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Alberta

“A Really Special Place” – Why the Wild Rose Motocross Track is One of a Kind

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This summer, as you wander between the breweries and activity centers located in southeast Calgary, pause for a moment – if you listen closely, you may hear the distant rumble of motocross engines as bikes of all sizes careen over jumps and around corners at the Wild Rose Motocross Track.

Located just off Blackfoot Trail in Southeast Calgary, the 88-acre park is backed by the Calgary skyline, a prime piece of land located just minutes from downtown. Founded in the 1960’s as the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park, the track has deep roots in the city of Calgary, and according to WRMA board member David Pinkman, “Few sagas can compete with the wild west history of Calgary’s Wild Rose Motocross Association and its hard-core motocross lovers.” 


Photo Credit Eden Schell 

In 1984, The Wild Rose Motocross Association (WRMA) was officially formed, and the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park became the Wild Rose. Acting as a major host for a number of national motocross events since the 70’s and nurturing some of Canada’s best professional riders to date, Pinkman argues the “course of Canadian motocross history may not have been the same but for this unique piece of dirt and hills.”

With 7 tracks available including the full-sized Main, East and Hill Tracks, as well as the Extreme Beginner, Mini, Pee Wee, and Enduro Tracks, Wild Rose welcomes riders of all ages and skill levels. “This is the only track of its kind in Canada,” says Michelle McCarthy, newest member of the WRMA board, “It’s right in the centre of the city; it’s got 3 big bike tracks, the smaller tracks and the enduro park. This is a really special place.”
Whether it be your first time on a bike or the day you’re finally going to clear that 15-foot tabletop, the track encourages everyone to come out and ride. “People want to see new riders,” says McCarthy, “they want to see the community flourish. Plus, dirt biking is really, really fun,” she laughs.  


Photo Credit Eden Schell 

Like countless other Canadian businesses, the Wild Rose Track has taken a hit due to COVID-19, with day pass riders and memberships being significantly down. Open year round – weather permitting – the track normally sees up to 30,000 visits per year. However, due to the pandemic, numbers are currently far lower as the park operates within capacity limits. 

As a recreational park on city property, track management wanted to set an example for taking action to reduce the spread of COVID-19, responding rapidly to Alberta Government guidelines by implementing a number of new precautions and preventative measures. This includes constructing wash stations at every track, implementing paperless transactions and COVID-19 symptom screening upon entry to the park, as well as establishing an online scheduling system to limit the number of riders at the track at one time.  

In the midst of the new normal, the park remains committed to growing and supporting the motocross community in Calgary and beyond, staying on top of updates that will allow them to return to racing and regular operation as soon as possible. While all spring and summer race series have been cancelled by COVID-19, the WRMA is actively monitoring pandemic updates with the goal of hosting a successful race series this coming fall. 

To learn more about the Wild Rose Motocross Association, visit https://www.wildrosemx.com.

 

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

Alberta

WestJet extends temporary suspension of international sun flights until June

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CALGARY — WestJet says it will extend its temporary suspension of international sun flights to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean until June 4.

Canadian airlines in January suspended all flights to sun destinations until April 30 at the request of the federal government. 

WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims said in a release that it made the decision with the clear expectation that as more Canadians are vaccinated, government policy will change.

He says guests with affected itineraries will be notified of the cancellations.

WestJet says since Nov. 1, 2020, it has been providing refunds for all travellers where WestJet initiated flight cancellations.

Sims says WestJet continues to advocate for the replacement of mandatory hotel quarantines with a testing regime that is equitable and consistent with global standards at all points of entry into Canada.

“Alongside an accelerated and successful vaccine rollout, this policy transition will support the safe restart of travel and help stimulate the Canadian economy, where one in ten jobs are tourism-related,” he said Tuesday.

“A safe travel-restart framework is the most effective way to support those interests and restore jobs.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canada's world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

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CALGARY — Canada’s world champions in beach volleyball are amping up preparations for the Summer Olympics coming over the horizon.

The COVID-19 pandemic kept Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Toronto’s Melissa Humana-Paredes apart and docked from competition for much of 2020.

The Canadian duo plans to compete in at least five tournaments over the next two months starting Thursday in Cancun, Mexico.

The world governing body of volleyball, FIVB, created a hub of three straight World Tour events in Cancun to afford teams the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Summer Games opening July 23.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes booked their Tokyo berth when they won the women’s world title in 2019. 

The upcoming tournaments, however, are crucial game reps for a duo that’s short on them.

“I think Cancun will be a real test for us against every team because it is such a lengthy event, to see where we’re really at,” Pavan told The Canadian Press.

“Other teams are scrambling to accumulate points. Obviously we want to win every tournament we play . . . but to be able to take a very objective approach and just see it as information gathering for Tokyo is definitely a luxury.

“We are able to use all of these events to gather information both on ourselves and the things we need to get better at, but also on tactics teams are using against us, or improvements or changes they may have made during COVID.”

Toronto’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson also in the Cancun women’s field have essentially qualified for Tokyo based on their FIVB Olympic provisional ranking of sixth.

Canada can send a maximum of two teams in each gender, but the men have some work to do this spring.

Samuel Pedlow of Barrie, Ont., and Sam Schacter of Richmond Hill, Ont., rank just outside the top 18 in the provisional rankings. 

Calgary’s Ben Saxton and Toronto’s Grant O’Gorman are also trying to qualify.

Pavan, 34, and Humana-Paredes, 28, aren’t facing qualification pressure, but they want to recover their game form in the upcoming tournaments.

“Do I think we’re playing at the level that we need to be in July? Absolutely not,” Pavan said. 

“I don’t think we’re performing at a gold-medal level right now, but fortunately we still have a few months to be able to hit our stride.”

The duo intends to compete in World Tour events in Sochi, Russia in May and Ostrava, Czech Republic in early June. 

They’re also contemplating another tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland in early July to avoid six weeks without a match heading into Tokyo.

Pavan lives in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Canada’s requirement of a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving outside the country was a barrier to the teammates crossing the border to practise together.

Neither woman felt she could afford the deconditioning that happens during two weeks of isolation too many times.

Humana-Paredes headed to California on Jan. 2 to join her teammate and stayed there. She doesn’t expect to return to Canada until after the Olympic Games conclude Aug. 8.

“I won’t be able to go home until after Tokyo,” Humana-Paredes said. “That’s the mindset I’ve had to come to terms with.  For the majority of the time, I’m in a good head space and happy to be able to train and be with my team and continue to get better. 

“Sometimes I miss by people back home and than can weigh on me a little sometimes. Last summer was so difficult because there was so much uncertainty.  We do have a schedule to look forward to, a routine and things we can plan for and the Olympics are still on.”

Her boyfriend, Connor Braid of Victoria, is a member of Canada’s rugby sevens team bound for Tokyo.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes finished second in the Katara Beach World Cup in Doha, Qatar on March 12 in their first major international competition in 18 months.

The field didn’t include all of the world’s best teams, said Pavan, but the result was important for the Canadians’ confidence.

“We had signed up for the event, but we didn’t feel ready and we actually made the final decision to go a week before the event,” Pavan said. 

“We were unsure, but we decided to just use it as a measuring stick. There were some teams that weren’t there, but to be able to fight through that event while not being as crisp as we’re used to was good.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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