‘From the ashes’: Local arts community breaks ground on new Roxy Theatre - Edmonton Sun - Canadanewsmedia
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‘From the ashes’: Local arts community breaks ground on new Roxy Theatre – Edmonton Sun

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“It is a seminal theatre, not just for Edmonton but for the country.”

Artistic and community leaders broke ground on the reincarnation of the historic Roxy Theatre — which was destroyed in a fire in January 2015 — on Monday, a building which many hope will be a “new playground for everyone.”

“Today, (the Roxy) is like a phoenix that rises out of the ashes to be rebuilt and make stronger our community,” said Elder Will Campbell as he blessed the 124 Street lot and said a prayer. “This will be a window into a lot of talent that comes from this city.”

The Roxy has been home to the Theatre Network Society, which focuses on celebrating contemporary Canadian theatre and performance since 1990. Many local leaders noted that it is an important space to explore “edgy themes” and to support theatre, LGBTQ2S+ and marginalized communities as well.

“If you’ve never paused to hold your loved one’s hand in public, then you don’t understand why you need places like the Pulse Nightclub (in Orlando) and the Roxy, because I could hold my partner’s hand here and not wonder what anybody would think,” said Randy Boissonnault, MP for Edmonton-Centre, on the original lot of the theatre on 124 Street.

Including insurance money and funding from all levels of government, the project — which is slated to be completed by the end of 2020 — has raised $10 million. Fundraising efforts for the remaining $1.5 million needed to complete the theatre are ongoing.
“It is a seminal theatre, not just for Edmonton but for the country,” said Boissonnault.

Bradley Moss, artistic and executive director of the Theatre Network Society, noted that the new building will give the society space to incorporate new artistic disciplines and support more artists from a variety of backgrounds. The rebuilt theatre will feature a 200-seat main stage as well as an 80-seat “black box” studio theatre and art gallery attached to the lobby.

“The new building is an opportunity for us to reimagine the whole facility,” said Moss. “We wanted to raise the ‘Roxy’ sign to give honour to our history and the building that was here before … it’s going to be a convergence of what is old and what is new.”
Both NDP and UCP MLAs highlighted the positive impact the rebuild will have culturally and economically for businesses along 124 Street and across Edmonton.

“We know that arts is often one of the first things to be cut in times of austerity, but we know how important it is that we invest in them,” said Edmonton-Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman.

“When people come here to watch theatre, they often grab a bite or a drink before or after, and it’s great for the local businesses, too.”

Leela Aheer, minister of culture, multiculturalism and status of women, stressed that the UCP government is committed to continued funding for the arts in Alberta.

“The impact that it has on our children and our families and on our future cannot be understated,” she said.

The cause of the fire was never determined but arson was ruled out.

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Culinary arts programs on the chopping block to save Vancouver School Board money – CTV News

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Luisa Alvarez, CTV News Vancouver


Published Saturday, November 16, 2019 7:12PM PST

VANCOUVER – Whisking together new recipes and learning from a red seal chef is an experience currently offered at seven Vancouver high schools that are equipped with teaching cafeterias.

A new report examining ways for the Vancouver School Board to save money suggests reducing that number to just two, plus one to be built in a future “centre of excellence” that would be built under the provincial seismic program.

Supporters of culinary arts programs in Vancouver schools say this is the wrong approach.

“There isn’t a single teaching cafeteria west of Main Street, so every student west of Main Street in high school has to actually travel by bus or car to one of the schools that have it,” said Bill Tieleman, spokesperson for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 963, representing school cafeteria employees and chefs.

“We have an enormous shortage of chefs of cafeteria workers everything in the restaurant and foodservice industry. They should really be looking at expanding this program not cutting it,” Tieleman said.

Annalida Leung, a trade-qualified baker, is a teacher with the program. While her job would be at risk with the change, she says she’s more concerned about the students.

“For students that don’t really know what they want to do, this is one way for us to kind of give them that road map of if they like to cook or if they like to bake, kind of spark that passion,” said Leung.

The report also recommends modifying the hot lunch program at Vancouver elementary schools, replacing it with delivered food that would be prepared off-site.

Krista Sigurdson, chair of the Lord Strathcona Elementary Parent Advisory Council, has concerns.

“If off-site delivery were to be done and privatization were to occur, we have less assurance of adherence to food guidelines,” Sigurdson said. “It’s an issue of control. The further the VSB loses control over the food, the less regulation there is going to be potentially over the quality.”

She’s also worried it could single students out.

“Offsite delivery would potentially only target kids in need, effectively differentiating poor kids from their healthier counterparts,” said Sigurdson.

“The last thing we need to do is have people signaled out because of their socioeconomic problems that they have a meal delivered to them and everyone sees it,” said Tieleman.

Nothing is set in stone, the VSB says, adding it won’t make any decisions without consulting parents, teachers and students.

“A number of factors were considered in the report,” said VSB trustee and chair Janet Fraser. “A number of options were put forward, it’s up to the board to decide how to move forward.”

Consultation is tentatively scheduled to begin in the new year.

“I’d encourage people to engage in that to let us know how we can proceed,” said Fraser. 

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Local man tries to keep 'Canada's original art' afloat (6 photos) – BarrieToday

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John Harrison wants to bring back what he views as a nearly forgotten art.

For the past eight years, the Orillia native has spent eight months a year living in the bush near Algonquin Provincial Park as he hones his skills at making traditional birch-bark canoes.

“The whole project has been about releasing a craft that’s been out of favour,” he said, noting that craft involves building canoes on the ground with three simple hand tools, sustainable harvesting and following a traditional process.

“I show my canoes and people are in amazement, but they often don’t see the art and this is the original (Canadian) art,” the 53-year-old said.

“It’s a really good project for arts, culture and history because it all ties in with that…Canadiana.”

Harrison, who has a fine arts’ university degree and is also an accomplished musician, is just finishing building 17- and 18-foot racing canoes and would now like to build a racing canoe side-wing as his next project.

“That original Canadian idea still hangs out in every canoe that you see today,” he said, noting he sold a 12-foot trapper canoe that’s now on display at Rama’s Bare Butts Smoke shop.

Harrison, who lives in a large tipi on the shores of Kimball Lake when not in the city, takes about three weeks to build a canoe.

“It takes a certain consistency of environment to produce the right tree,” Harrison said, noting he first uses a ladder to climb to an appropriate level before harvesting the bark from mature trees.

“You want 15- to 16-inch diameter (trunks) since with a tree like that you’re getting a quarter-inch of bark. I’m strictly doing a sustainable thing. I’m a surgeon when I’m on that tree and can get three canoes out of one tree. I pay homage to the tree.”

Harrison’s passion project has also led to displays, talks and workshops at Culture Days, Orillia Public Library, Rotary Club of Washago along with Cape Croker and Rama powwows.

As well, he teaches students at Rama’s Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School how to build a one-foot canoe and also wrote lesson plans for a canoe program.

“The last day, we had a regatta down the Black River. They had so much of a connection to what they built.”

But Harrison comes by his love of building Canada’s traditional watercraft honesty. His father Ron Harrison was a machine-shop teacher at Park Street Collegiate Institute from 1962 to 1995 and started the school’s Outward Bound program in the late 1960s.

“I was always around it; the essence, respect and joy of being in nature,” Harrison said, noting his father also helped students learn to build canoes.

“My father has built 86 canoes in cedar strip or fibreglass. I’ve built six, so I have a long way to go.”

Harrison has also been busy writing a collection of essays for an upcoming book entitled The Last Algonquin, which is a guide on how to build a traditional Canadian canoe that also features insights into life, Indigenous history and one’s place in nature.

“What technology utilizes birch bark’s water repellent nature, sewn in a blanket with spruce roots, structured internally with split cedar ribs, and sealed with spruce gum housing?” one essay excerpt asks before pointing out the canoe was created by combining three existing First Nations’ technologies found in other traditional items like snowshoes and toboggans “for travelling over frozen water.”

Harrison said he loves living in his tipi and being one with nature.

“I get so much peace and quiet for weeks at a time up at my site,” he said.

“I’m taught by nature and you renew your senses of sight, smell and sound. I get a better balance then when I was just living in the city.”

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Local man tries to keep 'Canada's original art' afloat (6 photos) – OrilliaMatters.Com

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John Harrison wants to bring back what he views as a nearly forgotten art.

For the past eight years, the Orillia native has spent eight months a year living in the bush near Algonquin Provincial Park as he hones his skills at making traditional birch-bark canoes.

“The whole project has been about releasing a craft that’s been out of favour,” he said, noting that craft involves building canoes on the ground with three simple hand tools, sustainable harvesting and following a traditional process.

“I show my canoes and people are in amazement, but they often don’t see the art and this is the original (Canadian) art,” the 53-year-old said.

“It’s a really good project for arts, culture and history because it all ties in with that…Canadiana.”

Harrison, who has a fine arts’ university degree and is also an accomplished musician, is just finishing building 17- and 18-foot racing canoes and would now like to build a racing canoe side-wing as his next project.

“That original Canadian idea still hangs out in every canoe that you see today,” he said, noting he sold a 12-foot trapper canoe that’s now on display at Rama’s Bare Butts Smoke shop.

Harrison, who lives in a large tipi on the shores of Kimball Lake when not in the city, takes about three weeks to build a canoe.

“It takes a certain consistency of environment to produce the right tree,” Harrison said, noting he first uses a ladder to climb to an appropriate level before harvesting the bark from mature trees.

“You want 15- to 16-inch diameter (trunks) since with a tree like that you’re getting a quarter-inch of bark. I’m strictly doing a sustainable thing. I’m a surgeon when I’m on that tree and can get three canoes out of one tree. I pay homage to the tree.”

Harrison’s passion project has also led to displays, talks and workshops at Culture Days, Orillia Public Library, Rotary Club of Washago along with Cape Croker and Rama powwows.

As well, he teaches students at Rama’s Mnjikaning Kendaaswin Elementary School how to build a one-foot canoe and also wrote lesson plans for a canoe program.

“The last day, we had a regatta down the Black River. They had so much of a connection to what they built.”

But Harrison comes by his love of building Canada’s traditional watercraft honesty. His father Ron Harrison was a machine-shop teacher at Park Street Collegiate Institute from 1962 to 1995 and started the school’s Outward Bound program in the late 1960s.

“I was always around it; the essence, respect and joy of being in nature,” Harrison said, noting his father also helped students learn to build canoes.

“My father has built 86 canoes in cedar strip or fibreglass. I’ve built six, so I have a long way to go.”

Harrison has also been busy writing a collection of essays for an upcoming book entitled The Last Algonquin, which is a guide on how to build a traditional Canadian canoe that also features insights into life, Indigenous history and one’s place in nature.

“What technology utilizes birch bark’s water repellent nature, sewn in a blanket with spruce roots, structured internally with split cedar ribs, and sealed with spruce gum housing?” one essay excerpt asks before pointing out the canoe was created by combining three existing First Nations’ technologies found in other traditional items like snowshoes and toboggans “for travelling over frozen water.”

Harrison said he loves living in his tipi and being one with nature.

“I get so much peace and quiet for weeks at a time up at my site,” he said.

“I’m taught by nature and you renew your senses of sight, smell and sound. I get a better balance then when I was just living in the city.”

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