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Arts

In the Great White North, Canadian Hosers get Bronzed EH!

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Canadian Hosers get Bronzed EH

Sometimes dreams do come true for Canadian Hosers. After a long eight-year journey, Canada’s most famous, “stubby” beer drinking, bacon eating, tuque wearing brothers, Bob and Doug McKenzie, played by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas, now have two life sized bronzed statues install in downtown Edmonton’s ICE District. Sadly, with no fanfare, no press release, no public events-because of the Covid- 19 pandemic, the official unveiling event, for this beautiful work of art created by Edmonton Sculptor Ritchie Velthuis and produced by Calgary’s Bronzart Casting Ltd., will have to wait for future date.

SCTV’s Bob and Doug McKenzie AKA Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas (R) on the set of the Great White North in their heyday. Photo by/SCTV Handout

It started in late 2011 with a golden idea by Avenue Edmonton magazine publisher Orville Chubb and the magazine’s editor Steven Sandor. Then, in the January 2012 edition of Avenue the first public exposure for “a petition” was printed in a column about the farfetched idea asking, “How about a prominently placed sign welcoming people to Melonville? A bronzed Bob and Doug, sitting on a park bench in Churchill Square? A simple plaque? Or maybe a ceremony, festival or annual party?”

Sandor pined about how, “Small towns do it. Big cities do it. But, in Edmonton, we don’t mark our pop culture.” He continued his argument, “If you are an Oilers legend, you get roads named after you”, and a bronze statue! Sandor widen his pitch on how in Minnesota in honour of hometown hero Charles Schulz, you can find Peanuts characters statues sprinkled around the Twin Cities; in fact there are over 100 statues of just Lucille (Lucy) van Pelt, most of them are five-foot tall fibreglass ones, but still. Sandor continued, “in downtown Minneapolis, you’ll find a statue of Mary Tyler Moore to honour Mary Richards”, the TV associate producer she portrayed. And, “In Toronto’s Kensington Market, you can sit next to a statue of actor Al Waxman, CBC’s famous King of Kensington.”

It wasn’t long after the magazine hit the street that Sandor and Chubb thought the idea could actually, “take off, eh”, he expands, “My phone started ringing, I would get e-mails, so many fans would telling me stories about meeting the stars, having them shooting in their neighbourhoods, so many fond memories.” Sandor doesn’t remember any negative feedback.

SCTV’s Bob and Doug McKenzie painted bronzed statuses designed by Edmonton sculptor Ritchie Velthuis’ are seen in place at new home on the southwest corner of the Stantec Tower at 103 Ave and 103 St., in the city’s Ice District. Photo by Tom Braid/todayville.com

Now the hard part, the non-profit SCTV Monument Committee was formed, which included an original producer for the star-studded SCTV TV show that stills lives in Edmonton, “We had no idea how much work had to be done, we had to create an official non-profit group, the money, the city’s rules for building and permanently placing a statue and so much more.”  Sandor continues, “So many helped us over the years, Allard Foundation and Westbury Foundation for funds, the city was great over the years, OEG and the Ice District for giving us the final place to install Velthuis’ incredible work.”

SCTV’s Bob and Doug McKenzie painted bronzed statuses designed by Edmonton sculptor Ritchie Velthuis’ are seen in place at new home on the southwest corner of the Stantec Tower at 103 Ave and 103 St., in the city’s Ice District. Photo by Tom Braid/todayville.com

The fictional TV brothers and real life-long friends stayed involved and wanted to “have a voice in the project”, Multi-award winning actor Dave Thomas (70), who played Doug McKenzie talked with Edmonton Journal’s Fish Griwkowsky, “Rick and I were both surprised and honoured at these statues of the McKenzie brothers,” Thomas told the paper. “Despite the time that has passed, we both hold dear the memories of working at the ITV Studios – with the rest of the cast and the Edmonton folks who worked behind the scenes on the SCTV show with us.”

The original public unveiling was to happen before the Edmonton Oilers game against the San Jose Sharks on March 27th. Thomas confirmed, “For obvious reasons that has now been postponed.” He promised when safe travel is allowed, “We will return to Edmonton to see these statues in person.”

SCTV’s Bob and Doug McKenzie painted bronzed statuses designed by Edmonton sculptor Ritchie Velthuis’ are seen in place at new home on the southwest corner of the Stantec Tower at 103 Ave and 103 St., in the city’s Ice District. Photo by Tom Braid/todayville.com

Canadian Hosers get Bronzed EH!

Notes from Flight 163, the oilsands shuttle from Toronto to Edmonton

Alberta

Alberta loosens rules for singing, wind instruments as long as precautions taken

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor says people can sing and play wind instruments indoors once again, provided COVID-19 precautions are in place.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says those activities were severely restricted because they were thought to pose unique risks of spreading the virus.

But she says new evidence shows they can be done safely with certain safeguards.

Limited band practices, singing, and wind instrument concerts are allowed as long as there’s proper physical distancing, enhanced cleaning and other precautions.

Choirs can restart with maximum size limits and masks, but audience singing is still not allowed.

Alberta reported 111 new COVID-19 cases in Friday’s update and one new death.

There are 1,444 active cases with 41 in hospital and six in intensive care.

Hinshaw also says there are 29 schools where someone attended while infectious with COVID-19 and that 32 cases have been linked to those schools.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 11, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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#CalgaryStrong

City of Calgary Helping Local Businesses Recover from COVID-19 with Digital Main Street ShopHERE Pilot

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The City of Calgary is piloting a new initiative aimed at helping artists and small businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Working with Digital Main Street to join the ShopHERE program, powered by Google, the City will aid up to 90 local businesses and artists in their transition to online stores. 

The growing digital economy of recent years has been massively accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic, as people have increasingly turned to online alternatives and contact-less deliveries for everything from groceries to clothes to entertainment purchases. Now more than ever, for small businesses to be successful, participation in the digital economy is key. 

In May, Google Canada announced a $1 million investment for Digital Main Street to expand the Toronto-based ShopHERE program across the country. In Calgary, Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE program is now available to artists or registered small independent businesses and nonprofits that are commercial or home based, have fewer than 10 employees (25 for restaurants or bars), and are not a corporate chain or franchise. 

As a participant in the ShopHERE program, businesses will have access to hands-on assistance in setting up and launching their online stores with customized information and branding. Members will also receive digital marketing, shipping and inventory support to aid in the successful maintenance of online shops.  

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks on the ShopHERE program

Operating on a first come, first serve basis, the program will help up to 90 independent local businesses and artists enter the online sales sphere. “We remain optimistic and more determined than ever that technology is the toolkit for a world of opportunities,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada, “Our $1 million investment will go towards expanding the ShopHERE program nationally, so we can help small businesses across Canada navigate the challenges ahead.”

To learn more about the ShopHERE program or to apply, visit https://digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere/.

For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.

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