The Inaugural High Level Line Day!

The first ever High Level Line Day is officially in the history books!

Earlier in the summer, we put the call out to help us activate the line in whatever way possible. We imagined a couple lemonade stands, some buskers, and maybe a sign or two that said “High Level Line,” and we would have been happy with that. Instead, community groups and neighbouring businesses stepped up in a big way, and we couldn’t be more proud.

On Sept 7, 2019, High Level Line Day, we saw:

#HighLevelLine Day - Sept 7, 1-5pm. 
It’s a grassroots activation of the underutilized corridor that connects Old Strathcona and Downtown. Thanks to the #yeg community for coming together to bring the line to life. Details at link in bio. Can’t wait! #oldstrathcona #yegdt #yeglove #yegevents
  • Old Strathcona Farmers Market set up a booth in Railtown Park, giving away (yes, for free!) sandwiches, cookies, apples, and market dollars, encouraging Oliver residents to take High Level Line to the market year round.

  • CNIB brought their new Cycling Without Age trishaw over to show seniors and those with visual impairments what it’s like to be on a bicycle again. We admit, our families definitely took more than a few rides on this throughout the day!

  • The Alberta Legislature hosted special tours of the Legislature grounds!

  • Downtown Business Association set up shop at the northern streetcar terminus, welcoming people to Downtown Edmonton with maps, guides, and #yegdt swag.

  • Musicians set up throughout the afternoon at Ezio Faraone Park. Shout out to Jesse Cunningham for volunteering to organize four acts including himself, Rebecca Lappa, Marissa K, and Kathryn Johnson. Thanks to Yeg Music, Central Social Hall and El Cortez for sponsoring the musicians!

  • CommuniTEA Infusion set up free lemonade and iced tea in Ezio Faraone Park, run by volunteers from the Skills Society.

  • An interactive art activity called “I See You” by Françoise Thibault (facilitated by Gaby Pelc) livened up Ezio Faraone Park too.

  • Walkable Edmonton and Paths for People shared info about walking and biking in Edmonton. And the free popsicles from Walkable Edmonton were a huge hit!

  • Lime brought their e-scooter training crew to Ezio Faraone Park, giving people a chance to try the scooters without committing and sharing tips for how to ride safely along High Level Line.

  • Jeff Davis of Edmonton Road and Track Club volunteered to guide people on a leisurely bike or scooter tour along High Level Line.

  • The Edmonton Radial Rail Society had two of their vintage streetcars running. The volunteers always share fascinating history along the line, making the experience of being on top of the High Level Bridge even more interesting.

Click on image to view larger.

To mark the occasion, Mayor Don Iveson proclaimed it High Level Line Day in Edmonton, and kind remarks were delivered by Councillor Scott McKeen, Councillor Ben Henderson, and MLA David Shepherd. As volunteers running with this initiative in our spare time, it was really meaningful to see our tireless effort being recognized. Oh, how far we’ve come from putting an idea out there on social media!

Word traveled fast about the inaugural event, catching the attention of Global News, CBC News, CTV News, Edmonton Journal, and CBC Radio One.

We can’t say this enough: THANK YOU to all of those that helped make High Level Line Day a success. To those that took time out of your weekend and joined us in activating the line, to those that came out to learn more about the project in person, to Old Strathcona Business Association and Downtown Business Association for providing us with sponsorships to make it happen, to those that helped spread the word about what we’re trying to do: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now, should we do it all again next year?

High Level Line Day - September 7 - Help!

If there’s any time of the year to explore the potential of High Level Line, it’s the summer.

So we’re circling a day in our calendar and asking for help from Edmontonians to bring High Level Line to life.

On September 7th, let’s activate High Level Line.

What does that mean? Well, consider this an open call to make it awesome. The streetcar will be in service with 2 weekend cars, so we encourage everyone to hop on the streetcar one way then walk back along the line. Imagine what the Line could be like if it was fully connected and activated all the time!

High Level Line Day
Saturday, September 7

How can you help? Tell us! Possibilities for activation from the community:

  • Musicians - small performances along the line, buskers.

  • Theatre groups - intimate improv shows and other live performances.

  • Street performers - set up along the line and wait for your audience to fill your hat!

  • Lemonade stands - Hey, kids! Let’s get the world’s greatest lemonade crawl going.

  • Bike repair stations

  • History tours - We all want to learn more about the rich history of the corridor and river valley.

  • Urban design tours - We’re talking to you, all you Jane’s Walk hosts. It’s not May, but people love going for walks and talking about their city.

  • Lantern parade at dusk

  • Sidewalk chalk art - any artists? Kids… hopscotch competition?

  • Cycling and running ghost races on Strava - anyone know how to set these up?

What else? We want to know!

We will also need sponsors. This day can’t possibly come together without them, and we’d be so pleased if you have a company or personal pocketbook that can lend a hand.

Please send us a note with your idea, and include the time of day you’d like to do it. We’ll share the plans for the day as they start taking shape. For now, please let us know how you can help!


Note: The event was originally booked for August, but we’ve moved it to September 7th.

Annual General Meeting 2019 - Join us!

Join the High Level Line Society Board for our first Annual General Meeting.

All High Level Line Society members welcome. Not yet a member? Sign up here and tell your friends, too!

When: May 31, 2019 at 7:00pm
Where: Edmonton Tower - 3rd floor, Room 3-385 - 10111 104 Ave
Cost: Free, of course!

RSVP here so we know how many people to expect.

eventsGillian Thomson
High Level Line Recognized for National Design Excellence

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) announced the recipients of their national Awards of Excellence, and we couldn’t possibly be prouder to say that we are a recipient! High Level Line’s bold vision for a linear park connecting Edmonton is the only Alberta-based project to earn national recognition. The award is a testament to the powerful potential of the idea and a major hat tip to the professionalism of our unsolicited proposal. We’re very humbled.

High Level Line is one of 16 projects that are preeminent examples of Canadian landscape architecture. They illustrate the range of what landscape architects do and how landscape architects are helping to shape our communities—defining the places we want to live, work and play.

We’re pleased to say our project is recognized in the communication category. A bold vision, illustrated to resonate with a broad range of viewers and strategically delivered, now has the potential to become reality. And being recognized for a design award on a national level is further proof that this idea is truly compelling and worthy of support.

See all the winners of CSLA Awards of Excellence here.

About CSLA

The Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) is a professional organization with landscape architects, associate landscape architects, and students of landscape architecture as members represented by provincial and territorial associations. The CSLA accredits several academic landscape architecture programs across the nation.

Landscape architects today are engaged in the design, planning and management of urban, rural and natural environments in all Canadian provinces and territories and in many countries worldwide. Canadian landscape architects are well-regarded for their vision, creativity, sensitivity and practicality in all aspects of professional practice, creating unique functional outdoor spaces for our citizens, as well as protecting and enhancing the environment. The CSLA is the organization which gives landscape architects a national voice and, though its provincial component associations, regulates the profession of landscape architecture through licensing or certification of its members.

Gillian Thomsonawards
What's going on with High Level Line?

It’s coming up on 18 months since we launched the vision of High Level Line. Before we unveiled it, we researched the area for a whole year and refined the idea to be something that sparked the imagination of all Edmontonians. And whoa, did it ever spark!

When we launched it, our idea of success was having a few people tell us what they like or dislike about it. We had no idea it would take off like it did. But we’re sticking with it, and we’re more committed than ever to making this dream a reality.

So what have we been up to exactly? To put it mildly, we’ve been… busy. Really busy doing everything we can to make High Level Line real. Lots of learning as we go. And to be honest, what we’re up to now isn’t as visually interesting as those early renderings, so we haven’t been as good about sharing the progress. But that stops now!

Here’s a breakdown of what’s been going on with High Level Line.

Public launch - October 2017

We hit “publish” on the website and populated our social media late on a weekday. In the morning, Mayor Don Iveson saw it and graciously shared his support. It was either that or our press release that caught the attention of seemingly every media outlet in town (okay, it was obviously his tweet). It was a whirlwind. From that, you told us loud and clear that we’re not the only ones who think it’s a good idea.

So we kept the momentum going.

Design Industry Presentations

We’ve been invited to share the High Level Line Vision (and build upon it with guests) at a handful of design-related events. We’re looking at you, AALA, APEGA, Urban Week, and PLACE18 (a national urban planning student conference).

Established a Non-Profit Society

High Level Line won’t happen overnight. It’s going to take a concerted effort for many years. We formalized this by establishing a non-profit society (High Level Line Society) with the purpose of fundraising, advocating and stewarding the vision of a better connected city core. Stay in the know and help us build momentum by signing up to be a member of the society. It’s free. Tell your friends too, please.


Public Events (more of these to come)

To officially kick off the High Level Line Society, we held a launch party. We crammed supporters into The Common and asked for feedback on the idea while raising a glass to the potential of our city. In the spring, we hosted a well-attended Jane’s Walk along the entire line and loved seeing the light in everyone’s eyes as we imagined the possibilities of High Level Line together. In the fall, we were honoured to be invited to be part of MLA Shepherd’s annual barbecue where we set up a booth and heard from residents in Oliver.

Stakeholder Engagement (ongoing)

Most importantly, High Level Line has to be thoughtfully designed for the people, businesses, government and community groups that are connected to the line thrive. The bulk of our work has been engaging with these groups. We’ve shared the vision and discussed with many groups, but there’s still so many more to meet. Every time we engage with a new group, two things happen: One, their unique perspective brings to light even more benefits. Two, there’s always suggestions for more groups we need to talk to. So the list of stakeholders and people we want to connect with grows and grows. But this proves just how much High Level Line will be a connective thread.

Formed Committees

The five founding board members can’t do this alone, and plenty of Edmontonians reached out saying “how can we help?” Well, then. Committees made a lot of sense. We put the call out for volunteers in the fall, and we’re starting to find our groove with three committees: 1. Stakeholder Engagement and Fundraising, 2. Planning, Design and Activation, and 3. Marketing.

Now, our biggest focus for the next few months is:

Report with City of Edmonton Administration

During the last City of Edmonton capital and operating budget deliberations, High Level Line spoke at the public hearing and asked for formal support for High Level Line. Councillor Henderson made a motion for City Administration to work with us on a report that explores the resources, roles and funding required to get this going. We’re working with Admin on that now and will be sharing it with council later this summer.


Something else to look forward to! Thanks to the work of committees, we have some events and initiatives coming up that will activate the line and get it on the radar of more Edmontonians.


The more people that are aware of—and in support of—High Level Line, the better. There’s lots of ways to support:

Finally, a heartfelt thank you for supporting High Level Line so far.

It’s real, it just hasn’t been built yet.

Gillian Thomson
What we've heard from Edmontonians

Over the past year, we’ve heard a lot of great comments and questions from Edmontonians. There’s something really special about Edmonton. If you have an idea, this is the place to share it and make it happen. There’s an appetite to make this city even better, and we have been blown away by the support for High Level Line. We’ve been spreading the word about the powerful potential of High Level Line, but don’t just take it from us. Here’s what Edmontonians have been saying about it!

We want to hear from more of you. Tell us what you think of the project here.

Gillian Thomson
High Level Line t-shirts, anyone?

Love the idea of activating a 4km corridor between Old Strathcona and Downtown? Want to shout it from the rooftops? Okay, please do. Might as well wear a High Level Line t-shirt while you're at it.


We have limited quantities available in mens sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL (good for ladies too). Until we have our sophisticated online shop up and running, we'll do this a semi-old fashioned way: through email. Fill out the form below to get started and we'll respond by email with availability, payment and shipping details.

$25 each.

Name *
Gillian Thomson
High Level Line Launch Party

We said we would host a party to kick off memberships, and it was better than we could have imagined! Engaged citizens from all walks of life joined us at The Common to kick start the official membership sign ups, talk about the idea, buy t-shirts, and raise a glass to the potential of our city.

On the walls and tables, we asked for input along the entire line (on a giant map) and on specific areas of the Line like the High Level Bridge. We held a t-shirt raffle to kick off fundraising towards future High Level Line activities including awareness, advocacy, and design studies. It was a lot of fun, so thank you to all who came out.


We couldn't believe the turn out! The place was packed, and we loved hearing questions from all the guests. Commonly asked questions were about LRT alignment (which is still up the air as Centre LRT plans are in the works), and wondering how to help out. We'll explore some of these topics in upcoming news posts on this website.

Next steps: we are holding an AGM in the fall (likely October) and collecting names for future volunteer opportunities. Part of our AGM will be announcing and signing up sub committees. 


eventsGillian Thomson
Jane's Walk 2018

We were so impressed by the crowd that came out for the Jane's Walk this past weekend! Thanks to everyone who made it out and had great information to share. It was a beautiful day to walk from downtown to Whyte.

We started our walk at the north end of High Level Line, between MacEwan University's Robbins Health Learning Centre and the new Allard Hall. From there, we walked the whole line south through Oliver, Grandin, across High Level Bridge (no, not the top of it), Garneau, and ended in Old Strathcona. 

What's a Jane's Walk? It's a free, citizen-led walking tour that honours the memory of Jane Jacobs, a visionary urbanist that pushed for people-centred communities. Learn more about Jane's Walk here. 


In the News: Edmonton Journal Feature

We were so happy to sit down with Elise Stolte from Edmonton Journal to share our vision of High Level Line with her. Six of us met with her at District and she feverishly wrote notes while we explained what we have in mind. When it came time to see the printed article, we were so thrilled to see that we were featured on the front page! Thanks, Elise, for helping us raise awareness of our proposal.

High Level Line visionaries look for momentum and buy-in on new urban park

A dream to transform the High Level Bridge into an urban park and streetcar corridor that reaches from MacEwan University to Whyte Avenue is about to get its next big push. 

The young professionals behind the High Level Line concept are incorporating as a non-profit this spring, recruiting a larger board, launching a series of public events and meeting with landowners along the line as they work to build momentum.

Between pilot projects, promotional T-shirts and plenty of talk this summer they hope to take their vision of a linear park to the next level. The backbone — the old rail line and multi-use trail that connects to the High Level Bridge — is already there, they argue. Someone just needs to fill in the missing links and improve the space to really connect the two cultural hearts of the city

There are obvious challenges to selling the idea. But with consulting engineers now saying that the top of the High Level Bridge cannot be used for a future LRT line, the concept doesn’t have to compete with other transportation initiatives for the turf.

Postmedia sat down with six core members of the team to learn more about what they’re pitching for the High Level Line.

Their unsolicited work is meant to start people dreaming about the possibility, said intern architect Michael Zabinski, imagining how this kind of green connection could support new development of underused pieces of land nearby. “There’s opportunity for every piece of land.”

There's more! Read the full article here: