people connect across the world, we’ve
Dups describes the company as a network helping create
seen people get jobs, create relationships, create networks,” says
networks, thereby becoming a hub for other social media sites.
Dups. “These successes are beyond anything we imagined from
Empire Avenue will review your data and scores and match
creating a social game based on real life actions.”
you with people who have similar interests. “We evaluate your audience, interaction, activity and engagements in each of the social networks [like Twitter and Facebook] that you connect to us, then give you a unified share price,” Dups says. The bonus is that you get rewarded for all your daily online actions with Eaves, a virtual currency that enables you to invest and purchase more people, therefore increasing your own share value. Call it the stock market of social media. Part game, part tool and part social network, Dups and his team have made Empire Avenue an easy and interactive site for users. Members can easily look at their entire network and see what their current share price is; that is, the combined scores from all their social media sites, plus the number of people purchasing them. And as with the stock market, members can
Named after a road in St. John’s, NL, the idea of Empire Avenue
Part of Empire Avenue’s success stems from the passion of its team. Whether it’s about a journey to a new city, filing income taxes or Charlie Sheen’s virtual shares skyrocketing since his recent antics, you can find Dups regularly blogging on the company’s website. Throw in a comical YouTube instructional video starring Dups and Empire Avenue’s VP of Marketing Tom Ohle, and you get a well-rounded team that‘s both hard-working and entertaining. “We’ve created a very viable community that is continuing to grow…and have met some of the most interesting and most connected people,” says Dups. “The team is great, the community even greater and we’re going to have a great deal of fun with it all.” Only time will tell if their shares remain high.
FUN. PASSIONATE. LOCAL. STORY: DANIELLE PARADIS // PHOTO: PATRICK ZUBIRI
“THAT CREATIVE BUZZ KEEPS US GOING”
Maybe you’ve seen a bright orange marquee on Whyte Avenue, advertising audio and apparel. That’s Foosh, a store that sells an array of items, from records to shoes, to watches, and of course clothing. Foosh began twelve years ago, when Justin Der started a clothing line, and Rob Clarke a record label. They then united their two initiatives under the Foosh banner, becoming coowners of the company. “The store came after we actually started the company out of our basement,” Clarke says. “We were making clothing and dealing with distribution of records… and trying to do everything while working our day jobs. Then we decided we didn’t want to do our day jobs anymore.” “We pulled it all together to do something in the marketplace that wasn’t being done,” Clarke says. “We were doing the music, and the clothing, and the art.” In addition to selling merchandise, Foosh also sells tickets and promotes music events and DJs locally, which expands their network and deepens their relationships with customers, as they become more involved in all aspects of customers’ lives. You may be wondering what a “Foosh” is—I was. Clarke explains, “Foosh was just the name we went with when we started the clothing line back in the early ’90s. It’s my business partner’s nickname…Foosh comes from Fu-Schnickens, which is an old-school hip hop trio.” The owners have their hands in everything that is fun in Edmonton. They are DJs and music lovers. They throw events. They have fashion shows. Overall they are just creative and know how to entertain. The Foosh brand is ubiquitous among the partiers, the movers and the shakers of Edmonton.
In addition, the Foosh brand was already being sold in Calgary,
dealing with distribution to the store was different than when we
creative buzz keeps us going,” says Clarke. “That’s more
Edmonton, and several other Canadian cities. Der and Clarke
were making the product. [The accounting side of the business]
important than even the business itself—us being able to
were already interacting with their customers during the day
was really hard.”
They are still more creative than business-minded, but now that
I’d be remiss to not mention the records. Vinyl is a passion of
they have weathered a recession, Clarke knows they have learned
Clarke’s and even though it makes up only five per cent of the
the value of understanding the inner-workings of the business
sales, he is going to keep that passion going. Records are
down to the structure of budgeting and payroll, although the
distributed through treehouserecords.ca.
and night, pressing records, selling and consigning goods, and meeting people through DJing and the events they help to organize. Opening the store provided consumers with a place to go, as many of them were already familiar with the product. “The people who knew us trusted us,” Clarke says. “Once we
strength of the business remains the duo’s creativity.
had a storefront we could draw on those people.” The scope of
The recession was a hard time all over Edmonton. Manufacturers were cutting back distribution and shops were closing, but Foosh survived. “I think that we can always survive as long as we understand our customers down to the eye-level,” says Clarke. “Justin and I are always in the shop and we create within the store. We see everybody and they tell us [what’s wrong]. We’re not a large corporation who looks at the numbers and tries to figure out why we are down 10 per cent from last year. We see it
Foosh’s extensive network means the company doesn’t have to spend on advertising. They promote their company through Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth. Attracting customers was easy, but the dollars-and-cents part of the business equation was a challenge for Der and Clarke. “It was hard to get into the business side because we come from different backgrounds,” Clarke says. “We do the business
real time. It allows us to make products as things happen.”
The Foosh store had a leg up over competitors in its early
as a second nature because we understand the product and
stage, as Der and Clarke were both well-known as local DJs.
the customer, but doing bookkeeping, and doing budgets and
Foosh is active in the arts community, employing clothing designers, photographers, bloggers, DJs and artists. “That
Clarke wants to see Edmonton going the way of other cities he has visited by developing independent shops and boutiques. He emphasizes that the development of the independent retail sector rests in the hands of the consumer. “When you spend a dollar you are voting with that dollar,” he says. “When you spend money at Wal-Mart you are saying ‘I want this to exist.’” Clarke speaks a friendly but poignant reminder to Edmontonians to vote wisely with their money, and support the local independent stores that keep the City of Champions original and creative.
atalyst was founded in 1977 as a social action theatre
company. Its mandate changed in 1996 to focus on the creation of new works, and since 2006 the company has prioritized the
“We believe that Edmonton artists can stand among the best anywhere if we make choices that support ambition and excellence.”
development of one large-scale production every second year, along with the touring of each production. Since 1997, Catalyst has
“To really do that takes a lot of resilience, commitment and
toured its productions across Canada and the United Kingdom,
vision. I can tell you the path so far has not always been easy,
Australia, and the United States.
but when I am supporting artists who have such big visions and
Some of the company’s past productions include Frankenstein and Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. Hunchback, an interpretation of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, was commissioned by the Citadel and won rave reviews from both critics and audiences. One of the people behind this cutting-edge theatre company is Eva Cairns. Cairns has been the Managing Producer at Catalyst since 2006. “I started in an interim capacity and then never left,” she says. “I loved the big vision of the company and the courageous spirits of the artists. The people I work with every day are caring, committed and really good to each other.
who are so relentlessly determined it makes all the difference. We need to be able to keep our best artists here, and support them, to ensure the dynamic balance of emerging, established and senior artists that provides a healthy ecology.” Catalyst Theatre is one of the top local theatres that is both creating and exporting original works. Cairns explains that the success of the organization is definitely a team effort. “We have two resident artists, Jonathan Christenson [writer, director, composer] and Bretta Gerecke [designer of sets, lights, costumes and props], who have worked together as a team on every Catalyst show for the past thirteen years,” she says.
I have an exceptional working relationship with Artistic Director
“This long partnership has allowed for the evolution of a particular
Jonathan Christenson. It is a very personal environment. So far it
and very recognizable aesthetic. Jonathan and Bretta are not
has been very challenging but I have been fortunate to also see
afraid of being very big and bold in their choices and they do not
many rewards and results for all the work.”
fear failure. They are also relentless perfectionists and very hard
Cairns grew up overseas and settled in Edmonton in 1999 after moving around the country. “Edmonton provides committed audiences and great media support for theatre,” she says. “The
workers. We made a strategic choice five years ago to commit to fewer productions but put a lot of focus into each production. So our output is limited but hopefully each work has a big impact.”
work produced in Edmonton is very influenced by the two major
Catalyst’s recent strategies have worked in its favour, in
training programs [at the U of A and Grant MacEwan] as well as
particular by appealing to a wider audience. “Our work seems to
by the Fringe.”
effectively bridge a range of audiences—from teens to seniors
However, she also notes the challenges of working in theatre in the city. “A big challenge for our artistic community is that we are relatively isolated. This means that both practitioners and audiences do not benefit from the exposure and stimulus of outside work the way they would be in larger centres. We have to work a lot harder to get ‘on the radar’ nationally with audiences, colleagues and the media.” Cairns also believes that, despite the challenges the city presents, local artists have a lot of potential to develop Edmonton’s creative power. “We believe that Edmonton artists can stand among the best anywhere if we make choices that support ambition and excellence,” she says.
and newcomers to theatre as much as experienced theatregoers,” Cairns explains. “The very particular look and sound of our work is a draw, and audiences seem, for the most part, very willing to dive in and engage with us. I think we provide a great balance between the highly unusual and the accessible. With recent productions we tell well-known stories but in a very surprising way. Generally our subject matter focuses on big, universal emotions such as love and loss.” As for what is next in terms of Catalyst’s productions, eager theatre-goers will have to wait and see. “Jonathan, Bretta, and I are spending a lot of time these days on that question!” Cairns says. “We have a lot of ideas in the hopper. We haven’t made a final decision yet but we hope audiences will take the next leap of faith with us as they have in the past couple of years.”
Eat Local First LIVE LOCAL, EAT LOCAL
involved in all forms of food production—everyone from coffee
STORY: KRISTA D. BALL
grinders to pork producers to artisan bread bakers.
Did you know that the typical North American meal travels 2400 kilometres to reach your plate? Or that out of every dollar spent globally on food, 73 cents goes to transportation? It’s a sobering fact that Edmonton is situated in the midst of an agriculturally-
There are many studies that show eating locally-produced foods are good for the economy. Having a local food system that is profitable is important to Radies. She believes there is huge potential for economic growth for our rural producers and small
rich area, and yet most of the food on our plates is imported.
urban businesses, which is why Eat Local First offers many
Local restaurateur Jessie Radies feels this is “fundamentally
sauces, along with the standard local meats and vegetables.
wrong,” and her new business, Eat Local First, aims to tackle
different kinds of local foods, such as preserves, dressings and
A challenge consumers face when trying to convert to a local
It all started when Radies began sourcing local food for her
expensive than imported foods. However, Radies points out the
restaurant, The Blue Pear. She said it was a challenge for restaurants such as hers to acquire local produce from sources other than farmers’ markets.
diet is that locally-produced food can sometimes be more benefits of including some local food in a family’s diet. The most obvious benefit is the quality and freshness of the food: “The hamburger from us will taste different then the hamburger from
As a busy mom, Radies also wanted a way to provide fresh,
the grocery store.”
local food to her family without making a large time investment.
There are also benefits to both the community and our farmers.
She wanted to create a business she could use herself as a mom, as well as from the restaurant perspective. So, in 2010, Eat Local First was born. Eat Local First has been delivering fresh local food to many
Every time there is a frost in Florida or a freak snowfall in California, we endure $5 heads of limp lettuce for several months. Local greenhouses can help buffer food shortages when import crops are destroyed, keeping food prices reasonable.
Edmonton, St. Albert, and Sherwood Park homes for the
Radies points out that local eating keeps more money in our
last year. Radies is proud to bring local farmers, local food
local economy. When purchasing from a local food producer,
producers, and conscientious consumers together.
about $45 out of $100 stays in the community, compared to
Currently, Eat Local First offers over 800 food products from over 65 Alberta food producers and growers. The system itself
around $13 at a chain grocery store. More money is always good for local business growth.
is easy to use. Customers register at www.eatlocalfirst.com and
And, most importantly, as a mom, Radies says her children are
simply browse for groceries. Unlike some food delivery groups,
huge fans of eating locally. They get excited every week when
you don’t need to worry about getting items that you may not
the cooler arrives, hunting through it to see what goodies are
like or don’t want.
included. They dig into the vegetables and are not only excited
Then, the groceries are either delivered to your home for a small fee (provided you live within the delivery areas), or they can be picked up from the warehouse. You don’t even have to be at home for delivery—the groceries arrive in a cooler, protecting them from the elements. Radies says there is a large misconception that eating local in Alberta means meat and seasonal vegetables. “Our local food system is more than just cows,” she says. “We have cakes, breads, sauces, and greenhouses.” Also, Radies says that Eat Local First is not about getting customers to give up their favourite global foods, such as oranges or coffee. The company isn’t about promoting a 100-mile diet. Rather, its focus is on supporting the local businesses that are
to see the different variety, but also to taste them. What could be better than a child wanting to sink their teeth into a carrot grown just down the road? Eat Local First is a home delivery service for local food that commenced year round operations in April of 2010. This program gives 75% of revenues back to the local independent farmers and producers throughout Alberta and 1% in credit to not-for-profit partners to address food security issues within low-income families. Currently Eat Local First has over 65 farmers and producers supplying local food on a weekly basis and has contributed over $450,000 in revenue back to our suppliers, farmers and producers.
CITY OF CHAMPIONS 2.0
To compete, we need to mobilize people now who will
THE ENTREPRENEURIAL REVOLUTION
of startups based on the following ten principles:
STORY: KEN BAUTISTA
It’s amazing what happens to this city when it gets fired up about
connect the dots, and who will create a new generation
by hustle, passion and an unrelenting ability to find
key. Without them, new ideas and approaches can’t
Proven traction (small and large) goes a long way
solutions to problems.
be formed. We have top post-secondary educational
with customers and investors.
institutions and talented engineers, designers,
Money isn’t the main problem. It doesn’t take millions
in—it’s about the people. It’s about the opportunity to co-exist in a community of smart, creative, entrepreneurial people who also
dream big and hustle to make things happen. That’s what fires me up about Edmonton right now. A solid grassroots community of next generation entrepreneurs is forming and mobilizing from the bottom up. We’re expressing what’s important to us, how we want to live our lives, how we want to engage with each other and the world. It’s amazing what happens when you put a little vision out there, mixed with some hustle and a whole lot of commitment. People come out of the woodwork wanting to get involved. Since starting artsScene Edmonton and Startup Edmonton a few years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to meet amazing local engineers, designers, scientists, artists, creators and
only attracted more head offices, more big brands,
Don’t wait, start now. Recession or not, there’s never
is our problem. It just takes a little luck, hard work and
more venture capital, we’d stake our claim on the
been a better time to start something new. Time and
hustle to tackle the problem from the bottom up.
world stage. But that’s just not the case. Because, in
resources will always be limited. It’s about maximizing
Fail fast, fail hard, start again. Entrepreneurs are
comfortable with failing. Everyone fails. As Steve Blank, one of Silicon Valley’s leading minds on entrepreneurship, puts it: “Startups are about the
products, and take companies from startup to scale.
I’ve come to realize is that it’s not about the rankings, the civic
ourselves to other thriving cities. We can’t pretend to be something we’re not. It’s easy to think that if we
day one. Leadership is needed to transform ideas into
creative industries, information technology and globalization. What
caught up in the rankings game, constantly comparing
solution. A lack of good investable products and deals
difference, you need to think big and dream big from
We now live in an interconnected knowledge economy shaped by
in government spending and venture capital to create
Let’s be a great city, not a big city. It’s easy to get
a thriving industry cluster. Top-down money isn’t the
what you have so you can act. If you want to make a
why stay in Edmonton?
pride, the quality of life, or the stuff I can do in whatever city I live
want to invent new jobs instead of finding jobs.
by social status, ethnicity, or education. Instead,
Invent new jobs. Smart, connected people are the
forming new startups from teams of smart people who
York, Vancouver and San Francisco, I struggled with this question:
from creative entrepreneurs who aren’t defined creative entrepreneurs and their startups are defined
bring out a fierce passion in the community.
lucky enough to visit and work in other thriving cities like New
actually solving problems? Is what you’re creating
Startups can come from anywhere. Startups come
the way as you go from idea to startup to scale.
programmers, scientists and creators. The key is
But like our short summers, these times come and go, and with
of customers and users early and often. Are you worth paying for? Find ways to get small wins along
Playoffs, sporting events, cultural festivals, elections—all of these
them our sense of identity. Like other next gen-ers who have been
Proof goes a long way. Get your products in front
search for a repeatable and scalable business
the new economy it’s not about being big—it’s about being great. Through the years, one brand has stuck with Edmonton— the “City of Champions.” Outside of sports, I think it provides a worthy summary of a new vision of Edmonton as a city of creative
Create, build and share. There’s a time for strategizing,
model.” You don’t know the answer, and sometimes
and then there’s a time for doing. Build startups and
it just doesn’t work out, and that’s okay. The key is
products you’re passionate about, and solve real
being able to fail fast, learn from it, and move on. The
customer problems. Share your experience with other
worst thing is taking years to figure out that maybe
win and succeed. Sounds like an entrepreneur to me.
creative entrepreneurs. Share networks, technologies,
your product just isn’t that good and that’s why no
Welcome to the new City of Champions.
resources, space. Give back as much feedback as
one’s buying it.
you get to invest into the community.
Success breeds success. Edmonton has been quietly
Dominate niche markets. Unless you have a stockpile of cash, mass market wins are tough to come by. But in
outputting some of the most successful companies in technology, engineering, arts, and design—all key
the new economy, small is the new big. You can directly
areas in the new economy. It’s about inspiring and
connect with customers and markets anywhere in the
mentoring future generations of creative entrepreneurs
world online and through app stores. Dominate niche
to follow in their footsteps.
entrepreneurs. In the quest to be a champion, one hustles, fails, tries again, overcomes adversity, and drives forward with a will to
Ken Bautista loves talking about startups, games and learning, and his city. He’s the co-founder of Rocketfuel Games, an award-winning producer of interactive learning games played online and in the real world, and the co-founder of next gen initiatives artsScene Edmonton, Startup Edmonton, TEDxEdmonton,
markets by creating products that customers will buy
The Edmonton Champions Project, and Flightpath
Ventures, all aimed at making Edmonton a hotbed for creativity and entrepreneurship.
entrepreneurs, and I am often surprised at the work that’s happening right here in our city and beyond. There’s someone and something new to discover every day. I call it a revolution. It’s being led by smart entrepreneurs who are building on our past, re-investing existing wealth, harnessing the experience of the city’s business leaders, and establishing a new pipeline where the renewable resource is creativity. This is how we diversify. This is how we create new wealth to invest back into the community. This is how Edmonton wins in the new economy. But the stakes are high. We don’t have decades to put together roadmaps and strategies. Cities around the world are already investing millions of dollars and resources to attract and retain a new generation of connected young people who are building their futures.
Shawna Randolp AWARENESS
Edmonton Humane Society
ANIMAL SERVICES OFFERED
STORY: TERESA FISHER // PHOTO: LARISSA MACK
various types of pets, and both private and group sessions are
uddly kittens, delightful dogs, and even famished potbelly pigs are just a few of the hundreds of animals eligible for adoption at the Edmonton Humane Society.
Guinea pigs, ferrets, rabbits, birds, hedgehogs, and reptiles are among the interesting residents that call the 47,000 square foot building in northeast Edmonton their temporary home. These animals are looking for loving people to give them a permanent home. The Edmonton Humane Society is known for being committed to helping homeless and abused animals recover and re-enter compassionate and caring environments.
reinforcement methods. These programs teach pet owners how to encourage good behaviour so that both pet and owner can co-exist happily. A variety of different classes are offered for available. There are also demonstrations, workshops, seminars and clinics offered on a variety of animal behaviour topics. Katrina and Friends Dog Daycare is a place for pet owners who want a safe and fun alternative to leaving their pets home alone all day. Dog daycare helps keep dogs active, socialized, stimulated and well-behaved. The balanced environment offers healthy activity, exercise, and proper dog etiquette. The program runs Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Muddy Paws Self-Serve Wash and Groom is a coin-operated dog wash available for public use. Shampoo, conditioner, and flea and tick treatment are all dispensed by Muddy Paws, and
“Teaching people how to be responsible pet owners is one of
towels and grooming tables are available. This service is perfect
the biggest goals of the EHS,” says spokesperson Shawna
for those who don’t want to mess up their houses while trying to
Randolph. “In learning proper pet care techniques, people learn
bathe their pets!
how to be empathetic towards an animal’s needs.”
EHS’s Central Bark Off-Leash Club is a membership-only off-
Educating people in treating animals humanely and with dignity
leash dog park located at the Chappelle Centre for Animal Care.
Animal Safety and Dog Bite Prevention helps dog owners how
is the chief mission of the EHS. Founded by Rosetta Graydon
It provides a safe and fun environment for dogs and their people
to decipher the language of their pet. Participants will learn when
in 1907, the Edmonton Humane Society, formerly known as the
to play in a secure fenced area covering three acres of land.
it’s safe to approach a dog, the safest way to pet a dog, and
Edmonton SPCA, is a not-for-profit animal welfare society. For
Memberships range from daily drop-ins to annual passes.
what to do if approached by an unknown dog.
PEOPLE SERVICES OFFERED
Pet University is a program that offers a series of hands-on
over 100 years EHS has dedicated its efforts to providing both shelter and a voice for homeless and abused animals. And animals can stay at the shelter as long as is necessary. “There is no ticking clock on how long animals can stay,” Randolph says. “If they are healthy and adoptable then they can stay in the shelter,” she says. Animals are only euthanized if they are deemed unhealthy, and the animal’s quality of life is expected to be poor. The EHS provides services for both animals and humans alike. Caring for an animal is a fun and rewarding experience, but there are times when frustration kicks in and pet owners are left wondering what to do. This is where the EHS can lend a hand. Not only does the staff work with the animals in the shelter, but they also provide the public with tools to address any pet
The EHS is serious about having fun! So why not share your child’s birthday with some furry friends? You can book birthday parties for children that will be held in a privately reserved room. Children can play games, make crafts and interact with animals. Party schedules fill up fast, so booking well in advance is best. Day camps are a great way to keep children occupied and entertained during the summer months. Camp Sit. Stay! Play! provides the possibility for children to interact with the animals and to learn more about their world. With hands-on activities, animal encounters and crafts, children will learn compassion and caring through connecting and enriching experiences with the EHS’s furry residents.
behaviour issues that may arise. Proceeds from all programs go
The EHS offers tours of their facility that will show you what goes
directly back into the shelter.
on behind the scenes at an animal shelter, a meet-and-greet
With the variety of programs and services offered it is not hard to see why the EHS is such an integral part of life in Edmonton.
EHS offers behaviour and training support with positive
activities that will help reinforce skills and knowledge in pet and animal care. This course offers a variety of topics including veterinary care, grooming, costs of owning a pet, cruelty prevention and overpopulation. Volunteers are the backbone of the EHS, with around 700 people currently volunteering and hundreds more waiting to join the animal programs. While the EHS is not currently accepting volunteers for the animal programs, they are accepting volunteers in the following areas: fostering, corporate volunteering, school projects, alternative measures, photography, the retail store and medical support (registered AHTs). If one of the programs you are interested in is not accepting new volunteers, please watch the website for updates and information for when applications will be accepted.
with the animals, and ways to meet the animals’ needs. The
VISIT THE HUMANE SOCIETY’S WEBSITE AT www.edmontonhumanesociety.com or call EHS
facility tours can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
for more information on any of its programs.
The Society provides more than just a shelter—it’s a place that
A number of educational programs are also available. The Perfect
provides relief to animals that are in need, and a place they can
Match: Choosing the Right Pet is a presentation that helps
temporarily call home until the right human owner comes along.
participants to decide on which type of pet would be right for
The EHS is a champion for animal rights and it belongs in the
them, considering your lifestyle and the time, money, commitment
City of Champions.
and care level that are required after bringing a pet home.
STORY: DEVON BRYCE
ecause social media websites are inexpensive and
Emerging Business Leaders is primarily made up of young,
accessible, they’re a valuable tool for networking on
business-minded people, so they are quite familiar with
any level. Few people are without Facebook accounts
LinkedIn. Buchkowsky thinks LinkedIn is a great site for keeping
now, as the ubiquitous networking site has become one of the main online communication tools. It gives users the chance to connect with old friends or classmates and keep in touch with family members. Other sites, such as LinkedIn, offer users a more professionally-based platform to advertise their skills while networking and building online communities. Facebook’s popularity makes it an easy place for people to catch-up with lost contacts and get to know new acquaintances. But when using Facebook for networking, particularly for work, users have to be careful to not get distracted by apps and games.
professional profiles up to date. For those who aren’t familiar with LinkedIn, it is a professional networking site, much like Facebook in that it allows users to create a profile and connect with former and current classmates and coworkers. The site launched in 2003 and has since grown to over 100 million members in 200 countries. There are over three million members in Canada alone. Facebook is also utilized by many businesses and organizations. Launched in 2004, the site now has over 600 million active users. Groups can post information, photos and send messages to members. These tools allow companies to get the word out, but
As well, one of the greatest problems Facebook presents is
they aren’t as effective for recruiting as LinkedIn. In April 2011,
the temptation to over share. Inappropriate status updates and
Facebook launched a new portal for advertisers to help develop
pictures of people partying can cause negative reactions if your
brand promotions and campaigns, such as those used for the
boss, co-workers, or potential employers are on your “friends”
television shows True Blood and American Idol. For smaller
list. Talking about work politics online can easily get around the
companies, nonprofits and the average individual there are still
office. Sites like failbook.com are rife with examples of errors in
free business and fan pages.
judgment made on Facebook.
Despite the problems with Facebook, many groups find it
Will Buchkowsky is a co-founder of Emerging Business Leaders,
very effective for reaching out to the public. Jamey Hawtin,
a networking organization for young professionals. He says that
vice-president of the Edmonton chapter of Junior Chamber
employers often look up applicants’ Facebook pages to see how
International says Facebook has “proven to be a very successful
they present themselves publicly. He notes that many people
tool for getting people to our events.” Hawtin uses Facebook a
forget that Facebook is a public site. LinkedIn, on the other
great deal for JCI, which is a nonprofit organization that brings
hand, is purely for professional networking.
young entrepreneurs and professionals together to empower
Buchkowsky started Emerging Business Leaders two years ago with a friend in order to meet new people and talk about ideas. “I missed the interactions I had in school where I was
positive change both locally and internationally. The Edmonton chapter has both a group page and fan page on Facebook, although for Hawtin its primary use is for advertising events.
always meeting new people and finding new inspirations,” he
Hawtin points out that while online information is a great tool,
says. The group gets together monthly to hear a speaker and
it isn’t the most important. “Social media is essential to any
discuss ideas. They’ve heard from business leaders like Mayor
business, group or person trying to make connections and
Stephen Mandel and Steve Hogle of the Katz Group.
invaluable for promotion,” she explains, “but nothing beats face to face networking. The best conversations happen when we meet.”
F E AT U R E
MEASURING SUCCESS WITH YARDSTICK SOFTWARE.
NO MATTER HOW MUCH FOCUS AND PLANNING GOES INTO DEVELOPING A BUSINESS MODEL, FINDING CLIENTS AND EXPANDING A PLATFORM, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT THE BUSINESS WILL FLOURISH. BUT ONE LOCAL BUSINESS HAS BLOSSOMED INTO A SUCCESSFUL CORPORATION THAT IS DOMINATING THE TECH SCENE, DESPITE AN INITIAL LACK OF COMPANY CREATING INTENT. STORY: MEGAN SARRAZIN // PHOTO: LARISSA MACK
Chris LaBossiere and Don21 Riep
ardstick Software began in President and co-founder
Don Riep’s basement as he and Chris LaBossiere, co-founder and CEO, prepared to write their private pilot exams. In this process, it became evident to the pair that an online study tool was needed that could compete with traditional textbook prep materials. Out of this frustration, Yardstick Software was born. “In 2004, Chris and I met while training to be private pilots [in Edmonton], and found there was a need for a good test preparation tool for the Transport Canada exam,” says Riep. “It was then that we decided that we would create and launch a small online test prep site for Canadian pilots.” The project’s inception came just a few years after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the aviation industry was still trying to recover from the consequent turmoil. As a result, there was not a whole lot of money to be made in the company’s initial stages.
“We have a skilled and energetic team of 16 Yardstickers that
Since the company’s humble beginnings in 2004, the business
all love what they do, and it shows in our company’s success,”
has evolved significantly into a powerhouse ready and eager to
serve clients. Despite a long list of accomplishments, there is
Facing this challenge, the duo put their thinking caps on
“This year we underwent a dramatic brand change, but more
and discovered something that would change their business
importantly, a corporate re-invention of our business where we
have refined our target markets and product/service offering
The company makes a point of hiring people that are a good fit
to where it meets our company-wide goals and enables us to
for the company, and also have the skills needed to move the
Yardstick will be zeroing in on the key markets of certification
deliver a better product and service to our customers to ensure
company into the future.
and licensure, e-learning solutions for associations and
“Although it was initially meant to be a hobby site, what we realized is that we didn’t just have a test prep site for pilots, but we had an online testing engine that could be used for other industries,” says Riep. This realization has ultimately led the Yardstick team to be recognized as one of Alberta Venture magazine’s Fast 50 every year since 2006. They were also named one of Profit magazine’s Top 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in 2010. After the duo had created a solid plan for growth, LaBossiere quickly began pursuing other markets while Riep was hard at work building various features to satisfy those markets. Their dedication to the project enabled them to hire additional personnel. At this point, it was time to fasten the seatbelts and prepare for take off, as the company was just getting started and was about to grow at a breakneck pace. What began with only a handful of projects has expanded to serve over 350 independent sites for “test preparation, online training, high-stakes exams and academic testing,” according to Riep. Yardstick works with various groups, from government to educators to other associations and organizations, to “set standards of their separate industries through online testing and training,” says Tracey Hill, Director of Media and Communications.
Recently, the company underwent a bit of a facelift.
customer delight,” explains Riep. They welcomed a new corporate website as well as developed a more focused business model, a revamped brand and a strengthened set of core values. These core values are what truly set Yardstick apart. “What sets Yardstick apart can really be summed up in a statement: we are a strong service company, backed by a great product,” says Riep. “Many people think of us as just a company with great software, where in fact, we are a full-service company that offers much more than just our platform,” he adds. The software offered by Yardstick is no doubt a stand-alone asset, but combined with the dedication and desire to produce
“OUR CULTURE AT YARDSTICK IS IMPORTANT TO US, AND WE TRY AND MAINTAIN THIS CULTURE WITH PEOPLE THAT WORK WELL IN IT. OUR CULTURE SHOWS IN EVERYTHING THAT WE ARE, AND EVERYTHING THAT WE DO.”
a client-specific entity, Yardstick has been able to soar above the competition. “Our customers come to us because we offer a start-to-finish solution where we take care of everything, and where they can continue to focus on their core business,” explains Riep. This commitment to client satisfaction has come as a result of the dedicated team behind Yardstick. According to Riep, Yardstick’s success is largely due to the hardworking team.
still more to come on the horizon.
corporations, academic exam solutions and government training and testing. “These markets are where our services and platform excel, and where we drive our sales and marketing efforts,” says Riep. There is also a division of Yardstick called “Yardstick Ventures,” which focuses on partnerships with content experts in commercializing their content and Yardstick also owns and operates sites for particular industries—an example being the safety industry, as Riep points out. Although the company has had a fruitful seven years, there is no slowing down for Yardstick. The company will continue to project their view into the future and will continue to evolve with the demands of their clientele.
“Our culture at Yardstick is important to us, and we try and maintain this culture with people that work well in it. Our culture shows in everything that we are, and everything that we do. It’s obvious from our office and surroundings. It shows in our core values, and most importantly, it shows in our team,” says Riep. The company’s ability to adapt to change has also aided in its successes. Riep notes that the team is constantly reevaluating its strengths, weaknesses, core values and overall focus to
Riep expresses a desire for Yardstick to remain focused on the future. “I believe, too often, that companies are too focused on running the business that they are today, and don’t take a step out of operating the company, looking ahead, and predicting and preparing for what lies ahead, whether that is opportunity, or potential disaster.” // www. yardsticksoftware.com
“continue to be an industry-leading platform.”
So where does Edmonton fit in? Though threatened by the abundance of larger design centers, Edmonton is still capable of becoming a leader in Service Design. According to Antoniuk, this field does not require the highly complex and integrated manufacturing hub that our city lacks. What our city can offer, and offer tremendously well, is the education obtained through programs such as Industrial Design at the University of Alberta. DESIGNING
“Having this thorough knowledge will help Edmonton designers
continue evolving in their research and design methodologies,” says
Antoniuk. “Essentially, this will result in the creative and exploratory sensibility needed to positively impact the human condition.” Former co-director of the University of Alberta’s Student Design Association, Jordan Tomnuk, agrees. “Having programs like these helps promote local [student] designers within the community, and influences others using local design talent,” he says. With a love for both the fine arts and the ability to design products that affect the lives of others, Tomnuk transitioned into industrial design so he could create products that were both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Declaring himself a
The efforts of Edmonton’s design talents are not unnoticed locally. But in a world filled with bigger and better design centres and manufacturers, how can our city showcase its design talents more effectively?
product of his environment, Tomnuk believes his experiences in
Let’s start with oil. Since Edmonton is widely recognized for its
Edmonton have made his designs and methods unique in the
role in the oil industry, other sectors, such as design, can often
international scene. “The talent that Edmonton has is huge,”
be overshadowed. Looking at other economic endeavours that
Tomnuk says. “Once you immerse yourself in this community,
could profit from Edmonton’s creative community might help
you realize the vast potential within.” Living in Edmonton has
dispel the notion that Edmonton only has a few tangible benefits
also motivated Tomnuk to utilize the resources around him,
to offer the rest of the world.
resulting in high-quality, environmentally-conscious products that
Though Edmonton hasn’t quite become a landmark for product
help sustain our local economy.
design, numerous local organizations such as MADE (Media Art & Design Exposed) and artsScene Edmonton are helping promote the city’s creative community and gain exposure for local design talent. With the assistance of other local businesses and government funding, organizations such as
STORY: LISA BABIUK
these can continue increasing Edmonton’s economic activity on
he word “design” can be interpreted in many different
began, the U of A, where he currently teaches in the Industrial
ways. For the creatively challenged, the term may best
be represented through squiggly doodles on a Post-It.
But to our city’s best designers, the definition is so much more.
to implement the ideas and talents of our local designers, Edmonton will have a place alongside Vancouver and Toronto as
As a firm believer in the idea that people do not have to look
one of Canada’s creative capitals.
much further than their own backyard for inspiration, Antoniuk
After all, our city has provided a diverse array of successes in
You don’t have to be creative to appreciate great design. Look
remained in Edmonton even at the height of his company’s
around you—everything you see was impacted by design. From
success. “A lot of people said we should move to New York [or a
the office you work in, to the phone you can never seem to put
similar big centre], but we felt our surroundings provided enough
down, to the apps you are constantly downloading—none of
creative influences,” he says.
these things would exist without design. But does Edmonton
a greater international scale. By having the resources needed
the design field. Natalie Kruch recently found success with her debut Balloona stool for the international furniture distributor Umbra. Ben King has taken his talents to the field of medicine, where his innovative designs and 3D models have helped expose
Antoniuk reminds his Industrial Design students to remain
surgeons to a new and unique way to improve patient health and
grounded and realize that regardless of where they live, they
well-being. And Todd Cherniawsky moved on to become one
To answer this question, I enlist the help of the city’s best
have the ability to set trends and help create massive change in
of Hollywood’s greatest production designers, art directing for
product designers. Designer and University of Alberta professor
our future. “The era of designing strictly to make something look
blockbusters such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, and set
Tim Antoniuk has had a variety of experiences as an Edmonton
good is far behind us,” says Antoniuk. “There is a big movement
designing for movies like The Hulk and Armageddon. With such
designer. He was first an Industrial Design graduate from the U
toward designing in a socially and environmentally aware and
a range of success stories, one can only speculate where design
of A; then he worked as a partner and designer for Hothouse
conscious manner that considers the well-being of people today
will take Edmonton talents next.
Design Studio, an innovative furnishings company that reached
and of future generations.”
have what it takes to be a creative centre for product design?
international success; and finally, he returned to where it all
ACCELERATOR SUCCESSES IN OTHER TECH CITIES
DO ACCELERATORS REALLY WORK? There is considerable debate around the successful nature of accelerator and seed funding programs. The purpose of an accelerator is to enable a startup to bridge that gap between the idea and its viability. Successful accelerators are more about the community and
EVERY DAY IN OUR CITY, BRILLIANT
MENTORSHIP and CONNECTIONS, which
the people in it than the funding provided to founders. The
IDEAS ARE CREATED OUT OF THIN
give founders access to investors and other entrepreneurs, in
mentorship is what gives entrepreneurs the tools and the
order to facilitate the rapid nature of accelerated growth.
sounding board in order to get an idea to the stage that requires
AIR BY INSPIRING ENTREPRENEURS. Sometimes, entrepreneurs act on an idea, and try to start
Many elements make Edmonton an ideal city to support a new
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT FOR EDMONTON TODAY?
any degree of success.
accelerator program. There are several ingredients that make
In many ways, Edmonton needs to transform itself, and the city’s entrepreneurs should be the ones to do that. This city
We’re constantly reminded of this challenge. According to Industry
cities like Edmonton successful, specifically in the field of tech entrepreneurship.
needs to evolve past being dependant on certain economic
something new, innovative or different. Unfortunately the idea itself, regardless of its genius, is never enough to guarantee
Canada, only 70 per cent of small businesses survive the first five years after launching. There are literally hundreds of economic
Richard Florida, the best-selling author of The Rise of the
factors plotting against the success of the budding entrepreneur.
Creative Class, has studied how certain cities and regions are
Starting a new business venture is not easy. Once an entrepreneur
argues that there are three elements that make a creative city:
has a kernel of an idea, success requires a combination of time, capital, people and connections. That’s why founders frequently look to outside help to enable growth, create stability and develop a foundation for success. In today’s technology-charged marketplace, entrepreneurs need to act quickly, and either succeed or fail, in order to move onto the next opportunity. Today, entrepreneurs can find support, guidance and funding from seed accelerators, highly intensive programs that give support to founders and their startups through space, investment, education and
able to champion cultures of successful entrepreneurs. He talent, tolerance and technology, all of which Edmonton has ready access to.
to continue to invest in this city through job and business creation, volunteerism and philanthropy. This is part of our call to action for The Edmonton Champions Project, an entrepreneur-led initiative that will see us invest in 500 creative entrepreneurs over the next 5 years; and the accelerator.
success. With several major post-secondary institutions, we have the capacity to produce highly-educated talent. These people are the founders who take the first step in coming up with ideas that can change the world.
Seed accelerators generally are unique through several different components:
economy of both white- and blue-collar capabilities. As the
COMMUNITY, generated by a series of companies
us with the capital needed to build industries that will support
gateway to the North, our resource-rich economy has provided the next 100 years.
located in the same office space, promoting collaboration
In Richard Florida’s Three Ts, technology represents the
EQUITY INVESTMENT, providing the founders
infrastructure required to fuel an entrepreneurial culture. In the
individual startups and product development.
entrepreneurs to start businesses, and stay in Edmonton
skilled people—the first building block required for overall
Over the past century, Edmonton has grown into a wide-ranging
with seed capital in order to dedicate themselves to their
than those who fill them. We need that next generation of
launch of Flightpath Ventures, Edmonton’s new tech startup
TOLERANCE AND DIVERSITY
founders moves through the program simultaneously, all
sectors, and it needs more people who make jobs, rather
Edmonton has an endless supply of talented, educated and
mentorship—all within short, six-to-12-month windows.
joining the program at the same time. This community of
THE CASE FOR AN ACCELERATOR IN EDMONTON
case of accelerating the startup process for Edmonton-based companies, this infrastructure includes a government that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to be successful.
Our city needs an ecosystem that attracts and supports successes and failures. Flightpath is our answer for software and media startups, but I anticipate other programs to launch
Accelerators are being set up all across the continent, and around the world. There are over 100 accelerators in North America, supporting the growth of thousands of tech startups. These are a few examples of accelerator programs from around the world that have spawned both major successes and quiet failures.
TECHSTARS TECHSTARS.ORG One of the most popular accelerators in North America, TechStars was established in 2006. Since inception, 81 companies have moved through the TechStars program, in Boulder, Boston, Seattle and New York City. A total of 359 jobs have been created, over $42 million in venture capital has been invested, and 70 of the 81 companies are still active.
Y COMBINATOR YCOMBINATOR.COM Since 2005, Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator has funded over 300 startups, including several recognizable tech companies, including Reddit, Wufoo, Disqus, Dropbox, Posterous and Bump.
in other creative and innovation sectors. Accelerators help our city be competitive on a global scale, and create those success stories that Edmontonians can be proud to talk about.
Sam Jenkins is an organizer behind the Edmonton Champions Project and a co-founder of Flightpath Ventures, Edmonton’s first startup accelerator. He is also currently serving as the President of Fringe Theatre Adventures, which could be considered Canada’s original theatre accelerator.
STARTUP BOOTCAMP STARTUPBOOTCAMP.DK Startup Bootcamp is the most prominent accelerator in Europe, with installations in Madrid, Copenhagen, Dublin, Berlin and London.
STORY: LINDSAY HOLMAN
Is it possible to make a living as an artist? Jenna and Chandler Herbut, co-founders of Make It! The Handmade Revolution, think so. While a natural divide seems to exist between business and art, the siblings whole-heartedly believe that with a little effort, business-savvy artists can easily make a living with their passions. “Some designers, at first, just have it as a hobby they’re doing. They really love it, but they don’t find it feasible to do full-time,” says Jenna. Becoming guarded about artistic endeavours, as well as lacking in entrepreneurial and networking skills can be obstacles on the road to success for artists. “Artists don’t always start out as the best
Today’s artist not only needs to showcase their work, but also
salespeople. It’s hard to be good at the marketing side of things,
must become somewhat familiar with the industry. Chandler and
[both] sales and the creative part,” says Chandler.
Jenna cannot stress enough the importance of marketing and
Jenna and Chandler are both designers themselves, and are
social media when it comes to being successful in the business
fortunate enough to have studied business at the university level.
world. “Try and learn as much as you can about business, talk to
“We are very much into the marketing and business side of things.
other entrepreneurs, and network like crazy,” says Jenna. Events
We love art and we love the whole DIY creative side, so it’s kind of
like Make It! offer a place for artists to do all these things.
cool to merge the two together and create something,” says Jenna.
Jenna and Chandler note that more and more people are
It was their love and understanding of both art and business that
seeking out handmade and “artist- and artisan-friendly” items
led to the creation of Make It! The Handmade Revolution in the
over store-bought. “The people that come to our events are
summer of 2008. The event is a craft sale, but it is meant to reach
educated and understand why they’re buying handmade,”
a younger demographic than traditional craft sales do. “It’s like a
says Chandler. Buying straight from the creator of a product
craft sale, but cooler,” says Jenna. “We just wanted to create a
is a positive experience in itself. It is not just the product that
really cool show that all of our friends would want to come to, but
is appealing, however. Jenna says that people love to hear
also that was really designer- and artisan-friendly.”
not only helps local artists and artisans, but also adds a personal
the stories and passion behind the product.
Chandler says that Make It! is like a mullet: “Craft sale in the front,
touch. “Even if you’re not creating yourself, at least you made the
Make It! has fostered the development of a tight-knit community
and party in the back.” With the addition of music, a bar, and hip
effort to go somewhere and engage someone who is. That magic
of artists and entrepreneurs, but support in the artistic community
handmade products, Make It! has become the craft sale for the
rubs off on the product,” says Jenna.
has reached new heights with the help of modern technology.
Make It! is an example of how artists and artisans can become
The event began in Edmonton in 2008 and showcased local
successful in the cutthroat world of business. “[Make It!] gives them
talent. It soon expanded to Vancouver and Calgary, and now
an avenue to make money doing what they love. You could have
hosts vendors from all over Canada and the United States.
a passion and make something awesome, but if you don’t have
Make It! runs twice a year in all three cities, although Jenna
somewhere to sell it you’re not going to make any money at it.
and Chandler note that they will be discontinuing their Calgary
We’ve seen a lot of designers make it their career,” says Chandler.
show and focusing more on Vancouver and Edmonton. The siblings consider Edmonton to be more of an “arts” city. “As far as marketing to the masses, we find Edmonton is really great because there are a lot of independent thinkers.”
Essentially, exposure is key. Although some artists find it difficult to share their work before it is perfected, it is important for them to get out there and show the world what they can do. “I’m sure a lot of them have follow-ups with galleries and stores. A whole lot of
Online communities such as Etsy.com are increasingly important. Etsy.com is a community of artists and consumers that, like Make It!, provides a choice: it enables people to make a living by making things. Kickstarter.com, another notable site, enables people to fund a vast variety of creative projects. The handmade movement proves that art and business are not mutually exclusive. While the modern-day artist does need to possess some business sense, it is clear that many consumers are keen to buy unique items over taking a trip to their local mall. With a little effort, and the utilization of artistic communities, both online and in-person, gone are the days of the starving artist.
From jewelry and vintage items to handbags and paper crafts,
store buyers come to seek out new talent, and so it’s kind of cool
Make It! provides an alternative to everyday, mass-produced gift
for a store buyer from Whyte Avenue to find stuff that no one else
Make It! The Handmade Revolution will return to Edmonton once
ideas. Chandler and Jenna feel that purchasing handmade gifts
is carrying,” adds Jenna.
again Nov. 17-20, 2011. // www. makeitproductions.com
goals, sometimes these goals are inaccurate or unrealistic. “Early on, people make big decisions,” says Linke. “They’re going to raise money here, and they’re going to have this many customers by this time, and as soon as they walk out the door the statement is basically useless, because they haven’t talked to anybody yet. They haven’t figured out what people are going to buy.”
IN THE WORLD OF BUSINESS, FAILURE IS DEFINITELY AN OPTION, AND IT’S NOT ALWAYS A BAD ONE. STORY: VANCE TERNOWSKI
“WITH LITTLE STEPS, THERE IS NO DEAD END... WHEN THERE IS NO DEAD END, THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A NEW COMPANY TO BLOSSOM INTO A SUCCESSFUL ONE IS ALWAYS PRESENT.”
PETS in the Park
Pride also throws a monkey wrench into the success of many companies. Without realizing and accepting their problems, entrepreneurs do not adjust their startups to match the market or make decisions that will benefit their future success. While it shows belief in the company and a desire to succeed, this kind of pride has the exact opposite effect that the entrepreneurs want. “Sometimes companies are four or five year [old] startups and they’re doing the same thing the whole way, when really you should be a startup for maybe a year,” Linke says. “At that point, if you’re not getting any traction, you have to figure out how to
magine a grizzled war veteran trapped behind enemy lines
simple or complicated. But the real trick to a successful business
with his platoon of fresh young recruits. They are surrounded
startup, according to Startup Edmonton’s Cam Linke, is to find
Fortunately, there is a way for entrepreneurs to help their company
on all sides, and the situation is hopeless. One of the recruits
these problems early on and remedy them quickly.
grow. According to Linke, the trick is to catch problems early on.
falls to the ground, ready to call it quits, when the veteran shakes him by the collar, and tells him in no uncertain terms that “Failure is not an option!”
“It starts like a science experiment. It’s a whole bunch of guesses, and you’re hoping that they either hit, or you learn from it,” Linke
“It’s about getting people to fail quickly and figure out whether their idea is right or wrong as quickly as possible,” he says.
says. “The smaller and quicker you can make these guesses the
All parts of the business should be monitored and their success
Failure has always been part of life. If there can be success, then
better. The quicker you can fail and learn that nobody in the area
carefully gauged. If the product is not appealing to customers,
of course there is the possibility of not succeeding. But failure
wants your product, the quicker you can get to the right answer.”
then an adjustment is necessary. If a program is difficult for
is seen as something undesirable, something we should try to avoid. Failure has come so far as a negative occurrence that even the word “fail” itself is used to show mockery and disdain when someone doesn’t accomplish a goal. In fact, the word is now a noun as well as a verb. It rolls off the tongue like a frequently used curse word, and it hurts just as much as any insult. In the world of business, however, failure is definitely an option, and it’s not always a bad one.
The goal of Startup Edmonton is to bring together local entrepreneurs, and promote the growth of efficient startup companies, as well as encourage the growth of a whole startup community. Linke and Ken Bautista are co-founders of the organization.
you say ‘Wow, this is terrible and it’s not working,’” Linke says. “With little steps, there is no dead end.” And when there is no successful one is always present.
failure is tied into an error in judgment or a miscalculation in what no way to know anything about a company’s chance at success
employee, businessman or entrepreneur, there is one thing you
before it exists.
the creation of a product or the idea for a new service. It can be
break it down, the easier it is to avoid hitting a dead end where
it is impossible to account for all of them. For many companies,
officer, a piano player, a sanitation engineer, or any kind of
potentially be done wrong. It can start right from the top, during
that need to be acknowledged and modified. “The more you can
dead end, the opportunity for a new company to blossom into a
the buying public is interested in spending money on. There is
for failure. Every career requires action, and every action can
undoubtedly stop using that program. But it is these small failures
There are many factors that affect the success of a business, and
Whether you are a real estate agent, a gourmet chef, a police
have in common with anyone in any other profession: the capacity
a group of people to understand and use, then they will
The idea of a startup is to lay down ground rules for the company based on some very intangible things. While it is important to approach a startup venture with a general timeline and some basic
Of course, the true test of a company’s strength and ability to adapt is its reception among customers. The product will be a success or failure based on how well it reaches the people it was intended for, whether or not the company deems it successful. As always, it comes down to whether or not people will shell out their hard-earned dollars. “It’s about finding that first customer and getting feedback,” Linke says. “If someone is willing to pay money for it, then you know you’re on the right track.”
STORY: JON SQUIRES // PHOTO: NICOLE ASHLEY
In the province so devoted to the cult of Nickelback, it is refreshing to experience music of a different genre performed by talented and passionate musicians. Local bands F&M and Captain Tractor pulled off a show on May 13 that was indeed refreshing. The show opened with F&M, a local, internationally touring folk rock band fronted by Ryan and Rebecca Anderson. I’ve seen a wide variety of opening acts over the years, both as a spectator and musician, and it is not uncommon for me to wish I had stayed home until the main act. But this was not one of those times. F&M combined great musicianship with haunting, beautiful melodies, and a unique stage presence, making for a show that was soothing yet captivating. Equally as delightful as
Although every musician on stage held his own behind the microphone, Chris Wynters proved to be the vocal stronghold of the band. Wynters’ shone vocally on “Memory Street,” a sad and nostalgic song off their newest album. The band also displayed great stage presence, charming the audience between songs with their wit and clever storytelling. Every musician had impressive control over his or her instrument, and the harmonies were phenomenal. Drummer Jules Mounteer and bassist Jon Nordstrom held down the rhythm in solid fashion. Scott Phillips, while displaying strong vocals, also proved to be a great guitarist and mandolin player. With a solid foundation in place, Shannon Johnson and Jason Kodie did some catchy decorating with the fiddle and accordion.
the live show is their newest release Sincerely F&M, which is a
Following the show I was anxious to spend some time listening
must-have for any fan of folk music.
to my new CD. Just like the show, the recording did not
Following a talented band such as F&M is not easy task, but Captain Tractor, a group that is celebrating the release of their eighth album, Famous Last Words, proved more than capable. With driving rhythms and energetic stage presence, Captain
disappoint. The tracks were well-recorded and every instrument was tasteful and not overplayed. The album is playful at times and serious at others, but there is no mistaking its sincerity and devotion to simply having a good time.
Tractor was a decided change of pace. As a native of an Irish-
Captain Tractor is the most entertaining band I have seen in
influenced city on the east coast I am often skeptical of bands
a long time. Paired with a band like F&M, the band put on a
who too freely describe their sound as “Celtic.” But there was no
dynamic show that proved to be the breath of fresh air the music
mistaking what defined Captain Tractor—this band does Celtic
scene so desperately needs. If you are looking for something
and they do it well. The show was undeniably fun—more like an
relaxing yet intriguing, be sure to check out F&M. On the other
east coast kitchen party than a concert.
hand, if you want to let loose and dance away some stress, Captain Tractor is a band you will not want to miss.
The “skeleton menu” consists of muffins, soup, salad, hot and cold sandwiches and dessert, but the individual items are far STORY: SARAH KMIECH
from generic. On Monday you may have the pleasure of eating an apple blackberry muffin with a curried tuna, chevre cheese and spinach sandwich. Then on Tuesday the menu could offer you a white chocolate blueberry muffin and a savory sun-dried tomato hummus, feta, basil, peppers and cucumber veggie sandwich. There are always new taste experiences happening at Elm Café, and they can be found via the café’s Twitter feed at @elmcafe. The ingredients Box uses in his café creations are very carefully thought out, and he speaks highly of the relationships he has formed through the food purchasing process. He gets his protein from Four Whistle Farms in Millet, AB. Pork comes from Irving Farm Fresh, an hour southeast of Edmonton. He gets his herbs from the Morinville Greenhouses. The coffee is from 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters based in Vancouver, and his bread is from the Italian Centre downtown. Running out of only 195 square feet, Elm Café may be small, but it more than makes up for its limited space by serving the
Everyone expects to find a certain standard of quality in the food
and atmosphere when they visit a restaurant. There is a general
community atmosphere at the same time.
consensus on how crisp the lettuce should be, how ripe the
Even more impressive is the vast quantities of food the tiny café
tomatoes should taste, how soft the bread should feel and of
can produce. The staff can easily cater office lunches. Groups
course how fresh and flavourful the meat is. But just how much
of eight to 40 people are easy to accommodate—the staff once
further do we go beyond this universal culinary checklist?
catered a wedding with 200 guests.
What about the other attributes in an eatery that are so easy
Box is quick to point out that Elm Café would never be what it
to overlook? Do we take the time to find out where the food is
is today if not for the help and support of his friends and family.
sourced? Do we ever stop to take note of just how satisfied we
“This place would have never happened without my wife … and
were by the meal that we ate?
my family is behind me 110 per cent … and friends. This place
These are questions that are easily answered at Elm Café,
honestly would not have opened without them,” Box says.
located in downtown Edmonton. Elm Café creator and owner
He goes on to explain how his friends and family would take any
Nate Box truly cares about the customer’s eating experience,
spare moments they had to come over and help get the café
and everything surrounding it.
off the ground. Through building counter tops, hammering out
“Edmonton has a huge potential and need for more unique
the front deck, pouring concrete, wiring lights or picking paint
boutique shops. The city has the potential and the desire, and
colours, the path to Elm Café’s opening one year ago was not
people want to support something really great,” explains Box.
traveled only by Box.
“People are searching out a quality product instead of a quantity
“This place isn’t just me; it’s not mine and mine alone,” Box said.
Sometimes it can be too easy to skip past the reasons why we do
And a quality product is just what Elm Café customers get.
what we do, or like what we like. It’s time to take a look into what
With most of its food items sourced locally and seasonally, the
makes our choices. The reasons to choose Elm Café are easy:
menu at the little coffee and sandwich shop changes daily. This
community-driven ownership, quality food and great coffee.
variety creates something gives both hungry customers and Box
// Visit Nate Box and his staff at Elm Café at 100 – 10140
himself something new to look forward to every day. “I couldn’t imagine owning a place where everyday I cooked the exact same thing … that bores the hell out of me,” Box says.
fresh food and coffee customers crave, and providing a cozy
St. to find out just how quaint this little café is. www.elmcafe.ca
STORY: DANIELLE PARADIS // PHOTO: LARISSA MACK
As I walk into Credo Coffee on 104 Street, I am greeted by a large mural of latte art set in sepia tones. Everything in the coffee shop is a mélange of earth tones and beautiful beige and black—an elegant design that would make Coco Chanel proud. Bright orange bags of coffee beans sit at the back of the café, drawing the eye with their vibrant colour. Credo is a small coffee shop, a well-lit nook beside Lit and Fiji tanning salon. General Manager Geoff Linden had the help of a designer and an architect in the creation of his café, but for the most part the design of the café is a plan 15 years in the making. Credo is a café run by a man with a family, but Linden is not running a family-style business. Linden started out as a journeyman cabinet maker, and after raising a family—he has two boys aged 18 and 21—he opened Credo in June 2009. For him, it was a dream-turned-reality. He’d always been interested in good coffee and was dissatisfied that it was so difficult to come by in Edmonton. “It’s about passion,” says Linden of the creation of great java. “When we travel we always try to find local coffee shops and restaurants. We find it captures the flavor of the city that we are in a little better than the usual stops that people make.”
Of course, if you really want to know what the coffee is like you need to try it yourself. “The latte art shows that everything has been done correctly,” Linden tells me. “The milk has to be steamed correctly and the coffee should be good. You can pour latte art in a bad coffee, unfortunately, but it is one more step for us to test the quality of the coffee.” As for the location of Credo, Linden selected 104 Street as it was in the process of becoming the lively downtown community it is today. “I’m getting to know a lot of the business owners and people who work downtown, and that’s what’s important,” says Linden. “There’s this feeling [with the businesses] that we’re all in it together.” It’s mid-afternoon, yet the seats in Credo rarely stay empty for long. I ask Linden what it’s like to compete in the Edmonton coffee market—which seems glutted with franchised café concepts that have indoctrinated people into the cult of the Venti, but Linden doesn’t seem concerned with the competition. He has no plans to branch out his coffee shops and take over the java world. “That was one of the things we mentioned when we first started. At most I would [only want] a second location,” says Linden. The name Credo comes has origins in Middle English and Latin. It literally means “believe”—and the word is apt, given the passion and perseverance Linden has put into his craft and his coffee.
Checking out the local fare of other cities led Linden to cafes such as Café Artigano in Vancouver, which was a big inspiration for Linden while he was creating Credo. “Just knowing what was available was a good inspiration. The flavor of the coffee is the focus,” says Linden. Linden doesn’t describe the process of finding the perfect coffee bean as difficult; rather, he states that he found it interesting. A combination of internet research and at-home sampling led Linden to Intellegencia, a small Chicago-based company that runs a few cafes under its own name, and distributes its coffee for use in other cafes. “They are looking for the best coffee in the world and they visit each [coffee] farm,” says Linden. “They build relationships with the farmers to create something better year after year, and it shows in their coffee.” Linden has made me a latte and I hesitate to dip into it and spoil the beautiful heart-shaped pattern that is resting on the foam— Credo does beautiful latte art—but a cursory sip tells me everything
I need to know. The latte is the perfect temperature—between 60 and 70 degrees Celsius—so that it is immediately drinkable. There’s no sign of scorch on the milk or the espresso and it goes down so smooth and creamy that there is no need for sugar.
“It’s an Alberta-regional sort of menu. Not exclusively, but it’s kind of a starting point for the menu itself,” Saurette says. “We use a lot of local ingredients, all local meats.” Slight changes will also be made to the menu as the seasons change. Side dishes, including soups and salads, will change to spotlight fruits and vegetables in season. Niche is currently in the process of switching over to its summer menu. For Saurette, an Edmonton native, opening a restaurant locally just makes sense. He graduated from NAIT’s Culinary Arts STORY: KRISTEN WAGNER // PHOTO: JOHN AHN
program, and has worked for the past 16 years in a number of
After moving into their new downtown location in January 2011,
the folks at Niche Restaurant and Bistro Bar encountered one
“Edmonton is where I’m from,” he says. “It’s a lot easier to
very tiny problem.
operate out of Edmonton because you’re used to the clientele
“The size of the kitchen itself is still an ongoing challenge,” says
of Edmonton. It’s easy to source all the produce products. You
chef Nathan Saurette. “The dining room is small too.”
know where all the good stuff is.”
Other than space constraints, Niche’s honeymoon period has been appropriately idyllic. “The location is great, everything is great,” says Saurette. “[The only negative] is just the square footage of the kitchen. It’s a little small.” But fortunately, Niche has been able to take that difficulty and make it work in their favour. “It’s a small menu,” says Saurette of the selection of gourmet dishes Niche offers to its food-savvy customers. “We have a really small kitchen, and that reflects on the small menu.” But the limitations presented by the small cooking space and menu have also helped the restaurant to become more environmentally-conscious. “[The small kitchen and small menu] keep wastage down,” Saurette says. “The last place I worked at, which will go unnamed, had an enormous menu. We had five different fish selections, main courses, and a lot of it we couldn’t keep fresh.
Saurette’s knowledge of local food is evident in the menu, which he created himself. Featured entrees include Spring Creek braised beef cheeks in a wild mushroom cream with egg noodles; and Alberta whitefish, oven roasted and served on spinach salad.
A lot of it hit the garbage. A lot. And here, with the small menu,
The roasted tomato and white bean soup is a well-loved starter,
there’s zero wastage, very little wastage, just because we have
popular simply because “it’s delicious,” says Saurette.
so few items on the menu. They’re moving.”
As for appetizers, Niche’s cheese sampler is a favourite for
“When you have five fish entrees in a big restaurant, you have to
sharing among groups—it includes Canadian white cheddar,
have 30 orders on hand,” he explains. “Some nights we wouldn’t
double cream brie, smoked gouda and Danish blue cheese.
sell any of the fish. You’d still have to have 30 orders sitting around, but nobody orders them. They don’t last too long.” Niche had the policy of waste reduction thrust upon them, but it still ties in well with the environmentally-conscious, locallyproduced theme of the menu. As any advocate of the 100-mile diet will tell you, eating food from your region reduces your carbon footprint, as goods don’t have to travel as far to reach your plate.
Patrons can wash it all down with a decadent flourless brownie, served with salted caramel and lemon honey whip cream. With a local menu of innovative takes on comfort foods created by a local chef, Niche has certainly found its niche in downtown Edmonton. Whether you crave something environmentally friendly, ethical, exotic, comforting, gourmet or just plain inexpensive, Niche will fit the bill. // www. experienceniche.ca
presentation and then join in a group discussion about the topic. Adding an element of surprise, the topic of the talk is kept secret until the viewing. After the success of the first TEDx Edmonton, interest in this year’s event has grown. Tickets went on sale March16, two months before the speakers were even announced. The excitement over STORY: KRISTEN WAGNER // PHOTO: MICHEL FEIST
STORY: DEVON BRYCE // PHOTO 3TEN
waiting list is almost twice the size of the ticket-holding audience.
“We sold out in less than three hours.” Ken Bautista sounds
The organizers are currently working on ensuring the event will be
what is Next Gen exactly?
awed and excited as he talks about ticket sales for the
webcast live for the people unable to attend.
“Next Gen is an Initiative of the City of Edmonton that involves
of Innovation,” and the speakers were chosen for their passion
June was recently declared Next Gen month in Edmonton. But
volunteers from the community and the City of Edmonton,” says Next Gen Initiative Coordinator Christine Causing. “Our mission is create Edmonton as a vibrant, welcoming city shaped by the
upcoming TEDx Edmonton lectures. This year’s theme is “Seeds and ability to transform what organizers call the “seeds of new ideas into bold new works, companies, and products.”
As always, the talks will range in scope. Jessie Radies, founder of Live Local Alberta and Eat Local First will speak on the same stage as the champion of micro-finance in developing countries Sheetal Mehta Walsh. University of Alberta graduates Todd
lives and leadership of the next generation, ages 18 to 40.”
TED—which stands for Technology Entertainment Design—is
Babiak and the Studio General Manager of BioWare Aaryn Flynn
“Next Gen aims to understand, solicit input and develop focused
a non-profit group operating under the tagline “Ideas Worth
will both be there. The line-up also includes storyteller Minister
Spreading.” The annual TED Talks started in 1984 out of Long
Faust, technology entrepreneur with a social conscience Veer
Beach, CA and Edinburgh, Scotland, in order to bring together
Gidwaney, and green material researcher Laura McIlveen.
and practical recommendations for action about how Edmonton can be more attractive to the next generation and how it can keep them here.” Next Gen began as a task force created by City Council more than five years ago, and became an initiative four years ago. This means it’s time for an upgrade.
fine minds from a variety of fields. Presenters are challenged to give an exciting talk in 18 minutes or less. Three years ago, around the time the TED Talks began to be posted online, TEDx was developed to allow smaller communities to organize their own TED-style events. Organizers are able to
This year, Next Gen is remodeling itself with a new logo and
put a local slant on the event and address needs specific to the
a new website. “With this new identity and through our new
community. There are now over 1,000 TED events of all different
website, we want to inform, engage and empower people in
sizes around the world.
our city,” Causing says. “We wish to continue to be that hub for
For Bautista, chair of TEDx Edmonton and curator of the
connecting people, places, community and ideas together.”
speaker line up, it is important to draw out the impressive
Networking is an important part of being a next gen-er, and
people who live and study in Edmonton. “This city is a hotbed of
There is such a high demand for the event in Edmonton that
networking forms the foundation of Next Gen Month.
creativity and entrepreneurship,” he says.
the organizers were granted license to put on another TEDx
“The idea of Next Gen month is to help promote and work with
In 2010, artsScene Edmonton applied and received licensing
other organizations that engage next gen-er’s in our city,” says
to do a TEDx session in the city. The event consisted of what
Causing. “We’ve partnered with a number of community groups
Bautista calls “One hundred great minds from every industry
to showcase all the great events taking place in June. We have a
in the room and as the audience.” The conference heard from
new calendar of events on our website created by ShareEdmonton
talented Edmontonians like Shawna Pandya, who works on
which promotes all the events that volunteer groups are hosting
using smart phones for disaster response; novelist and alternate
throughout the month of June and in the future.”
reality games pioneer Sean Stewart; and the head of Bullfrog
Bautista believes that TEDx isn’t a one-way experience, with
Power Theresa Howland, who is key to the implementation
the audience sitting passively listening to a speaker. “The best
of green power through wind in Canada. The conference also
[speakers] cause people to think,” he explains. “It isn’t just that
heard from Cameron Herold, an entrepreneur with the company
the speaker is passionate, but it’s in how the audience responds
1-800-GOT-JUNK, based in BC. Herold’s talk on “Raising Kids
and how the talk is really a catalyst to get the conversation
to be Entrepreneurs” was chosen by TED to be a featured video
going.” The speakers are chosen, in part, to highlight how
on their main web site.
Edmonton has nurtured so many creative and inspirational
To keep the audience inspired throughout the year, Edmonton organizers started TEDTalks@Lunch. On the last Wednesday of every month, the former art gallery space in Enterprise Square
TEDx Edmonton means not only are the tickets gone, but the
Edmonton, which will be held in fall 2012 and will focus on education. Bautista says the interest in learning is high both from an individual perspective and across industry. There is so much more than post-secondary education for adults. Training and inspiration aren’t just for teachers, asserts Bautista, “because learning is for everyone.”
people, while remaining quiet. “We want to show off how neat the people coming out of Edmonton are, how it’s really a city to be proud of,” Bautista explains.
fills up between noon and 1 p.m. While the cost is free, space is
This year’s TEDx Edmonton begins June 11 in Zeidler Hall at the
limited and those interested are asked to register. The audience
Citadel Theatre. For more information, check out
eats their lunch while watching a selected TEDTalk video
Not only do the games promote a more enjoyable workplace, they also encourage health and wellness among employees. “Promoting a healthier lifestyle is important to many organizations as it not only allows for teamwork, but it also allows for companies to keep up the health and wellness of their employees, which in turn benefits both the employer and employees,” says Cournoyer. Many past and current participants in the Corporate Challenge find that it gives them and their coworkers/teammates a unique sense STORY: TERESA FISHER
of spirit and togetherness when they gather together in a social
Celebrating its 20th year from May 27 to June 11, the Edmonton
environment and have fun through organized friendly competition.
and Area Corporate Challenge Games is “Where Work Comes
An important part of the Challenge is the dragon boat racing
event, which takes place on June 19 at Telford Lake, a week
The two-week event hosts over 175 companies, 18,000
after the rest of the Games. The race is hosted by the Edmonton
employees and 1,900 volunteers, participating in Olympicstyle competitions. Over 20 sports and recreation events are represented, including badminton, volleyball, basketball, horseshoes and lawn-bowling. Since its inception in 1992, the Corporate Challenge provides a platform for businesses to foster employee interaction, teamwork, morale, pride, health and wellness. By offering a
been a part of the Corporate Challenge. “With over 150 teams participating, the Corporate Challenge Dragon Boat Racing Festival is the largest in western Canada,” says Colleen De Roy, Executive Director of the EDBRC. So what is dragon boat racing exactly? It’s a spirited 20-person team effort led by the rhythm of a drum to synchronize the team’s paddle strokes as they race head to head against other
Edmonton will come alive with the talents of young emerging artists
around the downtown area. The festival hub is the Roxy Theatre,
during Nextfest. From June 2 – 12, the visual art, theatre, dance,
at the intersection of 124 Street and 107 Avenue, with The Living
and music of the next generation of the city’s artistic community,
Room Playhouse just north of Oliver Square as a secondary
sedentary office worker of a lesser fitness level.
Challenge, is open to anyone in the public over age 18. Friends
primarily people under the age of 30, will take the spotlight.
venue. However, Nextfest’s boundaries are being expanded this
“Teamwork, active living and social interaction are just some
year. “This year we are making a strong push into the Alberta
of the benefits that teams participating in the Challenge look
event. Contact the team’s Challenge co-ordinator to find out the
Avenue area with venues like the Avenue Theatre and the Old
forward to,” says Liane Cournoyer, Executive Director of TNT
Cycle Building,” says Pirot.
Event Planning, and Games Manager. By allowing companies
One of the defining aspects of Nextfest is how it is programmed.
both large and small to come together and participate, the
Steve Pirot has been Nextfest’s Festival Director since 2001. He describes the festival as the love of his life. “Being a springtime event with hundreds of young, creative Edmontonians showing their stuff for ten days, it is an easy festival to fall in love with,” he says. “On the surface, the festival is very, very sexy. But looking past the surface into the heart of the Festival as I have been doing for ten years, you know that Nextfest isn’t just a pretty face. Nextfest’s highly principled philosophy is rooted in creation, community, and development.” Nextfest’s roots date back to the mid-1990s, when Bradley Moss was working as an artistic associate at Theatre Network. Moss was directed to create a reading series for young playwrights. “Bradley went further than that,” Pirot explains. “He created a multi-disciplinary arts festival dedicated to the expressive voice of
“Festival programming is primarily organized around the different curator,” says Pirot. “Curation is based mostly on a submission
The teamwork and camaraderie that participating in the
process dependent upon the needs and timelines of that
Challenge provides extends beyond the two weeks of the
particular artistic practice.”
event, Cournoyer explains. “People who were once just voices
Nextfest is a production of the Nextfest Arts Company, a not-
on the phone, faces passed in the halls or names at the end of
for-profit corporation that is responsible for the content of the festival. “Each year The Nextfest Arts Company is comprised of hundreds of young artists of every stripe that conspire to make the sexiest festival in town,” Pirot says. As well, the festival is presented by Theatre Network as the culminating event of its subscriber season. Pirot explains that “as
that would showcase their work while simultaneously providing a common ground for those artists to meet, collaborate, and learn from one another,” Pirot adds. “In the most grandiose terms, Nextfest attends to the curated development of the future of the professional arts community in Edmonton.” Nextfest takes place at a variety of locations, mostly in and
Challenge aims to help break through any barriers that may exist between employees.
dance, music acts, and visual art exhibitions.”
artists of Edmonton through a professionally supported platform
sports for everyone, from the athletically-inclined to the more
art forms featured in the festival, and each program has its own
the next generation with fully realized productions of new plays,
“The purpose of the festival was to foster and celebrate the young
range of different sporting events, the Corporate Challenge has
Dragon Boat Racing Club, and this is the third year it has
an email are suddenly your volleyball or basketball teammates,”
teams on the river. This event, unlike the others in the Corporate and family of Challenge participants can also take part in this team’s policy. “The reason the dragon boat race is being held one week after the games is due to its popularity,” says De Roy. In previous years, there were conflicts with other events in the Challenge, and teams participating in the dragon boat races as well as other events were concerned with not being able to take part in both. With both the Edmonton and Area Corporate Challenge and the Dragon Boat Racing event, organizations both big and small are sure to have fun getting together in a relaxed, fun, and healthy environment. If you and your coworkers are interested in either
she says. “The connections that sports activities ignite often turn
event please visit their websites at:
into friendships that go beyond the workplace.”
the presenter, Theatre Network provides the primary venue, sells tickets and passes, and conscripts all the volunteers needed to run front-of-house, concessions, drive shuttles, and attend to artist hospitality.” He adds that because “attendance is more important to us than box office revenue,” the pricing of festival passes is deliberately inexpensive. // Contact Theatre Network for tickets, passes, and schedule information at (780) 453-2440. Theatre Network’s website is
JUNE // 2011
HAVE AN AWESOME
UPCOMING EVENT? LET US
KNOW. WE’LL PUBLISH IT IN PRINT AND IN THE MERGE ONLINE CALENDAR. FOR
goodwill among local corporations and
INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL
MAY 31- JUNE 4, 2011 ARDEN THEATRE, ST. ALBERT PLACE Theatre performances and activities for
THE ONLINE CALENDAR AT: WWW.MERGEMAG.CA
MAY 27 -JUNE 11, 2011 Olympic style sports events to build
MORE INFORMATION ON THE FOLLOWING EVENTS GO TO
DREAMSPEAKERS FILM FESTIVAL JUNE 1- 4, 2011
Film festival for aboriginal filmmakers.
NEXTFEST JUNE 2 - 12, 2011 ROXY THEATRE Arts festival celebrating dance, theatre,
comedy and more.
STOLLERY HOSPITAL DREAMNIGHT AT THE ZOO
PAYROLL ESSENTIALS FOR ACCOUNTING AND HR
CHANGE ANYTHING: THE NEW SCIENCE OF PERSONAL SUCCESS
EXPERIENCE JUNIOR CHAMBER INTERNATIONAL
JUNE 1, 2011 // 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
JUNE 8, 2011 // 2:30 PM -4:30 PM
JUNE 16, 2011 // 5:30 PM
GRANT MACEWAN UNIVERSITY
SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE
LEXUS OF EDMONTON
Payroll essentials course.
Speakers’ Bureau of Alberta hosts talk by
An opportunity to meet like-minded
JCI JUNE TRAINING AND NETWORKING EVENT
author Joseph Grenny.
individuals and learn how JCI can help
zoo to themselves.
you be better.
JUNE 2, 2011 // 6:00 - 9:00 PM
JUNE 11, 2011 // 10:00 AM
NEXTGEN PECHA KUCHA NIGHT
OLD STRATHCONA FARMERS’ MARKET
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OFFICE
ZEIDLER HALL, CITADEL THEATRE
JUNE 17, 2011 // 7:00 PM
Junior Commerce International Event,
Presentations and networking for young
ALBERTA AVIATION MUSEUM
discussing “The Sales Effect.”
professionals in business and the arts.
Networking and discussion opportunity
ACCC ANNUAL CONFERENCE
for young designers.
JUNE 5 -6 , 2011
SALUTE TO EXCELLENCE HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY
SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE
JUNE 14, 2011 // 7:30 PM
THINKING QUALITATIVELY WORKSHOP
Annual conference for the Association of
JUNE 20 - 24, 2011
Canadian Community Colleges
Notable Edmontonians are awarded for
// 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA Academic examination of approaches to qualitative research.
JUNE 8, 2011 // 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION WITH JEN BANKS
SHAW CONFERENCE CENTRE
JUNE 15, 2011 // 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Canadian Society of Association
WORLD TRADE CENTER, EDMONTON
RESPONSIBLE TOURISM IN DESTINATIONS
Executives (CSAE) discusses “The
Online professional speaks on how to
JUNE 27 - 29, 2011
increase your online exposure.
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
CSAE EDMONTON CHAPTER LUNCH SESSION
JUNE 3, 2011 VALLEY ZOO Kids with chronic illnesses can have the
JUNE 4, 11, 18, 25, 2011 // 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM 10310 - 83RD AVE. Weekly market featuring local produce, meat, crafts, etc.
RUTHERFORD HOUSE FOUNDERS’ DAY TEA
BRIDGE SONGS: PROGRESS
JUNE 5, 2011 // 12:00 AM - 4:00 PM
CYCLE BUILDING AND STOLLERY
Formal ceremony celebrating Rutherford
Music and Arts festival.
ROCK THE SQUARE
JUNE 17 - 19, 2011
THE CARROT VISUAL ARTISTS’ COLLECTIVE
June 8, 2011 // 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Amateur rock music festival.
CARROT CAFE Artists’ collective featuring Lori Youngman .
FORT EDMONTON FATHERS’ DAY BUFFET
JUNE 19, 2011 // 6:30 PM
JUNE 9, 2011 // 9:00 PM
HOTEL SELKIRK, FORT EDMONTON PARK
THE PAWN SHOP
Local band Sister Gray performs.
ESO: HOLLYWOOD’S RED CARPET
THE WORKS ART AND DESIGN FESTIVAL
JUNE 10 - 11, 2011 // 7:00 PM
JUNE 23-JULY 5, 2011
ESO plays classics from the movies.
Display of innovative and traditional art, as
EDMONTON PRIDE FESTIVAL
well as workshops and seminars for artists.
JUNE 10 -19, 2011
Edmonton Pride Festival Society showcases
JUNE 24, 2011 // 9:00 PM
the diversity of the LGBT community.
HAVEN SOCIAL CLUB
AL FRESCO 104TH ST. BLOCK PARTY
Local band Heaviside performs with The
JUNE 11, 2011 // 5:00 PM 104TH STREET DOWNTOWN
EDMONTON INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
Street festival showcasing businesses on
JUNE 24-JULY 3, 2011
the 104th Street promenade.
A celebration of local, national and
WIN HOUSE WILD ROSES WOMEN’S RACE
international jazz talent.
JUNE 18, 2011 // 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Apresnos and The Frank.
AFRO-CARIBBEAN GOSPEL AWARD, DINNER AND DANCE NIGHT
Half-marathon and 10K run/walk to celebrate
JUNE 25, 2011 // 6:00 PM
and encourage female empowerment.
THE COAST EDMONTON PLAZA HOTEL All faiths are welcome to join in this
THE SUMMIT SPORTS COLLECTIBLES SHOW
EDMONTON STORY SLAM
JUNE 4 - 5, 2011 // 8:30 PM - 5:00 PM
HAVEN SOCIAL CLUB
Opportunity to present a short story to
Sports collectibles show and autograph
celebration of God with dinner and dancing.
JUNE 15, 2011 // 7:30 PM
HEART OF THE CITY FESTIVAL
ZUMBATHON TO END WOMEN’S CANCERS
JUNE 15 - 25, 2011
JUNE 4 - 5, 2011 // 1:00 PM - 6:30 PM
JUNE 4, 2011 // 12:30 PM - 4 PM
GIOVANNI CABOTO PARK
Improvised comedy festival.
Outdoor zumba party to benefit cancer.
UTOPIA MUSIC FESTIVAL
5th International Conference hosted
LOOPS FOR TROOPS RACE
JUNE 17 -18, 2011
by International Centre for Responsible
JUNE 5, 2011
HAWRELAK PARK AMPHITHEATRE
CFB EDMONTON TRAINING FACILITY
Summer Solstice cultural celebration
Run in support of the Canadian military.
Free music and art festival.
featuring Ani DiFranco, Lights and others.
EVENTS CALENDER CONTINUED
RUN FOR YOUR DAD JUNE 19, 2011 // 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM EMILY MURPHY PARK
JUNE 11, 2011 // 7:30 PM
Fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke
VEGREVILLE AQUATIC CENTRE
MISSION 3 TRIATHLON
Annual event dedicated to raising funds
CYCLE FOR AUTISM EDMONTON 2011
and awareness for global poverty.
JUNE 19, 2011 // 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM
HALFMOON LAKE RESORT,
GOLD BAR PARK
Collect pledges and ride your bike to
benefit the Autism Society of Edmonton
EDMONTON AURORA SYNCHRO WATER SHOW
WORLD PARTNERSHIP WALK TO DEFEAT POVERTY JUNE 5, 2011 // 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM LEGISLATURE GROUNDS
WALK FOR ALS JUNE 11, 2011 // 8:30 AM HAWRELAK PARK Walk to raise funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
RONA MS BIKE TOUR JUNE 11 - 12, 2011 LEDUC TO CAMROSE Pledge-based fundraising event allowing participants to bike through the countryside.
TELUS WALK FOR DIABETES JUNE 12, 2011 // 9:00 AM EDMONTON GARRISON (NAMAO FITNESS CENTRE) Fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Canada.
HEEL ‘N’ WHEEL-A-THON JUNE 12, 2011 // 9:00 AM RUNDLE PARK Walk, run or bike to raise funds for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
2011 YMCA GOLF CLASSIC JUNE 15, 2011 // 2:00 PM THE LINKS AT SPRUCE GROVE Fundraising golf tournament for YMCA Edmonton.
YEG FASHION SHOW
JUNE 17, 2011 // 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM MILNER LIBRARY THEATRE Fashion benefit in support of City of Edmonton housing and shelter programs.
RIDE FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS JUNE 18, 2011 // 8:30 AM ACHESON ROAD AND HIGHWAY 60 Motorcycle ride to benefit the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
EASTER SEALS 24-HOUR RELAY JUNE 18 -19, 2011 RUNDLE PARK Activities and fundraising in support of Easter Seals. 46
VEGREVILLE KIDS OF STEEL TRY-A-TRI
JUNE 11, 2011
SERVUS CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT
JUNE 12, 2011 // 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
JUNE 20, 2011 // 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Synchronized swimming show.
LANCASTER PARK GOLF
ST. ALBERT KIDS OF STEEL TRIATHLON
Texas scramble golf tournament in support of the Military Family Resource Centre.
KINSMEN SPORT CENTRE
JUNE 12, 2011
SKYDIVE FOR AFRICA
FOUNTAIN PARK RECREATION CENTRE
JUNE 23, 2011 // 8:30 AM
EDEN NORTH DIVE SITE
HERSHEY’S TRACK AND FIELD GAMES
Ainembabazi Children’s Project fundraiser for development in Africa.
JUNE 18, 2011 // 9:00 AM
TEE UP FOR KIDNEY HEALTH
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA, FOOTE FIELD
JUNE 25, 2011 // 6:30 AM
Track and field games to introduce youth
FORT IN VIEW GOLF CLUB,
to physical activity.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Golf tournament to benefit the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
JUNE 23, 2011
PETS IN THE PARK
COUGAR CREEK GOLF RESORT
JUNE 26, 2011 // 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
42nd annual golf tournament.
ALBERTA PROVINCIAL BODYBUILDING AND FIGURE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Fundraising and Awareness event for the Edmonton Humane Society.
JUNE 25, 2011 WINSPEAR CENTRE Bodybuilding Event.
NORTHERN ALBERTA BODYBUILDING CHAMPIONSHIPS JUNE 4, 2011 SHOCTOR THEATRE, CITADEL Bodybuilding Event.
EDMONTON FENCING CLUB: VETERAN’S CUP JUNE 11, 2011 EDMONTON FENCING CLUB Fencing tournament.
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