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Sharing the story of a century ago


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A local author will share a unique perspective on the Battle of Vimy Ridge at the Red Deer Museum and Art Gallery, Sunday. Sigmund Brouwer’s recently released book, Innocent Heroes, is a fictionalized account of the role animals played in the pivotal battle that many say helped establish our country’s national identity.

“As Canadians we tend to underplay our accomplishments; this was such an incredible victory against all odds that it’s very appropriate for us to look back on it with pride,” Brouwer wrote. The battle, synonymous with sacrifice and national pride, accounted for more than 10,000 Canadian casualties, including nearly 3,600 dead. It marked the first time when all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle together.

Brouwer focuses on the use of animals in Innocent Heroes, partly to soften the rigors of war for the book’s youthful audience, and to provide context. “I decided that inspiring animal heroes would be appropriate for that audience. They can still learn about the war in the battle without a focus on the horrible things that happened,” he adds.

The book focuses on three young Canadian soldiers and their experiences in the trenches at Vimy. Their bonds to the innocents, the animals they employed in helping their platoons take Vimy Ridge, are at the heart of Brouwer’s story. Released earlier this year, Innocent Heroes is already starting to appear in Canadian classrooms, and benefits from a comprehensive study guide, developed by teachers.

Extensive research into the history of the iconic battle and the letters of soldiers involved, formed the foundation for the fictional accounts in the book. While the characters, both human and animal are fictional, the story is accurate and reflects the tone and atmosphere of the great war a century ago. It’s not entirely coincidence that the author chose the timing and subject of Innocent Heroes. “While the aspect of amazing animal stories intrigue me, I would’ve written the story anyway, I was aware that 2017 would raise awareness of the battle,” he shares.

Each of the stories within the book is followed by a non-fiction section that details the experiences of animals and Canadian soldiers in the conflict. Many readers will be amazed at the sheer number of animals that participated; technology has largely replaced animals in warfare, although there are still roles played by dogs in military conflicts around the planet.

“Most Canadian historians and military people point to this as the moment that defined our national identity. My sense is that we are often taught the facts and the information. I will happily argue that story is the best way for us to absorb important lessons and understandings,” Brouwer tells us.

His multimedia session at MAG begins at 1:30 p.m. and is recommended for ages 8+.
To learn more about Innocent Heroes including an accompanying song and video, CLICK HERE.

Innocent Heroes is available at Chapters and online at

For details on the MAG event CLICK HERE.

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Winners announced for Red Deer Hospital Lottery

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The Red Deer Regional Health Foundation has announced the winners of the 2024 Red Deer Hospital Lottery Dream Home and Tiny Home prize packages, as well as the Mega Bucks 50.

The Mega Bucks 50 jackpot reached $607,200.00, which makes Carolyn Pelerine of Cochrane, Alberta the winner of $303,600.00.

In addition, the luxurious Tree Hugger Tiny Home Prize Package, complete with accessories by Urban Barn and valued at $163,798.00, is now owned by Mary Vincent of Red Deer.

The coveted Sorento Dream Home Prize Package, which includes furnishings and accessories by Urban Barn and boasts a total value of $1,072,624.00, has been awarded to Maxine Rumohr of Sylvan Lake.

The highly anticipated draw took place at 10:00 a.m. Thursday at the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation office, located within the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, with an announcement following live on Facebook, allowing participants and supporters to join in the excitement virtually.

“We are delighted to congratulate the winners of this year’s Red Deer Hospital Lottery,” said Manon Therriault, Chief Executive Officer of the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation. “The funds raised from this lottery will significantly contribute to enhancing patient care and services at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who participated and supported this important cause.”

Proceeds from the Red Deer Hospital Lottery and Mega Bucks 50 will contribute to acquiring critically needed, state-of-the-art equipment for several units at the Red Deer Hospital.

This year’s lottery will fund equipment such as a phototherapy system, which allows parents to hold and soothe their infant while undergoing phototherapy, a cardiology case cart to monitor cardiac rhythms during stress testing, and other equipment to help provide excellent care for patients in the emergency and operating rooms at the Red Deer Hospital.

The winners of a variety of electronics were also drawn today. A full list of winners will be available in the coming days on the official lottery website at Prize winners who have not already been notified will receive a letter in the mail with instructions on how to claim their prizes.

The keys to the Sorento Dream Home and the Tree Hugger Tiny Home will be presented to the winners at a special ceremony this summer.

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The Grand Opening is TODAY!

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A Day Filled With Hope – Years in the Making!
For years the CACAC has been walking hand-in-hand with many different partners, community members, donors, policy makers, and leaders in research and advocacy towards this moment.The Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence now stands in the heart of Central Alberta, the first Centre of its kind in North America, creating space for different strategic partners to operate alongside one another in the best interest of children, youths, and families who have experienced any form of abuse.

Now, during this momentous chapter in our history, we invite you to join us for the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence. 

We’re excited to welcome you and your family to the Grand Opening of the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence today!

Today’s events are family friendly, and there’s something for everyone!

From Noon to 5:00PM the public is welcome to come and see everything the building has to offer at the SKCOE Open House! Staff from every organization from within the SKCOE will be there to answer questions. This is a great opportunity to learn about why this Centre is so important for Central Alberta.

Beginning at 7:00PM, the public is also invited to the formal program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, which is the building immediately North West of us across the parking lot. The formal program will have many messages and presentations from dignitaries, and you can pick up our Champions of Courage pin, which was minted for the Grand Opening only! Following the program there is a ribbon cutting ceremony.

There is a lot to celebrate, so come out and say hi!

When: Thursday, May 16

Where: Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence, and Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Main Campus of Red Deer Polytechnic, Red Deer, AB.

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Open House

7:00 PM – Formal Program at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to follow.

How to get to the Sheldon Kennedy Centre of Excellence

Please note that there will also be parking available at the lot directly North of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Detailed RDP Parking Map

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