What to do this summer?

School is officially out which means that children and teens have a lot of time on their hands. Wondering what you can do in our City? There are many affordable or free activities for families to participate in over the summer. 

Downtown has been growing steadily over the past few years and it continues to offer wonderful experiences for families. Part of the experience can be taking the bus or LRT downtown, which is free for children under 12, I know my grandchildren love riding the train! The LRT has a stop that is very close to the Edmonton Street Car where you can enjoy riding a restored streetcar over the High-Level Bridge, an activity that is sure to satisfy all ages.

Head down to the Art Gallery of Alberta which is free for individuals under 17. If you attend the AGA with some friends and their children, consider registering for an education program for a more hands-on gallery experience. Visit youraga.ca for more information. 

Just down the street is the new Royal Alberta Museum. It’s a great way to spend time exploring over a few days. Children 6 and under are free and the annual family pass is only $70.  Right now the museum is featuring Vikings: Beyond the Legend, which is the largest touring exhibition of Viking artifacts in the world. 

On your way to the museum check out a free tour at City Hall. Free public tours take place every Friday in July and August beginning at 12:30 pm and last about an hour, no need to register, just drop in. 

Maybe your kids loved looking at the prehistoric animals at the museum but they would like to experience some amazing animals live and in person. The Valley Zoo recently opened Nature’s Wild Backyard which includes habitat for red pandas, a new urban farm where children can pet some animals, and play equipment that encourages children to use their imagination. 

For something closer to home cool down in any of Edmonton’s outdoor pools for free again this summer! Afterwards, head to the Aviation Museum on the last Thursday of every month from 5 to 8 pm for free family access

These are only a few of the wonderful options our City has to offer, there are festivals every weekend, markets all around the City and great community events. For more ideas check out exploreedmonton.com 

This September we are putting another community fun day together, it’s on September 7th from 11-2 pm at Grand Trunk Field, I would love to see you there. It’s a free family event, everyone is welcome!  

My thoughts on Residential Speed Limits

There has been all kinds of discussion surrounding what to do with residential speed limits, its coming back to Council on May 14th.  Making our City safe is a priority, but I recognize and have heard from many that whatever we do it needs to be simple, consistent, cost effective and that we need to …

Child Friendly Edmonton

Often I am asked what making a child friendly City means, and why it’s important. Children and adults learn in completely different ways, and children often learn best through play. Unfortunately for many years play has been getting pushed further back in City building priorities. We are changing that! Child Friendly Edmonton has a clear vision: to create a vibrant, connected, safe, sustainable and welcoming city. When planning on how to build a vibrant downtown, City, or community, often children are the last individuals who are thought about because they don’t have a voice among City planners, developers  and decision makers. A child-friendly city welcomes and involves children and youth and promotes their well-being and safety.

Edmonton Public Libraries are great examples of planners taking a child’s need to play into perspective when designing. A library is a place where families can all spend time in different areas and learn in many different ways. As the new Stanley Milner library is planned and built, Child Friendly principles have been used to help create spaces that ensure that children’s needs and desires are taken into account. The new library will have some exciting play elements for children and great resources for parents.

Last year the City launched a CHILD FRIENDLY BUSINESS RECOGNITION PROGRAM that aims to give parents ideas of restaurants and business’ that they will be able to bring their children to where they will be welcomed and feel comfortable. Each business will have amenities for families, and activities for children. Staff at these recognized business’ should be patient, friendly and understanding taking the time to greet and welcome their younger customers. Visit edmonton.ca/childfriendly to find one of the 144 business’ already recognized or nominate a Child Friendly business today!

We are also hard at work developing a guide to encourage “Play Streets” which has the goal of reactivating streets to be used for all people. Communities are encouraged to host a “play street” where the street is closed for a day allowing children and families to enjoy the space without having to worry about traffic.  

As a City we are constantly looking for new ways to hear from Children and create spaces where they can learn, have fun and feel safe. A child friendly City doesn’t just benefit children, it allows families to feel at home no matter where they are in the City. Building strong and healthy children, families and individuals will make our City stronger in every area.