Fun, Shopping And Charity At EIA

Pipestone Flyer


An heirloom doll of Cookie Monster, donated by the owner of EIA's Cookies By George store, to raise funds for a local charity.


Leduc County, AB – In a spirited campaign to promote its new post-security terminal’s dining and shopping options, the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is also showcasing its caring heart towards the less fortunate… EIA had designed a promotion where numerous members of the regional media were invited to visit the Airport’s new Domestic and International departures area, shopping bag in hand, in a contest to acquire the most innovative gifts for a favorite, local charity. Unfortunately, a critical news event took place that morning, and redirected most of the media core to an Edmonton press conference. Pipestone Flyer newshound Dominique Vrolyk showed up to get acquainted with this post-security area, and the multitude of shopping and dining options within…

The timing of this promotion did not only focus on the Holiday Season’s gift-giving for our loved ones. Instead, it added a focus on local charities, since the media invited was to shop with “200 Jingle Bucks’, the Airport’s own money, and the loot acquired by the most creative media shopper would go to a favorite charity.  Choosing a favorite charity would be a bit of a challenge for most people: there are so many valuable charities in our region, dealing with children in need, Boys and Girls Clubs, the vital services of STARS, homeless pets, food banks, church ministries and many others! 

For this writer, after lengthy consideration, the decision was made that the Christmas loot would go towards the December 14 fundraiser to benefit RiseUp House in Leduc. Rise-Up House is a ministry devoted to the enlightenment, spiritual and financial guidance and support of individuals, usually women and children, dealing with domestic abuse. The Airport managers who greeted this lone journalist were happy and proud to describe how the EIA and its ‘tenants’ have a heart for the less fortunate. 

In a variety of charity-focused campaigns, Airport retail business owners, managers and support staff participate all year-long in generously contributing to local charities. For example, the EIA and Immigration Services prepare weekly baskets of confiscated items such as new shampoos and hygiene products, perfumes and toiletries, which are in turn picked up by the Leduc & Area Food Bank, for distribution to families in need.  As one of the largest employers in the Capital Region, the EIA has the power to inspire and recruit generous hearts in its campaigns…and knowing this, passengers who shop or dine in this International Airport can be warmed by the thought that a percentage of that business’ profits will contribute to a charitable gesture.

A recent EIA press release suggested to “Fly through your shopping at EIA”: clever words to reinforce the concept of shopping right at the Airport, before you fly away to visit loved ones…The management of this International Airport is constantly designing new entertainment options to cater to its passengers, especially focusing on those who drive for hours before arriving there to park their cars, and get ready for their waiting period before boarding their flight. In this society, children get to travel much more than they did even ten years ago, so any activity aimed at youth are quite much appreciated by their parents! In this holiday season, the EIA has created a Santa’s Storyland next to Gate 56, and also offers free gift-wrapping by friendly –and talented- volunteers!  This is a new passenger experience, to quote the EIA’s marketing materials, as roving artists, art on display, shopping and dining, even art classes (!!) are now a part of the “passenger experience”. In the Departures terminal, an interesting display by the Photographers’ Society of Canada deserves some attention.

With 36 stores and services and 25 dining options, the Edmonton International Airport is a destination in itself. Whether it’s in the Departures Terminal, or in the Arrivals area, passengers and the ones who are delivering them or picking them up can devote precious time to some leisurely activities indoors…. EIA offers some interesting parking options: from the Priority Valet service that takes your keys to park your vehicle and makes it clean and ready when you return, to the Easy Parkade, the Executive Park and the Jet Set Parking services available on the Airport property. It is interesting to note that “no matter where you park at EIA, they will boost your car, fill a flat tire, help you find your car and even dig you out for free if you need it, 24/7”! 

Recently, the International Airport added another valuable and unique service to its fairly new services in the Departures Terminal. An upscale service previously found only in Vancouver and Toronto’s International Airports, the Plaza Premium Lounge is an über-comfortable, full-service lounge for all travellers who choose to wait in luxurious, intimate comfort rather than among the crowds. With its modern and relaxing décor, its full-menu of breakfasts and light, hot meals and creative desserts, served by its friendly staff, the Plaza Premium Lounge promises to be a popular service that time and positive feedback will enhance.  

To follow suit on their re-branded motto “ EIA… we’ll move you, by air and on the ground!”, EIA’s Ground Transportation Office reminds its incoming travellers of the various modes of transportation that can get them to the Airport: the Edmonton Transit System Route 747, the Sky Shuttle, four cab companies and a limousine service. 

EIA believes that traveling should be stress-free. Their website ( offers a myriad of useful tips on traveling and about the Airport’s convenient services,  and the EIA’s  bilingual and congenial staff on the Direct Information Line (1-800-268-7134 and locally 780-890-8382) answers questions and offers links to critical services from 9am to Midnight, seven days a week and on holidays. 

Keeping in mind the upcoming fundraiser for RiseUp House in the City of Leduc, this writer collected an interesting variety of items acquired with Jingle Bucks (EIA currency this holiday season). This particular shopping spree earned a bounty of attractive items that will  be presented in a large gift basket to the Silent Auction’s generous bidders: a soft, multicolored Artisan scarf from Discover Alberta (a store full of quality Alberta-made artsy and earthy fashions), a Sorrentino Café gift card  (redeemable at any Sorrento’s eatery in the Edmonton area), a silver and diamond pendant from Metalworks Silversmiths, 2 boxes of ‘Authentic’ candies from Coney Island Candy, two porcelain mugs from Hudson News and some great toys & a Beanie baby from Kids’ Works, its affiliate store, and –a bonus!- a Cookie Monster doll donated by Cookies By George, a heirloom in many fans of Sesame Street’s opinion…

Out of the Edmonton International Airport’s creative and managerial thinking caps, a generous gesture was created to benefit a local charity, not the first gesture of its kind over the past years… Out of their collective hearts, we can hear the EIA team members and their EIA retail neighbors whisper: “A Merry Christmas to You, and Peace to All!”