'I'm proud of us': Teen tribute highlights resiliency during pandemic

WATCH ABOVE: Throughout the pandemic, we've all had to overcome a number of hurdles, especially teens. Kendra Slugoski has more on a project that aims to recognize the tenacity of teens and their ability to adapt.

Will Brisbin has learned a lot about adversity and being resilient over the past year and a half.

The 16-year-old actor from Sherwood Park, Alta., was forced to give up some in-person acting and live red carpet events due to the pandemic.

Brisbin landed the voice of Ryder, a young boy who leads a pack of heroic pups in the animated PAW Patrol movie. The film is set to be released in theatres in August 2021.

Read more:
Sherwood Park teen to star in ‘PAW Patrol: The Movie’

“I was supposed to go to Toronto and record. I had to record remotely from Edmonton which was still a great time,” said Brisbin. “It just wasn’t the full experience.”

Brisbin did take part in two drama productions at his high school after the winter break, but for a chunk of the school year he trudged through online learning. Like every other high school student in Alberta, he spent countless hours at home away from friends.

“That was probably the most stressful part because I hated being online,” said Brisbin, “and it just wasn’t fun for me to wake up and do the same thing every day.”

Read more:
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Brisbin is one of many teens highlighted in a tribute video put together by Strathcona County — he narrates how their play was taken away by COVID-19.

“We have not been the decision makers, yet we’re affected by the decisions,” said Brisbin in the video.

“We sanitized, distanced and masked up. We Zoomed and Googled, packed up and unpacked again.”

Sherri-Dawn Annett, senior communications advisor with Strathcona County, said the tribute to youth started with a “caged-in” feeling which represented all the restrictions teens and youth faced during the pandemic.

As the video plays on, youth start to get back to their pre-COVID life, playing sports and meeting with friends. After more than 15 months of isolating and quarantining and worrying about keeping everyone safe, Brisbin notes it’s important to remember what used to make them laugh.

“Maybe it’s time to turn our attention back on to ourselves.”

After watching and waiting, Annett said it’s important youth get back to rediscovering freedoms. The county website lists places youth can bike and skateboard, and other free summer activities.

“We wanted to encourage a pause to recognize all this generation gave up over the past two years of school; while celebrating their tenacity, outlook and hope as we move forward,” said Annett.

There is one line in particular in the video that hit home for Brisbin’s mom, Lisa. When her son said: “We are not the same as we were before. We are two years older.”

“It kind of choked me up, thinking yeah, “said Brisbin’s mom, “two years of their youth.

”We put our youth in this position,” she added. “We kind of made them step up and be resilient and made them kind of grow up, maybe faster than we would have wanted them to.”

Dr. Carolyn FitzGerald, an assistant professor in the faculty of education at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the past 15 months shouldn’t be viewed as lost time.

She said teens will look to parents and teachers and it’s important to balance how that time period is framed.

“I don’t agree with the idea that it’s a lost two years. It’s been a very different couple of years, absolutely, but there’s lots of things that have happened in the last year and a half that haven’t been possible,” said FitzGerald.

She pointed to more quality time with siblings and parents and reduced negative influences in schools, along with peer pressure.

Perhaps one of the most positive potentials to come out of the pandemic, said FitzGerald, is the building blocks of adversity and resiliency.

“You can’t develop resiliency unless you face challenges, right?

“If your life is smooth and easy and you never have any bumps in the road or obstacles, then you don’t get a chance to build resilience,” noted FitzGerald, “and that’s a problem because that’s a really important life skill, especially because once we build some resilience we can use that quality to help us meet future challenges.”

FitzGerald stressed it’s important for teens to have support when facing those challenges. A positive adult role model can go a long way.

“It doesn’t have to be a parent. It could be a teacher, an uncle and aunt.

“Other people really sink under that weight of adversity, so it’s important for us as parents and educators to really think about and understand, why is it that some youth do well when faced with a challenge and others really struggle?”

She suggested adults talk to teens about what they learned and what they enjoyed during the pandemic. Maybe, said FitzGerald, it was getting more sleep — something to continue in the new school year.

Brisbin said his pandemic experience wasn’t all bad. He gained quality time with his parents and young sister, Sadie, 14, and brother Fitch, 9.

“I got to spend a lot of time with my family, so I got to do a lot of quality family activities,” Brisbin said.

Will Brisbin, 16, says the pandemic led to more quality family time.

Will Brisbin, 16, says the pandemic led to more quality family time.

Supplied
Will Brisbin landed the part of Ryder in the PAW Patrol movie. He voiced from Edmonton

Will Brisbin landed the part of Ryder in the PAW Patrol movie. He voiced from Edmonton

Supplied
Will Brisbin, 16, says the pandemic led to more quality family time.

Will Brisbin, 16, says the pandemic led to more quality family time.

Supplied

He called it the “light” in the pandemic and said the word resilience was fitting for every teen around the globe.

“To be where we are now, it shows how much we’ve grown and we’ve matured.”

The Strathcona County tribute video ends with a final word from Brisbin.

“We did it. I’m proud of us.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Royal Alex Hospital emergency department put on lockdown Tuesday

The emergency department (ED) at the Royal Alexandra Hospital was on lockdown and EMS diversion Tuesday “as a precaution to ensure the safety of our staff and patients,” Alberta Health Services told Global News.

An AHS spokesperson said all AHS facilities have plans and protocols to address situations like this and “provide a coordinated response and ensure continuity of care in a safe environment.”

AHS Protective Services and Edmonton Police Service were also called to the site.

As of 11:30 a.m., AHS was asking anyone needing emergency care go to another hospital in the Edmonton zone.

Emergency department wait times are posted online.

The rest of the hospital remained open to the public and AHS said it was safe for visitors, staff and patients.

AHS did not say what led to the lockdown.

— More to come… 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

City of Toronto marks end of 11-year, $824M Union Station revitalization project

WATCH ABOVE: A system of manual levers and switches developed in the 1920s still directs train traffic at Toronto’s Union Station. The system is about to be replaced after more than 90 years on the job. Tom Hayes reports.

After years of delays and major construction work to overhaul the 94-year-old Union Station in downtown Toronto, officials have announced the completion of the mammoth project.

“This has been an incredibly challenging revitalization, but today represents a very good day not just for the city of Toronto but the entire GTHA (Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area) because thousands of people come through Union Station on their travels,” Mayor John Tory told reporters on Tuesday.

“This was no easy task. Throughout the revitalization, the most remarkable thing is Union Station has remained open … We kept the building open, we kept the transit running and we completed an incredibly complex renovation on a historic project.”

Read more:
GO Transit officially begins operating out of new Union Station Bus Terminal

On Tuesday, officials marked the opening of the new GO Transit concourse off of Bay Street.

Throughout the course of the project, which began in 2009, crews have divided the work up into sections to avoid shutting down the station. During the course of the project, officials said there were financing issues with contractors as well as supply chain problems that extended the ultimate interior completion date by several years (previously forecast to be largely completed in 2017). The final budget of $824 million also grew from the initial price of $640 million.

When asked about the history of the project, one that started before he became mayor, Tory defended the work done as part of the project.

Read more:
$823M Toronto Union Station revitalization, expansion project on track to finish in 2020

“In the end, if you look at the return this will pay in terms of improved transportation, economic activity and so on, I think it’s going to be a good investment. It’s a bigger investment than we thought,” he said.

Highlights of the completed heritage project include tripling the amount of space for GO Transit customers with the new concourses off of York and Bay streets, digging under Union Station to create a new level of retail which adds around 160,000 square feet of commercial space, the creation of a new food court, a renovated Via Rail concourse and lounge, installation of glass-covered moats along three sides of the building to provide protection from the weather, new accesses to the underground PATH system and two new bike storage areas.

Other major projects at and near Union Station in the past decade included the expansion of the TTC’s Union subway station with the creation of a new platform, the opening of the new Union Station GO bus terminal at the corner of Bay Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West and the creation of a new UP Express station on the east

Officials estimated approximately 500,000 people a day will travel through Union Station post-pandemic.

Read more:
All-day GO Train service to Hamilton’s West Harbour station starts Aug. 7

However, despite the completion of works inside the station below track level, there will still be a lot of expansion work to come in the next decade.

Phil Verster, the CEO of Metrolinx — the government agency that runs GO Transit and UP Express, said there is a lot of work that will be done at the platform level to vastly increase capacity.

He said pre-pandemic there were about 2,000 train trips across the entire GO Transit network and many of those trains passed through Union Station. With expansion plans for the regional transit organization to meet growing ridership demands, it’s estimated there will be about 6,000 train trips after 10 years.

Read more:
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Verster said over the next eight to 10 years, the platform level will need to be reconfigured and expanded to accommodate the surge in train trips. He also said a new southern concourse and access points will need to be constructed.

“While I’m aware of how people feel about how long work has taken at Union, I don’t want people to be alarmed by the fact we have more work to do but we have more work to do,” he said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Lockstation staff, public credited with helping distressed boaters caught in Hastings, Ont. dam

Six people are lucky to have escaped fairly unscathed after their boat nearly went through the dam in Hastings, Ont., on Sunday.

In response to an inquiry about the situation by Global News Peterborough, Parks Canada stated the 20-foot pleasure craft was circling the area at Lock 18 between the grey wall and marina, upstream of the dam, looking for mooring spots when its engine lost power.

READ MORE: Fishing boat helps rescue sailors stranded in Ottawa River rapids

“The vessel owner was unable to restart the engine,” Parks Canada stated. “Currents began to pull the vessel towards the cable 100 metres in front of the dam.”

Parks Canada credits its lockmaster with recognizing the danger and shutting down lockage and bridge operations and calling 911.

“Several other boaters in the immediate area were on hand to lend assistance, but the vessel slid under the safety cable due to the current. First responders were on scene in 3.5 minutes,” Parks Canada stated.

“The vessel had been pulled into the dam’s fourth sluice by then, where it became trapped. The Lockstation Team and a member of the public were able to assist the six people on board to disembark the vessel.”

By the time that had happened, police, fire and ambulance were there to help.

Read more:
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“We did attend.  All occupants were onshore when we arrived,” said Trent Hills fire chief Tim Blake in a text message to Global News Peterborough. “We treated two patients with minor injuries.”

Arrangements were made by lockstation staff and the owner of the vessel to recover the boat from the dam.

“Parks Canada would like to thank the public and local EMS for their assistance with this incident.  Parks Canada would also like to remind all boaters and land-based users to exercise extreme caution and to be extra vigilant around dam structures.”

“The recent three weeks of rain events have increased water levels and flows throughout the lakes and rivers of the Trent-Severn Waterway,” Parks Canada stated.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Lawsuit against coroner after death of Indigenous child should proceed: appeal court

Ontario’s top court says a lawsuit filed by the family of a four-year-old Indigenous boy against the coroner tasked with investigating his death should be allowed to proceed.

In a unanimous decision released this week, the Court of Appeal for Ontario says the motion judge erred in analyzing two of the grounds of the lawsuit and should not have dismissed the claim before trial.

Read more:
Coroner role before Ontario’s top court after strep throat death of Indigenous child

The three-judge appeal panel says the lawsuit should be permitted to go ahead on allegations of misfeasance of public office and breach of charter rights.

The lawsuit was launched by the family of Brody Meekis, who died in the remote Sandy Lake First Nation in northwestern Ontario of complications from strep throat in May 2014.

It targets the investigating coroner, his superiors and the province.

Court has heard nurses at the community’s nursing station had refused to give Brody an appointment for days, and instead told his mother to give him Tylenol.

After Brody’s death, the coroner did not go to Sandy Lake to investigate in person, nor did he interview the boy’s family or the nurses, despite guidelines on the matter.

Read more:
More needs to be done to protect kids in Ontario’s child welfare system: Coroner

Court heard he did, however, ask local police to look into possible drug or alcohol abuse in the family.

A lower court threw out the case in April 2019 before it went to trial, ruling that it had no reasonable chance of success. It found the coroner had acted within his discretion and was not under any legal obligation to attend in person.

The family appealed that ruling.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Saskatoon police investigate suspicious fires

Police in Saskatoon are investigating a series of suspicious fires.

Authorities say the small fires were discovered shortly around 7:20 p.m. along the lower path of the riverbank, in the 700 block of 25th St. E.

Read more:
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An investigation has determined the first blaze was sparked closer to the Broadway Bridge on the east side of the river, with several small fire spots moving north along the riverbank until the final scene near the top of the University Bridge.

It’s believed all of them were started sometime between 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Saskatoon Police Service at 306-975-8300 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Northwestern Ontario sees 17 new fires burning Tuesday as evacuations continue

Thousands of people have been forced to flee First Nation communities in northern Ontario as wildfires ravage communities. More than 3,000 people have had to be evacuated and about 5,000 more may still need to leave. Morganne Campbell has more.

DRYDEN, Ont. — Seventeen new wildfires are burning in Northwestern Ontario as evacuations continue for thousands of people living in remote and rural areas of the province.

There are now 148 active fires burning, with 44 of those not under control, 12 being held, 27 under control and 65 being monitored.

Read more:
More than 3,000 people evacuated from northern Ontario First Nations due to wildfires

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says the forest-fire hazard is “high” with “extreme areas” in Kenora, Dryden, Fort Frances, Thunder Bay and Red Lake.

A moderate to low hazard is in Nipigon and the eastern part of Sioux Lookout.

In the northeast part of Ontario, no new fires have been discovered, keeping the current number of burning blazes at nine, with only two under control and seven being observed.

The fire hazard in the northeast is low to moderate across the region.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Vegas trades Fleury to Chicago as goalie carousel spins

Reigning Vezina Trophy-winning goaltender Marc-André Fleury has been traded from Vegas to Chicago and is contemplating his future, according to his agent.

Allan Walsh tweeted Tuesday that Fleury had still not heard from the Golden Knights about the deal. The 36-year-old goalie, a Quebec native, did not have Chicago on his 10-team no-trade list but did not want to play for any team other than Vegas.

“Marc-André will be taking time to discuss his situation with his family and seriously evaluate his hockey future at this time,” Walsh posted on Twitter.

It’s the first time in 20 years the reigning Vezina winner was traded before the next season. Buffalo traded Dominik Hasek to Detroit on the first day of free agency in 2001.

READ MORE: Politicians, advocates denounce Montreal Canadiens’ controversial Logan Mailloux draft pick

Fleury went 26-10-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and .928 save percentage last season. He started 16 of the Golden Knights’ 19 playoff games over Robin Lehner, who is signed for four more seasons.

Lehner finished the postseason as the starter after a gaffe by Fleury late in Game 3 of the semifinals altered the series against Montreal and led coach Peter DeBoer to switch back and forth between his two goalies.

Fleury, a three-time Stanley Cup-winner, is set to count $7 million against the salary cap next season, and he is owed $6 million in actual money. The reported return of a minor leaguer indicates the move was a salary dump by Vegas.

Among other goaltending moves around the NHL, Vancouver’s Braden Holtby and San Jose’s Martin Jones will become free agents after going on buyout waivers.

Holtby struggled last season with the Canucks but is only three years removed from winning the Cup with Washington.

A person with direct knowledge of talks between the Buffalo Sabres and goalie Linus Ullmark says negotiations are continuing with the hopes of reaching a deal by Wednesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

Free agency opens at noon EDT Wednesday.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Charges laid after motorcyclists clocked at 200 km/h: Edmonton police

Two men in their 20s have been charged after allegedly riding their motorcycles at speeds of upwards of 200 kilometres per hour.

At about 2 a.m. Sunday, police said northwest division members were conducting patrols in the area of St. Albert Trail and 128 Avenue when they saw two motorcycles heading south at a high rate of speed.

Police said laser radar clocked the motorcyclists at 134 km/h.

Officers attempted to stay close to the motorcycles, but said both riders went through a red light at 130 Avenue, travelling about 150 km/h.

Read more:
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Instead of following the motorcycles, police said they called in Air 1, which tracked the suspects from the sky.

The motorcyclists were followed by air down Yellowhead Trail and onto 170 Street where they stopped at a red light.

Police said ground members pulled up behind the motorcycles, which then took off through another red light and headed south. Police said the riders were going 200 km/h at this point.

Air 1 continued to follow the motorcyclists from the air, watching as police said they ran multiple more red lights and continued to drive at dangerous speeds.

The riders eventually stopped at a home in northwest Edmonton and parked the bikes in a garage, according to police.

One of the men was found in the backyard and the other surrendered to officers, police said in a news release Tuesday morning.

Police searched the home and seized both motorcycles, riding gear and brass knuckles.

Gayath Al Brmawi, 24, and MHD Yasin Souidan, 20, are charged with criminal flight and dangerous operation of a vehicle. Soudan is also charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Former B.C. Mountie gets conditional sentence for pursuing sexual relationships while on duty

A former B.C. RCMP officer who previously pleaded guilty to one count of breach of trust for pursuing sexual relationships while on duty has received a nine-month conditional sentence.

Brian Burkett, a former constable in Kelowna, was originally charged with seven counts of breach of trust.

The BC Prosecution Service stated the charges involved allegations of misconduct against seven individuals between October 2015 and August 2016. Crown counsel condensed the women’s accusations into a single charge following a plea deal.

Read more:
‘I’m outraged’: Women react to former Mountie’s plea deal, handling of victim statements

During Tuesday’s sentencing in B.C. Supreme Court, the judge allowed Burkett to serve his sentence in Alberta, where he lives and works.

Crown had been seeking a sentence of six months to a year behind bars, while defence was seeking a conditional sentence of six months to a year, which would be served in the community.

Read more:
‘I feel broken’: Victim reacts to former Kelowna Mountie’s plea deal

In an interview earlier this year with Global News, an executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services believes Burkett should have had to face a breach of trust charge for each of the seven victims.

“It’s jarring to think that the Crown prosecutor would want to reduce the seven breach of trust charges down to one,” Angela Marie MacDougall said in June.

Read more:
‘That was a terrifying experience’: Women describe reporting Kelowna RCMP officer for alleged abuse of power

“It’s yet another example of the ways in which victims cannot trust the system, both in terms of policing in this case, but also the Crown prosecutor’s decisions,” she added.

More to come

With files from Jules Knox

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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