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Thousands of athletes, spectators flood into Red Deer for 2019 Canada Winter Games

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More than 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches, 5,500 volunteers and more than 20,000 visitors are descending on Red Deer for the 18-day Canada Winter Games.

With 19 sports, from hockey and speed skating to table tennis and wheelchair basketball, the Games open Friday evening in the central Alberta city.

“It’s the largest event in Alberta since the 1988 Olympic,” Games CEO Scott Robinson said Friday. “So we’re pretty darn excited, to be honest.”

Opening ceremonies kick off the sports event Friday at 6:30 p.m. MT (8:30 p.m. ET) and will be live streamed online at canadagames.live. A full schedule of events is available on the site, as well, along with details for free concerts as part of a simultaneous arts and culture festival.

Athletes from every province and territory in Canada are seen during the closing ceremonies at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. The 2019 Games are being held in Red Deer. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Governor General Julie Payette will deliver opening remarks at the ceremony. Minister of Sport Kirsty Duncan will also be speaking Friday.

Most of the events will be held in Red Deer. Others, including freestyle skiing and snowboarding, will be held at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, and alpine skiing will be hosted by Nakiska Ski Resort in Kananaskis Country.

Good weather expected

The forecast for Red Deer shows temperatures will improve from –19 C on Friday to a comfortable –5 C by Tuesday.

No outdoor events are expected to be cancelled due to cold weather, Robinson said, although a Calgary venue is on standby as a backup for speed skating. In Red Deer, a new speed skating oval was built at Great Chief Park.

“The community is abuzz, and really, this is our Olympics. The size of Red Deer, you couldn’t really host an event much bigger than this,” Robinson said. “So it really kind of shows you that it’s going to be an exciting time.”

Several events will be held indoors and off the ice, including judo, boxing, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.

Best young athletes

Young athletes from across Canada have sharpened their skates and packed their bags for what could be the biggest sporting event of their careers.

The Games mark the pinnacle for the careers of many young athletes. For others, it’s a teaser of what’s to come.

“These are the best athletes in the country in their age groups in the various sports,” Robinson said. “They’re not names yet, but they will be.”

Squash player Grace, hockey player Matthew, and synchronised swimmer Victoria are among the 12 McQuaid first-cousins to make a P.E.I. Canada Games team. (Submitted by: Rosanne McQuaid )

He noted Olympians like track star Andre De Grasse and hockey great Sidney Crosby competed at the Canada Winter Games as teens.

For others, the Games are a family legacy. P.E.I. is sending four first cousins to compete in Red Deer. In total, the McQuaid family has sent 12 first cousins to Games, what the province calls a “highly likely” provincial record.

A first for Nunavut

Nunavut is sending a hockey team to the Games for the first time. Much of the team’s players come from outside the territory’s capital of Iqaluit, and several have joined the team from private schools outside the territory.

“It’s an amazing experience itself just to get to go,” said Martin Joy, the team’s coach. “But the fact that we’re the first team and it all came together so perfectly for these guys to come … it comes along once in your lifetime. It’s a great honour.”

Alanna Liu of Saskatchewan skates at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. Figure skating and other ice sports are expected to draw lots of spectators in the 2019 Games in Alberta. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Just being involved in sport has opened many doors for young athletes, like wheelchair basketball player Eric Voss from London, Ont., who said that’s how he learned to drive.

“When I was a young kid, I didn’t know much about living, and getting into the sport has just opened my eyes,” he said. “Just meeting all the Paralympians and stuff that I can do in the future is just amazing.”

His Ontario teammate, Ryli Valliere, will compete in archery with the bow she named “Deadpool.” The 17-year-old has come a long way from her start in the sport, when she made her own arrows from sticks

Archer Ryli Valliere is heading to Red Deer to compete in the Canada Winter Games. Her mom gave her archery lessons after she tried to make her own arrows with sticks. (Julianne Hazlewood)

The Games, which run until March 3, are expected to offer a much-welcomed economic boost for the city, which has already booked the Canadian Collegiate Men’s Volleyball National Championships in its new, $88-million Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Along with the many sports featured at this year’s Games, guests can take in a series of free concerts, such as a show with Great Big Sea’s Alan Doyle and fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, Brett Kissel with Frannie Klein, Trooper and Kim Mitchell, K-os and Bif Naked, and a performance by the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra, among others.

The next Canada Winter Games will be hosted by P.E.I. in 2023. The next Summer Games will be hosted in Niagara, Ont., in two years.

Alberta has hosted the Games in Lethbridge in 1975 and Grande Prairie in 1995.

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Ottawa Book Expo 2020 – Authors, Publishers look forward to a top-notch Canadian book fair

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Diversity has always been a complex issue, no matter where you look.Case in point, world-famous writer, Stephen King, has recently come under criticism for his views on diversity. The best-selling author had stated, “I would never consider diversity in matters of art, only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.” Many criticized the novelist as being out of touch and “ignorant,” but one cannot deny that King’s opinions on diversity, mirror the thoughts of a whole lot of people in the creative industry.

The Toronto Book Expo is coming back in 2020, with a multi-cultural concept that aims to include marginalized authors.  The Expo intends to celebrate literary works of diverse cultural backgrounds, and the entire literary community in Canada is expectant. Book-lovers and writers alike, are invited to three days of uninhibited literary celebration where diverse cultural works will be prioritized. At the event, authors will be allowed to share their culture with a broad audience. The audience will be there specifically to purchase multi-cultural works.

Multicultural literary expos do not come every day. In Canada, there is a noticeable lack of literary events celebrating other cultures. This leads to a significantly lower amount of cultural diversity in the industry. The Toronto Book Expo would aim at giving more recognition to these marginalized voices. Understandably, more recognizable work will be prioritized.

The Toronto Book Expo is making a statement that diversity is needed in the literary community. The statement is truly motivating, especially if you consider the fact that this could mean more culturally diverse works of literature.

There is a lot of noticeable cultural ignorance in literature. This is an issue that needs to be addressed and books are one of the best means of improving multi-cultural diversity in literature. The Toronto Book Expo is going to fully utilize books to fight ignorance in the literary industry.

Real progress cannot be made if there is a substantial amount of ignorant people in the industry. In spite of advancements made in education in recent years, there is still a considerable percentage of adults who remain unable to read and write.The Toronto Book Expo aims to bring awareness to social literacy issues such as illiteracy.

It is important to uphold high literacy levels in the community and to support those who are uneducated. A thriving society cannot be achieved if the community is not able to read their civil liberties and write down their grievances.

The major foundation of a working and dynamic society is entrenched in literature. Literature offers us an understandingof the changes being made to our community.

The event would go on for three days at three different venues. Day 1 would hold at the York University Student & Convention Centre at 15 Library Lane on March 19. Day 2 would be held at the Bram and BlumaAppel Salon Facility on the second floor of the main Toronto Reference Library near Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto on March 21 and day 3 of the expo would take place at the internationally famous Roy Thomson Hall.

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A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $75,300 Salary

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Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Attention, Canadians! We’re featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.Today: a biologist working in government who makes $75,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bathing suit. Occupation: Biologist
Industry: Government
Age: 27
Location: Ottawa, ON
Salary: $75,300
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,930
Gender Identity: Woman

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Ottawa doctor pens nursery rhyme to teach proper handwashing

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An Ottawa doctor has turned to song to teach kids — and adults, for that matter — how to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

Dr. Nisha Thampi, an infectious disease physician at CHEO, the area’s children’s hospital, created a video set to the tune of Frère Jacques and featuring the six-step handwashing method recommended by the World Health Organization.

Thampi’s 25-second rendition, which was co-authored by her daughter and Dr. Yves Longtin, an infectious disease specialist at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, is featured in the December issue of The BMJ, or British Medical Journal. 

Thampi said as an infectious disease physician and a mother of two, she thinks a lot about germs at home and school.

“I was trying to find a fun way to remember the stuff,” she said. “There are six steps that have been codified by the World Health Organization, but they’re complex and hard to remember.” 

Thampi said she came up with the idea to rewrite the lyrics to the nursery rhyme on World Hand Hygiene Day in May, when she was thinking about how to help people remember the technique. 

She said studies have shown that handwashing is effective in reducing the risk of diarrhea-related illnesses and respiratory diseases. 

“So I’d say it’s one of the most important and easiest things we can do.”

The video includes such often-overlooked steps as “wash the back,” “twirl the tips around” and “thumb attack,” which pays special attention to the first digit.

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