Blast From The Past

MorePosterityWith the temperature expected to hit 31 degrees C this afternoon and the fire risk over a large chunk of western Canada rated as extreme, here’s a shot of Victoria Park in downtown Regina from around this time in 2013. The photo was taken on May 2, and shows the remnants of what was a record snowfall that winter.

YWCA Women Of Distinction Awards

A Google search reveals that there are a number of YWCAs across Canada that host Women of Distinction events each year. In Regina, the gala awards ceremony has been held since 1981.

The awards represent various categories, from Science, Technology & the Environment to Entrepreneurship & Innovation to Community Leadership & Enhancement to the Arts and Wellness, Recreation & Healthy Living.

The Regina YWCA’s 2016 Women of Distinction Awards are being held on Thursday April 28 at Conexus Arts Centre starting with a reception at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $125, and proceeds from the event are used to held fund YWCA programming for women and children.

You can find out more about the gala and the 2016 nominees on the YWCA website.

Fan Expo Regina

The third annual celebration of comic, SF, anime, horror and other niche cultures goes at Canada Centre Building, Evraz Place on April 23-24.

In addition to all the different displays from local and travelling exhibitors tied to products in this area, not to mention all the fans who show up dressed like a favourite superhero or other character in these genres, the highlight of these expos is typically the celebrity guests. In this case, the guests include Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings), James & Oliver Phelps (the Weasley twins in Harry Potter), Verne Troyer (Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies), Dirk Benedict (Battlestar Galactica) and Matt Frewer (Max Headroom).

On April 23, Fan Expo Regina runs from 10 a.m.-7 p.m., and on April 24 the hours are from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information you can visit the Fan Expo Regina website.

Intersection Of Doom Follow-up

20160304_143613On March 4, I did a blog post on the above-pictured mess that pedestrians encounter when trying to navigate from the north-east corner of Saskatchewan Drive and Albert St. The Facebook group Sidewalks of Regina queried the city via its Facebook page about the situation and below is a transcript of the exchange:

City of Regina: Hi, we understand your frustration. These barriers are there as a temporary measure to protect the signal, and associated equipment, poles and hardware, plus channel traffic into the right turn lane, until re-construction is undertaken.

Sidewalks of Regina: Thanks for getting back to us so quickly. We’re afraid this isn’t at all temporary. Check out this street view from April 2015. Surely a capital city can do better than this. When is reconstruction scheduled?

City of Regina: Our understanding is that this work was not completed due to underground utility work that needed to be done. We have asked our crews to go out and clean up this area by removing the temporary barricades, putting reflective tape on the concrete barriers and realigning the barriers to make the push button accessible. There is an initiation document for budget to undertake a functional study and land use study of the Saskatchewan drive corridor (Lewvan to Winnipeg) to being in 2017 if approved. This will determine the long term vision and plans for this area. If the budget ask does not get approved we will consider a temporary work around at this location.

Sidewalks of Regina: Thanks for deploying city crews to the site, but why did the City of Regina ever think it would be okay to keep this corner in such a state for so long? (i.e.: inaccessible to pedestrians/strollers/wheelchairs). If there’s an application in the works, they’re obviously aware of the situation, so it seems odd that it’s been inaccessible since (at least) April 2015. May we make a suggestion? Let’s make pedestrian access/accessibility part of this city’s long term vision. No more multi-year “temporary” measures, please!

City of Regina: Hi, we will pass along your suggestion to the appropriate department. Thanks for your feedback and have a great day!

Intersection Of Doom?

20160304_143613This is quite the set up the city’s got going on the north-east corner of Saskatchewan Drive and Albert St. these days.

To get to the island where the walk button is in preparation for crossing Sask. Dr. heading south, or Albert St. heading west, you’ve got to watch for vehicles flying around a curve on Sask. Dr. and merging onto Albert. Then to reach the island you’ve got to navigate a tiny port in all the barricades that have been erected, and do the same when you exit on the opposite side of the island to cross either intersection.

If you happen to be pushing a stroller of some sort, or maybe you’ve got a walker or a scooter, or you’re a cyclist who is crossing in the cross walk because cycling in this area is not for the faint of heart, the island is pretty much inaccessible. So I guess you’d be reduced to going around it when you’re crossing which would potentially put you in the line of traffic.

Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Pigeons

20160304_083915Memo to whoever owns this building on the Scarth Street Mall. If you want to reduce the amount of pigeon excrement on your canopy you might consider removing the banner that’s been hanging there for a couple of years now.

In colder weather during the day, and year-round at night, pigeons use it as a handy area to shelter behind. If the banner wasn’t there, I suspect it would substantially reduce the amount of time pigeons spent hanging out on the little ledge above the canopy and defending their turf from other pigeons.

Failing that, you might want to step up your maintenance program on the canopy because at present it’s kind of gross.

Regina Restaurant Week

After all the fun and excitement of the holiday season, January is typically a slow month for the hospitality industry as people tone down their spending and calorie consumption and seek to escape the typically frigid weather by cocooning at home.

But January’s just about done, and in order to showcase some of the new and renovated restaurants that have sprung up in the downtown over the last few years Regina Downtown Business Improvement District has partnered with over a dozen local establishments to organize a special showcase that runs Jan. 27-Feb. 10.

You can get all the details on Regina Restaurant Week here. But what each participating restaurant is offering is a special price fixe dinner with the choice of one appetizer, entree and dessert for a set price.

Restaurants that have signed on so far include Beer Bros, the Capitol, Copper Kettle, Crave, Diplomat, Famosa, Fat Badger, Flip, Golf’s Steakhouse, Malt City, 20Ten and Victoria’s Tavern.

Barbara Meneley (Updated)

20151228_143741At left is a photo of one of the scroll works that artist Barbara Meneley has produced during a residency at the Regina Public Library’s Prairie History Room.

I posted on the residency in October. Its formal title is Prairie History Redux, and what Meneley has been doing is visiting the Prairie History Room and making tracings of maps, photos, newspaper articles and other items in the collection.

On Saturday Jan. 16, the Dunlop Art Gallery and RPL are hosting an artist talk and reception for Meneley at Central Library starting at 1 p.m. The work Meneley has created during her residency will be on display at Central Library until Feb. 18.

Sharpen Those Blades

20160102_150336For several years the city’s been operating a downtown skating rink in Victoria Park. Not only is it a scenic place to go for a skate, the mix of deciduous and evergreen trees even provide a bit of a wind break — at least compared to some areas in the downtown where the tall buildings funnel and sharpen the wind to a knife-edge.

The one down side about putting a rink in the park is that it kills the grass and forces the city to lay down new sod each summer. This year, though, the southwest corner of the park was already ripped up because of work that’s being done to improve drainage and the city wisely decided to put the rink there.

I snapped the above image yesterday afternoon when I was on my way from Central Library to Wascana Centre for a walk along the lake. It was a great day to be out and it was nice to see a bunch of people taking advantage of the rink to get some skating in.

Expanding Horizons

Lismer-Arthur-Pine-Tree-and-Rocks-1921-45.A.42-300x243Group of Seven member Lawren Harris was in the news recently when American comedic icon Steve Martin co-curated an exhibition of his work at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Expanding Horizons features work by three of Harris’s G7 colleagues Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson and A.J. Casson. If you read the MAG’s online synopsis, you’ll see that the initial inspiration for the exhibition was a sketch that the gallery’s original benefactor Norman MacKenzie received as a gift from Lismer in 1927.

The sketch was related to Lismer’s painting Pine Tree & Rocks (pictured) and one highlight of this show will see the painting (which is in the collection of the London Public Library and Art Museum in Ontario) reunited with the sketch. Other works by Lismer, along with Jackson and Casson, are also included, and offer an opportunity to assess the G7’s impact on our perception of the Canadian landscape.

I don’t believe there’s a formal opening for Expanding Horizons, but the first day of the exhibition coincides with the gallery’s annual holiday celebration that goes Sunday Dec. 6 from 2-5:30 p.m.

Gala Art Auction

Photo from 2014 Gala
Photo from 2014 Gala

Each year around this time the MacKenzie Art Gallery hosts a gala fundraiser to help support gallery operations. The 2015 gala goes on Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.

You can find out more information on the MAG website. But the event typically includes entertainment, refreshments of both the liquid and solid variety, and live and silent auctions.

In addition to all the festivities, you’ll also be able to check out the exhibitions that are currently on display at the gallery. These include:

EDITION ADDITION II Exhibition of prints from the permanent collection that explores the ambiguous space between unique art object and mass-produced poster. Artists include Andy Warhol, Mary Pratt and Christopher Finn. (Until Nov. 22.)

ROSALIE FAVELL: (RE)FACING THE CAMERA Exhibition of 283 portraits of indigenous artists and curators interspersed with four paintings inspired by photos from Favell’s family archive. (Until Nov. 22.)

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT: THE DRS. MORRIS AND JACQUI SHUMIATCHER COLLECTION Exhibition of Inuit sculpture and Western art that was donated to the gallery by the Shumiatchers. Curated by Timothy Long and Alex King. (Until Jan. 3.)

RODNEY LATOURELLE: THE STEPPED FORM Sculptural installation composed of multi-coloured modules that explore the changing nature of public spaces. (Until April 24.)

AUDREY DREVER: NO. I DON’T SPEAK CREE In this MFA exhibition, the artist explores the loss of her indigenous language through the multiple generations. (Until Oct. 18.)

Law Foundation of Saskatchewan Lecture

scott-decker-012Later today Arizona State University professor Scott Decker (pictured) will deliver this annual lecture at the University of Regina. The talk is titled “Smart Policing and the Challenge of Translational Criminology”.

Smart policing sounds like an idea we can all get behind, I imagine. Although what translational criminology is I’m not exactly sure. If you read the synopsis on the university website, it talks about different strategies of policing that have been developed over the years like Team Policing and Problem Orientated Policing.

Smart policing is apparently the latest strategy. Because it’s evidence-based, it seems like a reasonably enlightened way of going about law enforcement. And while I wouldn’t presume to put words in Decker’s mouth, there is a situation playing out in cities across Canada these days where some municipal police forces have largely stepped back from enforcing antiquated laws related to the possession of small amounts of cannabis, be it for recreational use or health issues via compassion clubs and other types of dispensaries.

It’s the police’s position that from a cost vs harm perspective, there are simply much better ways to allocate scarce resources to preserve the peace in our communities than persecuting people who smoke (or otherwise consume) cannabis.

That ruffles the feathers of the hard-ass Harper Conservatives, though, who keep fulminating about the need for police to crackdown on these godforsaken pot criminals who are terrorizing our communities. Were the police to take their advice, though, it probably wouldn’t be regarded as an efficient use of resources, and hence not “smart” policing.

The same can be said for simple-minded “tough on crime” policies geared toward jailing people and ramping up police and prison infrastructure without giving any thought to underlying causes of crime such as mental illness, addiction, homelessness and poverty. That was a point Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, made the other day in the Leader-Post when he urged Canadians to vote for the party with the best social justice plan if they really wanted to put a dent in crime. 

But that’s just my take on the situation. If you want to hear what Scott Decker has to say, the lecture goes tonight at ED191 at the University of Regina at 5 p.m.

B-25 Bomber Visits Regina

Photo from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Photo from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

If you’re an aviation or military history buff, you’ll want to swing by the Regina Flying Club this weekend to see a WWII era medium-range B-25 bomber that will be in town. The bomber is part of an historic aircraft collection housed in Minnesota.

If you visit the Minnesota Commemorative Air Force websiteyou’ll see that the B-25 played an important role in WWII tied to what’s known as the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942. The raid came a little over four months after Pearl Harbour, and targeted Tokyo and other locations on Honshu Island.

Sixteen bombers were involved, and after taking off from the USS Hornet aircraft carrier (photo above) and attacking their targets, the plan called for them to land in China which was then under Japanese occupation. All the aircraft were subsequently lost, resulting in the death and capture of around 10 airmen, although 14 of the crews were able to escape and safely return to American bases.

While the raid had little military impact on Japan, it had significant symbolic value, both as retaliation for Pearl Harbour, and as a demonstration of Japan’s vulnerability to American counterattack.

The B-25 bomber will be at the Regina Flying Club on Saturday Aug. 15 and Sunday Aug. 16 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tours of the aircraft will be offered, and a demonstration flight is planned over Regina for Saturday afternoon.

Verb Has Conjugated Its Last Issue

Verb DoneRumours have been circulating for awhile now, but the publishers of Verb have finally confirmed on their website that the magazine that burst on the Saskatoon scene with such fanfare seven years ago, and later added a Regina edition with equal fanfare, has ceased publication.

You can read their poignant farewell message to their readers, advertisers and contributors here.

Queen City Ex

As per the last couple of years, the Queen City Ex kicks-off with a parade on Tuesday July 28 at 7 p.m. The parade will follow the usual route down Dewdney Ave. from Cameron St. to Broad St., then south on Broad to Broadway Ave., finishing at the Tartan Curling Club. The evening will culminate with fireworks in Wascana Centre.

The QCX opens the next day. You can find out all the details on the QCX websiteIn addition to the midway, attractions include Saskatchewan Express Minis & Expressions, Sinbad High Dive Show, Fishing Friendzy, Thomas & Friends, Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo and the RCMP Musical Ride on July 31-Aug. 2 at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Grandstand acts are free with gate admission, and the line-up includes: Wednesday 29 MAGIC! with Halfway to Hollywood (7 p.m.). Thursday 30 THE ROAD HAMMERS with Doc Walker (7 p.m.). Friday 31 GIN BLOSSOMS with the Rembrandts and Fastball (7 p.m.). Saturday 1 DAUGHTRY with Snake Oil Sinners guests (7 p.m.). Sunday 2 SHAWN MENDES with Francesco Yates (7 p.m.)

Happy Belated “I Love Regina Day”

I Love Regina Day IIOn Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. the City of Regina hosted its annual “I Love Regina Day” in beautiful Victoria Park in downtown Regina. Included was a free BBQ, children’s activities, giveaways and other treats.

If you missed it, don’t despair, as of Sunday night at 8:30 p.m., cake was still available at the central Scarth St. entrance to the park (photo above) — although to grab a piece you might have to engage in a squawking match with the seagulls first to shoo them away.

The BBQs had long been put away, unfortunately, but as a second late Sunday evening photo after the jump shows, you could still sort of bask in the general atmosphere of the day if you happened to be passing by the Cenotaph. Continue reading “Happy Belated “I Love Regina Day””

Cinema Under The Stars

This popular downtown event is back for another summer in Victoria Park and nearby City Square Plaza. Crowds last summer regularly exceeded 1500 so it injected a real shot of life into the downtown on Wednesday nights.

Prior to the film (which gets going at dusk) there’s entertainment and other festivities starting at 7 p.m. The first film is Paddington [2014]. It screens on July 8, and will be preceded by a teddy bear picnic.

Other Cinema Under the Stars screenings are on July 15 (Back to the Future II [1989]), July 29 (Big Hero Six [2014]), Aug. 12 (Cinderella [2015]) and Aug. 19 (t.b.a.) Here’s the trailer for Paddington:

Latest Regina Survival Guide Available

Click on the map to download a pdf of the Regina Survival Guide.
Click on the map to download a pdf of the Regina Survival Guide.

Got word from Marc Spooner (who was a guest on the Queen City Catch Up podcast recently) that the new edition of the Regina Survival Guide is ready to download. And he asked us if we’d host a copy of the pdf here. So we are. Click on the image at left to download yours.

The Regina Survival Guide is an invaluable resource for low income people and people-at-risk. It lists places where you can get a free meal, find shelter and clothing, and access healthcare and needle exchanges. And it’s all laid out on a map for easy reference.

Now, maybe this is information you don’t need. But if that’s the case, there’s nothing stopping you from printing out a bunch of copies and distributing them where there might be people who’d find the Survival Guide helpful.

A Walk Around The Park

If you plan on being downtown on Wednesday June 24 at noon, you might consider taking in this event which is being co-hosted by Regina Public Library and Regina Downtown. People are asked to gather at the Cenotaph, and there will be an hour-long walking tour that will offer some insights into what the Victoria Park Heritage Conservation District and surrounding area was like just prior to the Great Depression kicking in in 1929.

If you can’t make it on June 24, the walk will be held again on July 16 and Aug. 13. Those will be evening excursions, and they’ll run from 6:30-7:30 pm.

Pigeons Left Homeless By Closure Of Downtown Landmark?

Travellers BuildingI went for a walk in the downtown last night. When I was on the west side of 18 block Broad St. around 8:15 p.m. I noticed a fair bit of commotion across the street at the pigeon condo a.k.a. the Travellers Building.

Pigeons were flying around and landing, then taking off and landing again, and making that weird warbly sound that they make. I took a closer look and ended up taking the above snap.

If you compare it to a shot of the building I took in April 2014, it does seem that the windows on the second floor that had been open previously are now closed so the pigeons are no longer able to roost there at night as I believe they were in the habit of doing.

Judging by the confusion I observed in the pigeon community, this is a relatively recent development. But I don’t have any other confirmation of that beyond the pigeons. Both photos can be enlarged by clicking on them to see the pigeons in better detail.