Tag Archive | Edmonton

Cross-Canada Shenanigans – Edmonton to Regina

As Edmonton recedes in the rear view mirror of our fully loaded Ford Escape (luggage, not leather and sunroof) I can’t help but smell a whiff of regret.  No…wait…that’s the cat litter from the litterbox at the back of the car.  Never mind.  No regret.

Anyway, the first leg of our cross-country journey is complete.  Greetings from the homicide capital of Canada!  Just a tip…you might not want to stay at the Howard-Johnson’s in Regina.

Thoughts so far:

– I’m pretty sure that the Yellowhead Highway makes the surrounding part of every city it goes through look like a post-apocalyptic nightmare of concrete and big-boxes.  Edmonton, Lloydminster, Saskatoon – none come out looking pretty from the Yellowhead.

– I’m bummed we didn’t stop at the Historic Telephone Museum in Manville, AB.  That is something I’ll have wished I did when I’m on my death bed.

– Our cat stopped meowing somewhere outside of Lloydminster, thank the lord.

– Saskatchewan is kind of boring at night.  I mean, it’s not a thrill a minute in the light, but at least we could see the fields.

What’s next?  Manitoba and beyond!

BONUS GAME:  First person who can tell me where this picture is wins a prize!


Cross-Canada Shenanigans – YEG to YYZ

As some of you know, Ben Co. HQ is relocating to Toronto, ON. Now, I’ve written all sorts of fun things about Edmonton, AB over the past year and a half that we’ve been there, but it is time to move on to bigger and better things.

What does this mean?  Why, another cross-country road trip.  Yep, nothing but me, my wife, our cat, and kilometer upon kilometer of prairie.  So, to share my pain fun, we’re gonna be blogging all across Canada.  Keep your eye out, as we’ll update when wireless access permits!

See you in 3,419 kilometers!

Top 10 Things I Hated About Edmonton


Now that I’m safely ensconced in my friends condo in Toronto happily suckling from the teat of urbanism, density and an efficient public transit system, I think I can safely reflect on the 10 things I hated most from my time in Edmonton.

I know, I know…how could I possibly narrow it down to 10?  I’m that good.  So, here it is, the top 10 things I hated about Edmonton.

Note: Before you leave a rambling, swear-filled comment, maybe read the Top 10 Things I Liked About Edmonton post that goes along with this one.

Top 10 Things I Hated About Edmonton

 1.  Apparent Lack of Any Urban Planning…At All

Now, I know no city is perfect.  All major urban centres have gone through periods of rampant growth which throws any sort of coherent planning out the window, but Edmonton has really done it with style.  At various times during my stay in Edmonton I had asked long time Edmontonians why the city seemed to grow as an amorphous blob, and most times I received vague answers around “the landscape promotes this sort of growth.”

Oh really…the landscape dictates that you build a sea of big box stores on your main entry to your downtown core, or that you allow parking lots and Walmarts to surround apartment complexes without any thought to walkability?  I didn’t realized that those wide open spaces erased any concept of historical preservation, density, or urban planning.   I mean, Edmonton covers 680 some sq. km., larger than Chicago, Phillie, Montreal, or…yes, Toronto.  And the actual City of Edmonton population is around 730,000.  Obnoxious.

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Top 10 Things I Liked About Edmonton


That’s right, folks, we are pulling up stakes, loading of the Red River cart and heading back to the bright lights of Toronto.

Yessir, we’ve had enough of this oil loving, profit at all costs province and decided to make our fortunes in a less heady economic environment.

“But Ben,” you say, “surely there must be something you liked during your stay in the Wild Rose province?”  And you’re right…so here’s my top 10 things I liked about my time in Edmonton and Alberta.  While these are kind of in order of preference, they’re not really.

Top 10 Things I Liked About Edmonton

1. William Eddins

The conductor of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra is a transplant from Minneapolis, so he gets bonus points right there.  He had a terrific way of connecting with the audience and creating a relaxed atmosphere.  Plus, the exuberance with which he conducted was contagious and you couldn’t help but be engaged – and he gets major bonus points for the “bum wiggling” incident.

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Pulitzer here I come


I think I used up my 15 minutes of fame, and it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I thought it would be.

After many passionate letters to the Edmonton Journal on topics ranging from homelessness to municipal infrastructure issues, this is what gets published:


At least now I have a good barometer of what type of writing they are looking for in the Edmonton Journal.  Passionate and informed – no; Snarky and vacuous – YES, PLEASE!


Oh, and I was censored.  I wrote “good old grand theft auto.”  Much  more poetic.

2007 Photoaramamontage


Since I only have the power to look backwards in time, I’d like to share with you a montage of my photography from 2007. Two things:

1) I help run this website UrbanOhio. I’ll give it a proper introductions later, gotta space out my material.

2) I have never thought myself to be a “good” photographer (and no I’m not fishing for “woe is me” compliments.) I like photography because I do. The pictures included in the link below represent places I’ve been, memories, city’s, stories or just a laugh.

A few snippets:

I’ve got pacman fever!

cincinnati pacman

Ben’s hangout




See The Full Set

Alberta’s New Licence Plate

So the Government of Alberta is looking at revamping Alberta’s beloved “Wild Rose Country” licence plate and is asking the public for input.

Being the good pseudo-Albertan that I am I thought I would chip in. Here are some possible plates that I think really capture what Alberta is all about.

1. Might as well just say what everyone here thinks. Oh,wait, they say this.


2. Would be a nice alternate to the environment one.


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2nd Canadian Taser Death in One Week

UPDATE: You can view a new post on this topic and the video here.

UPDATE: This post has been garnering lots of interest, so I thought I’d move it up to the top again and provide a link to a story from the Edmonton Journal.  Another “cop said/tasered guy said” case.  This time someone is tasered for jaywalking and getting a little uppity.  Apparently, “Have you ever heard of a crosswalk?” is Edmonton Police code for “You are breaking the law and I will taser you if you don’t stop walking.”

So, as usual, Jimsey is ahead of the curve on the news. Check out his post on Taser’s from Oct. 9th.

Now, in the span of one week, two people have died as a result of being tasered. One man at Vancouver’s airport died shortly after being tasered by police. Vancouver Police continue to maintain that his death was in no way related to the two blasts from a police Taser.

While police are working hard to deduce what possibly could have killed the man in Vancouver, Montreal Police are now linked to the death of Quilem Registre. Quilem was apparently stopped by police, was unarmed, but must have been enough of a threat that police felt the need to shock him not once, not twice, but SIX times. Yes, that’s approximately 300,000 volts the police felt was required to subdue this man. I think 300,000 volts would stop an elephant, let alone a man.

There are two very revealing statements that came out of this most recent death:

  1. “If you don’t have that Taser gun, you’re going to have to use your handgun,” said the Quebec municipal police federation’s president Denis Cote.
  2. When the issue of a possible lawsuit was raised, here is what Taser V.P. Steve Tuttle had to say:
    • “We’re 59 and 0 in court. That’s a great record right there because we can get rid of the junk science in a courtroom setting,” Steve Tuttle, vice-president of TASER International Inc. told CTV Newsnet.

There are a couple of things that spring to mind immediately. First, the only option for Quebec police to subdue a person beside the Taser is to shoot them? Remind me not to steal any poutine the next time I’m in Montreal.

Also, that V.P. sounds like a giant ass. You know, the kind who’s mother even wants to take a tire-iron to his head. And junk science? How much money do you think Taser has poured into various “research” projects in order to establish that there is no connection between these and the 14 other deaths and the use of a Taser in the last 5 years?

Is anyone else prepared to get a little pissed about this?

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