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If fans don’t fill the seats, should the CFL get government aid to stay alive? “Yes” or “No” on CFL help?

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Here’s the question: If fans stay away from home games, should the CFL get government aid to stay alive?

Does the Canadian Football League really matter anymore? I hope so, but I’m not sure. Honestly, I don’t know what the CFL is any more. If you’ve got ideas to share – please, no comparisons with the NFL – I’m interested in seeing them.

The first team I ever paid attention to was the Toronto Argonauts. It was a long time ago – 1950, to be exact. Al Dekdebrun (who?) was the quarterback. Ulysses Curtis (who?) and Bill Bass (who?) were the running backs. Toronto won the Grey Cup that year, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 13-0. All were among a rare group at the time: U.S guys known for gridiron purpose as immigrants.

This happened a full four years before Jackie Parker, the best player in CFL history, became an Edmonton Eskimo and seven years before Jim Finks arrived from the National Football League to develop running back Earl Lunsford and quarterback Joe Kapp for the Calgary Stampeders. They were imports, too.

There’s no real room to question whether these Alberta franchises have been the brightest and most stable of all Canadian franchises, east and west, since that distant time.

Equally valuable, some of the time, have been the Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. All the rest have staggered more often than a room full of heavy drinkers on New Year’s Eve; except perhaps for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, they’re still off balance. The B.C. Lions, despite the presence of Mike Reilly, who might be the best quarterback in the league, drew mostly yawns from spectators.

The Argos play home games in a facility where fans come disguised as empty seats. The Montreal Alouettes had a loyal owner who finally got tired of writing million-dollar cheques to cover team costs, so the league took control. About six months ago, two Toronto men bought the franchise. How long before league president Randy Ambrosie has to step up and take control again?

Ottawa had a terrible year on the field and a poor one at the gate last year. For billions of reasons tied logically to COVID-19, the outlook is not promising there.

Millions of words have been written and spoken about Ambrosie’s big international dreams. Accountants have spent countless hours attempting to find the basis for his claim that the league needs about $30 million from the government to play at least a partial 2020 season. If no games are played, he estimates the need is more than 100 million so the CFL can operate in 2021.

Provincial governments have stepped up to help individual teams: then-Premier Don Getty introduced a fund to help Edmonton and Calgary; Saskatchewan’s political bosses understood the province-wide love of the Roughriders and showed admirable tolerance when necessary.

For me, the Grey Cup has always been a mainstay in Canadian sports. Mature writers often referred to it as “the grand national drunk” because of the hordes who scheduled their annual holidays to attend. To ride eastward to Toronto on the old Grey Cup trains was a exercise in durability, especially if you had to write for publication on the way.

Prairie cities have continued to treat Grey Cup week as a celebration. Great times are had, civic and provincial budgets are fattened. A large number of games, regular season and playoffs, are exciting. Speed means more than bulk in the CFL. Many of the talented import players – Pinball Clemons and Tom Wilkinson are prime examples – have stayed in Canada to benefit our game.

All returns to the question: if fans stay away from home games, should the CFL get government aid to stay alive?

I vote yes, but I’ve been wrong before.

Our sports history has value

 

Alberta

History of Red Deer’s Second Courthouse

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It has been witness to a great many events and stories in the 90 years it has stood on the corner of Ross Street and 49th Avenue in Red Deer.

The Gaetz Company building as seen in 1912. It was the courthouse for the region from 1916-1931. It is the current site of Mason Martin Homes. Canada’s first female juror served in this courthouse in 1922.  Photo courtesy City of Red Deer Archives photo.

As the solidly constructed anchor for both provincial and the Court of Queens Bench for 52 years, this sturdy structure has also been a sanctuary for artists, the setting for movie productions and most recently home to numerous professional offices. It also was the backdrop for the last murder trial in Alberta which saw the defendant sentenced and hanged under capital punishment in the province.

Construction of the new courthouse well underway. City of Red Deer Archives photo P2610

This readily recognizable icon celebrated the anniversary of its official opening earlier this month and is showing no signs of retiring any time soon.

View of the Lyndall Limestone columns in the Palladian Style entrance. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

This was the second courthouse for the steadily expanding central Alberta city. The earlier one had opened in 1916 after having been converted from a coverall factory. Talk about being adaptive and creative!

Construction of the “new” courthouse was significant for many reasons. The Great Depression was in full swing so this project provided a much-needed injection of both money and jobs into the community along with a sense of pride that such a fine building would bring to the region.

Brick exterior with Lyndall Limestone detailing. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This would be the last courthouse built in the province until the 1950s, the final version  of a series of Alberta courthouses built in the classical revival style. Both Wetaskiwin and Medicine Hat received similar structures during this era.

Testament to the quality of the design and materials used in construction of the building is the fact that it remains steadfast after more than 8 decades of use.

Constructed using hot riveted steel beams, brick and mortar, then graced with pillars shaped from the legendary Lyndall Limestone from Manitoba, this grand historical resource will stand for a great many more years to come.

Original 1912 era boiler. Converted from coal to natural gas.
Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

In the spirit of the type of practicality and resourcefulness often seen during the depression, heating for the building would be provided by a boiler built in 1912 and  repurposed from a ship!

It was converted from coal burning to natural gas in 1949 and has since been replaced by modern, efficient boilers yet it still remains in the building as evidence of a different era.

Every building of a certain vintage usually carries a story or two about otherworldly spirits or energies. Why not the old Courthouse? It was thought that the ghost of Robert Raymond Cook inhabited the building.

On one particular evening, the caretaker for the courthouse was heading into the boiler room to grab some tools. When he flicked on the lights, they popped briefly and went dark. Despite this, the caretaker walked alongside the boiler in the direction of his tools when suddenly he was slapped in the face by an unexpected soft force! Was it the apparition of the hanged murderer?

When he had regained his composure a time later, the caretaker investigated the boiler room once more to discover the source of the slap in the dark. A frightened pigeon had flown up in his face when startled in the boiler room!

Judge bench in the original courtroom. Photo by Duane Rolheiser

This magnificent building was the home of the judicial branch of the province for the Red Deer region from 1931 to 1983 when its replacement was constructed just down Ross Street to the east.

A law office has made good use of the original architecture. Photo by Duane Rolheiser.

The courthouse was the venue for a great many legal tales over the years but probably none more famous than the 1959 murder trial for 21 year old Robert Raymond Cook of Stettler, AB who was accused of murdering all 7 members of his family in a most violent manner.

RCMP mugshot of Robert Raymond Cook, 1959. Photo used with permission by Legal Archives Society of Alberta.

His trial began on November 30th, 1959 and Cook was found guilty and sentenced to hang for his crimes. His defense appealed the conviction and a second trial was held in Edmonton but his conviction was upheld on June 20th, 1960.

On November 14, 1960, Robert Raymond Cook was hanged. His death sentence was the last ever carried out in the province of Alberta.

the actual witness bench where Robert Raymond Cook would have sat Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

Numerous books were written about this trial as the murders captivated and horrified the population who followed the course of the investigation and trials.

Even a dramatic play was created, called “The End of the Rope”, reenacting this historic trial which was developed and was even staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago.

exterior of the courthouse while it was home to the Community Arts Centre in the 1980s. Photo courtesy Red Deer Archives.

In 1983, the  building was sold to the city of Red Deer for a dollar and turned into the Old Courthouse Community Arts Centre. The grand structure housed painters and potters among numerous artistic pursuits for 18 years

An artist displaying his works during a Christmas arts fair in the courthouse, 1987. Photos courtesy City of Red Deer Archives.

The old courthouse has seen real life dramas and reenactments of legal dramas including being the location for filming  scenes from the TV Movie, “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd in 1994.

Even a dramatic one-man play was created by Aaron Coates called “The End of the Rope” in 2003, re-enacting this historic trial. It was developed and staged in the actual courtroom where the all too real drama actually took place all those years ago. Cook’s lawyer, David MacNaughton even answered questions from the crowd after the performance.

Promotional ad for the TV movie “While Justice Sleeps” starring Cybil Shepherd. Photo from IMDB

The old courthouse made its most recent transformation in 2001 when it was purchased by Jim Dixon and Dick McDonell.

Interior details.
Photos by Duane Rolheiser.

The new owners invested close to a quarter of a million dollars in upgrading the building including installation of new boilers, restored doors, energy efficient windows and new flooring  throughout. 1930s era lighting was sourced to replace fluorescent fixtures, giving the rejuvenated structure a proper historical feel.

Today this 90-year-old icon of downtown Red Deer proudly carries on as the home to numerous professional organizations from lawyers to architects and with its new owners and numerous upgrades, this beautiful structure should be proudly welcoming people to downtown for a great many more years to come.

Red Deer’s old courthouse sits as the centrepiece of Red Deer’s historic downtown and is celebrating its 90th birthday. Come spend some time downtown. Visit the city’s unique Ghost Collection, many of which are within a few blocks of the Old Courthouse.  For more information on leasing opportunities in this beautiful building, please email Davin Kemshead or phone 403-318-6479.  

 

How the Railroads Shaped Red Deer

 

 

 

 

 

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Central Alberta

Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

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Evaluation Assistant – Part-time Casual

The Evaluation Assistant will be part of the Evaluation Team at the Red Deer Primary Care Network (RDPCN) working under the direct supervision of the Evaluator. The main responsibilities include data collection, data entry, as well as supporting both analysis and reporting for a broad spectrum of RDPCN programs and services. The successful candidate should be competent at working both independently and in a team environment; accurately managing data, and contributing to high quality reports and other deliverables.

Key Strengths of Candidates;

  • Bachelor degree in social sciences or health-related area
  • Experience in applied research or evaluation, quantitative and/or qualitative (minimum 2
  • years preferred)
  • Excellent command of Microsoft Excel, Word, Power Point and Outlook
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail orientated and organized
  • Able to work flexible hours with some evenings
  • and/or weekends.
  • This position is part-time casual, with varying hours

Act now. APPLY

Submit your curriculum vitae to [email protected] (with “Evaluation Assistant” in the subject line), or by fax to 403.342.9502. A full job description can be found at https://rdpcn.pcnpmo.ca/Careers.

Closing date: April 19, 2021 or until a successful candidate is found. Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

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