All posts by Aydan Dunnigan-Vickruck

Aydan is a social worker, blogger, tango dancer, outdoor enthusiast and co-parent with Patricia to 8 children and 16 grandchildren. He’s also a resident of the 'hood and loving it.

Serca Festival shows love of Irish influence Enjoy Irish arts and culture at long-running local festival

Liz Hobbs is an incredibly busy woman. Organizing festivals is her main gig, but she also directs theatre productions, writes, acts, and is currently the artistic director of the Serca Festival of Irish Theatre.

During the time I was tracking her down, Hobbs was in and out of the province. In and out of Edmonton. She was coordinating the Silver Skate Festival Folk Trail, then up to Kinuso (near Slave Lake) to audition 200 kids for Fiddler on the Roof, then back to work on the Chinook Festival. Continue reading Serca Festival shows love of Irish influence Enjoy Irish arts and culture at long-running local festival

Hugging regularly brings health and happiness Physical contact helps us bond with our loved ones

Science backs up what we all know intuitively: touch not only feels good, it is essential to our emotional and physical well-being.

Touching is fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health. It calms cardiovascular stress. It evokes safety and trust. It stimulates the brain to release feel-good chemicals that we produce naturally to encourage such behaviour (serotonin, dopamine and endorphins). Continue reading Hugging regularly brings health and happiness Physical contact helps us bond with our loved ones

Building communities in urban centres Mayors’ Forum addresses libraries and community

What can a library offer that most people don’t have already with smartphones and tablets?

Mayor Don Iveson and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi addressed a paying crowd of over 800 on Dec. 7 to defend the library’s continued relevance and explain why they believe it is worth the millions each city is putting into redeveloping its downtown libraries.

Continue reading Building communities in urban centres Mayors’ Forum addresses libraries and community

Blowing soap bubbles on my 63rd birthday Considering some philosophical questions about life

A journalist once asked Albert Einstein: “What is the most important question we can ask?”

Einstein replied: “Is the universe a safe place?”

That’s a big question. I am not sure how I would answer it. But since I am at the reflective stage of life, it seems like a good time to give it some consideration.

Continue reading Blowing soap bubbles on my 63rd birthday Considering some philosophical questions about life

Go, Pokémon, go! Free game gets youth outside Getting outdoors creates happy, healthy communities

What do an iPad and outdoor exercise have in common?

Very little, according to a recent lecture I attended on how the predominance of Wi-Fi devices were turning a generation into high-frequency couch potatoes.  

Continue reading Go, Pokémon, go! Free game gets youth outside Getting outdoors creates happy, healthy communities

Reap the benefits of green communities Embracing the healing and restorative power of nature

The West Nile virus worries me. Not because of the one in a million chance I might get infected, but because we don’t need another excuse to demonize the outdoors.

Ours is the first society that spends the majority of its time indoors. According to studies, the average North American spends less than two hours per day outside. Compared to our climate-controlled, sealed and sanitized homes, we have developed the attitude that nature is uncomfortable, disorderly, unsanitized and potentially dangerous. Possibly true.

Continue reading Reap the benefits of green communities Embracing the healing and restorative power of nature

Recipes for a nurturing neighbourhood Fighting urban isolation to create a community

OK, I am a little old-fashioned. When someone says community, I think of people coming together to communicate—you know, talking in that quaint face-to-face way. And when someone uses the word neighbourhood, I think of friendly people chatting or offering to mow the lawn or just being neighbourly. This obviously dates me to the pre-digital age.

Continue reading Recipes for a nurturing neighbourhood Fighting urban isolation to create a community

Turning our city’s colour from grey to green Biophilic cities embrace the importance of nature

Although few of us have been to Bogotá, Colombia, it’s got a reputation. A bad one. Gun slinging. Drug dealing. A hub for cocaine trafficking from the mountain plantations of South America to the back alleys of North America. Not the place you put on the top of your vacation list.

Until recently. Over the last decade there has been something of a peaceful, quiet, people-friendly revolution in Bogotá, transforming it into one of the most attractive and safe cities in South America and positioning it on the list of vacation hot spots.

Continue reading Turning our city’s colour from grey to green Biophilic cities embrace the importance of nature

Transportation for interactive communities Edmonton's roads are a battlefield between drivers and transit

These days, one gets the impression that the city’s planning council is filming a Western shoot-em-up inside city hall, with one angry hombre sauntering up to another and pronouncing, “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us.”

Motorists against Edmonton Transit System, private against public transportation.

Continue reading Transportation for interactive communities Edmonton’s roads are a battlefield between drivers and transit