Saskatchewan’s Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre receives national award

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Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre in Herschel, Sask., has received a 2018 National Trust Ecclesiastical Insurance Cornerstone Award and is being recognized as a resilient historical site.

The centre won in the B category, which recognizes organizations with a successful track record of a decade or longer that use historic places or landscapes in ways that illustrate extraordinary significance and bring benefit to a community over a sustained period of time.


READ MORE:
Saskatoon man receives national volunteer award

“Ancient Echoes is honoured to have been recognized for this award,” read a Facebook post by Ancient Echoes.

“We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who have contributed, in one way or another, over the years: our volunteers and sponsors (Museums of Saskatchewan, SaskCulture, Sask Lotteries, Young Canada Works), R.M. of Mountain View #318, our landowners, board members, past and present staff members, donors (Enbridge, the Valley View Tea Room) and all our guests.”

Since 1994, staff have protected the First Nations history in the region.

Another big draw for visitors from all over North America is the fossilized plesiosaur skeletons on site, as well as other marine fossils dating back 65 million years.

Herschel is roughly 140 kilometres southwest of Saskatoon.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Calgary girl who died in skiing accident remembered with Abby Award

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For David Wunsch, coming back to the ski hill where his nine-year-old daughter died never gets any easier.

“It’s difficult at times, but we get here and we know that Abby and her spirit [are] fully entrenched in the ski hill. It’s a place where I can connect with her and know that she’s around and with us here,” said Wunsch at Nakiska Ski Area on Sunday.

Abby Wunsch was on the U10 Race Club at Nakiska. She loved to ski.

“She was always smiling,” said her teammate, Natalee Tulloch. “She was a fun and happy girl, and when you were sad she would always be there to help cheer you up.”


READ MORE:
Nine-year-old girl found unconscious on Nakiska ski hill in critical condition

In December 2015, Abby was skiing with her team on a green run she had done countless times before. But this time, she hit a tree.

“She didn’t lose control,” Wunsch recalled. “There was a young witness who saw her. She wasn’t skiing out of her element. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Right away, there were ski coaches and patrols on scene and were able to help her within minutes. Unfortunately, the injuries were too great.”

David Wunsch and his daughter’s ski team jacket at Nakiska Ski Area.

Global News

Abby’s parents weren’t sure if they could ever return to the mountains again, but it was her little brother who encouraged them.

“Right after it happened, Isaac said to us: ‘We’ll take a couple of weeks off but then we will go back skiing.’ He really led us. I didn’t know at the time if we could ever ski again or even come back to the ski hill but he led us, and for such a young person to help us, we just went with it, and it’s good because the support we’ve had from Nakiska and the ski community, I think it helped us tremendously in our grief,” Wunsch said.

He added that he and his wife, Jessie, made the decision together to continue with Abby’s brother’s ski team.

“The incident was part of the sport, and we understand that. Life sometimes has inherent risks so I don’t think we can go around being bubble-wrapped and stopping living for the risk that something may happen,” Wunsch said.


READ MORE:
Alberta Alpine Ski Association mourns death of 9-year-old skier

The Wunsch family has now set up the Abby Award in memory of their daughter. Seventy-eight medals were given out in 2017 to young skiers across Canada who demonstrated Abby’s attributes, such as effort, passion and an ability to have fun.

Parents and coaches call the family an inspiration to their community.

“I admire them because going through such a tragedy and to turn it into such a positive thing is amazing to me,” said Kim Blouin, whose daughter received an Abby Award.

“This award is special because there’s all kinds of other medals for performance, but this is about attitude and work ethic and passion and showing up and being there 100 per cent of the time.”

Thoughts of Abby remain as teammates ski down the run where they lost their friend three years ago.

“I always think of her every time I go down that run,” said Tulloch, also an Abby Award recipient. “I don’t feel sad. I feel happy and grateful that I got to know her.”

Abby’s racing jacket now hangs on the wall at the Nakiska Lodge. Olympic athletes like Brady Leman and Kerrin Lee-Gartner, teammates and first responders who were at the scene of the accident wear the Abby Badge in her memory.

The award now helps all those grieving to find some peace.

“Setting up the award really brought out what Abby was about,” said Wunsch. “It helped us to honour her and helped us in our grief. It helped a lot of other people that were with us in our grief. It helps us remember all the great things about Abby and it helps us be positive for those other athletes out there and not dwell on the fact we don’t see her every day and that we will one day.”

The Wunsch family has set up the Abby Award Foundation to help cover the costs associated with presenting the Abby Award across the country. Funding for the Abby Award Foundation is being  achieved in part by selling Abby Badges.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Edmonton Fringe Festival announces new $10K award aimed at promoting diversity, inclusivity – Edmonton

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The Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival announced a new $10,000 award which is aimed at developing a “more inclusive and diverse theatre arts community” at the event, just weeks after capping off a record-breaking year for attendance.

“We acknowledge there is an imbalance in the representation of diverse voices on our stages,” Murray Utas, the festival’s artistic director, said in a news release issued on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Edmonton Fringe Festival breaks ticket sales record yet again

Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ coverage of the Edmonton Fringe Festival.


The endowment is called the Mowat Diversity Award, named after Dave Mowat, who festival officials said “helped transform the landscape of Fringe Theatre while serving as the CEO of ATB Financial.”

READ MORE: ATB president Dave Mowat retiring after 11 years

According to festival officials, Mowat and his wife Sandy “helped to break down the barriers between audience and art, to discover exciting ways to make theatre more accessible and supportive of our diverse community.”

“It is through the generous support and work of leaders like Dave Mowat that we are able to create and sustain opportunities for diverse artists to be heard and celebrated at the Fringe Festival,” Utas said.

“This award helps us work toward creating a more equitable balance of the stories represented on our stages.”

READ MORE: Vancouver actors say city’s theatre scene not nearly diverse enough

The Fringe Festival said “the successful, eligible artist will be drawn by lottery” and will then be given a theatre venue complete with technicians as well as lighting and sound equipment. The winner will also receive box-office support, marketing support, a cash prize and mentorship by the Fringe Theatre’s artistic director to help with their show.

READ MORE: Artificial intelligence put to the test during Edmonton Fringe Festival show

People who want a shot at the award can already submit an application. The deadline to apply is Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.

Click here for more information.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Edmonton refugee, teacher on shortlist for Governor General’s Literary Award

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An Edmonton student and his teacher are still in disbelief after learning the pair has been nominated for one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards.

Refugee Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, 17, and his former ESL teacher Winnie Yeung are on the shortlist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction for their novel Homes: A Refugee Story.

“I didn’t really get it in the beginning. I asked some teachers. I asked Miss Winnie, what’s going on? I asked my social teacher. He’s the one who actually helped me understand.

“I was really shocked,” Abu Bakr said.

READ MORE: Winnipeg author wins national literary award

The Edmonton teen has come a long way from his hometown of Basra, Iraq. His family decided to leave Iraq after violence and moved to Homs, Syria shortly before the civil war broke out.

“After six months maybe, the war started in Syria. Things got a little bit different,” he said.

“We were praying at the mosque. By the end of prayer, there’s was a shooting at the mosque.”

The book was published by Freehand Books.

Julia Wong/Global News

In 2014, Abu Bakr’s family arrived in Canada as refugees and he admits that many things were a culture shock.

He met Yeung as a Grade 9 student and she asked him what his wish was.

“I told her I want to be like Ronaldo, the soccer player. She laughed and said, ‘Okay, what else?’ That’s when I told her my new secret wish – that I wanted to share my story so that my Grade 9 classmates understand what was actually happening in Iraq and Syria,” Abu Bakr said.

“I felt like people don’t know much about back home, Syria and Iraq, especially some friends in Grade 9.

“They asked me if we have schools in Syria, if the trees are the same or the neighbourhoods are the same.”

READ MORE: Syrian refugee in Edmonton creates business opportunity with specialty nut store

What started as a speech became a short story and then a novel, with Abu Bakr as the storyteller and Yeung as the writer. Names of chapters include “Where did the sun go?” “My first massacre” and “Enroute to Canada.”

“For this lovely young man to say that I want to share my story — that just taps into something,” Yeung said.

“I believe in the power of storytelling and how that connects us to our community.”

Yeung interviewed Abu Bakr, his parents and siblings and their extended family for the novel, which is her first book.

“Stringing together this family’s narrative into this book, I feel so honoured and privileged to be allowed such access into their life,” she said.

“I wanted to highlight that, in no way, has Abu Bakr ever carried himself as a victim of war. He’s always just Abu Bakr; he’s warm, he’s funny and he’s always made this effort to just be really, really present in his life.

“He didn’t really carry all those awful things with him as a victim – he was a survivor and he was strong and that’s really what I wanted to honour in the book.”

Yeung said she never envisioned being nominated for a Governor General’s award.

“It has been just the most humbling and strange experience. I’m still completely shocked and it hasn’t really hit home what’s really happened yet,” she said.

READ MORE: Syrian refugee finds success and a new home in Calgary

Abu Bakr said the literary nomination has also taken his family off-guard as well.

“My family was also shocked about how people would like to hear about us and how people are thinking about the book and our story,” he said.

The pair said the experience has changed them and they hope the book does that for readers.

“We are the very same to each other,” Abu Bakr said.

“There’s not a big difference. We’ve got the same stories, the same feelings and the human sense, the connection between each other.”

The winners of the Governor General Literary Awards will be announced Oct. 30.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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