The Yards Spring Salon: Presented By Colliers International Inc.

How can we sustain urban agriculture in the core? Can we source and produce our own food while living in Edmonton? Come join the conversation as our panel discusses balcony gardening, urban beekeeping and foraging in Edmonton’s river valley.

Join us for our Spring 2017 Issue Salon on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at CKUA Radio (9804 Jasper Avenue)!

Tickets are $10 in advance, limited amount may be available at the door. Refreshments provided, cash bar by Steamwhistle Brewery. Tickets available here:

Dustin Bajer, is an educator, permaculture designer, master gardener, and self-described network nerd. Raised in the country and living in the city, Dustin is passionate about systems that unite the natural and built environments.

Justin Keats can be found leading balcony gardening workshops, organizing Oliver’s community garden and teaching new gardeners the tricks of the trade.

Robert Dale Rogers, a herbalist and author of over 40 books, teaches plant medicine, aromatherapy and flower essences in the Earth Spirit Medicine faculty at the Northern Star College in Edmonton.

Then stick around for music, drinks and food as the conversation continues at this lively salon. Proceeds from ticket sales help to fund this innovative media project.

5pm – Central Edmonton News Society AGM (The Yards)
6pm – Drinks and Eats
7pm – Panel: Urban Agriculture
7:45- Onwards – Stick around for an evening of conversation and cocktails. Music by Andrew Williams of NVS to keep the night going.

Tickets availble here:


Around the Core: Spring 2017

MARCH 10-19
Downtown Dining Week
Discover a new restaurant you’ve never
been to during Downtown Dining Week (we
attest there’s lots to choose from) or visit a
perpetual favourite. For ten days, downtown
diners enjoy affordable prix-fixe lunch and
dinner menus at participating restaurants.
The only downside will be your bulging waistline.

Downtown Defrost
Churchill Square transforms to one massive
dance floor for Downtown Defrost, the city’s
annual winter dance party. Hosted by
Night Vision and Wheelhouse Productions,
this free, family-friendly event supports YESS
(Youth Empowerment & Support Services).
DJs start spinning at 3pm and keep the cool
tunes going till 10pm. Head to Chvrch of
John for the after-party. Churchill Square,

Seniors Steak Dinner in Bruce, AB
Normally we wouldn’t encourage folks to
leave the core to find great dining, but this
one is good enough to make an exception.
Edmonton Seniors Centre heads to Bruce,
Alberta, to dine at one of the province’s finest
chop houses. Buses leave the centre to Bruce
Hotel at 3:30 and return at 8:30pm. Your
$60 ticket includes transportation, beef or
chicken dinner, a non-alcoholic drink, tip
and tax. Participants must reserve and pay
for a spot in advance. Call 780-342-8625
for more info. 11111 Jasper Avenue,

Capital City Burlesque
Burlesque, an art form that was once
relegated to the underground scene, has
found its way to mainstream venues.
See what it’s all about when Capital City
Burlesque, Alberta’s premiere burlesque
dance troupe, mounts the stage at The
Needle Vinyl Tavern. This tantalizing
show straddles a fine line between classic
burlesque and humourous modernist parody.
10524 Jasper Avenue,

APRIL 8 & 9
SNAP Gallery Portrait Workshop
Create your very own hand-carved and
printed portrait during this weekend
workshop at SNAP. Artist Sara Norquay will
teach image transfer and carving techniques.
10123 121 Street,

Easter on the Promenade
Celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Easter Sunday on Victoria Promenade with
the Robertson Wesley United Church congregation.
Sunrise service starts at 7:30am,
followed by prayer breakfast at 8am at the
church. 100 Avenue and 121 Street,

APRIL 21 & 22
Cheerleading Extravaganza
Cheer teams from across Alberta battle it
out at the Alberta Cheer Empire’s All-Star
Extravaganza at the Shaw Conference
Centre. Cheer on your high-school alma
mater and watch these super athletes
perform dazzling stunts. 9797 Jasper Avenue,

Isolation Discussion Panel
Cathedral Talks tackles the issue of
isolation and loneliness in the core.
10035 103 Street, All Saints Anglican

MAY 2 & 3
Northern Lands Wine and Culinary
Northern Lands is back for its second year,
taking over downtown and the rest of the city
for food-and-drink fuelled fun with Canadian
winemakers and Canada’s top chefs. Participating
downtown chefs include Nevin Fenske
(Drift), Edgar Gutierrez (Rostizado) and Lino
Oliveira (Sabor), to name a few. Learn about
wines, craft beer and spirits through seminars
and producers dinners. Scoop up tickets for
the May 2 Meet Your Makers event at the
Shaw Conference Centre now before this
event sells out.

MAY 24
Martin Kerr at the Winspear
City Market Downtown shoppers will know
the name “Martin Kerr.” For years, Kerr was
a regular busker at the Saturday market,
drawing crowds with his mellow, folk rock
tunes. The 2008 Canadian Idol performer,
who has been compared to Cat Stevens,
James Taylor and John Denver, graces the
stage of the Winspear Centre performing
original songs from his new album Not in
Stones. Special guest Rhea March. 7pm,
Winspear Centre,

DECL Spring Events

Urban Kids Playgroup
Meet other parents and kids ages 0–5.
No registration required. Just drop-in!
10–11:30am, DECL Community Space,
10042 103 St

MARCH 1, 15
DECL Book Club
Our first book Happy City was so good,
we’re on to our second! Follow us on to find out what
we’re reading next. Don’t forget to show
your DECL membership at Audrey’s Books
and receive a free Audrey’s Book Club
membership. 7pm, DECL Community
Space, 10042 103 St.

MARCH 8 & 29
Learn to Play Ukulele
Dust off your ukulele and learn to play with
Dylan Ella. Free for DECL members. $10
for non-members. 6:30–7:30pm, DECL
Community Space, 10042 103 St.

MARCH 17, APRIL 21, MAY 19
Urban Kids Family Night
Our monthly family night is where kids—and
parents—can play, explore and make friends
in their neighbourhood. 6–8:30pm, DECL
Community Space, 10042 103 St.

DECL Annual General Meeting
Find out what your league is all about, volunteer
for board positions and get the low-down
on what’s happening in the community. Light
refreshments provided, cash bar. 6:30pm
Registration, 7:00pm meeting start, DECL
Community Space, 10042 103 St.

MARCH 14, 28, APRIL 11 & 25
Programs Committee
Join us every second Tuesday of the
month to help organize programs and
events. Bring your ideas! 7–8pm,
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

Open Mic Night
Got something funny to say or a poem
you’ve wanted to read? A guitar tune
to play? Share your artistic talents with
Downtown neighbours. Join us for our first
Open Mic Night. 7pm, DECL Community
Space, 10042 103 St.

DECL Annual Block Party
Join us for our annual pancake breakfast.
Our garage sale is also back for a
second year. Details to be announced
on Facebook.

OCL Spring Events

Drop-In Basketball
Enjoy a pickup game or just shoot some hoops at this regular basketball drop-in open to the Oliver community.  7–9 pm, Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 St.

MAR. 4
Community Potluck
Bring your fave food dish to share with friends and neighbours. This is a licensed event, but of course, children are welcome. 5–8pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 13, APR. 10, MAY. 8
Civics Committee
This fully engaged committee meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss developments in Oliver. 7 pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 19, APR. 16, MAY 21
Ollie’s Treehouse
Inclusive Playgroup – Your little ones will have fun at the hall with our toys, books and activities while you hang with other parents. 4–6pm, Oliver Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 15, APR. 19, MAY 17
Events and Programs Committee
If you like event planning, this is the
committee for you. 6:30pm, Oliver
Community Hall, 10326 118 St.

MAR. 10, APR. 21, MAY 19
Walking Pub Crawl
Meet with new and old friends at the hall
every month, before walking to pre-determined
locations to enjoy the Oliver nightlife.
8pm, meet at the Oliver Community Hall,
10326 118 St.

Annual General Meeting
Review financials, vote in new directors,
learn more about OCL and what we’re up
to. Mix and mingle with neighbours. 6pm
registration, 7pm start, Oliver Community Hall,
10326-118 St.

Walking Group
Join your neighbours for some fresh air and
exercise. This is a gentle approach to walking
with a focus on enjoyment and meeting neighbours.
6pm, meet at the Oliver Community
Hall, 10326-118 St.

Rummage Sale
Find trinkets and treasures at our Third
Annual Rummage Sale. 9:30am–2:30pm,
Oliver Community Hall, 10326-118 St.

Urban Gardening: The green-thumb guide to growing food and blooms on your balcony

There may be a lack of green spaces in the core, but with the right know-how, backyard-deprived condo dwellers can nurture plenty of beautiful blooms and tasty veggies right on their balcony.

Container gardening is a great option for those wanting to take advantage of, and transform, their smaller outdoor spaces. “It connects us back to the natural environment that we often disconnect from as urban dwellers,” says Justin Keats, Garden Director of Oliver Community League.

Throughout the spring and summer, Keats teaches Oliver residents gardening basics and how to get the most out of their tiny outdoor spaces.

Here, Keats shares some tips on how to bring some green into your urban environment:

  1. Check with your condo board or property manager for any guidelines or restrictions. This may affect the amount of space you can dedicate to your garden, height and weight of plants and pots, and even overall placements.
  2. Start with a plan, and start small. Decide how you want to use your space. Are you looking to engage in urban food production or grow something more ornamental?
  3. Consider the general climate. Edmonton resides in the 4a zone on the Plant Hardiness Index. Choose plants labelled 4 or lower, which are suitable for cooler climes. Plants higher than 4 enjoy our warmest months but are more susceptible to seasonal change.
  4. Consider your micro-climate. Every balcony or garden plot will be different. These environmental factors dictate the types of plants that thrive best.
    • Be mindful of the direction your balcony faces, as well as any surrounding structures that may block sunlight.
    • East-facing balconies receive morning and afternoon sun, but usually retain a bit of the previous evening’s coolness.
    • West-facing balconies get afternoon and evening sun and are generally warmer than those that face east.
    • South-facing balconies enjoy the most direct sunlight and get maximum sun exposure during the hottest time of the day. Plants may require extra attention (watering more than once a day or some shade) to avoid drying out.
    • North-facing balconies receive little sunlight and are best suited for plants that thrive in the shade.
  5. Investigate the specific requirements for each plant. Read the plant tags, research online and ask questions at your gardening centre.
    • Shade-friendly plants include begonias, lobelias, pansies, ferns, hostas, ivy, and some leafy greens like lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard.
    • Sunnier areas are good for plants like marigolds, petunias, junipers, potato vines, tomatoes, strawberries, container eggplants, mini carrots, and herbs such as dill, thyme and oregano.
  6. Mind your height. Balconies located on higher floors are more prone to cooler temperatures, especially as summer begins to wind down. Wind is also a factor at as you get higher. Protect your plants from wind by using a windscreen or by shielding more delicate plants with other pots.
  7. Consider purchasing seedlings over seeds to get a head start. Many seeds require a longer growing season in our climate and will need to be grown indoors until the risk of frost passes.
  8. Use large containers to avoid clutter and to ensure that you don’t overcrowd your plants. Take into consideration how much room each plant needs to grow.
  9. Double-up your clay pots or use glazed pots to insulate and help prevent evaporation, and water at least once daily; limited soil space means that your soil will dry out quicker than the ground.
  10. Most importantly, have fun, and experiment with various plants if you can. “Enjoy it! You don’t want it to become a chore,” advises Keats.

Need help getting your balcony garden started? 

The Oliver Community League will host a balcony gardening workshop April 22 and 29 fro 1-3 pm at the Oliver Community Hall, 10326-118 St.. It’s an interactive workshop facilitated by OCL Garden Director, Justin Keats. You’ll learn gardening basics, including how to plan your space. Prepare to get inspired! A small $5 fee goes towards the OCL garden Capital Fund and donations are always appreciated.

Visit for more info or email

A rendering of Alex Decoteau Park which opens this summer

A look at the community gardens hidden throughout the Oliver and Downtown neighbourhoods

Oliver Community League has one community garden located at 10259-120 Street. The name Peace Garden Park was chosen because 103 Avenue was formerly known as Peace Avenue. No chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are used in the garden. To find out more about the garden and how to join, email

Two options exist Downtown for those interested in community gardening. Our Urban Eden Garden located off Bellamy Hill has beds available to Downtown residents. The space is owned by the City of Edmonton, as part of its Partnership in Parks program. The second space opens this summer at Alex Decoteau Park on 105 Street. Plans include planters and composting facilities. To find out more about the Alex Decoteau Park garden and to get involved email

Interested in urban gardening? Check out The Yard’s Spring Issue Launch Event on March 23! Learn more here