Tag Archives: Saskatoon

Sean Shaw Campaign Videos

Since I have been posting campaign videos a lot lately, I thought that I would continue the trend with posting Sean Shaw‘s campaign videos.

Not that anyone cares about this other than myself but Sean is the only Saskatoon City Council candidate to use Vimeo rather than YouTube. From the look of the credits, they were done by Flavio Ishii, a local Saskatoon filmmaker. Of all of the films that I have seen so far, the four most recent ones by Shaw (and Ishii) have had the best production quality.
I took a look around the other night and I think I have posted most of the campaign videos now. Let me know if I have missed any and I will get them online.

Heather Morrison on the Food Bank Challenge

Magic 98.3 and CFCR’s Heather Morrison has been taking the Food Basket Challenge and is sharing her reflections on what she is experiencing without enough food to eat.

It’s interesting to see how we (those that don’t have to worry about food security issues) see a loss of food. Heather is dealing with it through creating connections of community which is kind of what I expect any of us to do.

Many people that I work with do the exact opposite. Hoarding and even violence over extra food has broken out (not that there was a shortage of food but I have seen fights break out over yogurt or a cake in the past). I have seen people try to take garbage bags of free bread, even though there has been more than enough free bread everyday for years.

Of course the key is that I said many but not all. This summer while walking home, some of the formerly homeless men that I worked with now live in my neighbourhood. They had a tiny barbecue that they had bought at a garage sale and were out cooking up something out front of the house on of them was renting and then told me to invite the boys down as well (they knew Wendy was working as they had just bought some burgers from her). As we ate (I sprung for some Coke and Pepsi and another thing of burgers), I found myself wondering why some place a very high value on community like they do while others retreat into a survival mode where anything they can get, whether they need it or not becomes everything, at the sake of the community around you.

I am going to assume that those that place community the highest were raised in a community that cared, while those that place no value on community, were probably exploited by those around them.

Glad Heather posted the video. She’s a DJ, actor, and now a (somewhat hungry) philosopher.

If You Build It, They Will Come

My column in today’s The StarPhoenix

Years ago I was in Bahamas and had a chance to go swimming with sharks. A company took us in the middle of the Caribbean, tossed down a box of chum into the ocean and then tossed a line off the back of the boat to hold onto. There was no dive cage. You jumped into the water and prayed that the reef sharks that you were about to swim with know that they are bottom feeders and aren’t not in the mood to try something fattier.

Before we went on this ridiculously stupid expedition, we had to sign a waiver that said that if I was attacked by sharks, no attempt of rescue would be made. If in the unlikely chance I made it back to the boat, no first aid would be administrated and if I made to the shore without bleeding out, there would be no assistance given to me there either. I did what anyone would do that was going through an early stage midlife crisis would do, I signed it and got on the boat.

People do reckless things here in Saskatoon. Rather than have us sign waivers that stops us from doing stupid things like swimming with sharks, we have by-laws that prohibit things like swimming in the South Saskatchewan River. Even though we know the river has an undertow and a fast current, people do it all of the time. Whether it at the beach at the bottom of Ravine Drive or heading up to swim at Cranberry Flats, the lure of the water and the beach is a strong one for many people on hot summer days. While it may give people a break from the heat, it does pose some inherent risk. It risks those that are caught in the river’s undercurrent and it puts people at risk who are called on to save them; whether that be onlookers or the Saskatoon Fire Department. Too often by the time people are able to respond, it’s too late.

While this explains the by-laws designed to keep us out of the river in the city, it also means there aren’t a lot of places for people to escape the Saskatoon summer (if it ever gets here). Saskatoon does make an effort in trying to give people a place to go. There has been the significant upgrade to Mayfair Pool, changes and improvements to the spray parks, and even the transformation of River Landing all give us options than swimming in the river, yet people still flock to the beach on Ravine Drive where there is no parking, limited access, no life guards and during much of the summer, dangerous river conditions.

Calgary was faced with the same dilemma in the late 1970s and in 1978, they opened Sikome Lake in Fish Creek Provincial Park. The lake isn’t that much larger than the “lake” in Lakeview but it’s designed to be swam in. It features a hard sand bottom, a circulating spray fountain, change rooms, concession stands, and the same washed out orange sun shades that were installed when it opened. The best part of it is that it is surrounded by a wide sandy beach. Further back from the beach are picnic and barbecue areas. While it’s not that impressive to look at compared to many of Saskatchewan’s amazing lakes, it invited you into it to swim and cool down and enjoy the summer. Being in the city, it was easy to get to by car or bicycle. It also gave people another option than wading into the Bow River. While it used to be open year round, the lake is drained every winter and filled again (it takes three weeks) in the spring.

The results are that on many hot summer weekends, over 20,000 people flock there each day. The picnic spots are all taken and there is barely any spot on the beach at all. While it may not be my idea of a perfect day, it is for a lot of people, especially people who don’t have the time or the means to get away to the lake. With the average home price in Saskatoon over $300,000 and cabin prices at many northern lakes going for that much, heading away to the lake is an option for fewer and fewer people. There is Pike Lake but any lake that has to build a swimming pool right beside the lake, doesn’t seem to be a great option and so we default back to debating access to a lousy sandbar. Instead of having the same old debate about the same old sandbar that is right beside a dangerous undertow, let’s build something else. While the sandbar along the river may not be safe, it does prove one thing, if you build it, we will come.

Portraits of Saskatoon

Portraits of Saskatoon

If you are still looking for a spectacular gift with a Saskatoon theme, check out these prints by Saskatoon photographer Christina Weese of the Victoria Traffic Bridge. They look fantastic, are a limited run, and you are supporting a local artist.  Oh yeah, someone is also getting a great gift.

Speaking of the arts, I was just checking out The Stall Gallery website and noticed you can purchase works of art by my friend Brooke Graham.  The same thing could be said about giving away her work although with both of these artists, there is a temptation to turn the holidays into the season of buying art for myself.

What to do in Saskatoon during the summer of 2010

With Wendy working at Safeway and her shifts being all over the map, we need to plan ahead as a family if we are going to enjoy all of what Saskatoon has to offer this summer.  While we won’t get to all of these events this summer, here is my list of why I think Saskatoon is a great place to spend the summer.

  • June 24 and 25th :: Broadway Art Encounter :: This is done in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival so there will an interesting selection of art and some great jazz to see.
  • July 10th :: Regina Red Sox vs. Saskatoon Yellow Jackets ::  Wendy and I have been meaning to go to a minor league baseball game since the Saskatoon Yellow Jackets came to Saskatoon.  They are a Western Major Baseball League team and I am told it’s not bad baseball to watch.  $8 per ticket.
  • July 18th to July 25th :: Arlington Beach Family Camp and 50th Reunion :: I am taking the entire week off work and spending most of it at the cabin with the boys.  Wendy will be out for part of the week while she works a couple of shifts at work.
  • July 23rd and 24th :: Rotary Club Dragon Boat Festival :: Not sure if we will be back from the lake but if we are, we will take this in along with the Taste of Saskatchewan.
  • Taste of Saskatchewan July 20th to July 25th :: Taste of Saskatchewan :: I really like the idea of Taste of Saskatchewan but in reality, I don’t really enjoy going.  The food can either be good or mediocre, it’s a really crowded event, the music is too loud to have a conversation, and parking can be brutal.  My honest feeling is that it would be a better event with fewer (but better restaurants), a larger venue, and a sound stage that doesn’t feel the need to blow out your ear drums.
  • July 29th to August 7th :: Saskatoon Fringe Festival :: Good food, lots of stuff made of hemp, hundreds of people smoking pot while the police look the other way.  I don’t generally take in the plays but instead just enjoy myself on Broadway Avenue with the boys.
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders July 31st :: Hamilton Tiger Cats vs. the Saskatchewan Roughriders :: It’s the Riders Centennial which means like all Saskatchewan Roughriders fans, we must make the mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca and take in a game.  We are choosing to see the Riders lay down a smackdown on the Hamilton Tiger Cats.  There is a reason why we have a cabin that is only an hour away from Mosaic Stadium.
  • NASCAR Canadian Tire Series August 4th :: NASCAR Canadian Tire Series :: 250 laps of NASCAR goodness at the Auto Clearing Motor Speedway.  Oddly enough, Pierre Bourque of Bourque Newswatch is also in the series.  Sadly, the Conservative Party is no longer sponsoring his ride, maybe because NASCAR drivers only turn left.
  • August 8th :: Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan :: I know it goes all summer but what could be a better way to spend a Sunday night than taking in some Shakespeare (The Merchant of Venice) and then head to a place with a patio for coffee and dessert.
  • August 10 15 :: Saskatoon Exhibition :: This is the highlight of Mark’s summer and is fun to go with Wendy and Oliver as well.
  • September 3-4 :: Saskatoon Fireworks Festival :: After years of taking in really lame fireworks shows in Saskatoon, the Saskatoon Fireworks Festival changed everything.  It is a world class, must see event that is perfect for River Landing.  Let’s just hope the Traffic Bridge doesn’t collapse before that weekend is over.
  • Calgary Flames logo September 29 :: Calgary Flames vs. New York Islanders :: I know I broke up with hockey a couple of years (I said some things, hockey said some things… you know how it is) but we have been checking out each other on Facebook and I may grab a thing of nachos and see how hockey is doing.

As you can probably tell by the links, I am a big fan and user of Yahoo!’s Upcoming service.  I’ll keep adding events to my profile as I see them coming up.


Oliver and Wendy at Last Mountain Lake

Today’s events started innocently enough yesterday.  I was planning to stock up some office supplies at the Front Desk at the Centre and was going through the Staples/Corporate Express catalog.  I made my notes and realized that instead of making our Exec Assistant’s life miserable, I would just run to Office Depot and get them with the Centre’s card.  As I was leaving the house this morning, Wendy called and wanted to know if I needed our vehicle all day.  I said no and I told her that if she was  ready when I came by, she could grab it and drop me off at the office once I was done.

When we were over at Office Depot, she came over to Oliver and I realized immediately he was having a seizure.  I turned him on his side and we walked out of the store and the seizure continued for a couple more minutes.  He has choking, convulsing, and shaking violently with his eyes rolled back into his head.  I have seen a lot of seizures at the Centre but then again, this is the first one I have seen my son have.  While he was having it, I was thinking that it takes 15 minutes for an ambulance to get five blocks to the Centre (seriously, an EMT riding a slug could get there faster on many calls) and I realized we were only five minutes from Royal University Hospital.  So we drove over there and as Wendy took Oliver in, I tried to find a place to park (much of the RUH parking lot is out of commission).  By the time I got in, Wendy had been rushed past triage and was in the pediatric emergency room.  Oliver was pretty unresponsive and was really out of it.  He was acting strange and took over an hour to settle down while the entire time he seemed scared, disorientated, and confused.  Along the way he was seen by the resident, the pediatrician, and almost managed to escape the three nurses who had to hold him down while they took blood tests (I don’t think Oliver appreciated the rather cool Spider-Man band-aid they gave him either).  He eventually fell asleep and then when he woke up, was back to normal.   I know that a fever can cause kids (and adults) to have a seizure but Ollie’s temperature was totally normal.  All that is wrong with him is a bit of a cough and a runny nose.  After taking some more tests, they released him with instructions that if it happened again, we were to return.

He had another nap and woke up.   We had some errands to run and while Wendy has been passive aggressive about getting a cell phone for her, this convinced her that she needed to get one.  We went to Wal-Mart to take a look at some and while we were there, Oliver had another big and long seizure.  It was bad but not quite as bad as this morning but it still lasted for a couple of minutes.  We left Wal-Mart and it was back to RUH.  Triage took Wendy and Oliver right back to pediatric emergency room and while the same nurses were on, the resident was just finishing her shift.  She stayed behind and brought the evening pediatrician up to date which made the process smoother and I imagine a little quicker.  We weren’t there long and after a consultation with another specialist (a pediatric neurologist), we were sent home with a prescription for some medication to help stop the seizures, promises of an appointment with the pediatric neurologist, tests and instructions that if it happens again, we are to come back so he can be admitted.

I would have liked to walk out of there with a definite answer on what was happening to him but it wasn’t to be.  Oliver’s blood work came back normal and he didn’t have a fever.  The hope is that it is connected to a virus he has but I suppose that will come out in the tests.  The staff at RUH did everything they could and I didn’t really see the reason why Oliver could not go home.  It is rare that he would have a seizure at night (according to the doctor) and the medication that they gave him will help even more.  The doctor said it was “unlikely” he would have one tonight but I kind of work in the world of “unlikely” which makes me a little nervous but at the same time, it is pretty unlikely he will have one while sleeping.

Right now Oliver is both really cranky and groggy (from the medication) and is growling to himself upstairs as Wendy feeds him his medication.  She hid his medication in chocolate pudding which seems to be sending him a mixed message of “We don’t want you to have any more seizures but we may be bringing on diabetes at a young age…”

One story worth re-telling from the day.  While we were waiting this morning for tests to come back, I went upstairs to make a couple of phone calls and to get some Starbucks.  On my way down there were two doctors trying to get their swipe card to work on a locked door.  As I was walking past, the one doctor said to the other, “That’s your Starbucks card, you idiot”.  I couldn’t help but laugh out loud which rather embarrassed the guy fumbling for his access card.

University of Saskatchewan Huskies vs. the UBC Thunderbirds

University of Saskatchewan Huskies logoThe Huskies are hosting the UBC Thunderbirds this Friday at Griffiths Stadium.  Unless the weather is beyond horrible, I will be attending with Mark and my brother.  Let me know if you want to join us.

Despite being a big football fan and a fan of the Huskies since I was a kid, I think this is only my second game ever at Griffiths Stadium. 

It’s a nice way to kick off the Thanksgiving Weekend.  After we take in the game, we plan to head to Arlington Beach for a quiet weekend at the cabin.  Of course it is kind of a sad trip because unless we get some really warm late October weather, it will be our last trip up for the year.

Free Wifi Hotspots in Saskatoon

SKConnected-logo Saskatoon does a good job in providing wireless capability to it’s residents.  The yellow areas show where Saskatchewan! Connected provides free wifi access to Saskatoon (and other Saskatchewan cities.  There are also a bunch of other free wifi networks to tap into and I put a list of known public networks for you to tap into.

Saskatchewan! Connected wifi coverage in Saskatoon

Downtown Saskatoon:

  • Earls, 610 2nd Avenue North
  • Hilton Garden Inn, 1st Ave S & 22nd Street E
  • Jake’s on 21st Street
  • Mulberry’s Cafe, 3rd Avenue & 23rd Street
  • Park Town Hotel, Spadina Crescent & 25th Street
  • Sheraton Cavalier, Spadina Crescent & 21st Street
  • Spadina Freehouse, Spadina Crescent & 21st Street
  • Timothy’s, Midtown Plaza, 1st Avenue & 21st Street

Hotspots around Saskatoon:

Wireless Update

A bunch of e-mail the last couple of days asking how the wireless network is doing. The answer is really well. The only bug is my Windows 98 notebook won’t shut down now and I have no idea why. I am going to run System Mechanic on it and clean out the crap out of the registry and hard drive and see if that helps but feel free to post any advice. It hangs on the “Windows is Shutting Down Screen”. We have the port in the worst possible location in our house and we get a good signal over the entire house. I will probably move the port upstairs in the summer if I am going to use it outside. The only thing I don’t like is outside of the Saskatoon Travelodge and a couple spots on campus, I don’t know of any wifi hotspots. If you know of any in Saskatoon, can you let me know?