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Celebrate The Season | Alberta Legislature

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Celebrate The Season | Alberta Legislature

Tis the season to be merry! On December 7th the Alberta Legislature Grounds turned the lights on for their annual Celebrate the Season event. Until December 23rd people can head down to the grounds and check out the light displays, performances and you can even take your skates and go for a spin on the outdoor rink. There isn't snow right now, it is more of a wavy hard ice/snow mixture with patches of grass sticking through, but when there is snow on the ground, I am sure you can take a rip on your GT snowracer, saucer or crazy carpet down the hills. 

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The key attraction to the light display this year is at the front steps of the Legislature building where you will find a giant 150 display for some photo opportunities. Not to be out done is the giant Christmas tree that is in the middle of the fountain area. It is always worth just standing and watching the lights trickle down a massive Christmas tree.

At least once a day, somedays up to three times, the grounds host performances from various musical groups and a full calendar of these performances can be found at the Legislative Assembly of Alberta website or check it out below. 

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So pick a nice evening, bundle up and head over the Legislature Grounds for some Christmas cheer. If you want to extend your evening out the High Level Bridge is right there and always lit up in various colours, Constable Enzio Park is across 109 street and offers a great view of the High Level Bridge at night and Jasper Avenue is only two blocks away for some food (and/or drinks). 

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2016 First Truck Drive Fore A Cure Golf Tournament

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2016 First Truck Drive Fore A Cure Golf Tournament

This week I was given the opportunity to photograph the 2016 First Truck Drive Fore A Cure Golf Tournament at the Belvedere Golf and Country Club in support of the MS Society. The tournament raises money for multiple sclerosis research in the fight to cure the disease that affects over 100,000 Canadians. Funding is needed for researchers to continue their work to find a cause of multiple sclerosis, develop better treatments for managing multiple sclerosis and to ultimately cure the disease. Events like this coupled with the continuous generous support of Albertans is moving researchers closer and closer to their goals.

One of the most impactful things that I got to witness at the tournament was the research that the University of Alberta is conducting in the search of the cause of multiple sclerosis. Prior to teeing off on the tenth hole, golfers were given the opportunity to discuss research with a pair of University of Alberta researchers and how their work is impacting the search for the cure. It gave golfers and donors a way to see the impact that their generosity has in a local research environment like the University of Alberta. 

Prior to the start of the tournament the area experienced some intense lightning and rain but about an hour or so before the shotgun start, the skies cleared up and the morning was perfect for golf. Hitting the course in support of the MS Society was 144 golfers who would be treated to a great day of golf followed by an amazing steak supper and a auction that included items generously donated to support multiple sclerosis research. 

Photographing the days events was awesome! The joy of the golfers, even the ones who may have spent more time in the rough then the fairway, the enthusiasm of the volunteers and the hole sponsors made the day on the links that much more enjoyable. 

Here are some of the photos I captured from the day, hopefully capturing what a great event this was. 

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Down & Dirty 5K Obstacle Course Race

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Down & Dirty 5K Obstacle Course Race

On Saturday August 13 I was afforded the opportunity to take photos at the Alberta Cancer Foundation's Down & Dirty 5K Obstacle Course Race. The race is held at the Sunridge Ski Area in Edmonton and is a mud filled course designed for beginner and expert obstacle course racers. 

The event raises money for the acceleration of progress for patients and their families at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton through donations to the Alberta Cancer Foundation. In 2016 the event raised $30,710.50 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. 

Race day was awesome to be a part of. The weather was a hot Saturday in August with temperatures reaching 28 degrees celsius participants were more than happy to get down into the mud holes and into the water obstacles. Racers were required to crawl underneath beams, through tires, climb over tires, pull a tire, climb over a giant wall, climb over a giant ladder, through a giant web of rope, jump into pools of icy cool mud water and even slide down a huge slip n' slide. All of these obstacles were spread out over the five kilometre course of uneven trails and included dreaded hills. Not just little hills but running up a ski hill hills. 

It was very cool to see just how fast some of the participants could complete the course. Jacob Reckhard would finish the race in 27:33:10 for the fastest male and Michelle Bagnell would take home the fastest female title with a time of 36:54:30. Impressive considering that the participants are running almost the entire five kilometres wet and covered in mud. 

After race activities included a barbecue, beer from Yellowhead Brewery and door prizes from sponsors like World Health, Starbucks, David's Tea, Garneau Chiropractic Health and the Yellowhead Brewery. All set to the sweet jams of the HOT 107.1 DJs who provided the music, and victory horns at the finish line for the participants.

I would highly recommend that you check out the Down & Dirty 5K Obstacle Course either on the Alberta Cancer Foundation website or on their Facebook page for information on how you can help drag cancer through the mud in 2017.

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2016 Johnson MS Bike Tour - Leduc to Camrose

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2016 Johnson MS Bike Tour - Leduc to Camrose

On Saturday June 11 I was given the opportunity to photograph the 2016 Johnson MS Bike Tour - Leduc to Camrose event. The scenic ride through central Alberta is a two day, 180km trip from Leduc to Camrose that featured 2035 riders for the 2016 edition with a fundraising total of (as of June 13) $1,775,956.64 which will go towards funding programming for Albertans impacted by MS and to fund research with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. 

The day started early for riders with many beginning to show up around 6:00am to get ready for the 7:30am start time at the Richie Bros. Auctioneers yard in Nisku. Riders had the opportunity to get some breakfast which was provided and served by a superb group of early rising volunteers or grab a free cup of coffee provided by Tim Hortons while they wait for the bike technicians from United Cycle to work their magic if a bike was not in suitable shape for the upcoming 90km ride. 

It was great to see the participants interacting with each other prior to the start of the ride. While there were a lot of company teams with co-workers coming together to make the ride together as a team, there were also individuals who have developed great relationships with others through this event and their experiences with MS. One of the most powerful sights are the "I'm riding for _____" signs that individuals wore. Names of loved ones, friends and co-workers effected by MS were written and worn with pride. It was amazing to listen to individuals talk about the individuals they were riding for and how proud they were to be a part of an event like the Johnson MS Bike Leduc to Camrose. 

While the weather was far from ideal, we are talking about temperature dips to 10 degrees with rain and wind for the entire 90km, it was awesome to see the determination of the riders. The event draws serious riders, recreational riders and riders who may have spent a couple of weeks on a bike prior to the event but the level of commitment and determination I got to witness from the riders was not impacted by riding experience. If an individual could not continue the ride at any point for any reason there was a volunteer team that would pick up your bike and give you a ride to a check point where you could take a bus to Camrose and enjoy the festivities there. Throughout the route United Cycle also had their bike technicians available to fine tune the bikes. Tire maintenance, lubricating, chain repair, seat repairs and the list goes on. It was really impressive to see how quickly and with precision the technicians could rip apart a bike, fix the issue and then put it all back together for the awaiting rider. 

The lunch check point provided riders with some fantastic homestyle soups, wraps and other energizing food for the riders to finish off the second half of their first day. If a person wasn't impressed with the care that the volunteers had been giving the riders yet, at the lunch check point you couldn't stand back and admire the work of the volunteers. From serving the 2,000 riders food to making sure anyone that looked like there were going to shiver right out of their shoes had a blanket or knew that they could warm up in the church or just to say welcome to the checkpoint and asking how the ride has been so far. 

Once riders got to Camrose they were greeted by a cheering crowd in the muddy driveway of the Camrose Regional Exhibition grounds, some great food and the music of Mourning Wood, a St Albert based band who kept everyone entertained through the afternoon with amazing covers. There was even a superb rock version of Backstreet's Back. Well done gentlemen, well done. If riders were sore, or as one gentleman put the condition of his back "stiffer than a 2x4", Blitz Conditioning provided riders with a stretching room complete with three of their staff providing coaching and assistance. 

The experience I had throughout the entire day was nothing short of awesome! It was a miserable day weather wise but the people and the event itself made the 6am - 5pm day a great amount of fun in the rain. I would strongly encourage you to check out the event in 2017 and if you ever were interesting in volunteering for an incredible event, the Johnson MS Bike Leduc to Camrose is a great one to look into. 

You can check out the Johnson MS Bike Tour - Leduc to Camrose Facebook page or the MS Bike website for more information.

Click on the images below for an expanded view.

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