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Charles’s Story – Rallying the community to provide computers to local students in need

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Charles’s Story – Rallying the community to provide computers to local students in need

When Charles found out that schools were closing at the same time his mom’s work was stopping, he was worried about how he would continue his studies. With only one computer at home and two students needing to access online learning, it was stressful trying to keep up.

United Way worked rapidly with our partners to identify the needs of the most vulnerable and rallied the community to provide supports such as computers for students in need to continue their education. Because supporters do local good, kids like Charles can succeed in school.

Help make a difference in your community today by visiting myunitedway.ca/donate-united-way.

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Community

Hey Edmonton, look what’s living under our sidewalks!

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Written by Darrel G. Babuk, MRAIC

Many of Edmonton’s buildings had sidewalk vaults.

Not sure why.  Usually, sidewalk vaults were found in cities where hilly streets got flattened out or raised – like New York City, Vancouver or Victoria. In flattening out and raising the roadway, the sidewalks were rarely raised.

To get a sidewalk in front of their building, building owners would extend the basements of their buildings out to the roadway, and the roof of the basement extending beyond the building became a public sidewalk.

Here in Edmonton, the Gibson Block and the McLeod Block still have sidewalk vaults; the roof over the portion of their basements that extend beyond the building is the public sidewalk. Other Edmonton buildings, like the Jasper Block and the Kelly Ramsey Block also had sidewalk vaults.

Back in the day, when the idea of working in an office was still a novelty, retail space commanded a much higher rent than did office space.  Many times, retail spaces would be located on the second, even third floor.

Retail space in a basement, just one flight of stairs from the sidewalk, made sense. The Gibson Block still has a stair going from the sidewalk to the basement, where the Georgia Baths used to be.

But, aren’t basements dark? To bring light into basement sidewalk vaults, glass sidewalk prisms were embedded into the sidewalks.

photo by Darrel G. Babuk

Victoria still has sidewalk prisms, the purplish glass blocks on the sidewalks on Government Street.  Seattle still has sidewalk prisms, they even offer tours of the sidewalk vaults underneath the sidewalk prisms.

Edmonton’s Jasper Block not only had sidewalk prisms, the interior hallways had glass prism floors so that natural sunlight would filter through the third and second floors down to the ground floor!

Not sure why.  Usually, sidewalk vaults were found in cities where hilly streets were regraded to be flat – like New York City, Vancouver or Victoria. In flattening out and raising the roadway; while the actual street was raised, the sidewalks weren’t. If you know, send me a note!

[email protected]

Boreas Architecture & Civic Design puts to use our years of highly unique and specialized experience to identify the essentials, understand them and create a plan of action to re-image historical buildings: to maintain the dignity of their original design with a sustainable new purpose in the community. Click for more information.

This article was originally published on March 31, 2019.

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Alberta

Alex’s Story – helping those living with disabilities and their families access support services

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Supports for Individuals with Disabilities:

When COVID-19 hit, Alex struggled to stay connected with his community. Thanks in part to the supports that Alex and his family receive, they have found resilience in these challenging times and new ways to spread positivity to their neighbours.

United Way worked rapidly with our partners to identify the needs of the most vulnerable and rallied the community to provide supports such as technology for individuals living with disabilities to safely access supports. Because supporters do local good, individuals like Alex have the help they need.

Help make a difference in your community today by visiting myunitedway.ca/donate-united-way.

Mary’s Story – Helping domestic violence survivors heal and find safety

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