In The Navy

Knowing absolutely nothing about what the Royal Canadian Navy does, the image that comes to mind is something like this…

navy-marine.forces.gc.ca

But it’s not all Arctic waters and icebergs; the Navy gets around—all the way around to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone.

On a three-month diplomatic tour, the crews of HMCS Goose Bay and HMCS Moncton were invited to visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The invitation came with a request, “You wouldn’t happen to have any extra rope that you’re not using?”

As it happened, they did.

In consultation with the staff at the sanctuary, the Canadian crew refurbished the chimpanzee play area with old rigging from the HMCS Oriole out of Halifax.

(Cpl. Jaclyn Buell ©2022 DND-MDN Canada)

Due to Covid-19 restrictions only ten crew members could participate in what Cmdr. Daniel Rice calls, “a unique experience.”

(Cpl. Jaclyn Buell ©2022 DND-MDN Canada)

Making this mom and her little one very happy.

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Wrong Number

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

It happens. You swipe the wrong line in your contact list, tap the call open without looking at the screen. Wrong number. No big deal.

Unless…

You’re trying to call the police.

Durham Constabulary/Facebook

On a Wednesday afternoon this month, the Durham Constabulary in England received a message in a live chat from 4,500 kilometres away. On the other side of the ocean, in the Durham Region of Ontario, Canada, a woman typed…

“I need help, he is going to come, he is in the house” 

Fortunately for the terrified woman, all’s well that ends well.

The U.K. dispatcher contacted the Durham Regional Police in Ontario, who arrived on the scene to capture a 35 year-old male.

Thirty minutes from emergency call to arrest. Not bad for a wrong number.

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Protest

I didn’t get the memo, but apparently, frigid February is now protest month. Goodbye, chocolate hearts and pink candy. Hello, placards and flags.

Protests over vaccine mandates clog the streets in Ottawa,

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and block the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor.

Protests over the cost of Team Canada’s Olympic gear converge on Twitter.

In their favour though, the social media rants about Lululemon’s $68 mittens don’t infringe on the rights of Canadians to go about their lives blockade free.

Couldn’t help noticing, the mittens are red.

Valentine present, anyone?

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Quebec Gets Serious

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Premier François Legault intends to hit the non-vaxxers where it hurts—in their wallet.

This past week, the Premier announced plans for instituting a ‘health contribution’. A new tax to be levied against anyone who refuses to be vaccinated.

A risky move? Yes.

Would this proposed tax violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Infringe on the right to life, liberty, and security of the individual? Probably.

Are voices raised in protest? Of course.

Will the new tax get people to roll up their sleeves? The day of the announcement, 7,000 Quebecers registered for their first dose.

Carrot and Stick?

Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

P.S. Quebec has since backed off implementing the vaccine tax, saying they did not want to created divisions among Quebecers.

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Resolute Resolutions

More hope than intention, New Year’s resolutions usually stumble and fall by the wayside long before the spring thaw. Ice cream sneaks back into your freezer, the treadmill that was practically a steal on Black Friday becomes a high-tech hanger, and that French class you swore you were going to sign up for? Yeah, didn’t happen.

Some people are more resolute than others. They take that January 1 idea and run with it—right into the freezing waters of the Bay of Fundy.

Kathryne Maguire/Facebook

Meet Kathryn Maguire, her sister, Susan Ingraham, and her niece, Tanya Horgan.

Kathryn Maguire/Facebook

These intrepid New Brunswick women took their first polar dip at Bayshore Beach on New Year’s Day 2021—and kept right on dipping.

Once a month, every month, they pack their swimsuits and take a road trip. Throughout the last year, they’ve dipped into the frigid waters at beaches around the Bay of Fundy. A bonding experience, a tradition they’re happy to continue into 2022.

Kathryn Maguire/Facebook

The family that freezes together—stays together.

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The Vaccine Divide

It’s getting bitter out there.

Not the cold, the rancour and hostility surrounding the vaccination debate. A local company has been getting some flake lately for trying to walk the Great Divide between their vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees.

Chapman’s, the ice cream people. The company that kept their entire staff on payroll for a year while they rebuilt a plant that had burned down. The people who secured two ultracold freezers for the Grey-Bruce Health Unit to store the Pfizer vaccine in 2020. That Chapman’s.

Management decided to encourage, not mandate, vaccination by giving all vaccinated staff a dollar an hour pay raise. Basically, giving the vaccinated what the company was spending on testing the unvaccinated.

They’re not firing anyone, they’re not forcing anyone. They’re just saying, “Hey, it’s not right. We’re paying to have the unvaccinated tested, but we’re not giving the vaccinated anything.”

Sounds fair, right?

Not to the anti-vaxxers. They posted hate-filled messages on Facebook, and tweeted up storm, demanding a boycott on Chapman’s.

The boycott backfired. Big time.

The hashtag #IStandWithChapmans blew up, and the brand is receiving more interest and support than ever.

I’m thinking…Chapman’s for dinner?

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Help!

No question, the last two years of lockdowns and restrictions have been a pain. More painful for some than for others…

In 2020, with domestic abuse on the rise due to pandemic imposed isolation, the Signal for Help campaign was launched. A joint project created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation and a Toronto advertising agency, the campaign centered around a simple hand gesture. A subtle, quiet signal a woman could make while on a video call where she couldn’t speak freely. A gesture that meant HELP!

Social media spread the word—and the hand gesture, with a TikTok video posted by a Canadian user going viral. A video which may have saved the life of a North Carolina teen.

Social media is blamed, and rightfully so, for spreading misinformation, but every once in a while they get it right.

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Sikh Saviours

A walk in the park—the very expression means easy.

Just not in this park…

B.C. Parks

Golden Ears Provincial Park in B.C. isn’t a Sunday stroll and ice cream kind of place. It’s 555 square kilometres of serious nature—and bears.

If you hike the trails at Golden Ears, keep your eyes open, and watch your step. You can’t count on being rescued by a group of international students who unwind and tie their turbans together to make a ten metre rope—or can you?

This past Tuesday, Ajay Kumar, Arvindjeet Singh, Gagandeep Singh, Kuljinder Singh and Gurpreet Singh received commendations from the RCMP and the cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. RCMP Supt. Wendy Mehat, an officer for twenty-one years and a Sikh herself, presented the young men with a commemorative coin and a community leader award for their quick thinking and ingenuity.

CBC

Rick Laing, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue manager, arrived on scene to find the young Sikhs had done his job for him. “I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this. Ingenious.” Laing declared the rescued man “extremely lucky” that the Sikh group of hikers happened by when they did. “At least one person slips on the rocks and drowns in this area every year.”

Who knew that a religious symbol could be more than a symbol?

All Golden Ears Park images: shutterstock.com

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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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