My 2021 In Review

My 2021 In Review

January 3, 2022 · 17 min. readThis article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

2021 was a year of ups and downs. To address the elephant in the room, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. This year we saw the creation of a vaccine and the hope that the pandemic would soon be behind us. In the summer it looked like the world had gone back to normal, with music concerts, parades, and fairs happening almost every weekend. Then the Delta Autumn happened, and now we're into the Omicron Winter – when places are locking down, restrictions are being put into place and there's a lot of uncertainty about what to come.

My blog has felt the same ebb and flow of the world. Some months I am putting out content, videos, and podcasts like a madman, while other times I am silent and recluse. I'm working on finding an even balance with that.

Like in 2020, this past year has had me embrace rural Saskatchewan more. I visited more small towns, I saw more local sights and I dug into more local history. I also got to get away once this past year and visit the incredible Yukon territory.

I also launched my new RedBubble store, started a weekly radio-show on Cosmos Astrum Radio, began a podcast with my dear friend Dylan Fairman, got a new DJI Mini Mavic 2 drone and I was even briefly employed by the CBC!

I also finally cracked 4,000 followers on Instagram, which was my yearly goal. My goal for 2022 is to get 5,000 followers. I know it's just an arbitrary, vanity number, but it's nice to see the numbers go up.

(I also, also got a new logo for my blog! I forgot that happened this year!)

Speaking of numbers, my blog traffic this year was much better than last year – even though, due to a technical difficultly, I didn't track any visitors in June. It was my own fault for messing up a tracking code, but I blame Google anyway. In 2020 I had 72,879 pageviews, while in 2021 I had 77,589 – an increase of about 5,000. Had I been tracking in June, I probably would have gotten around 84,000 which was comparable to my pre-COVID numbers.

So, because of that, the numbers for my top 10 blog articles of the past year are a little skewed. Nevertheless, I will work with what I have. Here are my top articles from the past year!

10. What to See In Dawson City in 72 Hours (118 page views)

What to See In Dawson City in 72 Hours

This article was the final article I wrote about my time in the Yukon, and it was a massive list of all the awesome things to see in the "Paris of the North". Unfortunately, I traveled to the Yukon in September, got super busy with work, and then Halloween, and then more work, and then I had to get my other Yukon content done, so this one came out several months after I had gone on my trip. Because of this, the allure of Dawson City had faded, and the article didn't do nearly as well as I had hoped.

However, it is still one of my favourite articles of the past year, even though it didn't get much love.

9. Sorry, But Vaccine Passports Already Exist (173 page views)

Sorry, But Vaccine Passports Already Exist

In the beginning of 2021, a lot of people were talking about "vaccine passports" to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. What these "passports" were was still very much in the air, and I didn't think they would come to fruition. Instead, I proposed there would be proof-of-vaccination requirements for international travel, and in this article, I discussed how there are already many, many countries that require proof-of-vaccination already. COVID-19 is just one of them, but so is Yellow Fever, Polio, and Measles amongst others. I argue that this will just be another piece of international travel documentation – not something that we would need to visit music venues and movie theatres.

I'll admit I was wrong on this prediction, but the article is still a good resource to have for international travellers.

8. What Remains of Canyon City? (209 page views)

What Remains of Canyon City?

Canyon City is a ghost town on the banks of the mighty Yukon River, not that far from Whitehorse. It was here that many Stampeders stopped, camped, and made plans on how to safely pass through the deadly Miles Canyon and Whitehorse Rapids.

Today, the former townsite is a short hike from Canyon Bridge, not that far outside Whitehorse. There isn't much left of the old townsite besides an old railcar and some tiling piles.

This article was fun to research because I got to read actual documents created by the government and local university into the area, as well as the surrounding waterway. If I was able to go back in time, I would have read that paper first and then explored Canyon City. It was also challenging to write about because there is another former Canyon City not that far away in Alaska that was also used by the Stampeders.

7. Top 7 Things to see in Whitehorse (371 page views)

Top 7 Things to see in Whitehorse

I spent about four days in Whitehorse when I visited the Yukon, but I didn't get to see too much of it. I visited during the Labour Day weekend and much of the city's tourism spots shut down that weekend or immediately afterward. Because of that, although I could visit some places like the SS Klondike, I missed out on visiting places like the Log Church.

I liked my time in Whitehorse, but I liked Dawson City more. If I could planned my trip better, I would have spent more time in Dawson City, especially on the weekends, and spent more time in Whitehorse on the weekdays. I had known only a handful of people who had ever visited Whitehorse before, so it was a learning experience for next time.

6. Can You Fly a Drone in Regina? (576 page views)

Can You Fly a Drone in Regina?

It's been a long time since I wrote something that got me in trouble! My infamous restaurant review article is probably the last one I can think of, but there have probably been others. Either way, this one got the attention of Transport Canada and even had them do a federal investigation against me.

Let me explain.

To fly a drone under Transport Canada guidelines, you need to pass an exam and then register your drone. I've written about that on my blog before. However, this is only the case if the drone is over 250g. If it's anything less than that, it is considered a microdrone and doesn't fall under Transport Canada regulations.

One of the ways these regulations differ is that drones (250g and larger) can't be flown in city airspace, while microdrones (249g and smaller) can be. Sometimes you need to "unlock" an area, but that takes about 10 minutes on the app and is super easy. My article discussed this regulation, where you can fly the drone, where you can't fly it, etc. My article showed clips from the legislation, as well as screenshots from Transport Canada online map to verify my claims. Some people on Instagram didn't believe me though and reported me to Transport Canada for flying my microdrone in the city. After a phone call and brief investigation, it was determined I was flying perfectly legally and without breaking any laws.

This article was fun to write, but also showed the importance of doing my homework first.

5. How I Would Revive Regina's Tourism Industry (772 page views)

How I Would Revive Regina's Tourism Industry

I love Regina, but it's because I love it so much, that I am that much more disappointed in some of the things I see. However, I don't just complain in this article – I offer solutions too.  In this article, I talk about how Regina doesn't have a Halloween celebration, or a Christmas celebration (like the Festival of Lights), or even a winter celebration. For six months of the year, Canada's largest urban park and the jewel of our city sits empty and frozen. I also talk about the lack of walking tours, cemetery tours, and restaurant tours. I list a lot of things I feel this city could be doing better…. And I think somebody listened, as this year Regina is hosting the first-ever "Frost Regina Winter Festival".

4. Regina Resumes Normal Life at Six P.M. Today (1,038 pageviews)

Regina Resumes Normal Life at Six P.M. Today

Only July 11, 2021, Saskatchewan removed all COVID-19 restrictions. Churches could be fully attended, schools were open, theatres were open, people flooded into restaurants, it was a wonderful time filled with joy, happiness, normalcy… and a whole lot of anxiety.

This wasn't to last, however, as soon businesses began putting their own restrictions into place. Grocery stores required facemasks, restaurants kept every other table closed, and businesses kept up their plastic shields. This was for good reasoning too, because although the summer was nice, the fall was terrible. In October, the Canadian military was deployed into Saskatchewan to help with the overcrowded hospitals, with several patients being flown to Ontario for treatment instead.  

Normal life resumed, briefly, but just like when they removed restrictions in 1918, the pandemic still raged on.

3. Homer Simpson's Hometown (1,804 pageviews)

Homer Simpson's Hometown

Like him or not, Homer Simpson of FOX's The Simpsons is a cultural icon. He's famous around the world, and his name is a household name. However, did you know he was born right here in Saskatchewan? According to Simpson lore, he wasn't – but in real life, Homer Groening, the father of Matt Groening, who created The Simpsons, is from Saskatchewan. In fact, many of the characters from Homer Groening's life are in the show too.

Although Homer's original house is gone – as is, in fact, most of Main Centre, Saskatchewan – it is still cool to walk around and see where the real version of Homer Simpson once lived.

2. Birthday Freebies in Regina (4,790 pageviews)

Birthday Freebies in Regina

Who doesn't like free stuff? In this article, I attempted to make a list of all the free things you can get in Regina on your birthday. From free ice cream to a free breakfast to free beer, my article lists over two dozen places that can make your special day just a little bit more special.

It should be noted that many of the places on the list require you to sign-up for a newsletter or something first, prior to getting your birthday freebie. The article is great for those looking to celebrate their birthday the day of but is even better for those who are planning in advance.

1. Who Are The Prisoners Buried in Wascana Park? (12,898 pageviews)

Who Are The Prisoners Buried in Wascana Park?

Every year I like to write an article that makes people scratch their heads. Last year it was about Regina's dead baby museum, and this year is about Regina's former lunatic asylum. This article talks not only about the prison but about the prisoners that were there, their executions and the subsequent burials in the park. This article blew up when I published it and was even covered by the CBC and was featured in the November/December article of Prairie History.

I doubt very much anything will happen with these graves in the park, but it's an interesting conversation piece. If it was up to me, I would put something to mark the graves of the prisoners, even if they were murderers. In both the eyes of the law and the eyes of God, these men have been absolved of their sins, so it is only right to mark their final resting spot.

Exploring the Ruins of Bethlehem Lutheran Church

2021 was a mixed bag, but it was a fun year too. I was able to get better at my drone flying (including a few little mishaps), I was able to cross the Yukon Territory off my list, I tried some new things (like the radio show and the podcast), I grew my YouTube channel and I helped share a lot of unknown local history. There were some downsides too though, especially when it came to making time to blog. More than once I wondered if I should just end the blog, but it was great to see all the passion and support I was getting this past year. I'm hoping 2022 will be even better and I can get back on the road again.

Some of my most favourite articles I wrote this past year that didn't get enough love were:

Thank you all for a wonderful 2021, and for my patient between blog articles. I appreciate all the support and it was great to see the numbers at the end of the year. Here's to 2022 and hopefully even more awesome adventures!

Don't forget to pin it!

My 2021 In Review My 2021 In Review

And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof-reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.

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2021 was a year of ups and downs. To address the elephant in the room, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. This year we saw the creation of a vaccine and the hope that the pandemic would soon be behind us. In the summer it looked like the world had gone back to normal, with music concerts, parades, and fairs happening almost every weekend. Then the Delta Autumn happened, and now we're into the Omicron Winter – when places are locking down, restrictions are being put into place and there's a lot of uncertainty about what to come.

My blog has felt the same ebb and flow of the world. Some months I am putting out content, videos, and podcasts like a madman, while other times I am silent and recluse. I'm working on finding an even balance with that.

Like in 2020, this past year has had me embrace rural Saskatchewan more. I visited more small towns, I saw more local sights and I dug into more local history. I also got to get away once this past year and visit the incredible Yukon territory.

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The park has brought the city together in times of need, with the most memorable time being after the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. With the city torn, an influx of sympathetic volunteers arrived from around the world to assist with the cleanup, forming a miniature community in Central Park. Families seeking lost loved ones came into this community and hung posters by the thousands, looking for the three thousand plus missing people that were victims of the terrorist attack. This community brought safety, unity and reassurance to a city that needed it.

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I didn't know how to get there from my hotel, so I asked the lady at the front desk. Although she had decent English, she had no idea what I was asking. I wrote it down and she googled it, and came back with a map. She explained what subway to get onto, how many stops to take, and how to get from the subway to the HQ and back. I thanked her, and left.

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