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Alberta

Red Deer Restroom just might be the loveliest lavatory in Canada!

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Technically it’s in Gasoline Alley which means Red Deer County can also lay claim to this magnificent water closet at the Sweet Market Esso Station on the city’s south edge.  Canada’s best restroom contest has named the top 5 finalists and three incredible Alberta biffies are on the list!

Clearly the Sweet Market Esso’s palatial potties are the most beautiful, but that does not make it the clear cut winner.  The Sweet Market will need Central Albertans to rally behind this luscious lavatory if they’re going to win.  This is a voting contest so you can do your part to make sure the Sweet Market Esso ‘wipes up’ the competition.

Just look at this beauty!  Voting information is below.

News Release from Cintas Canada

The Sweet Market Esso Station in Red Deer, AB is a finalist in the 2021 Canada’s Best Restroom contest!

The five finalists include:

  1. Toronto Zoo – Toronto, ON
  2. Surrey Park – Surrey, BC
  3. Sweet Market Esso Station – Red Deer, AB
  4. The ROOFTOP – Calgary, AB
  5. Borden Park – Edmonton, AB

The public can submit multiple votes for the Toronto Zoo and the other four finalists now through July 9 at bestrestroom.com/Canada.

The facility that receives the most votes will win $2,500 in facility services from Cintas to help maintain their award-winning washrooms.

 

Cintas Canada Unveils Five Finalists in the 2021 Canada’s Best Restroom Contest

The polls are open now through July 9

Cintas Canada, Ltd. invites the public to vote for the five finalists in the 2021 Canada’s Best Restroom contest! The polls are open now through July 9 at bestrestroom.com/Canada. The facility that receives the most votes will win $2,500 in facility services from Cintas to help maintain their award-winning washrooms.

Cintas’ nationwide contest highlights businesses that have invested in developing and maintaining exceptional washrooms. “These five facilities demonstrate a commitment to prioritizing hygiene and customer service – especially as cleanliness is so important right now – combined with creativity and whimsy not usually seen in washrooms,” said Candice Raynsford, Marketing Manager, Cintas Canada.

Nominees for this year’s contest were judged on five criteria: cleanliness, visual appeal, innovation, functionality and unique design elements. The five finalists include:

Toronto Zoo – Toronto, ON

 

Designed with the Toronto Zoo’s mission of connecting people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction in mind, the new washrooms in the Zoo’s Tundra Trek feature iconic Canadian species. The design draws on inspiration from our natural world for its fresh yet familiar atmosphere. From the cool blue mosaic walls that represent the calm transition of horizon to sky, to the dark and dramatic overhead features that represent the vast night sky across the tundra, no detail is too small. Each handwashing unit features a hands-free faucet, soap dispenser and hand dryer. The trough-style sink eliminates water splashing on the floor and includes hooks on the outside of the counter to hang a purse, backpack or coat. This state-of-the-art facility modernizes the Toronto Zoo’s guest experience in a visually stunning way.

 

Surrey Park – Surrey, BC

The intent for the park washroom was to create a playful, durable, safe facility that works well within the City of Surrey’s park contexts. The washroom was designed to be universally accessible, hands-free with no-touch fixtures and configured for solar power. It also features public art panels on all four sides of the structure. The design employs a distinct form, strong colours and unique use of materials.

 

Sweet Market Esso Station – Red Deer, AB

The washrooms at Sweet Market Esso boast decorative high-end tiles and five-star finishes, giving the restrooms a classy feel, mimicking a fancy hotel suite in Italy rather than a convenience store restroom. These washrooms are always a topic of customer conversation in the store where selfies take center stage. The constant comments regarding the awe of it all – plus the extreme cleanliness – are great reminders of the sheer elegance and grandeur these restrooms provide for the customer.

 

The ROOFTOP – Calgary, AB

 

The ROOFTOP restaurant is a unique “weather managed” outdoor patio experience located in downtown Calgary. The adjacent indoor washrooms were designed to be inclusive, engaging and distinctively unique. As you enter “The Alley” you are greeted by a life-sized bobblehead re-imagined as your personal concierge. Walk in to immerse yourself in the funky and fun graffiti wallpaper sections taken largely from the “John Lennon Peace Wall” originally created in Prague. Elements of surprise abound throughout these unusual washrooms, including the porta-potty door in the “Mostly Men” area and hidden selfie walls.

 

Borden Park – Edmonton, AB

Designed by gh3, the washrooms are at the core of the single-level pavilion surrounded by highly reflective glass. An integrated approach to environmental sustainability is evident in the choice of materials: wood, concrete and glass were selected for their durability, permanence and timelessness. The washroom features hands-free elements to reduce germs and a stainless-steel trough-style sink that prevents water splashing on the floor. The sleek washroom stands as a striking improvement on the typical concrete options, and a sign of outstanding design to come.

For contest updates, fun facts and washroom trivia, “Like” Canada’s Best Restroom on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CanadasBestRestroom.

 

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Edmonton police use DNA phenotyping to find sex assault suspect

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By Angela Amato in Edmonton

Edmonton police say they are using DNA phenotyping, for the first time in its history, in trying to solve a sexual assault.

DNA phenotyping predicts physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence, and police use that information to narrow suspects and generate leads in criminal investigations.

Det. Colleen Maynes says the method is a last resort after all other investigative avenues have been exhausted.

“This was a vicious assault,” said Maynes, adding she doesn’t want to see the perpetrator act again.

A woman lost consciousness after she was violently sexually assaulted by a man who followed her from a bus stop in the central Spruce Avenue neighbourhood in March of 2019.

She sustained serious injuries and was found wearing only a shirt when it was -27 C.

“This survivor deserves justice,” said Maynes.

There were no witnesses, surveillance video, public tips or DNA matches in the case.

Detectives enlisted DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia to help in the investigation. The lab has provided DNA phenotyping to help with other files in Saskatchewan and Ontario.

Most DNA testing in Canada goes through the RCMP’s lab. Maynes said this can take a long time, as the RCMP deals with cases across the country and doesn’t have the resources or technologies that other labs do.

“We are lacking with that technology here in Canada,” said Maynes.

Paula Armentrout with Parabon said that since 2018, its labs have helped solve 230 violent crimes in North America, although not all of them used DNA phenotyping.

DNA phenotyping is not exclusive to sexual assault cases. The analysis has also been used to find possible suspects in murder cases and to identify remains.

With a computer-generated snapshot in the Edmonton sex assault case, DNA phenotyping determined the suspect to be a Black man with dark brown to black hair and dark brown eyes who stands about five-foot-four.

Armentrout said the turnaround for this type of analysis is about 45 days after receiving a DNA sample.

Police said the suspect’s description may impact a marginalized community. After consulting with community stakeholders and considering the severity of the assault and the threat to public safety, police released the details with a computer-generated image.

Any leads generated from the image will require further investigative steps, said Maynes.

“It is by no means an immediate path to accusing a suspect,” she said. “What it does is potentially give us leads in a cold case, and we can follow up with DNA testing from there.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2022.

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Alberta

Former head of Alberta Human Rights Commission suing justice minister over dismissal

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By Bob Weber in Edmonton

The former head of the Alberta Human Rights Commission is suing the province’s justice minister for wrongful dismissal, claiming Tyler Shandro caved in to carefully orchestrated political pressure.

Collin May’s statement of claim alleges members and supporters of the Opposition New Democratic Party feared May would expose sexual harassment problems at the commission that occurred when they were in government.

“This made the plaintiff a threat, and he was subsequently targeted by political opponents weeks before he was scheduled to start his term as chief,” the document says.

New Democrat justice critic Irfan Sabir called the charges a distraction.

“Collin May published overtly racist and Islamophobic views,” he said in an email Tuesday.

“The UCP government belatedly held him accountable for that. Mr. May’s innuendo is merely an attempt to distract from his own behaviour.”

May, a Calgary lawyer, was hired as chief of the commission on May 25.

Questions about his appointment began almost immediately. Some criticized his lack of experience in human rights law and others pointed to a book review he wrote in 2009 in which he quoted statements saying Islam was a fundamentally violent religion.

That review drew concerns from the National Council of Canadian Muslims. Members of the NDP caucus also called for May’s resignation.

The statement of claim accuses NDP supporters of stockpiling May’s book review years ago, then carefully co-ordinating and managing the public outcry against him to engineer his removal.

“The NDP were clearly co-ordinated for the purpose of smearing the plaintiff’s character,” the document says.

It goes on to allege the New Democrats went after May because they were afraid he would renew sexual harassment allegations against two senior members of the commission who had been appointed by NDP leader and then-premier Rachel Notley.

“(May) learned that there was also a culture of pervasive sexual harassment within the NDP during Notley’s time as premier,” says the claim.

“Notley therefore could not afford to have the public learn that … her own appointees had also allowed for a culture of pervasive sexual harassment and bullying.”

The document says Shandro neither defended May nor emphasized that the commission is an arm’s length agency, which he has no direct control over. In fact, it alleges senior officials in Shandro’s office were so insistent on getting May to apologize for statements he says he didn’t make that May had to block their numbers on his cellphone.

As well, the lawsuit alleges May was forbidden from meeting with Muslim organizations by Muhammad Yaseen, Alberta’s associate minister of immigration and multiculturalism. It says May was told to wait to await ministerial direction, which never came.

“Minister Shandro’s office was heavily involved in facilitating the smear campaign against Collin May,” said May’s lawyer Kathryn Marshall in an interview.

The situation got so bad that May received threatening phone calls at his home. May’s law firm removed his phone number from its website and for four days in July, the lawsuit says, May and his partner were afraid to leave their Calgary home.

“The (commission) and the defendant did nothing to support (May) during this difficult time,” the lawsuit says.

It says that on Sept. 15, May got a letter telling him his job was over on a “without cause” basis.

A spokesman for Shandro declined to comment, saying the matter is before the courts.

Marshall said May had signed a five-year contract on the same basis as any other civil servant and was not given the basic rights he was due under Canadian law.

“It’s not about deflecting criticism or playing political games,” she said. “This is about getting my clients’ rights enforced.

“(The government) fired him and are now falsely alleging he resigned.”

The lawsuit seeks to recover the money May would have earned over the five-year term as well as damages to his reputation — about $2.1 million.

The allegations in the statement of claim have not been tested in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 4, 2022.

— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960

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