Restaurateur Michael Maxxis, left, chef Lindsay Porter of London Local and Mustard Seed volunteer Robin Brownlee at the Feast of with our Neighbours meal they created to give Mustard Seed regulars a world class meal.
Nick Lees / Postmedia
A new book celebrating 50 years of love for Edmonton’s history is helping to fund the next investment in Fort Edmonton Park.On Saturday, author Carolina Roemmich’s new book, Our Living History: The First Fifty Years of the Fort Edmonton Foundation, sold like Oilers tickets in the old days when it launched at the Fort Edmonton Foundation’s 50th anniversary Homecoming. The park was open for one day only as a break from a multi-year renovation project.Proceeds from the book sales are going to the campaign to raise $11 million in support of the midway expansion, Indigenous Peoples’ experience, Hotel Selkirk expansion and the new front-entry plaza.It took decades to get a commitment to rebuild a replica of the fort after it was taken down in 1915 from its site where Government House sits today, Roemmich said. Local leader Sam Dickens had been pushing the idea for 20 years when a city official suggested embedding the replica in a full heritage park.“At 89 years of age, (Dickens) jumped at the opportunity to endorse the city’s proposal and noted the restoration of Old Fort Edmonton would save Edmonton humiliation at our 1967 centennial celebrations. We would not have (only) a vestige of the fort remaining to remind us that Fort Edmonton was once the most important fur trading post in the west.”It’s the passion Edmontonians have for this connection with history that made Fort Edmonton Park not just a museum with objects on shelves or behind glass, said Roemmich, of the living museum. It has actors who work the farms, shops and old fort to make the past come alive.“The connection with heritage matters and if we disregard it and if we tear down buildings, if we let old structures rot, if we don’t hold on to the stories and repeat them, what does that say about anything?”Tasting trip creates unexpectedly extravagant mealA practise an Edmonton restaurateur developed on tasting trips to other cities led to a unique dinner for people experiencing homelessness in this city last week.“On trips to find new dishes in such places as Toronto, New York and Chicago, I’d only taste a little of any dish,” said Michael Maxxis, co-owner of El Cortez, Holly Roller and Have Mercy.“Rather than discard the rest of the food, I began carrying it out and giving it to people on the street who looked as if they needed a meal.”Maxxis was shown such gratitude he wondered how he might help people in Edmonton.He discussed a meal idea with an old friend, Robin Brownlee, who helps at The Mustard Seed, and they took it to some of Edmonton’s top chefs. Feast with our Neighbours was born.Last week, Nate Henry of Have Mercy, Lindsay Porter of London Local and Shane Chartrand of River Cree Resort and Casino’s SC Damn Good Food prepared a sumptuous meal at The Mustard Seed for those who dine there daily.First course was Chartrand’s spicy Snapper Crudo, second was Henry’s Chicken Mole and third was Porter’s Stuffed Yorkshire and Steak Pie. Jeffrey and Amy Nachtigall of Sugared and Spiced supplied dessert.Maxxis said the chef’s had wonderful feedback. “We’d like to expand the meal to other areas of the city next year.”
The Alberta party relaxing on Haida Gwaii are student Jessalyn Cardinal-Arcand, 18, left, carver Ben Davidson and son Jasper, school chaperone Julius Auigbelle, CASA’s Carrie Avveduti and student Dustin Auigbelle, 15. Ben’s dog’s name is Daisy.
Local teens explore art in Haida GwaiiTwo Alexander First Nations students just returned from Haida Gwaii where they discussed creative ideas with internationally renowned carver Ben Davidson.He’s working on a sculpture for a local non-profit and wanted the “artistic inspiration” of two creative young people, he said, “to help with ideas, such as the colours they think will work, the critters that speak to them, such as butterflies, and a mock-up of my work.”CASA, which helps Edmonton and Northern Alberta families with mental health issues, organized a writing contest. Grade 10 student Dustin Auigbelle and Grade 12 student Jessalynn Cardinal-Arcand won. They’re from the Alexander band, which is headquartered 17 kilometres west of Morinville.“Dustin wrote about his desire to experience a part of the world he would not otherwise have the chance to see, while Jessalynn shared her interest and skill in artwork,” said Carrie Avveduti, program manager with CASA.There was no agenda for the three-day trip to Haida Gwaii, an island off the northwest coast of BC.“Ben suggested our students just follow him for a day in the life of a crazy artist,” says Avveduti.“They climbed a mountain for fitness first thing in the morning, saw Ben deal with his art gallery business and then later discussed with him the kind of information he might have taught at university, including working with wood.“He gave some instructions in drawing and Jessalynn enjoyed discussing computer graphics.”CASA’s success coach Courtney Zielinski, who works with the students at the Alexander Kipohtakaw Education Centre, said it was amazing how happy the students were on their return. “Dustin was walking 10-feet tall and sharing his experiences with everyone around.”