July 3 … Quarters Arts Night is Coming SOON!

Getting really excited about the upcoming Quarters Arts Night July 3!

There’s going to be so much going on –  the art & garden tour, good music, excellent coffee … and we’ll be there too, of course, working on the gel transfers for the next installation we have planned for the Fall at Boyle Street Plaza.

(HINT: you should really come by and help us roll little bits of paper of these prints! It’s   fun and you’ll have excellent company :) )

(Another Hint: check out what’s on offer July 3rd below!)


Our special musical guest of the evening is Ramshackle Day Parade. RDP are a noise collective/record label/monthly night in which Edmontonians, and various noisemakers from around the globe gather together and get weird.

Make sure to catch their set at 8:00 PM. You won’t want to miss this one.

Award-winning poet Ahmed Knowmadic is a full-time poet, writer, actor, comedian, speaker, and youth worker who currently resides in Treaty 6 Territory. In the few years that he has been active, Ahmed has been able to achieve international recognition for his witty, humorous and metaphorical style of poetry.

OPEN STAGE // 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM


The Boyle Street Art & Garden Tour invites Edmontonians to explore the art, architecture, murals, and gardens of historic Boyle Street. Maps will be available for this self-guided tour throughout the summer at Boyle Street Plaza. Information will be available about key sights in the neighbourhood.


e9efe830-f51c-4262-9a20-493f2343f1d9We are very excited about this addition to Quarters Arts. Born from a love of all things coffee, Nomad Espresso’s unique and versatile mobile setup brings Edmonton an outstanding coffee experience wherever they set up camp. Indoor, outdoor, short or long-term, Nomad Espresso strives to bring you the quality of the traditional cafe experience, without the cafe. 

Finally, quality lattes and espresso will be available for your enjoyment while you take in the sights and sounds of Quarters Arts Night.



… and US.

Join our Artists in Residence Sydney Lancaster and Marian Switzer as they continue their work to collect, document, and share stories relating to Edmonton’s historic York Hotel. Learn more about this exciting project, try your hand at a gel transfer, and learn a little more about our community’s history.

The first installation of this project was showcased at our June Quarters Arts night. If you missed it, here’s another chance! York: Moments is graciously funded by the Edmonton Heritage Council’s Living Local grant project.

6:30 PM to 8:00 PM


Light refreshments will be provided to our friends and supporters, come out and share with us!


BUS ROUTES 3 and 5 will bring you a block away from our grounds.

NO ATM ON SITE *** // CASH BAR after 8:00 PM



Sharing a York Moment

Last Wednesday night while we were at Boyle Street Plaza working on the next phase of the project, we had the pleasure of sharing our workspace with a couple of lovely people involved in the Writing Quarters program of Quarters Arts Society.

It was a great opportunity to talk about the different ways the neighbourhood’s stories and history can be captured, and shared. And it was an opportunity for the writers in Writing Quarters to have a peek at the images we are working with for York:Moments, and see if they found some inspiration there.

One of the writers last Wednesday was Leif Gregersen. Leif Gregersen is a freelance author, poet, public speaker, and author of many genres, who has been named on the CBC Canada Writes website as one of the top 11 “Writers To Watch”.

We spent some time talking with Leif about the York, and he was generous enough to share some of his own personal experiences with living the kind of housing that the York Hotel had become in its last days. One thing that came through loud and clear in what Leif shared with us was the fact that  – regardless of how tough living in places like that could be for the residents – at least it was a roof over their heads. At least it was safer than sleeping rough, or being on the street.

And it was home for people: there was community there, there were friendships … just as there was hardship and conflict and loss. Like any community.

Leif also did some writing that Wednesday night, and kindly agreed to share his work with us and the wider readership here. This is a work of fiction, based in part on Leif’s response to one of the photos we took in the York, but also on his own personal experiences in Vancouver several years ago.

Here’s the Image Leif chose:


And here’s the writing Leif did:

Is It Really Gone Now? 

The York. Some called it the Little Apple, though it was better known for the ‘no knives’ sign over the door to the bar that no one ever heeded. How could you? If everyone there had a knife, there was kind of a détente. On this particular night Eddie was feeling good and so he checked into his old room even though it was warm enough to sleep outside. The York was dirty and infested with rats of all kinds-human and otherwise, but to Eddie it was sort of home.

Two packs of smokes and a Mickey of Blackstone, plus a room paid for a week, ‘won’t have to even go to the bar for two, maybe three days.’ He thought as he laid back on the thin blankets and looked out the window at another building across a yard. He lit up the cork-tipped, tailor-made strong and smooth Benson and Hedges cigarette and pulled in a deep lungful of satisfying smoke. The minutes and hours ticked by, but he knew a knock would come sooner or later. It always did.

Bang! Bang! Sooner rather than later. What now?

“Eddie, you in there?”

“No, Eddie is gone you mooch. Go buy your own smokes and booze!” Eddie said.

“I got my own!” Newman whined. “Got a 40 ouncer of Canadian Club too.” Eddie’s eyes widened at the thought of bonded whiskey and he got up and opened the door in mere moments (after he had stashed his mickey).

“Newman-how the hell did you get money this late in the month?” Eddie asked in a suspicious tone.

“Same as you-welfare back pay from that government lawsuit. Everyone got lucky yesterday! It’s party time, come and watch some movies. I just got my VCR out of pawn!”

“I didn’t get all that much. But if you’re sharing, it’s about time.” A VCR and TV and the smooth taste of single malt whiskey sounded good. Eddie made sure and left his wallet behind and made his way to the room down the hall on the corner that Newman had been living in for four years. He got in and the place was a mess, open tins of meat on the floor. The guy was even still cooking some kind of soup on his radiator, even though the thing probably hadn’t been on for two months.

“Hey brother. Want some OXY to go with the drink?”

“Oxycontin? That stuff is made from opium, it’ll kill you!” Eddie said.

“Hey-I’m a former speed junkie-nothing can kill me. Serious, I’ve never OD’d in all my years.” Just to prove it Newman tossed the Oxycontin pills he held in his hand into his mouth and washed it back with a good slug of CC.

The movie went on, some fantasy story about some American Fighter Pilot in Peacetime who also happens to get all the best girls and sleep with them first date and before it was a half hour into the thin plot Newman was nodding off.

“Hey dude, buddy!” Eddie yelled and shook him with very little response. “If you’re going to pass out I’m leaving.”

“Okay, okay.” He said and still drifted off.” Just then a cockroach went across the wall by the TV and Eddie grabbed a tape case to smash it. It went up behind a small ledge and Eddie smacked the tape hard into where it should be and the force made a hypodermic needle that was hiding roll off the ledge.

“Ewwww….” Eddie exclaimed, twisted up his face and recoiled in horror. “Man, I hate that shit! I’m out of here!” Newman was unresponsive so Eddie pried the bottle from his hands and made his way back to his room with it.

Eddie got back to his room and put on a station that was having a Hank Williams marathon and he had a long think about things. He sat and wondered what made him end up at such a dead-end place. It wasn’t right, people shouldn’t have to live like this. Five more years and I can get into a senior’s home. Man, think of the scams I could pull in one of those places on some desperate lonely old lady. Soon he had nearly downed what was left of the whiskey and was swimming in a spinning room and Hank Williams was making him depressed and tired. It seemed like he only closed his eyes for a minute, but in fact it was morning and he heard stomping and authoritative voices out his door. He opened his door a crack and asked one of his fellow hotel patrons what was up.

“You didn’t hear? Newman’s rent was up and they found him dead in there. “

“Shit!” Eddie said and closed his door quickly. He was still drunk from the night before so he went back to sleep until he was just hung over and then went downstairs to find a teenager. He did and offered him half a mickey and $20 to throw a rock through a window near the office of the hotel. He went back in, sat down at the bar and sure enough, the desk clerk let out a yell after a loud smash and him and the bouncers went chasing after the teen. Having lived on and off in the Little Apple for 20+ years it was no problem to reach around the counter and take Newman’s spare key, and he went up and let himself into the room. The stench was unbearable, what a place to die in, not only did it reek of death, he now noticed the aromas of rotting food and heaven knows what else in there. In moments he found Newman’s money stash and after a quick count he figured there was around $6,000.00 there. ‘That dirty bastard!’ Eddie thought. Just a week ago he was practically begging me to borrow money for smokes. This is about what you owe me for 20 years of putting up with you!

Eddie took the money and didn’t even go back to his room. He threw the key in the garbage and walked right to the Greyhound station. He bought a ticket to a no-name small town in South-Eastern Alberta, probably an hour outside of Medicine Hat and rented a room. He kept it clean and didn’t have any excesses. He was known to play cards with his landlady and never caused any trouble or stole anything. He also got his wish-he never had to stoop to living in a place like the York again, not really because his money lasted him, but mostly because he died two years later of liver failure and went quietly in his sleep, in clean sheets in a hospital.


You can find more of Leif’s writing at www.edmontonwriter.com, and his books are available online through amazon.com in paperback and ebook formats.

Our thanks to Leif for sharing a bit of his personal journey and this story with us!

July 3! Quarters Arts Night! Come hang out with us ….

Things have been getting busy for us over at Boyle Street Plaza lately.

We’ve been working hard on a new gel transfer panel to go in the gallery window, and plugging away on more prints for the second (exciting!) big project to in launched in the Fall … (stay tuned for more info as that unfolds).

But in the mean time … another Quarters Arts Night is coming up fast, and we hope to see you there:



It’s going to be a great night, and the two of us will be on hand working on some gel transfer prints (so come help us rub little bits of paper off the mylar and reveal the magic underneath) … or just watch us work, and stop by for a chat.

If you have a story or memory about the York Hotel, we’d love to hear that too!

You can find all the details of what’s going to be happening on July 3rd on the Quarters Arts Society Facebook Page.

SO … drop by. Things get started at 6:30 pm. There will be music and good company, Nomad Espresso, as cash bar, tours … lots to see and do.

This is your YEG, come visit!

A Lovely Evening

We had a really great evening at the Quarters Arts Night last Friday!

Saw lots of people – it was a nice turnout! – had some fantastic conversations, and got lots of work done too!


All those bits of paper have to come off …


Many hands, and much good conversation! It made the work go so quickly.

There’s that old expression that “many hands make light work” … this certainly was the case Friday night! We had some fantastic help; people dropped by to say hello, and to lend us a hand getting some gel transfer prints made.

THANK YOU to everyone who came on June 5th!! Thanks for your support, the conversations, the help with the project. It was wonderful to spend the time with you and share YORK:Moments.

Lots of talk about the history of Boyle Street as a neighbourhood, conversations about community and its relationship to the built environment and the need to preserve and pass on the stories and heritage of older areas in the city to the communities themselves – how rapid change can erase things that the people living historical neighbourhoods should know about where they live. Sources of pride. Sources of connectedness.

I had an amazing and far ranging discussion with a lovely neighbour and community fixture: Street Pastor Peter Schultz. It turns out, Peter spent a great deal of time at the York Hotel over many many years, as the York was something of a ‘home base’ for his ministry to the community.

It was delightful to speak with Pastor Schultz about his experiences in the neighbourhood, and his connections to the York Hotel. I hope our chat on Friday night is the first of many.


Street Preacher Peter Schultz, at Boyle Street Plaza

I’m very much looking forward to more Quarters Arts Nights – they are lovely events, and such a great way to get to know the people and community of Boyle Street better. There are so many great, community-minded people here – a reminder of what really makes this city a good place to live.