Health Care in the Core

There are many avenues to access health care in central Edmonton, the key is deciding what’s right for you.

Alberta Health Services says most family doctors are part of a Primary Care Network. PCNs have an online tool to help in finding a family doctor – Alberta Find A Doctor. You can also call Healthlink at 811 if that tool doesn’t work for you. There were more than a dozen physicians accepting new patients in July this year.

Healthlink also offers nurse advice and general health information which can be accessed by calling 811. This option is often criticized because of a perception that the go-to response is to tell the caller to contact a doctor or go to the emergency room.

There are also two emergency wards nearby, at Royal Alexandra and University hospitals. These are the places to go when facing life-threatening emergencies. AHS provides a handy tool listing emergency ward wait times here. Click on the Edmonton tab for local waits.

The Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network offers a list of family physicians in the Oliver vicinity who are accepting people into care including those practising at the Allin Clinic at 10155 – 120 Street, West Oliver Medical Centre at 10538 – 124 Street, and Generations Family Physicians at 12220 Stony Plain Road.

They also offer some excellent health prevention services including a series of free nutrition classes including Healthy Meal Planning and Cooking For One. Their fitness support includes a free weekly exercise program offering 90 minute river valley walk accompanied by a family physician and a kinesiologist, and you can request a Prescription to Get Active which is a one-month fitness pass to GoodLife Fitness in the Brewery District, the MacEwan University Sport and Wellness Centre, or the Don Wheaton YMCA.

Medical clinics and medicentres are an option for those without a family doctor. There are several in Oliver along Jasper Avenue, and there is one downtown. These clinics accept walk-ins but don’t do medical emergencies. The first thing their recorded messages tells callers is to phone 911 if the call is an emergency. Downtown east of 109 Street has been known as a bit of a health desert but there are a few new options that have opened up in recent years – notably the innovative SAGE seniors centre. SAGE, the Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton at 15 Sir Winston Churchill Square, offers comprehensive health services, mostly provided by nurse practitioners, who can do much of what doctors do. SAGE medical office assistant Shay Brooks says they can do wound care, foot care, and much more. They can also do home visits in the central area from Westmount to Gretzky Drive. And their care is not strictly limited to seniors, anyone over 50 is welcome. There is also a bus program available.

Alberta Health Services says most family doctors are part of a Primary Care Network.

On the east and north edges of downtown, there is the Boyle McCauley Health Centre at 10408 95 Street and a number of clinics north of downtown along 107 Avenue, including those which provide services in languages other than English including Arabic.

MacEwan University students at the downtown campus can avail themselves of a collaboration with the Faculty of Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. The MacEwan University Medical Centre is touted as a clinical teaching space that trains doctors, medical students and residents, as well as nurses and medical assistants. Students are assigned a family doctor on first visit staff try to book subsequent visits with this physician. Trainees are supervised by this doctor. And there are mental health professionals on site.

Prenatal Care is available by referral at the Mom Care Docs Low Risk Obstetrics Clinic at the Allin Clinic. A shortage of midwives means midwifery care is hard-to-come-by in Edmonton, and it’s even harder to come by in the core as all of the midwifery clinics have moved to the ‘burbs, but you can fill out a request for care at the central intake registry at Alberta Midwives. And if you know one of the approximately 100 pregnant women in Edmonton experiencing homelessness, you can connect her to the Pregnancy Pathways Program at the Boyle McCauley Health Centre, 780-249-7002. Newcomers needing culturally responsive perinatal care and referrals can contact the Multicultural Health Brokers at 9538 – 107 Avenue, 780-423-1973.

If you think you may have contracted a sexually transmitted infection, there’s a clinic for that, at 11111 Jasper Avenue open during office hours. You can also call 811. There is a separate STI clinic for gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men with drop-ins Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at 11745 Jasper Avenue (Bath House; Entrance in back alley, downstairs; Outreach Office in the Steamworks Building). The STI clinics do not offer birth control services but teens and young adults experiencing barriers to sexual health and birth control services can access free birth control and other care at the Birth Control Centre at 405 North Tower, 10030 107 Street, 780-735-0010. Sexual health and wellness services including education for community groups around sexual health, healthy sexual relationships, and consent; support for individuals around sexual health, STIs, pregnancy testing, and reproductive rights; and multicultural community outreach are available at the YWCA at #400, 10080 Jasper Ave, 780-429-3342. YWCA of Edmonton

Mental Health information is available from the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Their downtown office is at 10010 105 St NW #300. There is 24-hour help available at 780-482-HELP (4357).

After seeing a physician or nurse practitioner laboratory services are often called for. Dynalife has locations downtown at 250,10405 Jasper Avenue – and in Oliver, 11936 104 Ave. There is also a lab located at the Boyle McCauley Health Centre at 10408 95 Street.

If you need urgent care but aren’t able to get into a medicentre and aren’t sure you need the ER, you may want to contact a prescribing pharmacist. They can renew, adapt or modify prescriptions, and can provide prescriptions in an emergency. Oliver Place, Standard Life and Jasper/117 Shoppers and Rexall Ice District and Jasper 118 all offer the service. Hours vary, but the late-night pharmacy on Jasper Avenue and 117 Street is open until midnight.

Downtown / Oliver and area Walk-in Clinics

Downtown Medicentre
11807 Jasper Ave
Mon: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tue – Sat: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sun: Closed

Edmonton Medical Clinic
11722 Jasper Ave
Mon – Fri: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sat – Sun: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Jasper Avenue Medical Clinic
Same-day appointments, walk-ins welcome
11464 Jasper Ave
Mon – Fri: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sun: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Medicine Place Walk-in Clinic & Pharmacy
10660 – 105 St
Mon – Fri: 9 a.m. 6 p.m.
Sat – Sun: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Oliver Medical Clinic & Pharmacy
11423 104 Ave
Mon – Fri: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Sun: Closed

West Oliver Medical Clinic
10538 124 St
Mon: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tues, Thur, Fri: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wed: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Sun: Closed

Equity tower

The new CNIB building on Jasper Avenue is designed with vision impairment in mind

Crews demolished the CNIB building at 120 Street and Jasper Avenue in March to make way for a new, 32-storey tower, expected to stand by 2022.

The old building was the oldest CNIB property in Canada, while the new tower has been designed with the help of Chris Downey, an American architect who lost his vision. It will feature elements to aid in navigation for those with sight limitations.

But what does the demolition mean for Oliver and surrounding residents, who rely on its services? They’re still available at the CNIB’s temporary home, at 11150 Jasper Avenue, said Matthew Kay, executive director of vision loss rehabilitation, Alberta & NWT Division.

“There’s always a few growing pains when moving into a new space, but as far as accessibility goes, this is more accessible than our previous space”

Matthew Kay

“All services have remained, and we will be adding new services,” he said.

The temporary building is split into two different organizations: CNIB and Vision Loss Rehabilitation Alberta.

Kay said Vision Loss Rehabilitation Alberta offers assessments, and skills development, like white-cane training and guide-dog training. “This can be anything from cooking, cleaning, pouring a cup of coffee, anything you need to live independently.”

The CNIB offers volunteer services, like matching people up with a vision mate that can help with grocery shopping. “We also offer employment services where we help people develop skills, with resume building and connect them with potential employers,” Kay said.

The interim location is accessible to almost everyone, as it’s on a public transit route. “As far as accessibility goes, this is more accessible than our previous space,” Kay said.

Once complete, the new building will feature many residential units, with a portion of units reserved for the visually impaired. Textural patterns will be on the floor to assist cane users. There will be provisions to manage glare for those sensitive to light. Doors on the main floor will have different lighting and contrasting colours to help those with low vision. Fragrance gardens will be added as well to assist with navigation.

According to CNIB, about 60,000 Albertans are affected by vision loss.

Kay said the way we build cities affects those with visual impairments and needs to be considered.

“Ultimately, I would like to see more accessibility in homes and small businesses. Large print signs, audio street lights, these are all important to our clients,” he said.

“Also, always be aware. If you see someone with a white cane or a guide dog, treat them with the respect they deserve. If someone asks for assistance, help them, but remember, they are independent and we shouldn’t make any assumptions based on the fact that they have a visual impairment.”

OCL: Summer Events 2019

OCL Community Space, 9907 114 St.

July 11, June 13, August 15, 6-8pm
Come enjoy Oliver’s green space by having a picnic with your neighbours. We will be visiting different parks in Oliver. June 13 at Oliver Park, July 11 at Pocket Park beside the Pearl, August 15 at Monsignor William Irwin Park

July 1, 9-11am
Come celebrate Canada Day with your fellow neighbours and grab your membership card if you don’t have it already. Grace Lutheran Church will be serving free ice cream, 8pm onwards. Parking lot of Grace Lutheran Church at 9907 114 Street

July 3 – August 23, 10am-1:30pm Mon-Fri
The City’s back with children’s programming. Additional information here. Kitchener Park

August 24, 9am-2pm
Come get some treasures from this annual garage sale. Table discount for OCL members. Grace Lutheran Church, 9907 114 Street

June 22, 12-4pm
Bring your special ride, enter for best in show, and enjoy a drink & food while gushing over your favourite two wheelers. Oliver Park

Oliver Community League
9907 114 St NW
Edmonton, AB T5K 1P7
Facebook: OCLYEG
Twitter: @OCLYEG
Instagram: @OCLYEG

OCL board of directors: Robyn Paches (President), Luwam Kiflemariam (VP), Kirsten Mah (Secretary), Lisa Brown, Justin Keats, Jade Arnaout, Mark Workman, Derek MacDonald, Geoffrey George, Les De Zwaan, Sarah Toderian, Adrian Bruff, Allison Rosland

DECL: Summer Events 2019

DECL Community Space, 10042 103 St.

June 20
Join us for a discussion on accessibility in the core.
The Hendrix Roof Top Patio Doors at 6:30pm, Speaker at 7:30pm.

Read more on our Facebook event page

June 15 9am-11am
Join us for our Annual Pancake Breakfast. What better way to start the day than with pancakes, sausages, coffee and juice. Only $2, proceeds go to support our programming efforts.
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 Street

June 22nd, Time TBA
Join us for a DECL social night. Watch for details on our Facebook page. Location TBA in the coming weeks.

July 25, Time TBA
Join us for our annual patio crawl. Watch for details on our Facebook page.
Location TBA in the coming weeks.

Every Friday, 10am-11am
Urban Kids Playgroup for downtown parents and kids 0-5 years of age! Join us for snacks and free coffee.
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 Street

Third Friday of every month (June 21, July 19, August 16), 6:30pm
Bring your kids to a family-friendly board games night and meet other Downtown families.
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 Street

Last Thursday of the month (June 27, July 25, August 29), 7pm
Join us for a discussion on the latest development proposals and city planning.
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 Street

First Wednesday of the month (June 5, July 3, August 7), 7pm
Join us to discuss and plan our downtown programming and events. Please email if you plan to attend.
DECL Community Space, 10042 103 Street, or other locations when required.

July 3 – August 22 Tuesdays & Fridays, 2:30pm-6pm
The City’s back with children’s programming. Additional information here.
Alex Decoteau Park (10204 105 St. NW)

What’s a Community League?
Community Leagues are unique to Edmonton. They’re inclusive, grass- roots, community-based organizations found in each of this city’s 150-plus neighbourhoods. They facilitate healthy, safe, informed and connected communities by promoting participation in recreation, social activities and civic advocacy at the sidewalk level. They’re volunteer-run and promote volunteerism because getting involved is a great way to learn more about your neighbourhood and city. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn valuable professional skills, meet your neighbours and have fun. Join the movement today!

Downtown Edmonton Community League
10042 103 Avenue Edmonton, AB, T5J 0X2
Facebook: DECLorg
Twitter: @DECLorg
Instagram: @declorg

DECL board of directors: Chris Buyze (President), Laurissa Kalinowsky (VP), Glenn Rowbottom (Treasurer), Rainer Kocsis (Secretary), Jason Gold, Christie Lutsiak, Michelle McGuiness, Fardoussa Omar, Cheryl Probert, Tim Schneider, Cameron Smithers, Bronte Valk, Xiaosu Zeng

Go Fourth and Prosper

With the loss of City Market, 104 Street looks at what to do next

People may still picture 104 Street in downtown Edmonton as a street teeming with Saturday farmers’ market shoppers weaving between white-capped stalls holding samples of fresh baking in their hand. But all of that will change this year.

In March, the downtown community learned its weekly (in summer) City Market was disappearing, at least on 104 Street, at least for now. The Market needed a slightly larger year-round home and found one in the historic GWG (Great Western Garment) building, at 97 Street and 103A Avenue, where it will now open Saturday and Sunday every week, rain, sun, or snow.

But while some have worried aloud with concerns about what the future holds for downtown’s most important high street and its businesses, many on the actual street remain sanguine.

“We were doing Jim Dandy before the market came,” said Ed Fong, co-owner of deVine Wines and Spirits on 104 Street.

Fong agrees that the City Market, which moved to 104 Street in 2004, gave some of his neighbours a boost, like coffee retailer Credo. But for his business and others, “it was at best revenue neutral,” he said. “We lose the people that park in front of the store and buy three cases of wine because they think there’s no parking.”

Still, some with a stake in the future of 104 Street see the street as a venue. For them, the City Market’s move requires thinking to create new opportunity.

The 104 Street Action Committee met the first week of May to lay out the options for future programming. As The Yards went to press, the group was floating ideas of a smaller market, a night market, performing arts, a series of mini al fresco events, more car shows or block parties. The Downtown Business Association was also in talks with the organizers of 124 Grand Market, who have been keen to gain a foothold downtown.

Whether this planning means the street will continue to close to vehicular traffic remains to be seen until a proposal is submitted to the City, Fong said, adding there’s “no rush” to close a deal.

Ian O’Donnell, executive director of the DBA, sees the City Market move to The Quarters as a win-win for 104.

“Let’s create something new on 104th that’s going to be great and bring in a new crowd,” he said. “But let’s support the decision [City Market made] and ensure we have a great downtown, year-round farmers’ market that’s open two days a week now.”

O’Donnell believes the City Market’s new building is a positive as well, but will take some leg work to rebuild their brand in their new home.

Plans are already coming together for complementary programming nearby, in Churchill Square, where arts groups—including the Art Gallery of Alberta, Citadel, and Winspear—are looking to expand their presence.

“The question is really, how do you replicate some of that more urban experience along 103A Avenue when there’s not much east of that at the moment?”

Ian O’Donnell

Beyond the aesthetic of the 118-year-old GWG building, City Market spokesman Dan Young said the move will take time to catch on, but said there’s opportunity in the area.

He believes development similar to what 104 Street saw during the market’s tenure there could now be in store for The Quarters. The idea isn’t to replicate that, he said, but to build a new atmosphere in a less developed part of downtown.

The market running two days a week is going to make it happen all the faster, he added.

Fong said the City Market move was all for the best — construction was starting to limit the street’s capacity for the market and retailers alike.

“Their ability to stay on this street, the time was up,” he said.

Creating Canadian Cuisine

The Butternut Tree, at 110 Street and 97 Avenue, at the edge of Oliver, is chef Scott Downey’s attempt to answer that most difficult question in Canada: what’s ours cuisine. We caught up with Downey and, in his own words, he told us about his restaurant.

I just want to provoke the question of ‘What’s Canadian food?’ What’s the flavour of Canada and how are we as a country, as a group of people, going to give an identity to that? The whole goal is just being able to share everything that we learn all the way along and tell people exactly where to get it.

photo: William Frost

It’s not like I got this special ingredient and I want to hide it and nobody else is going to be able to have it anymore. That’s the complete opposite of what we want to do. Once we have that, we say exactly who we got it from, where we got it from, when you can get it, and I think that’s just the big thing – the sharing of knowledge.

I ended up looking at about 130 spots through all of downtown … and finally, when I came to this spot, I knew immediately. The big part was the location and the view. When I walked in here and just saw this giant park, the river valley, we have the streetcar that goes across and then also being Canadian, we have the legislature, it was just this perfect fit.

This type of mentality that you can have a dinner as your night … I want to build a restaurant that was around that philosophy. I want you to come in, spend the night with us, let us take care of you. Drink some wine, eat some food and relax and actually enjoy your whole night here.

We want to be fine dining in our quality of service. We want to be fine dining in the quality of our food, but I want it to be like you’re coming and having dinner at my house. If you come in, I just want to welcome you, take care of you and make sure that you’re having a good time and that you’re comfortable.

– Interview by Miranda Herchen

Rail Roots

You likely didn’t know this but Edmonton grew into a big city thanks in part to the railway. The core was the epicentre of rail, before we ripped up the tracks beginning in the 1950s. As the Valley Line LRT arrives over the next few years, our rail roots are showing again. Here’s a look at those routes on one map.

Beyond spur lines that ran south from the yards along 104 Avenue, to deliver wares into warehouses in downtown (check the backs of buildings on 104 Street for train-height loading bays), street cars once plied Jasper Avenue and headed north along 124, 101 and 97 streets. Meanwhile, the Canadian Pacific Railway came in from the south, along the Mill Creek ravine, before heading west through Rossdale and north, just west of Oliver, and the Calgary and Edmonton Railway came directly along the High Level Bridge and into Oliver (with a station where there’s now a Marble Slab). The biggest concentration of rail was Canadian Northern Railway yard, located where MacEwan University now stands. Fun fact: We named our magazine after this spot.

Around the Core: Summer 2019

What to do in the core this summer is a social-calendar dream. Beyond the friend hangs and the patio sessions (go easy, young buck), make sure to plunk some of these events into the mix.What to do in the core this summer is a social-calendar dream. Beyond the friend hangs and the patio sessions (go easy, young buck), make sure to plunk some of these events into the mix.


124 GRAND MARKET /// Thursdays and Sundays
Food trucks, local goods, live music, kids programming and more at this 124 Street staple. Thursday markets run 4:00pm- 8:00pm, from May 9 to October 10, and Sunday markets are 11:00am-3:00pm from June 2 to September 29.
108 Avenue and 124 Street (Thursdays) and 102 Avenue and 124 Street (Sundays)

Start your day off right at DECL’s Annual Pancake Breakfast, then head over to Mercer Super Party (1-10pm) on 104 Street and Fruit Loop Pride Wrap-Up Street Party on 103 Street (3-10pm)

Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day with a Pow-Wow, interactive activities, live performances and an artisan marketplace.
Edmonton EXPO Centre, 7515 118 Avenue

– The Works June 20 to July 2
– Taste of Edmonton July 18 to July 28
– Premier’s Breakfast
– Canada Day Breakfast


Sign up as a team of two or four and race around central Edmonton to compete in various mental and physical challenges.
Various locations throughout the core.

Join us for a discussion on accessibility in the core
The Hendrix Roof Top Patio Doors at 6:30pm, Speaker at 7:30pm
Read more

Explore Edmonton’s past through the lens of this year’s leisure theme by partaking in tours and gatherings at communities, museums, and historical sites around the city.
Various locations throughout Edmonton.

SNAP GALLERY ARTISTS TALKS /// July 15 and August 23, 6:00pm
Hear Kristie MacDonald (July 15) and Amery Sandford (August 23) discuss the themes and journeys behind their most recent projects.

CARIWEST FESTIVAL /// August 9 to 11
The spirit of the Caribbean comes to Edmonton in Cariwest’s 35th anniversary celebration. Immerse yourself in Caribbean food, crafts, entertainment and, of course, a rum garden.
Federal Building Plaza, 9820 107 Street

Run one of Western Canada’s flattest marathon courses, sign up for a shorter distance, or grab a spot at one of the many spectator hot spots and cheer.
Edmonton Convention Centre, 9797 Jasper Avenue (check website for route information).

Libraries build better communities

Every Sunday, I leave Oliver to find a workspace that checks two boxes: a hum of conversation and an empty table for my laptop. A library would check those boxes, but most areas in Oliver are at least a half-hour walk from the closest libraries— Enterprise Square and Strathcona. If you’re walking from west Oliver, that time almost doubles.

On the weekend, a coffee house is the only local workspace outside my apartment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Sunday trips to the coffee house, but I’m expected to drop four dollars on a coffee and there are no research resources. An Oliver library would address both concerns.

My neighbourhood has zero non-athletic public facilities for its 19,000 residents, outside of MacEwan University on our northern boundary. We no longer have a community hall. We’re isolated in our condominium towers and developers threaten our limited green spaces. More than ever, we need public facilities that spark human connection, encourage new friendships and support people in need.

At the Alberta Library Conference this year, councillors from Edmonton and Calgary who serve on their library boards spoke about public libraries. Among them was Councilor Ben Henderson. “One of the things that libraries do really well is create a safe space for people,” he said.

In Oliver, we are missing the indoor, safe space Henderson talked about. The situation is particularly difficult for elderly residents who may not have social connections in their own homes, and for lower income families who cannot afford a trip to the movies every weekend. Libraries matter for people with disabilities, for new immigrants, for students, for parents, and for everyone in between.

Libraries also nourish neighbouring businesses. The Oliver Community League’s recent community survey found that the number one service residents leave the neighbourhood for is a library. When you leave your neighbourhood for the day, your wallet leaves with you.

On Valentine’s Day 2020, Edmonton’s rejuvenated Stanley A. Milner Library is slated to open. The Milner will be a massive facility serving all of Edmonton, Oliver included. But Oliver is not your typical neighbourhood. It’s unique. It’s not downtown, but pulses with a population density of a downtown. And it’s growing. By 2050, the city expects Oliver’s population to approach 30,000.

The EPL considers developing a library when an area’s population reaches 20,000 residents, is expected to grow to 30,000 within the next five years and when there is no other library within five kilometres.

In 2019, an Oliver library would serve 19,000 of our own as well as some of the 7,000 Queen Mary Park residents. In 10 years, the time it takes most branches to transform from concept to opening, Oliver’s population is expected to have grown further. The statistics suggest Oliver will need a library by EPL’s current policies, but they don’t account for our uniquely-dense population. By some measures, Oliver is Edmonton’s most dense neighbourhood, a far cry from the urban sprawl around the edges of the city.

Edmonton Public Library has a thoughtful, strategic plan for library expansion. EPL leadership reviews their branch and service point development policies every three years, recognizing that the needs must be re-assessed regularly. I encourage EPL to review these policies and understand that Oliver can no longer follow EPL’s traditional assessment of library service needs. Our neighbourhood is dense, diverse and lacks public facilities.

In Oliver’s future, a small branch library might co-locate with a new community hall. Or a storefront library could slide into a commercial strip on Jasper Avenue. Either way, now is the time to begin planning.

Let’s hope our booming neighbourhood will one day have its own library—for our children, our elderly, people with disabilities, those looking for human connection, and those who would love to walk to the library on a Sunday afternoon.