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Edmonton’s doctor ice-cyclist, Saskatchewan loses significant Aboriginal figure, Calgary astronomer heads down under, and Winnipeg downtown parking rates double

Edmonton doctor sets winter example

Dr. Darren Markland may work in the intensive care unit at Royal Alexandra hospital but he doesn’t care how intense Edmonton winters can get when it come to his love of cycling. His colleagues joke that his bravado may end him in the same unit where he works, but he gets the last laugh. During last Wednesday’s snowstorm, while everyone else was showing up late and shaken from the drive in, he arrived on two wheels, serene and on time.

“I got to work before half of my colleagues did,” he says with a chuckle, “and I had already enjoyed the best part of my day.

Christopher Chan, executive director of the Edmonton Bicycle Commuter’s Society, says more people are extending their cycling season to include winter. It is a growing breed, but not everyone can pedal though Edmonton’s wintery conditions. He credits the current city council with embracing a winter city strategy that has seen the city’s extensive trail system plowed and cleared, usually within 24 hours.

Markland says, when he cycles he is modeling an example, a lifestyle as a parent, a physician, and a citizen of the world. He believes it is a way to reduce his carbon footprint and teach his son responsible values, it also helps when he is giving a patient advice about incorporating physical activity into their daily routine, that it is something he does himself.



Jim Sinclair and Norman Ward with Louis Riel’s Diary

 Saskatchewan’s own Jim Sinclair, a significant figure that made leaps and bounds in the advancement of Aboriginal interests in Canada dies at age 79 on Friday. Sinclair was born in Punnichy, north of Regina, and grew up in a poor squatter community in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Despite his poor upbringing, he enriched a nation.

“He was a leader like none we’ve ever seen before,” Don Ross, a long-time friend of Sinclair, told CBC News Friday. “And chances are we’ll never see another one like him. He had a commitment to our community and he took it to the national level and international level.”

In 1982 he led an effort that ended up in the courts to have Metis recognized in the Constitution.  This was just the beginning; he had an audience with the Pope, spoke with the Queen and fought not only for Treaty rights but the human and basic rights for First Nations and Metis people. The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations recently honoured Sinclair, for his 50 years of work he did on behalf of the community.



Total Solar Eclipse 2012 in Australia

Calgary astronomer Alan Dyer will be looking up in down under this Wednesday, as he takes in 2012’s Total Solar Eclipse.  While Dyer marveled at Saturday’s sunrise, he wants to catch a spectacle he’s planned for years and travelled nearly 22,000 kms to see.

This is Dyer’s 14th eclipse chase; he says there is no such thing as a casual one. He and his nine other sky-watching buddies from Alberta and the North West Territories booked the beach house that would give them the best view 3 years ago.

“Eclipse chasers can tell you where they’ll be several years from now … until you’ve seen (a total eclipse), you don’t know the attraction,” Dyer told the Sun.

Dyer says this is one of the most miraculous events nature can provide you. His group of 10 is among 40,000 eclipse hunters to head down to the Point Douglas area for this blessed event.

“If the weather forecast looks gloomy the day before we will make a run for it inland,” Dyer said Sunday in a blog post — he’s been chronicling his adventure in Australia at  for those at home.



Winnipeg downtown parking rates double

There is a change in the air for downtown parking and it is going to require you have more on you. In key downtown and Exchange District spots the rate to park downtown will be raised from $1 an hour to $2 effective November 13th.

A 15 per cent vacancy rate for prime, street parking is what the Winnipeg Parking Authority is hoping to accomplish with the change; to prevent drivers from circling downtown streets for a spot. Officials say the amount of revenue it will gain isn’t clear and the public is generally on board with the change.

“The purpose of metered parking is for short-term use … It’s not for someone parking all day,” said Colin Stewart, the Parking Authority’s manager of special projects. “So you want to generate turnover, so those spaces are available. There’s two ways you can do that: There’s price or you can write a whole lot of tickets.”

The Downtown Biz is in support of this change, as they know area retailers would like to see more parking available for their customers.



Chadd Cawson is an intern at Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @ChaddCawson

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