COVID continued to dominate headlines in 2021

By: Jacob Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shaunavon Standard
Year In Review
Things opened up in 2021, but COVID still dominated events again last year.
The Grand Coteau Centre welcomed a new exhibit, “When the Trees Crackle with Cold: pisimwasinahikan,” to its art gallery that featured artwork from artists Miriam Körner and Bernice Johnson-Laxdal.
The Shaunavon Economic Development Committee was spearheading an effort to see improvements made to a large chunk of Highway 37.
The Shaunavon Economic Development Committee was among those groups expressing concern and frustration over reports that the U.S. was on its way to cancelling the Keystone XL Pipeline expansion.
The Grand Coteau Centre set up a display in the front windows of the I.D.A. RX Drug Market in conjunction with Archives Week (February 7-13).
The provincial government announced that improvements were planned for Highway 37, which was greeted as good news by the Shaunavon Economic Development Committee.
The Shaunavon Fire Department welcomed a new Rescue Truck into its fleet. The new multipurpose unit replaced the fire department’s 2001 Rescue Truck.
A program aimed at bringing creative art classes to long term care residents in the Southwest was receiving rave reviews from everyone involved before it was halted in the wake of the growing COVID-19 crisis.
Royal Helium Ltd., one of the largest helium leaseholders in Canada, was putting a wrap on its initial three-well drilling program at its Climax Helium project.
The Grand Coteau Centre welcomed another unique exhibit to its art gallery, this one featuring work created by residents from the Nekaneet Cree First Nation.
Mark Shields, a member of the Shaunavon Taekwondo Club, earned a podium finish at the Recreational Poomsae National Online Tournament.
The Town of Shaunavon was pleased to announce that it would continue its partnership with Crescent Point Energy over the naming rights to the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre.
The Town of Shaunavon approved a plan to add a nine-hole disc golf course to the community. Members of the Saskatchewan Disc Golf Association made a visit to Shaunavon on March 13 for a scouting mission and assessment of the property the town wished to utilize.
A severe winter blizzard swept through the southwest. While the storm dumped snow on the region, it was the high winds that created more havoc on area residents and motorists.
The Shaunavon disc golf course officially opened when baskets were installed at each hole. The work was completed by members of Disc Golf Saskatchewan with help from a handful of local volunteers.
Shaunavon Council adopted the 2021 consolidated operating and capital budget. It was approved with an operating budget of $4,429,778 and $1,530,815 in capital expenditures, with a net property tax levy requirement of $2,015,119.
The Shaunavon Dance Co. returned to action, but under some unique circumstances. The local dancers were participants in the Spring Stars “Virtual Event” in Saskatoon April 13-18, 2021.
The Grand Coteau Centre in Shaunavon hosted a small series of hugely successful workshops led by artist Emily Elizabeth. The workshops focused on acrylic painting and catered to different age groups, including a pair of sessions for adults and another for teens/tweens.
Shaunavon town council approved stand-alone cannabis retail outlets at the regular council meeting on May 4th, 2021.
Shaunavon Public School teacher Shelby Carlson and students Chloe Lingenfelter, Mason Fauser and Lyndon Ross were special guests at the Chinook School Board’s regular meeting to provide a presentation of their “Create Night” projects.
Inspectors with the Saskatchewan Health Authority were in town to conduct their inspection of the Shaunavon Swimming Pool.
Local youth sport organizers were cheering the provincial government’s announcement at the end of May to lift a number of restrictions on outdoor athletic activities. It had been more than two years since local ball teams had played any games.
The annual butterfly release, a learning based project shared by Kindergarten and Prekindergarten classes at Shaunavon Public School, enjoyed another successful launch. This was the 10th year that students have raised and released butterflies at the school.
Shaunavon and surrounding communities were paid a visit by travel blogger and social media influencer Ashlyn George. She traveled to the communities of Eastend, Frontier, Gull Lake, Hazlet, Maple Creek and Shaunavon from May 31 to June 7.
After a decade in the making, and through the hard work and leadership of many individuals and groups, the Shaunavon Splash Park opened to the public.
The Young Birder Initiative lead by Shaunavon Wellness and Leisure started on June 16 to teach kids about local birds and wildlife activity in the area.
The Town of Shaunavon learned that it will be included in Phase 3 of SaskTel’s Rural Fibre Initiative. SaskTel is investing a total of $100 million to help bring fibre optic broadband to a number of rural Saskatchewan communities, including Shaunavon, by the end of 2023.
Fun was had by all at the inaugural Disc Golf Tournament in Shaunavon on June 26. There were a total of six teams in attendance, with participants coming from Shaunavon, Swift Current, and Gull Lake.
Two men were making the trip of a lifetime. Derwin Clarke from Balzac Alt. and Joe Alexander from Virden Man., were traveling from Eastend, Sask. to Virden, Man. by horse drawn carriage. They passed through Shaunavon on July 7.
The Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre was visiting communities in the southwest in the summer through a program to help engage children in their new environments. The group visited the Library, Food Bank, Town Hall, the RCMP depot, the swimming pool, the park, the Fire Department and the Grand Coteau Centre.
Boomtown Days returned in a big way during the weekend of July16-18 as large crowds, warm temperatures and exciting events dominated the three day celebration. The annual community festival was making a return after being scaled back significantly in 2020 because of COVID-19 concerns.
Storytelling, reminiscing and socializing were all key ingredients to a weekend celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Pioneer Hall. A full crowd took part in a full day of activities recognizing the importance of the landmark structure, as well as the people who have used and supported the building over the past century.
Local artist Julia Dixon created an eye-catching Instagram Wall painting at the Shaunavon Pool. Partnered with the Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre, the project was established with the hope of generating some added interest for the town while also creating a colourful backdrop at one of the community’s busiest summer locations.
The Braydon Coburn community Stanley Cup celebration attracted a huge crowd of area residents, family and friends, and even some hockey dignitaries, including the guest of honour himself Braydon Coburn. The CPWC was packed for the occasion, and everyone in attendance left with a smile on their face, and a little piece of memorabilia, whether it was an autograph or a photograph with Braydon and the Stanley Cup.
A longtime former Shaunavon mayor  was honoured by his family through the town’s Memorial Bench program. Bob Nelson – who was Shaunavon’s longest serving mayor until that record was surpassed several years ago by Sharon Dickie – had a park bench installed at the front of the Town Office recognizing him and his wife Bessie.
The Shaunavon Swimming Pool ended its last week of swimming with its traditional End of Summer Bash on the evening of Aug. 24 featuring a barbecue supper and glow swimming
On Friday August 27 the Shaunavon Pool hosted its annual Doggy Swim to put a cap on its operations for the season. The event was also used as a fundraiser with the proceeds going towards a project to install two new doors at the pool building.
The Hunter Brothers were recognized with another honour – although this one hits a little closer to ‘home’ for the Canadian country music artists. The community erected a new sign along Third Avenue West as a salute to the popular recording stars while proudly acknowledging that Shaunavon is their home town.
At the request of the Town of Shaunavon, a local task force was assembled to address the concept of aging in place as it pertains to the community of Shaunavon and surrounding area. The group held multiple info sessions throughout the fall.
Jeremy Patzer was returned to parliament after winning the Cypress Hills-Grasslands seat during the 2021 federal election. Patzer won the riding with 71.6 per cent of the vote (24,516 votes) in the Sept. 20th election race.
The Shaunavon Aging in Place task force gathered some valuable community input during a first focus group session at the Grand Coteau Centre.
A new exhibit enjoying its world premiere at the Grand Coteau Heritage & Cultural Centre (GCHCC) gallery this month, offered some incredibly striking images while also offering some insight into what it means to embrace cultural similarities and differences. The exhibit, Exploring CQ: A Journey Through the 10 Cultural Clusters, opened to the public at the art gallery on October 1, as the showcase event of the Grand Coteau Centre’s Culture Days celebration.
Shaunavon Minor Hockey kicked off its new season with a number of practice sessions. The practice sessions were led by Platinum Star, an organization based out of Medicine Hat, that specializes in power skating and skill development.
The history and importance of Shaunavon’s museum was celebrated during a come-and-go event at the Grand Coteau Centre marking the facility’s 90th anniversary.
A gathering at the Grand Coteau Centre on Oct. 23 certainly had an international flavour. The evening was highlighted by a meal featuring a range of international cuisines, as well as a presentation from guest speaker Wilbur Sargunaraj.
Crews from Helix Construction made good progress on the demolition of the Third Avenue building that covered a big chunk of the block between Centre Street and First Street West.
The Cenotaph at Memorial Park served as the backdrop to this year’s Legion Remembrance Day service. For the second year in a row, ongoing health concerns forced organizers to conduct their Remembrance Day activities outdoors.
A devastating fire destroyed two prominent structures on Centre Street and damaged two others. After firefighters spent all night on Friday (Nov. 12) extinguishing a blaze that damaged the General Store in Shaunavon, the blaze reignited the next night and caused further destruction.
The Southline Palliative Care committee wound down this past fall after an incredible 26 years of operation. The committee started in June 1995 with the mission to open a palliative care room in the hospital at Climax.
The Shaunavon Shadows senior boys volleyball team, despite playing with the minimum of just six players for most of this season, enjoyed a remarkable playoff run. The team captured the SWAC league title and later qualified for the 3A provincial championships.
A story in The Standard highlighted local athlete Stu Christensen’s 4th place finish overall in the Canadian Strongman Masters Competition despite giving up a significant size disadvantage to other competitors.
The Shaunavon Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas celebration – this year dubbed Boomtown Christmas – attracted large crowds, particularly for events such as the Parade of Lights and fireworks display. The celebration got a nice festive boost with a  steady snowfall throughout the day, the first real snowfall in the area for over a month.
The Grand Coteau Centre’s annual Art Show and Sale was drawing plenty of interest.
Two Shaunavon athletes – Corbin Nicolson and Nixen Voll – were playing for the University of Saskatchewan football team that reached the national championship game – the Vanier Cup – before falling to the Western Mustangs 27-21.
Shaunavon Wellness and Leisure’s annual Twinkle Tour attracted a number of participants, both Christmas light entries and peopling taking the tour to check out the displays.
Sixty-four hampers who delivered as part of Shaunavon’s annual Christmas Hamper Campaign.

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