Past Events


This article about the presentation was written and shared by Candy Irwin:


When 64 people show up at the Sandy Lake Drop-In Centre to hear a presentation on a Friday afternoon, you know that interest in the topic was both high and relevant. 

 On April 21st the Harrison Park Age Friendly Initiative Committee (HP-AFIC) welcomed  Constable Christopher Joven from the RCMP Crime Prevention Services Department in Winnipeg.

Interestingly, Joven, who is a confident, well-informed and entertaining speaker, wears many different hats – namely Cultural Diversity Officer, Explosives Disposal Technician and Reservist Coordinator.

 “Today,” he said,” there are a wide variety of scams and frauds happening in Canada – with new ones being invented every day.”



“Many (scams),” says the Government of Canada, “attempt to imitate government services in order to gain access to your personal and financial information,” so it is best for all of us to be 'Scam Smart” -- and especially careful of communications claiming to be from Service Canada, the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canada Border Services Agency or the like.

 The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) has even received reports of scams targeting people wishing to donate to Ukrainian aid efforts. “The frauds primarily came via social media, where groups and individuals on platforms like Facebook and Instagram solicited donations via e-transfer and (then) pocketed the funds,” they said. 

 According to the RCMP, “In the past decade, technology has completely transformed the criminal landscape, making fraud easier to commit, more widespread, and more sophisticated than ever before.” 

 Are fraudsters, desperate or greedy or both?  No matter -- last year, 42% of fraudsters targeted their victims by direct calls, 19% by email, 14% via the internet, 13% through a social network, 10% by text message and a small percentage by mail or door-to-door in-person contact.  

Whether you understand the terms 'spoofing,' 'phishing,' 'smishing' or 'spear phishing,' rest assured that none of us are immune to 'mass marketing fraud' and it would be a big mistake to think that you would never be 'taken in.'   According to the CAFC, “working from home, online banking and socializing on-line have all increased and created new opportunities for fraudsters,” particularly since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 According to government statistics, only one month into 2023, there were 6,610 reports of fraud, 3,923 victims of fraud and $43.6 M lost to fraud. 

This, pointed out Constable Joven, is pretty grim considering that it is estimated that less than 5% of fraud is reported to the CAFC! 

 It will help to be aware that the top ten frauds of 2022 were related to investments, romance, services, extortion, bank investigator, prizes, timeshare, foreign money offers, emergencies or grants – all fake.  If it's too good to be true, it likely is.

 Carol Dalgarno, who is a member of the HP-AFIC, said she was surprised to learn that “E-transfers can be retracted.  If you are selling something, the buyer can send an e-transfer, pick up the article and then retract the e-transfer – thereby leaving the seller with no $ plus no article.” 

 “It was also interesting to learn,” she said, “that financial institutions have switched to 3 or 4 levels of security because of fraudulent websites looking (exactly) the same as the financial institution.”  Let's all be careful and skeptical.

If you or someone you know is a victim of a fraud (or even an attempted fraud), contact the police to report the crime and also report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.






This article was written and shared by Candy Irwin

Well, who knew?  Eating cookies for breakfast is A-OK!  As a matter of a fact, it's a 'thing!'  There's a proviso, though.  (Of course, there is)!  A breakfast cookie (or two), mindfully chosen, provides a whole lot of nutrition – loads more than a simple piece of whole grain toast! 

 As an example, everyone present at ”Good Food For A Good Mood,' jointly presented by the Municipality of Harrison Park Age Friendly Initiative Committee (HPAFIC) and Prairie Mountain Health (PMH), sampled a Pumpkin Cookie that required no special or unusual ingredients.  

 Each bright orange cookie included carotenoids, betacarotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all powerful nutrients for the health of our eyes.  Additionally, the recipe invited you to make the cookies 'your own' with the inclusion of dried fruit and nuts, seeds or dark chocolate chips.

 Then (are you ready for this?), we washed it down with a mug of steaming hot coffee, which is good for your brain health!  (Really)!

So, on that Monday afternoon at the Sandy Lake Drop-In Centre, Chantal Morais, Registered Dietitian with PMH Community Health Promotion, focused on having a healthy relationship with food,  most definitely eschewing fad diets of every description.

“Normal eating,” she said, “is welcoming all foods without guilt or fear.”  

“So many things can influence our food intake – shortness of time (ie. Grab a bite and run.), loneliness, budget, what's available at certain times of the year and so on.”

Morais' advice to us all is to eat 'mindfully,' as often as we reasonably can.   'Mindful eating' is, in part, defined as “choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body and using all your senses to explore, savour and taste,” which, by the way is difficult, if not impossible, to do in front of the television. Tsk. Tsk.

To punctuate this, we all sampled a prepared-on-site 'Raspberry-Spinach Twist Smoothie,' which included milk, raspberry yogurt, raw spinach,   unsweetened frozen raspberries, ground flax seeds and vanilla.  

“No flax seeds?  Well, don't worry,” said Morais.  “Don't put them in!”  Don't have any raspberries?  No worries.   Substitute with any berries you have on hand.  (A blueberry smoothie with a touch of almond extract, is dee-licious)!  No spinach?  How about a bit of kale?

Truthfully, the smoothie was lovely and you couldn't tell there was any spinach in there, unless you peered (mindfully) into your little sample cup -- in my case, while wearing your reading glasses!  Ha!

After that fun, the conversation changed and was rather sobering.  “North Americans get almost half their calories from ultra-processed foods, a dietary pattern linked with poor overall mental health.”

“Not good, but something easy enough to overcome.” said Morais, handing all 30 attendees a list of Brain Healthy Foods, “rich in nutrients that your brain loves.”

“Your brain,” she said, “is mostly water, so stay hydrated.”  Easy enough.  Then, look at your list and make some small swaps.  Making an egg dish?  Add some leafy greens, like beet tops, maybe.  (Puree them and picky eaters won't even know they are in there).  Love your morning cereal?  Maybe switch to baked oatmeal.  There are many delicious recipes on-line and one 8” x 8” pan can set you up for a whole week.

 Nothing like a demonstration!  So, Morais, with HPAFIC Chair, Doreen Stapleton as her trusty assistant, fired up her frying pan and made 'Spinach and Black Bean Quesadillas.'

 First you saute a few handfuls of chopped spinach with a chopped onion, a minced garlic clove, a cupful of canned black beans and a pinch each of cumin and hot pepper flakes (optional).  Easy peasie!   Assemble your quesadilla with a few spoonfuls of shredded cheese, pan fry in a skiffle of olive oil and chow down as is, or, perhaps with your favourite salsa or guacamole. 

Tasty and brain-healthy to boot!  Why not get adventurous and add some new foods to your diet – such as lentils, quinoa or plain fermented dairy such as kefir.  Clam chowder, anyone?  The kids at school like dried seaweed as a crispy snack.  How about that?  (I didn't like it so I stuck it on half a sandwich and now I do it all the time).   Grin.

“Thinner,” continued Morais,  doesn't equal happier or sexier or morally superior.”  “Did you know,” she asked, “that our bodies are genetically inclined to be at a body weight that they're comfortable with?”

Normal eating is giving some thought to your food selection so that you eat nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you eliminate the joy of eating.  







The GrandPals Program is an inter-generational program that connects a elementary school class with a small team of GrandPals (older adults) to engage in weekly, open conversations around various themes  that provide a path for connection and learning through storytelling.   The following article about the GrandPals program that happened here was written and shared by Candy Irwin.

“Come on!   Let's get ready for the old people!” or words to that effect, ushered in the first session of the GrandPals Program (GPP) at Erickson Elementary School ((EES) this past week.

While 'ageism' is a form of discrimination -- meaning that senior citizens (such as myself) can often be devalued and dismissed -- I laughed out loud in spite of myself, knowing that the sunny-faced, affable student meant no real disrespect.

Then, when their truly wonderful student teacher instructed the students to pick their work bins up off the floor so as not to trip any of the volunteer GrandPals, I actually snorted!  Sorry, but not sorry, I just couldn't help it!

'You're never too old to have fun,' is just one of the inter-generational teachings that the GPP promotes, whether you are a 'Baby Boomer, or a member of GenX or GenY.

Each GPP involves a Program Coordinator, in this case, the Manitoba Association of Senior Communities, a Community Champion, in our case the Municipality of Harrison Park (MHP) Age Friendly Initiative Committee (AFIC), a Host Teacher in each school and volunteer GrandPals – each eager to listen and learn through storytelling and friendship.

Locally, the Erickson, Onanole and Strathclair Elementary Schools are leading the way for their Grade 5 & 6 students to ford, or wade their way across, the generational divide by engaging in conversation about topics such as home, family, learning, work and travel.

(Why Strathclair?” you ask.  Well, some students who live in the MHP go to school in Strathclair).

According to the Province of Manitoba Bureau of Statistics, “between 2018 and 2028 (we're halfway there), people aged 65 and over are expected to increase by 31 percent.”

According to Doreen Stapleton, Chair of the MHP AFIC, the MHP is one of the first areas in Manitoba to become involved. Programs are currently underway in Ontario, where GrandPals began, and are starting up in neighbouring Saskatchewan.

So, while 'visiting' may seem quite a small thing, the building of understanding and mutual respect between 'oldies and youngsters' can only bode well for everyone's futures.

“The multi-week design of the program, (conducted) over several months, enables relationship-building and stronger connections between GrandPals and students.”

As the substitute teacher that day, I was privileged to sit in on conversations at Erickson Elementary School while GrandPals Brenda Hodges, Kim Leganchuk and Sharon Whitaker encouraged the participation of their group, some of whom were, initially, a little shy.   

Some of the topics that eventually elicited giggles were paper maps (vs Google Maps), party line telephones  (vs cell phones) and making your own fun on the farm.

(While I was supposed to be quiet and listen, I couldn't help sharing that our family used a 1-minute egg timer for long-distance calls from Winnipeg to Baldur, MB to speak to my Grandma. When that timer ran out, the phone was ripped from my hands and held out to my baby brother, who often didn't have too much to say – and which didn't seem fair to me as I, myself, had a lot to say)!

By fostering these not only fun, but inspiring, connections, the GPP strives to reduce negative stereotypes – not just what the young think about their elders, but also what the older generation thinks about young people.

I hope you paid attention to that last line.









The Newdale Pancake Breakfast was held at the Newdale Curling Rink hosted by the AFI of RM of Harrison Park and the Newdale Fire Department. As well as serving a yummy pancake breakfast to 101 people, the AFI committee shared informational materials and the Newdale Fire Department put on a fun event with participants putting on fire fighting turnout gear and attempting to shoot a soccer ball into a net using a fire hose!