City on a Hill: Edmonton

June 08, 2018
Written by: Wendy Mann, CAE, CREW Network CEO

Panorama of Edmonton. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

I was stunned when we came around the bend and looked across the river to see the city of Edmonton sitting up on the hill. Well, I soon found out that Edmonton is actually on both sides of the river and what was originally two towns formed together into present day Edmonton. On the ride from the airport, my expert driver and historian, CREW Edmonton member Patti McDonald, gave me an overview of the city.

I had an opportunity to sit in on the Edmonton CREW board meeting, which gave me good insight on the chapter’s success in their market. They discussed their most recent program on the state of cannabis legalization in the country. The session was filled to capacity (the highest attendance ever!) with many in the industry anxious to find out where development opportunities exist. While the prime minister has vowed legalization and stated July 1 as the date, most provinces and municipalities are still working out the details of how they will handle it. 

Over lunch, the chapter’s past presidents joined us for a lively round robin conversation. We discussed global perspective on the cannabis industry, the 2018 CREW Network Convention and Marketplace (San Diego, Oct. 17-19 – registration is open!) as well as mentoring programs.

Learning the personality and strengths of each chapter as I made a swing through western Canada was terrific. Edmonton CREW’s leadership has great energy and a level of commitment that creates boundless opportunities. My pride in knowing and working with such amazing women just grows with each stop along the way!

Like Saskatoon, Edmonton is a city on a river. Makes sense, right? This is how cities were founded back in the early days. The beauty and history of Edmonton was explained to me when Patti Walsh, immediate past president, and Sharon Ohayon, president-elect, took me on a tour of the city. It’s very spread out. The heart of downtown is one thing, but the land mass of what constitutes the city of Edmonton is extensive. The last stop on the tour was the Aurora Cannabis development near the airport, which is comprised of vast facilities for growing and storing. They are clearly getting a leg up on this new industry. 

Special thanks to Christine Zwozdesky, a past president of Edmonton CREW, who flew with me to Calgary and was kind to drop me at my hotel when we arrived. The true spirit of CREW Network is alive and well in our Canadian chapters.


Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.

Twitter: @crew_wendym

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