Monday, February 16, 2009

Last Days In Yellowknife

My final days in Yellowknife were prety good. I ended up teaching Aquafit five nights in a row and think that I might try some classes in Niagara. I finished all my lessons and took care of the paperwork. As I left City Hall, two RCMP officers were blocking 50th street. Looking down the street I could see a lot of smoke and just saw Engine 8 (a Quint) pull up to the parking lot of the Pre-Cambrian building. A car had caught fire because it had a space heater, block heater and battery blanket all plugged into an inferior extension cord. It was great to see the YKFD put out the fire. I took a walk downtown and then spent rest of Friday packing as was Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon I arranged to go dog sledding with Beck's Kennels 

I took the two hour tour and was paired up with Helen Hu from Calgary and five dogs. I was told to stand on the skis and use the brake if I needed too. Then we were off... (Jenelle and Devin - from Buffalo Airways were also out that day with the film crew)

We headed onto Kam Lake and then onto Grace Lake. We went for about 40 minutes then arrived at a framed tent with a wood stove to warm up for about 30 minutes then changed positions as I became the passenger and Helen the driver.

I came back to Ian's cold but having had probably a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity.

Ian and Michele had Gord and Nadia over for dinner (the guys cooked steaks) and then we played a game of Risk before heading to bed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thoughts and prayers go out to the famlies of the Continential flight

I was on my way back from work a few minutes ago and learned that a Continental (Q400) Dash-8 crashed in Clarence Center (near Buffalo) This is about 3 miles from the "Big Blue Water Tower" for those of you who know Erie County. 

I am deeply shocked and saddened to learn about this as the plane was only a few miles from landing at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. I know that the firefghters in Erie County are some of the best in the country. I hope that they stay safe on the scene. They have set up a unified command system and have evacuated about 12 homes in the area. 2 people from the ground were transported to Millard Fillmore suburban hospital. This is an ongoing event. 

The area where this happened is just down the road from the Clarence Center Volunteer Fire Company. Here is their website.

Here are some early links to storys about this:

audio from ATC -- @ 20min40sec

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No No No No Not Again

'No, no, no, no, not again!'

About a week ago I was criticising the engineering deparment about Merritt Street in Thorold. see FRIDAY, JANUARY 30, 2009

Merv Hardie ferry closes for the season / Merritt Street car vs. ambulance

Well guess what another traffic mishap and for this woman in the story twice in a year. I bet she feels like the Air Boss in Top Gun who gets coffee spilled on him when Maverick flies by.

To the road engineers --> curbs, guard rails, medians, new speed limit

To the police --> targeted enforcement on this road

Here is the article from the Standard

No, no, no, no, not again!'


Updated 4 hours ago

Jean Keyes has a problem with strangers parking in her house.

You read that right. Inside the building, usually in the living room.
It happened for the second time in less than a year early Tuesday morning, when a Pontiac Sunfire driver lost control on a curve and smashed through the front of her home at 84 Merritt St.

"I heard the bang, but I still couldn't believe it at first," said Keyes, who lives in the back of the home but rents out the much-abused front apartment. "I just started saying, 'No. No, no, no, not again! Then I started to cry."

Last March, it was a Cadillac that crashed into the living room of the one-bedroom apartment. Different car; same parking spot. Keyes said her male tenant was shaken but unhurt by the 3 a. m. collision. She's not sure whether he'll stay, however. "After the last time, I told everyone not to worry. I've been here for 25 years; it won't happen again. Now what do I say?"
Keyes figures she's on a "bad corner."

Her siding-covered bungalow sits on the escarpment near the top of the Merritt Street hill, close to Ball Avenue East.

Northbound cars and trucks routinely speed down the slightly curved hill, neighbours said.

Not all of them stay on the road. "Some of them don't slow down," said Tom Hillier, a neighbour for 21 years. "We've had more than one accident on this hill."

Hillier remembers a motorcycle collision just downhill from Keyes' home and a fatal car crash near the intersection. And last year's spectacular flying home invasion, of course.

"That one was worse," said Bill McMenemy, now an expert on crash landings in the building.
McMenemy works for Greg Miller Restoration, which is rebuilding Keyes' front apartment for the second time. The original house-crasher actually jumped a guardrail, became airborne and bulled its way completely inside the building.

The latest unwelcome visitor only managed partial entry, said the contractor.

"It's still pretty awful, though," he said, gazing at the mangled white siding, snapped wooden studs and overturned couch. "I thought we rebuilt it twice as strong the first time. Now maybe we're going to have to put in 12- inch blocks or something."

The latest crash caused an estimated $50,000 in damage, but Keyes said repairs from both crashes are covered by insurance.

That doesn't mean she's content to continue living in a vehicular backstop.

A curving metal guardrail on Merritt Street protects the front of Keyes' house, and some of the side. The original crashing car mangled part of the protective fence, and Keyes believes the city shortened it during repairs.

"We need a better guardrail, and a bigger one," she said. "Something needs to be done. This is just ridiculous." Kris Jacobson, the city's manager of transportation services, said the guardrail was fixed last year, but he doesn't know if it was shortened.
He does know the city will investigate the safety of that section of Merritt Street.
"We're going to review it and see if there's anything we can do," he said. "A house is struck twice in a year? Obviously it's a concern for us."
The driver of the crashed car was taken to hospital and treated for a cut to his face.

Thorold resident James Parks, 27, is charged with impaired driving.

Article ID# 1430236

More snow in Yellowknife

Well the snow was flying again today. Partly because we (Alex Young and I) were kicking it up from our tracks as we blazed across the lakes and because it was warm in the mid twenties, notice that we don't use negative before the number because everyone here knows it is winter. Warm weather = clouds and snow here. Clear and Cold is the rest of the weather.

Today I headed out "sledding" departing from the Thompson Tower downtown we headed out onto Great Slave Lake and over to Air Tindi's ( float base (in the winter I guess it is called the ski base) where I was able to check out one of their Twin Otter's which was on ski's outside of the base. (

Unfortunately the camera I had with me didn't have enough power in the cold to snap any photos. You might remember that it was two (2) twin otters on April 24-25, 2001 that made the medical evacuation to the Amudnsen-Scott South Pole research station  (the only winter landing) 

We then went under the Latham Island bridge and behind the Niven Road Subdivision before crossing the highway near the legislature and onto Frame Lake. We sped past downtown and the pool and went under Old Airport Road to the Co-Op gas station for some fuel. We then went past the airport over to Fred Henne Territorial Park ( and Long Lake. This is where "Folk on the Rocks" takes place and is where my brother used to camp out.

We then headed back to Great Slave Lake and went around Latham Island/Ndilo (pronounced Dee-low) Heading back we were able to take a look at the Snow King Castle being built and the crossed the "Ice Road" to Dettah  

Thanks Alex for a great morning. After putting away the sleds, I headed off to work where I took a couple of minutes to warm up in the hot tub and then guarded the pool for Sir John Franklin and then taught lessons for three hours, followed by aquafit (3rd night in a row) and then guarding again. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some random Yellowknife trivia

To get a background into Yellowknife 
check out this video

I thought while I am up here in Yellowknife I would share some triva and fun facts with you.

1.) Tim Horton's store #603, its most northern store, in YellowknifeNorthwest Territories, recently earned the honour of top sales in the chain for 2007-2008. According to co-owner Greg Barton, the store handles around 2900 Yellowknifers per day.

2.) Yellowknife is approximately 400 km (250 mi) south of the Arctic Circle

3.)Of the eleven official languages of the Northwest Territories, five are spoken in significant numbers in Yellowknife: Dene SulineDogribSouth and North SlaveyEnglish, and French.

4.) Yellowknife is represented in the territorial government by seven of the 19 Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories (MLAs).

5.) Government employment accounts for 7,644 jobs, a large percentage of those in Yellowknife (of 18,700) 

6.) Yellowknife has a frost-free growing season that averages slightly over 100 days

7.) In Yellowknife, the population is slightly disproportionate in terms of age distribution compared to the national average; the average age is 31.2, compared to a Canada-wide average of 39.5

8.) The Gold Range Bar, one of the oldest and most colorful drinking establishments in the Northwest Territories and featured in Mordecai Richler's novel Solomon Gursky Was Here)

9.) Margot Kidder, film and television actress best known for playing Lois Lane in the Superman movies of the 1970s and 1980s was born in Yellowknife in 1948.

10.) Yellowknife, calls itself the "Diamond Capital of North America" and has a motto of “Where a Golden History Meets a Brilliant Future.”

11.) A world-renowned viewing destination, almost 10,000 Japanese tourists flock to Yellowknife each year to see the Aurora Borealis wash across the sky

12.) The Canadian North Midnight Sun Golf Tournament, played on the weekend with the longest daylight hours of summer tees off at midnight

13.) The northern most McDonalds, KFC and A&W are located here.

14.) The Wildcat Cafe bult in1937 and saved from demolition is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

15.) Yellowknife's 75th Anniversary Homecoming is this year. It will be celebrated June 19 to July 4, 2009!!

"Celebration events hosted by the community will include displays, tours, tournaments, festivals, dinners, dances, breakfasts, a fishing derby, parades, talent shows, races, performances...and lots more to be announced. Whether you are young or old, local or visiting we look forward to sharing with you our memorable past, our dynamic present and our bright future."

16.) value of the gold mined from Yellowknife works out to be around $6,000,000,000 in todays dollars