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Thread: French Quarter Revitalization on Deck

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    Default French Quarter Revitalization on Deck

    French Quarter revitalization on deck

    BY ELISE STOLTE, EDMONTON JOURNAL JUNE 17, 2012 8:35 AM

    Care for an aperitif on the promenade?

    Edmonton's French Quarter has plans to become the next trendy, walkable shopping and restaurant district. Business owners submitted an application for a business revitalization zone Thursday, buoyed by an increase in nearby residential construction.

    The neighbourhoods of Bonnie Doon, King Edward Park and Ritchie had some of the highest numbers of renovation and building permits last year in mature neighbourhoods.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/...497/story.html
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    I think, with the LRT planned for Bonnie Doon/Strathearn and SE Edmonton, that this area will be booming if it gets built. It would be nice to see a better connection with Mill Creek.
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    Such massive potential in the area. Love many elements of it right now.
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    I wouldn't mind seeing the little business district on Whyte ave turned into a hub for the French Quarter and have the road heading north towards the Faculte Saint Jean and the Cite Francophone as part of this business area. There is lots and lots of potential for this sector. The only building I'd like to see go and replaced with something better is the one that houses value village.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmcowboy11 View Post
    The only building I'd like to see go and replaced with something better is the one that houses value village.
    Heh. When I started reading that sentence, I thought to myself "I bet the building he's talking about is the Value Village".

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    This could be a seriously funky area: Whyte and Rue Marie Gaboury.

    Well,that and Bul-Gogi (sweet)

    Yes, tons, did I say TONS of opportunity here.

    Caveat Emptor: Every time I hear Whyte, I think, ya, dondoit. That was them, be you.

    Rue Marie Gaboury, East Whyte have a good story of their own. Do it!
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    Whyte ave from Bonnie Doon to 99st needs some love. Great strips of residential and pockets of commercial that make these neighborhoods so desirable. With LRT eventually passing by Bonnie Doon (and won't it also one day pass right by on White as part of the inner loop connecting to the SELRT heading north towards DT?), this entire area would make for great reno and infill projects. Lots of potential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Such massive potential in the area. Love many elements of it right now.
    Its sad "some" of that potential has been destroyed by school closures (esp. Strathearn). When buying in a mature neighborhood, I always choose one with an elementary school, rather than one without.

    I like quite like Ritchie, lots of good infill, triplexs and similar has gone in there.

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    That area is french? Outside of Faculte St. Jean it's impossible to tell. Last I checked it was suburban style residential with a mall and stripmalls. Where's this french character? 82ave is totally destroyed by the parking lanes and some rather dismal apartments. The whole thing would need to be dug up and done from scratch if it wanted to even have a hint of traditional European french style.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    That area is french? Outside of Faculte St. Jean it's impossible to tell. Last I checked it was suburban style residential with a mall and stripmalls. Where's this french character? 82ave is totally destroyed by the parking lanes and some rather dismal apartments. The whole thing would need to be dug up and done from scratch if it wanted to even have a hint of traditional European french style.
    not french.. franco-albertan

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    ^exactly and we can build off of that and create a unique 'quarter'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdk13 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    That area is french? Outside of Faculte St. Jean it's impossible to tell. Last I checked it was suburban style residential with a mall and stripmalls. Where's this french character? 82ave is totally destroyed by the parking lanes and some rather dismal apartments. The whole thing would need to be dug up and done from scratch if it wanted to even have a hint of traditional European french style.
    not french.. franco-albertan
    Yes, I'm thinking that the phrase "French Quarter" might be a little misleading. To me, it conjures up images of New Orleans or somewhere like that.

    Having said that, I really like the idea of revitalization. But I agree that it would be a real debacle if it went the "Old Strathcona" route, since I'm not a fan of Whyte Avenue west of 103rd. Hopefully, Mill Creek will serve as a sturdy buffer between the two cultures.
    Last edited by overoceans; 18-06-2012 at 11:02 AM.

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    I am equally enamoured with the idea of a "franco-Albertan" quarter in the area. However, when I read things like "re-development" and rip up the streets, and people saying the area needs to be "revitalized" I always reccomend taking a step back and looking closely at what is there now and how residents use it presently.

    The Value Village is almost always busy. I use it regularly. The pub across the street needs love, undoubtedly, but it is cleaner than it was and not a horrible place to get a beer. The laundromat, martial arts studio, and Cheese Factory are busy.

    Perhaps this area could use a unifying theme, some targetted love, a little imagination. What it really needs are people to get out of their cars and pay attention.

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    So have we hit the point where every single street in the city requires redevelopment/revitalization? I'm assuming by coming out and publicly proclaiming such, they're hoping for public investment? Too many damn projects only half completed or worse already...
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    Beaumont feels infinately more "french" than this particular area

    It's nice enough in there. The streets are in bad shape, but that's about the worst of it. There's no difference between that area and any other slowly gentrifying central suburb in town
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    ^^ I agree. The City has already got too many areas under it's revitalization belt:

    - The Quarters
    - North Edge
    - Alberta Ave
    - Fort Road
    - Strathcona Jct/East Whyte
    - Beverley
    - Rossdale
    - 124 St/Inglewood
    - Blatchford Field
    - Stadium Area
    - Warehouse District
    - Entertainment District
    - Government District
    - Belgravia-McKernan
    - 142 St
    - Century Park
    - Heritage Valley
    - Stony Plain Rd
    - Griesbach
    - and now St-Jean

    Why don't we just focus on 2-4 key ones right now (say Warehouse/Entertainment, Quarters, Alberta Ave, Strathcona Jct or Rossdale) instead of half-assing a whole bunch or the usual talk-talk-talk and no walk-walk-walk. I'm skeptical this St-Jean "Quartier Francais" will come to fruition, at least right now.

    Especially when other areas have more potential and are in more need of revitalization. St-Jean could be more French and vibrant, but it isn't in disrepair. It is a quaint first ring suburban area with nice neighbourhood shops and restos.
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    ^Keep in mind some of those are 100% developer efforts (Griesbach).
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    Bonnie Doon's franco flavor isn't really immediately obvious, though such a community exists there. (E.g. It's not uncommon to walk into the Idylwylde EPL branch and hear the sounds of conversational French, which is pretty cool.) I like the idea of finding ways to bring some of that culture to the fore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    So have we hit the point where every single street in the city requires redevelopment/revitalization wah wah wah
    Quote Originally Posted by edmontonenthusiast View Post
    ^^ I agree. The City has already got too many areas under it's revitalization belt wah wah wah
    If you read the article, this is something the businesses will paying for themselves with a fee.
    Last edited by Sonic Death Monkey; 18-06-2012 at 02:30 PM.
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    From the article:

    A formal application to the city with signatures from more than 50 per cent of the businesses involved was submitted Thursday. Once the business revitalization zone or BRZ is formed, all the businesses will be required to pay about $15 to $20 a month to hire an executive director and start improving the area.

    The proposal still needs council approval this fall. Any business that doesn't support the idea has the right to start a petition.
    Bonnie Doon has the highest concentration of French-speaking people in Edmonton, centred around the Campus St. Jean.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Quote Originally Posted by moahunter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Such massive potential in the area. Love many elements of it right now.
    Its sad "some" of that potential has been destroyed by school closures (esp. Strathearn). When buying in a mature neighborhood, I always choose one with an elementary school, rather than one without.
    There are already a few other elementary and junior high schools in this area. If any of them are struggling with future enrolment, then having the LRT close by will sure help their cause.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    Beaumont feels infinately more "french" than this particular area
    Inclined to disagree with this. Beaumont has become just another suburb, popular with the wealthy blue collar company owners or contractors. Aside from the 'Arret' stop signs, it's about as francophone as Ponoka.

    The bonnie doon area never ceases to amaze me with how much french there is there. It's hard NOT to hear a french conversation in bonnie doon mall. Not to mention two full on francophone schools in the area, plus the faculte and the neat shopping square they've built up recently.

    Bit of a misnomer to call it a 'quarter', but definitely french flavour to it.

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    A good idea, but I echo the sentiment that we have too many on the go

    Can we finish 118 Ave, can we finish the quarters, can we finish fort road before half starting and never finishing another one?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    Beaumont feels infinately more "french" than this particular area
    Inclined to disagree with this. Beaumont has become just another suburb, popular with the wealthy blue collar company owners or contractors. Aside from the 'Arret' stop signs, it's about as francophone as Ponoka.

    The bonnie doon area never ceases to amaze me with how much french there is there. It's hard NOT to hear a french conversation in bonnie doon mall. Not to mention two full on francophone schools in the area, plus the faculte and the neat shopping square they've built up recently.

    Bit of a misnomer to call it a 'quarter', but definitely french flavour to it.

    My good friend is an immersion teacher in Sherwood Park, lives in Beaumont along with lots of extended family, so I've spent some time there, Being from a french Canadian background myself, I find Beaumont to feel quite french. Bonnie Doon, no more than any other area of the city.... lots of french speaking families in our Alberta Avenue/ Parkdale neighborhood as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by nobleea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    Beaumont feels infinately more "french" than this particular area
    Inclined to disagree with this. Beaumont has become just another suburb, popular with the wealthy blue collar company owners or contractors. Aside from the 'Arret' stop signs, it's about as francophone as Ponoka.

    The bonnie doon area never ceases to amaze me with how much french there is there. It's hard NOT to hear a french conversation in bonnie doon mall. Not to mention two full on francophone schools in the area, plus the faculte and the neat shopping square they've built up recently.

    Bit of a misnomer to call it a 'quarter', but definitely french flavour to it.

    My good friend is an immersion teacher in Sherwood Park, lives in Beaumont along with lots of extended family, so I've spent some time there, Being from a french Canadian background myself, I find Beaumont to feel quite french. Bonnie Doon, no more than any other area of the city.... lots of french speaking families in our Alberta Avenue/ Parkdale neighborhood as well.
    Perhaps the older parts of beaumont. The newer parts do not seem that way. Quite a few of my close friends live in the south end.

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    I've been in many of the Franco-Albertan communities from St. Albert to Legal to Fahler. Apart from bilingual schools, there's really nothing much to distinguish them from other Alberta towns.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    I don't think this area is asking for a handout, they are trying to organize themselves and the local businesses are offering to pay a fee to support the BRZ designation and improve their own area. Why are people against that?

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    ^Some folks seem to trip a switch any time the word "plan" is mentioned.

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    If the community is trying to push to give the area a further french/franco albertan feel that that's great. If done right it can help being another attraction for the city. Unfortunately as said the area is a bit small to be considered "The French Quarter." I've always joked that due to the area size it is more like "The French Nickel."
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 240GLT View Post
    Beaumont feels infinately more "french" than this particular area
    what makes Beaumont feel that way? is it just the signage, or something I'm missing. If you read up on the history on the area in question, most franco-albertans identify it as the centre of their cultural identity. it is the only francophone university in AB, BC & Saskatchewan, and they even have a franco-albertan flag

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    I think the fact that businesses are willing to invest in the neighbourhood themselves is fantastic. There is a heavy French presence (15K-ish French speakers in the area, St Jean, bilingual St.Thomas Health Centre, Cité Francophone with French college, school board and 20 or so organizations, 4 Franco schools and a bunch of immersion schools in greater EastCentral area, parish and convents). What the French Quarter needs now is businesses that buy into the concept and then East Whyte gains another KM or so of great places to visit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    That area is french? Outside of Faculte St. Jean it's impossible to tell. Last I checked it was suburban style residential with a mall and stripmalls. Where's this french character? 82ave is totally destroyed by the parking lanes and some rather dismal apartments. The whole thing would need to be dug up and done from scratch if it wanted to even have a hint of traditional European french style.
    Last time I went there, I couldn't ask for directions because everyone there spoke French. So yeah, it's the French Quarter.
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    Perhaps it would be a good strategy for Edmonton to have bilingual signs in this area. I believe 91 Street has this.
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    In terms of history I can understand the franco -albertan heritage, but in terms of viable restaurants, bars and shops I have no idea what franco-albertan brings that is new/unique. I actually mean that I really don't know, not that i think they have nothing to offer. I hope its not Le Sweet Mango.

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    I think for the most part, the things that will need to be changes will be more subtle. I don't think it has hit any decline and needs reinvention, just some changes that reflect what the area is. In that sense, this makes it the most feasible revitalisation.

    The only building that looks like it will need to be redeveloped is the Value Village.
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    Chmilz wrote:

    "The whole thing would need to be dug up and done from scratch if it wanted to even have a hint of traditional European french style."

    I would really hope that "a traditional European French style" is NOT what they are going for here, as Franco-Albertan culture is several chasms removed from the cafes of Paris. Such an effort would make Ye Olde English Fish And Chips Shoppe in Wainwright Alberta look like an exercise in cultural authenticity.

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    A franco-albertain, franco-quebecois feel to the area is fine but if there were to be an effort to make the area feel that way reflected by architecture, etc... how exactly do you define franco-albertain. I've grown up with franco-albertain influences in my life but I'm don't know what exactly comes to mind when thinking of that community.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmcowboy11 View Post
    A franco-albertain, franco-quebecois feel to the area is fine but if there were to be an effort to make the area feel that way reflected by architecture, etc... how exactly do you define franco-albertain. I've grown up with franco-albertain influences in my life but I'm don't know what exactly comes to mind when thinking of that community.
    Yeah, I thought about that as well.

    As far as architecture goes, I guess you can try to ensure that any future developments in the area complement the style and feel of the existing "French" buildings. Mind you, I'm not sure how many of those types of buildings there are left, besides the Fac and a few religious institutions.

    Overall, I'd prefer for the area to remain unchanged, if the alternative is having a tacky "stage French" imposed upon it artificially. You don't wanna end up with an experience like some "British pub" in Victoria BC, where tourists eat roast beef and Yorkshire pudding while being entertained by some Benny Hill wannabe singing "It's A Long Way To Tipperary".

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    La Cite Francophone is a neat building with French stores in it. There's a baby store that has a number of imported toys from France, and the prices weren't out of line either.

    While I knew that the French university was there, I didn't realize there was a French population there until I moved nearby. There are tons of French families, and you'll often hear French being spoken on the streets in Bonnie Doon, Strathcona, and other surrounding areas.

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    Am I the only one worried that we'll end up with Bourbon Street II?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey View Post
    Am I the only one worried that we'll end up with Bourbon Street II?
    No, you're not. Hopefully, though, with an actual francophone community in place(as Lacey mentions), things can be kept somewhat down to earth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by psiebold1 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    That area is french? Outside of Faculte St. Jean it's impossible to tell. Last I checked it was suburban style residential with a mall and stripmalls. Where's this french character? 82ave is totally destroyed by the parking lanes and some rather dismal apartments. The whole thing would need to be dug up and done from scratch if it wanted to even have a hint of traditional European french style.
    Last time I went there, I couldn't ask for directions because everyone there spoke French. So yeah, it's the French Quarter.
    I'm in the area regularly and almost never hear French unless I'm at the faculty or one of the clearly French businesses. I've had a couple people pretend they don't know English but once I call them out on it and they revert to English, all is well. Not to open a can of worms, but some French subcultures like this seem to arrogantly pretend they're superior and attempt to scoff at us lesser commoners that speak English. I've witnessed it more than a few times in this area specifically.
    Last edited by Chmilz; 26-06-2012 at 03:22 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    I'm in the area regularly and almost never hear French unless I'm at the faculty or one of the clearly French businesses. I've had a couple people pretend they don't know French but once I call them out on it and they revert to English, all is well.
    Did you mean to write "pretend they don't know English"? Because that would seem to make more sense.

    Otherwise, if the guy is pretending not to speak French, why would you have to cajole him into speaking English? He'd voluntarily speak English to you, right from the get-go.

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    ^lol, fixed it
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    Thumbs down Francophobia, anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chmilz View Post
    Not to open a can of worms, but some French subcultures like this seem to arrogantly pretend they're superior and attempt to scoff at us lesser commoners that speak English. I've witnessed it more than a few times in this area specifically.
    No, that def IS a can of worms. And please don't open it.
    Change the incentives and our car-dependant city can change too.

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    In Edmonton, you have to speak of Francophone cultures. There is no single identity. I say live and let businesses live. The Cheese Factory is a Franco hang-out in the French Quarter because of the wicked poutine, but it is run by an Eastern European family. And people LOVE Sweet Mango. Whatever is viable, should move in. Beaumont could be a model in terms of architecture and signage.

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    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/...398/story.html

    Edmonton’s French Quarter approved as a business revitalization zone

    EDMONTON - There’ll be joie de vivre on Edmonton’s south side after the French Quarter was approved as the city’s latest business revitalization zone.

    The organization is intended to promote business and beautify a district roughly between Whyte Avenue and 90th Avenue from 85th Street to 97th Street.

    The zone, which covers about 75 stores, restaurants and other businesses, includes the French-speaking community in Bonnie Doon.
    City councillors also gave the group an $85,000 grant to help with startup costs.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    They should use some of that $85,000 seed money to reface Belcanto Court. It's a toss up between that and the empty lots around Value Village for 1st place in the ugly competition.
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    The strip along Whyte Ave is essentially a lost cause for architecture.

    It would have been nice to see continuous retail with residential above...instead Belcanto Courts 1 & 2 were built. The ugliest building however is just off Whyte facing the Safeway on the west side.

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    Ah, this is great news. It's definitely an area that needs some help.
    They're going to park their car over there. You're going to park your car over here. Get it?

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    Some major challenges are ahead for the French Quarter but there are some positives with the BRZ now including Bonnie Doon Centre.

    One major question I have for the streetscape of the area, what would be appropriate type of design or architecture for this area?
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Dave Cournoyer ‏@davecournoyer 26m

    Exciting news from Cafe Bicyclette in Bonnie Doon: Launching the Urban Maple Sugar Shack. #yeg #yegwinter pic.twitter.com/MiSAm7HuJK

    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    That's awesome, we used to go to something like this in Ottawa.
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    I lived in St Boniface in Winnipeg I loved the area, I loved trying my schoolboy French when I went to the various boulangeries et patisseries however those shops gradually closed due to retirements and the area became French in name only.
    If there is to be a French quarter it must have aspects which sustain the concept. French style businesses will help but I do not know how long it would last.

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    That Faculte St Jean is just across the street helps. And the Francophone seniors home down the street. And L' Uni Theatre.

    It's not so much a district as a street - but it does have a bit of critical francophone mass.
    ... gobsmacked

  56. #56

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    Got a flyer last night...

    http://lequartiercondos.com/

    Looks like it's 8521 91 Street?

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    Figured that building and as soon to come down.
    Live and love... your neighbourhood.

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    So.... I had no idea this BRZ was this far ahead and doing this well - even though I pretty much live in the area and visit it periodically. There is a lot of stuff happening due to the BRZ's sponsorship which is great. They pushed Bonnie Doon to get decorative streetlamp poles (I know across the street in Avonmore the local community members pushed hard and won support), and I had no idea they intended to get streetlamps in the BRZ done, and that the BRZ included Whyte ave from 83st to past Mill Creek bridge.

    I only came across this again as I was going through Make Something's website.

    What they're up to now:
    http://www.frenchquarteredmonton.ca/blog#blog5
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    We are working hard in the BRZ to improve the area and to encourage new developments and initiatives to the French Quarter.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Big missed opportunity imo to not have one or two retail bays in Le Quartier condo building going up. Could have started to build more towards a nice walkalble area/community with the small amount of commercial already to the north of this.

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    I was thinking about that myself when I saw the design.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    Concur... even 1 of the corners.

    I'd love to see the whyte ave corner that is empty across from 711 done into a mid-rise of 10-12 storeys with some retail on main.

    Also, redevelop the odd Bulgogi house stripmall into mixed use.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Concur... even 1 of the corners.

    I'd love to see the whyte ave corner that is empty across from 711 done into a mid-rise of 10-12 storeys with some retail on main.

    Also, redevelop the odd Bulgogi house stripmall into mixed use.
    3 out of the 4 corners at 82 ave/91 st could be redone, including the one housing the 7/11. A lot of potential in that area.

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    I think the biggest challenge is to convince the land owners to stop just sitting on the land and actually be willing to do something with it. I had originally inquired a couple years ago about the building that now houses Snap and I was told that the owner of that building is located in Seattle or some far place like that. From the sounds of it too, there wasn't much interest in doing anything but leasing the building. Any upgrades would be my own alone. Whoever owns those empty lots have to finally step up to the plate.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    So apparently there will be a mixed use building with retail at street level possibly replacing about 3 houses in the French Quarter. I haven't heard all the details yet but it is a project in the works.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

  67. #67

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    Any word on the Quartier Condo's?

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    According to their website 18 out of 36 units are sold and 1 pending. Unfortunately I've been to by a pretty reliable source that they aren't interested in ground level commercial units, which I personally think is very unfortunate.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    It's been tendered in the past couple weeks. It's moving along.

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    There are a couple nice infill condo projects in the area moving toward. Same folks as the Arbor development in Strathcona I think.

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    So a couple buildings in the French Quarter are looking at a façade change/improvement. Haven't got details who they are just yet but I heard that one is looking for a bit more of a European/French feel to the façade.
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

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    On the residential side of things I came across this project that was posted up today elsewhere here in C2E.

    Cascade Condos
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    ^ Looks like someone already created a thread for it earlier this morning, so I'll just post the link for reference purposes
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...ad.php?t=37303
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    Sure no problem. I mainly thought to also post it here as it is within the French Quarter. =)
    LRT is our future, time to push forward.

  75. #75

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    Finally some action on the Quartier Condo's site - someone was digging a hole today. Two new signs were on the fence, one an engineering sign and the other a sales marketing biz.

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