The arrival of my folks for a few days last week heralded the advent of a couple of things.
• No. 1: Some sort of back-breaking labour. This year it involved the leveling of paving stones for the perfect sidewalk, a task that my father excels at.
• No. 2: Another fresh look at the community that has been my home for exactly 603 days.
Every time they visit, we go for a drive around the city and things I haven’t noticed before are invariably pointed out to me.
The Bergson personality dictates that you don’t point out the dilapidated home; you point out the nice yard next to it.
Autumn in Prince Albert is an amazing time. A city alive with trees and a beautiful river becomes a spectacular canvas of colours.
Take a walk and forget about the bad stuff for a while; you’ll have plenty of time to think about that when it’s -40 and there’s three feet of snow.
• • •
We’ve been writing stories about it for a whole year but a brewing crisis in this city may still be a surprise to some.
The labour shortage in this city has reached critical levels, bouncing between 700 and 1,000 available jobs in a city of fewer than 40,000 people.
The Daily Herald is among the businesses affected. We are often looking for new carriers or staff to work in our mailroom. If you’re interested, we welcome all inquiries.
While it’s exciting to see a wave of immigrants moving into our city -- and adding a wonderful multicultural flair -- the answer isn’t bringing 800 more folks from out of the country.
There are still people who live here who either want to work or could work but aren’t for whatever reason.
With additional labour challenges on the horizon as the city continues to grow, we need to bring more people here and capture a greater percentage of the existing workforce.
This is the sort of problem that keeps smarter people than me up at night but I do have one modest suggestion.
Not everyone in Canada is sharing in our good fortune on the job front right now. Perhaps it’s time to get the word out across the country that Prince Albert is hiring and the future looks bright.
• • •
I just finished an excellent book on the old World Hockey Association, the pro hockey league that competed with the NHL before a merger in 1979.
My dad and I made the hour-long drive in from Portage la Prairie many times to see the Winnipeg Jets. I still remember seeing the Houston Aeros come into town with the Howes -- Gordie, Mark and Marty -- nearly four decades later.
While my interest in professional hockey is almost completely diminished at this point, there was something special about those times.
We were down after a game getting autographs one time and Ted Green stopped a couple of times to chat with me.
He played a tough game on the ice with the Boston Bruins in the NHL and the New England Whalers and the Jets in the WHA, but he was terrific off the ice.
He could have dealt with me once and moved on with a clean conscience but on his way back to the dressing room stopped a second time to chat. It was a small gesture but one that remains appreciated to this day.
I’ve watched the Raiders interacting with their young fans and they are also unfailingly polite. I hope one day that a Prince Albert resident is telling a story about the time that Leon Draisaitl or Josh Morrissey spent some extra time with them.
And knowing Josh and Leon the little bit that I do, it’s entirely possible.
• • •
I always tell people that Prince Albert is a mecca for arts and entertainment, something that can be a surprise to some outsiders.
I mention this after seeing the Clint Black show on Friday night. It forever amazes me how many truly outstanding acts play in the Olive and John G. Diefenbaker Theatre at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre.
I saw Black many years ago at Dauphin’s Countryfest so I knew he put on a quality show. I’ve also been lucky enough to see acts like The Sojourners, Ian Tyson and Rose Cousins in the last several weeks.
For some shows, I’m there for the first three songs, the maximum allotted time to get a good picture for the next day’s paper. For others, I’ve taken the pictures and then had a chance to sit and enjoy.
I like the mix of big acts -- thanks to Malcolm Jenkins and Canadian Tire for their role in making that happen -- and lesser known acts. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Royal Wood and Jeffery Straker last season.
This is all really just a long-winded way to say thank you to Darren McCaffery, Linda Jensen and the entire staff at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre for what they provide to this community.
And while I’m at it, a special thank you to the huge team of volunteers that work at all of the shows. Your efforts don’t go unnoticed.
Perry Bergson is the Daily Herald’s managing editor. You can reach him at 765-1302 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org