Lately, water cooler conversation has been focused on the delayed spring we’ve been experiencing. As much as I like talking about politics, religion, and the weather (please note the sarcasm), there are plenty of more interesting topics to jaw about lately in the Sault.
From Olympic champions to successful first time charity events, proposed tourist attractions and a new coat of arms, we can do better than complain about the length of our winter or place bets on when we’ll see true signs of spring.
It’s truly amazing that the Brad Jacobs rink took home gold in men’s curling at the Sochi Winter Olympics and that Mac Marcoux captured a gold and two bronze medals in alpine skiing at the Sochi Paralympics.
I was unable to attend the city’s celebration for our Olympians, but was thrilled to hear that close to 3,000 people were there dressed in red and white clothing and Team Canada jerseys. Ted Nolan was also honoured as the head coach of the Latvian National Hockey team at the 2014 Winter Games, but was unable to attend. Marcoux’s brother B.J. was also lauded as Mac’s guide.
As the Sault Star reported on April 4, 2014, Mayor Debbie “Amaroso presented the honorees with plaques and framed newspaper plates to commemorate their outstanding performances on the world stage.”
Jacobs along with lead Ryan Harnden, second E.J. Harnden, third Ryan Fry and coach Tom Coulterman were singled out by Amaroso “for their gold-medal performance in Sochi, and also for the impact the group has in the city.”
I was proud to have such fine role models representing the Sault and thrilled to received calls and emails from friends and family across the country that saw the interview with Jacobs broadcast across the country where he spoke of the Sault.
And while not an Olympian, it was also a pleasure to read about the Sault local accountant, Peter Giustini, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro earlier this year. His trip, however, was not about personal achievement, he donated over two weeks of his time at an orphanage in Nairobi.
I admire those that donate their time, instead of simply money. Giustini, having spent time at the orphanage, now has the contacts and is making plans to get more aid to specific causes in Nairobi.
This spring also saw the launch of two new charitable efforts in the Sault, one collecting prom dresses for local teens, and the collection of used shoes for developing nations.
“All Dressed Up!, organized by Crime Stoppers of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District, collected 400 dresses from city residents and businesses in six weeks,” reported the Sault Star on March 24th. More than double the estimated 50 teens attended the event, at Algoma’s Water Tower Inn to find the perfect dress for prom.
“Participants included students who are strapped for cash, homeless and have low self-esteem.” It’s no small feat to make a teenage girl feel like they fit in with their peers and also to feel like a princess, so kudos to the organizers.
Another first year event has seen the collection of gently used footwear for developing nations, as part of the “kick” off of the recent Easter Seals Telethon.
From the volunteers that man the telephones at the telethon to those involved in the dress and footwear events, your time makes a true difference in the community and beyond.
Entomica, which will be one component of the Destination North St. Mary’s Paper revitalization project, has me all a “buzz.” I’m particularly interested in the one of a kind Nocturneium that will showcase nocturius insects like fireflies. I would absolutely go hang out with a bunch of fireflies to light up my afternoon once in a while.
Lastly, the city’s new coat of arms is close to being finished, and what is perhaps most exciting is that it didn’t involve a $50,000 consulting study to decide upon it. Designed by local artist Eva Pilar-Cass, the coat of arms will soon receive approval from the heraldic society and from the Governor General, and the cost of the preliminary design artwork was reported to be only $595.
While the city is renewing the coat of arms, perhaps our new Olympians will give city council the impetus it needs to update the athletic accomplishments on the sign at city limits that currently boasts being Memorial Cup champions in the early nineties. Then we can talk about signs of spring including a new sign to be boastfully proud about.
So, if you find yourself complaining about the weather, then by all means, pick up a newspaper and read about all of the positive goings-on in the Sault.