With large urban parks and rolling trails along the river valley, it’s no wonder Raffaella Loro loves calling Oliver home. “We’re kind of in the suburbs of downtown,” the photographer and communications advisor jokes about the southeast portion known as Grandin. “We’re in the centre of the city but we’ve got a tiny little yard and access to green space.” Best of all, the 20-minute walk to city hall, where she works for the city manager, lets her effortlessly capture Edmonton’s natural and urban transformations with her Canon. “It’s a really exciting place to be right now.”
1. DISTRICT COFFEE, 10011 109 St.
Raffaella will pop in for a latte in the mornings to fuel her quick commute. “I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker until Nate [Box] first opened Elm Cafe. Now I’ll happily partake in a coffee pilgrimage whether it’s to Elm, District or a stroll to Riverdale to visit Little Brick,” she says about the entrepreneur’s cafe empire around downtown. While there, she might treat herself to an artisanal salted caramel or one of pastry chef Erica Vliegenthart’s fresh baked goods.
2. JOHN HOWARD SOCIETY MURAL, 10010 105 St.
She’ll sometimes stroll a block south of Jasper to admire a painting so easily missed by pedestrians and drivers not looking up. “It makes me happy every time I walk pass,” she says. It’s easy to see why: “Transition” tells a story of compassion and environmentalism between two massive creatures made up of bright vegetation and cold industrial buildings. “There’s a lot of depth to it. You can spend a fair amount of time examining the details.”
3. ZENARIS, 10180 101 St.
She meets with friends after work for a bottle of Prosecco at this family-owned Italian restaurant in the middle of Manulife Place. The seating and cocktail bar are nestled in the middle of the busy indoor corridor, making for perfect people-watching and patio dining on the rainiest of days.
4. FLOC BOUTIQUE, 10106 124 St.
To squeeze in a few extra steps on her Fitbit, Raffaella scoots down to this 124 St. womenswear boutique offering superbly personalized shopping. Style consultants pair the latest trends from Sanctuary Clothing, Fever London and St-Martens. “I just recently found a great dress and a beautiful navy jacket with an architectural collar and leather sleeves.”
5. LUX BEAUTY BOUTIQUE, 12531 102 Ave.
Raffaella then tucks into LUX for perfect “gifts to pamper” and tips on the latest luxuries from owner Jennifer Grimm and fellow beauty experts. The specialty beauty shop is known for carrying top-quality, hard-to- find products. “My friends and I are obsessed with this face mask called Glam Glow.”