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Fork in the Road: Fast facts on the food+ scene for a fun long weekend

Your handy index for inspired eating and eclectic distractions, as required
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If you get bogged down over the Victoria Day weekend, have some fun with these fast food facts.

You know us Canucks—always obsessing about the weather. Hey, we’ve had to. Whether we’ve lived in these lands for thousands of years or just thousands of days, the wind, the sun, the snow, the rain; whether things are freezing too early or thawing too late; drowning in deluges or dying in heat—all of these factors in a northern land like ours have to be carefully considered for tons of important reasons. No. 1: what to do and how to do it on what’s generally considered in Canada to be the first long weekend of the summer. 

The Victoria Day weekend is finally here! And while in ancient, prehistoric times it was the Great Snow Earth Water Race that was this weekend’s highlight at Whistler for ages, this year the Whistler Children’s Festival (free your imagination for the 39th year in a row!) will be kicking off, thanks once again to Arts Whistler.

If it feels like this entire spring has been brutally, insufferably, infuriatingly cold and wet throughout Sea to Sky and beyond, it has been. But I’m happy to report that so far—fingers crossed—the weather forecasters are on our, the people’s, side for the weekend. Yes! Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton—the entire corridor is looking like it’s in for at least some sun and way more normal seasonal temps in the 17-18 C range, up to 10 C higher than it has been lately. Brrrrr. 

With that in mind, here’s an eclectic little index in keeping with all things positive. Apologies to Harper’s Magazine (and its far more famous index) which was rightfully dubbed an “unexpectedly excellent magazine” by The New York Times. This was partly due to its wide range “amid a homogenizing media landscape.” (Pique Newsmagazine, I might add, would definitely qualify too.)

Another thing to celebrate: Harper’s, one of the most progressive, forward-thinking, literate publications on the planet, without ever being snobby or self-conscious, has “only” been around since 1850, making it the oldest, continuously published monthly magazine in America. It was the brainchild of the New York book-publishing firm Harper & Brothers, which has since morphed into HarperCollins. Its sister publication, Harper’s Weekly, was called “A Journal of Civilization” when it was hatched in 1857. Something we could all use a good dose of these days.

The mini-index, below, is a bit of fun to further bolster your spirits or, God forbid, just in case you end up having to hunker down in your tent or camper this weekend and play mind games, the good-natured kind, with your best pals and loved ones.  

Happy Victoria Day! Or, more in keeping with the times, have a great long weekend. May the summer force be with you—at least for a few days. 

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• Number of teams that competed in the first Great Snow Earth Water Race (every team had to include men and women): 20+ 

• Number of teams that competed in 1978: 60

• Number of calories burned walking 10,000 steps, depending on your weight: 250-600

• Number of calories you burn in the gym in one hour: 400-500

• Number of calories the average mountain biker burns riding for an hour: 600-900

• Average number of calories burned sitting and reading a book for an hour and a half: 150

• Number of calories burned sleeping for 30 minutes: 34

• Rank of the Fraser Valley in B.C.’s agricultural industry: 1

• Percentage of B.C.’s dairy products, berries, vegetables, poultry, eggs, pork, greenhouse veggies, mushrooms, and floriculture and nursery products produced in the Lower Mainland South Coast Region: 70

• Amount of time Fraser Valley farmers are behind schedule with crops: 2-3 weeks

• Number of record lows broken in southern B.C. last week: 12 

• Number of varieties of potatoes grown in Pemberton Valley: 35

• Amount of potatoes grown annually: 9 million pounds, 90 per cent for seed

• Day considered the start of meteorological summer, when Environment Canada releases its summer 2022 forecast: June 1

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In the “good news” category, still related to food albeit indirectly, this one should really give you a lift as you head off for the long weekend:

• Percentage of all new electricity added to the power grid in the U.S. in the first two months that was wind or solar: 96

And last but not least, here’s a fun fact related only obliquely to food, unless you count all the calories you burn mountain biking (see above). This is for all you biker fans who might like to join Mike Truelove at the next presentation in Whistler Museum’s Speaker Series, live or online:

• Number of Chromag bike frames alone that master bike frame builder, Squamish’s own Mike Truelove, has welded over the past 30 years: 1,000+

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As for my personal tip for keeping things light this weekend, I highly recommend Juno-winning Norm Foote’s Don’t Overthink It workshop at the Children’s Festival. Norm has written songs for CBC, Disney, Shari Lewis and more—he’s also the voice of Bert in Knowledge Network’s Luna, Chip and Inkie animated series. 

Don’t Overthink It is aimed at songwriting, but it’s pretty much a good idea anytime, for anything.

FAST FACT SOURCES: Future Crunch, Whistler Museum, Verywellfit.com, Pritikin.com, mtbfunplanet.com.com, theboookbuff.com, dailycalories calculator.com, CBC News, Fraser Valley Local, BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, Pemberton Farmers’ Institute, Vancouver is Awesome, Ember-Climate.org.

Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning journalist who remembers it was considered “naughty” but very exciting to light up a Burning Schoolhouse, a Canadian invention, for Victoria Day fireworks displays.