Shauna Warwick grew up in St. Albert and bought a house there. Then she started dating a man who lived in a loft on 104th Street.

"I came to the realization that there were more people I knew in his building than I did in my own community in St. Albert," she said.

Warwick took the plunge and bought a unit in the historic Phillips Lofts. But not everyone thought that was a wise decision.

"My Mom thought I was crazy. ‘‘How could you give up your house in St. Albert?’" Warwick recalled.

si-warwick-market

The downtown market is right outside Shauna Warwick's door. (CBC)

"She couldn’t understand why I would want to move from suburbia to downtown and into a space, a very open space that she’s not used to."

Five years later, Warwick revels in her life on 104th Street.

She can walk the three blocks to her job at Alberta Health Services. The downtown farmers market, food shops and restaurants are steps away from her front door.

Warwick is also involved in the community as president of her condo board and co-chair of the 104th Street Steering Committee.

Many Edmontonians believe that downtown is moribund and dangerous after the office workers go home, but Warwick says that is no longer the case.

"In the past, it has been desolate, deserted, so I can understand why people would have felt that way in the past," Warwick says.

"But if they haven’t spent any time down here recently, they’re probably not aware that it’s changed and there’s a different vibe,  and it’s safe and there’s activity, there’s people on the streets."

Warwick says that her mom has even come around.

"She comes to visit quite often and I think she likes it."