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Bolting bovines found safe and sound in neighbour’s field

A Saint-Lazare farmer is breathing a sigh of relief, after an escaped cow and it’s calf, on the lam since Thursday morning, were found safe and sound Saturday morning.

A frantic search for the two bovines was launched after Jessica Ferguson Lapolla, a third-year Agriculture student at McGill University, appealed to the public for help.

WATCH BELOW: A cow and calf are on the mooove in Saint-Lazare. 

The pair were spotted on Thursday afternoon, but got spooked and bolted into the woods.

This prompted fears the cows would be difficult to track down, due to the large expanse of forest on the edge of Lapolla’s farm.

Luckily, Lapolla’s neighbours, who were sipping their morning coffee while gazing out into their fields Saturday, spotted Carmen and her calf amidst the soybeans–about five kilometres away from home, near of the corner of Chevrier and St-Louis roads.

Carmen and her calf will be staying in the neigbour’s barn for a few days as Carmen gets her bearings back.

“The cow is kinda woozy. They had to shoot a dart but she’s gradually waking up,” Lapolla explained.

In the end, all that matters is that the bolting bovines have been found safe and sound.

“We’re so thrilled,” Lapolla said, now that the ordeal is over.

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‘There isn’t any connection to El Nino’: Alberta suffers through damp, soggy summer

In a country known for episodes of extreme weather, even Environment Canada’s senior climatologist is shaking his head over the flurry of bad weather hitting the Prairies this year — most notably in Alberta.

David Phillips, who has been on the job for five decades, said the 2016 weather season isn’t likely to be one that especially Albertans and others on the Prairies will look back on fondly.

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    He said the number of tornadoes, winds, hail, thunderstorms and humidity are up in all three Prairie provinces but nobody has had it worse than those living in northern and southern Alberta.

    “You saw the terrible thing in Fort McMurray. My God, I’m sure they were wondering would the locusts be next. I mean, it’s so Biblical,” said Phillips.

    “They had the fires and the drought and now the floods. They clearly had more than a month’s worth of rain in Fort McMurray in two hours, and it’s almost as if they couldn’t get rain when they prayed for it back in April and May.”

    READ MORE: ‘It’s a lot to deal with’: Fort McMurray residents clean up after rainfall, flooding

    Residents of the oilsands capital began returning in June after a wildfire spread into the city on May 3 and forced more than 80,000 people to leave for nearly a month.

    It destroyed roughly 2,400 homes and other buildings — about one-tenth of the city.

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    Over the last weekend in July, the municipality once again activated its emergency operations centre to deal with flooding after receiving around 85 millimetres in just two hours.

    July was particularly onerous, especially in Calgary where 206 millimetres of rain fell.

    “It’s the wettest July in 89 years — it was back in 1927 but the other thing that really stood out for me was the number of thunderstorms and number of wet days,” Phillips said.

    “Calgary had 19 thunderstorms and they normally would see eight of those, and they had 43 hours with thunderstorms. It was a rock and rolling kind of month.”

    READ MORE: Calgary has already had a year’s worth of precipitation

    Phillips said there were 18 thunderstorms in Edmonton but the overall precipitation of 103 millimetres was only slightly above average.

    Watch below: Farmers across the country were optimistic about harvests this year after some troubles last year. But between drought in some areas and crushing storms in others, this year is not looking so good either. Tom Vernon reports.

    The summer weather has nothing to do with the mild weather brought about by El Nino, said Phillips.

    “There isn’t any connection to El Nino. I know it’s the Canadian way — we think we’re somehow this puritan, theological meteorology that we somehow are going to pay for any good weather that we have but we don’t,” Phillips said.

    READ MORE: Edmonton, Calgary pounded with hail, rain during thunderstorm watches and warnings

    Phillips said the Prairies were locked into a weather system that stood still and just wouldn’t go away.

    “You had an upper low that just stood around and wouldn’t leave like an unwanted house guest.”

    What was also unusual for Prairie folk, said Phillips, was the high humidity. He said to someone used to dry air it must have felt as humid as Toronto.

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Damage, power outages reported after severe thunderstorms hit Toronto area

Numerous power outages, damaged houses and trees are what’s left of a severe thunderstorm that took place Saturday afternoon.

Environment Canada issued at severe thunderstorm warning in Toronto and much of the GTA, which ended shortly after 3:15 p.m.

Toronto Hydro is reporting outages across the city that are impacting more than 6,800 customers.

They are advising anyone who encounters a downed wire to stay back and call Toronto Hydro.

Peel Regional Police have blocked off Dearbourne Blvd. and Deerfield Cres. in Brampton due downed tree branches on the roadway.

No injuries were reported but police say they are working to reopen the roadways.

Durham Regional Police is looking into possible tornado damage to homes and vehicles in Oshawa.

A tornado warning was issued briefly for areas north of the city in York region and east in Durham region for a brief period of time before being cancelled.

A heat warning and thunderstorm watch is still in effect for Toronto.

Temperatures could reach up to 40 C.

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Team Canada cyclists win bronze in women’s team pursuit

RIO DE JANEIRO – Canada has won a bronze medal in the women’s track cycling team pursuit event at the Rio Olympics.

Montreal’s Kirsti Lay, Calgary’s Allison Beveridge, Georgia Simmerling of West Vancouver, B.C., and Jasmin Glaesser of Vancouver defeated New Zealand to take third place.

Earlier in the day, Britain defeated Canada in world-record time (4:12.152) to advance to the final against the United States.

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Lay – who won silver at the worlds in March with Simmerling, Glaesser and Beveridge – was inserted back into the group in place of Vancouver’s Laura Brown, who had competed with the team earlier this week.

READ MORE: Rio 2016: Andre De Grasse wins 100m heat to qualify for semifinals

Simmerling is the first Canadian athlete to compete in three different sports at three separate Olympics. She raced for Canada in alpine skiing at the Vancouver Games six years ago before taking up ski cross ahead of Sochi in 2014. She believes those experiences have prepared her for a stage that is both different and the same.

“I’m used to the media, the crowd,” said Simmerling on Thursday. “That has really helped me come into this sport and excel. I draw off the crowd as I do from my other sports. That mental experience with high-pressure situations has been huge.”

Simmerling and her teammates came to Brazil with high hopes after Canada grabbed bronze in London four years ago and a podium spot at the last four world championships. While athletes have been moved in and out of the lineup like chess pieces since then – Glaesser is the only remaining competitor from 2012 to suit up in Rio – the results have stayed fairly consistent.

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New development in the works for Whyte Avenue

Wheaton Properties, which owns the land where the Southpark Pontiac Buick GMC dealership used to be, is now looking at developing the site.

Located on the south side of Whyte Avenue, on both sides of 106 Street, the large parcel of land would be broken up into four areas.

The dealership was a fixture on the strip for more than half a century, but it closed its doors around 2008 during the financial crisis as GMC shut down hundreds of dealerships.

“It’s been an empty site, we store cars on it today,” Andrea Wheaton, Wheaton properties director, said.

“But we think there can be so much more vitality generated from this site.”

For years the company sought out another dealership for the site – but now they’re re-imagining the space.

The development, which is in its early stages, would be mixed use – with walkable retail and residential space.

Nancy MacDonald, Stantec’s community development leader, is a consultant on the project.

She said the site could see as many as 1,200 residential units in towers up to five storeys tall on Whyte Avenue and 18 storeys tall on 81 Avenue. Some people are already saying that’s too tall.

“It’s one of the things we’ve heard, absolutely, that height’s an issue. One of the other things we’ve heard is there’s a real need for ground-oriented residential.”

That’s why the design will include street-level townhouses fronting 81 Avenue, according to the developer’s website.

“The auto-oriented, weak urban design of these sites is reminiscent of a different time in the history of Whyte Avenue, when vehicular access was the focus. As the surrounding properties have redeveloped into vibrant, pedestrian-oriented spaces, these sites have become a hole in the urban experience and a barrier to connection between the university area to the west and the iconic historical developments further east on Whyte Avenue.”

On Saturday afternoon, Southpark on Whyte hosted a community engagement session on site.

“We’re inviting the communities to come out today and have a look at our boards, look at what we’re proposing and give us some feedback,” said MacDonald.

Queen Alexandra Community League member Neil Zinger came to see the plans and how they’ll impact his neighbourhood.

“It’s large. A lot of communities would be very happy to have this kind of development in their nieghbourhood. And we’re cautiously optimistic.”

Despite all the proposed changes, one thing will remain the same. The iconic neon sign.

“We definitely want to retain the sign and incorporate it into the new development,” said Wheaton.

The developer is currently seeking re-zoning of the land, as well as amendments to both the Garneau and Strathcona area redevelopment plans.

Re-zoning is expected to go before council this fall.

Stantec has been hired to do consulting work on the project, including planning and architectural drawings.

Letters were first mailed to neighbourhood property owners on Oct. 14, 2015 – notifying them of the proposal. A community open house was held on Oct. 28, 2015 to give an overview of the process and timelines.

“I think it will change the dynamic of the neighbourhood, the dynamic of the street and I guess we all have to decide if that’s what we want to see for the future,” Zinger said.

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Kenny Baker, actor who played R2-D2 in ‘Star Wars,’ dead at 81

LONDON – Kenny Baker, the 3-foot 8-inch  actor who played R2-D2 in the “Star Wars” films, has died. He was 81.

Baker’s nephew and carer, Drew Myerscough, said he found Baker dead Saturday at his home in Preston, northwest England.

Myerscough told Sky News that Baker had suffered years of breathing problems, “which he had borne very bravely.” He said the affection of “Star Wars” fans around the world “kept him going, without any doubt.”

“He was amazed that, even after 30-odd years, the fans still basically adored him,” Myerscough said.

WATCH: ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ trailer provides sneak peek at return of Darth Vader

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Baker’s agent, Johnny Mans, confirmed his death, and said: “He will be sadly missed.”

Actor Ewan McGregor, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in three “Star Wars” movies, tweeted: “So sorry to hear about this. It was lovely working with Kenny.”

Born to a music-loving family in the central England city of Birmingham on Aug 24, 1934, Baker started performing at 16 as part of a troupe called “Burton Lester’s Midgets”

Baker told The Associated Press in 1985 that Burton had asked him “What can you do?’ I said I could roller skate, ride a bike and whistle. I joined them and did all that, and conjuring tricks, played drums and comedy routines as well.”

Baker later worked as a DJ and circus clown, and as half a comedy-musical duo called the Mini-Tones.

READ MORE: ‘Star Wars’ TV show may be coming to ABC in the near future

Fame came when he was cast as the actor inside R2-D2’s cylindrical robot costume in 1977’s “Star Wars.”

“I worked the levers,” he told the AP.

Even though R2-D2’s dialogue amounted only to beeps and whistles, the lovable droid and his lanky friend C-3PO became two of the series’ most beloved characters.

Baker returned for “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” and reprised the role in three prequels released between 1999 and 2005.

He also appeared in films including “The Elephant Man,” “Time Bandits,” “Willow” and “Labyrinth.”

Baker’s wife Eileen died in 1993. The couple had two sons.

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Anger over Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside tours

It is home to thousands of Vancouver’s most vulnerable people; now there is concern residents of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) may be judged by tourists as a company is offering walking tours of the area.

“I think it’s wrong and I don’t think the person doing the tour has any idea about the homeless in the Downtown Eastside or the marginalized in the Downtown Eastside,” Laura Shaver of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users said.

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The three and a half hour tours, called “Socially Responsible Vancouver – Tasting Tour,” was the first to come under fire. It costs $275.

According to the company “Tours By Locals,” the tour offers a close up look at how social enterprises work – and how they have a positive impact on the neighbourhood.

It has been running since 2014 when visiting journalists were interested in the DTES. Since then, only journalists have taken the tour and it is not popular.

The company says the tour was never intended to promote voyeurism and if a profit was ever made, it would consider potentially donating some of it back to the DTES.

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A second walking tour offered by the same company runs two hours at a cost of $210.

Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Private Tour bills itself as a glimpse at a “fascinating but troubled neighbourhood.”

A picture promoting the tour with the caption, “See Vancouver’s Homeless up close,” has since been taken down from the Tours By Locals website.

“Oh I don’t agree with that at all. That is just the worst. They’re making money off of us,” said street vendor Marcel Mousseau.

Mousseau and others who struggle to survive feel the walking tours are exploitative to some degree.

“I think it’s disgusting. It’s very frustrating and it’s rude,” a 17-year DTES resident Rosaleen Phillips said.

Tours By Locals freelance tour guide, Winston Wong, who’s been leading the Downtown Eastside Private Tour since 2009, says it’s not his intention to offend anyone.

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“Nobody wants to necessarily be on display without consent,” Wong said.

But Wong, who grew up in the area, strongly believes the reality of the vibrant community should not be ignored by tourists or locals. Instead, he feels the DTES should be showcased – and educating people is the best possible way.

“In this area, this is more about how some real Vancouverites live and where they do their business and where they hang out on the streets. It’s still worth talking about and still an area we should be proud of, that’s also a valuable part of Vancouver.”
But on the streets of the DTES, finding a balance between educating the public and exploiting the most vulnerable, is a tough sell.

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Vancouverite uses dashcam to help prove hit and run

Vancouver resident Mike Tusa just purchased his $150 dashcam recorder two weeks ago.

“I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to get one but I had seen so many sort of close calls and I thought it was better to be safe,” Tusa said.

But suddenly he found himself the victim of what appears to be a hit and run accident.

“The first thing I heard was the acceleration and the screeching of the tires, and before I could even react the whole car shook,” Tusa said.

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“It took over a second before I realized what happened and I tried pursuing him to get a licence plate.”

READ MORE: Distracted driving? Police vehicle caught swerving over road           

Tusa kept up the chase until the driver pulled over a second time. Then sparks really flew.

The video shows the driver of the other car swearing and yelling at Tusa.

Tusa says when he first called ICBC and Vancouver police, they told him it wasn’t technically a hit and run because he had exchanged words with the other driver.

“I was kind of left, sort of stunned because I just felt like someone just assaulted me with their car.”

But after ICBC allegedly viewed the video, Tusa claims everything changed.

READ MORE: Caught on camera: Police dashcam captures sudden collision with elk

“ICBC came back and they saw the video, because after that point they hadn’t,” Tusa said. “And as soon as they did they suggested I contact the police.”

He says when he talked to police it was almost like he was speaking to a different person.

“As soon as they had some recognition from ICBC that this was something legitimate to take seriously the police gave me a file number.”

Dashcams are routinely used in Russia, where car accident rates are some of the highest in the world.

READ MORE: Alberta dashcam catches near collision as car passes truck on Highway 22

Russian courts reportedly prefer video evidence to witness testimony. And Tusa agrees dashcams are worth the investment.

“It’s impossible to put a value on it, it’s invaluable,” Tusa said.

“I think if anything, ICBC might want to consider a deduction policy to actually use these in their cars all the time because there is not kind of situation where there’s no situation of ‘he said, she said’ it’s just evidence.”

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‘It’s been awesome’: Alberta man laid off amid economic downturn

The past several months have been a challenge for thousands of Albertans. Tough economic times have led to job losses, forcing many people to search for new jobs, often times pursuing a brand new area of employment. But while things have been rough for many, two Alberta men say losing their jobs ended up being the best thing to happen to them.

“It’s been awesome. Every day I’m smiling, I’m laughing. It’s my dream,” Rob Tryon said.

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    Originally from Effingham Inlet on Vancouver Island, Tryon came to Alberta to work in the oilfield. The fisherman’s son lost his job last year and was forced to look elsewhere for work. So he hooked into his contacts back home and Effing Seafoods was born. Now, the seafood supplier is one of Edmonton’s most popular dealers.

    “I love what I do,” he said, standing with his two young girls who have also become involved in the family business.

    “Their interest in it has been awesome. They know all the products, they come to the farmer’s markets, they can run the booth without me. I don’t need to be there. They are amazing. The head seafood girl and the caviar girl. They even have their own business cards.”

    READ MORE: 2015 worst year for Alberta jobs losses since 1982

    Sandy Muldrew is now living his dream as well. Laid off last fall from his job as a television editor, Muldrew used his buy-out money to invest in a graphic art shop. While he calls the transition a “mid-life crisis in a way,” Muldrew is now the owner and sole employee at The Prints and the Paper.

    “When you’re working for yourself, it’s very gratifying,” he said. “It’s sort of something I thought about doing in my retirement, but that’s been fast-tracked.”

    Sandy Muldrew, owner and only employee of The Prints and the Paper, works in his Edmonton shop.

    Global News

    READ MORE: Alberta’s oil and gas veterans look elsewhere for jobs after layoffs

    The Prints and the Paper has everything from custom-framed prints and stationery, to coffee mugs and greeting cards. The shop’s been open for two months and for the first time in years, Muldrew is looking forward to what’s to come.

    “I’m working much harder now but I enjoy it,” he said. “Everything’s looking bright and I just keep thinking of all the stuff I want to get.

    “I’m just a lot happier and a lot healthier and the future looks a lot brighter.”

    Follow @CaleyRamsay

    With files from Kent Morrison, Global News. 

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Attention shoppers: Nordstrom Rack is coming to Edmonton

American retail giant Nordstrom has announced plans to open a Nordstrom Rack in South Edmonton Common.

The 35,000-square foot store is set to open in fall 2018.

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    “We want to be in compelling locations with a great retail mix, and we feel our new store at South Edmonton Common helps us to achieve that goal,” Karen McKibbin, president of Nordstrom Canada, said in a media release. “We look forward to introducing ourselves to customers in Edmonton and bringing them great brands at great prices.”

    READ MORE: Edmonton getting Saks Off 5th store as luxury retailer expands across country

    Nordstrom Rack is the company’s off-price retail division, which offers clothing, accessories and shoes at 30 to 70 per cent off regular prices.

    “We have been very fortunate to accommodate a number of retail firsts to the city at South Edmonton Common,” Tina Naqvi, president of Cameron Corporation, the real estate development company that owns South Edmonton Common.

    “Given the considerable brand strength of Nordstrom, we are extremely pleased that they have chosen this location as part of their Canadian expansion plans, and we are excited to include them in that list.”

    READ MORE: Big U.S. department stores moving into Canada, but is the demand there?

    Nordstrom first announced plans to expand to Canada in 2012. There are three Nordstrom locations in Canada – in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. Three more full-line stores are set to open in the Toronto area later this year and early next year.

    Earlier this month, Nordstrom announced plans to open Nordstrom Rack stores in Toronto and Calgary.

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