Posts Tagged "Moncton"

#AngloswithAcadians

Posted by on Aug 21, 2015 in Life in Writing | 7 comments

I posted a rant on Facebook on August 15th, la Fête Nationale Acadienne,  It got a lot of attention–currently, it’s sitting at almost 2,000 shares and nearly 3,000 likes. On the evening of August 14th, I saw a post by Beth Lyons. I’d been thinking about this issue for a long time. Growing up in Albert County, I saw one side of the argument: the majority’s side. Lately, after seeing vocal “anglophone rights” and “anti-bilingualism” groups, my urge to say something grew. Seeing Beth’s post on the 14th sparked something in me. I woke up on the 15th and said “today’s the day”. My rant followed. I’ve long been interested in New Brunswick’s bilingual population. When I was approaching middle school, I was given the opportunity to take immersion classes in Hillsborough. Being from a small community, the idea of going to a school an hour away was a little daunting, but I really wanted to improve my meagre French skills. This was important to both me and my parents, considering neither of them spoke French and they felt that I should be connected culturally to both official languages. I stuck it through and graduated high school as Intermediate in French, which was enough to gain me acceptance to Université de Moncton’s groupe pont (bridge group)—a program for anglophones. I took a 5-year break in between to practice my French in a practical setting: working retail in Champlain Place. I couldn’t tell you what level my French is at now, but I worked very hard to get there. I went through years of anxiety, and it was anything but easy. This doesn’t really matter, but I think it’s relevant to illustrate my background as an anglophone. My quinze août rant was intended to be a public statement of recognition, from an anglophone to the francophone community, that some of the silent majority recognizes that the minority is suffering. By making this statement, I’m not ignoring the fact that unilingual anglophones might have a hard time finding a job in New Brunswick. The problem is that anglophones are in the majority in our province, and these growing anglo rights groups are speaking over francophones who are have had similar experiences for a long time. The focus shift to anglophone rights must be discouraging for francophones. I know that both sides of the language debate–how is there still a language debate?!–have problems. However, as an anglophone, I am allied, by default, to anglophones, and this is why I wrote my rant. When the majority is loud in favour of the majority, the minority is silenced. This is what I fear. Many francophones tend to hear negativity from the anglophone side, and I felt it was important to let francophones know that some of us are willing to speak up. I’m a little disappointed that, despite francophones speaking out about these issues for years, these issues are only being addressed now that an anglophone is publicly decrying them. I’m very glad that the message I wrote has resonated with so many people, but I do hope that others decide to listen to francophone voices and stand up for their right to speak and work in their language. I also find it interesting that I was interviewed by four French media outlets, and only one English one. The fact that CTV published a poll asking whether bilingualism is outdated or not on their website is proof that we have a serious problem in our province. The results heavily favoured doing away with bilingualism–this coming notably from primarily English-speaking viewers. I’m not saying our province isn’t broken. We have low literacy rates. Our unemployment rate is high. We have a failing economy. We have a slew of problems, but we’re constantly putting the blame on bilingualism and duality. This is not a black and white issue. Getting rid of bilingualism will not fix these problems. Language is a skill like any other, and it is a marketable skill. Certainly, some anglophones have unfairly lost their jobs–I am speaking of specific examples, not every occurrence thereof. While I agree that all jobs shouldn’t necessarily be bilingual by default, bilingualism as an ideal...

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Crystal Palace closed yesterday.

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Crystal Palace closed yesterday.

Crystal Palace was a magical indoor amusement park that I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy while growing up. It was a place I went to with family and young friends: a place for March Breaks and birthday parties. I had my first actual date with a boy in grade 6 at Crystal Palace, too–we went on a bunch of rides, won a purple plush bulldog and saw a movie together, back in the days that the theatre and park were connected. The connection was only removed in the last few years, and I remember experiencing a wave of nostalgia every time I would leave the movie theatre, met by the sounds of excited children screaming on the roller coaster.  I’ll always have fond memories of getting my face painted and riding on the giant swing set to be propelled through the air across the park. I felt like I was flying. And, of course, I’ll always remember challenging friends to the Laser Runner laser tag game. One last shot of the Crystal Palace sign. Animaritime, a convention I’ve been staffing at off and on since 2008, took place in the convention centre in Crystal Palace for their 2007 event. That year, I played mini-golf while dressed like a comic book character, made some incredible friends, and got to experience the ridiculous fun of being at a convention in an indoor amusement park. It was a perfect location, but sadly the convention centre wasn’t big enough to house the growing convention. Recently, my husband Brad and I stopped in at Chapters to browse around.  We decided we’d take a walk through Crystal Palace. We have a little one on the way, after all, and we talked about how much we were looking forward to bringing the child there when he or she is old enough. A few weeks later, we heard the sad news that Crystal Palace would be closing at the end of the day on September 1st, so this was never going to happen. We decided we would bring the baby there anyway–so to speak–before the place closed, for one last night of fun and fond memories. So, the night of Friday, August 29th, we went. We spent the evening playing games and trying to win a prize for the little one, since I couldn’t go on any rides. We had discovered the day before that we are to have a little girl, and we were going to try and win her a stuffed dragon. At one point in the night, as we took a break between games, a young girl came up to us and handed us several tickets, saying “you can have these”. I looked at her parents, who were with her, and asked if she was sure she wouldn’t rather have them for herself. She insisted, and her mother smiled at me and said “we know you’re trying to win something for your baby”. Brad and I accepted the tickets gratefully, and noticed that they included a slip for over 300 tickets. I tried keep myself together as I put the slip with our other winnings, and the two of us took a break to grab a snack at Pretzelmaker. As we sat with our snack, we watched a a young boy and his father riding the Jumpin’ Star together. The look of joy on the little boy’s face was unmistakable. A lot of people are going to miss this place, I thought. We went to cash in our tickets at the end of the night, and the man behind the counter informed us that they would be honouring all tickets in double from Saturday until the park’s closure on Monday evening. We decided to come back the following morning, get a few more tickets, and get our baby girl an even better prize–prolonging our goodbye just a little longer. Before we left, a janitor stopped to chat with us, asking us if either of us remembered the bumper boats from the nineties. Since I did, he brought out a little bag...

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Resurgo.

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014 in Life in Writing | 1 comment

Resurgo.

I was born in the Moncton Hospital in 1986. I lived in Riverview until I was 5, when we moved to Alma. I started attending Université de Moncton in 2004, and lived in Moncton in fall and winter until 2008, when I moved here year-round. I joke to people “I was born in Moncton, and I’m still here! I haven’t gone far in life!”, but I love this city. I can’t go for a walk without seeing somebody I know, and that’s just from working customer service here in the last five years. Last week, tragedy unfolded. Our beautiful city, a vibrant and close-knit community, was under threat from a gunman. More than a third of Moncton was in lockdown. I had friends who heard the gunshots while out walking, thinking people were setting off fireworks because it was such a beautiful day. I knew at least six families, off the top of my head, who were in the red zone. We weren’t, but we were close enough that we didn’t want to risk it–the closest police barricade was only five minutes away. #prayformoncton was trending globally on Twitter–a recognition we sadly hoped would be in better circumstances. Everyone in Moncton was somehow affected by the hours of terror that followed. Five officers were shot, three of whom died from their wounds–their families and friends, to say the least, were among the most affected. These are the three officers whose names we must remember: Constable Dave Ross, Constable Fabrice Gevaudan, and Constable Douglas Larche. These three men died protecting our city. Despite the terror and fear, though, there was one thing I noticed about the situation that made our beautiful community seem even more so. Love. Support. Unity. People were sharing information–not the locations of the RCMP and their movements, mind you, as was requested of us–and putting friends up in their homes. Porch lights were on across the city to aid the police in their manhunt, leaving a city that felt very dark covered in lights of hope. People stayed in their homes in an attempt to make the suspect the only person moving. The whole city was at a virtual standstill as businesses closed and buses were pulled off the roads. When the announcement came that the suspect was in custody, there was a flood of relief. People were on the roads at 1:30 AM, cheering and smiling. I’m sure I’m not the only one who immediately felt safe again. The days that followed the shooter’s arrest were filled with such an outpouring of support for the RCMP and other first responders that I couldn’t help but be proud. I went to get lunch with my mom the day after, and an officer was behind me in line. With tears in my eyes, I shook his hand and thanked him. I watched as he approached the front of the line and a man tried to pay for his lunch. The woman behind the cash smiled and shook her head, saying “it’s on us”. Business signs on Mountain Road were changed to say “thank you RCMP”. My own workplace started selling muffins, 100% of the proceeds going toward the Moncton Fallen RCMP Members Memorial Fund, and today I am trading in my work uniform of green and black for red and white to show my support. Friday night, a candlelight vigil was held in front of the RCMP’s office on Main Street. I’ve heard mixed reports that anywhere from 2,000-10,000 people were there, but I would believe any number on that spectrum. My husband and I went to witness it, and it was incredible. Flowers covered the steps leading to the building to the point that they had to be left on the street. There was so much love and respect. This is a public thank you to the RCMP, who were professional and dealt with a difficult situation in a way I can’t imagine being any better. Thank you for protecting our beautiful city while mourning your friends, who must have been like family members to you....

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Moncton life

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Life in Writing | 2 comments

Moncton life

I grew up in a small rural community surrounded by trees and gorgeous vistas. Our house was a 2-minute drive from the the Bay of Fundy, which boasts the highest tides in the world. If I wanted to be alone, I could easily go find a place where no one would be able to find me. Fog drifted in and out like a familiar friend, and the salt scent of bay air met your nose the moment you opened a window. Naturally, moving to a city proved to be a bit of a challenge for me at first. Though not a particularly big city by any means, Moncton still had an unsettling tree-to-person ratio. I had grown accustomed to the quiet solitude that came from walking in the woods or watching the tide roll in. That was something that was now missing for me. Rest area at the Tankville School trail. My first year of university, I would sit in my dorm alone. That part wasn’t so bad–but what I didn’t like was the sound of ambulance sirens blaring at all hours of the day. Université de Moncton’s Lafrance dormitory was where I stayed, and it loomed above the Georges Dumont hospital. During the week I didn’t take many opportunities to go anywhere other than my room or class, but on the weekends I would go home and that would give me the chance to go on those long beautiful walks I craved. In the summer, I would also go home to work from May until the end of August, when school would start again. One of the highlights of the apartment we rented just off Elmwood was the little duck pond and walking trail down the road. The wildlife made me feel at home, and seeing people walking their dogs made me even happier. There was a small patch of woods right by the Université de Moncton campus that I used to take a shortcut through, despite the sign that barred pedestrians from passing through. I wasn’t the only rule-breaker and often found other students doing the same thing. That one little strip of forest was enough to reconnect me to the place that I wanted to be: the forest. As much as I hate the term, calling me a tree-hugger wouldn’t be far from the truth. Five years ago, in October 2008, Brad and I moved to Moncton permanently. I got a job downtown, we got a new apartment and adopted our cat, Lady Pansy. All of a sudden, life was much different for me. Having no specific days off, I found visiting home much more difficult. In addition, Brad and I would often have separate days off. I would get to visit home very rarely and found myself exhausted from being on my feet all day anyway.  We weren’t anywhere near any kind of walking trail or park. The best we had was the little area in front of the cultural centre across the road.  Gradually I found out about various places to go in town. First it was the Irishtown Nature Park just off Elmwood Drive. Next was Mapleton Park off the Gorge Road. Both places provided scenic, woodsy walks that put me at ease. We often saw many other people there, but for some reason I didn’t mind. Those places are like communities in themselves; many people smile and say hello as they pass, even if you’ve never met.  After walking on those paths for some time, we started to locate smaller, less travelled paths. A recurring favourite became the Tankville School trail, just down the road from the Irishtown Nature Park. It seems the Tankville trail hooks onto the back end of another trail, because we found that one, too. The first time, we found it by walking over the frozen lake at Tankville School. The second time, we took the real entrance–just a short drive down the road. Now we’ve taken to other sorts of adventures, whether it’s through Centennial Park or through visiting outlying villages, cities or towns. One thing that...

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