A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘alberta

[NEWS] Five notes about Canada, from GG Julie Payette to lobster sent to China to Syrians in Ontario

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  • Paul Wells reports on the process leading up to the selection of astronaut Julie Payette as Governor-General.
  • At MacLean’s, Scott Gilmore notes that the reluctance of the Conservative Party of Canada to embrace gay people is a big problem.
  • VICE notes that the lobster of Atlantic Canada has become a prominent feature of Canada’s trade with China.
  • Toronto Life shares photos from a four-day vacation of a Syrian refugee family that took them across Ontario.
  • CBC notes that the tourism sector in Jasper is wanting for workers, because of low wages and a high cost of living.

[URBAN NOTE] “The business case for heritage building preservation”

Sharon Crowther reports from Edmonton for The Globe and Mail, where the issue of preserving the Albertan capital’s heritage buildings is starting to make economic sense.

Heritage advocates in Edmonton are making the case that building preservation can not only beautify the city but make economic sense.

A new report commissioned by the Edmonton Historical Board says heritage properties in the city provide significant long-term return on investments for buyers and generate a greater return on taxpayer dollars.

“There’s been nothing like this before for Edmonton,” researcher and author Shirley Lowe says. “We modelled the report on one which was undertaken by the city of Savannah in Georgia. We added in environmental metrics which we felt were an important part of the picture here.”

Currently, Edmonton has 38 recognized heritage neighbourhoods, comprising 6 per cent of the city’s land area.

“Much of the city’s early pioneer buildings were torn down during the boom times,” explains Ms. Lowe, who is herself a heritage advocate. “We consider Edmonton’s current economic slowdown to be a good time to make our case.”

Written by Randy McDonald

February 6, 2017 at 6:15 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Town of Banff staff ask for interest-free loans to buy homes elsewhere”

CBC News reports on the scale of the housing crunch in the Alberta mountain resort town of Banff.

Employees of the Town of Banff can’t always afford to live in the townsite, so a program offering interest-free loans to home buyers has expanded its reach.

Spokesperson Kelly Gibson says a few employees approached the town saying they couldn’t afford to buy a home in Banff, and requested the program include nearby Canmore and the Bow Valley.

“Town of Banff employees face the same challenges as other Banff employees in finding a place to call home. As the employer, we want to make sure that the employees have a place to put in roots,” he said.

The program, which provides ten-year interest-free loans to qualified employees, has been in place since 2009 and costs the town very little, said Gibson.

“It’s more efficient if we can retain employees, rather than recruit and hire new employees.”

Written by Randy McDonald

December 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Denver and Calgary: A tale of 2 similar but very different cities”

CBC News’ Rachel Maclean looks at how Denver has been much more resilient than Calgary in coping with oil shocks.

The city reaches out to the Rockies — a sprawl of suburbs, farmland, oil rigs, ranches and maybe even a ski hill or two. It’s known for a high elevation and western roots. The population is diverse, and alive with a true entrepreneurial spirit and progressive attitudes.

Yes. It’s Denver.

The thing is, Denver and Calgary have a lot in common. But while Denver is rising, Calgary is struggling.

Founded within 20 years of each other, both cities were 19th century western frontiers. Places built on railways, agriculture and oil. For decades, both cities followed a similar economic path — including the highs and lows of the energy industry.

But then, just a little more than 30 years ago, both cities faced a crisis. Calgary went one way, and is still riding the energy wave. Denver another, leading to a thriving economy.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 24, 2016 at 5:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “How Chop Suey and Ginger Beef Helped Canada Discover Itself”

Nick Rose’s Vice article is a wonderful examination, with many hunger-inducing photos, of how Canadian Chinese food came about and what its genesis means.

Last summer, Elyse Bouvier got into her beat-up Volvo station wagon and drove across Alberta in search of something very personal but very foreign.

It was not any kind of spiritual epiphany or Kerouacian pursuit of freedom. Instead, she ate and took dozens of photos of ginger beef at tiny Chinese restaurants across rural Alberta. Through the lens of her camera, she was trying to capture a cuisine that is ubiquitous and mysterious in Canada, and the trip culminated in an exhibition called Royal Cafe: Chinese-Western in Alberta.

But the journey of reconnecting with Canadian Chinese food is not unique to Bouvier. It’s the same one embarked on by chef Evelyn Wu and professor Lily Cho, each of whom have used their professional lens to better understand the food brought to Canada by Chinese immigrants over a century ago—food that remains a staple of the Canadian diet.

[. . .]

Ginger beef is an iconic Canadian Chinese dish made of battered and deep-fried beef and coated in a thick, dark, sweet, vinegary sauce. It’s the perfect springboard off of which to jump into the murky waters of Canadian Chinese food and its origins.

Ginger beef is indigenous to Alberta but can be found, it’s safe to say, on pretty much any Chinese takeout menu in Canada. But like its American cousin General Tso’s chicken, you’ll have a hard time finding anything resembling ginger beef in China—it doesn’t exist. It is neither Chinese nor Canadian, and yet it is both.

So how can one food occupy such a strange, culturally ambiguous place in Canada? Part of the reason is that Canada was, by all accounts, a very strange and culturally ambiguous place when Chinese immigrants arrived here during the second half of the 19th century. And like a lot dishes, from General Tso’s chicken to poutine, a lot of restaurants claim the inventor’s throne, but there is no definitive evidence to support these claims.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 12, 2016 at 9:29 pm

[URBAN NOTE] On a possible case for Calgary to host the 2026 Winter Olympics

CBC News’ David Common reports why Calgary, with its extensive investments in the 1988 Olympics still good, might make a good host for 2026’s games.

[T]he Olympic money problem [. . .] presents an opportunity, particularly for cities that have hosted in the past and might like to do so again, and whose existing infrastructure could help control costs.

Calgary is in that group and is believed to have a good shot at the 2026 Winter Games — should it decide to officially join the race.

[. . .]

The Canadian Olympic Committee asked [John Furlong, the former CEO of the Vancouver 2010 Games] to help a Canadian city develop a bid for the 2026 Games. Calgary, host of the 1988 Games, is the only city that still has its hand up.

Most of the facilities used in 1988 are still up and running. The Olympic Oval, Canada Olympic Park and the Canmore Nordic Centre could use a renovation, but they don’t need to be built from the ground up. The ski jump and bobsled track would likely need to be completely replaced.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is in Rio for the Olympics. His office says it’s a personal vacation, but he’s been spotted at Canada Olympic House chatting with officials and athletes while his city considers whether to launch a formal bid.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 18, 2016 at 5:31 pm

[NEWS] Some Friday links

  • Bloomberg notes the closure of Poland’s frontier with Kaliningrad, looks at how Google is beating out Facebook in helping India get connected to the Internet, notes British arms makers’ efforts to diversify beyond Europe and examines the United Kingdom’s difficult negotiations to get out of the European Union, looks at the problems of investing in Argentina, looks at the complications of Germany’s clean energy policy, observes that the Israeli government gave the schools of ultra-Orthodox Jews the right not to teach math and English, examines the consequences of terrorism on French politics, and examines at length the plight of South Asian migrant workers in the Gulf dependent on their employers.
  • Bloomberg View notes Donald Trump’s bromance with Putin’s Russia, examines Melania Trump’s potential immigrant problems, and is critical of Thailand’s new anti-democratic constitution.
  • CBC looks at how some video stores in Canada are hanging on.
  • The Inter Press Service notes that the Olympic Games marks the end of a decade of megaprojects in Brazil.
  • MacLean’s approves of the eighth and final book in the Harry Potter series.
  • The National Post reports on a Ukrainian proposal to transform Chernobyl into a solar farm, and examines an abandoned plan to use nuclear weapons to unleash Alberta’s oil sands.
  • Open Democracy looks at the relationship between wealth and femicide in India, fears a possible coup in Ukraine, looks at the new relationship between China and Africa, examines the outsized importance of Corbyn to Britain’s Labour Party, and looks how Armenia’s defeat of Azerbaijan has given its veterans outsized power.
  • Universe Today notes proposals for colonizing Mercury, looks at strong support in Hawaii for a new telescope, and examines the progenitor star of SN 1987A.
  • Wired emphasizes the importance of nuclear weapons and deterrence for Donald Trump, and looks at how many cities around the world have transformed their rivers.