Dan Sylvestre

Dan Sylvestre

Fort Rouge community correspondent

Dan Sylvestre is a community correspondent for Fort Rouge.

Recent articles of Dan Sylvestre

Skeeter season in full effect

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Skeeter season in full effect

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Monday, Jul. 4, 2022

As summer time finally gets going full swing, and many of us start doing yard work, construction and trying to enjoy our patios, we all know that these few months are precious — and mosquitoes are an annoyance that can can ruin our outdoor good times, not to mention problems related to West Nile Fever and Zika virus.

This is the first year in many where the mosquitoes have been so bad at our place in the country that we just learn to live with them. We had a couple guys come over to fix our pool plumbing the other night and one of the young fellows seemed to think that Deep Woods Off! was the finest of colognes.

That’s fine for some, but if you’re more of an organic type, here are a few ideas to keep those pesky critters to themselves:

Lemon eucalyptus oil has been a natural mosquito deterrent for almost a century and studies have shown that a mixture of 1 part oil and 2 parts water can be 95 per cent effective in warding off the mosquitoes for up to three hours.

Monday, Jul. 4, 2022

Bamboo citronella torches are one of many ways to keep mosquitoes from ruining all your summer fun.

Free to travel once again

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Free to travel once again

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

As the world slowly resumes its post-COVID normality some of you may be considering knocking a few items off your bucket lists. We recently did this by going on a cruise and then visiting the Florida Keys.

If you’ve never vacationed on a cruise ship, here are a few things we discovered on our first cruise which left from Miami and visited a couple of different in the Bahamas. Do not assume that you will find what you need on the boat. The airline lost our luggage and luckily it arrived on the ship prior to departure because there was no toothpaste on the ship, nor Advil or Tylenol for my wife’s headaches. Be sure when travelling to keep toiletry necessities and a spare change of clothes in your carry-on luggage.

There will be many great activities on the boat, but there are people everywhere all the time. The only place you’ll find a quiet space is in your room. We did not choose to upgrade to a larger space or balcony room, which worked for us, but the room was very small — just 150 square feet, which left just enough room for a small bathroom and a bed. We weren’t there much, so it wasn’t a big deal, but I did sneak peeks into the larger rooms as we walked the halls and they looked pretty sweet.

The shipboard staff was very friendly and the food was consistently tasty, whether we ate in the buffet or the main dining room. Having dinner near the window overlooking the ocean was a really cool experience. The food was included and again, upgrades were not necessary. Alcoholic drinks were approximately $10 each or you could buy an all-inclusive package but they are expensive and you really have to commit to drinking if you go that route. We decided to spend our money on the island waterpark and the beach daybeds instead, and these were worth every dollar. As for sea sickness, we could feel the boat moving slightly but did not feel any discomfort. There are pills you can take or motion sickness patches that people put behind their ears.

Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

Correspondent Dan Sylvestre and his wife recently enjoyed a Caribbean cruise that stopped at a couple of Bahamian islands.

Churchill athletes are doing the school proud

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Churchill athletes are doing the school proud

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Friday, Jan. 21, 2022

As I enter my second decade as a teacher and coach I believe this is a first - the Collège Churchill High School Bulldogs won four Winnipeg School Division volleyball championships this past season.

The four teams that won their respective league championships were the varsity boys, varsity girls, junior varsity girls and junior high girls.

The junior high girls’ team was coached by teachers Aaron Boila and Sydney Pankratz.  The team had a regular season record of 6-1, and beat Stanley Knowles two sets to none in the championship. The first set was 25-13 and the second set was 26-24 in an exciting match.

The junior varsity girls were coached by teacher, Hailey Unger who led the girls through a great season.

Friday, Jan. 21, 2022

Supplied photo
The Collège Churchill High School girls hockey team was placed in CTV Division 1 of the WWHSHL in its first season in the league.

Fill up your holidays with a new hobby

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Fill up your holidays with a new hobby

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021

’Tis the season to be ______ ? 

Obviously, the blank should read “jolly” but if you’re have lost someone special in your life, the holiday season can be a time of sadness. My heart goes out to all those who wish they could be a little jollier at this time of year. 

That said, if you need some cheering up during the holiday season, what better reason than to spoil yourself a little. Maybe it’s time to buy yourself a giant TV or make financial plans for that family vacation you’ve been putting off?

If you are looking for some holiday happiness, I recommend that you spend your time with whatever activity that warms your heart and just dive right in.

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021

’Tis the season to be ______ ? 

Obviously, the blank should read “jolly” but if you’re have lost someone special in your life, the holiday season can be a time of sadness. My heart goes out to all those who wish they could be a little jollier at this time of year. 

That said, if you need some cheering up during the holiday season, what better reason than to spoil yourself a little. Maybe it’s time to buy yourself a giant TV or make financial plans for that family vacation you’ve been putting off?

If you are looking for some holiday happiness, I recommend that you spend your time with whatever activity that warms your heart and just dive right in.

Local suppliers have the wood you need

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Local suppliers have the wood you need

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

South of Winnipeg there are two wood businesses working with people and the planet to deliver firewood, craft supplies and sawmill supplies such as wood slabs, lumber, beams, epoxy work and more.

Mitch Girardin’s firewood service, Girardin Custom Timber Sales, just south of St. Adolphe, has been supplying customers with tamarack, oak, ash, poplar, birch, maple, spruce and more since 2018 and delivers in quantities as small as bundles of 12 to 15 pieces for a small bonfire up to larger quantities of over two cords of wood in a single load. I can assure you that  this wood is not like the eight pieces of fast-burning poplar you can get at 7-Eleven for 10 bucks — quality and satisfaction is of utmost importance.

(A ‘‘cord’’ of wood, by the way, is four feet high, four feet wide and eight feet long, or 128 cubic feet.)

Prices vary depending on the species of tree as the denser, harder woods burn longer and hotter. Oak, ash and tamarack are at the top of the price list and when your house or camp stove is toasty hot you’ll know where the extra money went… it’s not as great as being so wealthy that burning money is cool, but it’s the next best thing.

Friday, Nov. 26, 2021

Facebook.com
Girardin Custom Timber Sales sells many different kinds of wood and firewood in a variety of quantities.

You never know what may come next

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

You never know what may come next

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 5, 2021

When the pen hits the paper and is ready to move, the writer hope to string together perfect words; a pleasure for anyone to read — witty, informative, inspiring … leaving the reader comfortable and happy, like watching fluorescent, glowing jellyfish and pondering deeper thoughts or even a life-changing chess move.

Although it won’t flow as smoothly as Stairway to Heaven, here we are at my 100th column for The Sou’wester.

I’d like to say thank you to Julie Carl for giving me this chance in 2011 and to John Kendle for working with me since as editor.

This achievement may not be as great as Gretzky’s 100th point or Dali’s 100th painting (which is for sale on shirts and leggings). Really, there’s no comparison and, to be honest, I had pictured the moment differently — always on a Caribbean island in my dreams — and as I stare out the back window to the rainy green grass and ponder life for a brief moment, a six-month-old husky runs across my eyes, chased by a two-year-old German shepherd mix, both lost in play and the moment.

Friday, Nov. 5, 2021

Photo by Dan Sylvestre
Make the most of what comes your way, even if that is an opportunity for rest and relaxation

Considering a pool? Here’s what I learned

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Considering a pool? Here’s what I learned

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

My wife bought me a small swimming pool a couple of years ago as a Father’s Day gift, but it lasted just one year.

I went to put it back together the second summer and the pump wouldn’t work and all the hoses were cracked. So this summer we took the plunge on an upgrade to a ‘’real’’ pool and I’d like to share the pros and cons with you.

Finances are always part of any large decision for us therefore we chose an above-ground pool. In-ground pools require serious construction and a lot of concrete.

That said, our 18 x 33-foot above-ground pool was still quite the project. Luckily I have a great neighbour with a tractor to till up the grass, move the dirt and bring in crushed rock to build a solid, level foundation.

Tuesday, Sep. 28, 2021

Dreamstime.com
If you’re considering adding a swimming pool to your yard, be sure to make the decision with your eyes wide open.

Looking for a place to happen

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Preview

Looking for a place to happen

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

You know what’s on my mind right now? Well, it’s not the coffee in my kitchen, it’s the dead mice in my garage!

I’ve got a small wood shop, approximately 200 square-feet, attached to the back of my garage and in the corner is an old pull-out couch where my older dog likes to chill. It’s the perfect scene as she sleeps there, and I putter in the shop on these beautiful summer days. Although the summer has been great, mother nature is already letting us know that winter is around the corner and instinctively, creatures are looking for a cosy place to set up for the long winter months ahead.

The other day “man’s best friend’’ was frantically chasing something near a box of bark I had been too lazy to throw out. After some quick investigation I heard squeaking coming from the box and as I lifted the pieces of wood from atop the pile, my mind spasmed slightly; I discovered a newborn litter of mice. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a tree-hugging animal lover as much as I can be, but when it comes to mice in my house (or wood shop) that’s where I draw the line; these creatures are nothing more than a nuisance in the home. The next few moments are a bit foggy as my mind raced in a state of panic on how to best rid myself of these unwanted guests.

My first instinct was to burn the box, in classic pyromaniac form. I even had the can of gas out in the middle of the yard ready to go; until the dog got into the box again and one of these little mice was lying helplessly on the grass. With his little eyes closed to the world a new notion came over me: “I don’t need to burn these guys to death, I just need to get them as far away from my house as possible.” I proceeded to march the box of mice some 500 feet or so down to the forest near the river where I left them to have nature take its course.

Friday, Aug. 27, 2021

You know what’s on my mind right now? Well, it’s not the coffee in my kitchen, it’s the dead mice in my garage!

I’ve got a small wood shop, approximately 200 square-feet, attached to the back of my garage and in the corner is an old pull-out couch where my older dog likes to chill. It’s the perfect scene as she sleeps there, and I putter in the shop on these beautiful summer days. Although the summer has been great, mother nature is already letting us know that winter is around the corner and instinctively, creatures are looking for a cosy place to set up for the long winter months ahead.

The other day “man’s best friend’’ was frantically chasing something near a box of bark I had been too lazy to throw out. After some quick investigation I heard squeaking coming from the box and as I lifted the pieces of wood from atop the pile, my mind spasmed slightly; I discovered a newborn litter of mice. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a tree-hugging animal lover as much as I can be, but when it comes to mice in my house (or wood shop) that’s where I draw the line; these creatures are nothing more than a nuisance in the home. The next few moments are a bit foggy as my mind raced in a state of panic on how to best rid myself of these unwanted guests.

My first instinct was to burn the box, in classic pyromaniac form. I even had the can of gas out in the middle of the yard ready to go; until the dog got into the box again and one of these little mice was lying helplessly on the grass. With his little eyes closed to the world a new notion came over me: “I don’t need to burn these guys to death, I just need to get them as far away from my house as possible.” I proceeded to march the box of mice some 500 feet or so down to the forest near the river where I left them to have nature take its course.

Explore southern Manitoba

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Explore southern Manitoba

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 13, 2021

Although southern Manitoba doesn’t cover a whole lot of real estate compared to the north, there are still many great spots to crack a cold one by the lake.

When I was a young lad and my parents took me camping, one of our favourite hot spots was Debonair Campground near St. Malo Provincial Park. The campground, just east of the town of St. Malo, is less than an hour away from Winnipeg, south down Highway 59.

St. Malo campground has everything you would need for your weekend getaway from reality. There’s one beach for campers and another beach for day visitors in St. Malo Provincial Park, the lake is beautiful and, if you’re a good swimmer, you can cross from one beach to the other in an hour or less (bring a life jacket or floatie if you question your swimming skills).

If you’ve had enough of swimming and you want to hike back there is a trail that leads around the north end of the lake back to the other side.

Tuesday, Jul. 13, 2021

WInnipeg Free Press photo archive
Beachgoers enjoy the water at St. Malo Provincial Park.

Explore eastern Manitoba

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Explore eastern Manitoba

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 7, 2021

Last month I shared some travel ideas for the region of northern Manitoba and the continuation of this series takes us east.

This area is the most populated of the cabin areas with Falcon Lake, West Hawk Lake and Whiteshell Provincial Park and if you have never camped or hiked in these areas, they are highly recommended, beautiful landscapes of raw nature.

I will attempt to focus on some areas that are a little less visited, beginning with Caddy Lake. Caddy is very close to the Ontario border and has easy access to the Mantario trail, a quite long (63 kilometre) and challenging trail for all ranges of hiking abilities.

Caddy is a long, shallow lake featuring a series of unique tunnels that connect a few different sections of the lake. Canoes and small boats are available for rent; the first tunnel is approximately a 30 to 45-minute paddle but obviously much quicker with a motor behind you.

Monday, Jun. 7, 2021

Photo by Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg F
Whiteshell Provincial Park is home to some of the most beautiful landscape and vistas in the province.

Take time to explore northern Manitoba

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Take time to explore northern Manitoba

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Tuesday, May. 11, 2021

Part of life is about creating memorable moments, which we can then reflect upon and cherish as good times and experiences we shared with loved ones.

Considering our current circumstances and travel restrictions, setting out to explore Manitoba’s great outdoors will get you out of the house and into making some memories in our own back yard, so to speak. Some of my favourite memories have come from camping trips around Manitoba and over the next few months I will attempt to inspire your desire to do the same. This month I will focus on travelling north.

Hecla campground and resort has something for all outdoor enthusiasts from fishing to golfing. The area is beautiful for hiking and relaxing on the beach. Hecla is home to an amazing night sky and still remains the spot where I have seen the most amazing aurora borealis; the purple and green swirls will forever dance in my mind.

One of my favourite northern Manitoba adventures was a canoe trip up to Paint Lake/Pisew Falls Provincial Park near Thompson. We canoed and portaged to a remote lake where we did not see another soul the entire time. We set up camp on an island facing a series of waterfalls to the south and as the sun set in the distant western sky I can still see my buddy pulling in a massive jack fish. The loons welcomed us with their endless songs and the stars shone as bright as I’ve ever seen.

Tuesday, May. 11, 2021

Dreamstime.com
Correspondent Dan Sylvestre writes that the most amazing view of aurora borealis he’s experienced was at Hecla Island.

The little town that could

Dan Sylvestre 2 minute read Preview

The little town that could

Dan Sylvestre 2 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2021

The term “Kraft Hockeyville” means much more to many people in Manitoba than it ever has, as a small town in Manitoba is in the final four for this arena renovation competition that nets the winning community a whopping $250,000 to improve their local hockey rink.

St. Adolphe, a town of approximately 1,500 people in the Rural Municipality of Ritchot, has been growing consistently over the last decade and the community relies on its hockey rink as a central hub of social and physical activity for all ages.

This being said, the home of the St. Adolphe Hawks is in need of some major renovations. The arena was built over an outdoor rink in the early 1990s and things are starting to get old. During this past winter, the ice plant unfortunately stopped working, halting any chance of getting on the ice at all this season. Additionally, the north wall is full of mould and needs to be replaced. Its lighting needs upgrades, as do the dressing rooms. Overall, the money from the competition certainly needed and will be well-spent.

The other three communities joining St. Adolphe in the annual competition in which communities vie with each other to demonstrate their commitment to the sport of ice hockey are Lumsden, Sask., Bobcaygeon Ont. and Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick.

Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2021

Photo by Dan Sylvestre
Darcy Mauthe, president of the St. Adolphe Community Club, was one of many community members who decorated his lawn in celebration of St. Adolphe being one of the four finalists in the annual Kraft Hockeyville competition.

Teachers take advantage of fine weather

Dan Sylvestre 2 minute read Preview

Teachers take advantage of fine weather

Dan Sylvestre 2 minute read Friday, Mar. 19, 2021

On March 8, we broke a record that was 119 years old as the temperature reached a whopping 14.4 degrees Celsius, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The previous record high was from the beginning of the 20th century when a record of 6.7 C was recorded in 1902. Are these unusual temperatures a sign of early summer?

We sure hope so. In an area of the world where temperature can vary so greatly, we have been blessed with a mild winter which has helped us all deal with the challenges of COVID-19 restrictions.

Collège Churchill High School (now amalgamated into one school with two streams of French and English) took advantage of the nice weather for an afternoon of mental wellness.

Friday, Mar. 19, 2021

Photo by Dan Sylvestre
Teachers at Collège Churchill High School enjoyed a mental wellness afternoon (and badminton tournament) on March 8.

Angels of us all…

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Angels of us all…

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

They are waiting to take us into the severed garden.

Do you know how pale and wanton thrillful comes death on a strange hour ?

Unannounced, unplanned for . . .

Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven’s claws.

Friday, Feb. 19, 2021

Supplied photo
Correspondent Dan Sylvestre pays tribute to his mother-in-law, Brigitte Biloki (above, with daughter Tamika), who recently passed away.

Make the most of the outdoors this winter

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Make the most of the outdoors this winter

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

Driving to work down Dunkirk Drive recently, I abruptly turned my head when I saw two polar bears fighting in someone’s front yard.

These snow sculptures, along with another couple of polar bears, are a great example of someone taking advantage of the beautiful weather and keeping busy during this COVID-19 pandemic.

There are several videos online on snow sculpting; even on how to build an igloo, which could also be a lot of fun.

It’s easy to just turn on Netflix and melt into the couch, but with this incredible winter weather, what better thing to do than enjoy the outdoors.

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021

Driving to work down Dunkirk Drive recently, I abruptly turned my head when I saw two polar bears fighting in someone’s front yard.

These snow sculptures, along with another couple of polar bears, are a great example of someone taking advantage of the beautiful weather and keeping busy during this COVID-19 pandemic.

There are several videos online on snow sculpting; even on how to build an igloo, which could also be a lot of fun.

It’s easy to just turn on Netflix and melt into the couch, but with this incredible winter weather, what better thing to do than enjoy the outdoors.

Robbie Williams captures spirit of this season

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Robbie Williams captures spirit of this season

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

This has been a strange and frustrating year. And I think English singer Robbie Williams says it best in his song Can’t Stop Christmas.

I first heard this song just the other day and had to share it, as I’m sure many of you are feeling the same as me. I hope you enjoy the lyrics and can still have an enjoyable holiday season despite the shape our world is in these days.

You can find Can’t Stop Christmas on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/BW4nXP9N7Fg

Take care everyone. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020

This has been a strange and frustrating year. And I think English singer Robbie Williams says it best in his song Can’t Stop Christmas.

I first heard this song just the other day and had to share it, as I’m sure many of you are feeling the same as me. I hope you enjoy the lyrics and can still have an enjoyable holiday season despite the shape our world is in these days.

You can find Can’t Stop Christmas on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/BW4nXP9N7Fg

Take care everyone. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Replace lonely days with strays

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Preview

Replace lonely days with strays

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

As the weather gets colder and COVID restrictions tighten, what better way to fill your day than to adopt or foster a stray pet that needs a loving home?

 Danielle, our secretary at Collège Churchill High School, is one of the friendliest people you will meet. Not only is she very kind to everyone, she has a big space in her heart for animals. She fosters dogs  as a volunteer, so I asked her about her experiences.

This is her story:

“One day last year I saw a Facebook post from Spirit of Hope Rescue looking for fosters. I had no idea there was such a thing as fostering dogs.

Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

Supplied photo
Dexter after three months living with a foster family, prior to finding his forever home.

Keep calm, wear a mask and carry on

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Keep calm, wear a mask and carry on

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 9, 2020

“The times they are a-changin’.”

Never have Bob Dylan’s lyrics from 1964 meant so much to me. The variation of change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is significantly different depending on where you are but it is now impossible to avoid it.

Small country stores have lenient guidelines when it comes to masks and sanitization and many people outside Winnipeg are not wearing masks but in the city it is a different story; basically everyone sports a facial covering and some may even give you a death stare if you aren’t wearing yours.

On a recent Friday night, there was a  grand total of eight people in the movie theatre, including my wife and me.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2020

“The times they are a-changin’.”

Never have Bob Dylan’s lyrics from 1964 meant so much to me. The variation of change brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is significantly different depending on where you are but it is now impossible to avoid it.

Small country stores have lenient guidelines when it comes to masks and sanitization and many people outside Winnipeg are not wearing masks but in the city it is a different story; basically everyone sports a facial covering and some may even give you a death stare if you aren’t wearing yours.

On a recent Friday night, there was a  grand total of eight people in the movie theatre, including my wife and me.

Pandemic boredom results in beauty

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Pandemic boredom results in beauty

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Thursday, Sep. 10, 2020

Are you looking for a hobby to keep your idle hands occupied during this time of pandemic?

“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” you know… So lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil, and spend your time learning how to make an epoxy river table!

If you’ve never seen these types of tables and don’t know what I’m talking about, just get the old Google machine going to see images of a project that may tickle your fancy. From there, YouTube can teach you basically everything you need to know as long as you’re willing to give it your best shot.

First things first, find a couple pieces of wood to work with. These can really be any kind of wood. I’ve found that oak, elm and maple have a little more colour and character to the wood compared to poplar. If you don’t know someone who can supply you with a couple slabs of your desired size, home renovation places will have something you can work with. If the wood is raw, you’ll have to sand it by hand or with a belt sander and orbital sander if you have these tools.

Thursday, Sep. 10, 2020

Get out and about in Manitoba this summer

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Get out and about in Manitoba this summer

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Thursday, Jun. 25, 2020

Did you have travel plans for summer but have had to reconsider leaving the province since the world turned upside down?

If so, here are a few fun options of things to do in our home province:

• Stardust Drive-In Theatre in Morden — Movies began showing last week and will be shown every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

Tickets are available online for $10 per person or at the theatre and they ask that you buy snacks from the concession stand instead of bringing your own, as those proceeds are a major part of their income. Showtime is at dusk (listed at 8:30 p.m. on the website. For more information, visit stardustmorden.com

Thursday, Jun. 25, 2020

Melissa Tait
A family watches the show at Stardust Drive-In in Morden. 120526 - Saturday, May 26, 2012 - Melissa Tait / Winnipeg Free Press

Get your motor runnin’…

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Preview

Get your motor runnin’…

Dan Sylvestre 3 minute read Tuesday, May. 12, 2020

As the days get longer and the weather warms, there’s no better way to ride off into a sunset than on two wheels powered by a roaring engine, or any engine for that matter; ah hell, even your pedal bike is a pretty fun way to get around...

Really it’s just awesome being outside but back to the bikes. Once you get a taste of what I mean you’ll want to ride a bike all year ’round.

I grew up watching dirt bikes rip by in the ditches during the summer. I absolutely loved seeing those bikes whiz past. You could hear the two-stroke engines scream as riders cranked the throttle into the power band past the old house. If my brother and I were lucky, we would see them catwalk past the yard. Yup, those were some days...

Fast forward 10 years, I’m 23 years old, in Taipei City, Taiwan, at a motorcycle shop with a friend who speaks just enough Mandarin to negotiate the price of my first motorcycle. Foreigners weren’t allowed bikes with more than 150cc, so that was my first bike, a Yamaha FZ 150. I took it around the block, stalled a couple times but I was confident I’d figure it out, even on the unpredictable streets of Taipei.

Tuesday, May. 12, 2020

Sou'wester
Spring and warmer weather means motorcycle riders can’t wait to hit the open road.

Collège Churchill High School helps… Churchill

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Preview

Collège Churchill High School helps… Churchill

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020

 

Did you know that it is illegal to lock your car in the northern Manitoba town of Churchill? With a population of less than 1,000 permanent residents, humans and polar bears are basically equal in numbers in this remote community known as the “polar bear capital of the world.” With an adult male polar bear weighing in at roughly 1,000 pounds and reaching 10 feet tall on his back legs, jumping into an open vehicle might be your only hope of survival.The rail line to Churchill was down for a total of 560 days between May 2017 and November 2018 and, with the only way in and out being by air, this severely affected the local economy. Child poverty rates are an astounding 64.2 per cent and a four-litre jug of milk costs an average of $13 in Churchill compared to a national average of $4.90.Another hot topic in a cool spot is the survival of the ecosystem and climate change.Collège Churchill was recently one of five schools that participated in a climate change forum that began at the Assiniboine Zoo, in collaboration with the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, and which took four students, from grades 11 and 12, along with teacher Mr. Wiens, to the remote community for a three-day, two-night educational retreat.Maddy Mazur, Jared He, Laura Boyd and Yesenia Portillo spent the weekend working alongside scientists to study the climate in Churchill and the impact of changes to the climate over the past few years.The group stayed at the Churchill Northern Studies Center, visited the Sayisi Dene Village, went dogsledding and toured the surrounding area.One of the goals of the program is that each school will create a social media campaign which will be followed to see how far it spreads on the internet. Every dollar spent on the project will be “matched” with an investment in the Churchill community, particularly Northern Rocket Greens. Winnipeg Harvest also contributed to the initiative sending some 2,000 pounds of supplies with the Collège Churchill group, which included food, feminine products and other essentials. Congratulations to all our eco-adventurers and their fine work!Dan Sylvestre is a teacher at Collège Churchill High School and a community correspondent for Fort Rouge.   

With a population of less than 1,000 permanent residents, humans and polar bears are basically equal in numbers in Churchill, Man., known as the “polar bear capital of the world.” 

With an adult male polar bear weighing in at roughly 1,000 pounds and reaching 10 feet tall on his back legs, jumping into an open vehicle might be your only hope of survival.

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020

Sou'wester
Collège Churchill High School students recently took part in a climate change project in Churchill, Man.

Churchill teams living our their hoop dreams

Dan Sylvestre 2 minute read Preview

Churchill teams living our their hoop dreams

Dan Sylvestre 2 minute read Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020

It’s that time of year again — players, coaches and anyone and everyone interested in the game of basketball is in their glory.

Collège Churchill High School has entered seven teams from Grades 7 through 12 into different leagues this season. The younger teams can be split into developmental or competitive divisions, although this year all our teams are in the competitive stream.

There are boys and girls teams for the grade 7s and 8s combined. Teacher Kirkland Harper coaches the Grade 7/8 boys team, while the Grade 7/8 girls are co-coached by guidance counsellor LeAnne Froese and community volunteer S. Froese.

Neighborhood basketball guru Kevin Shand coaches the Grade 9 girls team and the Grade 9 boys are coached by phys-ed teacher Roman Meyer and education assistant Brett Hendrickson.

Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020

Supplied photo
Collège Churchill High School has seven basketball teams, from Grades 7 through 12, playing in various leagues this season.

Plenty for Churchill students to celebrate

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Preview

Plenty for Churchill students to celebrate

Dan Sylvestre 4 minute read Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019

The students at Collège Churchill High School have many reasons to celebrate this holiday season.Here are a few:• Junior high girls volleyball had an explosion of athletes participating in the fall 2019 season. Over 60 girls initially signed up for tryouts, which led to the Bulldogs having three girls teams for the first time. Team Blue,  coached by phys-ed department head Mr. Shaw and student teacher Ms. Fender earned some success this season. The girls tied for first place in the Winnipeg School Division South, then made it to the final four of the Winnipeg School Division Tier 1 volleyball championship. Team Blue participated in four tournaments this fall, capturing one bronze, two silvers, and one gold, at the Arthur Day Wolves Invitational Classic. Team Blue was down 24-11 in the second set of the final in the Arthur Day tourney but, after a dramatic time-out to refocus the girls, the team came out and scored 15 straight points to capture the set 26-24, and thus take the match.Congratulations to all the girls on Team Blue.Volleyball skills training will start up after the winter holidays, once a week for those girls that are interested.  A volleyball spring club team will also host tryouts to compete in the Winnipeg Volleyball Spring League in 2020. Go Bulldogs!!• The Collège Churchill leadership group has been working hard in the school organizing a canned food drive for Winnipeg Harvest and collecting Koats for Kids.• The Churchill High School leadership class collected over 500 pairs of new socks to donate to Main Street Project.  They delivered the socks last week.• CAP and IPSA students deliver flyers in the neighborhood — many people may have seen them and wonder where they are from. The money they earn helps them learn about banking and spending and some of the money goes to classroom initiatives and fun events.Keep working hard making our communities a great place to be.Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.Dan Sylvestre is a teacher at Collège Churchill High School and a community correspondent for Fort Rouge.  

The students at Collège Churchill High School have many reasons to celebrate this holiday season.

Here are a few:

• Junior high girls volleyball had an explosion of athletes participating in the fall 2019 season. Over 60 girls initially signed up for tryouts, which led to the Bulldogs having three girls teams for the first time. Team Blue,  coached by phys-ed department head Mr. Shaw and student teacher Ms. Fender earned some success this season. The girls tied for first place in the Winnipeg School Division South, then made it to the final four of the Winnipeg School Division Tier 1 volleyball championship. Team Blue participated in four tournaments this fall, capturing one bronze, two silvers, and one gold, at the Arthur Day Wolves Invitational Classic. Team Blue was down 24-11 in the second set of the final in the Arthur Day tourney but, after a dramatic time-out to refocus the girls, the team came out and scored 15 straight points to capture the set 26-24, and thus take the match.

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019

The Sou'wester
Churchill’s Team Blue made it the final four of the Winnipeg School Division Tier 1 junior high girls volleyball championship.