Calgary community foundation receives $117-million gift from ‘Doc’ Seaman’s estate
The money has been quietly trickling in for a few years, discreetly accumulating at the behest of a larger-than-life character who asked that the magnitude of his generosity remain private upon his death.
But on Wednesday, the Calgary Foundation announced Daryl “Doc” Seaman’s $117-million donation – believed to be the largest gift to a community fund and the second-largest cash donation in Canadian history.
Toronto air pollution down over past decade
A new report shows that air quality in the city and in Ontario has been steadily improving over the past decade, with fewer smog days and less pollution.
Emissions of major smog-causing pollutants dropped significantly in the province between 2001 and 2011. Carbon monoxide declined 24 per cent, while nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide fell 36 and 55 per cent, respectively.
The report, released Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment, credits government policies like the phase-out of coal-fired electricity plants and mandatory vehicle emissions testing.
“It’s clear that government initiatives to improve air quality are having an impact,” said spokesperson Kate Jordan.
Iroquois Ironmen Win Creator’s Cup Lacrosse Title
In an inredible run, the Iroquois Ironmen, an all-Native squad, knocked out the top three seeds in the Canadian Lacrosse League playoffs to win the 2013 Creator’s Cup title. The sixth-seeded Ironmen won only four games in the regular season, but it was their three stunning playoff wins that earned them this year’s championship.
Canada, U.S. agree to work together to improve Great Lakes water quality
Environment Minister Peter Kent and Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, signed the updated deal in a brief ceremony in Washington on Friday.
The amendments address problems with invasive aquatic species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change.
They also support continued work on existing threats to health and the environment in the Great Lakes Basin such as harmful algae, toxic chemicals and shipping discharges.
The updated agreement also calls for developing plans to protect and restore near-shore areas, the primary source of drinking water for Great Lakes communities and the area where most commerce and recreation occurs.
It agrees on the need to develop conservation strategies to protect native species and restore habitat.
Google to map Canada’s national parks
Some of Canada’s most beloved national parks and historic sites are going online in hopes that allowing people to hike the woods on their computer screens will encourage them to do it in real life.
A deal between Parks Canada and Google Maps is allowing the global Internet giant to take its special cameras to natural and historic wonders from L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland to British Columbia’s Pacific Rim National Park.
“It’s a way that we see we can step into the psyche of a lot of Canadians and really be able to show these great, iconic places that belong to all of us in a new way,” Andrew Campbell, vice-president of visitor experience for Parks Canada, said Wednesday.
“If people are dreaming about going there, this gives them a way to explore before they go.”
Google staff plan to drive the roads, hike the paths and peer into the rooms of 120 national parks and historic sites by the end of 2014 using backpack-mounted cameras being used this year for the first time in Canada.
Classical diplomacy: Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra to tour China next fall
Plans were announced Monday morning in Ottawa for a two-and-a-half-week tour the National Arts Centre Orchestra will make to China next fall.
From Oct. 4 to 20, the 70– member orchestra will perform in seven cities (including Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai), give eight major concerts, interact with hundreds of Chinese musical students in 80 educational events, and generally spread the excellence of Canadian music-making to one of the fastest-growing audiences for classical music in the world.
Students break fuel-efficiency mark
The number just jumps out at you: 3,587 miles per gallon. Or in Canadian terms, 1,525 kilometres on a single litre of fuel - that would certainly lessen the pain at the pump, wouldn’t it?
To put that in perspective, that single litre of fuel would be enough to get you from Montreal to Toronto and back, with enough left over for a roundtrip to Ottawa.
That is fuel efficiency most car companies could only dream of achieving - and yet, a team from the Univer-sité Laval was able to produce that result two weekends ago at the 2013 Shell Eco-marathon Americas held in Houston.
It marked the fourth time that a prototype gasoline vehicle from the school has won the event, earning the winners a $2,000 prize.
In all, 155 teams from five countries participated in the event, which challenges students to design, build and drive the most energy-efficient car.
University of Calgary receives $40-million gift, largest in its history
It was half a century ago that Don Taylor was thrust in front of a class. Still a student himself, he had caught on as a sessional instructor – but didn’t know the first thing about teaching.
“I was a 22-year-old kid teaching statically indeterminate structures. I don’t even know what a statically indeterminate structure is today, but at that time I did,” recalled Mr. Taylor, now 77. “Here I am, having never taught a class in my life. It’s absolutely absurd to put a person in front of a class and expect him to teach a subject as complicated as that with no teaching skills. And yet I was there doing that.”
Regional district receives largest individual land donation in Central Okanagan history
More than 324 hectares of land along the south slopes will be protected for generations thanks to the Central Okanagan’s largest individual land donation.
The land will become the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.
With several members of the Johns family in attendance, regional board chair Robert Hobson made the announcement at Cedar Creek Community Centre Wednesday.
“As a result of the generosity of (the Johns), we’ve spent about 20 years working toward the acquisition with the Central Okanagan Land Trust, the regional district and other individuals in the community,” said Hobson.
He noted regional staff has yet to discover a larger individual land donation in provincial history.
Northern Ontario First Nations sign education agreement with province, Ottawa
Canada, Ontario and a large group of northern First Nations have signed a joint plan to give the communities a larger say in the schooling of about 7,000 students.
It’s the first tripartite agreement with Ontario, and is based on similar agreements that have worked well in other provinces.
The memorandum of understanding is with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, an organization that represents 49 First Nations communities across Northern Ontario, many of them isolated and struggling with poverty and addiction.
The memo commits governments and First Nations to improving education so that it is on par with the rest of the province.
Taste Alberta: Delivery services mean you don’t have to leave home to buy organic food
Remember the ice cream truck? Remember how even the most fleeting glimpse of that childhood icon was enough to send shivers of anticipation coursing through your body? And remember how much effort it took not to instantly bolt out of the house and chase it down?
Now picture that same ice cream truck, but instead of finding ice cream stuffed inside, imagine finding veggies.
Aboriginal Language Gets Official Status in Nunavut, Canada
As of April 1, Inuktitut became an official language of Nunavut, putting it on par with English and French in the territory.
“This level of statutory protection for an aboriginal language is unprecedented in Canada,” said the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Culture and Heritage in an April 2 news release.
Canada opens first diplomatic mission in Iraq in 22 years
Canada’s foreign minister made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday to meet with Iraqi leaders and open the country’s first diplomatic mission in Iraq in more than two decades, saying the Canadian government intends to expand its engagement with the war-torn country.
Foreign Minister John Baird landed in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Monday morning, marking the first trip to Iraq by a Canadian foreign minister since 1976. He met with with a number of senior officials in the Iraqi government, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and parliament speaker Usama al-Nujayfi.
The highlight of the brief visit was the opening of a small diplomatic mission in Baghdad. The new mission, co-located in the British Embassy under an agreement signed last year with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, will be an offshoot of the Canadian embassy in Jordan.
“Today’s opening is a historic milestone in Canadian relations with Iraq and comes at a pivotal moment,” Baird said, adding that Iraq is “one of the fastest-growing economies in the world” despite deep and lingering sectarian tensions. It marks Canada’s first diplomatic mission in Iraq since it closed its embassy in Baghdad in 1991.
“With conflict raging in neighboring Syria, with [Iran’s] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s regime relentlessly pursuing sectarian hegemony and nuclear ambitions, and with a NATO ally and economic partner bordering Iraq’s north, today’s opening here in Baghdad expresses Canada’s intention to expand our engagement with a key regional player,” Baird said.
UAE relaxes travel restrictions on Canadians
The United Arab Emirates has reinstated a visa waiver for Canadian citizens it withdrew amid a dispute over landing rights more than two years ago, a move suggesting the disagreement may be nearing a resolution.
Canada was one of more than 30 countries, mostly Western, that benefited from a visa waiver the UAE offered to their citizens. But Canadians were told in November 2010 they had to obtain a visa in advance at a cost of as much as $1,000.
Dubai carrier Emirates had been lobbying the Canadian government to boost its thrice-weekly direct flights to Toronto and more Canadian destinations, with support from the UAE government, but failed to gain greater access. Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways had also sought to increase its flights.
The reinstatement of the waiver was announced in a joint statement carried by the official UAE news agency WAM following a meeting on Tuesday between Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan.
“Just over a year ago, we set out an agenda between our countries to … facilitate travel requirements to increase business, tourism and joint prosperity for our citizens, by restoring the visa regime,” the statement said.
There was no word in the statement about changes in landing rights, but Emirates said it welcomed the move because it added to the convenience of its passengers.
An Emirates statement added: “We currently operate three flights per week to Toronto and welcome the opportunity to add additional flights to Canada, but this remains a matter between the Canadian and UAE governments.”
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield took the helm of the International Space Station on Wednesday, only the second time in the outpost’s 12-year history that command has been turned over to someone who is not American or Russian.
“It’s a huge honor and a privilege for me, but also for all the people at the Canadian Space Agency and for my entire country,” Hadfield, 53, said during a change of command ceremony aboard the station broadcast on NASA Television.
“Thank you very much for giving me the keys to the family car,” Hadfield told outgoing station commander Kevin Ford, who is due to depart on Thursday along with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin.
“We’re going to put some miles on it, but we’ll bring it back in good shape,” Hadfield said.
Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin have been aboard the station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 250 miles above Earth, since October.
Command of the station, a project of 15 nations that has been permanently staffed since November 2000, normally rotates between primary partners United States and Russia.
But in May 2009, Belgian astronaut Frank De Winne became the first station commander from the European Space Agency.
Hadfield, a veteran of two space shuttle missions, is the station’s first Canadian commander.
Hadfield will be part of a three-man skeleton crew until NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin arrive later this month.
Hadfield, astronaut Thomas Marshburn and cosmonaut Roman Romanenko have been aboard the station since December 21. They are due to return to Earth on May 13.
Among Hadfield’s first duties as commander is overseeing the packing and release of the visiting Space Exploration Technologies’ Dragon cargo capsule. The capsule, making a second resupply run for NASA, is due to depart the station on March 25.
Hadfield has taken to Twitter to share his experiences in orbit with short messages and pictures dispatched several times a day. His followers now number more than 512,000.
“My heartfelt congratulations to Commander Hadfield and his family on what is an important milestone for all Canadians,” Canada’s Industry Minister Christian Paradis said in a statement.