Prairie Post

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Calgary’s Freehand Books, Saskatchewan’s Hockey Day, Edmonton’s naked yoga, and the grim future of Winnipeg’s Sherbrook Pool.

thKelsey Attard of Freehand Books

Aspiring novelists can rest easy, if you had your sights set on Freehand Books as a possible publisher. The publisher’s recent need to freeze acquisitions and let go of a couple of employees was merely just a pothole on what looks like a smooth road ahead. In the past, the award-winning Calgary-based literary imprint didn’t know what their long-term business plan would be, or if having one was even practical but now they seem to back on track.

Kelsey Attard came on board with Freehand Books this past summer, when she replaced former manager editor Sarah Ivany. As of late she has been proud to inform people in the literary community that they are still very much publishing books and is already preparing for the spring launch of two new books. One is by Calgary author Ali Bryan who wrote a comical novel titled Roost, and the other is a collection of stories titled The Green and Purple Skin of the World from author Paulo Da Costa, both books are set for an April release.

“Freehand is not on a search for the next trend or trying to follow a trend, it’s trying to follow books that are of genuine good quality,” Attard says. “You do get these comments in editorial board meetings like ‘Oh, this feels like a Freehand book.’ No one really knows what that means exactly, other than it’s good. A lot of them, not all of them, have the element of the quirky.”


li-assiniboiaciviccentreAssiniboia, Sask., fundraises to replace old arena

While this past Saturday certainly was a Hockey Day as it was the start of the NHL 2013 season, in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan the real win that mattered to the players was the weekend event that began on Friday with six hockey games on Saturday (Saskatchewan’s actual Hockey Day) to raise money for a new arena.

Mike Kress is the organizer of this event where the town is trying to replace the Assiniboia Civic Centre, the town’s current rink, which in 1956 served as a grain storage facility.

“The local farmers got together and part of the way for paying for the Civic Centre at that time was to use it for grain storage and stuff for the first few years,” Kress told CBC Saturday morning.

The current arena has been quite the hub for the community, but with all of the repairs and upgrades it will need to keep going, the town feels it is better to replace it all together. The annual event that is sponsored by SaskEnergy raised about $40,000 for this project at Friday’s silent auction and dinner.


Unknown-1 Men’s naked yoga big in Edmonton

The Hawaiian expression to relax “Hang Loose” brings on a whole new meaning in Edmonton, as naked men’s yoga seems to be a growing trend.  Chris McBain an instructor at Shanti Yoga Studios combines the full monty and the downward dog as he believes he is offering one of the only naked men’s yoga classes in Edmonton and across Canada.

“It’s been a while since I’ve actually done yoga clothed,” McBain said. “Now it’s only been naked, exclusively.”

Before creating the men only class, he teaches today, he began as teaching naked yoga to a naturalist group.

“I think the draw is, it’s facing a challenge, it’s rising to the occasion and moving through fear. Once you’ve accepted a challenge and conquered it, it kind of brings you to a new plateau of being,” he said.

The class participants range in all body types and ages from 20-year-old hard bodies to 65-year-old retirees. Adam Morrison who has been a participant since the class began feels it is much easier to correct the lines of certain poses without clothing getting in the way and newcomer Jordan Kelly likes to let go of all barriers including his ego. For Edmonton men, this trend seems to be sticking around and women have begun showing interest and even asked about co-ed classes.


4682562Sherbrook Pool’s fate is uncertain

It may be more sink than swim for Winnipeg’s Sherbrook Pool, which closed suddenly in November after inspectors noticed 10 of its pillars had eroded. The pool that was built in the 1930s and known then as a Public Bath may be nearing the end of it’s life span, as index reports form 2011 and 2012 show that the deterioration present is deemed beyond its “useful life”.

The group “Friends of the Sherbrook Pool has made their case to the council’s executive policy committee urging them to find funds in the 2013 financial budget for pools to the repair. Russ Wyatt, finance chairman councilor,  isn’t convinced it is the best interest for the city to do so and compares this incident to the millions spent to maintain the structure of the Arlington Bridge.

“There comes a point when it’s a bad investment because the amount you’re spending is exceeding the ability to get any more years of productive use out of that bridge,” Wyatt said.



Chadd Cawson is an intern at Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @ChaddCawson

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