A community initiative by a local non-profit organization Southwest Youth Emergency Shelter (YES) to create an emergency shelter for homeless youth in southwest Saskatchewan reached in important milestone with the July 5 groundbreaking ceremony on the site, which is located at the corner of Herbert Street East and 2nd Avenue NE in Swift Current. The project will be a community build that will involve donations of expertise, labour and materials from local contractors and businesses. The project has received financial donations from the City and R.M. of Swift Current, and funds raised by Southwest YES since 2013 was used to purchase the vacant lot in the city. The construction project is coordinated by Tom Westbury, the co-owner of Len’s Plumbing and Heating in Swift Current. The completed home will be named Dorie's House in honour of his mother Doreen, who passed away last year. The shelter will provide accommodation for six to eight young people of all genders between the ages of 14 and 18, and the goal is that the facility will already be in use this coming winter. Speakers during the ceremony were Southwest YES President Bob Hale, Tom Westbury and his sister Charmaine Westbury, Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer, and R.M. of Swift Current Reeve Bob Neufeld. Jeff Bailey of Bulldog Contracting used an excavator to break the ground.



A large crowd attended the Canada Day flag raising ceremony in Swift Current's Memorial Park at noon on July 1, which was hosted by Tourism Swift Current. The Canadian flag was raised by Jorge Joel Marquez, who eight years ago came with his family from Cuba to Saskatchewan. They received their Canadian citizenship on May 18. He attended the Canada Day celebration with his wife Ailec Peralta and their sons Jorge and Carlos Marquez. The speakers at the event were Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer, Cypress Hills-Grasslands MP David Anderson, and Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre Executive Director Icasiana de Gala. Afterwards people celebrated the country's 149th birthday with hotdogs and cake.


People came out in large numbers on a sunny morning to enjoy the Frontier Days parade through the streets of Swift Current, July 1. This year’s parade followed a revised route through streets on the city’s north side due to the current closure of the 2nd Avenue overpass for renovations. The parade theme was “Rockin’ the Southwest Spirit” and there were were just over 100 entries. The grand award winner was the JayDee AgTech entry, which also won the category for best commercial entry. Other parade prize winners were Unforgettable You (Best Depicting Theme), Army Paintball (2nd, Best Commercial Entry), Saskatchewan Abilities Council (1st Best Community/Volunteer Entry), Aquatic Centre (2nd Best Community/Volunteer Entry), Burnham 4-H Club (1st Junior Organization & 4-H), Hallonquist 4-H Club (2nd Junior Organization & 4-H), Watteyne Trucking Co. (1st Antique) and Michael Thibault (2nd Antique).


Artist Tian Haowen was drawing buildings on the 100 block of Central Avenue North in downtown Swift Current, June 30. Haowen, who is from the city of Zhangjiajie in China's Hunan province, is currently visiting southwest Saskatchewan as a guest artist in residence with the Art Gallery of Swift Current and Novak Graphics in Admiral. He is accompanied by his wife and writer Zhang Linyan. They have collaborated to record the heritage buildings along ancient streets in Zhangjiajie before the structures were destroyed to make way for new business development. Haowen has created a 70-metre long drawing of these former buildings that is currently on display in an exhibition at the West Wing Gallery in Swift Current. The exhibition, titled Zhangjiajie: An Ancient and Modern Homesickness, is on display until July 24. It includes some works from Haowen's new Saskatchewan series of old buildings in Admiral and Swift Current. He will continue to draw buildings in Swift Current's downtown area over the next few weeks. The West Wing Gallery at Kinetic Exhibition Park is open, with free admission, from 1-5 p.m. from Friday to Sunday as well as on Mondays on long weekends during the summer.


The SaskTel Kiddies Day Parade was one of the main attractions on the first day of the 2016 Frontier Days, June 29. The theme of this year's parade was “Rockin’ the Southwest Spirit.” The parade started in Memorial Park and participants walked on a route along the streets in downtown Swift Current. Participants were treated to hot dogs and ice cream after the parade.


Frontier Days kicked off with the W.W. Smith Insurance pancake breakfast on Market Square in downtown Swift Current, June 29. All proceeds from the breakfast were donated to the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer carried out the ceremonial branding of the official Frontier Days brand at the pancake breakfast. He was assisted by Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association First Vice President and Frontier Days Chairperson Bryce Burnett. Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association President Steve Philp introduced the 2016 honorary parade marshall, Jean Allen. Lenora Bells, the event development coordinator for the Swift Current Agricultural and Exhibition Association, announcedthe winners of the Frontier Days school colouring contest. She was assisted by the 2016 Frontier Days Ambassador Lexi Hicks, who displayed the two winning entries by Grade 2 students Rhett Erickson and Ava Prokopchuk.


The 12th annual SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival took place in Swift Current, June 25-26. The event has grown into a major summer attraction in the city that draws visitors from across Saskatchewan and other provinces as well as other countries. The event is an opportunity to watch choreographed kite flying by celebrity flyers, learn how to fly a kite in the public area or enjoy the variety of entertainment activities available for the entire family. A kinetic wind sculpture garden displayed the artworks of 23 participating artists. The art pieces have been designed to interact with the wind.


Refugee Week celebrations in Swift Current concluded on a high note with entertainment and presentations on the main stage at Market Square, June 25. The event included an announcement by the Swift Current and Area Ministerial Association (SCAMA) Refugee Committee that their efforts to sponsor a refugee family from Syria will reach an important milestone with the arrival of a family of 13 people at Regina International Airport on July 12. Various activities took place in Swift Current during Refugee Week to raise awareness and a better understanding of why people look for sanctuary in another country and the contribution they can make to communities. It was organized due to an initiative by local community and church groups, which resulted in the first ever proclamation of Refugee Week by the City of Swift Current at a council meeting, June 20. The activities on Market Square included musical entertainment, a book reading to children and the introduction of the Etmeh family, who has been sponsored by the First United Church to come to Swift Current under the federal government’s resettlement program for Syrian refugees. Swift Current Mayor Jerrod Schafer and Cypress Hills-Grasslands MP David Anderson were present to welcome them to the city and a formal letter of welcome from Swift Current MLA and Premier Brad Wall was also presented to them. People had an opportunity to create messages of welcome for the refugee family, which will be used to create a poster to welcome them when they arrive at Regina Airport on July 12.


There were four nights of quality entertainment under a big top tent at the Long Day's Night Music Festival in Swift Current, June 23-26. The event, which takes place in association with the Windscape Kite Festival, featured entertainers from different musical genres from across the country. The performers on June 23 were Saskatoon electro/pop band We Were Lovers and The Wet Secrets, a six-piece rock ‘n roll dance band from Edmonton. Regina’s Johnny McCuaig Band, a rock a roll band that includes a bagpipe player, shared the stage with DJ Baby Daddy’s retro sounds from the ‘50s to ‘80s on June 24. Two Ontario bands, Toronto’s garage pop band Little Junior and Ottawa’s indie rock band Hollerado, were on stage on June 25. The festival concluded on June 26 with performances by Regina’s rock-folk band Nick Faye & The Deputies and Vancouver’s roots-rock band The Matinee. Pictured are the performances by We Were Lovers and The Wet Secrets on opening night, June 23.


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