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Roxy Theatre

Free Public Lecture: Sustainable and Healthy New Neighbourhoods: The Fundamental Building Blocks of Tomorrow’s Saskatoon

From Great Spaces

Larry Beasley

Please join us on Wednesday March 20 at 7 PM at the Roxy Theatre for a free public lecture by Larry Beasley entitled ‘Sustainable and Healthy New Neighbourhoods: The Fundamental Building Blocks of Tomorrow’s Saskatoon.’

After more than thirty years leading initiatives to transform Vancouver’s inner city, its neighbourhoods, and development approvals, Larry Beasley now teaches and advises on urbanism around the world. In his talk Dr. Beasley will argue that the post-war suburban model with its vast streets, single use buildings, strip malls, unaffordable services, and dependency on the car, has to be transformed. He will also argue for an image that existing suburbanites can embrace and are prepared to freely pay for and consume.

Dr. Beasley chairs the ‘National Advisory Committee on Planning, Design and Realty’ of Ottawa’s National Capital Commission; is on the Board of the Canadian Urban Institute; is Senior Advisor on Urban Design in Dallas, Texas; serves on the International Economic Development Advisory Board of Rotterdam in The Netherlands; and has just completed five years of service as the Special Advisor on City Planning to the government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. For three years he was the vice-president of a major Canadian development company, Aquilini Development and is now Special Development Advisor to Concord Pacific Developments. Among his recent primary projects, he has completed an award-winning plan for the City of Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Beasley has a master’s degree in planning and has also studied architecture, geography and political science. He has been awarded two honorary doctorate degrees, is Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Planners, Honorary Member of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, and an “Advocate for Architecture” of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Beasley is a recipient of the Kevin Lynch Prize from MIT, the most prestigious award in American planning. He is a Member of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour for lifetime achievement, and was recently awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

A reception will follow, hosted by The Two Twenty.

Larry Beasley is the 2013 University of Saskatchewan Planner in Residence.

Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra moving to Riversdale

The StarPhoenix’s Cam Fuller has the story.

The SSO announced Wednesday it will occupy the building at 408 20th St. West, less than one block west of the Roxy Theatre. It will be the first time the organization has housed all of its components under one roof.

The building will allow space for rehearsals, meetings, administration and storage. It will also house the symphony’s book and music sale inventory and the sale itself. The sale raised a record $119,585.08 this year.

The symphony’s first silent movie event at the Roxy Theatre last year got it thinking about the neighbourhood and helped developed a relationship with Tom Hutchinson and Terry Stannard of Magic Lantern Theatres, and Randy Pshebylo, executive director of the Riversdale Business Improvement District.

“That’s really the first time we’d been in the neighbourhood,” Jill Reid, SSO general manager said Wednesday.

“We had such a good reception there, we were so welcomed.”

The SSO signed a 10-year lease on the building, which has been used as a hardware store in the past.

“Good business involves wise investment,” Hutchinson said in a release. “Just as we invested in the Roxy Theatre in the hope that others would see its worth and support it, we know that investing in the future of the Saskatoon Symphony, and bringing its energy to Riversdale where it can be part of all the positive change happening there, will pay huge dividends to everyone involved.”

On my desk at work there is a RFP from the City of Saskatoon asking for a consultants report on how to fix 20th Street.  It may be a little late being put out because there has been more good news about investment on 20th Street than there has been for years.  In many ways it started with both Little Chief Police Station, the Roxy Theatre, and then later with the work that Shift Development Inc. has done with The Two Twenty and Collective Coffee.

I hate Saskatoon

While in Winnipeg, we went to the Olive Garden.  I am not a big fan of the Olive Garden but it’s fare is passable and as I was getting ready to order, another table sat down and started to bad mouth Saskatoon, our weather, our culture, and the fact that there is nothing to do in Saskatoon.

Granted there isn’t an Olive Garden here and there isn’t anything to compare to The Forks but c’mon, the Olive Garden is over rated and I’ll take dinner at Alexander’s any day of the week.  Maybe they were just upset with their breadsticks.

Back to hating on Saskatoon.  How does anyone in Winnipeg complain about Saskatoon weather.  Yes it gets cold here but Winnipeg had to install miles of tunnels and covered skywalks just to avoid the cold during the winter and hide from the mosquitos in the summer.  Somehow Winnipeg has managed to make it worse by creating the world’s worst wind tunnel.  While entering the Winnipeg Convention Centre, the temperature probably dropped another ten degrees Celsius as the wind was brought downward and forced through their sheltered driveway.  Brilliant.  Of course the reason why I was so cold is that I had to park in Portage la Prairie because Winnipeg has almost no available downtown parking.  This was verified by the Winnipeg Parking Authority website which tried to assure me that Winnipeg has lots of parking.  Right, which is why you have a parking authority and a website which says there is lots of parking. 

While I don’t mind the fact that someone could love Winnipeg, the hatred on Saskatoon was a little over the top.  Sure we don’t have  an NHL team or anything but the Winnipeg Jets thought Phoenix would be a better option and look how that has turned out for them.  They do have a CFL team in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers but in my seven days in Winnipeg, I never saw a single Blue Bomber shirt, jacket, or even a hat while several times people came up to me an shook my hand for wearing my Rider green (I did get one death threat while walking down Portage from a carload of guys in a rusted out 1991 Chevy Caprice).

Now Winnipeg has built a gorgeous downtown stadium which is both cutting edge but too small for a NHL team at around 14,000 seats.  This move seems to be based on the idea of torturing Winnipeg Jets fans forever and it seems to work as they all know that a) they have a cutting edge stadium b) it’s too small for a NHL team.  Of course they did avoid the mistake that Saskatoon made in that we built our stadium on the outskirts of North Battleford.  Not our best move.  We’ll call that  one a wash.

The lack of culture gets me a little bit as well.  I’d refute that but I am too busy enjoying the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, the SaskTel Jazz Festival, the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Mendel Art Gallery, the Persephone Theatre, Fringe Festival, or even heading down to the Roxy or Broadway Theatres.  Winnipeg has it’s cultural richness as well but Saskatoon is not a barren cultural wasteland either.

Yes our downtown architecture is largely bland and uninteresting but there are signs of even that changing.  We have our weaknesses but I’ll take Saskatoon any day.  I like walking outside.

Update: While it was mind numbingly cold in Winnipeg, I did get out with my camera(s) and take some photos of Winnipeg, The Forks, and St. Boniface Cathedral.  The architecture of Saskatoon just doesn’t compare with the architecture of Winnipeg.