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54 FREE THINGS TO DO IN EDMONTON THIS SUMMER (2016)

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Summer is expensive. A weekend trip out of town can easily break the bank, leaving less room in the budget for the fun things to explore in the city. Summer camps can leave you feeling drained, causing you to look for inexpensive and free things to do in Edmonton with kids.

Don’t worry, there’s lots to do in Edmonton, for free, through the summer. We’ve got you covered. Try out some of these activities to have cheap fun in Edmonton.

1. Play at one of the top Spray Parks in Edmonton

2. Cool off and wade at the Legislature grounds. Bonus points if you run through the colored fountains at dusk.

3. Watch the K Days Parade, and get some free pancakes.

4. Scale the biggest slide in the city and cool off at Remax Spray Park and playground in Sherwood Park (pictured above!)

5. Get entertained by the Street Performers at Churchill Square while the kids play in the kids area at the festival

6. Take in an outdoor movie during Movies on the Square, or find scheduled ones on our events calendar

7. Park near Sheriff Robertson Park (111 Ave and 81 St) and take a walk through the Kinnaird Ravine. Look at the murals, and climb on rocks that look like ‘hoodoos’.

8. Enjoy a pancake breakfast for free to kick of K-days

9. Check out the Art Gallery of Alberta. You can get free admission on the last Thursday of the month from 6-9

10. Get entertained, eat, and browse for new home inspiration at one of the Show Home openings in Edmonton (to stay up to date on these fun, and free, events – follow our Events Calendar)

11. Take a walk through Mactaggart Sanctuary

12. Take part in a ‘Playground Hop’ and visit the top ten playgrounds in Edmonton

13. Bicycle through Borden Park and have a look at the sculptures and play at one of our favorite playgrounds in the city

14. Get free admission (for kids) to the Saturday Movie at Metro Cinemas

15. Enjoy Free entertainment at the Fringe Festival

16. Get a Free Lego mini build set from the Lego Store

17. Downtown Walking tours are free and available all summer long

18. Browse through Chapters and discover a new children’s book author

19. Take a free Dance class from Ivivva (Sunday mornings, in-store)

20. Join the free computer camps at the Apple Store and Microsoft stores, through the summer (pre-registration required)

21. Play two free bowling games every single day over the summer

22. Take part in the Bonnie Doon Kids Club (toddlers, little kids) on the third Thursday of the month

23. Get out of town – Bring your tubes and float down Whitecourt’s Rotary Park for an easy way to cool off (that’s free!)

24. Watch a Dragon boat race at the Dragon Boat Festival

25. Drop into your local community association and buy a membership and get free swimming at the local pool(through select memberships, at weekly intervals)

26. Get on the bikes and try a new course at the Strathcona County Bike Skills Park

27. Head over to the University of Alberta Observatory to learn more about the stars

28. Check out the Zipline at the new Dino Park in Leduc (The grand opening is on July 25)

29. Check out the Green Shack programs at a local park – Our favorite is Kinsmen, where there are staff all day to entertain the kids and encourage them to get out and play. Find the full city Green Shack program list, here

30. Head over to the Farmer’s Market at Callingwood for Kids Event days with free bouncy castles and petting zoos to entertain the kids

31. Or, join the Sprouts Kids Club at the Southwest Edmonton Farmer’s Market for free kids fun (and credit to the Farmer’s Market).

32. Take the kids to the monthly workshop at the Home Depot and build something to bring home (activities are themed monthly)

33. Listen to the free Disney Fantasia in the Square, by the Winspear Center

34. Get cultured at the Works Art + Design Festival

35. Visit the St. Albert Botanical Park

36. Follow our event calendar for FREE outdoor movie locations and showings, throughout the city

37. Get introduced to Caribbean Culture at Cariwest

38. Take a free Light Saber Training class (there are kids sessions and adult sessions)

39. Take part in Family Nature Nights in Edmonton, two hour long events in July and August where families can come out, learn something new and have fun.

40. Go on a sustainable walking tour offered through the University of Alberta

41. Make a temporary tattoo stand. Grab some tattoos, set up like a lemonade stand and offer a little bit of summer to passerbys with a free tattoo

42. Take one of the drop-in classes at Michaels. Classes are free, and there are fun things like bracelet making and tye-dye – Even the paid classes are very cheap, $12/3 classes all summer long.

43. Find a makeshift swing on a trail in the River Valley

44. Catch the view at one of the best places to watch the Sunset in Edmonton

45. Take part in the festivities at Edmonton River Day, or other festivals throughout the city. All festivals have many free events for children and families to take part in. Bring your lunch, and have some fun.

46. Take part in an epic water fight. There’s the ‘biggest waterfight’ being planned for the summer – and we will let you know when more details come available.

47. Check out your local Parent Link organization, from free playdates at the park, to ice cream parties and even toy lending libraries – you’ll find many free activities for the kids to take part in.

48. Fly a Kite on a Windy Day at Hawerlawk Park

49. Go to the Edmonton Air Show (kids under 6 are free)

50. Scope out the sand sculptures at Sand on Whyte (extended until July 17)

51. Catch frogs in the marsh at the Sherwood Park Natural Area

52. Plan a road trip to go kid friendly tubing at Red Deer Discovery Canyon – bring your own tube, it’s free.

53. Host a movie night in your own backyard. Find a friend with a projector, hang a sheet for the screen and watch movies as the sun goes down.

54. Explore one of these best trails and places to ride bikes, with kids, in Edmonton and area

55. Use our Guide to Geocaching and get out there and go on your own treasure hunt this summer, with the kids.

56. St. Albert kids can take part in daily programming at local parks, with the Cruisin’ Clubhouse

57. Take part in a Saturday morning Physical Activity class for kids, it’s a great way to get active and tire out the kids bright and early

58. Run through the colored rainbow of balls and structures at the Meadows Splash Pad, outside of the Meadows Rec Centre

59. Take your tubes and plan an afternoon spent on the river – at Range Road 23 Park

60. Test the Zipline at one of our newest favourite playground discoveries

61. Catch an outdoor movie, watch The Good Dinosaur outside at Jurassic Forest

62. Check out the FREE kids golf course at Stony Plain Golf Course

63. Check out a local Fire Station open House

64. Attend one of the many free programs to attend at the Edmonton Public Library and while you’re there, sign up for the free summer reading club

65. Ride on the Zipline and climb the fun structure at Florence Hallock School Playground

Source: www.raisingedmonton.com/54-free-things-to-do-in-edmonton-this-summer-yeg-yegkids-yegevents/

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Inside the Mind of Chef Shonn Oborowsky Characters Fine Dining

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I’ve been asked a number of times throughout my career what got me into cooking and what made me decide to be a chef.

My answer isn’t very dramatic or at least it wasn’t intended to be. I view cooking, particularly the high-end, dedicated work that is done in the kitchen of Characters is art. I’m not a painter, a sculptor, a musician, or an architect. But I am an artist. My canvas, my clay, my paper, my blueprint is food. My tools are knives, forks, and plates.

I never wanted to communicate what I feel through other forms of art. I wanted to make people understand what’s in my head and my heart through my food, and in turn, I hope they appreciate my art and it makes them happy.

Just like an artist who changes his work, I like to change mine as well. We’ll call it stirring things up. I do that by changing my menu. Something comes into my head or my heart, I get a thought process rolling, and I want to make some changes. I get antsy doing the same thing over and over again, which is the very definition of insanity. I don’t want to ever get bored or complacent with my cooking. It helps a great deal to utilize seasonal changes in food availability to shake up the menu, give it some new twists, and keep the creative juices flowing. Those never go out of season.

How these changes come about vary a great deal. Basically it comes down to just seeing things differently. For example, you and I both see a rock. But the colors, the shape, how it sits, how it feels might spring to mind something to me that I can put on a plate. That’s just how my mind works.- Shonn Oborowsky

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Characters Fine Dining Named One of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable

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Characters Fine Dining Named One of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable diners

Edmonton, Alberta – February 4, 2016 – Just in time for the Valentine’s Day season, Characters announced today it has been named one of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada by OpenTable diners. The list of winners is derived from more than 275,000 reviews for approximately 1,600 restaurants submitted by OpenTable diners across the country.

Experience Fine Dining
“Canadians love to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special meal,” said Ziv Schierau, Head of National Accounts for OpenTable Canada. Characters restaurant has been chosen by OpenTable diners for its ability to create a culinary experience and atmosphere that leaves diners with memories they cherish all year. Congratulations on being named one of the 50 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada.”
Based on feedback collected from OpenTable diners between December 7, 2014 and December 6, 2015, all restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then scored and sorted according to the percentage of reviews for which “romantic” was selected as a special feature.

For more information about all of the restaurants on this list, please visit http://www.opentable.com/m/50-most-romantic-restaurants-in-canada/.
About OpenTable
OpenTable, part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), is the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, seating more than 17 million diners per month via online bookings across more than 33,000 restaurants. The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to keep guests coming back. The OpenTable service enables diners to see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus, and other helpful information, and easily book a reservation. In addition to the company’s website and mobile apps, OpenTable powers online reservations for nearly 600 partners, including many of the Internet’s most popular global and local brands. For restaurants, the OpenTable hospitality solutions enable them to manage their reservation book, streamline their operations, and enhance their service levels. Since its inception in 1998, OpenTable has seated more than 940 million diners around the world and almost 35 million in Canada. OpenTable is headquartered in San Francisco and available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, and the UK.

Follow OpenTable Canada on Twitter: @OpenTableCanada.

Winter Cravings: 3 great Cigars for special occasions

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Partagás Aniversario
To commemorate the 170th anniversary of its Partagás brand, General Cigar has created the Aniversario cigar, which incorporates ligero and viso tobacco leaves from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua (including a proprietary Nicaraguan Gurdian leaf) and a Connecticut Habano binder. The crowning glory is a 5-year-old Cameroon wrapper, which imparts a sophisticated spice. The cigar is rolled in three sizes—a 5 × 50 robusto, a 6 × 54 toro, and a 7¼ × 54 salomon (our favorite)—and limited to 15,000 examples per size, which are available primarily in anniversary chests of 10 each. ($159.90–$179.90 per box) cigarworld.com

Rocky Patel 20th Anniversary
Twenty years ago, Rocky Patel transitioned from a career as a Hollywood attorney and launched his own cigar brand. To mark the occasion, he has produced an anniversary smoke that offers a medium-full body, thanks to filler tobaccos sourced from Nicaragua (in Estelí and Jalapa) and Honduras (in Jamastran) and a Honduran wrapper. The box-pressed cigar is available in five sizes—ranging from a 7½ × 38 lancero to a 6 × 60 toro—and is worthy of a snifter of the Macallan Fine Oak 30 Year Old. ($9.65–$12.80) rockypatel.com

Fuente Fuente OpusX
Though previous attempts by others had failed, Carlito Fuente proved in 1995 that it was possible to grow a flavorful Dominican wrapper and use it to make a Dominican puro. The result, the Fuente Fuente OpusX, has become one of the world’s most sought-after and elusive cigars. Smoking it, in any of its numerous sizes, is akin to dining on a Kobe filet mignon, seared medium-rare. ($12–$26) cigarfamily.com

written by:

Richard Carleton Hacker | Robb Report

14 Surprising Health Benefits Of Wine

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You pop open the cork after a killer day at the office, and the luscious wine flows in mellow drops into your shiny glass. Then this voice whispers in your ear. “Should I be drinking wine?” You try to make healthy food choices and go to the gym and yoga a few times a week. Are you negating your efforts with a few sips?  You know that over-indulging is a health no-no, but what about a glass of wine a few times per week?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard of the heart-healthy benefits of red wine. But this is not your big concern; you already exercise and eat pretty well.

Prepare to be amazed. More than just being heart-healthy, wine has a slew of surprising health benefits, many of which stem from resveratrol. Some plants make resveratrol to fight off bacteria and fungi, or to withstand a drought or lack of nutrients. Red and purple grapes, blueberries, cranberries, mulberries, peanuts, and pistachios are sources. Resveratrol may be the wonder ingredient responsible for many of wine’s benefits. Isolating the resveratrol does not yield the same powers, indicating that a constellation of forces act together to protect the body. Most studies focus on the benefits of red wine because white grapes do not contain resveratrol.

Prepare to be amazed and relieved. You’re about to learhow your wine-drinking ritual can be a powerful health elixir. Check out the following fourteen benefits of wine that go way beyond heart healthiness.

1. Live longer

That’s right. On the island of Ikarios, a recently discovered Blue Zone, people live longer than anywhere else in the world. Daily wine consumption is part of a dietary pattern that encourages long life through eating fewer animal-based foods and eating more plant-based foods. You’ll find the long-lived residents of Crete and Sardinia sipping dark red wine, a part of their anti-aging lifestyle. A 2007 study suggests procyanidins, compounds found in red wine tannins, help promote cardiovascular health. Wines produced in areas of southwest France and Sardinia, where people tend to live longer, have particularly high concentrations of the compound.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School uncovered evidence that resveratrol directly activates a protein that promotes health and longevity in animal models. Resveratrol increases the activity of sirtuins (longevity pathways), a group of genes that protects the body from diseases of aging.

2. Get smarter

Resveratrol may help improve short-term memory. After just 30 minutes of testing, researchers found that participants taking resveratrol had a significant increase in retention of words and showed faster performance in the portion of the brain associated with the formation of new memories, learning, and emotions.

3.   Banish breakouts with wine

Resveratrol is able to inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria longer than benzoyl peroxide. And it works even better when combined with benzoyl peroxide.  So far, drinking the antioxidant is the best way to benefit from its properties. Topical application in creams has not been proven as effective – so imbibe your antioxidants in wine, fruits, and veggies rather than buying expensive creams.

4.  Wine may beat trips to the gym

Would you rather drink wine or slave away at the gym?  Scientists at the University of Alberta in Canada found that resveratrol improves heart, brain, and bone function; the same way these parts are improved when you go to the gym. Now imagine the benefits of doing both!

5. Say goodbye to the blues

You know wine helps you relax…but depression?  Researchers in Spain found that men and women who drank two to seven glasses of wine per week were less likely to be diagnosed with depression. Even when taking into account lifestyle factors which could influence their findings, the reduced risk held strong.

6. Reduce (not increase) your risk of liver disease

This study challenged conventional thinking about alcohol and liver disease. Modest wine consumption, defined as one glass a day, may decrease the prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Modest wine drinkers, as compared to teetotalers, cut their risk of NAFLD in half. And compared with wine drinkers, modest beer or liquor drinkers had four times the odds of having suspected NAFLD.

7. Promote healthy eyes

Resveratrol stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eyes, according to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. This may help with treatment of diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. Note that these studies were done in mice, so the dose for humans is not yet clear. But this is a great start.

8.  Protect your pearly whites

Did you know that drinking wine is a little-known way to protect your teeth from bacteria? We mentioned wine’s antimicrobial effects on the skin. Well, it also helps reduce bacteria on our teeth.Using five of the common oral plaque-causing bacteria, scientists noted almost complete degradation of the bacteria after applying the biofilms with red wine.

9.  Cut multiple cancer risks

Breast Cancer

Red grapes are the fruit best able to suppress the activity of aromatase, the enzyme used by breast tumors to produce their own estrogen – this is called an aromatase inhibitor. Red wine may serve as a nutritional aromatase inhibitor, which may ameliorate the elevated breast cancer risk associated with alcohol intake. Note that you can also eat red grapes; those with seeds are especially helpful. Resveratrol is also thought to kill cancer cells by cutting off a pathway that feeds cancer cells.

Colon cancer

Studies show that moderate consumption of red wine can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 50%.

Prostate Cancer

Harvard Men’s Health Watch reports that men who drink an average of four to seven glasses of red wine per week have a 52% less chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer compared to those who don’t drink wine.  Red wine appears particularly protective against advanced or aggressive cancers. Doctors speculate that flavonoids and resveratrol contain potent antioxidants and may counterbalance androgens, the male hormones that stimulate the prostate.

10.  Stave off those pesky sniffles

So maybe grandma’s cold remedy isn’t so strange after all. A study looked at 4,000 faculty members at five universities across Spain. Those who drank wine were less likely to come down with a cold compared to those that drank beer or spirits. Researchers think that the antioxidants help lower inflammation and reduce the symptoms of colds.

11.  Lower your cholesterol (without changing your diet)

Resveratrol is thought to reduce LDL and increase HDL, meaning that our blood vessels are less likely to be coated with plaque. Even the American Heart Association admits that moderate consumption of any type of alcohol can increase your HDL, or good cholesterol, by about 12%.

12. Reduce the risk of stroke

Wine may reduce your risk of ischemic stroke. In analyses adjusted for age, sex, and smoking, intake of wine on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis was associated with a lower risk of stroke compared with no wine intake.  The benefits were not seen in beer or hard alcohol consumption.

13. Regulate blood sugar levels without drugs

Red wine is abundant in polyphenols. The polyphenols in wine interact with cells involved in the development and storage of fat and the regulation of blood sugar.  The amount of polyphenols in a small glass of red wine appears to rival the blood sugar regulating activity of certain diabetes drugs.

14. Slash your diabetes risk

Men and women who drink moderately have a 30% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This may be due again to resveratrol, which improves sensitivity to insulin. Insulin resistance is the most important critical factor contributing to Type 2 diabetes risk.

Written by: Jessica Blanchard