This morning a Canadian astronaut blasted off successfully in the Soyuz spacecraft from Khazahkstan (low res video here, high res video here) as part of a mission called Expedition 20/21. This expedition is a Canadian milestone, as it is the first time a Canadian has taken part in a long term space mission. That Canadian’s name is Dr. Robert Thirsk, and although most of his growing up was elsewhere, Dr. Thirsk was born here in New Westminster. He has been in space before, and is a highly respected member of Canada’s Space program. Here is Dr. Thirsk’s mission patch, designed by BC artist Bill Helin:
Which I personally think is AWESOME. There is a great long design rationale here. Dr. Thirsk (aka: Bob) has listed his musical tastes here, and his space menu is also posted online because us Canadians need to know not only what he’ll be humming along to while he conducts experiments and takes care of some maintenance at the International Space Station for six months, but what he’ll be consuming for that same duration.
I read the pre-launch interview with Bob, and I have to say that Bob Thirsk strikes me as the type of guy I’d love to sit down and have a beer and some nachos with. Check back to the Expedition 20/21’s page for updated content as the mission progresses.
The Festival of Volunteers took place this past Saturday at Royal City Centre and the anachronistic thrills my co-author Briana referred to here did not disappoint.
There is something about bagpipe music that just makes me smile -I have no idea what it is. So when I finished my shift at the booth I was volunteering for, it was perfect timing to grab a cup of chai from the Beverage Station in the centre court of the mall and grab a seat and listen to a procession being piped in by a member of the Delta Police Pipe Band. It was quite the sight to see Mayor Wayne Wright in all his finest office accoutrements along with Sir James Douglas, Councillor Jaimie McEvoy, John Irving – all were bedecked in appropriate debating garb. I have to apologize for the quality of these photos – my camera died and these were taken using my cell phone.
The debate did not disappoint. True to misogynistic form, Sir James Douglas downplayed his decision to build parliament in Victoria and steal away the capital city moniker from New Westminster, by suggesting that it was simply to restore the declining city of Victoria. He resisted the idea that it had something to do with nepotism and displayed shock when Mayor Wright reminded him of a few of his shadier deals. Both McEvoy and Mayor Wright were well informed and the spluttering James Douglas certainly lost the debate. The assembled crowd snickered and laughed a few times throughout the debate – it was entertaining to see such great pieces of our collective history come alive.
There was a pretty decent sized crowd assembled, including many members of council:
Mayor Wright also took advantage of this debate to remind citizens that New Westminster has big plans for the future of our Fraser River waterfront, and the crowd responded with cheers – I’m anxious to see plans.
Kudos goes to the actors who portrayed the famous Canadians so well and to the city staff and volunteers who organized such a unique mock debate.
In TenthToTheFraser’s short little life, we’ve made a big splash. Okay, I can’t take credit for any of it – I was just approached as a civic-aware, once-a-new-westie-always-a-new-westie girl to pen my piece for this blog only about 6 weeks ago – but we’ve been cited in the paper, recognized on other blogs, scooped almost every other major outlet, big or small, on New West’s electoral standings, and now we’ve been nominated for the Canadian Blog Awards, in the “Best Local Blog” category.
It’s up to you, New Westies – now that we all feel so bad for how terrible the voter turnout was in the recent municipal elections, exercise your francise between November 23rd and 29th by voting for Tenth To the Fraser: click the link on the sidebar, or below. You can vote once per round of voting, per computer. (Round 2 is next week – don’t worry, we’ll remind you.)