Saskatoon will be hosting the first ever Zine Fest at Frances Morrison Library on November 23rd. I am proud to be part of the panel on Zines as Tools. Check it out! It’s FREE, FUN, and you can even make a ‘zine!

Plus! I’ll be debuting a new ‘zine, Saskatoon Fun Facts with fellow collaborator Kevin Sorokowski. Stop by our table and say Hi.

Here’s a link to the panel.

Lest We Forget

Hugh Cairns
In 1911, the Cairns family travelled with their eleven children from England to settle in Caswell Hill. Hugh, their third child, grew up to work as an apprentice plumber and a highly regarded soccer player before being deployed into the first world war. He was awarded Great Britain’s highest award, the Victoria Cross for leading his platoon in an attack against the German army holding the french city of Valenciennes. Sadly, his act of bravery cost him his life. He died 32 days short of his 22nd birthday. Saskatoon honours Hugh with an armoury and school that bear his name. There is also a statue in Kinsmen Park dedicated to Hugh and the other 75 Saskatoon footballers who lost their lives in the great war.

Based on photo LH-3029 from the Local History Room at the Saskatoon Public Library

On Safari Walking Tour

Just scheduled for Sunday August 18th at 2pm!

Meet in front of the Double Decker Bus by the Bessborough.

Appropriate for all ages, we walk 21st Street from the Bessborough, down 3 blocks to the Mall and back. Takes about 45 – 60 minutes. Join us as we discover the flora and fauna “living” in the facades of some of Saskatoon’s most loved landmarks. We’ll point out fossils and share some interesting stories from Saskatoon’s past. All are welcome and will take home a free copy of the Tour Guide & Colouring Book.


The Bessborough Hotel
was built by the CN Railways in 1931, but was not opened until 1935. It is named after the Canadian Governor-General at the time, Sir Vere Brabazon Ponsonby, Earl of Bessborough. The facade is comprised of bricks from Claybank, SK and Fossil-rich Tyndall stone from Manitoba.
The impressive exterior was modelled after a Bavarian castle and features creatures carved into the stone. Visit the Bessborough and see if you can find them!

Heritage finds a Home

Thanks to Nicola at Better Off Duds on 33rd, my Heritage Button Collection is no longer homeless. You can check out the full assortment any old time!

Happy New Year!

2019 is upon us! One of my resolutions is to do a better job of keeping this site updated with my activity. Stay tuned. In the meantime – some bad news and some good.

Sadly, Joyne closed its doors just a few days ago, so my Heritage Collection is currently homeless. I hope to rectify that soon. The team at Joyne were incredibly supportive and I am grateful for their time and effort and wish them all the best! It was a good experience.

On a positive note, a friend nudged me out of my inertia and got me drawing again. I’m very excited to share this piece – I think it’s one of my best so far.

The Birks Building was built in 1929 for the well established jewellery company Henry Birks and Sons Ltd. The building was designed by Nobbs & Hyde, and features elements of the Beaux-Arts style of architecture. At the time of its construction, the Birks Building was considered to be one of the most up to date and fully modern structures of its kind, costing more than a quarter of a million dollars to construct. The exterior of the building is beige brick, trimmed with marble and bronze and features a parapet roofline with arched crenellations. A flat canopy edged in metal is suspended over the entry door from decorative metal bosses.

In addition to the Birks store, the ground level has been home to Royal Shoes, Liggett’s and Tamblyn’s Pharmacy, and more recently, Mary Scorer Books & Bach, various clothing boutiques and restaurants. Over the years the upper floors have housed hundreds of occupants with a wide spectrum of interests; doctors, dentists, financiers, travel agents, and more. During the Second Word War, the fourth floor of the Birks Building housed an RCAF recruiting station. Skilled tradesmen were accepted with only a grade eight education or its equivalent, but to be a pilot or “observer” they needed grade 11 or better. Recruits for the RCAF Women’s Division had to be “ladylike” and definitely not “fast”, according to newspaper articles of the day.

The Birks building is a fine example of the beautiful architecture found in our Downtown Core. This portrait was made from reference photos created by Leonard Hillyard in 1962, specifically, photo PH-93-44-2 from the Local History Room at the Saskatoon Public Library.

Heritage Saskatoon

There’s a new Facebook page group I really love: You Know You Grew up in SASKATOON Sk If you can remember…  which is really rekindling my already raging love for this city.  Kindred spirits are posting photos and sharing memories. It’s so great! A few folks have posted photos of old matchbooks, etc of cool old logos.  The resolution of the photos are generally not great,  so I’ve lovingly and painstakingly re-drawn each one as buttons! For now, I’m calling the collection “Toon Tags”.

I now need to get off my butt and revamp this site to include all the building portraits I’ve done over the years. You can find a gallery of some of them HERE

AND if you have boots made for walking and want to take the On Safari Fossil Tour of Downtown Saskatoon, the PDF of the Colouring Book pages are HERE.

Stay tuned, I promise to get on that ASAP!.