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Canadian born Hollywood Superstar donates $4,000 to #Yeg Food Bank


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“I happen to love Edmonton. This ($4,000 ) donation is in memory of Connor McGrath,” Ryan Reynolds sent in a note to Britt Jones, radio host 104.9 Virgin Radio about his Edmonton Make a Wish friend.  Reynolds first met McGrath at the Stollery Children’s Hospital on Jan. 8, 2016, for a very special screening of Deadpool 2 for the 13-year-old, who was fighting cancer. McGrath passed away, just months later on April 26, 2016.

Reynolds at the Japan premiere of Deadpool 2 in 2018 Photo Courtesy/Dick Thomas Johnson

What started as a small 10-thousand dollar ‘Feed Your Friends fundraiser’ by Edmonton’s 104.9 Virgin Radio, got a huge boost from actor, comedian, film producer, entrepreneur and Canadian nice guy, Ryan Reynolds, after he donated $4,000 to the Edmonton Food Bank.

Reynolds is already known as one of the nicest people in Hollywood, his legend of niceness just keeps growing. On top of this $4,000 donation, Reynolds and his wife, American actress Blake Lively’s made a huge donation of $1 million to food banks in Canada and in the US. Reynolds is very active on social media, he posted on his Twitter account in March, “Blake and I are donating $1 million to be split between FEEDING AMERICA and FOOD BANKS CANADA.” he wrote, adding, “Covid-19 has brutally impacted older adults and low income families,” continuing,  “If you can give, these orgs need our help.” This new $4,000 is on top of the early donation to Canada’s Food banks.

Blake Lively is a scene from here movie, A Simple Favor. Photo Courtesy/Peter Lovino,/SMPSP/Lionsgate/Feigco Entertainment/Bron Studios

Connor McGrath and his buddy and star from Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in January 2016. Family photos

In a statement, Edmonton’s Food Bank spokeswoman Carly Kincaid Williams said, “It’s wonderful to have someone, like him, stand up for our cause. Because he has such a broad reach, we are hopeful that his donation will encourage others to give,”  Continuing, “We would like to thank Ryan and everyone who has donated to Edmonton’s Food Bank. Your donations will go a long way to making sure everyone in Edmonton has food on the table.”

Not to leave anyone out, the superstar also admires Edmonton medical staff, adding on Twitter, “And a big shout-out to the doctors, nurses and support staff at Stollery Children’s Hospital. #ConnorMcGrath

Britt Jones, one of the 104.9 Virgin Radio morning show hosts told CTV Edmonton, that he had been trying to personally thank Reynolds for his donation. Jones was able to connect with him via direct message on Friday. “I just wanted to get you guys to your goal,” Reynolds wrote. “So happy to see more and more people have since chipped in. That’s a testament to the bottomless kindness Edmontonians possess. I’m not surprised.”

Local Edmonton small business, DLAS Machine, matched Reynolds’ donation on Thursday, donating another $4,000. As of Friday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $22,000, well over the original goal of $10,000. The campaign will continue to really blow their original goal out of the water.  To donate until April 24th, click here..

Ryan Reynolds, who also owns, Aviation American Gin , has a toast on a April 2nd YouTube segment of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Stay at Home.

List of “non-essential businesses” – Alberta COVID-19 update


Running Reins Ranch in Red Deer County picks up $250,000 grant from province

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Running Reins Ranch partners with members of the local Indigenous community to set-up teepee accommodations and host regular cultural programming for guests.

Tourism investment fuels growth in rural Alberta

Alberta’s government continues to support regional tourism opportunities across the province, generating jobs and new tourism destinations for locals and visitors alike.  

Ahead of World Tourism Day 2023, Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow visited Running Reins Ranch to see first-hand how tourism investment grants are making a difference in the lives of Albertans.

“Alberta’s government is proud to invest in growing visitor destinations like Running Reins Ranch that celebrate the richness and diversity of Alberta’s rural destinations and provide a sustainable tourism experience for visitors to enjoy.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

As part of the Tourism Investment Program, Running Reins Ranch received a $250,000 grant from Travel Alberta.

“Our investment will support the building of additional unique accommodations at the ranch that will triple their capacity, emphasize their year-round offerings and create five new full-time jobs. This investment in Running Reins Ranch is a perfect example of how Travel Alberta is driving tourism growth in rural communities across the province.”

Jon Mamela, chief commercial officer, Travel Alberta

Running Reins is located east of Innisfail, offering cabin and teepee accommodations and a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors looking to combine the beauty of the Prairies with farm experiences for a one-of-a-kind getaway.

Right to Left: Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow, Owners of Running Reins Ranch Terry and Janice Scott, and team member Grace Finlan.

“This funding is a game-changer for us and our business. We are excited to bring our vision to life and provide visitors with unforgettable experiences while supporting the economic growth of the surrounding community.”

Janice and Terry Scott, owners, Running Reins Ranch

Tourism is Alberta’s No. 1 service export sector. In 2019, Alberta welcomed 34.6 million visitors, generating $10.1 billion in expenditures and supporting more than 80,000 full-time jobs. The Tourism Investment Program is Travel Alberta’s commitment to investing $15 million annually with communities and operators to develop the province’s tourism sector. Developing Alberta’s rural and agri-tourism sector is an essential component of the government’s efforts to grow Alberta’s tourism economy to more than $20 billion by 2035.

Quick facts

  • In 2022-23, Travel Alberta funded 166 projects across 73 communities – about 75 per cent of the projects and 70 per cent of the funding were in smaller urban and rural areas of the province.
  • In December 2022, Alberta’s government released its Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan, with supporting initiatives that demonstrate the government’s commitment to building healthy and prosperous communities across rural Alberta and Indigenous communities.
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Company at centre of E. coli outbreak at Calgary daycares faces licensing charges

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Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange speaks to the media about an E. coli outbreak linked to multiple Calgary daycares in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Colette Derworiz in Calgary

The company that runs a commercial kitchen at the centre of an E. coli outbreak that has infected hundreds at numerous Calgary daycares has been charged with operating without a business licence.

The City of Calgary announced Wednesday that Fueling Minds Inc. and its two directors face a total of 12 charges under municipal business bylaws and face a total fine of up to $120,000.

The company declined to comment on the charges in an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Alberta chief medical officer Dr. Mark Joffe said the number of cases has plateaued at 351, and tests and interviews indicate the cause of the outbreak was meat loaf and vegan loaf.

He said there are also 37 confirmed secondary cases and four children remain in hospital.

Fueling Minds provided meals to six of its own daycares that were affected by the outbreak, which was declared Sept. 4, and also to five separate daycares.

The city alleges Fueling Minds did not have the proper licence to serve those other five.

Joffe said the investigation into the cause of the outbreak included interviews with hundreds of parents and daycare staffers and the testing of 44 food samples.

“We believe that meat loaf and vegan loaf meals that were served for lunch on Aug. 29 most likely contained the E. coli bacteria that led to these infections,” said Joffe.

“Unfortunately, neither of these items could be tested as they were either eaten or discarded before this outbreak was identified.

“While we now have a likely source, what we do not know exactly is what was contaminated or how.”

The company’s statement said the “exact source of the infections has not yet been identified” and it continues to work with Alberta Health Services on its ongoing investigation.

Joffe said the province is to hire a third party to verify its work and findings.

Premier Danielle Smith said former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson would lead a panel to investigate what went wrong and make recommendations on how to make commercially prepared food safer in daycares.

Smith said the panel does not have a set timeline, but she expects to hear from him monthly and would implement interim recommendations if necessary rather than wait for the final report.

“Mr. Hanson will be joined by Alberta parents, childcare operators, food service operators, and food safety and public health experts,” said Smith.

“The panel will be examining all aspects of this tragic situation, large and small, as well as taking a full broader look at the legislation and regulations that govern food safety in our province.”

Smith said she met with parents of affected children, and a policy change they suggested was posting kitchen health inspection reports in a daycare rather than just online.

Health Minister Adriana LaGrange and Searle Turton, minister for children and family services, are already reviewing food handling in commercial daycare kitchens.

The kitchen remains closed and in recent months has been flagged for numerous health violations, including food transportation concerns.

Diana Batten, the Opposition NDP critic for childcare and child and family services, said Wednesday’s developments were a good start to getting answers.

“This will really help some of the families I’m speaking with,” she told reporters.

“However, it brings up or illustrates there’s a lot of problems inside the system. We heard Premier Smith talk about how we should trust now that the system is safe. Why? We continue to identify more concerns.”

Batten said a panel isn’t going to help solve those problems.

“It’s just spending more money and, honestly, putting a Band-Aid on what is honestly a huge public health crisis.”

The province has promised parents affected by the closures in the original 11 daycares a one-time payment of $2,000 per child to cover off financial hardship. Those facilities were closed Sept. 4 but have since reopened.

Eight more daycares faced closures or partial closures in the days that followed as secondary cases were identified.

Smith said last week that the compensation program would only be available to parents of the 11 daycares at the root of the outbreak.

Turton, however, confirmed parents affected by the later closures would also be eligible for the one-time payments, and that was the plan all along.

“The program hasn’t expanded,” said Turton.

“It’s important to note that just more daycares since the original announcement have actually become eligible for those payments.”

— With files from Dean Bennett in Edmonton

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 27, 2023.

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