Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fast fun at The Forks entices CBC national show for look

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F is for fun, which is exactly what Jordan Francis has been seeking on his extended cross-Canada search.

F is also for fast, four-wheeled and fearless, at least as far as Winnipegger Josh Thorvaldson is concerned.

And F is for The Forks, which is where this weekend's instalment of CBC's Cross Country Fun Hunt brings Jordan and Josh together for some serious skateboarding adventure.

"The whole thing was just a fun, fast-paced day," says Josh, 15, an Grade 11 student at John Taylor Collegiate. "We were constantly doing something."

The youth-oriented Cross Country Fun Hunt invited kids from across Canada to submit videos, photos and stories about their favourite local fun spots, inviting Jordan to stop in and check them out and, hopefully, have their preferred recreation destination declared the coolest spot in Canada. The winning location, as decided by online viewer voting, will play host to a special concert episode of Fun Hunt that will air in March.

Josh said he heard about the show's call for videos last spring, and since he and skateboarding pal Brayden Slezak had already been shooting a lot of video at the skatepark at The Forks, it was a simple step to submit an action-filled clip to the Fun Hunt website.

"When I found out about the opportunity, I thought it would be a fun thing to do," says Josh. "I just thought I'd see how far it would go."

To Josh's surprise, his submission went pretty far -- far enough to lure Fun Hunt to his hometown to find out more.

When Jordan and the Fun Hunt caravan arrived in Winnipeg, they met Josh at his St. James home and then accompanied him and Brayden as they took their usual mode of transport -- Winnipeg Transit -- to The Forks. After visiting a skate shop to get Jordan outfitted with a board and protective gear, they hit the skatepark and Josh attempted to teach the TV host a few basic skater tricks.

"It was pretty much a day in the life, so I just did what I normally to," says Josh. "For the show, they wanted to show us teaching Jordan to skateboard, since that's what our submission video was about. He's a beginner, but it was fun teaching him how to do some basic skateboard tricks. He learned pretty quick."

He said the Fun Hunt crew -- a bare-bones unit that basically consists of the host and a single video-camera operator -- fit right in with the skatepark crowd.

"It was pretty cool; there was only one guy with a video camera, so it's not like I was surrounded," he recalls. "It felt pretty normal. Everybody was fine with it. There's always someone filming there, though usually not for TV shows."

Josh said he hopes the Fun Hunt experience is as much fun for viewers as it was for his four-wheeled friends.

"It'd be cool if more people decided they want to try skateboarding because they saw our episode of the show," he says.

This week's instalment of Cross Canada Fun Hunt also follows host Jordan as he reconnects with some relatives in Winnipeg, then travels north to the Interlake community of Riverton, where Jordan samples local recreation options, learns about traditional aboriginal drumming and is the guest of honour at a street party.

You can sample Josh's skateboarding skills at Twitter: @BradOswald


Cross Country Fun Hunt

Hosted by Jordan Francis

Today at 9:30 a.m.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 13, 2012 G6

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