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Dining in #yegdt

Posted on February 12, 2016 by

When you combine a diverse and expanding Downtown Edmonton with delicious and extravagant food, you’re bound to have an incredible experience and that’s what Downtown Dining Week is all about! From March 11th to 20th, the Downtown Business Association organizes this culinary event to showcase the hospitality scene that Edmonton is receiving national attention for. With new concepts and menus being brought to the table seemingly every month, this event lets you explore exclusive downtown menus at special prices.

Although the listing of restaurants hasn’t been announced yet (check back soon on the website), there’s no shortage of restaurants downtown to explore on your own. Just recently, OpenTable listed 5 Edmonton restaurants as top restaurants in the country: The Marc, Hardware Grill, Harvest Room at the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Sabor Restaurant, and Solstice Seasonal Cuisine. Supporting these incredible restaurants not only brings people downtown, it also provides Edmonton talent the opportunity to celebrate local food and creative ideas. Edmonton’s restaurant scene no doubt has something for everybody. With the new arena in ICE District slated to open this year, Edmonton’s core is only going to get more vibrant with new restaurants, shops, and attractions, making living here all the more exciting!

If you haven’t checked out the culinary scene in #yegdt yet, now is the time to do it, and keep coming back for more.

| February 2 | Events
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Purple is the New Black

Posted on August 20, 2015 by

A new colour will hopefully soon cover the 104th District Area downtown: purple. zag creative has proudly sponsored this awesome initiative to get our neighbourhood Purple Flag accredited by the Association of Town and City Management. What this accreditation means for our vibrant street is recognition as a safe and diverse community that demonstrates excellence in nightlife and security.

Spanning from 102nd to 106th Street and 104th to 98th Avenue, this area is different from many others in Edmonton. The historical buildings and warehouses of our community are filled with exciting art galleries, restaurants, bars, small businesses, and more! There’s something exciting every day on 104th Street from the Farmer’s Market to Al Fresco this weekend, and other celebrations that bring this urban community together.

The process of getting accredited requires demonstrating, using facts and statistics, that our community is setting exemplary standards in well-being & safety, transportation, collaboration, has a diverse nightlife and appeals to a variety of tastes. There’s certainly no shortage of initiatives and committees downtown that have been working together to develop an exciting and fun community!

If accepted, the 104th District Area will be the first area in North America to be Purple Flag accredited — currently there are 56 Purple Flag communities in the United Kingdom. There have never been more cranes working in downtown Edmonton, as Rogers Place, the Ice District, and other towers are being built. As downtown Edmonton continues to grow at breakneck speeds, this accreditation will help to increase the image of downtown and 104th Street as an exemplary area of Edmonton.

We’re so excited to be part of this really cool opportunity to put our community on the map and further the perception of our downtown as an urban community that is vibrant with a variety of businesses and residences! Stay tuned for more as we go through the accreditation process and chase the Purple Flag.

What to be EXCITED about in Downtown Edmonton

Posted on April 16, 2015 by

I am really excited about the changes happening in Downtown Edmonton, and I wanted to take a little time to talk about some of the things that we should be OPTIMISTIC about.

Throughout my involvement in the Downtown Business Association, the Downtown Vibrancy Task Force as well as having our new office downtown #on104th, I see and hear a lot about the downtown almost every day. I also live downtown. In fact, I rarely leave the downtown core unless it’s for a meeting or a special trip to one of my favourite restaurants, Langano Skies on the south side.

A lot of what I hear is unfortunately on the negative side, and I think we need to work collectively to change that.

The most common complaints I hear are:
1. Construction is going to (or is) making my life miserable
2. What is going to happen to parking downtown, it’s already hard to park AND it’s going to cost more
3. All the dust is going to make things really dirty
4. What are we going to do with all that residual office space left over when these new commercial towers are built?

What I would like to point out are some of the things on the positive side of what is happening to Downtown Edmonton.

Downtown is going to grow exponentially in the coming 3 – 5 years. With catalyst projects like the Edmonton Arena District and the Royal Alberta Museum as well as investment capital in residential and commercial projects, we have a lot to get excited about as a city.

1. More people and businesses coming into the downtown core means more vibrancy, more options, and more excitement. Who doesn’t like excitement and progress?
2. There are more opportunities to get out and ride your bike or take a walk. We could all use a little more exercise in our life. This can’t be a bad thing.
3. We have more reasons to talk about how awesome Edmonton is and how it is a place that people should come and visit any time of year, as there are multiple options, no matter what season. We much too often act like an ugly cousin to other cities and we need to stop that.
4. There will be increased options for businesses to move into the downtown core where the prices didn’t work for them previously. This brings us back to number one.

Really, all these things work together and move us forward.

I would certainly rather live in a city moving forward, instead of one that is moving backwards or staying stagnant.

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about what our downtown has to offer us, so let’s try and help spread the message of the exciting times to come. I love the saying, “As goes your downtown, so goes your city.”

Personally, I like where we are going.

Photo Cred: Con Boland

Flying – Not for the Faint of Heart

Posted on January 22, 2015 by

I have been flying a lot more in the last year than in my entire life and in doing so, I have become very intrigued by the way air travel works. As a business traveller, I can say I look at flying much differently than when I was a leisure traveller.

I don’t slight people for the way they navigate through the airport and on planes, but I do now see why the things I used to do – before I knew any better – must have drove people crazy.

I am using this experience to share some of my observations and perhaps save others the time it took me to learn some “travel lessons”. Please share your own tips, as I am still figuring things out and am sure I have a lot more to learn.

  1. Be Prepared: When you hit the security line, be ready. Laptops out, metal out, don’t take your water bottle or your large shampoo bottle with you. Be quick, be alert, and yes, you likely have to take your shoes off if you are flying international. Most importantly, don’t stand there looking stunned and lost. You could be holding up people that are trying to make a tight connection or those that just want to get to the airport lounge before their flight.
  2. Use the Lounges: Someone very close to me introduced me to airport lounges years ago, and it’s hard to go back. As a business traveller, you have reliable WIFI to get some work done, a quiet place to sit and time to have a bottle of water, bowl of soup or a warm meal depending on the airport you are in. TIP – You can get a nice discount in the Edmonton Premium Plaza Lounges with an AirMiles card if you aren’t a lounge cardholder.
  3. Limit Carry-ons: If you are going to bring a ridiculous amount of carry-on luggage, please respect the people that put their items in the overhead before you. Really, I get it. You don’t want to pay the fee to check your bag, or maybe you just don’t want to wait for your luggage when you land, however, trying to cram that really big, heavy carry-on in the overhead and crushing other people’s property is unacceptable. Common courtesy costs nothing.
  4. No Baggage Blocking: When you are claiming your baggage, there is NO NEED to stand directly in front of the carousel. We all need to get our luggage, and let’s be honest, that thing moves at a snail’s pace. But have no fear – if you actually stand back so we all have a fighting chance, the world will not end and you will still get your bag. Also, if something happens and you do miss it, it will come around again, very soon.
  5. Let People Pass: When you are getting off the plane, unless you have a tight connection, just let the people in front of you off first. It’s a line, and we all know how those work (well, most of us do). Let people in front of you go first, as there is no need to push through and get off first, especially when I just end up running into you at the baggage carousel.

Now we all know air travel is seldom painless, often frustrating and always tiresome, but there are things we can all do to make our travel experience and the experience of those around us a bit less painful.

Halloween Pet Costumes

Posted on October 30, 2014 by

Pets are a big part of my family and are included in holidays and traditions.  Like some people say, your pets are your kids.

I dont dress them up and parade them around, but there is something about giving a nice “treat” to your four legged friend on Thanksgiving or Christmas.

A morning segment of “America’s Money” on ABC: Americans will spend $350 million this year on costumes for their pets. That’s up from $220 million just four years ago. The leading pet costume is a pumpkin, followed by a hotdog.

But costumes are more than just for dogs. There’s a new trend of costumes for pigs, guinea pigs, hedgehogs and EVEN bearded dragons.

Pig dressed as a turle cozyhedgiebags-tutu lamarmota-hotdog owlfeathersnfluff-dragon

If your significant other just isn’t into a couples costume this year, don’t fret you can go with your pet!  Ariel and Sebastian if you like Disney, or Batman and Robin if you want to go classic hero, or Daenerys Targaryen and one of her dragons if you’re into Game of Thrones.

ariel-sebastian Batman & Robin Daenery's Dragon

I don’t plan on dressing my dogs up anytime soon, I love them just the way they are, but these images all give me a smile in my day and brighten up my Halloween.

DSC08078 IMG_0074 IMG_0766

Happy Halloween everyone.

The Art of Email

Posted on February 6, 2014 by

Something has been on my mind lately.
Maybe it is because of the thousands of emails that I get in a week. Or the thousands I send. Maybe its because of all the people that I never talk to anymore as we communicate electronically. Whatever the reason, the art of email I find is really lost.

Although I am totally an offender of this – and I know I am, I would like to share some things about email that I think are important notes to make. It is a great reminder for me as well.

1. When you are replying to an email, even if you are trying to get it off your plate, take a second to double check you answered and addressed everything in that email. Please don’t cause 4 more emails with answering only 1 of the 2 questions, or answering a completely different question. In the long run, its more efficient than rushing it out – trust me.

2. If you are replying to an email from a smartphone, or late at night after a few beverages, please see 1. and triple check.

3. Sending emails that are more than 1 or 2 small paragraphs is insane. Pick up the phone and make a phone call. Exception to the rule, you are sharing important information with a group of people that you can’t communicate with otherwise.

4. Don’t use email for passive aggressive commentary or venting. See 3. Phone or in person is always best. Way too many say things in email that they wouldn’t dream of saying on the phone or in person to someone.

5. Check who is cc:ed on the email. If someone was cc:ed, they should probably be cc:ed on your response as long as it is appropriate. Use your common sense on this. Exception to the rule – no need to respond to all with a Thanks! or a Will do! It just adds to the email clutter in everyones inbox.

6. Lastly, if you are sending an attachment, double check that it is there.

Now, I am going to go check and send some emails.

| February 2 | Writing
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Dining in the Downtown Core

Posted on March 22, 2013 by

As some of you may or may not know I Co-Chair the Marketing Committee for the Downtown Business Association.

One of the things that we are working on is growing the exposure of Downtown Dining Week.

This is your last weekend to get out and try one of the fabulous lunch or dinner menus available.

There are 30 restaurants to choose from all over the downtown core, all delicious.

If you take part in Downtown Dining Week you can also enter to win 50 bottles of wine from deVine Wines along with a 35 bottle Whirlpool wine cooler.

So get your snowshoes on this weekend and get out to one of the great dining options in downtown Edmonton.





| March 3 | Events
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Social Media – Personal or Professional

Posted on November 1, 2012 by

A question I get a lot from clients is – how do I use social media?  Another question is should I use it personally or professionally and which one is best for what?

Different social media channels are used for different types of engagement and interaction.

LinkedIn is mostly used for business – business networks, business connections.  It’s the old “not what you know but who you know”.  LinkedIn can also be connected to Twitter so your tweets are posted in both places.  I saw a disaster happen here with some people who were using a personal Twitter account and decided to tweet something that ended up on LinkedIn.  It’s my opinion that you should keep business and personal as seperate as possible.  It’s like drunk texting a boss or co-worker – don’t do it.

Twitter can be used for both business and personal – I have seen it work well for both.  It really depends on your organization and your goals.

Twitter is about letting people know who you are, sharing some information and ultimately some personality from a personal standpoint.  You can build networks, make new connections and get up to the second news alerts.

From a brand or business standpoint on Twitter – some of the above apply, but it is more professional.  It isn’t really about telling someone you had Cheerios for breakfast – unless you are indeed General Mills.  You can build brand trust here as well as share information and make connections.

Facebook is the place to be social.  Creep on past schoolmates, check out photos of your friends’ animals and children and poke people (that doesn’t happen much anymore by the way – that is so 2008.)  Yes, having a Facebook account can help your brand but you have to do it the right way, be responsive and have a PLAN.  Your friends may notice that you have been absent from posting things to your wall or checking your messages and just contact you another way.  The people who like you or support your brand however, may not be so persistent or forgiving.  Nothing is worse than having someone post on the wall of a brand or business and have them not respond.  They will be annoyed that they took the time to engage with you and you ignored them.

I am just going to cover those three channels for right now, some food for thought.



Posted on September 6, 2012 by

I just got back from a trip to the Okanagan and I was thinking a lot about branding when I was there (yes I was touring a lot of wineries – can’t help it in that region).

One of the wineries that I was throughly impressed with was Okanagan Crush Pad who were new to the area.  This winery had thought through all of it.  They had this little ‘0’ on all of their branding.  On the signs leading up to the property, the glasses that you taste from (which they didn’t sell and they should in my opinion), the new technology “eggs” that they use to make their wine in, coaters, signage, bottles – well you get the picture.

I have to say having visited several wineries, I was highly impressed with the amount of work that they put into their branding especially for a new winery in the area.  Whether you are a winery or any business, your brand is incredibly important.  From the way you answer the phone and the way you dress all the way down to the little details. Consistency and having a brand voice is key.

I am talking about branding next Tuesday at the Capital Ideas panel along with 2 other very talented people in the industry that I am honoured to be speaking with.  Come down and check it out.


Downtown Edmonton in the summer summer summertime

Posted on July 27, 2012 by

So it is no real secret that I am a big lover of living downtown.  I love it even more in the summertime though.  We have the river valley, the sun (ok you get that all over the City) and the ever growing ability to be able to walk most places for a coffee, groceries, or a glass of wine with a friend.  We have the City Market on 104, numerous festivals, food trucks, and so many more things.  Every weekend and weekday leads to more things to discover and things to do which I see grow every year.  You can even rent a Segway in Louise McKinney Park now.  There is also the addition of the Mercer Tavern on 104 Street which has great big windows that open onto the street.  There is no question in my mind that Downtown Edmonton just keeps getting better and better.  If you haven’t been by in awhile – check it out – if you have, keep it up!

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