Tag Archives: teamwork

JMA goes Canoeing

On a sunny July Friday, JMA staff headed to the Massasauga Provincial Park for a terrific canoe trip.

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We planned the dates, the meals, our available supplies and searched hard into our true canoeing and camping abilities. For the six of us who could come, we figured that we would need three canoes and two tents. John and I were familiar with the park, and knew that everyone would love the experience as much as we did. The Massasauga Provincial Park has been in operation since 1989. It is an archipelago in Georgian Bay just south of Parry Sound. This is bear country and home of the Massasauga rattlesnake. Campers must take precautions to avoid unwanted encounters with wildlife and be ready to paddle to their campsites with all their supplies in tow. For all our efforts we were more than rewarded with the incomparable beauty of Georgian Bay and the Precambrian Shield.

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Day 1 – John and Margaret loading up their canoe at Pete’s Place Access Point. A 3 ½ hour paddle would take us to our campsite on Moon Island.

“I didn’t know my bow from my stern, or my port from my aft. Somewhat problematic if you’re captain of your canoe. It turns out steering isn’t the hard part; it’s going in a straight line!” – Matt, Captain, HMC Indefatigable

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IMG_1068The first evening at our campsite. On tonight’s menu: Steak.

“The food cooked by the campfire was so amazing I was tasting it days later.” – Ashley, Chief Cheerleader

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Day 2 – Day trip to Wreck Island. 1 ½ hour paddle to the westernmost island on the archipelago.

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Exploring the rich geological history IMGP0089on a hike through the Wreck Island Trail, a landscape of eroded, twisted and multicoloured ribbons of rock, sometimes pitted, sometimes folded, always beautifully sculptural and a treat to the eye.

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mThe entire office could attest that I went into this trip with great, rattle snake inspired, trepidation. As the weekend went on though, my fear dissolved and I began hoping to see one of the Massasauga rattle snakes. I didn’t see any of them though. The rocky landscape somehow made the snakes seem more awe inspiring than scary. Maybe next time I’ll see one!”, Lisa – Explorer Extraordinair.

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We finished our hike with a swim in the cold waters of Georgian Bay.

“I had a great time swimming and jumping off the rocks at Wreck Island with the snakes and muskrats!” – Eric Jardin, He-Man, Master of the Universe 

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Back at our campsite, making dinner…. a true team effort. Well done, everyone! For Margaret’s Recipe Click the Link!

Paella Massasagueña

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Paella Massasagueña Recipe

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That evening the wind was dead still and we were expecting rain. We used the tarpaulin to protect all our supplies overnight. We were able to see the “Supermoon”, but soon it began to cloud over. Rain started to fall late at night, and became progressively stronger. We were afraid that we would have to paddle into a howling southern wind in the rain. We were praying for no lightning.

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“I loved being under the tarpaulin all of us together as we waited out the rain at breakfast, and playing UNO, which by the way, I won after changing the rules half way through the game”, Margaret – UNO Champion

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Day 3. A miracle! The rain stopped, the wind started to turn around, and even though we were soaked, we were now looking forward to our return to Pete’s Place Access Point… until a heavy fog came rolling in. We couldn’t see across the bay. We were afraid that if we took off in the fog, we would get lost in the archipelago. The fog did lift after a bit. We paddled through the mist. It was hauntingly beautiful. We bid our farewell to the park, and resolved to return another year.

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We paddled out among the islands in the sun, and back in the mist. Two different worlds of wind and water, rock and forest. Beautiful.” John – Man of the Precambrian Shield

Want to try the Paella Massasaguena on your own camping trip? Get the recipe here!    Paella Massasagueña

From the Office to the Barn

It was cold and a bit muddy, but it was the most fun we have had at the office all year, okay maybe not exactly “at” the office. JMA closed up shop for a day last week and headed to the International Plowing Match 2012 in Roseville. Our team volunteered our time and muscles to assist the Mennonite Disaster Service in a demonstration of an “old fashion” barn raising, which took place over the course of the Plowing Match within the antique section of the event. The barn was brought in from Paris Ontario for the demonstration and was assembled and disassembled at the event before being transported to it’s final resting place at a private residence in Collingwood.

Our day started out with a very appropriate tractor ride from the parking area to the event grounds, once we where able to find the barn raising site we grabbed our hardhats and waited for instruction among the other volunteers (about 40 in total). Most of us being first time barn raisers listened carefully as we where explained the process. Come 10am it was show time and people begin to gather in the bleachers to watch our efforts. It started with most of us lifting the first positioned frame by hand as high as our arms would let us, yelling “Yo-He” which means hold on “Yo” and lift on “He” (trust me, you do not what to mix that up). A few people pulled on ropes on the opposite side, guided the frame as the rest of us lifted it.

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Once our arms couldn’t push the frame any higher assigned people put the pikes (long piece of timber with a spike in one end) in place, butting them up against the frame.  Once the pikes where set everyone moved out from holding the frame and helped either on the ropes or on pushing the pikes moving the frame up to its vertical position. Once the frame was up and resting on the prepared foundations, the ropes where tied off and nails where hammered into the legs of the frame where they met the foundation.

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This process was continued for the second and third frames, then support beams where raisin by ropes, these beams secured the frames together and where fixed in place with pegs and braces. Over the course of the day we rose 3 frames including their supports, but our work stopped there, since this demonstration was to be completed over the week, we had to leave the rest of other volunteers to complete in the days to come.

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JMA had a great day learning the traditional way to raise a barn. I only wish we could have been there the rest of the week to help finished what we started.

August was made for Workin’! A major project out for tender.

What is it about August? Just when you think we’d all be off to the beach, the cottage, August seems to bring out the deadlines, and the best of our design studio and staff. We’ve just completed the tender documents for the University of Waterloo’s Health Services Expansion, working in association with Kearns Mancini Architects. The division of effort and responsibility throughout the design team has been excellent, and the quality of the documents really shows. It’s in the hands of the bidding contractors now, and in a few weeks we’ll be passing the torch to a new member of the team, the builder. We look forward to working with whichever of the 8 pre-qualified firms is successful.

For anyone who’s been part of a deadline for tender and contract documents, this might seem ho hum, but I’m still amazed at the huge amount of interrelated detail that goes into the set.

First of all, what is a set of tender and contract documents? Well, much like any contract, the set has to fully describe the contract requirements for the work, and how the work is to be undertaken, including all its administrative details. In the case of this building, it means drawings and specifications from:

  • the architectural firms (JMA and KMA), for the interrelated architectural elements
  • the civil engineer (K Smart and Associates) describing the site services, grading, and drainage
  • the structural engineer (MTE Consultants) for the building’s concrete and steel structure
  • the mechanical and electrical engineers (Jain and Associates) for all the heating, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical systems.
What does it amount to, for a $6 or $7 million expansion? Nearly a hundred drawings, an inch thick project manual full of details and schedules, and more than a thousand pages of specification, all crafted and coordinated into a coherent whole.
Thanks to Matthew, Krista, Diane, Kristin, and all involved. A great team effort.
Our work isn’t all sketches on napkins. Initial design and exploration is about a quarter of our effort on most projects, with the documentation of that design forming fully half of our work. Following the tender and contract award, the remaining quarter of our work involves administration of the construction contract to ensure that the Owner receives the quality and value required by the Contract.
So for this project at least, we’re 75% there. Construction will take more than a year, and we’ll keep you posted on how the project progresses through construction.