Regina, Treaty 4: Shawn Simon Fraser
I first met Shawn through a mutual friend, Gavin Gardiner, who described him as my Regina doppelgänger. Shawn is a tall bearded fellow with a penchant for puns and plaid shirts, but the similarities didn’t end there. I’d just moved out of the legendarily sophomoric 1031 Osler St near the U of S, famous for such stunts as inviting everyone who lived at a 1031 address in Saskatoon to a random social event (and some of them actually coming!). Shawn lived with a similar group of playful pals on Osler Street in Regina. He was working at the Carmichael Outreach in inner-city Regina at the same time that I was working on starting up the SWITCH student-run clinic in Saskatoon. We also both found our way into politics, me running (unsuccessfully) to be leader of the NDP, he successfully running for City Council and proving to be an important independent voice in that role. So I’m not sure if we’re Kindred City doppelgängers, but definitely kindred spirits, and it’s an honour to be featured on the blog with this fine fellow.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
Beyond work and family, I spend any spare time I can find working with my hands. Right now I’m restoring a 1972 VW van and a recently impulse-purchased 1972 Boler trailer.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
I currently have two jobs. I work for the YMCA of Regina as part of a team that delivers funding for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Favorite part: working with awesome people and having a gym at work. Biggest Challenge: Having to turn away good projects for lack of resources.
I’m also a City Councilor for Regina’s Ward 3. Favorite part: When people contact me with a problem and I can help them fix it. Biggest challenge: It’s democracy, so I don’t always get my way.
KC: What’s important to you?
Family. My wife and I have two young boys. They are rad.
KC: What do you like most/least about Regina?
There are a lot of places where you could go to live for a year and have a good time without making any friends. Living in Regina without friends can be a cold and lonely experience. But Regina with friends is awesome. This is a challenge, but it also makes Reginians value relationships in a real way. In Regina community isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity.
KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?
I’ve always thought Saskatoon was a nice place. A lot of bridges, but nice. So much about what defines a City is its size, so I think our cities are actually more alike than some might like to admit.
KC: (from the Proust Questionnaire) What is your greatest fear?
Dying with a bad song on the radio.