Champions of Alberta Avenue: Lan's Asian Grill

Lan’s Asian Grill: a Labour of Love 

Written by Shirley Serviss
Photo by Edmonton Shutterbugs Photography Group

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Lan Lim and her husband Sunny Lim came to Edmonton in 1975 with $100, on the recommendation of the one person Lim knew here, who said it was peaceful and people were very friendly.  

Lan was born in Laos and met Sunny there, but they moved to Thailand fearing what would happen as communism took over the country. Sunny, had already escaped from Cambodia, where many people had been tortured and killed, including his parents. They left Thailand for California where they applied and got accepted to Canada. 

Hard work was the first order of business in the new country, and they took whatever jobs they could find as they raised their three children. “We saved money; before we spent a penny, we thought about it,” Lan says. Sunny worked as a chef’s assistant at the Chateau Lacombe and later started a driving school. Lan sewed the designs and upholstered the insides of caskets until she developed problems with her hands from repetitive use of the stapler, glue gun and scissors. 

In 2008, their grown children suggested Lan start a restaurant to share her wonderful cooking with others. “If they wanted to do it, I said I’d help. I’d share my recipes and teach them,” Lan says. 

They chose to open Lan’s Asian Grill at 11826 103rd Street near NAIT in an area of businesses surrounding a parking lot. A true family restaurant, Tom manages the restaurant, Monica does the cooking and Vinson does the marketing.  

“To be a cook, you have to have a heart,” Lan says. “You have to love your customers, keep everything clean and give good things to your customers. We don’t use MSG or too much oil.” 

Tom remembers her teaching him that lesson early in life when she took a head of lettuce, peeled off the outer leaves and told him that if they were still good, you could eat them yourself. Then she cut open the lettuce and showed him the tender, inner leaves. These, she said, were the ones you would serve to your guests —only the best. It’s that philosophy that guides the restaurant. 

“To be successful, you have to do it with your heart. You have to be honest and care about what you’re doing. You have to work hard,” Lan says. “We still miss our country, but I love people here. It is my home now.”  


 Watch The Champions of Alberta Avenue Short Film by Moving Artistry Productions


This special community project became reality through the creative efforts of:

Justin Brunelle | Moving Artistry Productions

Weyme Teeter | Video Editor

David Baron | Cinematographer

Shirley Serviss | Writer

The Edmonton Shutterbugs Photography Group

Christy Morin | Project Producer

Allison Argy-Burgess | Project Coordinator

Back to School on the Ave part 2

Welcome back students, and welcome to part 2 of our blog on great places to check out on Alberta Avenue for amazing finds and great quality!!

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Dollarama
11810 - 103 Street

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It’s kind of a cliché, but it’s hard to argue with deliciousness at $0.50 a box.

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Dollarama has candy. A lot of candy. Stock up for your late night cravings.

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It’s also important to stock up on essentials! Dollarama has a great selection of stationery.


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Pizza 73
9559 - 118 Avenue

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473-73-73 - Sing it!

Pick it up, or have it come to you. It will be hot and amazing either way!


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Paraiso Tropical
9136 - 118 Avenue

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The aisles of Paraiso are packed with fresh produce, and just about everything you can imagine! they also have an amazing selection of South American delicacies to go.

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A whole selection of imported candy and chocolates.

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Hot sauce goes on everything, and this is one of the best places in the city to get some. They also have a selection of dried chili peppers if you want to take things up a notch.


Back to School on the Ave

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Welcome back students! Spent all of your money on books and paper? Here are some great places to check out on Alberta Avenue for amazing finds and great quality!!

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Value Village
11850 - 103 Street

Value Village Thrift Store is the place to find great deals on the things that you need!

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Get a new coffee cup to store your fuel for those late night cram sessions!

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Classrooms are always a bit chilly. Nip the chill with a new sweater or vest.

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Halloween is just around the corner! Value Village is your Halloween headquarters!!


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Polonia Sausage & Deli
10135 Princess Elizabeth Avenue

Enjoy Polish delicacies within walking distance from NAIT!

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Sausages are the perfect item for a little picnic on campus!

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Polonia has all of your condiment needs covered! We suggest buying all of the mustards.

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Group projects got you down? Your classmates will think you’re a hero if you bring treats to the meeting.


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The Duck Taphouse and Grill
10416 118 Avenue

Studying is thirsty work! The Duck Taphouse and Grill is the perfect spot for a frosty glass of goodness. Lots of cozy spots at the wood.

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Unwind with some friendly billiards with your classmates. Brews + cues = good times!!

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Wings? Did someone say wings? Yes! The Duck Taphouse and Grill makes a mean basket of the pub grub classic!

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If wings ain’t your game, The Duck Taphouse and Grill has you covered with a bunch of other fare.

Welcome back students! Best of luck in the 2018/19 academic year.

Fall events on the Ave and Eats on 118 recap

 Backpacks and leaves on the ground...must be Fall!  The air is crisp and there is a whole slate of cool things to do coming up on Alberta Avenue. Put on your comfiest sweater and join us for some great times!

Backpacks and leaves on the ground...must be Fall!

The air is crisp and there is a whole slate of cool things to do coming up on Alberta Avenue. Put on your comfiest sweater and join us for some great times!

Kaleido Family Arts Festival 

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Kaleido Family Arts Festival, September 14 - 16, is held on historic Alberta Avenue (118 Ave between 90-94 Street). For two and a half days, the Ave comes alive as an environment of creative exploration and performances on rooftops, sides of buildings, back alleys, parks, old spaces and new spaces. Not only is it a wonder to behold, it is FREE! You have to see it to believe it! 

The Alberta Avenue Business Association and Arts on the Ave are pleased to present a special screening of Champions of Alberta Avenue at this year's Kaleido Family Arts Festival
The project highlights our community members to celebrate the multicultural richness of the district and the people who have contributed to it – the true Champions of Alberta Avenue! 

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Please join us Sunday, September 16 at the Alberta Avenue Community League (9210 118 Avenue) at 1pm for a catered reception and special presentation of this amazing film. The photos and film will also be on display until 6pm.

The Tibetan Bazaar

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The Tibetan Bazaar is a unique celebration of the Tibetan culture – the only annual celebration of its kind in central and northern Alberta. For the past 26 years the society has hosted this festival which has grown in popularity each year. Each day, festival attendees can shop in the Himalayan market, sample delicious Tibetan food, win door prizes and receive instruction in meditation from a Tibetan monk – spiritual director Kushok Lobsang Dhamchöe.

The marketplace is a wonderful place to find unique imported gifts, including handmade Tibetan wool carpets, hand-woven textiles, carved wooden décor, unique jewelry, traditional and modern art, meditation supplies, books, CDs/DVDs, and Tibetan ritual items including singing bowls, incense burners, prayer beads, bells, cymbals and more!

Tickets $5, Children under 12 are free if accompanied by an adult

Drop-in Classes at Bedoin beats

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Can't commit to a weekly class?  Check out Bedoin's ongoing DROP IN classes that accept new students throughout the session.  

Classcards are a great way to add flexibility to your dance schedule! The Classcard entitles you to 5, 10 or 20 visits to any 1-hour Drop-in class during the regular 10 week session. 

See full class schedule HERE.

ALL Ages, multiple Genres - Dance Classes at elite Dance Studio

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Elite Dance Studio provides dance classes in a variety of genres for both kids and adults in Edmonton and its surrounding area. Owned by eight time Canadian Ballroom & Latin champions Dominic Lacroix & Delphine Romaire, Elite offers classes in ballroom, latin, ballet, hip-hop and more!

Find your groove HERE!

Eats on 118

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Eats on 118 was once again a delicious success! We featured four female owned establishments that each delivered a culinary home run. Stay tuned for our next tour! In the meantime, be sure to make a return visit to:

The rain could not dampen our enthusiasm. Please click through this photo gallery from the event. 

Alberta Avenue Business Association & Arts on the Avenue Celebrate The Champions of Alberta Avenue Film screening

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The Alberta Avenue Business Association and Arts on the Ave are pleased to present a special screening of Champions of Alberta Avenue at this year's Kaleido Family Arts Festival. This community-driven project produced by Arts on the Ave was made possible through support from the Edmonton Heritage CouncilEdmonton Arts Council, and the Alberta Avenue Business Association.

The project highlights our community members to celebrate the multicultural richness of the district and the people who have contributed to it – the true Champions of Alberta Avenue! 

 Optimum Auto 

Optimum Auto 

The title "Champions of Alberta Avenue" celebrates the business owners on Alberta Avenue who left their homeland over the past forty years, spoke little or no English on arriving in Edmonton, and started a new life and business here on Alberta Avenue. This film focus on only eleven of the many businesses started by immigrants and refugees on 118 Avenue. The historic Alberta Avenue neighbourhood has enjoyed a true multicultural atmosphere for over the past 100 years. The area has seen continued influx of immigrants and refugees from all parts of the world since 1891, when the first Ukrainian immigrants arrived, right up to today with the arrival of newcomers from Syria and Somalia. Alberta Avenue is a very special place, with many special people who have chosen to live and work here. This wonderful multicultural reality has created a community of people and businesses that truly represent the greater world!

 Donair Express

Donair Express

The Alberta Avenue Business Association would like to thank the following businesses for agreeing to share their fascinating stories and being a part of this project: 

 Popular Bakery

Popular Bakery

This project became reality through the creative efforts of: 

Justin Brunelle, 
Moving Artistry Productions 

Weyme Teeter, 
Video Editor 

David Baron, 
Cinematographer 

Shirley Serviss, 
Writer 

The Edmonton Shutterbugs Photography Group 

Christy Morin,  
Project Producer 

Allison Argy-Burgess, 
Project Coordinator

Please join us Sunday, September 16 at the Alberta Avenue Community League (9210 118 Avenue) at 1pm for a catered reception and special presentation of this amazing film. The photos and film will also be on display until 6pm.

Revitalization Funding on Alberta Avenue

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Revitalization funding for Alberta Avenue has been a hot topic this summer.

On June 18th, city administration presented a report to executive committee recommending that revitalization funding be reallocated from Alberta Avenue and Jasper Place to Inglewood and Balwin/Belvedere for 2019-2022.

That meant that revitalization funding would end for us here on Alberta Avenue. Many people spoke to the committee that day imploring them not to wind down support.

It was moved that day by Mayor Iveson that:

That Executive Committee recommend to City Council:

  1. That the selection of the communities of Inglewood and Balwin/Belvedere as the next two neighborhood revitalization opportunity areas for 2019-2022, be approved.
  2. That Administration work with the Alberta Avenue and Jasper Place communities to develop transition strategies for the revitalization areas and provide a report prior to the 2019-2022 budget process.

We sat down with Thu Truong of T&D Noodle House to get her perspective on the issue.  

Q: How long has your business been on Alberta Avenue?
TT: We opened T&D Noodle House in December 2013. We are going into our 5th year of business.

Q: How have you seen the Avenue change?
TT: One of the biggest changes I've seen over the last few years is there are significantly more people walking around. There are more people coming to the neighbourhood to enjoy a stroll down the Avenue, and they are feeling safe doing so! 

I have also seen the Facade Program aesthetically make the Avenue look much more inviting and refreshed. The flower pots and the lights make Alberta Avenue look much cleaner and more welcoming. Any change to help improve Alberta Avenue is a good change! 

Q: Have you accessed or seen any improvements to your own business as a direct result of the revitalization funding?
TT: I think more people from all over the city have an increased interest in coming to Alberta Avenue. Once they do, they realize the potential the neighbourhood has, and how much it has changed over the last 10 years. With all the festivals, events, coffee shops, retail shops and restaurants - everything you could need is here on the Avenue, really! An increased interest means more foot traffic, and more foot traffic of course means more volume in sales for our business. Plus, the Facade Program really has helped make the Avenue look so beautiful.

Q: Why do you believe the revitalization funding is important to Alberta Ave? 
TT: I strongly believe if we stop funding, there will be serious ramifications. We will see a decline in investors to the Avenue, which will result in more derelict buildings. People will eventually sell their homes in the neighbourhood, due to safety issues and crime rates increasing.

In order to continue to improve Alberta Avenue we need to continue funding. We need to give people a reason to walk the beautiful multicultural and diverse Avenue, that is full of authenticity. Continued funding would allow Alberta Avenue to continue to grow as a point of interest in our city, whether it be a fun place to visit on the weekend, a safe and inclusive place to live or a great place to set up shop! 

 

 

POP! Alberta

A comic store for people that READ comics!

 You can find POP! Alberta nestled just behind the  Jasmine Belle Cafe  on Alberta Avenue at 11806 - 87 street.

You can find POP! Alberta nestled just behind the Jasmine Belle Cafe on Alberta Avenue at 11806 - 87 street.

 Keep an eye out for their amazing store front!

Keep an eye out for their amazing store front!

 Ron's stock is conveniently organized for an orderly dig.

Ron's stock is conveniently organized for an orderly dig.

 You won't find super rare collectibles here. POP! Alberta specializes in discount 20th & 21st century comic books that are meant to be read!! Stock is updated frequently, so go on down today. You will not leave empty handed!

You won't find super rare collectibles here. POP! Alberta specializes in discount 20th & 21st century comic books that are meant to be read!! Stock is updated frequently, so go on down today. You will not leave empty handed!

Parks and Patios on the Avenue

There are plenty perfect spots to get some rest and relaxation in the sun on/near Alberta Avenue. Here are a few good options to start with.

The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse
9351 Alberta Avenue

 There is the coziest little table tucked around the corner of The Carrot. Grab a book from the free library and enjoy your coffee while someone plays the community piano.

There is the coziest little table tucked around the corner of The Carrot. Grab a book from the free library and enjoy your coffee while someone plays the community piano.

Eastwood Park
86 Street and Alberta Avenue

 This nicely appointed little park in historic Eastwood has a great playground, an off-leash dog area, and a rink for winter fun!

This nicely appointed little park in historic Eastwood has a great playground, an off-leash dog area, and a rink for winter fun!

Jasmine Belle Cafe
8702 Alberta Avenue

 Take a load off and enjoy some amazing French and Vietnamese delicacies on the patio at the Jasmine Belle Cafe.

Take a load off and enjoy some amazing French and Vietnamese delicacies on the patio at the Jasmine Belle Cafe.

 The patio at Battista's was packed for Eats on 118! This is the best spot in the city to get a scratch made calzone. I definitely had seconds of the Pesto Presto last time around!!

The patio at Battista's was packed for Eats on 118! This is the best spot in the city to get a scratch made calzone. I definitely had seconds of the Pesto Presto last time around!!

Alberta Avenue Park
9210 Alberta Avenue

 This little gem is tucked behind the Alberta Avenue Community League. We got some really nice air on that swing set!

This little gem is tucked behind the Alberta Avenue Community League. We got some really nice air on that swing set!

Passion de France
11812 86 Street

 Located in the 118 arrondissement... Just kidding, but the baking at Passion de France will make you think you're in Paris. Enjoy a perfect little macaron on this quaint little patio.

Located in the 118 arrondissement... Just kidding, but the baking at Passion de France will make you think you're in Paris. Enjoy a perfect little macaron on this quaint little patio.

Instagrammable Walls of Alberta Avenue

Instagrammable Walls of Alberta Avenue

By Linda Hoang

There are so many ‘Instagrammable’ walls in Edmonton. These are walls that catch your eye, that have a pleasing aesthetic and that photography well for social media.  

Instagrammable Walls can be mural or graffiti walls, brightly coloured walls, interesting texture walls, you name it. These interesting walls add to the beauty of a city and can attract people to a location that might otherwise not be frequented. 

Qi Creative - Create YouR Awesome

Qi Creative - Create YouR Awesome

Qi Creative (9410 118 Ave) is a unique business on Alberta Avenue. Maybe you've driven past and noticed their beautiful new facade? Maybe you've seen their roof top mural "Create YouR Awsome" by local artist Rust Magic? Or, maybe you've seen Qi Creative CEO and Founder Jonathan Rivero - or Jon Jon as he's known - around the Avenue at events, festivals and local coffee shops. We sat down with Jon Jon to find our more about Qi Creative.  

A Brief History of the Avenue

Once upon a time in Edmonton...

In the early 20th century, Alberta Avenue was on the outskirts of the city. The proximity to 'Packingtown' (a confluence of meat packing facilities) gave rise to Alberta Avenue as a home for workers and as a business centre to support the industry. The area continued to develop as an industrial centre with the additions of the Great Western Garment Factory and the Norwood Foundry. 

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Street car lines were extended to Alberta Avenue during the First World War. This connection to other developing neighbourhoods, and the emerging downtown, facilitated further economic development in the area. 

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Like all areas in the country, Alberta Avenue was hit hard during the great depression. The residents of the area were able persevere through hard work and supporting one another. Alberta Avenue has always been very community minded, and the Alberta Avenue Community League has played a prominent role in the community since it's inception in 1922. 

Life on the Ave has had its ebbs and flows through the 1970s and early 2000s, but the community spirit of those early residents is still alive and well. The store facades have changed, but the Ma and Pop character of the area remains. Whether you are sipping a coffee at the Carrot, or strumming through the aisles at Mhyre's Music, it's unmistakable which avenue you're on. 

 95 Street and Alberta Avenue 1938

95 Street and Alberta Avenue 1938

 Gladys Flower Shop 9349 - Alberta Avenue

Gladys Flower Shop 9349 - Alberta Avenue

 Inside Gladys Flower Shop 9349 - Alberta Avenue

Inside Gladys Flower Shop 9349 - Alberta Avenue

 Handy Bakery 2005

Handy Bakery 2005

 Mona Lisa's 2005

Mona Lisa's 2005

 Polar Bear 2005

Polar Bear 2005

 Safeway coming

Safeway coming

 Wee Book Inn 2005

Wee Book Inn 2005