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A Day of Play in Saskatoon

posted by My Saskatoon    |   September 5, 2014 10:44

Day of Play started as a legacy for Rayna Korte, and three years later the event is bigger and better than ever! Held in South Kiwanis Park this Sunday, September 7th, Day of Play is an afternoon jam-packed with fun for the entire family. This time each year, a great number of amazing local people and businesses come together to honour the memory of Rayna while raising funds for local children’s charities.

Leanne Thompson-Hill, former owner of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, has been with Day of Play since its beginnings. She shares with us the history and heart behind Day of Play, and what you can expect to see at this year’s event!

How did Rayna Korte inspire Day of Play?

In 2010, in the midst of her battle with leukemia, Rayna was all set to go and meet the Disney Princesses in Disney World, courtesy of the Children’s Wish Foundation. Just two days before her departure date, Rayna was admitted to hospital due to a complication from her chemotherapy treatments. The recreational therapist at the hospital and the Children’s Wish Foundation contacted us at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, and we arranged to have our Princesses visit Rayna for a Tea Party in the hospital. When Rayna finally got to go on her trip, she told her Mom that the Princesses at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo were better than the Princesses at Disney World. Sadly, Rayna was re-diagnosed in January 2011 with brain cancer. When the decision to to stop treatment was made, Rayna’s last wish was 100 more days to play. After the Tea Party at the hospital, I followed Rayna’s story on Facebook. In 2011, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo hosted a Tea Party fundraiser in collaboration with the Children’s Wish Foundation, and of course Rayna immediately came to my mind. She had so much fun at the one we held at the hospital, and she had this natural energy that made you fall in love with her. So, I thought I would do it only if Rayna was the guest of honour. Unfortunately, Rayna wasn’t well enough to attend the Tea Party, and she passed away the following day. Rayna got her wish, as she passed on exactly the 100th day after she made the wish for 100 more days to play.

How did the Tea Party evolve into the big event that it is today?

After Rayna passed away I became friends with her parents, Cindy and Roger. With their blessing, we wanted to do an annual Day of Play in Rayna’s memory, to honour her 100 days of play wish she had made. The basis of the event was to throw a party including things Rayna loved - tie dye (cupcakes were tie dye, and our logo is tie dye), kites (we decorated and flew kites) and so much more. Our attendance has grown considerably, as well as the profit we receive from the actual day. All money raised after costs is donated to a children's charity.

How do you choose the charity organization to support with the funds generated by Day of Play?

When I owned Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, I got to know many different children's causes. After the first Day of Play on Central Avenue, Cindy decided she wanted to honour the pediatric unit as well as Children’s Wish Foundation, as both had been a part of Rayna's journey. And with that, we became the Day of Play Board and decided to choose a new children's charity yearly. Lisa, the Program Director at Crisis Nursery, was a customer at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, and I know how much the Nursery relies on funding. I’ve never met someone who works as hard as Lisa. She lives and breathes for those kids. We want to support such a wonderful cause.

How many people do you expect to attend Day of Play this year?

We are holding the event in a different location and on a different day than in past years, so it is hard to estimate, but we usually see between 4,000 and 5,000 people attend.

How many volunteers come together to make this event happen?

We live and learn, and we now know that we need about 100 people for the actual day! The Day of Play Board consists of 9 members.

What are some of the highlights of the event this year?

We have Go-Karts this year, courtesy of KartTrak, and a 100 foot obstacle course. We have a Safety Service Tent, and puppies from two of our favourite rescue groups. Living Sky Rehabilitation (birds and wild babies such as skunks and foxes) and Wrangler Elisa (reptiles) are joining us. And of course we have live children's entertainment all day, including a special Singing with Sylvia concert which you have to pre-purchase your pass to attend. We also have a performance by Wide Open Children’s Theatre, a Market Square, car show, rides, petting zoo, face painting, carnival, and more. 

It seems like Day of Play is a collaborative effort by many local Saskatoon businesses.

We have been lucky to have such awesome support! Past sponsors have been Sun Life Financial, Areva, The Medicine Shoppe, and Agrium. Our regular sponsors are Tantrix Body Art, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo, SaskTel, Travis Quiring, and Outgrow Outplay Saskatoon East. The Mom and Tot Expo, Cakes by Jen, Butler Byers, Tweet’s Roofing, O’Brians Automotive, Can-Do Delivery Services, Maaco, and 96.3 Cruz FM. Pizza Hut and DQ, Avid Enterprises, Air Canada, and Pro Print. New sponsors this year are PotashCorp, RedHead Equipment, Federated Co-op, WakeRide (courtesy of Gregg Bamford), and Saskatoon Funeral Home. Our Title Sponsor this year is Wheaton GM. 

Since Day of Play is run solely by volunteers, we rely on businesses to help support this fun event as well as come out and attend. Now that we have a new home Downtown in the South Kiwanis Park, we are hoping that more businesses in the Downtown core will become involved. 

Do you fundraise throughout the year?

Every year we plan a few new things. We start our year off with the Santa Claus Parade. Our Disney Princess Christmas and Scrooge themed floats have won in past years! We do an auction online, we had a hypnotist night at The Ivy, bake sales, The Saskatoon Parent and Tot Expo, and Outgrow Outplay Saskatoon East donates a lot of their door donations to our event. We had a screening of The Little Mermaid at the Roxy Theatre, a giant garage sale, a BBQ at Co-op, and Cakes by Jen with 96.3 Cruz FM held a Cupcake Day fundraiser.

What is your goal for Day of Play this year?

All we care about at the end of the Day is that all kids had a blast, and our goal of $30,000 raised for Crisis Nursery is met. 

Can you describe a positive outcome of Day of Play that you didn’t expect?

There are many, but something that just happened that made me smile is an email I received from a lady who has attended Day of Play in the past. She was touched by Rayna's story, and lost her best friend and her best friend’s daughter shortly after in a car accident. She wanted to let me know that Day of Play inspired her to throw one in her friend’s daughter’s honour. It is called Clara's Play Day and was a few Sundays ago. I believe in positive energy, doing good always, and paying it forward. I believe that Day of Play is a great example of what a team of great people can do.

Do you have a dream for the future of Day of Play?

Yes, but it is a secret and will be announced after September 7th!

We ask everyone this question: What do you love about Saskatoon?

I love the fact that there are so many caring people here. I cannot believe the support that we have received this year in the way of volunteers- it is truly awesome. 

Day of Play is happening this Sunday, September 7th in South Kiwanis Park. There are so many things to see and do that the whole family will enjoy, while supporting a great cause! Its a fun-filled event that is an awesome opportunity to get out and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts. Get your passes before Sunday and save $5! Passes can be purchased online here. They are now sold out at Tantrix, but are also available at Crisis Nursery, The Trading Post, Cakes by Jen, and Bike Doctor - and also can be purchased for $20 at the event. 

The Strawberry Ranch

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 28, 2014 09:32

Growing up, my grandparents made a summer habit of picking pounds (and pounds!) of strawberries from their local strawberry patch - resulting in pies, sauces, bars, and, of course, strawberry shortcake. I’ve always had it in my mind that I’d eventually continue that tradition.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law liked the idea too! A few weeks ago, my husband and I spent a Saturday morning at the Strawberry Ranch with my sister-in-law, niece, and nephews.  What a beautiful and refreshing morning!

For some reason, it was incredibly good for the soul.  Maybe it was the act of harvesting our own food, being out in the country air, or knowing we were “shopping local” in the most basic sense.  

Of course, it didn’t hurt that these super-fresh strawberries cost less than berries at the grocery store!  We marvelled that for such a reasonable rate, we were able to go home with pounds of fresh fruit AND get such a wonderful experience.

The Strawberry Ranch is a family owned and operated farm located four miles southwest of Saskatoon. There are ready-picked berries available, but I would highly recommend the U-Pick option. The experience just simply can't be missed! Its a good idea to call ahead before going, as U-Pick times may vary depending on the crop ripening. 

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Eat Local

An Innovative Home Upgrade

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 26, 2014 11:09

Locally owned in Saskatoon, Granite Transformations is exceeding customer expectations with its innovative products and a streamlined process that has revolutionized the granite counter top industry. With expertise in cabinet refacing as well, Granite Transformations is a one stop shop for kitchen and bath upgrades and remodels. 

The owners of Granite Transformations, Colin, Rob, and Derek shared with us some little known facts about their extraordinary products, their unique way of doing things, and their heart for our community. 

 

What inspired you to start your business? 

We wanted to provide Saskatoon residents with a unique opportunity. We felt that Granite Transformations meets a need that was not yet being addressed here. Saskatoon has a booming real estate market, both in new builds and in the buying and selling of existing homes. This is also the number one under-served market, especially in the renovation field. We believed there were home renovations that weren’t done, simply because people didn’t know they had the option to do what we do. We knew there would be home owners that would love our product, people who wouldn't have been able to get the solution they were looking for any other way.

What makes your product innovative?

Our granite is compressed and bonded together to make a slab, using a polymer resin. It is the same type of resin used in aircraft manufacturing. This keeps the product thin and lightweight, yet very very strong. It is also what seals the stone. A typical slab is porous, traps bacteria, and emits radon gas. With our stone, nothing goes in, and nothing comes out. We are the only granite surface in the world that never requires maintenance or sealing. 

Does your product look similar to a traditional granite counter top?

Our product comes in 10 foot slabs, much like traditional granite, but the slabs are not thick, bulky, porous, or heavy. They are still slabs of stone, though. Because the product is thin, it is installed right over top of an existing counter top. Installed, it looks very similar to a typical stone counter top. 

Are your products as durable as typical granite?

While our slabs are thinner, since they are no longer porous, when tested they are actually 2.5 times stronger versus impact than thicker porous slabs. Our quartz and glass products are also incredibly durable. 

Your products are tested radon-safe. What is radon, and are there other comparable products out there that people have in their homes that are unsafe?

Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can be harmful to one’s health. Traditional granite slabs emit varying amounts of radon, which is why you will never see slab granite in a hospital, school, or the prep area of any restaurant. Our products are approved for use in all three. 

We also asked the team at Granite Transformations about their eco-friendly products, the non-profit organization they are committed to, and their favourite things about Saskatoon. View the full article here

5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Home's Saleability

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 25, 2014 10:14

Are you in the market for a new home in Saskatoon? If you're not a first time home buyer, you know as well as anyone that you've gotta get out of the old before you can move on with the new! Tanya LaRose, local Saskatoon REALTOR with Re/max Central, has 5 easy tips for increasing the saleability of any home. Whether your home has been on the real estate market for a while, or you are just taking the initial steps to put it up for sale, following these pointers will help to ensure that you get the most out of your home sale in the shortest time possible. 

Tanya LaRose, Saskatoon REALTOR

Clean

The cleanliness of a home fore sale is often overlooked and underestimated. Be sure to complete both a surface clean and deep clean. Deodorize the home if any strong odours are present. Purge any old items to reduce a cluttered appearance and open up the space to appear larger. Also, put family momentums in storage, as potential buyers need to be able to envision themselves living there. This requires a neutral environment.

Facelift

Giving your home a facelift is improving its showing quality without the huge budget of major renovations. Add fresh coats of paint and when in doubt, choose white - however, grey is the chic trend right now. Update fixtures like discoloured light switch covers, rusted faucets etc. Ensure your window covers are consistent. Drapes are the most inexpensive option and add a feeling of warmth to the home. Make sure everything works correctly - lights turn on, doors close, and toilets flush.

Yard Work

Curb appeal is so very important, as it is first impression that can either draw buyers in or turn them away. Remove weeds! Plant a few flowers. Potted flowers work just fine. Make sure they are colourful, and position them at the front step.

Staging

Statistics show that getting your home professionally staged often reduces the amount of time it sits on the market, and increases the amount of the offer. You can opt for full or partial staging, or even a consultation to have your current furniture re-arranged to look its best. 

Hire a Contractor

If your home has some serious issues, your REALTOR will be able to advise you if you will be able to make a return on any major renovations. The best time to hire a contractor is in the fall, because they will be less busy and more likely to negotiate a better price. Ask if they offer any sort of warranty on their services, as this could be used as an additional selling feature. Ask to view a portfolio, references, business license, and/or website before making a decision on a contractor. Be sure your are hiring a legitimate tradesman, because if the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

For more detailed information on the best ways for you to prepare your home specifically for today's market, contact licensed REALTOR with Re/Max Central, Tanya LaRose at 306-380-REAL(7325).

Check out Tanya's Spotlight Profile for more about her, or to connect with her on social media!

August in Saskatoon

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 22, 2014 10:37

Saskatoon is truly a city that thoroughly enjoys its summer!  As residents of the downtown area, we’ve had the pleasure of living right in the middle of some of Saskatoon’s summer events.  What a treat to cook dinner with the background music of Jazz Fest’s Ms. Lauryn Hill coming in through our windows!

June and July were fantastic but I’m realizing that Saskatoon saves some of the best for last. This has been my first August in Saskatoon, and boy am I impressed!  

The first nine days of the month, the Fringe Festival was in full swing on Broadway Avenue!  My husband and I visited on a few occasions – taking in the crafts, the artwork, and of course, the street theatre (zombie newlyweds!). 

We also visited the Saskatoon ‘EX’, enjoying mini donuts, a free concert by Walk Off the Earth, and Safeway Kidsville. We don’t have kids of our own, but it sure was fun watching little ones going on rides or petting ponies in the petting zoo!  

My personal favourite was the President’s Choice SuperDogs.  If you haven’t seen this dog show, you must!  I don’t know what it is about dogs doing tricks or racing through obstacle courses but the crowd literally went wild – including me!  I can’t remember the last time I laughed that hard. I probably would have been embarrassed, but, like I said, the whole crowd was wild! 

 

Sadly, we weren’t able to make it to Folkfest, but I hear it’s another great August event, and I’m already looking forward to the PotashCorp Fireworks Festival on August 29-30.

Of course, it’s always sad when summer ends, but I hear that Saskatoon is beautiful in the fall!

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Badminton at Rotary Park

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 19, 2014 16:41

Growing up, badminton was an annual unit in junior high and high school gym class. Once a year, we’d arrive at gym class to find the badminton nets set up.  We’d happily select our racquets and birdies, and prepare for two weeks of badminton tournaments. 

I can’t deny it was one of my favourite units in gym class (besides square dancing). There’s just something about badminton… it’s like tennis but less running, similar to volleyball but less painful on the arms. So when my brother-in-law mentioned that he was coaching a badminton team this winter, the wonderful memories of spiking those birdies came rushing back. And so badminton was added to my husband and I's summer to-do list!

When the weather warmed up, we tracked down a set of racquets and birdies (although it was difficult – apparently we weren’t the only ones wanting to play badminton!) for under $10 at Dollarama! On a gloriously hot day, we hit those birdies around at Rotary Park. Oh man! It was as great as I imagined! I’m proud to say that my husband and I volleyed that birdie back and forth 200 times without it touching the ground. 

If you are looking for a fun way to soak up a summer evening, I highly recommend grabbing a buddy and heading down to Rotary Park to bat a birdie around! 

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An American in Paris (of the Prairies)

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 14, 2014 12:12

There's a new blogger on the block! We are so excited to introduce Melissa, a Californian turned newbie Saskatoon resident. We can't wait to hear about her experiences and perceptions as she explores our beautiful city! Check out her first post below- maybe it will inspire you to get out and enjoy a tasty treat in this hot, hot weather. Like you needed inspiration...

Not only am I newly married, I’m new to this amazing city of Saskatoon. I met my Saskatoon-born husband in California a few years ago.  He proposed to me in the middle of a NorCal vineyard and we were married five months later. Being a transplant from California, I (literally) cried tears of joy when spring arrived.  Saskatoon winters are beautiful, but they are COLD! I’d been summer-dreaming since January, so we have been living it up ever since the temperatures started to rise, taking in as much of summer in Saskatoon as possible! 

What’s better than a hot summer day? A hot summer day with ice cream.

During my first visit to Saskatoon (and to Canada) last summer, I was lucky enough to enjoy Canada Day, Saskatoon’s infamous Jazz Festival, AND ice cream from the amazing Bus Stop Refreshments, aka “the Red Bus”.

Not only is this the cutest idea for an ice cream vendor (I mean seriously - selling summer treats from an antique double-decker bus located in front of the castle-like Delta Bessborough Hotel, does it get better?) but the ice cream is out of this world!

I ordered their cookie dough ice cream and I couldn’t believe it!  As someone who grew up on Dairy Queen’s cookie dough Blizzards, I’ve had more than my share of cookie dough ice cream.  But I must say -- there is something extra delicious about the cookie dough ice cream from Bus Stop Refreshments! 

Now my husband and I live one block away from this glorious ice cream bus (uh oh!) and often pass it on our way to go for a run on the river trail.  Can you say self-control? We are fortunate enough to be conveniently located very close to the bus, but I can definitely say from my experience (and I've had quite a few of them since summer began) that its well worth going out of your way on your next ice cream run! Visiting the Red Bus has definitely been a recurring theme in my first Saskatoon summer, and I plan to keep it that way for as long as the weather permits! 

Saskatoon really comes alive in summer, and I am loving it! I'm looking forward to sharing a few of my experiences with you as I explore this city I now call home! 

Little Bird Patisserie & Cafe

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 13, 2014 09:50

It's about time a place like Little Bird Patisserie & Cafe opened its doors in the Paris of the Prairies. Go for the macarons; stay for the sandwiches, the soups, the butter tart terrine, the kouign amann. And a few more macarons to go. Seriously. 

The My Saskatoon Street Team recently paid a visit to this sweet spot just off 20th street in Riversdale, and expectations were most certainly exceeded. It is evident that great care is taken with everything at Little Bird, from the tea to the tourtière. The high ceilings and natural light spilling in through big windows lend a bright, fresh feel to the atmosphere.

Elegant details throughout the space give an understated Parisian vibe, as a collection of delicate frames house the chalkboard menu, and an array of antique brass pots and trays line the service area. Vintage-esq wrought iron and wood furniture arranged in intimate vignettes strike a beautiful balance with the gleaming white walls. Fresh cut flowers in glass vases adorn the tables. The space is truly unique, the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cup of organic tea and a dainty French pastry. Or two.

 

 

The macarons at Little Bird are seriously addictive. Apart from their obvious Instagram-worthy cuteness, the perfect sweetness found in these buttery, melt-in-your-mouth morsels are more than enough to warrant frequent visits to the café. While the pastries are expectedly phenomenal, the fresh, from-scratch lunch menu makes Little Bird the sort of place one could visit guilt-free multiple times each week.

Our Street Team enjoyed marinated artichokes, roasted tomatoes, balsamic onions, and creamy goat cheese on fresh baguette. Creamy, flavourful bacon corn chowder rounded out the meal, with a blueberry-thyme macaron to finish. The sun-dried tomato, feta, and olive quiche was the best combination of savoury, creamy, and flaky. Our foodies loved the perfect balance of flavours found in each item they tried. 

 

 

Little Bird goes above and beyond with its beverage menu as well. Beat the summer heat with a refreshing Strawberry Ginger Mint Iced Tea, a Citron Pressé, or a delectable Iced Chai Tea Latté. Catch up with a friend over a craft coffee from Fernwood Coffee Company out of Victoria. Or, pair your pastry with a selection from the extensive tea menu from Bellocq Tea Atelier

Just a two minute walk from Midtown Plaza, Little Bird is the perfect lunch spot to hit if you're shopping, staying, or working in downtown Saskatoon. Or, stop in on a weekend afternoon after a browse through the lovely adjoining Anthology Home Collection. Don't forget to take a box of macarons with you to enjoy later!

Check out Little Bird's Spotlight Profile for the current menu (changing weekly!)

Prairie Sun Brewery

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 8, 2014 14:57

The best things about summer in Saskatchewan- the fun, the relaxation, the laid back vibes, and the warmth that we crave all winter long can be found year-round at Prairie Sun Brewery. But right now, in the heart of summer, the place is in its prime. We stopped by to do some beer sampling, and discovered so much more than expected! The experience you get at Prairie Sun Brewery is vibrant. Outside on the patio, the late afternoon sun shining through a wall of sunflowers casts a glow on a group enjoying an after-work pint. Indoors, bright murals adorn the walls, and picnic tables lend a casual, comfortable vibe to the space. The people are friendly and down to earth, and you can sense the local love. A feeling of community resonates throughout the space. 

  

But what about the beer? We tasted 7 different beers, and while we are not connoisseurs by any means, these are our best attempts at describing each of the great varieties of local beer available at Prairie Sun Brewery!

Campfire

This smoked red lager tastes like a campfire. In a good way. 

Toffee 5

Chocolate toffee porter, sweet and creamy, its almost like dessert. It would be fantastic mixed with ice cream in a milkshake!

Prairie Lily

A German lager, smooth with a lingering finish. 

Urban Wheat

This one tastes like a classic- hoppy and complex!

Crazy Farm

The fan favourite, it is a crisp, flavourful Belgian Ale. 

Cactus Tap

The lightest of Prairie Sun's offerings, this one has a mellow, balanced flavour. 

Moose Tracks

Dark and sour, it almost tastes like a cross between beer and wine. This assessment might not be too far off, as it is aged in a barrel!? 

 

If you're looking for a local spot to hit after work with friends or colleagues, or you want to mix up your lunch hour routine, Prairie Sun is ready for you. They've always got pizza by the slice, and additional food offerings change daily as they partner with local food vendors to bring you hot eats to enjoy with your beer! Its also the only North-End stop for Saskatoon's awesome food trucks, so connect with Prairie Sun Brewery on social media to stay updated on what's for lunch!

This weekend is the best time of the summer to visit the brewery- tonight and tomorrow (August 8 & 9), stop in for Prairie Sun Brewery's Beer Launch and sample their latest local creation- Dog Patch Pale Ale. While you're there, order a flight and try 4 different beers for the price of a pint! And as always, enjoy responsibly :)

Check out Prairie Sun Brewery's Spotlight Profile for hours of operation and other fun information!

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Eat Local

Pink Cadillacs Malt Shop & Lounge

posted by My Saskatoon    |   August 4, 2014 17:08

We sent our street team out to experience Pink Cadillacs Malt Shop & Lounge, and the reviews we received were off the charts! Everything from “What a unique place!” to “The service was excellent!” and “The food was amazing!” not to mention all the comments about the decor and vibe the place gives off!

Stepping into Pink Cadillacs is like stepping into a time warp back to the fifties. The fashion worn by the staff, the rock and roll music played over the speakers, and the decor all contribute to that decade's nostalgia. 



The menu is also a throw back to the classic hotrods, actors, performers and hits of that era. “The Caddy Burger” features melted cheddar cheese, onion rings, cherry bacon, finished with a house made Caddy Sauce. The “Aloha Elvis” combines shaved ham, chipotle glaze, pineapple salsa and mozzarella cheese. Try the "Good Golly Miss Molly” which is a delicious combination of BBQ sauce, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions topped with swiss cheese. These burgers and so much more can be experienced at Pink Cadillacs, and they will definitely make your senses feel All Shook Up!

This “local diner” is situated in Willowgrove's Village Square, which just makes it that much more unique. Bringing together family fun and hearty homemade food is just the beginning of what Pink Cadillacs has to offer. On Fridays and Saturdays it turns into a late night lounge, open tip 1am, giving people a local place to hang out with friends. Pink Cadillacs is bringing back that “place around the corner.” 



Pink Cadillacs Malt Shop & Lounge is a must visit for both young and old. Once inside the doors, you’ll be taken back to a different time and place. Soon you’ll be grooving to the oldies and swapping stories about the good ol’ days. 

Visit Pink Cadillacs' Spotlight Profile!

 

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