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Guest Blogger

Alicia Tonks

Alicia Tonks was born and raised in Toronto, but has proudly called Edmonton her hometown since December 2013 when she relocated to join Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels, the city’s destination marketing fund.  

Old Strathcona, A Love Story

Thursday April 10 , 2014

Our journey together has been defined by significant places.  The places we’ve been, the places we dream of, the places we stumbled upon… When we met in Toronto in 2012, Mack already had a job set up in Alberta.  I had always dreamed of living out west even though I had never visited and, until Mack moved, had never known anyone who lived here at all.

Over months of long-distance courtship, I visited Edmonton not once, but twice.  On my second visit in September 2013, we took a drive to nowhere in particular and ended up in Old Strathcona.  Without a plan in mind for our day, we parked and walked. 

We checked out the farmers’ market… the marvelous array of art, jewellry, colourful fruits and veggies, and the hustle and bustle of people entangled in the warm scent of baked goods.  We wandered up and down Whyte Ave checking out the shops filled with everything from second-hand books and collectables to boutiques of fashionable clothing;  Poring over dusty posters and prints, browsing antiques, chatting with friendly shop-keepers who seemed to have fallen right out of sweeter, simpler past; we were happily immersed in both the new and the old.   

When I returned in December 2013 - this time for good - Mack and I regularly found ourselves drawn back to the inviting, kitschy, casual and fun neighbourhood of Old Strathcona.  In fact, many a lazy Saturday afternoon was spent in the same way, because even when we seemed headed for somewhere else, we always ended up here.

So it was no surprise that we chose to spend one of the most special days of our lives in this neighbourhood that we love. 

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in March of this year, with two of our closest friends by our sides, we married in our favourite place – Old Strathcona, specifically in the gazebo in Dr. Wilbert MacIntyre Park.  After the ceremony, we wandered around with our photographer, taking photos in the gazebo, outside of the Strathcona branch of the Edmonton Public Library and the Knox Church.  Then we finished our big day with the most spectacular meal for our reception at Packrat Louie’s.

Being in tourism now, I shouldn’t be biased towards any one part of our beautiful city.  But I can’t help it.  Mack and I started out far, far away in Toronto. We came together again in Edmonton. We joined our lives in Old Strathcona.  Now what place could be more significant than that?

~~Thanks to Charlotte, Jon and the entire team at Packrat Louie, Chandra Smith Photography, Jeyanthy Jeyaratnam and Alicia Tonks for the best bride/maid-of-honour bouquet-building team.