I’m sitting in a Starbucks at downtown Saskatoon’s numerically alliterative corner of 2nd and 22nd. I’m actually typing this into Word, as it seems that Starbucks wants me to pay 7.50 for the privilege of an hours worth of wireless broadband. Needless to say, I am morally opposed to paying for the internet outside of my house, and so this is a sort of “live to tape” blog entry. Whatever.
Anyway- downtown Saskatoon is actually pretty interesting, and reminds me somewhat of Halifax, but without the history, hills, harbour and hominess. Its got the feel of a really nicely laid out city, where there are lots of nice, wide sidewalks with interesting and quirky local stores, while at the same time being mostly accessible to traffic. There are lots of historical plaques on the buildings, which is a sort of trivia wet dream for those with an affinity for local history and architecture. Some are interesting, such as a quote from Sir Wilfrid Laurier on meeting a young paperboy by the name of John Diefenbaker, others are the usual sort of local historical plaque that provides context on a building without really placing it in any larger historical narrative. It’s neat to know that the CBC building was designed by a prominent local architect and has been more or less restored to what it looked like 80 years ago, but it doesn’t really tell me much more about the city or the street. That said, there are lots of them, and that is pretty cool.
I had to come downtown to get a cell phone set up and my eyeglasses fixed. The glasses had spent the night on the ground in the Hotel parking lot in Thunder Bay, and the frames were pretty out of shape. Karma was probably telling me it’s time to get new glasses- mine are 8 years old- but cheapness overcame and I got them fixed for free. The cell phone was a no go for now, as the Sasktel people were unable to hack into the handset I had to activate it
Earlier in the day we drove through the U Sask campus, which is sort of reminiscent of Carleton in the sense that all the buildings seem to be spread out and it is next to a huge field. Apparently the research facilities adjacent (or affiliated, I can’t remember) are really, really cool and proficient. Or so I’m told by big Saskatoon pushers. I got to see the exterior of the Canadian Light Source Synchotron, and boy did my particles feel accelerated. I also drove by the Diefenbaker center, which is sort of a “Chief” Museum and library, and actually has him buried outside. I didn’t get a chance to stop and see the grave, but will be back later. Since the temperatures are of the usual bitter prairie winter sort, I’m not even going to bother trying to strike him off the list of Prime Ministerial graves slept on.
Its been pretty quiet on the election front. The campaign is starting slowly, with mostly logistical and organizational bitchwork being taken care of now. It’s one of those situations where two or three big pieces need to fall into place before we can really gear up and start the intensive electioneering. Realistically, this is probably for the best as, at eight weeks with a big intermission in the middle, the campaign is more of an ironman marathon than the usual hundred meter dash. So yesterday, I spent the afternoon doing the mind-numbingly dull task of merging 4 or 5 membership spreadsheets into one, making sure to avoid repetitions and keeping it simple enough to manage the information. Needless to say, my eyes hurt towards the end.
In the evening, Ryan, Holly and I went to the brand-spanking new Chris Axworthy Headquarters to do some cleaning and organizing. The office is a former bank, so comes complete with the concrete form of a vault and a functioning ATM. The ATM is handy, not least of all to get cash, but because it generates a lot of foot traffic near the front doors. The cleaning and set up task seemed daunting at first, but with a few solid hours of work between us and a handful of others, the office is in a usable shape. More work to be done before it can really be opened, but a good start. Once again, a Marathon, not a sprint.
It looks like I’ll be heading to Regina on Sunday morning. More info as it comes.