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Ice district reveal video

JR Ewing

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I'll get this out of the way with first: I am NOT for public financing of arenas and stadiums, and Daryl Katz pulled every dirty trick in the book to get the city of Edmonton to pay for his new playground. K?


But I do have to say that when I was growing up in Edmonton, I lived at the northern edge of where the district is under construction, and the city was so different then. The days of the oil boom were gone, and downtown seemed like it was nearly half vacant. Indigent people (they were called "bums" then) would be found drinking Lysol or sniffing glue all around the area, staggering around. You'd walk through the neighbourhood and folks would literally be passed out on the sidewalk and in the street. There were hookers and pimps and drug dealers. Through an unlucky set of circumstances for myself and my brother, when we walked to school, the drunk tank and homeless shelter (located across the street from each other) simultaneously opened the doors and kicked their occupants out for the day, and we got to waltz through that bit of fun.


I'm not naive enough to think that those problems will be gone with the construction of the arena. As always, the problems just move into new neighbourhoods. Still, it should be amazing to see the difference in the old one.


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