Home Month and Year January 2024 Parker’s Pen – January 2024

Parker’s Pen – January 2024

David Parker

I admit to being a man who can bear a grudge. Despite events like George Brookman’s Breakfast on the Peace Bridge fundraiser, I’ve yet to set foot on it.

I was mad when the design was offered to starchitect Santiago Calatrava without local architects being given a chance, and my first comment was, “I hope the city have a big maintenance budget to clean off the duck and pigeon poop with all that glass.”

The project started off badly, only approved by a 7-6 vote in council it failed on several planned opening dates but welcomed crowds in March 2012.

It is photographic but has anyone counted the costs since then on top of the $24.5 million?

By 2016 repairs cost $152,000, then a new crosswalk, new LED lighting at around $700,000, followed by more replacement of panels and security measures. Now the bridge is open again after a million-dollar retrofit to hopefully stop vandals from smashing more panels.

It is photographic – but I’m still mad.


And the Saddledome is equally an iconic symbol of the city – and we are planning on demolishing it.


Let’s hope 2024 will be a better ‘Buy Local’ year.

It must have been frustrating for local architects to see the $40 million redesign of Olympic Plaza awarded by CMLC to three companies from Toronto and Montreal.

More taxpayers’ money flowing eastwards to join with another Toronto firm selected to design Arts Commons.

Olympic Plaza was built in 1988 to host medal ceremonies for the ‘88 Winter Olympics, to a design by Calgary’s Gibbs Gage Architects (now known as GGA-Architecture).

It has worked well over all of the years.


I’ve been having a weekly breakfast at Phil’s in Motel Village for many a year. Service is great – they watch for the car and coffee is on the table before I sit down and I’m asked, “Do you want the usual?”

I remember the location back in the 1960s when founder Phil Tetrault opened his northwest pancake house.

Last week I joined others at the 11th Avenue S.W. location and was delighted to find the same menu and the same friendly servers.


I’m flabbergasted by engineering/high tech marvels. I get in my car on a Saturday morning and my phone tells me it will only take 12 minutes to drive to Aquila Books. In Spain my rent-a-car told me to slow down because it was raining, cars can park themselves and steer along the highway. So, how come there’s no bright engineer capable of designing a shopping cart that can keep a straight line?


Interesting to see that taking photos with real cameras is making a comeback; sales of vinyl records have surged; knitting clubs are the rage; book clubs abound and despite the technical revolution that has provided eBooks, members appear to read from the traditional printed word.

And its amusing to see a seat on a steam train travel has to be booked well in advance.

As a book collector I’m encouraged to see people reading, but I’m not fooled by the bookshelves that seem to be appearing in glossy photos of posh house interiors. A close look reveals that many appear to be books by the yard, just used as a decorative item.


Despite all of the good information on foods that are good for you and those that ought to be avoided, it seems that too many people still crave for the wrong stuff.

When home at lunchtime I can watch kids from a high school wander up to the shopping centre and back down again fishing their fingers through boxes of fast foods that should not be an everyday diet.

Must say though, kudos to the kids – I’ve never noticed a discarded drink can or even a napkin.


Final Words: He’s a self-made man who worships his creator.