Pandemic Art

If you’re traipsing down the sidewalk in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan be careful where you walk. You don’t want to smudge the art.

Nikki Sirett

A recent transplant from Vancouver, Nikki Sirett got to know her new home this past summer—one chalk drawing at a time.

Nikki Sirett

What started as a pandemic escape and a way to use up old art supplies has brought colour to Saskatoon’s streets and put smiles on Covid-weary faces.

Creating chalk designs that won’t last past the first raindrop may seem like a waste of the artist’s talent, but Nikki finds it freeing. “Hey, I’m giving myself two hours, let’s see how big I can make this cat, and how colourful. If it doesn’t look perfect, it doesn’t matter—it’s just going to be gone anyway.”

While Nikki usually draws dogs and cats, she occasionally dabbles in less domestic animals like this vibrant fox…

Nikki Sirett

“People love it, which has been super fun,” Nikki’s happy to report. “Kids will stop and be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s such a cute dog. It’s just the best thing ever to make a kid happy.”

Nikki”s gift of whimsy brings out the kid in all of us 🙂

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#National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

CBC.ca

Like Phyllis Webstad of the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation, I had just turned six when I started school. I assume I was excited, probably a little nervous, but I don’t remember. Phyllis does.

She remembers showing up at her school, excited to be there, proud to be wearing the new orange shirt her grandmother had bought her. She remembers standing there with her classmates, all of them scared and crying as their clothes were stripped off them. She remembers never seeing her treasured orange shirt again.

In 2013, Phyllis’s experience inspired the inception of Orange Shirt Day. A day to recognize and raise awareness of the horrific history and legacy of the Residential School System.

teentalk.ca

This past Thursday, on September 30, Canada marked the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. A day to remember the children lost, the families shattered. To reflect on the injustice that exists to this day. To find a way forward—together.

A way that includes sending people like Blake Desjarlais to Ottawa. Blake is Metís, speaks fluent Cree, and is the first two-spirit member of parliament.

A way that appreciates the talent of actors like Kiawenti:io Tarbell. An up-and-coming star at only 15, Kiawenti:io is Mohawk from the Akwesasne community in Ontario.

A way that applauds the magic in the voices of singers like Mary Nahwegahbow. An athlete and musician, Mary hails from the Whitefish River Nation 500 kilometres North of Toronto.

A way through the heartbreak of the past into a brighter future.

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#Touch of Pink

A romantic comedy you’ve probably never heard of, Touch of Pink, hit the big screens in 2004. Kyle MacLachlan, one of the only well-known actors in the cast, played the advice-giving spirit of Cary Grant.

Yeah, quirky.

Probably why the movie didn’t do all that well in theaters.

Lately, thinking about the possibility of maybe traveling again, a line from the movie came back to me. One that still makes me smile.

Forced to travel to Toronto for a family wedding, Kyle’s Cary Grant complains, “Toronto is not a destination city.”

Funny because true.

Toronto’s a great city, excellent restaurants, theatre, a thriving multi-cultural community, and it’s relatively safe, but it’s on no one’s bucket list. No one saves their pennies for years to finance a trip to hogtown. (Don’t ask. I’m a transplant from Montreal. I have no idea why Toronto has such a charming nickname.)

On a recent list of the Top Cities in the World to Visit, Toronto is conspicuous by its absence. London, Paris, Rome, New York, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Dubai…

Whatever it is that makes a city a Destination City, Toronto doesn’t have it.

I get it. We don’t have tropical beaches, or Roman ruins, or buildings so steeped in history that you stand before them in silent awe.

What we do have is six million people, speaking 180 different languages, living and working together—and crying into their beer when the Toronto Maple Leafs lose, yet again.

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Moving Day

Whether you’re moving on up like The Jeffersons

Or leaving town, every move is a lot of work.

You box your whole life up, load it into a U-haul or moving truck, and get in your car…

Or not.

Leslie Hoyle and Bell Elgie climbed into their—canoe.

The retired teachers, life-long paddlers, decided to take the scenic route from their old home in Georgetown, Ontario to their new life in Perth. Instead of a four-hour drive, they embarked on a four week, 500 km, canoe and portage adventure.

Canadian, eh?

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It’s Too Darn Hot

Google’s been whispering nasty stuff this week. Weather forecasts that climb into singe-your-eyebrows-off territory. Humidex readings in the 40C range.

It’s been Hot. Good Morning Vietnam hot…

Canadians aren’t good with sweltering. We crank up the air conditioning, head out to the nearest lake with a cooler full of ice and beer, and start up the helicopter.

Huh?

The helicopter. You know, to pick up the ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.

The RCMP in Tisdale, Saskatchewan aren’t thrilled with the pilot who landed his helicopter in an empty school parking lot to pick up an ice cream cake.

To be fair, the pilot’s hometown of Leroy doesn’t have it’s own Dairy Queen, and it’s an hour and a half drive from Tisdale. What’s a guy to do?

Cole Porter would understand…

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Cupcakes

Meet the soldier causing a bit a of ruckus in the Canadian military.

CBC News

In a court martial due to start August 3, Bombardier Chelsea Cogswell faces 18 charges and a possible two year prison sentence.

Her grievous crime?

Bombing civilians? Torturing POWs? Black Market Profiteering?

No, Bombardier Cogswell baked cupcakes.

She stands accused of serving Marijuana-laced cupcakes to her unsuspecting fellow soldiers. Oh, the horror!

The military brass is up-in-arms, citing safety concerns because the nine gunners who ate the cupcakes took part in a live-fire exercise involving explosives and weapons drills.

While happy, high, hungry gunners might not be at their best in a weapons test, if we’re talking safety the military command might want to do something about their abysmal record in prosecuting sexual assault cases within the ranks.

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Camera Shy

Not everyone is. Some people don’t hide in the back row of a group picture, or obsess over the fact that the camera sees everything.

Certainly not this guy…

Oh, sorry. You probably don’t recognize him—with his clothes on.

Will Amos, federal Liberal MP for Pontiac, Quebec got caught with his pants down on Zoom.

What? You don’t strip down in your office after a jog?

Doesn’t everyone?

Probably not while participating in a video meeting with colleagues.

Vive La Belle Province!

Amazon.ca

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NO FEAR

My memory isn’t what it used to be, but I can say with absolute certainty that I wasn’t zipping down any ski hills at three years old. I’m guessing most of us weren’t at that age, but…

Adia Leidums is.

Picture taken by Eric Leidums

The three-year-old from Fernie, British Columbia started skiing in her front yard last fall, then graduated to the real slopes at Fernie Alpine Resort this past winter.

Aida’s father, wondering what his daughter was thinking as she maneuvered her way down the slopes, decided to mic her up. In the video he posted to his YouTube channel, Adia can be heard monitoring her progress out loud, and giving herself instructions as she navigates curves and bumps on her tiny toddler skis.

Amazing, isn’t it?

What we can do before the world tells us we can’t.

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Who Needs Shoes?

You show me a frozen lake and I’ll show you how fast I can curl up in a comfy chair by the fireplace, book in hand, latte by my side.

The very words, frozen lake, make me shiver. They call up images of fir trees and ice skating rinks, red cheeks and hot chocolate.

But that’s me, to Karim El Hayani, a frozen lake is the ideal place to run a half-marathon—barefoot…

CBC News

Earlier this month, on March 3, EL Hayani ran 21.1 kilometres on Lac Beauport in -15C. He set a Guinness World Record for the fastest, barefoot half-marathon on snow or ice, finishing the distance in 1 hr, 38 mins with frozen, blistered feet.

An incredible accomplishment for anyone, but considering that El Hayani is a recent transplant to Canada, and that he spent most of his 27 years running barefoot in shorts, in the heat of Spain, a truly impressive feat.

Congratulations. Respect, but…

Why?

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