Urban Athletics


Preparing for a marathon run? Consider joining the River City Runners. rivercityrunners.ca

If the only obstacle between you and a marathon finish line is a support group, then consider the River City Runners your new best friends. These dozen race enthusiasts meet weekday mornings outside of the Starbucks on 109 St. and Jasper Ave. for casual five to ten-km runs through the river valley, then go hardcore on Saturdays: 30 clicks. It’s obviously not for running virgins; the goal is to compete in gruelling marathons and half-marathons. rivercityrunners.ca

This summer, fitness guru Jesse Lipscombe brings home fitness to North American living rooms with a new DVD workout program, FlowPower. But why not try the tai chi/yoga/high-intensity training hybrid free with the man himself? Find Jesse or his crew every Tuesday and Thursday evening in Constable Ezio Faraone Park, and then sweat your way through jumps, burpees and squats for 60 minutes—regardless of your fitness level. Muscle development is core to FlowPower, meaning you’ll lose weight while increasing your strength, balance and athletic ability. Or join Monday and Wednesday for free bootcamp in the same location. Register at wevivefitness.com.

Nothing beats a dip in the open-air Oliver Pool tucked behind the well-treed Kitchener Park. Originally built in 1924 to meet the growing city’s appetite for modern swimming facilities with heated change rooms and excellent water filtration, the pool kept civilized Edmontonians from soaking in the North Saskatchewan River or neighbourhood bogs. Today, the well-maintained pool keeps you from heading indoors on hot summer days. Laps and serious workouts in this 30.5-metre pool prove difficult on busy weekends, but you could hold onto the ledge for some callisthenics. edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation

Pick up a game of tennis or practice your swing regardless of your skill level at the Kinsmen outdoor courts every Sunday around 11 am. Don’t worry about bringing a partner: Team Edmonton, a local organization promoting LGBTQ sports and rec, pairs you with a player so you’ll be practising your swing in no time. Thin morning crowds mean the wait rarely tops more than 30 minutes to snap up one of the three asphalt courts. teamedmonton.ca

The much-maligned 13-km pedway system is the perfect way to up your heart rate on rainy days. Since exercise is the goal, excuse yourself as you climb the escalators throughout the uninterrupted seven-block route, starting at Shaw Conference Centre. A caution here: though the City’s improved the quizzical signage last year, some spots might still leave you second-guessing your direction. When in doubt, follow the office crowd who know the connections best.

Oilers defenceman Andrew Ference will put you through a gruelling but gratifying regime of running, stairs and more stairs. Rain or shine, the Edmonton chapter of the free fitness movement November Project meets three days weekly at 6 am. Monday’s surprise location is sometimes in your backyard (check @Nov_ProjectCAN on twitter the day before), while Wednesday sees the “tribe,” as they like to be called, hit the stairs at Commonwealth Stadium. Friday’s workout begins from Emily Murphy Park and you can bet it involves running the dreaded Glenora stairs. november-project.com

Kids ‘n’ Play


The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup will put a spotlight on Edmonton in June, but there’s another beautiful game this summer: Urban Kids U4 soccer club. For six weeks starting in May, Oliver and Downtown kids (ages 3–4) can train for future gold close to home. Urban Kids team is seeking players, coaches, assistants and business sponsorship. Contact Heather Mackenzie.

The cost of taking the kid for a Sunday swim? Nothing after 1:30 pm at Don Wheaton Family YMCA. That is, for DECL members. But at $5 a pop, memberships pay for themselves in a single splash. Buy them online. It also comes with a two-week YMCA pass.

Brunches at the Century Palace (9700 105 Ave.) or Urban China (10604 101 St.) are the perfect ways to broaden kids’ palates. Watch their eyes widen when they’re allowed to pick and choose treats like pork and scallion dumplings from a constant stream of rolling carts. The kid-sized portions are a bonus.

The AGA’s BMO World of Creativity room is just for kids. Until April 16, they can hop around the world with a rabbit named Boo by artist Jason Carter. Kids under seven get in free—and so do you every last Thursday evening of the month. Don’t forget about free family art activities every last Sunday of the month, plus weekly drop-in classes (ages 6–12, $15) on everything from pop art to movies.

The popularity of community gardens means you don’t need your own yard to enjoy the virtues of gardening. Peace Garden Park (10259 120 St.) or our Urban eden (9910 Bellamy Hill Rd.) are a short walk away. And while you tend vegetables and beautiful flowers, they get to play with the worms. It’s win-win. Bringing home freshly unearthed carrots might even get them interested in meal planning.

It’s one of the best things you can do to connect with other parents nearby, especially in a neighbourhood with few schools. While your kids discover new friends and toys, chatting with other parents reminds you that it’s more than possible to live in smaller quarters with an active toddler or two. Ollie’s Treehouse meets every Sunday afternoon at the OCL Hall. DECL also organizes a playgroup, urban Kids Board games’ night, every month.

Good, Fast and Incredibly Cheap

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$4.75 BORSCHT — THE SEQUEL CAFÉ: You’ll find the city’s best bowl of borscht—and one of Edmonton’s best Art Deco classic buildings — kitty corner to Churchill Square. The Sequel Café’s generously sized, chunky red soup is spicy, earthy and bright, and quenched by a dollop of sour cream. It’s a lunch-crowd favourite, along with the other delicious soups du jour, all of which come with a wedge of multigrain loaf. Cash only, but heck, it’s only $4.75. And that’s including GST. (10011 102 Ave.)

$5.00 LUNCHES — GABBANA FINE DINING: This Asian-fusion restaurant serves a heaping plateful of rice and breaded coconut lemon chicken that’s sweet as heaven and cheap as hell. Unbelievably, lunch costs even less on Mondays and Tuesdays. Bombay butter chicken, Szechuan beef rice bowl, lemon chicken, green curry shrimp, Chinatown barbecue pork, Thai chicken—all $5. Take note, it fills up quickly with staff from the nearby General Hospital, so stake your claim before 11:30 a.m. (11223 Jasper Ave.)

TACOS_OTR_Winter2014$1.00 TACOS – ON THE ROCKS: Once a week, a demographic slice of Oliver packs this neighbourhood pub from 5 p.m. to close for Taco Tuesdays. Order the “Quattro,” an assortment of hard shell, soft tortilla, ground beef or grilled chicken tacos. The catch? Guacamole or salsa are also a buck apiece. (11740 Jasper Ave.)

$3.50 SANDWICHES – ITALIAN BAKERY: For little more than bus fare, you’ll get a freshly baked bun filled with imported meats and cheeses of your choosing at this popular Chinatown bakery and deli. Peruse the assortment of fillings behind the glass counter. When your number comes up counter staff will slice your picks right on the spot. Add another meat for fifty cents and don’t forget to ask for the roasted red pepper spread. It’s deceptively simple, yet transcendent. (10646 97 St.)

$3.75 CHEESEBURGER — THE COMMODOREIt might be a hole in the wall but it’s not on your pocket. With soups cheaper than cappuccinos and omelettes and burger meals for hardly more, the prices (and not to mention its 1940s diner setting) might fool you into thinking you’ve travelled back in time. (10712 Jasper Ave.)

BAHN_MI$4.00 BANH MI — VAN LOC: For pocket change, this Vietnamese sandwich bar stuffs a crunchy baguette with saté chicken, shredded pork or deli cuts and the essentials. For banh mi newbies, that’s a spread of fish sauce, shredded carrots and cucumbers, fresh cilantro and hot pepper rings. Five-dollar footlong? Try $4. (10648 98 St.)

$4.00 BREAKFAST — BACCARAT CASINO: It’s not breakfast at the Fairmont, but shortcomings aside the Baccarat Casino has its riches. The food at Café Paradice is filling and the service quick. And at $4, the weekday breakfast of pancakes, eggs, toast and hash browns, and ham and cheese omelettes might just be the safest bet you can place. Just ask the arena construction workers who start their day off with this no-frills breakfast. (10128 104 Ave.)

$5.50 DAL AND RICE — REMEDY CAFE: Blink and you’ll miss this Indian cuisine staple on the scrolling menu. Dal makhani, or lentil stew, seems simple until the richness of a plethora of spices envelopes your mouth. It arrives in a sizeable steel bowl and equal side of spiced rice, which you can mix if you’ve got sensitive tastebuds. And if you ask for pita or naan, it’s yours at no charge. (10279 Jasper Ave., 10310 124 St. and other locations.)

$6.19 BIBIMBAP — 105 FOOD STORE: Any number of downtown office towers have convenience stores selling hot lunches, but none make it as well as the Choy family in the Capitol Building. It feels like an office potluck when they start preparing it from crockpots, rice cookers and Tupperware—indeed, the bibimbap (Korean beef, sweet sticky rice and steamed vegetables) are just like they make it at home. Other daily specials include minced beef rice, chicken rice and a delectable chicken teriyaki. (10242 105 St.)