From my downtown Edmonton perch, I am listening to the music of The Works this evening.
Like most of Edmonton's festivals -- and this is my moment to point out Edmonton calls itself Festival City round this time of year -- The Works mainly takes place at Churchill Square, across from City Hall and near the still-being-rebuilt site of the Art Gallery of Alberta.
(Incidentally, Churchill Square is also home to the Three Bananas Cafe, one of the best coffee shops in the Prairies. Yes, I am making that call. Yes, the Prairies are awfully expansive.)
It's been awhile since I've waxed poetic on Edmonton. There are many reasons for this, entirely personal. Although, to be fair, it is difficult to wax poetic about a place when it is -40C. Much easier to be all romantic about a city when it is sunshiny and 30C and you've spent much of the last three weeks playing soccer and frisbee and walking around in pretty skirts.
But Edmonton has its charms. The way you can smell the river valley when you're walking down Jasper Avenue at 1 a.m. The way Whyte Avenue becomes this bright and shiny, colourful place on a Saturday afternoon in June. The way the sun doesn't really, really set until well after 10 p.m., and the river rises to meet walking paths.
I love the Farmer's Market in St. Albert. I love how, when you're at Fort Edmonton Park, you actually do feel like you've set foot in another time -- it smells different, sounds different, feels different. I love Hawrelak Park and the ice cream vendors that find their way there.
My favourite festivals are Taste of Edmonton and the Shakespeare Festival. Though I do have soft spots for Folk Fest (even if I never find the right seating situation), Capital Ex (formerly known as Klondike Days) and the Fringe (although the right play is always hard to find and I inevitably end up at silly ones that make my brain hurt).
Edmonton, je t'aime just doesn't have the right ring to it, I suppose. But I sure do like you a lot, fair city.
(You've read all the way to the bottom of this post, eh? And you're wondering why I haven't mentioned a single book? Maybe you're rolling your eyes at me and my little love letter here? Maybe you're thinking I'm on a really weird emotional roller coaster today, after my earlier rant? Hm.... I guess I should offer you this, then. I got it at a conference I won't name, but my family liked it when they were here, and it's full of quirky facts about the Capital region. Available, I'm sure, at bookstores, or available to borrow if you ask me for it.)