The Refugee ‘Welcome Kit’ Nods to a Kinder Canada—and a Harsher World ·

This is a long and lovely essay about Canada’s greeting to refugees.  It was written before the inauguration and the dramatic rise in refugees walking or swimming across the Canadian border. The federal government has stayed pretty silent on how to handle the recent changes in policies, south of the Canadian border.

Parkas, art, and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms embody an aspirational vision for our country

Source: The Refugee ‘Welcome Kit’ Nods to a Kinder Canada—and a Harsher World ·

Glenn Kubish: Inside Coffee Outside

I’m not sure exactly when I started drinking coffee outside with these crazy humans but I started marking it on my calendar in April/2015.  I was a summer cyclist at that time and I was just starting to heal from my second fracture out of 3 in 10 months.  I was curious about meeting other cyclists to drink coffee outside.  Being part of this little community has changed my life for the better in so many ways!  Sometimes I’m alone in the dark but sometimes, I’m almost crying with laughter!

Sometimes, we meet for a Friday beer and a lot of laughter.

Sometimes, we meet for a Friday beer and a lot of laughter.

Doc Darren got a pizza oven that he could bring by bicycle so we had breakfast pizza outside one wintry morning!

Doc Darren got a pizza oven that he could bring by bicycle so we had breakfast pizza outside one wintry morning!

Sometimes, we meet on the southside to accommodate cyclists from the other side of the North Saskatchewan.

Sometimes, we meet on the southside to accommodate cyclists from the other side of the North Saskatchewan.

This community has so much diversity and zest for life. Once two or more of us are gathered, the passionate discussions begin.  It’s astonishing how much ground you can cover in a half hour or so, early Friday morning.  Hanging out with our crazy bike gang has motivated me to become a winter cyclist on all but the very worst days. Various members have enjoyed winter and summer bike races of various kinds.  A couple of us share a canoe.  Our age and career range is pretty wide.  If you have the opportunity to join a magical little community like this, grab it with both hands!!

The video:

Source: Glenn Kubish: Inside Coffee Outside


Winter words: vocabulary for winter equipment

This gallery contains 36 photos.

Edmonton winter can start very early some years, and very late other years.  However, this year, our winter has already started! On Friday, the beginning of the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, the snow started to fall, all the way from Edmonton … Continue reading

Coming soon: Round Dance, Books2Buy, Ice Castles, etc.

20160130 University of Alberta Round Dance

I have posted information about round dances previously, and I really recommend that you visit at least one, if you never have.  There are always a lot of ceremonies prior to the actual dancing: the pipe ceremony, the feast, and a lot of prayers.  The dancing and singing is likely to begin around 7, or later.  This is a very convenient location, easy to reach on foot, by bicycle, bus, or LRT.  There is also a lot of parking at and near the university, but it’s not cheap, and you have to pay any time of day.

University of Alberta Round Dance 2016

The very best deal in town for people who love books is the Books2Buy sale that the Edmonton Library holds several times a year.  Collect books, CDs, and DVDs for only $1-2 each.  Go early for the best selection, and go on Sunday to fill a big box with materials for only $10!


  • Friday, February 19: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 20: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, February, 21: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m


  • Stanley A. Milner Library

2016 February EPL Books2Buy

I may have already mentioned this, but there are many events during the Edmonton winter, and one that’s really unique is the amazing Ice Castle that has been built in Hawrelak Park.  Everything is created from ice, and you can explore inside the castle, enjoying the beautiful lights, inside and outside.

Edmonton Ice Castle


Enjoy your winter.  It’s more difficult than summer, but it’s really interesting and exciting in a different way!

Advice for a Newcomer to Edmonton, Canada; student writing, could/should


Hi Buddy,


When you arrive in Edmonton, you should have your coat and scarf ready. Make sure to include a good pair of shoes because it has already snowed, but do not be afraid. It’s very beautiful to be a part of the cold winter.

When we are together, you could learn that Tim Hortons is famous here for their coffee. You should choose the large-size coffee to warm up. You should go to an English school to schedule an interview, but you shouldn’t arrive late anywhere because punctuality is very important.

Finally, you should bring an international driver’s license, because you could drive my car that I’ll provide with pleasure.

See you,

P.s.: Could you bring me a “Super 8” chocolate? I will be very grateful.



Edmonton is a great city. It’s very beautiful and has everything for you to do. Here, there are pretty good and big shopping areas, parks and places for visiting. In the summer, it’s very good, but now it’s amazing. I met some people in Brazil who would like to come here now, but I advise a great coat and boots for seeing the snow. It’s very cold. They should have a lot of money for eating, a hotel and activities here. Edmonton and other cities nearby are all very expensive.

In the winter, people usually go out for skiing and other activities. I think it’s a great idea. They could go skiing and see the mountains, which are also a fantastic option.

The restaurants here are wonderful, but they are also very expensive. They should bring a lot of money. The hotels are good too, but they should look with attention before booking, so they don’t have any surprises.

I think the people in Canada are terrific and very polite. They could be a little more patient with people in hotels and restaurants. In Brazil the people are polite too, but sometimes they don’t have a lot of patience when they don’t like something.

I’d like them to have a good vacation here.


Hello my friend,

I’m writing this letter to give you some information about Canada, especially Edmonton. It’s an interesting city. If you like winter sports, you should come in the winter. There are so many activities to do like skiing, skating and hockey. You could watch a live hockey game. You should buy warm clothes: a good coat, gloves and comfortable shoes. You could buy a ticket online or at a travel office, but you shouldn’t arrive late for your flight.

If you like nice weather, you could come in spring or summer, when there are so many things to do. You could walk next to the river or go running there. It’s so beautiful, especially in summer time. You could visit the museum and you should go to the mountains, where there is a beautiful view and good places to stay.

So I’m waiting for you request.

Best Regards,


Dear Godparents,

For your trip to Edmonton you should be at the airport three hours before your boarding time. Because of the attacks and threats, they have increased security measures. Then, you should take your luggage to the check-in counter. When you arrive here, you could take a taxi but it’s not necessary because I’ll pick you up. Now it’s very cold and there is snow, so you should bring warm clothes and snow boots. You could bring them but if they aren’t warm enough, we could buy some new boots or clothes here. I think it’s not necessary for you to bring anything more. Remember that you must pick up your luggage in the Toronto airport (Pearson) for it to be reviewed in immigration. Then, you should take your luggage to the check-in counter and them you should go through security one more time. You shouldn’t worry because it’s very easy, and you can rest when you arrive. When you have rested, we are going to see the city and we could visit different places like the Rocky Mountains and you will be very happy to have been here.


Dear family,

When you visit me, remember this advice: you could come here in winter or summer. When you buy your ticket, you should decide immediately what seat you want in the plane. You could have an aisle seat or a window seat. I prefer a window seat, but you need to interrupt other people, for example, when you want to go the bathroom.


If it’s winter, you should bring gloves, a hat, a scarf, tights and all kinds of very warm clothes and shoes. You should bring moisturizing cream because the air here is very dry and you will probably need more moisture in your skin.


Edmonton is really a very nice city and the people are friendly but when you meet a new person you should greet them without kissing. Some people greet you with a handshake. When you visit in a house, generally you should take off your shoes.


Here in the winter, you have a lot of options for enjoying the winter. You could go skiing, snowboarding or hiking in the snow. You should visit West Edmonton Mall. It’s a big shopping centre, and it was the world’s largest commercial centre in the past. And you should also visit the arena to watch a team play a hockey game because it’s a very fast and exciting sport.


I think you should see Banff and Jasper. In Banff, Lake Louise is so beautiful. These are interesting places for enjoying nature and practicing different sports.



I think that Edmonton is an amazing city, especially for its nature and tranquility. People here could have different options, such as shopping, hiking, concerts, nightclubs, and good restaurants. But, I think that people should do or see a principally winter activity, such as skiing, hiking in the river valley, or seeing a hockey game.

When my cousin is going to stay here, he should ski or go snowboarding. He could go to Snow Valley Ski Club, Rabbit Hill Snow Resort or Edmonton Ski Club. He should see an Oilers game, and he could watch the game on TV or go to Arena. I think that he should see the game in the Arena, where he is going to feel more emotion and connection with the Canadian people. For me, the best place in Edmonton is always in the river valley, and my cousin should go hiking or cross country skiing in this place.


My parents will soon come to Canada only for visiting my sister. When they arrive here, they should buy jackets, gloves and boots for the snow. It’s very important because it’s very cold here. Also, they could buy or bring medical supplies. They’re older and should be careful.

My sister could choose winter activities for them, relaxing things that they would like. She couldn’t choose extreme activities and she should choose the best things for them.

My mom should make Mexican food because my sister loves my mom’s food. She could make enchiladas or tamales, my sister’s favourite foods.

Welcome to Canada. Canada is cold in the winter, especially in Edmonton. It is really cold here in winter, sometimes 30 or 40 degrees below zero. The snow is thick also the wind is very strong. You should put on thick coats, wear a cotton-padded cap, scarves and gloves, and you should also put on thick cotton shoes. There better be good quality cotton shoes for the snow, so you can walk on the snow without falling. Edmonton public facilities have air conditioning, like buses, and the shopping mall so you should wear thick clothes outside, but when you are inside, you need less clothes, so make sure that it’s easy to take off your coat in public.

If you drive in Edmonton, you should choose an SUV or another relatively heavy car. This is convenient for you in the snow. You should drive slowly and carefully, and not too close to the car in front of you, in order to prevent accidents.

If you want to come skiing in Edmonton, you should rent ski equipment here.


Hi Friend!

How are you? I am good!   We are waiting for you to visit. We can meet you at the airport. Canada is a very interesting country and we want to show it to you. Could you write to me where you want to go? It is winter now. You should bring a warm jacket and some sweaters. And you should bring warm and comfortable shoes. Clothing should be warm and comfortable. We will be doing a lot of walking.

Also, we can go to the gym, so you should bring sportswear. We can have a good time.



Edmonton: Everything You Need to Know for #CrashedIce | Red Bull Crashed Ice

Here in Edmonton, sports fans are extremely lucky, because there are so many international sporting events.  Not long ago, there was the Canadian Birkebeiner cross-country ski race, as well as the international sledge hockey championships.

This weekend there will be a huge event that sounds completely crazy to me, but apparently, it’s very popular, and exciting to watch.  Not only that, but there will be quite a few locations downtown where spectators can watch the action for FREE!!  I’ve never seen this before, but it sounds like this is a downhill skating race, and it’s a little bit like roller derby, with contact allowed between the skaters.  I can’t stand to watch events where I expect someone to get seriously injured, like the circus, so I don’t think this is for me, but if you are an adrenaline-junkie, you’ll probably love it!

Edmonton: Everything You Need to Know for #CrashedIce | Red Bull Crashed Ice

Edmonton: Everything You Need to Know for #CrashedIce | Red Bull Crashed Ice.

Top Places to Play Indoors in Edmonton + area for Little Kids – A Plane, A Treehouse + More #yeg – Frugal Edmonton Mama

I already appreciate the newer recreation centres, like Clareview and Terwillegar, the art gallery kids’ area (especially on the month-end free night), the museum, and large, public areas like MacEwan University after hours, as well as the Galaxyland play area.  It’s great to have so many places where little ones can run, play and imagine, during the long, dark, winter months.

Top Places to Play Indoors in Edmonton + area for Little Kids – A Plane, A Treehouse + More #yeg – Frugal Edmonton Mama.

Tegler playground

Your Guide to Winter 2014/2015 Festivals & Events in Edmonton – MasterMaq’s Blog

Your Guide to Winter 2014/2015 Festivals & Events in Edmonton – MasterMaq’s Blog.

Edmonton is really festival city in the summertime, when you can attend a half dozen different events on one weekend, but we’re getting more and more enthusiastic about our longest season: winter!!  take a look at what’s coming up, next is the Byzantine Deep Freeze Festival, on 118 Avenue.

Closing Out 2014 (YEG) | November Project

Closing Out 2014 (YEG) | November Project.

Now that my broken wrist is healing well, I can get back to my early morning workouts with November Project Canada.  What a positive group of people this is!!  We’re having a pretty warm winter, so it hasn’t been so hard to get outdoors for workouts at 6 am, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  This morning was quite a bit cooler than what we’ve experienced so far.  There were lots of smiles, shouts, songs, and hugs in the crowd.  I’m excited to start another year with November Project Canada!

2014: Year in Review

Returning to Canada from 3+ years in Viet Nam has been one of the hardest adjustments that I’ve ever made. Everything here seemed very foreign to me, after time away. As well, I was starting from scratch, with housing, employment, career, family life, and recreation. I still had my car, and a few personal possessions, and I also shipped back some books and household goods from Viet Nam. For the first year, I worked half time as a Starbucks barista, since the job offered a healthcare plan, paid vacation, and great deals on coffee and food. Nevertheless, it was a very challenging job for me. At the same time, I rebuilt my ESL teaching career, while completing my Diploma in TESOL from Mount Royal University. Sometimes I had a lot of teaching work, and other times, I had none. It took time for me to move out of my daughter and son-in-law’s place into my own apartment. The first year was really stressful, and it only got a little bit easier during the second year “home”. Even the third year was still really hard.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to keep busy and active, and I’ve worked really hard to find and continue activities I enjoyed. Meetup and Couchsurfers have been fun social groups for group meals, movies, and outdoor activities.  After the first couple of years back in Canada, I started camping on weekends, and I did some hikes with clubs.  in 2013, I joined Ceyana Canoe Club, and I did an overnight camping trip at Maligne Lake in Jasper (with another group), as well as a river trip, from Rocky Mountain House to Drayton Valley.  This was really thrilling to me!  At the end of the summer in 2013, one of my running friends from Boston visited, and we did some paddling, as well as a race.  We learned about some crazy club called November Project Canada, who met for outdoor exercise, 3 mornings/week at 6 am!!  Luckily, I convinced my friend to come join me for my first visit, because I’m sure that I would have stayed in bed, otherwise!

During 2014, my participation in November Project, Ceyana Canoe, Meetup (various groups), and Dead Runners Society (an online group of runners from all over the US, and a couple of other places) has been really important to me.  My year has been really full of exciting activities, and most of them are possible because of the support and teaching from these 4 groups.

I started 2014 in Victoria, BC, with my dear sister and her family.  We toured Vancouver Island, as well as the breweries of Victoria for the week between Christmas and New Year.  I began some indoor climbing, and did a lot of hiking and snowshoeing on the weekends.  There have been various running races at least monthly.  In March, I joined my friends from Dead Runners’ Society in San Diego.  I stayed downtown, and saw plenty of sights, and tried plenty of great food, while renewing my acquaintances, and completing a half marathon.

As spring came to an end, I started doing more longer hikes, including the Iron Horse Trail, between Waskatenau and Smoky Lake, Alberta.  I completed the 50K ultra at Blackfoot Natural Area.  By the end of June, I was starting to camp outside Edmonton almost every weekend.  I was able to paddle and take several canoeing classes with the Ceyana members, and I joined the board as the Social Media person.  Lakeland Provincial Park was a heavenly place to paddle, and I loved a couple of trips on the Athabasca River.  My good friend Helen and I spent the August long weekend in NE Alberta, where we again hiked on the Iron Horse Trail, this time between Heinsburg and St. Paul, Alberta.  In September, I joined the Ceyana crowd in Jasper for the weekend, and then went down to Lethbridge to do the Lost Soul Ultra, 54K of coulees through the day, and into the night.

My teaching schedule has been full, and satisfying, with a class of cooks from Mikado Restaurants for the first part of the year, and several different classes at CCI/LEX, where I’ve been teaching since my return to Canada.  As well, I’ve had a very interesting group of private tutoring students, who want individual help to achieve their goals.  The schedule means that I usually have very little free time during the week, but I’ve enjoyed a bookclub at Woodcroft Library for a couple of years now.  There are so many books that I enjoy, and it’s lovely to have a group to discuss them with.

The absolute highlight of every week is the time that I spend with my darling grandson.  Usually, he comes over 1 evening/week, and sometimes, he comes to stay with me overnight, so that we have plenty of time for adventure in the morning.  He is such a cheerful and curious little person, and he’s happy to try anything and everything, especially if it means that he can do some running, jumping, and climbing.  We’ve enjoyed museum trips, swimming, skiing, sledding, and picnics in parks all over the city.  He’s talking more and more about what he wants to do, and that’s usually almost everything.


There have been some rough patches through the year, especially when I recently fractured my right wrist.  I needed to spend 3 nights in hospital waiting for, and recovering from surgery to pin the wrist.  Luckily, it seems to be healing very well, and I’m very excited about some time to spend outdoors, enjoying this great city and area over the holiday season.  I would still prefer to have a group of friends to enjoy activities with, but I’m slowly building relationships in the different clubs, and people reached out to be helpful when I was hospitalized.

Life is quite different from the way that it used to be, but in almost every way, I would say that it is better now than it ever has been.

Things to check out in Edmonton over the Christmas holiday

There are many businesses and facilities that have shorter hours, especially on December 25 (Christmas) and January 1 (New Years Day), but most of us also have extra leisure time and holidays during this season. Go ahead and spend 1-2 days in your pyjamas during this cold, dark season, but also make sure to get out to see or do something new!

Celebrate a New Year!

This festival will allow you to try skating for free at city hall, there will be crafts for children and food to purchase, and you can also watch the movie “Frozen”, outside in Churchill Square, before midnight fireworks.  Edmonton doesn’t usually have nighttime activities outdoors in the winter, so this will be a special treat, if the weather isn’t too cold that night!

Visit a new gym!

Less than 1 kilometre from Clareview LRT station, there is a new recreation centre in Clareview, with a swimming pool, gym, library, skating rink, and multipurpose rooms. It looks like this will be a beautiful, bright rec centre, similar to the newer Commonwealth Recreation Centre.

If you live WAY down in Southeast Edmonton, east of Mill Woods, there is another new recreation centre, also with swimming and skating available.

Skate outdoors!

In many areas of the city, there are outdoor skating rinks, and it’s a lovely, inexpensive way to enjoy the season, if you get out and skate on them.  Victoria Park Oval (my favourite rink) is already open for the season, and so is the small rink at City Hall.  The legislature has a rink below the legislature building, and the Castledowns rink will open this weekend.  Shop for a used pair of skates at Totem Outdoor Equipment, United Cycle, or on Kijiji.  Get a helmet, since you only get one brain per person.  After that. skating is free!

Victoria Park Oval: A Zamboni gives most Canadians a warm feeling, since it prepares the ice for a hockey game, or some recreational skating.

Victoria Park Oval: A Zamboni gives most Canadians a warm feeling, since it prepares the ice for a hockey game, or some recreational skating.