End of Snowy Winter and International Women’s Day, Councillor Jan Harder, City of Ottawa

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After a very snowy winter, we are now in to March. There are signs everywhere that the City is starting to come out of the winter, I just wish the weather would go along with the statement a little more predictably.

It has been an odd few weeks to say the least, weather-wise. We have gone from -15 degrees to +9 degrees in the span of a day, and back down to -27 degrees a few days later. I don’t know about you, but I could use a few more days on the warmer side of that equation.

Speaking of -27 degrees, on March 3rd and 4th, the Red Bull Crashed Ice event was held on the Rideau Canal locks by the Chateau Laurier. Over the two coldest days we have had this winter, Mother Nature was not cooperating. Not only was the event an exciting and amazing thing to see, it also happened to be the final downhill ice event for the year. The unbelievable effort put out by the athletes was inspiring to see.

I was proud to note that in both men’s and women’s fields of contestants, Canadians were the majority of the competitors. On the men’s side, the Championship was won be Cameron Naasz. He became the first back to back champion in seven years, for the men. In an outstanding performance Jacqueline Legere became the first downhill ice competitor to win back to back championships and this was only the second year of women’s competition.

This last Wednesday was International Women’s Day. It is a day to celebrate the accomplishments and the efforts of women everywhere for the impacts, large and small, they have on the world and the people around them. I was honoured to have a chance to speak to a number of women Wednesday morning at an early morning event at City Hall. After some informal chatting and saying hello, we filled the Council chambers to standing room only and talked about women and where we see the need for more women to become involved in political life. Particularly with a City Council of 24 that only has 4 women, we need to have more women take interest and be supported in that decision. It was a pure pleasure to see so many engaged and active women in the group. I was also proud to have introduced an old Heritage Moment clip about the Edmonton Grads women’s basketball team. From 1915 – 1940, the Grads played 522 games, winning 502 of them. The held on the title of Women’s Champions until the team disbanded. They played as in the Olympics and swept the competition in 1924, 1928, 1932, and 1936. Unfortunately, women’s basketball was not included as a medal event until 1976. The Grads still hold the record as the team with the best winning percentage of all time. At the time they disbanded, they held 108 local, provincial, national and international titles and were world champions for 17 years in a row. They were an amazing group of athletes.

This weekend was daylight savings, spring forward. I always have mixed feelings about that, it gives us an extra hour of daylight in the evenings at the cost of sleep last Saturday night and a few weeks of getting used to the change. I usually try to set most of my clocks ahead throughout the day o the Saturday, so it is less of a surprise Sunday morning.

Hopefully, with all that has been going on, daylight savings, and our unpredictable weather, Spring is actually just around the corner. As much as I love living in Ottawa and do enjoy winter, I have had enough. Remember to be safe as spring approaches, frozen creeks, rivers, ponds, and lakes will become less safe to be on.

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