5 things you absolutely must know today

1. Record harvest in Saskatchewan confirmed by Stats Canada

Statistics Canada has confirmed that Saskatchewan farmers produced the largest crop in the province’s history in 2013 – 38.4 million tonnes, which surpasses targets set for 2020 by the provincial government’s Saskatchewan Plan for Growth.

According to numbers in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, 2013’s crop is 40 per cent higher than last year’s and 48 per cent higher than the 10-year average. Saskatchewan’s canola harvest is also estimated to be the largest on record at 8.9 million tonnes which is 37.5 per cent higher than 2012. [StarPhoenix]

2. Winnipeg’s Sherbrook Pool to reopen, says Katz

After closing indefinitely in November 2012 over concerns of a roof collapse, Winnipeg’s beloved Sherbrook pool is set to open after funding for repairs has been found, according to Mayor Sam Katz. While no money for the 87-year-old pool was identified in the 2014 budget, Katz said the  $2.8 million needed for repairs can easily be found.

Despite criticisms of the pool being underused and its infrastructure beyond repair, area residents have continually fought for the pool to be reopened. [Winnipeg Free Press]

3. Edmonton’s downtown arena has a familiar name

Edmonton’s new downtown arena, expected to be built by 2016 for $480 million, will be named Rogers Place, joining Rogers Centre in Toronto and Rogers Arena in Vancouver in the list of venues under Rogers Communications’ brand.

Construction is slated to start next spring and be ready to open for the 2016/17 season while the Edmonton Oilers are still in negotiations with Rexall Place to play there until 2016. [Edmonton Journal]

4. Manitoba students near the bottom in math, reading and science

Despite Canada faring relatively well among the 65 participating nations in tests of reading, math and science, Manitoban students scored among the worst in Canada. According the results from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 15-year-olds in Manitoba ranked eighth in math and ninth in reading and science.

For some perspective, Manitoba’s scores are still better than those in the United Kingdom, United States, Russia, Sweden, Spain, Italy and Brazil. [Winnipeg Free Press]

5. Same-sex couple ask to live together as inmates in housing unit

The courts will not hear a Saksatchewan couple’s case who have requested to share a housing unit at a minimum-security facility. Instead, they must follow the prison’s grievance process, according to a ruling by a Saskatchewan judge.

The inmates were serving life sentences at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary, though they were transferred to the Riverbend Annex earlier this year, which features residential houses that can accommodate between eight and 10 people. [StarPhoenix]

Palmer tweets occasionally at @palmerfritschy