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"The view from my window in Saskatoon's Delta Bessborough Hotel. Why do I feel like I woke up in Paris?"

- Robin Esrock, travel writer and TV personality (via Twitter).

eBulletin - December 2011

Saskatoon hotel spa celebrates grand opening

Opening of Damara Day Spa marks first hotel spa in Saskatoon

SASKATOON, SK – There is a new sense of calm in the lobby of Saskatoon's Delta Bessborough Hotel.

Damara Day Spa and Esthetics celebrated its grand opening December 7, 2011, in a historic downtown hotel. The Delta Bessborough is the first hotel in the city to have a spa located under its roof, and Tourism Saskatoon recognizes this as a valuable move for tourism.

"Saskatoon hotels pride themselves on providing exceptional services to their guests," says Todd Brandt, President and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon. "The opening of Damara Day Spa is another example of our hotels meeting the demand. We commend the Delta Bessborough and Damara for teaming up to enhance visitor amenities."

Located in the main lobby of the Delta Bessborough, the spa will be available to hotel guests, as well as other visitors to the city and local residents.

"I'm excited about the opening - not only that we opened in Saskatoon, but that we opened in the Delta Bessborough," says Lindsay Thiessen, manager of Damara Day Spa and Esthetics in Saskatoon. "An iconic landmark, the Bessborough is a great location for the first hotel spa in the city. When people think of visiting Saskatoon, they think of the Bessborough, and we're thrilled to be connected with that."

The spa offers hot stone and therapeutic massage, body treatments, teeth whitening, exclusive anti-aging treatments, and all esthetics. In addition to services for women, the spa features several options for men and children.

"The addition of the Damara Day Spa will add a positive new dimension to the guest experience at the Delta Bessborough," says Andrew Turnbull, general manager of the Delta Bessborough Hotel.

The spa uses top-of-the-line products including Vivescence - a Swiss skincare line that promises to deliver amazing, age-defying results - and Comfort Zone products from Italy, which are described as gentle, yet very effective. Damara also carries Dermalogica and Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup, two other popular product lines.

Damara is a Regina-based company, now with two locations in Saskatchewan. The Saskatoon franchise is owned by Emerald Development Group. For more information about the spa, go to www.damaradayspa.com or www.deltabessborough.com.

For more information about visiting Saskatoon, go to www.tourismsaskatoon.com.

Media contacts:
Kelly Bertoncini
Director of Media
Tourism Saskatoon
Direct: 306-931-7585

Andrew Turnbull
General Manager
Delta Bessborough Hotel
Direct: 306-683-6911

Lindsay Thiessen
Damara Day Spa and Esthetics
Delta Bessborough Hotel
Phone: 306-649-2511

Source: Tourism Saskatoon

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New curling display at Enchanted Forest "rocks"

The 13th edition of the BHP Billiton Enchanted Forest opened Friday, November 18th. Now considered a Saskatchewan Christmas Tradition, the Enchanted Forest runs for seven weeks through January 8th every evening 5:30 – 11:00. Last year’s event drew 62,000 visitors with 35% tourists, making the event Saskatoon’s top winter visitor attraction.

The new display at the Forest is the Conexus Credit Union Curling display. This one of a kind display is the latest addition to the sports themed displays started last year by BHP Billiton with the popular hockey display. The curling display will be a huge attraction for curling fans around the province especially with the Tim Horton’s Brier coming up.

SaskTel and the SaskTel Pioneers are once again teaming up to present “Families to the Forest” where less fortunate folks are brought into the park on city buses and hosted by the Pioneers volunteers. This important program brings over 1,250 people to the forest to enjoy the magic of the Christmas Lights. A special “tip of the Santa’s hat” to SaskTel and the Pioneers for this outstanding community program.

The BHP Billiton Enchanted Forest is a major fundraiser for the Saskatoon City Hospital Foundation and the Saskatoon Zoo Foundation. Last year $125,000 was shared by the two organizations.

Gate admission is $25 per car or $6 per person. Visitors can save $5 off the gate admission by purchasing a Car Pass for only $20 at any Saskatoon Safeway, Shoppers Drug Mart, or the Midtown Plaza Guest Services Kiosk.

For more information please check out our website at www.enchanted-forest.org.

Hugh Vassos

Source: News Release

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Meewasin announces Conservation Award

Greg Fenty is the recipient of the Meewasin Conservation Award 2011 presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to conserving the heritage resources of the Meewasin Valley.

Greg was born and raised in Saskatoon attending Queen Elizabeth School, Aden Bowman Collegiate and the University of Saskatchewan.  Following university he worked for Environment Canada throughout the Arctic and Saskatchewan. He returned to Saskatoon in the 1990s to complete a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Saskatchewan.  He since has been employed by the Saskatoon Zoo Society to help develop and deliver the education programs.

As a youth, Greg was always interested in the environment.  His parents were outdoor people.  His spare time was spent hiking along the river valley and at Beaver Creek before it became a conservation area.  Summers were spent camping, hiking and canoeing.  His winters were spent cross-country skiing.  Growing up in Saskatoon meant nature was only a few steps away.

Over the past twenty years Greg has spoken to more than 150,000 youth about ecology and the importance of conserving biodiversity, much of it in a volunteer capacity.  He has been on the board of directors of the Saskatoon Nature Society for more than 15 years taking his turn as president during that time.  He volunteers promoting conservation of Meewasin’s Saskatoon Natural Grasslands and for the past five years has volunteered with Meewasin’s Monitoring Avian Productivity Species program.  He has given his time to Meewasin’s Christmas Day Bird Counts, Children’s Festivals, Rivers Day, National Wildlife Week, Earth Day and Reflections of Nature where he would bring live animals to display, lead creek dipping, speak on conservation issues and facilitate environmental displays.  Greg is a past member of the Saskatoon Heritage Festival, Meewasin’s Education Advisory Committee, Meewasin’s Resource Conservation Advisory Committee and the Saskatchewan Eco-Net Steering Committee.  He is an accredited Earth Day Coordinator.

A past recreation director of the Saskatoon Canoe Club, Greg played a role in the establishment of Meewasin’s Poplar Bluffs Canoe Launch.  For more than 20 years he has volunteered with the Saskatchewan Marathon, an event that focuses on the Meewasin Trail.  Married with one child, Greg is a great supporter of conserving the heritage resources of the Meewasin Valley, an excellent choice for this year’s award.

For more information contact Susan Lamb or Doug Porteous at Meewasin: 306-665-6887.

Source: News Release

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WakeRide contributes to youth charities

BY CAROL THOMSON, Saskatoonhomepage.ca

In its first three years, WakeRide has contributed $90,000 to youth charities.

$30,000 in total was announced today (Friday, December 2) as the contribution to five Saskatoon charities from the proceeds of this past summer's event in Victoria Park.

Co-founder of WakeRide, Gregg Bamford, says White Buffalo Youth Lodge, Dreambrokers, KidSport, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Firefighters Pediatric Fund are their main recipients.
Every dollar raised goes to support Saskatoon inner city youth programs.

WakeRide is a professional wakeboard competition and music festival, but Bamford says it is also a family event which features a KidZone where young people can try out various sports free of charge.

Next year's WakeRide will be July 6th to 8th.  


Source: Saskatoonhomepage.ca

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Cava wines, dines and educates


Buying wine is intimidating and anyone who says otherwise is either an expert or buys the same kind every time. For those who want to try new things, without looking ridiculous showing up at a dinner party, there’s help.

In 2009, Cameron Rizos obtained one of two licenses to operate a specialty wine franchise in Saskatchewan and opened Cava Wines and Spirits in Saskatoon. The other license was obtained by Willow Park Wines and Spirits in Regina. The store has a new manger, Heather Wolfe, and regularly hosts in-store tastings. These two specialty wine franchises are able to sell wine you won’t find in SLGA stores, in addition to spirits and beers. Cava now has a strong base in Saskatoon and Rizos has grand plans for expanding the empire. He says he and his team have been dreaming of hosting wine-dedicated festivals and are planning the first affair for summer 2012 in the Bess Gardens. The Saskatoon Chefs’ Association will be a partner in the festival so that chefs and sommeliers can work together to create decadent pairings.

As it is in life, food is often a focus at Cava. Monthly Wine and Dine dinners are held with geographical or varietal themes. Head chef Moe Mathieu and his culinary team work alongside Rizos to craft a six-course menu perfectly suited to the wines. “The difference for us is we start with the wine and create food to match that wine,” says Rizos.

Often a winemaker will host the events and guests are treated to his or her first-hand knowledge. It is to Rizos’ credit that these producers are now stopping in Saskatoon. Before Cava, the city was passed over in favour of larger centres on the winemakers’ international circuits.

In October, Cava hosted the Fall Affair: Local Food, Global Wine in the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. As the name implies, Cava’s chefs created a wide sampling of locally inspired tapas dishes to correspond with the global wines available for tasting. It was a classed-up affair where (unlike at Premier) chugging one’s glass and racing to the next tasting station was unacceptable. Tastings are held at Cava every Saturday and are an ideal way to experience a new wine. Rizos says wines are created to go with food. Since we don’t eat the same food at each meal, we should consider changing the wine we drink to make it a true gastronomical experience.

Entering Cava Wines can be daunting as hundreds of bottles line the shelves. But the staff are there to help and can point you in the direction of a new favourite. Things to consider are when you’ll be drinking it, with whom and where. Last time I was in, I took home a bottle of Matane Primitivo Puglia on a recommendation. It was an instant hit, even if I can barely pronounce it, so I’ll be back soon for bottle number two. No matter where you get your wine from, though, it has to be drinkable.

“At the end of the day, it’s just wine! It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be good,” says Rizos. And I agree.

Cava Wines is located at 110 19th St. W. Willow Park Wines & Spirits is at 3809 Albert St.Sea Buckthorn salad dressing

Cava’s executive chef Moe Mathieu has provided the following recipe for Sea Buckthorn Salad Dressing using locally sourced Saskatchewan ingredients. He says sea buckthorn berries can be found all over Saskatchewan because thanks to a huge planting several years ago. They are a beautiful orange colour and pack tons of Vitamin C. The thorn part is no joke though. Harvesting them is nightmarish and it’s much easier to buy them from sea buckthorn Betty Down at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. She has all sort of transformations of the berry. Gourmet food stores in both Saskatoon and Regina are another source.

Camelina oil is the only one of its kind. The artisanal oil is cold-pressed from an ancient grain by farmers here in Saskatchewan. It’s a very healthy oil that is flavourful and has a beautiful golden colour. You can find this oil at a number of locations throughout the province. Check online for a full list of retail locations: www.threefarmers.ca.

Source: Bridges, The Star Phoenix

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Homecoming for actors filming Ferocious in Saskatoon


It's been a homecoming for two Saskatoon-born actors currently shooting Ferocious in the alleys of Saskatoon.

The feature length thriller stars Amanda Crew, Kim Coates, Michael Eklund, [Dustin Milligan] and Katie Boland.

Coates, a U of S alumnus now living in Los Angeles, has built a successful career, starring in films such as Sons of Anarchy and Black Hawk Down. Eklund graduated from Mount Royal in 1993 and made his way to Vancouver to begin his acting career. Eklund says that growing up, he admired Coates.

“Kim was one of the guys who got out and made a name for himself. He was an inspiration for any actor that was coming through it in Saskatoon,” he says. Laughing, he adds “I told (Coates) that today and I think it touched him.”

The premise of Ferocious is a homecoming for a successful film actress. She’s promoting her film and coming home to a city much like Saskatoon. Director Robert Cuffley says Ferocious is about how dangerous people can become when they have nothing to lose.

Amanda Crew plays the female lead Leigh, a charming and determined actress who left her hometown to make it big in Hollywood. Leigh dumped then-boyfriend and bar manager Eric (Eklund) to make her career move. For five years he’s been heartbroken over the loss. After Leigh returns to her hometown, a plot to retrieve a sexually incriminating videotape from Eric’s bar unfolds as she encounters the ruthless and intimidating Sal (Coates).

The homecoming theme transcends Ferocious. Both Coates and Eklund are returning home after making it big in show business. They’re living the life they’re portraying on screen. The first two weeks of filming have been at night in the Glengarry building and the alley behind it. Dark and edgy, Ferocious can be labelled as film noir for its sexual motivations. Next up, the crew will move to the former Viper Room nightclub to shoot the shady bar scenes before filming wraps up in mid-December.

Playing the bad guy comes easily for Coates. While he loves comedy, he often chooses darker roles and says everyone is typecast at some level.

“My guy (Sal) is someone, that when I read it, right away I wanted to play him. I describe him as a king snake.”

Coates describes Sal as quiet and dark, with a funny side. He can be very violent when needed and something happens in the script to send him over the edge.

“I love being a character actor but I’m very careful with my bad guys. There are certain ones I will not play. Like pedophiles and rapists — I just won’t go there.”

Nearly all of the Ferocious crew members are from the province but most key technical positions had to be brought in from Regina. Producer Carolyn McMaster, of CHAOS, a film company, says this is a problem.

“My hope for the future of film in Saskatoon is that they develop more of an infrastructure moving forward. I hope the province is behind filmmaking.”

She says that while Saskatoon is a good training ground, more needs to be done to encourage highly qualified people to stay.

“I would encourage the students in filmmaking to stay in Saskatchewan and make this a viable film centre.”

One person who has done that is Daniel Ford Beavis. The owner of O’Shea’s Irish Pub and fight director for Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is also a stunt performer in the Saskatchewan film industry. He says he doesn’t blame talented people for moving to larger centres to pursue their careers.

“I’ve decided I’ll stay here. The U of S drama department turned out much of our talent for (Ferocious).”

Coates agrees. He studied drama at the U of S from 1978 to 1982 and says he loves to watch the current graduates and what they do with their talent.

That talent has been ramping up production for the Saskatchewan film industry. Several feature length films have recently been made in the province. Anand Ramayya began the production company Karma Film in Saskatoon in 2002 and is one of the producers of Ferocious. He has watched the industry in Saskatchewan steadily grow over the past decade. Ramayya feels the province has much to offer filmmakers in the way of locations and artists, but that the film industry needs support.

“We have to get the community behind us (and) keep supporting the arts. We need to make Saskatoon an affordable and attractive place to shoot,” he says.

Cuffley says Saskatoon was his top choice for Ferocious and after scouting locations this summer, had to make a tough decision between the Bridge and Queen cities.

“I’m not trying to create a rivalry of course, but Saskatoon seemed to have a little more colour.”

Source: Bridges, The StarPhoenix

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Alexandra Stang
Media Relations Coordinator | Tourism Saskatoon
Ph: 306.931.7587 | astang@tourismsaskatoon.com

Kelly Bertoncini
Director of Media | Tourism Saskatoon
Ph: 306.931.7585 | kbertoncini@tourismsaskatoon.com

Copyright 2011 Saskatoon Visitor and Convention Bureau. All rights reserved.