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Tech Roundup Review: November 2018

Every Tuesday morning we publish the Tech Roundup, a newsletter full of the latest headlines & happenings in Edmonton’s technology community. In addition to the curated, easy-to-scan lists of news and events, each edition includes one or two featured items which are the updates highlighted below. Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email each week.

Here’s our look back at the month of November 2018 as captured by our Tech Roundups.

November 6 – Electric Autonomous Vehicle Pilot Project wraps up

The City of Edmonton’s electric autonomous vehicle pilot project, featuring a shuttle known as ELA (for Electric Autonomous), wrapped up at the beginning of the month. The ELA vehicle was a 12-person shuttle manufactured by EasyMile called the EZ10. It operated at low speeds (less than 12 km/h) and featured a battery that could last up to 16 hours. In this edition we also highlighted the new Dev Edmonton Society, Athabasca University’s use of AWS, and that Extra Life Edmonton raised $69,303 for charity.

November 13 – City of Edmonton named Most Open City in Canada

For the third year in a row, the City of Edmonton has been named the "Most Open City" by Public Sector Digest at the Canadian Open Data Summit. Wendy Gnenz, Chief Information Officer at the City of Edmonton, won the Canadian Open Data Leader of the Year Award. We also highlighted the launch of WAV Capital, new research from the U of A to build quantum memory, and a feature on former City Councillor Kim Krushell who has launched Bar-Tech.

November 20 – Artificial Intelligence-Supercomputing Hub to be established at the University of Alberta

The Government of Canada is investing $2.5 million in the University of Alberta to establish an Artificial Intelligence-Supercomputing Hub for Academic and Industry Collaboration ("the AI-Hub") "equipped with high performance computers capable of processing vast amounts of raw data in hours instead of days." The AI-Hub is expected to open in Spring 2019. In this edition we also highlighted an interview with Jonathan Schaeffer about AI and Edmonton, a photo feature on NAIT’s new Productivity & Innovation Centre, and the news that Edmonton was shut out of the inaugural Start Alberta awards.

November 27 – Four Edmonton companies receive federal funding to get innovative products to market

Edmonton-based DevFacto Technologies, instaMek Solutions Inc., Intelligent Imaging Systems, and Lumican Corporation have received a combined $3.2 million to "help move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace." The funding comes through the five-year Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative. We also highlighted an interview with Amii’s new CEO John Shillington, a recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 43, and that Myrna Bittner and Ashley Janssen were accepted into the fall cohort of Connection Silicon Valley’s Canadian Women’s Network.

Popular Clicks

These were the top 5 most clicked on items from the month:

That’s a wrap on November! Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email every Tuesday morning. And in case you missed it, here’s our review of October 2018.

Silver for our election microsite at the 2018 COPAs

The 2018 Canadian Online Publishing Awards were handed out last week and Taproot Edmonton is thrilled to share that we won Silver in the Best Interactive/Infographic Story category for our 2017 Municipal Election microsite.

Martin Seto, producer of the COPAs, said they “celebrate the people that produce content in a world where there is growing mistrust of the media and the widespread distribution of tabloid and farticle content on the internet.” This year was the 10th anniversary of the awards.

We combined open data from the City with other data that we collected to build the election microsite. Prior to Election Day, readers could use the Election Guide to find their wards, candidates, voting station, and more simply by entering their address or clicking the “Locate Me” button. On Election Night, the results dashboard provided real-time updates on every race, total voter turnout, and other interesting data points, such as the incumbents being defeated and the most supported candidates. Once the information became available, we updated the microsite with campaign finance disclosures. You can easily search the data to see all the donations that candidates received.

The microsite was built by Mack Male, with editing from Karen Unland and research by Anna McMillan.

Read more about our microsite and companion email newsletter.

The City of Edmonton has an opportunity to support new approaches to local journalism

On Nov. 13, City Council’s Executive Committee approved a recommendation from Administration to renew its agreement with Postmedia "for the provision of print and online advertising services for a three-year period ending December 31, 2021, for an amount not to exceed $3.5 million, including GST."

In 2012, Executive Committee approved the first such three-year agreement with Postmedia. They renewed it in 2015 for another three years.

The agreement provides the City of Edmonton with discounted rates for both legally required advertising (such as notices about bylaws, resolutions, public hearings, etc.) and other types of advertising. "For over 20 years, the City has purchased legally required advertising exclusively from the Edmonton Journal," reads the latest report.

The Edmonton Journal was selected in part for its reach but also because until recently, the Municipal Government Act specified that legally required advertisements be published in the newspaper. Amendments to the Act now in effect enable municipalities to pass a bylaw to "use one or more other methods" for such advertising, including "electronic advertising such as advertising on the municipal website."

I spoke about this at Executive Committee on Tuesday, to offer context and to share my thoughts on the proposed agreement. There was broad agreement from the Councillors in attendance that times have changed and that new alternatives should be explored. Administration also recognizes the potential for a different approach and has struck a cross-departmental sub-working group to develop a bylaw to take advantage of the recent MGA amendments. "As the approval and implementation of the updated bylaw proceeds, it is likely that the City will transition to digital advertising and will decrease reliance on newspaper advertisements as pre-authorized through this report," the report said.

Since 2008, the City of Edmonton has spent well over $7 million on advertising in the Edmonton Journal, an increasing percentage of which is for legally required advertising (72% this year). Given the declining print reach of the Edmonton Journal, and the City of Edmonton’s own substantial digital reach, this spending is effectively a subsidy to a single outlet.

With recent legislative changes, the City has an opportunity to instead invest some of that money in outlets like Taproot that are building a brighter future for journalism right here in Edmonton.

While the City is renewing its agreement with Postmedia for now, Administration anticipates returning to Council by Q3 2019 with a proposed bylaw to open the door to alternatives.

Taproot will continue to provide updates on this story in our Council and Media roundups. Read the latest editions and sign up to get them delivered to your inbox.

Here are my remarks in full:

Mayor Iveson, members of Council, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.

I’m here to ask you to reconsider moving forward with the status quo represented by this agreement.

A couple of years ago I started Taproot Edmonton with Karen Unland to do something about the decline in local media here and around the country.

I’m sure you’ve heard a little about what ails the media, but let me share some clear numbers with you.

More than 250 news outlets across Canada have closed in the last 10 years, and more than 16,000 jobs have been lost in the media sector since 2008. Here in Edmonton we’ve witnessed our share of closures and job losses in that time, including the three dozen people were laid off when Postmedia merged the Sun and Journal newsrooms in January 2016, and the subsequent rounds (yes, that’s plural) of buyouts and layoffs, most recently in August 2018. And that’s just at Postmedia. You need only attend a news conference or two in the city to see how few journalists are actually covering day-to-day news anymore.

Yes, the traditional media’s loss of advertising is a big part of the reason this has happened. Online advertising will account for more than half of all ad sales in the United States this year, surpassing $100 billion for the first time, with Google and Facebook account for nearly 70% of that. The story is similar here in Canada.

Advertising dollars have shifted to the tech giants because their platforms are the most effective way to advertise online. The ability to specifically target and measure is unlike anything we’ve seen before.

Despite this, the City of Edmonton spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on advertising with local media outlets like Postmedia, as well as television and radio stations.

In the 1950s, more newspapers were sold in Canada than there were households. Today, fewer than one in five households pays for newspapers.

This is not due to a lack of interest in the news. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage said in its report published in June 2017 that "a majority of people want more local news and more coverage of their issues and their community."

It’s because attention has shifted online. Especially when it comes to global issues, never before has there been such a large and diverse number of news and information sources available to us. Locally though, the picture is not so rosy. According to the Public Policy Forum’s Shattered Mirror report, "the incumbent news media are weighed down by both their cost structures and cultures of speaking at the public. It will not be enough to preserve the old forms of civic-function journalism…news journalism will have to evolve."

I’m pleased to see in the report that Administration plans to look at alternative options for legal advertising. The newspaper has not reached "substantially all residents" as required by the MGA in quite some time. Taproot would love to be part of a discussion on how we can more effectively use technology to get the right information to the right Edmontonians at the right time.

I could talk to you about leveling the playing field and how this agreement and others like it are subsidizing my competitors. But it’s actually worse than that. Instead of propping up local reporting, this agreement will serve to funnel additional local money out of Edmonton and into the pockets of executives in eastern Canada and the American hedge funds that own their debt.

Postmedia owes its creditors more than $280 million, all of which is due by the summer of 2023. That’s why they’ve continued to make cuts and close newspapers across the country. It’s especially appalling that these cuts have come as Postmedia’s top executives have continued to receive pay raises, with a 33% increase in 2017 alone. All this while the quality and quantity of product they put out has continued to decline, despite the efforts of some talented and dedicated local journalists. CEO Paul Godfrey, who makes $1.7 million per year, said in February 2017 that his papers aren’t as good as in the past but added “they haven’t become unacceptable.”

A recent report from the Public Policy Forum called Mind the Gaps suggested government shouldn’t bail out the news industry, but instead should ensure "democracy is well-served by having a robust means of specifically informing citizens of civic activities in their communities."

It is in that spirit that I ask you to consider not approving this agreement. The status quo it represents neither reaches a substantial number of Edmontonians nor uses taxpayer dollars effectively or locally. There’s no need to wait until Q3 2019 to have a positive impact with a different approach. Paying Postmedia for legally required advertising is effectively a subsidy to a single outlet. The opportunity here is to consider whether that subsidy should be reduced and whether it could be spread across multiple outlets, especially those who will invest the money in building a brighter future for journalism right here in Edmonton.

Thank you.

Tech Roundup Review: October 2018

Every Tuesday morning we publish the Tech Roundup, a newsletter full of the latest headlines & happenings in Edmonton’s technology community. In addition to the curated, easy-to-scan lists of news and events, each edition includes one or two featured items which are the updates highlighted below. Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email each week.

Here’s our look back at the month of October 2018 as captured by our Tech Roundups.

October 2 – EEDC signs conditional lease for Innovation Hub concept test

We began the month noting that EEDC had signed a conditional lease to test its Innovation Hub concept at the former Enbridge building on 103 Street downtown. "Should the Innovation Hub go ahead, Startup Edmonton would move out of the Mercer Warehouse to be the primary tenant in the space." We also highlighted NAIT’s new entrepreneur-in-residence program for students.

October 9 – Edmonton Startup Week runs October 15-19

This edition featured a preview of Edmonton Startup Week, including a Q&A with Startup Edmonton CEO Tiffany Linke-Boyko. "One of the major goals of this week is to create different opportunities for Edmontonians that don’t know anything about the startup community to experience it," she said. We also highlighted the lineup for Launch Party 9.

October 16 – EEDC leased it, but will they come?

Startup Week kicked off with a big discussion on innovation at City Council’s Executive Committee and a new story from Taproot focused on EEDC’s proposed Innovation Hub and what it could mean for Edmonton’s startup community. We also highlighted the announcement that Edmonton will host the 2019 SingularityU Canada Summit on April 23-24.

October 23 – Edmonton Startup Week: All good things must come to an end

We started this edition with a recap of Startup Week, which saw more than 50 events focused on innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship take place throughout the city. The flagship event, Launch Party, highlighted ten local companies on the rise. The conversation about the proposed innovation hub continued, with a new episode of Speaking Municipally focused on the project and our story about it.

October 30 – City Council presses pause on the Innovation Hub

City Council picked up the innovation discussion and decided to ask EEDC to pause plans for the Innovation Hub. They wanted to see alternatives and ensure more public engagement was conducted. This edition also highlighted the grand opening of TEC Centre Labs, home to the Merck Invention Accelerator and the University of Alberta Health Accelerator. The October 31 edition of the Health Innovation Roundup provided more information on the new accelerators.

Popular Clicks

These were the top 5 most clicked on items from the month:

That’s a wrap on October! Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email every Tuesday morning. And in case you missed it, here’s our review of September 2018.

Help us do better beat reporting in Edmonton

Two weeks ago we published our latest story, a look at EEDC’s proposed Innovation Hub. Written by Eliza Barlow and edited by Therese Kehler, the story was well-received and widely read. Last week, City Council voted to request that EEDC pause work on the project, pending further review and engagement.

We first shared news of the Innovation Hub in an edition of the Tech Roundup in August, not long after we began work on the story. It takes time and effort to do the quality of journalism we strive for, and we wanted to make sure it would have an impact when we published it, so we set Edmonton Startup Week as the deadline. We got lucky that innovation was on the agenda at City Council to start the week too! We followed the story up with an episode of Speaking Municipally in which Troy Pavlek and I spoke with Eliza and Therese in more depth about the story and how they did their reporting. I also live-tweeted City Council meetings on October 15 and on October 23 where the Innovation Hub and related reports were discussed. We did a follow-up in Episode 12 of Speaking Municipally, and this week’s edition of the Tech Roundup. We’ve been on the case for a while, and will continue to provide updates through the Tech Roundup and future stories as appropriate.

We didn’t stumble into the story by accident, nor did we get lucky in the timing of its publication. Both were made possible because of the attention we pay to the tech beat here in Edmonton. We launched the Tech Roundup in early June, and already it has become the must-read publication for anyone interested in Edmonton’s technology sector. Every week we curate the latest local tech headlines & happenings, and that focused attention, alongside engagement with our community, allowed us to recognize there was a potential story on the horizon. It also gave us visibility into when Edmonton Startup Week was happening and when the topic of innovation was scheduled to be discussed by City Council.

We think beat reporting, especially local beat reporting, is critical.

Having fewer reporters on beats leads to “shallower stories, and a public with a shallower understanding of important issues and institutions,” Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale told the Ryerson Review of Journalism in 2013. But in the nearly five years since that article was published things have gotten worse, not better. More than 250 Canadian news outlets have closed since 2008, and countless others have slashed the number of reporters they employ. According to the Canadian Media Guild‘s tracking of layoffs and buyouts for the past few decades, “the total is in the order of 12,000 positions lost.”

The reduction in stories being told reflects this, and it’s newsroom beats that have declined the most. According to the Public Policy Forum, the number of newspaper articles produced over the last 10 years has shrunk by almost half. Their report suggests that newsrooms may be “concentrating limited resources on covering civic affairs at the expense of other topics.”

The shrinking coverage of other topics is alarming and we’re working hard to do something about it.

Our work on the Innovation Hub story is illustrative of what we can do, even with limited resources. We’re optimistic about the future and the great local storytelling we’ll produce. But we need your help to do it. To be clear, we’re not a charity, and we’re not looking for a handout. We’re focused on delivering value to you, and we’re asking for you to invest in us so we can do even more great work. We hope you’ll join us.

Use the code INNOVATION before November 30 and save 10% on your first year of membership!

Tech Roundup Review: September 2018

Every Tuesday morning we publish the Tech Roundup, a newsletter full of the latest headlines & happenings in Edmonton’s technology community. In addition to the curated, easy-to-scan lists of news and events, each edition includes one or two featured items which are the updates highlighted below. Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email each week.

September was an exciting month for us as we added our first sponsors to the Tech Roundup! Their support enables us to chronicle Edmonton’s tech sector each week. We also launched a new roundup focused on Health Innovation. Here’s our look back at the month of September 2018 as captured by our Tech Roundups.

September 4 – Avenue Edmonton puts the spotlight on AI

The first edition of the month had a big focus on artificial intelligence as we highlighted Avenue Edmonton’s three features. The September 2018 edition of the magazine talked about the context of Edmonton’s position in the world of AI, featured Edmonton.AI as a community initiative to grow the industry, and looked at how robots will change your job,

September 11 – NAIT’s new Productivity & Innovation Centre

NAIT’s newest facility is the $83.4 million Productivity and Innovation Centre (PIC). The building houses manufacturing labs, acceleration spaces, and a hub for applied research activity and is described as one of North America’s largest innovation spaces. This edition also featured a bunch of AI-related news, such as Folio’s feature on machine learning and research. People were also talking about an Edmonton Journal article that suggested the improvement in downtown’s office vacancy rate is the result of tech companies.

September 18 – New funding for Computing Science students

The University of Alberta is adding 25 additional students to its computing science after-degree program thanks to new provincial funding as part of the Growth and Diversification Act. We also highlighted a video feature on Frettable, which uses AI to provide transcriptions for instruments and songs.

September 25 – Hendrix.ai launches, Improbable expands to Edmonton

Testfire Labs officially launched its flagship product, Hendrix.ai. The product aims to improve meetings by providing automatically transcribed summaries and action items alongside other insights about users’ meeting history. Also making headlines at the end of the month was the announcement that former BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn will lead the Edmonton office of UK games tech startup Improbable. We also linked to the recap of DemoCamp Edmonton 42.

These were the top 5 most clicked on items from the month:

That’s a wrap on September! Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email every Tuesday morning. And in case you missed it, here’s our review of August 2018.

Introducing the Health Innovation Roundup

Today, we’re excited to share our newest roundup with you: the Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health City.

Each week we bring together the latest headlines & happenings in Edmonton’s health innovation sector. You’ll get the latest on the research, technology, companies, and people changing healthcare for the better in Edmonton. Sign up here to get the Health Innovation Roundup delivered to your inbox.

As with our other roundups, the goal of the Health Innovation Roundup is to save you time, keep you informed, and satisfy your curiosity. We sift through all of the information that’s constantly being shared to determine which is important and worthy of your time. Then we add some context to help you make sense of it all.

Why health innovation?

Edmonton is rich with all the ingredients necessary for a thriving health innovation sector. Our city is home to Alberta Health Services (AHS), the largest fully-integrated health system in Canada, a rich source of health-related data. Edmonton is also home to the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii), a world-leader in the science of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The opportunity before Edmonton, to combine health data with artificial intelligence algorithms to develop solutions that improve health outcomes, reduce costs, and increase economic activity, is unrivaled.

According to Health City, Edmonton is already home to more than 50% of Alberta’s life sciences companies, and organizations like Startup Edmonton and TEC Edmonton are working to help new entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving, scalable companies that can compete on the global stage. With increased attention from political leaders, new investment from both public and private sources, and greater supports for innovators at all stages, activity in Edmonton’s health innovation sector is sure to accelerate.

The Health Innovation Roundup will chronicle Edmonton’s health innovation sector, to amplify the efforts already underway, help attract new interest to the sector, and keep everyone informed about the latest developments.

The Details

We’re thrilled to have Catherine Griwkowsky on board to curate and write the Health Innovation Roundup. She is an Edmonton-based journalist with a decade of experience. Her work has appeared in the Edmonton Sun, Edmonton Journal and StarMetro Edmonton. You’ll benefit each week from her experience and keen interest in health.

We’ll publish the Health Innovation Roundup for Taproot Members and subscribers first, each Wednesday morning, with social media shares to follow later. You’ll also be able to find highlights from each edition on Health City’s website.

Health City

Health City is “a cluster-led economic development organization that leverages Edmonton’s tremendous health assets to create a fast, competitive and lucrative health innovation ecosystem.” They act as a central connection point for the sector, and we’re very grateful for their support in making the Health Innovation Roundup possible. You can read more about their support here.

If you’d like to join Health City in sponsoring the Health Innovation Roundup, we’d love to hear from you!

Read & Feedback

Here is the latest edition of the Health Innovation Roundup. Let us know what you think! Your feedback will help us improve the roundup and make it even more useful. If you have a suggestion for something we should include in a future edition, send it along and we’ll consider it. Here’s how to get in touch with us.

You can read the Health Innovation Roundup for free, because we believe good stories should reach as many people as possible. Taproot Members get it first though, and will have access to the full Health Innovation Roundup archive and other benefits. You can join Taproot as a paying member or a free subscriber here.

Welcome to our first Tech Roundup sponsors

Today we’re excited to welcome our first sponsors to the Tech Roundup! Thank you to the Advanced Technology CentreAlberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii)Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC)Startup EdmontonStormboard, and TEC Edmonton for supporting the work we’re doing to chronicle Edmonton’s technology community.

We launched the Tech Roundup in early June with the goal of creating an informative, interesting, and timely resource to highlight the latest headlines and happenings in the tech community. The feedback we’ve been receiving is encouraging, and suggests we’re on the right track. Readers have told us they are happy to have a single place to look at for the latest news. And they have told us that before the Tech Roundup, they didn’t realize just how much activity there was week-to-week. It’s a positive start and we’re excited to build on that.

The Tech Roundup is free for everyone to read. You can get it by email or you can click through from our social media updates each week. Taproot Members receive the Tech Roundup first and have unlimited access to all of our roundups – learn more here.

Our sponsors are contributing to the sustainability of Tech Roundup. Editorial independence is important to us and to these sponsors; they have no say over what we put in the Tech Roundup, and we won’t let their sponsorship alter our decisions about what we round up and how.

Our initial sponsors all care deeply about Edmonton’s technology community and we’re grateful for their support:

ATC Amii EEDC Startup Edmonton Stormboard TEC Edmonton

If you’re interested in joining them as a sponsor of the Tech Roundup, we’d love to hear from you! We currently offer two levels of sponsorship: Cultivators ($100/month, billed annually) and Pollinators ($50/month). Have a look at our sponsorship page for more information and please reach out via email. We look forward to working with you!

Tech Roundup Review: August 2018

Every Tuesday morning we publish the Tech Roundup, a newsletter full of the latest headlines & happenings in Edmonton’s technology community. In addition to the curated, easy-to-scan lists of news and events, each edition includes one or two featured items which are the updates highlighted below. Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email each week.

The cooler temperatures are unmistakable: fall is arriving. It won’t be long before the river valley is beautifully yellow, orange, and red! But before we say goodbye to summer, here’s our look back at the month of August 2018 as captured by our Tech Roundups.

August 7 – Making Edmonton a global hub for AI

We began the month with a recap of the second YEG AI Hub workshop that aims to make Edmonton one of the top 5 centres for artificial intelligence (AI) in the world. The goal of the draft business plan is to attract $150 million of investment to accelerate efforts already underway, and to undertake new activities in support of the vision.

August 14 – Artificial Intelligence Improv at the Fringe

With the Fringe festival approaching we highlighted the work Kory Mathewson has been doing on artificial intelligence and improv theatre. He performed in a couple of shows this year, including HumanMachine. We also noted that EEDC selected Derek Hudson as its new CEO. He touched on the importance of the tech sector in an interview with Global Edmonton.

August 21 – EEDC introduces its Innovation Hub concept

We shared the details on EEDC’s proposal for an Innovation Hub downtown. Aiming to grow the “innovation ecosystem” in Edmonton, the new building would act as an entry-point for entrepreneurs and investors. It comes at a cost though: Startup Edmonton would move out of the Mercer Warehouse and into the new building. We also wrote about the new Talent Advisory Council on Technology, setup by the provincial government as part of the implementation of the Growth and Diversification Act.

August 28 – Edmonton joins Startup in Residence program

Edmonton has been selected as the first Canadian partner to join Startup in Residence (STiR), which is “a 16-week program that brings together government agencies and startups to co-create technology solutions for civic challenges.” Startups can register their interest in participating now, with the first challenges to be issued on September 25.

These were the top 5 most clicked on items from the month:

That’s a wrap on August! Sign up here to get the Tech Roundup by email every Tuesday morning. And in case you missed it, here’s our review of July 2018.

Fringe Roundup Review: 2018 Edition

The 2018 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival, known as Fringe ‘O’ Saurus Rex, took place August 16-26 and featured more than 1600 live theatre performances across 38 venues. It was another record-setting year with more than 817,000 visits to the festival grounds (up 9,000 from 2017), 133,276 tickets sold generating $1.46 million in box office revenue (up 10% from 2017), and 419 sell out performances.

“I think the numbers truly speak for themselves this year, with record setting ticket sales, our efforts to put the theatre back into the festival have clearly resonated with Fringers,” says Artistic Director Murray Utas. “We work hard to create a space for artists to get their work to the masses, in an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity and we think we’ve done that. We are thrilled with yet another successful year and can’t wait to explore more incredible theatre headed our way in 2019.”

Here’s what the growth in Fringe ticket sales looks like over the last 15 years:

Once again, Taproot published a daily Fringe Roundup during the festival, written this year by Mel Priestley. In addition to highlighting the reviews and headlines as they came in, Mel featured a different Fringe topic in each edition. She also made use of the festival’s Randomizer button to select a new show to review each day.

Here’s a look back at our coverage for 2018:

August 16 – The Fringe has begun!

The festival kicked off with the opening ceremonies at 7pm at the ATB Financial Outdoor Stage. The ceremonies were be hosted by Fringe Theatre artistic director Murray Utas and artistic associate Hunter Cardinal, and featured 20 Fringe artists and taiko drum group Booming Tree.

August 17 – KidsFringe expands

This year, KidsFringe moved a few blocks east to the Strathcona Community League (10139-87 Avenue). Mel’s first review was of Big Ol Show, “one of the Fringe’s more popular shows, and one that received a lot of early buzz.”

August 18 – Fringing on the streets: outdoor performances

Everyone’s first Fringe show is probably an outdoor performance. In this edition, Mel reviewed Beers About Songs, “Ryan Adam Wells’ heartfelt musical storytelling show.”

August 19 – Eat your way through the Fringe

The Fringe received about 50 applications from food vendors, about half of which made it in. From Mel’s review of Maybe Baby: “What starts out as fun voyeurism quickly starts to feel not so fun, maybe even wrong.”

August 20 – Daily Discount tickets

The Daily Discount Booth was introduced a few years ago as a way for people to see shows for less than the usual price of a ticket. Every day of the Fringe, tickets to a different set of shows are available at discounted rates. In this edition, Mel reviewed Buyer & Cellar, “the Edmonton debut of Jonathan Tolins’ off-Broadway hit.”

August 21 – Fresh and fabulous Fringe finds

Part of the charm of the Fringe is browsing through all the artisan tents scattered throughout the grounds. There were over 40 artisan vendors at the Fringe, some of whom have been Fringing for years and others who were brand new to the festival. Mel reviewed Balls of Yarn, an “unapologetically odd” show that “you can send your friends to if they want to see something more out-there.”

August 22 – Imbibing at the Fringe

Grabbing a drink in the beer tent between shows is one of the best parts of the Fringe. There were three booze tents on site. From Mel’s review of One Thousand Flowers Blooming: “Putting my phone in a microwave was a Fringe first for me.”

August 23 – Browsing books at the Fringe

Books probably aren’t the first thing that come to mind when thinking about the Fringe, but the festival actually has some great options for bibliophiles. In this edition, Mel reviewed Thunderprov, which is “long-form improv punctuated by a number of mini, non-sequitur scenes riffed off some aspect of the main event.”

August 24 – Digging through the festival archives

Fringe ‘O’ Saurus Rex was the 37th incarnation of the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. The first festival was held in August 1982 and was founded by Brian Paisley, who was the artistic director of Chinook Theatre at the time. From Mel’s review of An Anthology of Ghastly Tales: “The first bit is definitely the spookiest and I would have enjoyed a couple more honest attempts for a good scare, but the campiness was fun too.”

August 25 – How much does it cost to do a Fringe show?

Staging a Fringe play costs more than you might think. Even a simple one-man show requires a fairly big chunk of cash, so performers need to budget carefully. In this edition, Mel reviewed WASP, “a play written by Hollywood funny guy Steve Martin.”

August 26 – Holdovers make the Fringe last a little longer

Every year, the Fringe selects a half dozen shows for its Holdover Series and gives them an extended run for another few days after the end of the festival. This year’s holdovers run from Wednesday, August 29 to Saturday, September 1. Mel’s final review was of Eddie Poe. “Even if you haven’t read a word of Poe, there’s a lot to like about Eddie Poe,” she wrote.

That’s a wrap on the Fringe Roundup for 2018. Thanks for reading along. Enjoy the holdovers!