Page 1

June 2012









Page 3 | Our city’s true past

Page 11 | Celiac disease changes menus across town

Pages 21 | Giller Prize winner on his new book

Inside the Calgary Journal...

Photo courtesy of vincentlam.ca

Vincent Lam’s new book, ‘The Headmaster’s Wager’ tells the story of the Chinese community in Vietnam during the war. p. 21.

Photo: Melissa Molloy / Calgary Journal

When art becomes therapy: Seniors create art pieces like these at the Garrison Green Art Studio as a form of treatment. p. 13




Editor-in-Chief PRINT Melissa Molloy Christine Ramos

Page 4 | The risks of Video Lottery Terminals

Page 13 | Seniors create art as therapy

Page 20 | The 2012 24 hour film race


VLT addiction

Never too old

Calgary’s business women Dog-proofing your kids Page 6 & 7 | How to start your own business and succeed

Page 14 | Tips on how to protect your children from pup bites



Page 11 | Dining like a celiac

Page 17 | How to travel without paying for accommodations

Gaga for gluten-free Let me speak

Page 12 | A new app gives people a voice

Couch surfing

Ready, Set, Go

Production editor Eva Colmenero


Body checks for minors’ hockey

Page 22 & 23 | On the cutting board opinions polarized on the issue

COVER ILLUSTRATION: Melissa Molloy/Calgary Journal

reporters Karry Taylor Gordo Williamson supervising editor Jeremey Klaszus Production Manager & Advertising Brad Simm PH: (403) 440-6946

Produced by journalism students at Mount Royal University, the Calgary Journal is a community newspaper that reports on the people, issues and events that shape our city. We are the proud winners of the 2010 Pacemaker award for North American newspaper excellence from the Associated Collegiate Press.

Photo courtesy of Travel Manitoba

Watching the migration of beluga whales off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba is among the travel recommendations made in “Far and Wide.” More travelling tips on p. 10 and p. 17.


CONTACT THE JOURNAL: EDITOR@CJOURNAL.CA 403-440-6561 June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Booze, boys and brothels – the real early Calgary Historical records unearth city’s rowdy beginnings


f you are anything like me, the phrase “early Calgary” invokes visions of cowboys riding through dusty streets of a makeshift town, or a ruggedly handsome farmhand lassoing a rogue calf. What you probably won’t envision are railroad workers and police officers staggering drunkenly down Ninth Avenue – then named Atlantic Avenue – with entrepreneurial “ladies of ill-repute” beckoning them at every hotel entranceway. But with a little digging, a born-and-bred Calgarian gal like myself quickly learned that the latter vision is closer to the truth than the mythical cowboy past. Calgary had a reputation as quite the party town at the turn of the 20th century, noted the late historian James Henry Gray in his 1971 book “Red Lights on the Prairies.” Reminiscent of our recent boom, the onslaught of new railroad jobs brought in a plethora of men from the east and the south. With the bursting new economy came new business that turned the old tent town into a bustling downtown core. The booming business did a lot for the world’s oldest profession too, with a “dozen or so brothels” operating near St. George’s Island, according to Gray. Ninth Avenue became known as “whisky row” where “everyone knew there were places where whisky and women were always on tap.” The supply of women was up because of what appears to have been an overwhelming demand. In 1907, a group of disgruntled Calgarians living near the Riverside brothels appeared before city council,

pleading for help due to the fact that “respectable citizens were frequently annoyed by men forcing their way into their homes looking for ‘women of ill-fame,’” Gray notes. In his 1974 historical book to commemorate Calgary’s centennial, Bob Shiels writes that “the impression (of early Calgary) is that of a wide open town where everybody constantly staggered around in a state of advanced inebriation.” And “everybody” included the local Mounties. Shiels quotes an early newspaper’s editorial page that said: “It is bad enough for a civilian to get drunk and whoop about the streets, but it is much worse for a policeman…really, this blazing away with a pistol whenever a man gets drunk, whether it is in the hands of a policeman or citizen, is getting monotonous.” Rampant alcoholism among the police as well as many others, however, was made more problematic by the empty prairie surroundings. Shiels notes historian, Ronald Atkin’s observation that “Drinking was regarded by the men themselves as one of their few escapes from the tedium of life in an empty, undeveloped country.” Boredom created a town that the Calgary Herald once noted as being “quartered into three halves: East Calgary, West Calgary and the brewery. To some minds the greatest of these is the brewery, but that is a matter of taste entirely.” Eventually the town forced the red-light district from St. George’s Island further north, where the Nose Creek brothels were constructed. In “Pioneering Policing in Southern Alberta,” Deane Burton writes: “The large

Courtesy of Calgary Public Library Community Heritage and Family Histories Collection

Early Calgary, according to much historical record, was a rowdy party town full of boozing and brothels aplenty! June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

MELISSA MOLLOY | mmolloy@cjournal.ca utilitarian buildings (that were the Nose Creek brothels) suggest both the magnitude and the lack of elegance of the sex trade in pre-1914 Calgary.” Calgary’s new red-light district brought with it “concerns about illicit liquor, disorder, violence, venereal and other diseases,” writes Burton. And just like the booze, the cops were occasionally up to more than a “bust” in brothel town. A 1914 article from the Calgary Daily News describes how “as the entire Calgary force numbered but 15 men,” 10 constables thought that they would “escape punishment if they maintained an organized protest,” and so the group pulled an all-nighter of heavy drinking and visits to the ladies of the Nose Creek brothels. Not long after, the gang of officers became “imbued with a spirit of independence, bordering on the rebellious” and an officer from the barracks was called to “inveigle, cajole, persuade, threaten or otherwise induce them to return home.” Their hopes of evading justice were dashed, and all 10 officers were sentenced to two months each in “the guard room.” But as the Calgary Daily News mentioned, it should probably be noted that most of these bad apples were “recruited but a few months ago in Toronto.” Go figure. The burgeoning prostitution business in Calgary even had its own legendary personality in the town’s “leading madam” – the much-referenced Diamond Dolly, who Gray calls “Calgary’s queen of fleshpots.” A pioneer merchant once said Dolly was a “dead ringer for Mae West” aside from Dolly’s brunette tresses, and that the two vixens “had the same style, the same clothes (and) the same grand manner.” Dolly made flamboyant appearances on the streets of Calgary. Gray writes that she was known for wearing “the damndest big hats with ostrich plumes” as she rode Eight Avenue with her buggy’s top pulled down. Dolly “never went out without 10 pounds of jewelry,” which apparently is how she came by her name. The town jewelers said that they knew when things “were booming” at the brothels because Dolly “would be in for a new diamond ring.” Walking through Inglewood’s Ninth Avenue today, it’s hard to imagine Diamond Dolly in her convertible buggy or the 10 wild constables, horses and all, conspiring another night of debauchery over at the Nose Creek brothels. What with all the hipsters roaming from Starbucks to Recordland, and the looming downtown skyscrapers just up ahead, it’s hard to imagine Calgary as anything other than what she is today: a big-little city, always on the up and up. But there you have it. We may not have been the Wild West with cowboys and saloons, but apparently, we’ve always known how to have a real party.


Video Lottery Terminal addictions no small problem in Alberta High financial risk at stake in cheap plays CELESTE DE MUELENAERE | cdemuelenaere@cjournal.ca


t’s a form of entertainment — something to do,” says 24-year-old Tonya Faasse, who admits to playing VLT machines at pubs and bars. That idea of entertainment seems to be a common motivation for many people who participate in VLT gambling. But David Hodgins, professor of psychology at the University of Calgary, warns that this lax mentality is dangerous and can lead to a financially debilitating gambling addiction. Since 1998, a gaming policy licensing review capped the amount of VLT machines in the province, says Jody Korchinski, spokesperson for the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. There are currently 6,000 VLTs in circulation across 1,000 locations in bars and lounges in Alberta. However, Hodgins says this is not enough of a precaution in preventing gambling addictions. Nor does it help impede those who already have a penchant for gambling. With VLT machines being made available in bars and lounges instead of being limited to casinos, a younger demographic is being exposed to a gambling environment. “Certainly accessibility is a big issue,” Hodgins says. “A lot of people get exposed to VLT games not because they’re planning to go gamble, but because they’re in a bar. They end up gambling because they are in an environment where gambling is available.” Faasse agrees with Hodgins’ observations and says that she rarely intends to play VLT games, but says that alcohol and availability contribute to her spending money on the brightly coloured machines in bars. Furthermore, Hodgins says that more than just alcohol contributes to VLT plays. Many people become mesmerized while playing VLT games. “People will describe losing track of time – not realizing just how long they have actually been playing or how much money they have lost,” Hodgins says. “It’s certainly very absorbing and is an effective way for people to cope with negative feelings because they can forget about their problems.” But the irony, Hodgins notes, is that sometimes the VLT play is actually contributing to problems, whether the player’s problem is already grounded in financial difficulty or by simply just introducing a new factor to already existing issues.

“So they’re escaping their problem, but also making the problem worse by amassing more debt.” A POPULAR FORM OF GAMBLING As with most forms of gambling, the simplest explanation of why people participate in VLT gambling is the desire to win money. Hodgins says that buying into the possibility of winning is encouraged by the seemingly inexpensive games. It says it only costs 25 cents to play, but Hodgins says that is misleading. Although VLT games have “the perception of being – David Hodgins inexpensive because each individual play is not expensive,” people can lose a lot of money in a very short period of time if they play a lot of lines. Also, the isolated nature of the games and the ease of use can lead to problematic gambling on VLTs. “It might be intimidating to go play blackjack at a casino because you don’t really know the rules and how to play and so forth,” Hodgins says. “But VLTs are pretty straight forward — you just put your money in,

“A lot of people get exposed to VLT games not because they’re planning to go gamble, but because they’re in a bar.”


choose your game and it’s not intimidating.” The final factor that contributes to VLTs: instant gratification. Unlike other forms of gambling, such as a weekly lottery draw where individuals have to wait for the results, Hodgins says VLT feedback happens in seconds. This means that individuals can play numerous games in quick succession. RECOVERY AVAILABLE FOR VLT ADDICTS “What we know is that people who are problem gamblers spend a disproportionate amount of money,” Hodgins says. “So the estimates are anywhere between 30 to 40 per cent of the VLT profits that come from people with gambling problems.” With a significant revenue stream coming from VLT machines, Hodgins says he believes VLT gambling is a “major dilemma for the government.” “What’s good is we have easily accessed treatment in the province. There is treatment available through Alberta Health Services.” However, Hodgins says that the best practice is still prevention. Avoiding developing a gambling problem through inhibiting exposure to gambling in the first place is the safest practice for young adults. “What we do know is that the earlier you start to be involved in gambling, even informal gambling with family and friends, the more likely you are to develop a problem,” Hodgins says.

Photo : Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Faith at heart of preserving culture and language Calgary’s Serbian community plans for new church and community centre


rom the cheers and groans of the crowd gathered around the large screen TV in the Marda Loop Community Centre, one might expect that a hockey game was on. But it wasn’t hockey that had those attending the second annual Calgary Serbian Fest glued to the screen. It was tennis. The crowd was watching Novak Djokovic, a tennis player from Serbia and currently the world’s topranked player, compete in a big match. Sports — including, whether it was tennis on TV, or soccer and other competitions taking place outdoors — played a prominent role in the two-day long event designed to showcase Serbian history, culture, food, and music. Team sports — in particular basketball, soccer, and water polo — are very popular in Serbia. “Sports are very important to our community,” says Petar Grubor, who helped organize the festival’s athletic events. “It’s a way to be involved and to attract more people.” New church for growing community The festival had another important function — it served as a fundraiser for a new church for Calgary’s Serbian community. Serving a congregation of about 550 families, St. Simeon Mirotocivi Serbian Orthodox Church is the focal point for the Calgary Serbian community when it comes to maintaining its culture and religion. To meet the needs of a young and growing community, plans are underway to build a new church south of the city. To facilitate those plans, the Serbian church purchased a 5 hectare parcel of land two years ago. Reverend Father Obrad Filipovic says that he hopes ground will be broken

Karry Taylor | ktaylor@cjournal.ca on a new church in June. Once the church is built, a new community centre and sports fields will follow. Church spiritual and cultural heart of community In addition to meeting needs of faith, Filipovic says the Orthodox church fulfils other important roles in helping the city’s Serbian community maintain its identity. “Serbs are religious, Orthodox Christians, especially among the diaspora,” Filipovic says. “We organize ourselves around the church. “This new church will provide us with a better chance to preserve our heritage, our faith, our language and our culture.” Filipovic says about 40 children are currently learning the Serbian language as part of the church’s Sunday school. In addition, a very active soccer club and a quickly growing cultural society also operate in affiliation with the church. The soccer club, SD Serbia, has seven different teams. Players range in age from under eight years old, to those over 45. Frula Serbian Cultural Society has over 100 members who perform Serbian folk dancing and take part in other creative endeavors. Tanja Ceklic, president of Frula, says the interest in the organization has been high. The group started three years ago with only five members, Frula now has children and adult groups as well as an elite ensemble. Ceklic says that in addition to helping maintain Serbian culture in Calgary, the group also offers other positive things to its members, as well as to the entire Serbian community. “There are the relationships that have developed,

The elite ensemble of Frula Serbian Cultural Society perform at the annual Calgary Serbian Fest. June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

the respect for our culture and for other cultures, the experience of being on stage and travelling, as well meeting new people,” Ceklic says. “It’s been amazing and it’s brought us all together. “It is a lot of work, but it’s all worth it.” Opportunities for cultural interaction and understanding As part of their goal of providing a cultural showcase, organizers of Calgary Serbian Fest invited other groups to share the festival’s stage with Frula. Groups representing the Hungarian, Portuguese, Slovak and Chinese communities performed ethnic dances and songs. Filipovic says that events such as Calgary Serbian Fest provide important opportunities for all cultures in Calgary to share and interact with each other. “We invite them, first of all, as friends,” Filipovic says. “Other than that, by interacting with other groups, you can learn from them. You can take what they have developed and apply it to your own situation and your group.” While the new church and community centre will play a vital role in maintaining Serbian culture in Calgary, Filipovic says it will also provide opportunities for the Serbian community to continue to build relationships with other groups. “We are not a closed community. We are inclusive. Lots of our young people are getting married with those from other cultures,” Filipovic says. “Everybody is welcome, and everybody is included. “This new church and community centre will help us achieve those goals.”

Photo: Karry Taylor/ Calgary Journal


Nationwide successful clothing line for ‘tweens’ started in Calgary Triple Flip girl wear has undergone “50 per cent growth rate each year,” says president Melissa Molloy | mmolloy@cjournal.ca


got together and were asked to decorate a workspace. Super cool. Super fun. Linda Maslechko, president and co-founder of the clothing line, emphasizes that the 8,000 square foot office space didn’t happen over night. “When we started out, I didn’t have an office,” the tall, slender blonde says with a laugh. “I had my laptop on my lap!” Triple Flip, she says, is a concept that came from identifying a gap in the marketplace: a clothing line that only serves pre-teen girls, made specifically for their unique body types and their unique, active lifestyles. “What we saw with other brands that tried to make clothes for this age group, was that they typically just downsized their regular line,” Maslechko says. After having raised three daughters and spending many years as a “brownie leader, volunteer, and school council member,” Maslechko says that those in-between years that girls go through while transitioning from child to adolescent became a world that she understood deeply. “I thought, you know what, these girls need something that fits their bodies and their lifestyles,” she says. “We wanted to provide the kind of clothes that wouldn’t end up on the floor, but the ones that the girls would want to wear everyday.” Triple Flip was born when Maslechko, whose first career was as a Toronto stockbroker, paired up with a like-minded massage therapist, Mona Rae Peterson. Photo: Melissa Molloy/ Calgary Journal The two Calgary Triple Flip, a Calgary-based clothing lines for preteens, has had much success women established the due to its “human-brand” business model, says President Linda Maslechko clothing line in 2006 nyone in Calgary who has a daughter between the ages of five and 14 has likely heard about Triple Flip. The company’s Minky Dimple hoodies hit the playgrounds by storm a couple of years ago, and girls all over the city – and the country, it turns out – have been wanting to become “Flip Girls” ever since. The ultra-successful clothing line’s headquarters in Calgary is as cute as their clothes. The front foyer is marked by the brand’s name and logo in big, bubbly white letters protruding from a hot pink painted wall. Bright colours are everywhere - peppered against the modern concrete finishes of each room. It all looks like what might happen if a group of 10-year-old girls


and have experienced a “50 per cent growth rate” every year since, says Maslechko. The success, as far as she sees it, is due to the valuebased business strategy that Triple Flip has developed. “I think it is really important that your company is set on a level of standards that you live by,” she says. “We are not based on one ‘fly-by-night’ type product for product’s sake or a personal desire to make a quick buck.” Maslechko’s passion for the Triple Flip brand is more than apparent. Her office is covered in letters from “Flip Girls” – fans of the brand – and when talking about the “human brand” based model for her company, her eyes get a little teary. She tells a story about one Flip Girl who holds the spot as the brand’s “number one fan.” The girl, who had only been able to order Flip gear online due to location, was finally able to get to a store in Saskatoon, and when the Triple Flip team found out, Maslechko and her crew made sure to make the little girl’s shopping experience a memorable event. “She walked into the store, and everyone working there knew she’d be coming. They all knew her name and made it really special for her,” the president says. The little girl wrote in later that it had been one of the best days of her life. “That’s the kind of thing I get to experience in this business,” she says. “We get franchise offers on a weekly basis, but if the people are just about the business side of it and making a buck on a hot idea – that’s never what we’ve been about.”

5 Business lessons from Triple Flip’s president 1. 2.


4. 5.

Find an idea that has a real need in the market. Pick the right partner. “Entrepreneurs have to be well-matched in terms of work (ethic). We mostly work seven days a week with late nights and long hours – you both have to be willing to do everything.” Focus on the customer. “As a president, I wear many hats, but the thing that is so important to me is what happens face-toface with the customer.” Never say “good enough.” Always think about how to make things better. Quality price over quantity cheap. “Our Minky Dimple sweaters don’t cost $15, but you know what? The kids want to wear them everyday, so the customer gets their value too.”

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Calgary woman in the Calgary sisters start business of ‘glitterology’ vegan hair product company LIT Cosmetics owner Jodie Perks talks business, social media and glitter

Melissa Molloy | mmolloy@cjournal.ca


Since the “rebirth of LIT” in 2011, Perks has incorporated a strong social media component into her overall business strategy. “What we needed to do was get out there and get the makeup artists wearing our product,” she says. LIT sent out product to bloggers, YouTubers and Facebookers who had a substantial subscribership to review the high-end glitter and firstever alcohol-free adhesive. “Now we have all the big names (of YouTube beauty gurus) wearing our product,” Perks says, along with a list of names that includes: xSparkage, Mischievous, and Queen of Blending – uber-popular personalities in the world of makeup addicts. In addition to non-stop social media – the company also has their own highly active Facebook page and online tutorials. Perks and her team also rent out space at the International Makeup Artists Tradeshow (IMATS) in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto as a way of getting their glitter deep into the “makeup world.” “We needed to get out of that basement and get out globally,” Perks says of her new business strategy. The company no longer has a storefront and mostly sells their 200-plus shades (along with four different sizes) of glitter online. Perks says that starting a small business definitely requires a little bit of money at first, but not necessarily a ton of post-secondary education. “I have a grade 12 education and I always say if there is a will, there is a way.” Perks adds, “You just have to believe in what you are doing.” Photo courtesy of LIT Cosmetics From a basement corner LIT Cosmetics founder, Jodie Perks, has in Kensington, Perks and LIT been running the Calgary-based luxury have now sold to the likes of glitter brand for 10 years. Cirque de Soleil.

o glitter, no glory” is the Calgary business’s trademark logo and when it comes to dazzlingly sparkly “cosmetic enhancers,” LIT Cosmetics creator and president Jodie Perks means business. “I want to glitter the world,” says the sharp-looking blonde who wears a thin line of yellow iridescent glitter on her upper lash-lines – defying the myth that glitter and a day-job are two things that should never go together. LIT Cosmetics has been running for 10 years as a luxury cosmetic line, specializing in glitter. Some hard-core cosmetic fans in Calgary might remember the LIT setup in the basement of a clothing store in Kensington. In 2009, however, LIT underwent what Perks calls an extensive “revamp of the company.” “We changed our packaging, our website (and) our liquid base formulation,” she says.

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

TAJ10 hopes to make “vegan sexy,” says creators

Melissa Molloy | mmolloy@cjournal.ca


hen meeting sisters Anita and Nadia Saoud, one is struck by the fact that both possess remarkable beauty. Each has long, glossy black hair paired with dark olive skin. And as soon as they begin speaking, one is equally struck by another very discernable trait: the sisters are straight-up businesswomen. The first-generation Canadians say that it was their parents who sparked their entrepreneurial drive. “Our parents were immigrants, and they started their own business,” says the elder sister, Anita, adding that both her and Nadia were essentially raised to become entrepreneurs. They were especially inspired by their mother “for being such a strong, (professional) Photo: Melissa Molloy/Calgary Journal woman,” who also happened to be the Anita (left) and Nadia Saoud of TAJ10 say bread-winner in their childhood home. that “you have to believe in your product.” Anita, who just turned 25, has Both Nadia and Anita blog and do tutorials already earned a bachelors degree in marketing – a discipline specifically chosen for their website, TAJ10.com, another way of because she knew she wanted to start her building relationships with their customers. own business. Anita and her 19-year-old sister, Nadia, – A Calgary business who is currently earning her own business Being in Calgary has also been beneficial for degree at Mount Royal University – joined the Saouds. “I would actually say we are lucky to be forces and in the spring of 2011, launched TAJ10, a lineup of three “all natural, locally here,” Anita says. “The demographics are (Canadian) made hair products.” The line young, and the arts and culture scene in the includes a shampoo, conditioner and city is growing.” Anita says that it’s been exciting to be a texturizer. part of a rapidly growing industry at such a young age. The TAJ10 team has also The TAJ10 business strategy Both sisters say that taking the Calgary- immersed their company into the Calgary based company from a great idea to a fashion scene. “We are hoping to have an upcoming sellable product could not have happened without a ton of determination – and of collaboration with N.R.T. Fashion,” Anita says, referring to another young Calgary course, some cash. “You can’t make money without spending entrepreneur, local clothing designer, Nicole money,” Anita says. “You have to spend the Rita Tomney. money first before it will come back for you.” Still, the Saoud’s say that just how much Work hard and don’t give up money one needs to start up a small business And when the going gets tough, Nadia says will depend on things like marketing, and that the TAJ10 team gets through rough patches with good old-fashioned hard work public relations strategies. “We live in a social-media world,” says and determination. “You have to start from the bottom and Nadia. And although Anita says that she still the only way to get to the top is by working works to fund advertising for TAJ10, there for it,” she says. “It gets hard when it doesn’t are many free public relations strategies like seem like (the company) is going anywhere – but don’t give up because it will only get Pinterest, and Facebook. “The world has changed,” Anita says. “You bigger and better.” have to be interacting with your customers.”


New book explores the history of community institution

Calgary Public Library celebrates one hundred years of involvement with city KARRY TAYLOR | ktaylor@cjournal.ca


t’s a big year for the Calgary Public Library. A year-long, city-wide celebration has been organized to celebrate both the library’s centennial and the role it has played in the life of the Calgary over the past 100 years. When it was decided that publishing a history of the library would be one of the cornerstones of the centennial year celebrations, Calgary Public Library CEO Gerry Meek knew what he didn’t want the book to be. “We didn’t want the traditional dull, institutional history,” Meek says. “We wanted to preserve, but also to recognize and celebrate all the elements of the Calgary Public Library and we wanted to share that.” Meek says the choice of the book’s author was carefully considered. “Libraries are about people,” Meek says. “We wanted someone who would focus on the personalities and the human aspect of the Calgary Public Library. “So we picked somebody we thought would make a good storyteller.” Brian Brennan, an award-winning popular historian and author, was chosen to be that storyteller. His book, “Calgary Public Library: Inspiring Life Stories Since 1912” explores the people and events that have shaped the library’s first 100 years.

Photo courtesy of Brian Brennan

Author Brian Brennan is well known for his ability to bring the colourful history of Western Canada to life.


Author has personal connection to Library It was a natural fit — Brennan himself is an avid user of the city’s public library system. “The Calgary Public Library is one of my favorite places as far as my work is concerned. I focus on historical projects and do a lot of my research there,” Brennan says. “To have an opportunity to write about an institution that has meant so much to me and my work was very gratifying.” Brennan spent a year on the project and says the most surprising aspect of the library’s founding was that it happened at a time when Calgary was still a very small city in a new province. Provincial legislation that was required to allow municipalities in Alberta to create public libraries did not exist until 1907. “Right away, it seems, Calgary was on the ball when it came to establishing a public library system,” Brennan says. Another interesting historical note, he says, was that a time when public libraries elsewhere were going into community halls, Calgary was able to secure funding from industrialist Andrew Carnegie to build a dedicated library structure — the building now known as the Memorial Park Library. Library initiative spearheaded by women Brennan says the public library system that Calgarians have enjoyed for the past 100 years is a tribute to a group of “enterprising women” who led the charge for its establishment by circulating a petition. “When they put together a petition to be signed by the voters of Calgary, these women couldn’t vote on the petition themselves,” Brennan says. “Women didn’t have any status back then.” When the initial petition failed, mainly due to the perception of Carnegie as a “robber baron,” Brennan says the women refused to give up. “The second time around, the women needed not only to get enough signatures, but also had to convince

people that Carnegie was not a robber baron, but rather a generous philanthropist,” Brennan says. “When they finally had the signatures and money that was needed, the City of Calgary then put together a board in order to administer the operations of the library. Women couldn’t sit on the (that) either.” Year-long, city-wide celebrations In addition to the book, Meek says a full slate of events are planned to celebrate the centennial, including a birthday party in each of the branch libraries. The Calgary Public Library currently has 18 branches, including Saddletowne Library which opened earlier this year. “For us, it’s a milestone event. There aren’t many libraries in Canada with 100 year histories,” Meek says. “We want to look at it and say we celebrated it well.” As for the next 100 years, both Meek and Brennan believe that the Calgary Public Library will continue to play an important role in the life of the city. “At its heart, a library is a place that informs and engages the human imagination in special ways,” Meek says. “We are excited by the potential of the

technology to do that, and by the role that we can play in this digital age. “We’ve got the people and the places and the great ideas to make that happen.” Brennan says that historically libraries have been important “gathering places” — something he expects to continue. “In outlying communities, new libraries are not going in isolation,” Brennan says. “They are being built next to recreation centres and community facilities.” With a full complement of programs and services ranging from literacy support to book clubs to community gardens, Brennan says the Calgary Public Library is an important resource for all Calgarians. “It’s not operating on the fringes of society, it is very much a part of the community,” Brennan says. “I see that continuing to happen.” “It is something that we shouldn’t take for granted. Maybe occasionally we should shake our heads and think how lucky we are. “If that resource were taken away from us, we would be so much more the poorer.”

Photo: Karry taylor / Calgary Journal

The Memorial Park Library opened on Jan. 2, 1912 becoming the first public library building in Alberta. It was declared a historic site in 1976. June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Group trains dogs to save lives Cochrane team part of international organization Karry Taylor | ktaylor@cjournal.ca


mid considerable noise and commotion of a large crowd at the Calgary Pet Expo, Juno — a three-year-old border collie cross — stares intently at a treat in Karen Somerville’s hand. “A herd of elephants could come walking by and she’s not going to take her focus away from that treat,” Somerville says. “That focus makes her very, very trainable.” Training is something Juno and Somerville do well together. The pair are part of the Cochrane chapter of the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association (CASDDA) — a group that trains dogs for rescue and recovery missions.

Search and rescue dogs are trained for a wide range of activities, including looking for people who are lost in the wilderness or trapped in rubble due to natural disasters. The dogs are trained to detect, track and respond to human scent. dogs internationally certified The Cochrane team is relatively new, setting up operation 18 months ago. Juno is the team’s first dog to be successfully trained and certified as a search and rescue dog. Somerville says dogs trained through CASDDA go through a rigorous series of national and international certifications. Members of CASDDA help out in disaster situations around the world.

Currently CASDDA has three teams based in Alberta and two in British Columbia. Although relatively new, Somerville says the Cochrane team will be certifying more dogs in September. “Once that happens, we will be able to do more dispatches,” Somerville says. Team seeks highly motivated dogs Somerville says the dogs best suited for search and rescue work are those with a “high drive” personality. “They don’t always make the best family pets,” Somerville says. “But they make excellent working dogs.” The commitment level of the handler is just as important as the personality of the dog says Somerville. “We train our dogs, so we will have people approach us who are interested. We evaluate both the dog and the handler,” Somerville says. “If everybody passes muster, we have a three month probationary period. Then we continue with training the handler in how to train their dog.” The training requires considerable commitment from both the handler and the dog. “It becomes a bit of a way of life for people,” Somerville says. “But the dogs love it.” Rewarding relationship AJ Thorsten joined the team six months ago and has been training a dog she adopted from a shelter in northern Alberta. She says the most rewarding aspect of the training has been the close relationship it has facilitated with her dog. “It’s really time consuming, but very rewarding,” Thorsten says. “Training a working dog is very different than training a pet. It’s a big effort for us both.” Thorsten says that while she and her dog may take the first level certification test in September, she wants to make sure the timing is right. “She’s still a little bit shy, so I am not in a hurry,” Thorsten says. “I want her to be successful. “

Photo: Karry Taylor/Calgary JournalW

From left: AJ Thorsten, Karen Somerville and Vanessa Hands join Juno at the recent Calgary Pet Expo. June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Learning experience for dog and handler For team member Vanessa Hands, the

learning curve required to train her dog in search and rescue techniques has been steep. “This is the first dog I have ever had,” Hands says. “So learning to train both a pet and a working dog has been overwhelming at times.” Like Somerville and Thorsten, the dog Hands is training was rescued from a shelter. Although the training process has been a learning experience for both her and her dog, Hands says the pair are progressing well. “He’s a big and strong dog. It’s been challenging, but I have found a training method that works for him. “The things you can do with these dogs are incredible.” International training opportunity Somerville and Hands, along with their dogs, will head to Europe in May. They will spend several weeks training in Hungary, Croatia and the Czech Republic. The trip will provide the handlers and their dogs a unique learning opportunity. “In Europe there are all sorts of search dog teams,” Somerville says. “We don’t have that here.” “It’s a chance for us to go and see all that they do in Europe, and to train with them. So it’s a great opportunity.” Although the time and costs required for things like training and travel can be quite high, Somerville says it is all worth it. “We are a non-profit, and it’s all out of pocket. So it’s a big commitment.” Besides offering financial assistance, Somerville says there are additional ways those who are interested can help the team out. “We are always looking for new venues to train for building searches,” Somerville says. “We are looking for storage yards and similar places where we can take the dogs to train.” They are also looking for people willing to help out with one very important aspect of the dogs’ training. “We are looking for ‘victims’ to hide out for our dogs,” Somerville says. But anybody volunteering to hide need not worry that they will be overlooked — the dogs are, says Somerville “really good.” “They will always find you.”


Exploring Canada week by week Karry Taylor | ktaylor@cjournal.ca

Far and Wide: A Weekly Guide to Canada’s Best Travel Experiences” explores over 300 places — both well-known and obscure — and includes weekby-week activity recommendations in a number of categories including adventure, culture, and “quirky Canada.” Gene Shannon, Canadian regional travel guide editor with Frommer’s, says the book is designed to provide travel ideas suitable for all seasons and vacation times. “We are aiming to show people new places that they haven’t discovered. You can use it to find a vacation, or it makes great armchair reading about Canada,” Shannon says. “The wonderful thing about travelling in Canada is that we have such a diversity of places and experiences as well. You can have any kind of vacation you want right here in Canada.” Five summer travel recommendations: 1. Picnicking by lighthouses in Ferryland, Newfoundland 2. Ottawa Tulip Festival 3. Sand sculpting competition in Parksville, British Columbia 4. Arctic scuba diving in Sirmilik National Park 5. Whale watching in Grand Manan, New Brunswick

Hostels: not just for backpackers anymore “Hostels have really evolved over the past 10 or 15 years,” says Gene Shannon, Canadian regional travel guide editor with Frommer’s. “They are targeting a broader spectrum of ages. There are now more private rooms and accommodations for families.” Picking a hostel accredited by Hostelling International can add an element of assurance. “You can feel pretty secure that it will be good quality. It’s a matter of finding something that will suit your taste,” Shannon says. “Some will be louder and more oriented to young people than others. In that case, you just need to evaluate them on a case by case basis and do a little research online to find out what the atmosphere is like.”

Photo courtesy of frommers.com

Best places to visit in your own backyard: “Far and Wide” explores the virtually endless opportunities for unique places to visit in Canada.

Bargain travel tips 1. Avoid peak travel seasons If possible, travel just outside the peak season. June and September are great for travel because most places in Canada will be at their peak in July and August. (Gene Shannon) 2. Research online deals Aggregators, such as Kayak (kayak.com), search hundreds of travel-related websites at once and provide search results in one place. Deals can often be found on Groupon, flash-sale sites and airline Twitter feeds. (Gene Shannon) 3. Read the fine print Discount airlines often charge extra for seat selection, meals, etc. Check that online prices include all relevant taxes before you purchase a ticket. (Ian Tuckey) 4. Alternatives to hotels Apartment rentals, hostels, home exchange, and camping can be affordable alternatives. (Gene Shannon) 5. Stay outside the centre and take public transit in Accommodation tends to be cheaper further out from a city centre. (Gene Shannon)

Photo: Karry Taylor / Calgary Journal

Up close and personal: A trip to Elk Island National Park, located east of Edmonton, is one of the recommendations made in “Far and Wide.” The park is home to a large herd of free-roaming plains bison.


6. Use cash instead of debit or credit cards Sticking to a daily allowance helps one avoid the temptation to overspend. (Lisa Reinhardt)

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Gaga over gluten-free Increasing celiac disease diagnoses fuel the gluten-free market


decade ago, restaurants didn’t give a second thought to gluten in their food but the prevalence of celiac disease has forced the food industry to respond. “Celiac disease is now recognized as one of the most common chronic diseases in the world,” according to Health Canada. It is estimated that it affects one in every 100 to 200 people in North America, many of who may remain undiagnosed. The immune system of someone with celiac disease responds abnormally to gluten, which inflames and damages the lining of the sufferers’ small intestine. This inhibits proper absorption of nutrients, potentially leading to osteoporosis, anemia, arthritis or infertility. For Victoria Nielsen, perpetual stomach pains prompted her to get tested. “I went to the doctor and they just kept telling me that it was a bug that I needed to let pass,” Nielsen says. But her mother persuaded her to get tested for the condition and the results proved positive. Nielsen has since revamped her diet. Why? The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free regimen for life. What is gluten? Gluten is the sticky protein found in barley, rye and wheat that gives dough its elasticity, and helps it to rise, giving the final product its chewy texture. It also appears as a thickener in soups and sauces, processed meats and imitation seafood. Adjusting to a gluten-free diet requires learning what ingredients to look out for. “Gluten-free is sneaky in what it is. So it’s a bit of a learning curve to figure out what I can and can’t eat,” says Nielsen. “If I feel iffy in the slightest, I just won’t eat it.” Registered dietitian Rory Hornstein says, “there’s a lot of additives and preservatives in a bunch of foods right now and unless you are familiar with the ingredients, you’d never know they contain gluten.” Hornstein suggests reading the labels on food packaging prior to consumption to ensure sources of gluten are absent.

Christine ramos | cramos@cjournal.ca Trending gluten-free As demand for gluten-free products has increased, restaurants have responded accordingly. “Five years ago, even three years, ago it wasn’t even a blip on the radar,” says Dan Wood, the owner of Fergus & Bix Restaurant and Beer Market. “I never heard of gluten allergies or celiac disease. Anybody coming in that didn’t want a bun was on the Atkins diet.” However, after meeting with the Calgary chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association, Wood learned the effects gluten has on celiac sufferers. Wood and his business partner chose to respond to this dietary concern by providing gluten-free options on their menu. Redwater Grille’s executive chef Eric Mah also recalls when he “couldn’t remember a single celiac (disease sufferer). And now, all of sudden we get 20 a day. Our largest allergy demographic is celiacs.” Redwater, as a company, consulted with a nutritionist to plan their menu, which is entirely gluten-free except for their crab cakes. “Everything else we can modify and accommodate,” Mah says. “All of our sauces are gluten-free and we source out bread that is gluten-free.” The potential for cross contamination is taken seriously in the Redwater kitchen. “You’ve got to remember to change your cutting board, change your knife. Change your tongs, change the pan you’re using. Everything stops and changes,” says Mah, referring to when someone with celiac disease comes through their doors.

Going gluten-free? Despite increasing access to celiac-friendly options, jumping on the gluten-free diet bandwagon is not recommended by Hornstein, who specializes in nutrition. Hornstein also works in a weight management clinic and has found that, “a lot of the clients who come in who’ve tried many of the fad diets in the past are going gluten-free, because they figure it’s a really good method of weight management and weight loss – and it’s not.” “Fibre is restricted automatically and if you don’t know how to get adequate fibre in your diet, just cutting out the gluten alone is a fairly big restriction and a big challenge,” Hornstein warns. If you suspect that you are gluten-intolerant or suffer from celiac disease don’t cut it out of your diet immediately says Hornstein. In order for the tests to prove positive, patients must be consuming gluten to obtain a proper diagnosis. For those that have been diagnosed, worry not. Restaurants are Photo: Christine Ramos/Calgary Journal responding to your needs Executive chef Eric Mah says, “our largest allergy demographic is celiacs.”

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

and the gluten-free market is only growing. On Aug. 4, 2012, Health Canada’s new food allergen labeling regulations come into force – requiring prepackaged foods containing any potential gluten sources to say so explicitly. Where there is demand, supply follows. Until July 11 of this year, Health Canada is seeking input from the Canadian public on the proposed principles that will guide the revision of gluten-free labeling regulations. To weigh in on the subject check out: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

Dining like a celiac Fergus & Bix Restaurant and Beer Market, 2000873 85th Street SW (403) 457-3344 Fergus & Bix owner, Dan Wood says, “we don’t want to exclude. If people are coming, give people options.” The Fergus & Bix menu has gluten-free pizzas, pastas and buns. They’ve even got a glutenfree beer on their menu. Craig Belser and Kevin Seplowitz, two “ardent beer lovers and diagnosed celiacs” made it their mission to create a glutenfree beer. The result: Bard’s. Brewed from 100 per cent malted sorghum, it’s gluten-free. Drink up. Farm Restaurant, 1006 17th Avenue SW (403) 245-2776 “We switch our menu four times a year. People with gluten dietary concerns often come in here and like it because they have such a choice, even our specials tend to be gluten-free because we don’t use flour in our sauces,” says Farm’s general manager, Mark Carrillo. Their charcuterie boards can come with polenta crackers sans-gluten and their servers are well versed on directing glutenfree diners to celiac-friendly dishes. Una Pizza + Wine, 618 17th Avenue SW (403) 453-1183 “About 95 per cent of our menu is gluten-free,” says Aja Lapointe, the general manager at Una Pizza + Wine. All of their pizzas can be made on a gluten-free crust supplied from Calgary’s Care Bakery. They’ve even got a celiac-friendly chocolate cake that’s “everyone’s favourite,” Lapointe says. Another bonus: they carry an internationally award winning celiac safe beer: Estrella Damm Daura, an import from Spain that is delicious. Redwater Rustic Grille, 1935 Uxbridge Drive NW (403) 220-0222 “There’s one item that you cannot get glutenfree and that’s our crab cake. Everything else, we can modify and accommodate,” says Redwater’s executive chef, Eric Mah. “Absolutely everything, when it comes to salads we’ll switch out the dressing if we have to. Pastas, we have glutenfree pasta. Breads, burgers, we have gluten-free burger buns. Our flatbreads, we have gluten-free flatbreads. We make sure all of our sauces have no gluten, all of our soups – no gluten.”


Canada midwifery: safe? Professionals weigh-in on the associated risks


idwifery care has become more popular since funding for the service became covered under Alberta Health Care Insurance Plans in 2009. Waitlists to get care from a midwifery clinic have increased, with some expectant mothers never getting in. However, the question remains: are home births under the care of midwives safe? Dr. Stephanie Cooper, an obstetrician at the Foothills Medical Centre, said there have been a number of studies conducted on midwifery care in Canada. “There is not anything that suggests there are higher risks in having a delivery at home under the care of a qualified midwife,” she said. However, Dr. Cooper added that she herself would not choose a home birth because of what she has experienced as an obstetrician with even the lowest risk patients. However, she said that generally speaking, complications in labour are very rare. The results of the 2009 Canadian Maternity Experience Survey, show that there is mounting evidence that midwifery (care) meets or exceed inhospital maternity care. The survey was conducted by female Statistics Canada interviewers on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada and received responses from 6,421 of the 8,244 women contacted. In the survey 71 per cent of respondents, whose labours were attended by a midwife, said the overall experience of their child’s birth was “very positive.” Of the women who delivered with an obstetrician, 52 per cent reported the same. Veteran midwife and Mount Royal University assistant professor Debbie Duran-Snell said the regulations around midwifery in Canada make the practice even safer. She said Canadian midwives are required to have continuing education recertification each year. Along with the education, midwifes are

Allison Chorney | achorney@cjournal.ca regulated in the equipment they are required to bring to each birth. “That’s why when you have regulation, and the midwives follow that regulation — the safety is there,” Duran-Snell said. Mount Royal University associate professor Margaret Quance has been conducting a four-year midwifery research questionnaire for midwives in Calgary and area. She said for the first time the 2012 questionnaire will include questions about the number of midwifery clients requiring hospital intervention. Quance emphasized that there is no reason to be afraid of home births as long as the pregnant woman is very healthy and has no underlying medical conditions. Dr. Cooper added that home births should always include an emergency back-up plan, and said that in her experience, midwives have this plan in place and will call for help when required. Qualifications for low-risk pregnancy: • • • • • • • • • •

Appropriate body mass index Not considered late maternal age – over 35 No problems developed during pregnancy – hypertension, diabetes No history of significant bleeding concerns – surgical or otherwise Baby is normal size – not known to be small No fetal concerns – including even minor defects Full-term pregnancy No previous cesarean section or myomectomy (benign tumour removed from uterus) Not having multiples – twins Baby in the normal position for birth

Midwifery in Canada is safer due to strict regulations, experts say.


Photo: Pumpkingood / Wikimedia Commons

Helping people communicate New app provides voice for people with speech difficulties Michael Chan | mchan@cjournal.ca


ccording to the Speech & Stuttering Institute, one in every 10 Canadian children experience some level of speech and language difficulty. In an attempt to help with this issue, Nancy ClarkeShippam, a speech-language pathologist, and Carole Conyers, a school psychologist – both from Winnipeg – have created an app to provide assistance for children who are having problems with verbal communication. “We found that there was nothing that meets the needs in what we wanted to address in terms of helping our students communicate,” Clarke-Shippam says. “So we took the chance to fill the void in the market.” The two Winnepegians teamed up with Calgarybased companies, To Market – an app marketing company – and app developers, Randomtype. With 25 years of experience in the speech and language field between them, Clarke-Shippam and Conyers were able to provide the necessary information to developers. Together they created “Speech Button,” an app that provides assistance for people who have speech difficulties. It helps them learn how to communicate basic wants and needs. The app has four levels of communication. The first level consists of “yes” and “no” replies. The words are coupled with an icon to help users identify its meaning. “(Users) first learn the icons by pressing and hearing that sound,” says To Market’s Dave Howard. “And then they go on to understanding and memorizing the icon.” As users progress through the levels they are aided to learn more words and phrases. Although “Speech Button” was made with children in mind, adults who have speech and language difficulties can also use the app. Howard helped design the basic model of “Speech Button” on Adobe for testing purposes before handing it to Gavin Miller and his team at Randomtype to create the iPad, iPod and iPhone versions of the app. Howard says even though the app is still in its infancy stage, he sees the need that people have for an app like “Speech Button.” “Just because people are non-verbal doesn’t mean they are not intelligent,” says Howard. “We just need to build for that intelligence.” Howard notes that by the fourth week on the market, the app already had 30,000 downloads. “The goal from here is to expand and take this to create a Spanish version,” says Howard. With affordability in mind, Miller and his team at Randomtype ensured that the $7.99 app was also versatile, and of the same quality as the more expensive apps. Other communication tools similar to “Speech Button” can range from $100 to $300.

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Residents find peace-of-mind through artistic expression at seniors’ home

Garrison Green Seniors Community studio considered a “safe haven,” says resident artist


would brighten that up — give it some highlights.” Kim Coulter, resident artist at Garrison Green Seniors Community, is speaking to resident Lil Jantz as they examine her painting of a lighthouse perched on the edge of a cliff, looking out over the ocean at dusk. “It’s a little flat,” Coulter advises. “You’re so gracious when you say that,” jokes Betty Earle, another Garrison Green resident. “Kim always makes us feel really clever.” Surrounded by a multitude of brightly coloured artwork hanging from, or placed carefully on each available surface in the sunlit room, the three ladies working in the studio fill the air with laughter. Coulter has been the resident artist at Garrison for two years. With the studio open seven days a week, and available to residents at all times, Coulter is emphatic about the positive outcomes of including arts as a part of a holistic approach to the experience of aging – an important part of the Garrison Green philosophy. “I have a lady who comes down to the studio when she has pain because she knows that (working on her art) is good for her,” Coulter says. “She’ll come down and she will look sort of folded over, and when she leaves she is standing upright and smiling.” The artist, who has a Bachelor of Fine Art along with certification in art therapy, says that many people demonstrate remarkable “shifts” after taking a few art classes. “You see the change. You feel it,” she says smiling. “Some people come into the studio very introverted, and not engaging with the class. Over time they will develop different skills, and then they become more engaged with the group.

MELISSA MOLLOY | mmolloy@cjournal.ca “They (become) social — they’ve got friends. That’s pretty significant.” A “haven” for residents Jantz says that having access to the vibrant studio has done far more than provide a new hobby. “I appreciate the release (art) gives me from what’s going on in my mind right now,” she says. With her husband living in the long-term care facility adjacent to Garrison Green where Jantz spends most of her time, she describes the studio as a place where she can “put (her) feet up and forget.” In addition to the art itself, Jantz says that the art studio has added to the overall reception she has experienced while living at Garrison Green. “It’s such a relief for me to know that I’m accepted,” she says. Similarly, Earle has gleaned much more than painting tips from her experiences in the art studio. “This is a room we have lots of laughs in, and that is really important at our age,” she says. “If we can keep laughing at things, we are going to be alright rather than get depressed — because we are at the age where we know that things are going to happen. We have to accept it.” And though one would never know it by looking at her work, Earle says that before moving into the seniors community with her husband, she had never painted before. “(The staff) made it so easy to try, and they are full of compliments whether it’s good, bad or indifferent,” she laughs. “I love the art room because it is fun and (I) have so many nice friends down here. It’s played a big part in my life. “

Photo: Melissa Molloy/ Calgary Journal

Lil Jantz (left) and Betty Earle had little experience with visual art before coming to the Seniors Community. Today they are both painters. June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Art as therapy Gail Hinchliffe, president and chief operating officer of United Active Living Incorporated, says that the experience in the art studio has been beneficial for residents and health care workers at the seniors community. Nursing students, who often come from the nearby Mount Royal University for work-experience, are given a chance to see the residents in new way, Hinchliffe says. “As health care workers, it’s very easy to focus on the body,” she says, adding that body-focused care is often about treating some form of disease or problem, making it easy to forget about the patient as a whole person. Working together in the art studio gives students, staff and residents a chance to interact and get to know each other in a different way, Hinchliffe says. A dream job For Coulter, one of the brightest spots of her job has been watching residents uncover hidden talents. “(Imagine) in your 80s you discover that you have creative talent or you have skills that you never knew you had,” she says. “Especially for people who are really kind of down on themselves, or they are having a hard time with the change of moving, or significant loss — for a lot of (the residents), art gives them a way to cope.” But even for the art hobbyist who might not be the next Van Gogh, using the studio still has much to offer, says Coulter. “I asked the group one day, ‘what does the studio mean to you?’ and one of the gentlemen said, ‘It’s a place where you can come and forget about everything else for a while, and just focus on your art.’”

Photo: Melissa Molloy/ Calgary Journal

Kim Coulter has been the resident artist as the Garrison Green art studio for two years – she calls her job a “blessing.”


The importance of ‘dog-proofing’ children Understanding dogs’ communication can help keep kids safe ALLISON CHORNEY | achorney@cjournal.ca


any dog owners can attest to the magnetic charm a dog has, especially for children. Kids get excited at the prospect of petting Fido and can forget that some dogs just aren’t as easy going as others. The results of this attraction can create some scary moments for both child and dog owner. Jodi Cantafio, program director for Clever Canines — a professional dog training organization in Calgary — says that dogs of all sizes can bite, so it’s important for kids and puppies to be socialized with each other from the start. “Sufficiently socializing the dog is making them bombproof so if they are startled they won’t respond with their teeth,” she says. When meeting an unknown dog, Cantafio says kids should always get permission from the owner before touching the dog. She adds that parents

should coach kids to never approach an unattended dog. “If I could tell parents one thing, it’s that a wagging tail does not mean a dog is happy and should be pet,” she says. She says the wagging tail represents a higher energy level and a willingness to interact, but adds this does not always a good thing or guarantees a nice interaction. She suggests parents teach ­—Bill Bruce children to wait for the okay from the owner and then to stand beside and not in front of the dog. This side-byside position eliminates the chance to lean over from the front, which can be a very threatening posture for the dog. She adds that hugging is very unnatural for a dog and leaning in for a kiss can be seen as aggressive. She says if the owner gives the goahead, the child can offer a closed fist to the dog to sniff as this reduces the

“Most importantly (children should) never ever run or scream.”

chance for finger-biting. Cantafio likens it to an infant grabbing at keys dangling above them, while a dog will grab at wiggly fingers – but a dog grabs with its mouth. She says parents should coach their kids to never make direct eye contact with a new dog, and to avoid squealing and shouting as this can mimic prey and increase excitement in the dog. Bill Bruce — a chief bylaw officer for The City of Calgary’s Animal and Bylaw Services — says that bite prevention programs offered by the City’s bylaw officers teach kids what to do if approached by an unattended dog. He says children should “stand like a tree” and freeze with their arms tucked into their chest and try to look uninterested in the dog. “Most importantly (children should) never ever run or scream,” Bruce warns, as this could provoke the prey instinct in an unknown dog.

He says if the dog knocks the child over, the child should “lay like a log” on their stomach with hands locked together behind the neck, protecting the skin from being bitten. “If a dog is biting or aggressive, never hesitate to call 9-1-1. Otherwise call 3-11,” Bruce says. The Calgary Humane Society offers two classes that are similar to the bite prevention programs offered by Animal and Bylaw Services. Christine Landry from the humane society says kids get excited when they see a dog and when they run and squeal, the dog can get excited and thinks it’s playtime. Landry echoes the importance of teaching children to never approach an unattended dog. She emphasizes teaching children how to understand the way that dogs communicate with humans as a preventative measure for attacks or aggressive behavior.

Graphic courtesy of Clever Canines

Graphic courtesy of Clever Canines

It is best to let the dog approach the child in its own time and have the child wait with his or her side or back to the dog.

This graphic that Clever Canines gives to clients tells kids not to lean over a dog, or grab or hug it as this is a very threatening posture for dogs.


June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Awareness Events


World Refugee Day: a day of reflection on peace and experiences

Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival

June 15, 7pm-9:30pm John Dutton Theatre, The Calgary Public Library, downtown location

Annual Canadian Water Summit June 28 TELUS Spark Science Centre www.watersummit.ca/

Entertainment Music

May 24 - June 4 The Plaza Theatre www.fairytalesfilmfest.com

Calgary Ukrainian Festival June 2 - 3 Acadia Recreation Complex, 240 90 Ave. SE www.calgaryukrainianfestival.ca

Carifest Calgary June 2 - 9 Various locations www.carifestcalgary.com

Randy Travis


June 9, 9pm Deerfoot Inn and Casino Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ca

June 14 -16 Pumphouse Theatre www.sagetheatre.com/

Bryan Adams

Foothills Bluegrass Music Society - Annual Summer Bluegrass Pick-nic and Fair

June 20, 8pm Scotiabank Saddledome Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ca


June 16 Wild West Event Centre (Trans-Canada Highway west of Calgary, next to Calaway Park) www.foothillsbluegrass.com

Beef: The Festival June 15 - June 16 Heritage Park www.beeffestival.ca

MEC Bikefest Calgary June 16 Eau Claire Festival Plaza blog.mec.ca/events

Sled Island June 20 – 23 Various locations blog.sledisland.com

2012 Somerset/Bridlewood Outdoor Festival June 23 - 24 Somerset Square SW www.outdoorfestival.ca/

Calgary Greek Festival June 22 - 24 Hellenic Community Centre calgaryhellenic.com/greek-festival

Creekfest June 23 Bow Valley Ranch, Fish Creek Provincial Park www.friendsoffishcreek.org

June 22, 6pm Olympic Plaza Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ca

John Mellencamp June 21, 7:30pm Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ca


Roal Dahl’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs June 3, 3pm Jack Singer Concert Hall Tickets: www.cpo-live.com


Funnyfest Comedy Festival May 31- June 10 Various locations Schedule and tickets: www.funnyfest.com

Brent Butt Live June 15 Jack Singer Concert Hall Tickets: www.brentbutt.com

Russell Peters June 19, 9pm Scotiabank Saddledome Tickets: www.ticketmaster.ca

Sports Hockey Night in Canada, Play 4 on 4 June 16-17 Deerfoot Mall

Canadian Track and Field Trial and Sports Fair June 27-30 Foothills Athletic Park

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Photo: Karry Taylor / Calgary Journal

The zoo is a great place to visit now that the weather is nice, says Chelsea the parrot. Caw caw!


Celebrity chef publishes new book Rob Rainford provides tips and recipes on grilling KARRY TAYLOR | ktaylor@cjournal.Ca


ob Rainford’s love of grilling is well known to viewers of the Food Network Canada television station. His show, “License to Grill”, ran on the network for five seasons from 2002 to 2007, and can still be seen in reruns. His signature line, “Look at those beautiful char marks!” became a mainstay over the show’s 99 original episodes. With plans underway to tape the pilot for a new television series, Rainford has spent much of the past two years working on a new book about — what else — grilling. The recently published, “Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill: Over 100 Recipes From My Backyard to Yours,” contains an eclectic assortment of dishes. There are traditional grilling recipes for ribs and steak, but also a few surprises, including quiche, foie gras and sweetbreads. The book also includes recipes for side dishes and salads. The book introduces readers to the “Rainford Method” — which Rainford says is a way to “deconstruct” each recipe in the book by working through the steps in a methodical and standardized manner. “I look at it as just a blue-print. You don’t know how to do it? Don’t worry about it. I’m there with you,” Rainford says.

Rob Rainford’s Top Five Grilling Tips 1. Get yourself a great grill. Spend a little extra money and the grill will last longer. 2. Invest in some cooking tools, such as long tongs and a spatula. Avoid meat forks. 3. Learn how your grill works and whether the heat operates side-to-side, or back-to-back. 4. Learn which foods work well with direct heat (steak, burgers, shrimp), and which foods work better with longer, slower cooking (ribs and leg of lamb). 5. Don’t be a peeker. You lose between 35 and 55 degrees of heat each time you open the lid to peek. You then have to regenerate lost temperature to cook your food.


Tips for new grillers Rainford says grilling is about “ambition.” He recommends that those new to grilling should start with a few basics and slowly work their way up to more complicated food. “Learn how your grill works,” Rainford says. “Learn to be comfortable with the distance you have from your grill. If you need extra distance, buy longer tongs.” Rainford says he believes the most intimidating aspect of grilling is the heat. “The grill is throwing 500 degrees of temperature at you,” Rainford says. “That would intimidate anybody. So part of my process is that you should ease yourself into it. “Start with hamburgers and hot dogs. Then try a streak. After steak, try chicken. “Chicken has a little more fat in it, so it sometimes get a little extra flare-up. But if you can deal with that you are ready to move to the next level, which is fish.” Fish: a special case Rainford considers fish the most difficult thing to grill. “Most people put fish on the grill and it sticks. Why did it stick? You didn’t have the grill hot enough,” Rainford says. “You didn’t oil the fish or the grill grates. And — this is the caveat — you started touching it right away. You put the fish on and then you’ve started to

try to turn it. You can’t do that.” Rainford says that the skin on fish is the most difficult part in terms of grilling. “It makes a big difference,” Rainford says. “I recommend to most people that they take the skin off. That will eliminate the sticking. “But if the skin does stick, that is okay. You can usually get underneath and get most of your fish without the flesh sticking to your grill.” Rainford says grilling fish comes down to two key things: patience and the type of fish being grilled. “If you are a beginner, start with a very dense fish such as tuna, mahi mahi or swordfish. Those work very well and you don’t have to be a pro,” Rainford says. “Salmon or a delicate white fish require a little bit more dexterity.” Rainford suggests grilling on a wooden plank for those new to fish. “Soak the plank overnight, throw your fish in it, put your plank on the grill and close the lid,” Rainford says. “You don’t have to worry about sticking.” “For more complicated cases, you have to oil the fish. You also need to oil the grate and make sure it is clear of debris,” Rainford says. “Sear the fish and then do the flip. But you should be a more seasoned cook before you start getting into more complicated types of fish.

Photo: Seha bs/ Wikimedia Commons

“License to Grill’s” Rob Rainford says that “grilling is about ambition.”

Heat manipulation is key The key to successful grilling, says Rainford, is mastering the art of heat manipulation. “When most people grill, they want to turn their barbeque right up to high. Or if they are cooking with charcoal they light the whole thing,” Rainford says. “So you’ve got this flame thrower in front of you.” Rainford recommends setting up a grill so there is a heat gradient. “With charcoal, push some over to one side. Create a one-quarter space with no coals,” Rainford says. “With regular propane, turn one burner off. Always leave one burner off, one at medium, and then the others on high. You will have a better outcome.” While Rainford says that “mastering the art of the flame” can be difficult, it ultimately allows better control over the grilling environment. “Once you get it, you get it,” Rainford says. Rainford encourages those interested in grilling to give it a try. “Everybody can have a grill, whether it’s on your balcony or in your backyard,” Rainford says. “A grill is just an oven. It’s all there for you to give you a try. Just have fun with it.”

Avoid Crosscontamination: tips from Health Canada 1. Keep raw meat away from other foods. Pack meats separately, so that juices don’t leak out onto other foods. 2. Use separate utensils, cutting boards, dishes and other cooking equipment when handling raw and cooked meats. 3. Wash your hands carefully with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat. 4. Clean all of your cooking equipment, utensils and work surfaces, and then sanitize them with a mild bleach solution of five ml of bleach mixed with 750 ml of water in a labelled spray bottle. Spray the bleach solution on the surface or utensil and let stand briefly.

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Website connects travellers with free accommodation CouchSurfing an increasingly popular way for those on a budget to see the world KARRY TAYLOR | ktaylor@cjournal.ca


howing up at a stranger’s house for a free night of accommodation might not be everybody’s cup of tea. But for members of a popular social travel network, the concept of “couch surfing” is about much more than securing a free night or two of accommodation — it is a unique way to meet others and to travel virtually anywhere in the world. According to its website, since its founding in 2004 CouchSurfing (couchsurfing.com) has grown into a global community of over four million registered users in 240 countries and nearly 80,000 cities. The concept is simple: people register on the website and create personal profiles containing information about themselves and — if they are interested in hosting guests — the type of free accommodation they are willing to offer. Those seeking accommodation can search the website’s database for hosts according to gender, age and location. The more information a person is willing to share, the more likely they are to receive an offer of accommodation. References from other members help to establish a given member’s reputation as a host or guest. Although the website helps to facilitate connections between guests and hosts, it is up to the individual parties to agree on the particulars of each stay. Benefits go beyond free accommodation While the appeal to those travelling on a budget is

obvious, CouchSurfing can often offer much more than simply a free place to spend a night or two. Calgarian Lisa Reinhardt used CouchSurfing to find accommodation during a recent stay in France. Reinhardt stayed with four different hosts and says a common theme ran through her experience. “People wanted to meet me, and they wanted to share with me,” Reinhardt says. “The people I met through CouchSurfing were lovely, generous and generally like-minded travellers. “You usually have to know someone quite well before you let them stay at your home, but CouchSurfing forces a higher level of intimacy in a shorter time-frame.” Element of trust for both guest and host Reinhardt says she initially had concerns about the safety of CouchSurfing. But after talking to friends who had successfully used the website to find accommodation, Reinhardt did a fair amount of research and eventually set up her own CouchSurfing profile. “The idea of staying with some stranger when you are sleeping and at your most vulnerable was a little intimidating,” Reinhardt says. “I realized that both sides of the agreement are extending the same kind of trust,” Reinhardt adds. “In fact, it’s arguably harder for the host to invite you into their home.” Ian Tuckey, another Calgarian who has used

Photo courtesy of Lisa Reinhardt

Avid traveller: Lisa Reinhardt, cruising along the Na Pali coast in Hawaii, says CouchSurfing provides the opportunity for a unique travel experience. June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

CouchSurfing says the community forums on the website allow guests and hosts to get to know each other beforehand. “CouchSurfing is only scary if you are scared of doing it,” Tuckey says. “Most people on the network don’t have the creepy vibe.” Despite the title, the accommodation offered isn’t always a couch. “Most of the network actually has spare beds in private rooms,” Tuckey says. “Sometimes, you can go a month without paying for a room or wearing out a welcome.” Host enjoys opening her home Annarita Mabellini, who hosted Reinhardt during her visit to France, first heard about the CouchSurfing community from a radio interview. Recently returned from a trip to Cuba, where she had enjoyed the experience of paid accommodation in a private home, Mabellini was intrigued by the concept of CouchSurfing. She became a member of the community in 2008. “I have a big house, my sons had left the nest and I was getting ready to retire,” Mabellini says. “I thought that CouchSurfing could be a good way to meet people and to travel internationally.” Through connections she has made on the website, Mabellini, has couch surfed through France, Spain, Sweden and Norway. Last year she relied on CouchSurfing while spending two months in Argentina. Having a large house, Mabellini often hosts more than one couch surfer at a time. Most are young, which she says makes the experience even more enjoyable. “I am the host, but they meet people from other countries at my house. It’s a nice experience for them, as well as for me,” Mabellini, says. “I like to see that they connect and that they try to understand each other by finding a common language, which isn’t always English.” She says that hosting couch surfers has been a positive experience. “I am interested in foreign languages and enjoy meeting new people and sharing food, conversation and laughter,” Mabellini says. Using common sense Having hosted more than 100 guests in her home since 2008, Mabellini says she understands that it might seem a bit strange to some but that so far she has had no major problems. For those who might be interested in hosting couch surfers, Mabellini advises to carefully read the profiles and references of those registered on the website. “You can read between the lines sometimes,” she says. “Never open your door to somebody with an empty profile without any photos. Exchange some emails with the person requesting to stay in your home. Use your common sense.”


Street Style in YYC Locals looking chic on 17 Avenue S.W.

MELISSA MOLLOY | mmolloy@cjournal.ca

Walking down one of the city’s trendiest streets, it is not uncommon to find folks with fabulous ensembles on every corner. Whether it’s red stilettos or head-to-to black – we found some gorgeous guys and gals to show off their sexy style.

Above: Ahoy! Nicole Charlton charms in navy blue with a pop of red. Top right: Mario is biker-chic with his skull and bones bandana – not to mention the sexy black bike. Right: Gene aka, Geno Kozak looking very gentlemanly as he heads home to his downtown flat.


June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Clockwise from top left: Mandeep is one cool cowboy and absolutely endearing in black and denim. Emily Rabbite (right) is no stranger to street-style photo ops – she says this is not the first time her trendy-self has been asked for a fashion-minded photo. Her and the lovely Tara Vincent pose for a shot. Although she doesn’t like having her picture taken, how could we resist Simmi Grewal in her coral knit tank top. Stunning! Jessica Yu in a cute pair of blue suede flats paired with a complimentary yellow top. Rosanna Sing (right) is definitely a heartbreaker with cool hair to boot. Note Germaine Riveia amazing booties. Wowzer.

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca


Calgary 24 Hour Film race challenges local filmmakers Competition inspires local artists to create more


he 24 Hour Film Race 2012 challenges local filmmakers to create a short four-minute film in just one day. The film race takes place in most major cities across North America, including Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. In Calgary, the submissions are set to premiere at the Plaza Theatre on June 27. From there, winners from each city will move on to New York for an awards ceremony and compete for $10,000 in cash. Being Janice In last year’s competition, Ryan Sauve and his wife Kristen Anderson-Sauve, along with their filmmaking team i4Life, submitted “Being Janice.” Sauve directed and shot the movie, and Anderson-Sauve wrote the script with help from her supporting teammates. The couple’s desire for filmmaking arose from their vacation videos. They decided to use the competition as a starting point to create original works. “We didn’t care if we won or not, we just wanted to have fun,” says Sauve. The film depicts a couple trying out new things, or as Ryan says, “trying some weird sex game” to spice up their relationship. This includes the husband, played by Darryl Stogre, bound in duct tape while being held captive by his wife, Janice, who is played by Anderson-Sauve. The Rules Under the rules of the film race, the team needs to incorporate a theme, a prop and an act as dictated by the games master. These guidelines are emailed to the teams at the beginning of the 24 hour competition. For i4life, the prop was shaving cream, the theme was identity theft and the act was stretching. When writing the script, AndersonSauve focused on these requirements. She also wanted to have a story with an unexpected ending. “We didn’t have a good twist right at the start. We had to


GORDO WILLIAMSON | gwilliamson@cjournal.ca develop it,” says Anderson-Sauve. The 24 hour creation The team received their orders around 8:30 p.m., and from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. the next morning, AndersonSauve and her team wrote the script. While they slept, Ryan worked through the night creating the storyboard and planning the shots, staying awake till 4 a.m.. The crew rose the next morning at 6:30 a.m. and began filming for the next 10 hours. By dinner, Sauve recalled that he “freaked out” and rushed to get the filming done so he could begin editing and the post-production process. The team finally uploaded the film, with 10 minutes left before their midnight deadline. The film finished fourth in 2011. The duo went on to win two other competitions, including the Kevin Smith Hollywood Oil Contest for their film “The Rematch at Rexall” and first place at the CJSW and Calgary Underground Film Festival 90.9-hour film challenge for “So Long Sam.” Judging the film race Joe-Norman Shaw teaches acting at the Company of Rogues Actor’s Studio and has been appearing in Canadian based films for over 20 years. Shaw will be a judge in this year’s film competition. He points out that film is a “very complicated medium for story telling.” He looks at how well the elements: sound, performance, visuals, and editing are put together, and asks himself as a judge, “Is this a good story that is well told?” “Creating a good film or a short requires really honed skills and artistry, and a really good sensibility and sensitivity on how to tell stories through this medium,” Shaw explains. “You should be able to tell us the story you want to tell beginning, middle and end, in five minutes,” says Shaw adding, “The genre should emerge from the story and not go the other direction.”

Courtesy of i4life

The film was shot in the couple’s home. Kristen wrote the dialog and the storyline. Actor Darryl Storge met the couple in film and acting classes, and according to Ryan, Darryl is the “most eager guy willing to help out.” June2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author publishes first novel Vincent Lam portrays Saigon’s Chinese community during Vietnam War

KARRY TAYLOR | ktaylor@cjournal.ca


incent Lam was pegged a Canadian literary sensation in 2006 when, at the age of 32, he won the Scotiabank Giller Prize for his first book, a collection of short stories called “Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures.” In May 2012, his first novel “The Headmaster’s Wager” was published. In this Q and A, Lam discusses the role his own family history plays in the novel, as well as how he manages to balance his family life, writing and a career as an emergency physician. What was the impetus for this novel? The setting is important for my own family history. My family is Chinese from Vietnam and my parents grew up, in part, during that war. That is why that time period is very interesting and important for me. How much of this book was inspired by your family history? I think what a lot of fiction writers try to do, myself included, is to try to capture an emotional portrait of a particular time. In that respect, I tried to be very true to what I think were the emotions of that time. So in that sense it’s very real, although the actual things that happen are fiction. How did you research this book? Where do you start when you are writing about a time and place that doesn’t exist anymore? It’s a hard thing to do, and that is a question I asked myself many times. I did a number of things. I read about a hundred books as part of my research. I interviewed anyone who had some relationship to the story. The character of Percival, although fictional, was inspired by my grandfather. He was the headmaster of an English school, and a compulsive gambler and a womanizer. So I interviewed former students of his, former teachers and family members. I went to Vietnam twice. Had you been to Vietnam prior to doing research for this book? No. When I went, it was for the first time. It was explicitly with this book in mind. You mentioned that the character of Percival Chen is modeled on your grandfather. Why did you choose to do this? I have always been interested in somebody similar to my grandfather as a character. To me, it is fascinating to think about people who are deeply

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

flawed and have different sides to them. He’s not a purely bad character. He loves his family. He sometimes expresses that in very dysfunctional ways — but he will go to incredible lengths to try to help his son when he is in trouble. He is smart, talented and charming. I think all of us have many different sides to our own character. In part, how our lives turn out depends on what parts of our own character we choose to emphasize. I think most people have the good sense to try to emphasize the parts of their character that are good. And some people emphasize the parts of their character which are bad, and that often turns out really quite badly. That’s how real life works. To me, one of the really amazing things about fiction is that we can explore a deeply faulted character, and explore his strengths and his faults. We can live those things through fiction. We don’t have to go and make all the mistakes that he made and suffer the consequences ourselves. So I think that is what interests me in this character.

Do you ever envision a time you might leave medicine to focus solely on writing? It’s very hard. I can’t say that I haven’t asked myself that question. But I can say that I haven’t arrived at an answer. I really enjoy both things. If I am not in the hospital for some time, I really look forward to going back. If I don’t write for a period of time, then I feel like a stale cup of coffee. They are both really big parts of my life. So I don’t know. Both are demanding. Both take the bite out of you, and they give back in huge ways. Both require a lot of energy, but it’s not all take. There is a lot of give in both of these fields. I am glad to have them both. What’s next for you in terms of writing? I will be writing more. I am not ready to talk about the next book yet. But it is growing deep within me.

Editor’s note: Answers have been edited for length.

Has the story of the Chinese community in Vietnam been told before? The short answer is no. Most of the really well known French and English language writing about the Vietnam War is written from the perspective of the western outsider. So the story of the Chinese community in Vietnam has not been told in this way before. But the story of the Vietnam War intersects with Canada because a huge number of the Vietnamese boat people were ethnic Chinese. I have seen estimates that 70 to 80 percent of the boat people were ethnic Chinese. Canada was a country that was quite generous in terms of accepting boat people. So that is where the dénouement of the Vietnam War becomes part of Canada’s story. How do you balance your family and a medical career with writing? Medicine is a sensible, responsible thing to do. You do good work that helps people, you get paid for it and you are able to support your family. So medicine makes perfect sense. With writing you are chasing a dream and a vision, and it’s very hard to know if you are ever going to get paid for it. There is just no logic to it, whatsoever. So it’s very hard. You have to get to a place where you believe the work is worth it on its own. I have to run my life so it’s fair to my wife and to my children. And honestly, it’s a constant tension. It’s a work in progress.

Photo: Karry Taylor / Calgary Journal

Vincent Lam graduated from the University of Toronto medical school. He is an emergency physician and has also worked in international air evacuation and expedition medicine.


Body checking to be outlawed in peewee level minor hockey

Photo: Battle Creek CVB / Flickr

Hockey Calgary moves to make game safer for kids Ashton Faulkner | afaulkner@cjournal.ca


his past March, Hockey Calgary announced a motion to remove body checking from peewee level hockey, delaying it until bantam level play. If passed at Hockey Calgary’s annual general meeting on June 23, the new rule would come into effect starting in the 2012/2013 peewee season. A total of 70 votes will be counted, with 18 coming from the Hockey Calgary board of executives, and the rest coming from various hockey associations in the area. Those involved in minor hockey across the city are divided on the issue. Grace Lane, president of the Westwood Hockey Association in Calgary, said that the responses she haS heard from people in the Westwood organization are varied. “I think we have about 50 per cent who are in favour of the motion as written, and the other 50 per cent vary from saying that hitting should start earlier, or that it should only be at the higher levels,” she said. “Even on our board of directors it is tough to come to a consensus. We have people who completely agree with the motion and there are people who think it’s ridiculous.” Lane said that she thinks Hockey Calgary has done a good job with what they were tasked with and encouraged people to read up and make an informed decision. A report with details of a five-year study involving over 1,000 Calgary minor hockey players is available on Hockey Calgary’s website. The study, done by Dr. Carolyn Emery of the


University of Calgary, found that peewee players who were involved in a league allowing body checks were three times more likely to receive game-related injuries. Todd Millar, president of Hockey Calgary, hopes people will take the time to consider the results of the study.

“A nice, hard body check to separate the player from the puck is a good thing” ­— Kelsey Johnson

“Everyone has a strong opinion on the topic, there’s no question about that,” Millar said. “For those that are looking at the decision we’ve been encouraging all of our members to go through the research. Don’t make a decision that’s just based on your instincts.” Millar said that he supports the motion, and thinks that the members of Calgary’s hockey associations will vote in favour as well.

“It is our belief that we will receive successful ratification of the motion and proceed accordingly,” he said. “At the end of the day, I’m pretty hard pressed to not support clear studies that have proven the likelihood of injury at the peewee level is less if players (don’t) body check.” While the motion to remove body checking from games is a debated issue, so is the idea of keeping body checking as part of practice. Kelsey Johnson, whose 11-year-old son currently plays peewee hockey for the Chestermere Lakers, said that leaving body checking as part of practice would be a waste of time. “Having coached different levels of minor hockey, I know that everything you do in practice is designed to be used in a game,” he said. “If there’s not going to be any body checking in a game, I’m sure not going to practice it. I have better things to be doing than practising something I’m not allowed to use.” Johnson said that he thinks body checking is an important element of the game, especially at the peewee level. “A nice, hard body check to separate the player from the puck is a good thing,” he said. “I think it’s an important part of the game and something that the kids look forward to.” Johnson said that he thinks there should be two tracks of hockey, one hitting and one non-hitting, so players who don’t want to hit can avoid it altogether.

June 2012 | calgaryjournal.ca

Opinion: Want to avoid injury – monitor rules

that exist already

Long-time hockey coach gives his opinion on the “no body check” rule for minors JAMES MOLLOY | jamesmmolloy@gmail.com


ockey Calgary will be voting on the continuation or elimination of body checking at the peewee level (11-12 year olds) on June 23. Hockey Calgary is urging people to consider the results of a study done by Dr. Carolyn Emery of the University of Calgary before arriving at any conclusions. The study confirms what I can only imagine was a near universal agreement that body checking causes injuries. In fact, peewee players in Alberta face a three-fold greater risk of concussions, severe injuries and severe concussions when compared with peewee players in Quebec where body checking is not allowed until bantam. To her credit, Emery acknowledges that further study is required in order to see whether the high rates of injury in Alberta are a result of being the player’s first exposure to physical contact or whether or not injury rates in bantam are lower in jurisdictions where body checking is introduced in peewee. The question Hockey Calgary faces is this: does the pleasure and personal development enjoyed by youth hockey players justify the risk of injury? As our understanding of head injuries develops it become more difficult to justify the potential harm that may come to children in contact sports. I am generally very supportive of scientific approaches to policy development, but the notion of forming policy on the basis of Emery’s study on body checking in peewee hockey alone is problematic to me. As interesting as the study may be, it is only one

piece of what (with more research) will eventually be a much deeper understanding of the issue. In my opinion, the best course for Hockey Calgary to take in this decision would be to wait for further research to be done. For example, we need to see a comparison of body checking related injuries in Quebec bantam leagues —where hitting is first introduced — with Alberta leagues, where players already have two years of hitting experience.

“Safety is not now and has never been a top priority in a sport where players face the risk of being cut by sharpened skate blades.” — James Molloy

I have played hockey for more than 20 years and coached youth and college hockey for nearly 10 years. From my perspective, the game-related injury issue would be better addressed through stronger enforcement of existing rules. Referees must be trained to strictly enforce

rules designed to prevent injury, such as: charging, hitting from behind and hitting the head as the principle point of contact. For example, the rule that covers charging allows a player to take a maximum of two strides before body checking. This rule is not enforced seriously at any level, which is unfortunate because it was included to prevent injuries while maintaining the physically competitive nature of the sport. Although this alternative of stricter refereeing is not as simplistic or emotionally satisfying as a zero tolerance rule, I prefer the rules as they are because they have evolved in response to what actually occurs on the ice. In fact, I actually feel it would be wiser to introduce body contact at the atom level, with one-step checking. The rules would have to be strictly enforced, but I believe that this is the route in youth hockey that would prevent more injuries over the long term because body checking would be introduced when the game is played with less speed and intensity. Safety is not now and has never been a top priority in a sport where players face the risk of being cut by sharpened skate blades, or where spearing somebody in the gut with a pointed stick amounts to five minutes in detention and punching someone in the head after a whistle is okay as long as they punched you too. On June 23, I hope that Hockey Calgary rejects the motion, maintains body checking in peewee hockey and introduces light checking at the atom level.

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