December 7, 2019 sketchout

Thanks to Yvonne Rezek for organizing this sketchout:

The Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market is finally open! Opened originally on October 26, then closed due to permit issues, it is now open for regular business. It is the only indoor market in the downtown area at 10305  97 St.

Located in the former former Great Western Garment Company Building (GWG), the market has now found a stable, permanent home. The building was established in 1914 and housed GWG until 1954. It subsequently housed the Army and Navy Department Store and, for a brief time, the Red Strap Art Market, before sitting empty for a number of years.

We’ll meet at the Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market at 11am to sketch (and shop!) and then meet for snacks and sketch sharing at 1:00 just up the street at the Nook Cafe at 10153 97 Street. The Nook builds community in the downtown area and is part of the suspended coffee program whereby customers pay for a coffee or two in advance for others who cannot afford it. If you are able to contribute, this act of kindness will be appreciated as the days get colder.

Lots of free parking available.

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November 2, 2019 sketchout venue change

Hey gang – a venue change for the November 2nd sketchout. Sadly, the downtown farmers market is closed down again temporarily because of permit issues. We can sketch instead from 11am to 1pm at City Hall, which has some beautiful architecture and light. Parking at the City Hall Parkade is 50 cents/hr on Saturdays and the LRT lands you just outside.

We can still meet for lunch at 1pm at the Nook Cafe at 10153 97 Street.

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Sketching History – Urban Sketchers Edmonton exhibit opens November 20, 2019

Sketch of Prince of Wales Armouries by Joanne Wojtysiak, 5 May 2019

Sketching History: Rediscovering Edmonton’s Architectural Heritage through Urban Sketching exhibit of sketches by members of Urban Sketchers Edmonton and curated by Marlena Wyman, Edmonton’s 5th Historian Laureate, opens November 20, 2019 at the Prince of Wales Armories. Read all about it here!

Thanks to the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Heritage Council, the Edmonton Historical Board and the City of Edmonton Archives for their support of this project, and to exhibit designer Sergio Serrano.

Posted by Marlena Wyman

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Lee Pavilion, Citadel Theatre, 5 October 2019

Sketchers gathered on October 5th for another enjoyable time sketching in the Lee Pavilion’s greenery at the Citadel Theatre, with lunch and sketch sharing afterward at the Edmonton Centre Food Fare.

One of our sketchers ventured outside first to record City Hall:

Sketches by Sue Jackson

The Citadel Theatre first opened in 1965 in the old Salvation Army Citadel on 102 Street, founded by Joe Shoctor, Sandy Mactaggart, James Martin and Ralph MacMillan. Phase I of the current Citadel Theatre opened in 1976, and in 1984 Phase II was completed including the beautiful indoor tropical gardens of the Lee Pavilion, a welcoming downtown green space, especially in Edmonton’s winters.

Sketches by Asma Burney

Sketch by Brenda Raynard

Sketches by Yvonne Rezek

Sketch by Joanne Wojtysiak

This sculpture by Roy Leadbeater was installed in 1984 when the Lee Pavilion opened.

As Yvonne had mentioned, Urban Sketchers Edmonton have been inspired at sketchouts here twice before, in 2011 and 2017. Here are few of those sketches from our past:

Sketches by Karen Wall, 2011

This artwork by Glenn Guillet was installed in 1999.

Sketches by Marlena Wyman, 2011

Sketches by Yvonne Rezek, 2011


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October 5, 2019 sketchout

Thanks to Yvonne Rezek for planning October’s sketchout.

The long range weather forecast for the October sketch meet isn’t encouraging. The days leading up to it promise highs of +6C. But who knows? It could spike on Saturday! I was hoping to organize the last outdoor sketch meet of 2019 elsewhere, but I decided on an indoor/outdoor compromise.

Sketchers can meet at the Lee Pavillion in the Citadel Theatre at 11:00 and, depending on weather, can stay indoors and sketch the beautiful, fragrant surroundings or, if the weather is fine, can step outside to sketch any of the inspiring urban scenes within steps of the pavilion: Churchill Square, City Hall, Edmonton At Gallery, the new (and controversial) library, and so on.

We will meet at the the Three Bananas Cafe in Churchill Square at 1:00 pm to share lunch or snacks, conviviality and, of course, our sketches.

Our last visit to the Lee was in 2017 and before that in 2011. We have many sketchers in the group who have never had this opportunity so I hope you can come. I’d love to see many of you join in!

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Edmonton’s Heritage Trees

We were invited on a very special sketching outing to a Belgravia resident’s Heritage Weeping Birch tree. It is a magnificent tree that was planted in 1951. Thanks to Wendy, our host, and to Urban Sketcher Asma Burney for alerting us to this wonderful sketching opportunity on a beautiful summer day.

Photo by Yvonne Rezek

Sketches by Asma Burney

Sketch by Brenda Raynard

Sketches by Yvonne Rezek

Sketch by Marlena Wyman

After sketching, our host and her friends treated us to a delightful garden party-style tea of scones and other dainties. We were very appreciative of their generous hospitality!

Photo by Yvonne Rezek

I sketched another historic tree last year – the Heritage Manitoba Maple that is beside the First Presbyterian Church downtown. It was planted in 1926.

Sketch by Marlena Wyman

I think this would make a great series for sketching. Just around the corner from the Heritage Manitoba Maple is the Heritage Holowach Horse Chestnut tree – south of Jasper Avenue in a parking lot between 105 and 106 streets. It turns 100 next year so we should celebrate it then with a sketchout!

The City of Edmonton has a Historic Resources Register and Inventory that includes heritage trees, and some of Edmonton’s heritage trees’ stories are included in the Heritage Trees of Alberta book.

Another recent and ongoing project by Master Gardener and Designer Dustin Bajer will locate, map and tell the stories of Edmonton’s heritage plants.

The quiet contribution of these stately trees are an important heritage resources that make for a more beautiful, livable city.

Posted by Marlena Wyman





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El Mirador Apartments 7 September 2019

We gathered on a rare sunny day to sketch the historic El Mirador apartments, and enjoyed a quiet lunch at Doan’s afterward to share sketches and stories.

A surprise visit was made by CTV news who covered the event (September 7 at 13:50).

Marlena Wyman being interviewed by CTV

Sketches by Brenda Raynard

EPCOR was carrying out some noisy (although no doubt needed) work on the drainage system right beside us – a juxtaposition to the tranquil El Mirador. One of our sketchers also recorded that very urban scene.

Sketches by Merts Belmes

Here is the history of El Mirador from the Edmonton Historical Board’s Architectural Heritage website:

Ralph Henry Trouth, the designer and builder of the El Mirador Apartments, offered beautiful detailing to the three-storey walk-ups. The whitewashed exterior features circular and arched details, and an elliptical window over the main entryway. Red corrugated roof tiles cover the distinctive gabled section over the main entryway. And the slightly raised side elements to the roof of the original building suggest the towers typical of Spanish Revival. The arched first floor balconies allude to the arcaded walkways found in southern climates, and the balconies and spiral staircase have iron railings. Most in character to the Spanish Revival style is the open courtyard, which aside from being of architectural interest, helps add a sense of community for the building’s residents. The Spanish name of the apartment, El Mirador, can be translated as “The Lookout”.

Sketches by Marlena Wyman

Sketches by Julie Daly

Sketch by Diane Smarsh

The core of this building is actually a wood framed house built in 1912. The home, still visible on the north façade, was a one-and-a half story gable roofed residence with a full front porch, and was typical of the type of vernacular homes being built during the pre-war boom. In 1935 Trouth built his 12 unit apartment building on the front of the house. In 1937 a second permit was issued. This was for an addition which effectively doubled the living space. This addition was a U-shaped building which formed the building’s distinctive courtyard. Finally in 1953, another building called the Patricia Annex was added to the south, bringing the number of apartments up to 45. When Trouth died, the apartment reverted to his widow, Annie.    Edmonton Historical Board 

Sketch by Diane Scott


Sketches by Yvonne Rezek

Sketches by Janet Bertsch (bottom sketch is Rochester Apartments, just south of the Patricia Annex of El Mirador) Sketch by Jo-Anne Farley

Sketch by Diane Maxine Yandt

A valiant effort is being carried out by El Mirador residents and other concerned citizens to save the building, but it seems that the building’s fate will be a typically sad one for Edmonton’s history: demolition and replacement with another looming tower complex. 

There is a need for densification in our city, but why does it come at the unnecessary cost of the destruction of heritage buildings? New can be built anywhere and anytime, but once heritage architecture is gone, it is an irreplaceable loss. El Mirador in particular combines unique heritage architecture, affordable housing, and a design that encourages community – something we need more of, not less.

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