Tag Archives: rolling

Here’s why e-scooters are rolling out so slowly in Canada

Those who rent e-scooters have big plans for Canada. But at least one company is acknowledging that “if we create a mess” in cities, any expansion will prove challenging.

Canada has been slow to adopt the trend of allowing app-activated, dockless electric scooter rentals on its streets, bucking what’s been playing out on city sidewalks across the U.S., Europe and other parts of the world.

Two of the main players in the industry, Bird and Lime, are already active in about 30 countries between them.

Now Canadian cities are gradually buying in.

Through a proposed pilot project, Ontario is reviewing its ban on e-scooters on public streets. And that added caution is deliberate.

Stewart Lyons, CEO of Bird Canada, is seen at the launch of the company’s e-scooter trial in Toronto’s Distillery District. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

Bird — which currently operates in Calgary, Edmonton and now a small pocket of Toronto — says it is aware of the industry’s image problem.

“We want to be across the country,” Bird Canada CEO Stewart Lyons said during an interview in Toronto’s Distillery District, where Bird launched a trial project this week.

“It’s just not going to go very well if we create some of these issues that you’ve seen early on.”

Nuisance of scooter dumping

The issues he is referring to — namely public nuisance and safety concerns — have clung to the industry and formed a reputation that’s been hard to shake.

E-scooter companies market themselves as providing a fun, convenient and  environmentally friendly alternative to cars and public transit for rides under five kilometres. The motorized devices typically reach speeds of up to 25 km/h.

But in many cities where e-scooter companies operate, the devices have been dumped on sidewalks and street corners, causing an annoyance, if not a hazard, for pedestrians. It created the image of an industry content with quick and disorderly expansion, rather than calculated integration into existing transit plans.

Lyons acknowledged that addressing the “clutter issue” is now a priority whenever Bird moves into a new city. The solution, he says, is a combination of clear local regulations restricting where scooters may be left, educating the public about where they may be stationed, and the company’s staff moving improperly parked scooters.

Circ-brand e-scooters lay on the ground at the entrance to a pedestrian area in Frankfurt, Germany. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

When Montreal allowed Lime to put its e-scooters on its streets in August, the city thought it had developed best practices ahead of time. To avoid dumping, it gave e-scooters designated parking spots and warned of fines for users leaving behind their rides haphazardly. 

But as soon as the scooters became available, Montrealers complained of the devices littering the city’s sidewalks. One was even spotted at the bottom of a local canal.

Just a week after launch, the city’s mayor acknowledged she was “not satisfied” with the rollout. 

Not quite ‘scooter-pocalypse’

Still, “it hasn’t really turned out to be the scooter-pocalypse we imagined,” said Grant McKenzie, a geography professor at McGill University who specializes in spatial data science.

Montreal studied what worked — and what didn’t — in U.S. jurisdictions, McKenzie said, ultimately restricting the number of scooters permitted. For now, Montreal only allows Lime to operate on its streets, renting out as many as 430 scooters. (Lime also operates in Edmonton and Calgary.)

By comparison, Washington, D.C. has handed permits to seven companies, for a total of up to 4,635 scooters available for rent within city limits.

People ride e-scooters in Washington, D.C. The city has agreements with seven different dockless e-scooter rental companies. (Jeenah Moon/Reuters)

Risk of injury

A Washington emergency room doctor recently said she was taken aback by the number of serious injuries related to e-scooter use.

“It’s unusual to go a day without seeing a single patient who has some kind of injury,” Dr. Kate Douglass, at George Washington University Hospital, told Radio-Canada.

Given the newness of e-scooter rentals, very little data is available on the exact number and causes of the injuries. But it seems they’re hardly uncommon in Canada.

Rules for safe riding are listed on a sticker on a Bird e-scooter in Toronto. (Craig Chivers/CBC)

In Calgary, which has allowed e-scooters on its streets since July, nearly 350 emergency room visits have been blamed on e-scooter injuries, said Dr. Eddy Lang, head of the emergency medicine department at the University of Calgary.

“This is quite worrisome,” he said.

Riders generally aren’t wearing helmets, Lang said, and that has resulted in some head injuries. Elbow and wrist injuries are most common, though, with riders falling forward from a standing position.

And riding on a street with vehicle traffic is “really quite a risky proposition,” Lang said.

Scooter providers generally advise users to ride on bicycle paths. In some areas, they’re explicitly told not to ride on sidewalks.

Two people are seen riding Lime e-scooters on the river pathway system in Calgary. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Observers hope the pilot projects popping up in Canadian cities will allow researchers to better understand exactly where riders use the scooters and how to do so safely.

McGill’s McKenzie recently received a government grant to look into how Canadians use e-scooters and self-serve electric bicycles and how they mesh with existing public transit. “We still have to look at this data and see how Montrealers and other Canadians are actually using these systems,” he said.

For now, he said the patchwork of regulations as scooters slowly roll out “causes a lot of confusion.”

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Danny Green, Fred VanVleet keep Raptors’ party train rolling

For Danny Green and the Raptors, the party rages on.

Mixing a bit of work with pleasure, the shooting guard was back in Toronto to celebrate, among other things, the teams’ historic NBA championship victory with fans, during a live taping of his podcast Inside the Green Room with Danny Green at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Hosted by Hoop Talks the event got off to a fast start with fans serenading Green – who turned 32 – with a theatre-thumping rendition of Happy Birthday.

The bumps kept coming throughout the night, cumulating in a special video for Green from family and teammates.

But Green and co-host Harrison Sanford weren’t the only ones in the spotlight. Superfan Nav Bhatia took the stage, waving a wrestling championship belt. Chanting ‘Let’s Go Raptors‘, Nav stirred up the crowd with a rather intimate confession.

“Guys you all know for 24 years I have never missed a game. I have never been late. I have never left late. I can brag about all those things. But guys, when it comes to my married life it’s hanging by a very, very thin string.”

Raptors’ Superfan Nav Bhatia takes the stage with a wrestling championship belt slung across his shoulder. (Hoop Talks Live)

Steady Freddy rocks show

As Nav left the stage, Fred VanVleet kept the crowd going. The night’s second special guest ran onto the stage, with even more wrestling flair.

When asked about the Warriors’ injuries and whether they detracted from the Raptors win, VanVleet didn’t blink. 

“Let’s not kid ourselves, two guys got hurt [Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson]. But from our standpoint so what?  It’s not our fault. No one was playing malicious. Nobody was trying to hurt anybody… you never want to see anybody get hurt―it’s the worst part of our game.  But we’re supposed to feel sorry for them and let them beat us because somebody got hurt? We’ll take our championship and 20 years from now we’ll have our rings and we’ll be able to tell stories because nobody ever remembers who gets hurt along the way. “

But what about Kawhi Leonard? Ever since the blockbuster-deal that brought the two-time NBA Finals MVP to Toronto last year there has been only one question on people’s mind―will he stay or will he go?

While Green remained diplomatic about both his and Kawhi’s future, VanVleet was more to the point.

 “If they leave – God forbid that neither of those guys is back – then they’re on the other side and that’s the way it is.”

WATCH | Full replay of Hoop Talks with Danny Green:

Watch Hoop Talks with Danny Green and special guest Fred VanVleet from Toronto. 1:32:56

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Mick Jagger Is Back Dancing After Heart Surgery, Rolling Stones Announce Rescheduled Tour Dates

Mick Jagger Is Back Dancing After Heart Surgery, Rolling Stones Announce Rescheduled Tour Dates | Entertainment Tonight

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Canadian Bianca Andreescu keeps rolling, upsets Venus Williams in Aussie Open warmup

Canadian tennis player Bianca Andreescu stunned the sports world again by defeating the legendary Venus Williams to reach her first WTA semifinal.

Andreescu, from Mississauga, Ont., won 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-3 over Williams at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.

"I think anything is possible, and I think tonight I did the impossible," she said on the court following her win over the former world No. 1 player. "I don't even know what to say."

After being broken in the opening game of the second set, Andreescu reeled off 11 straight games to take control of the match.

"My goal was only to qualify and maybe get a couple of rounds in, but now I beat a couple of top players so who knows? I believed in myself to the end," said Andreescu, who is ranked 152nd in the world and had to go through qualifying to make the tournament. I fought and I really enjoyed myself."

The 18-year-old is riding high just a day after the biggest win of her career, a stunning 6-4, 6-4 victory on Thursday over world No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki in the Auckland tournament, which is considered a warm-up for the Australian Open that begins in just over a week.

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Zoe Kravitz Recreates Mom Lisa Bonet’s Nude ‘Rolling Stone’ Cover 30 Years Later

Like mother, like daughter!

Zoe Kravitz literally follows in her famous mother Lisa Bonet’s footsteps with her new Rolling Stone cover

The 29-year-old actress poses nude for the magazine, holding her cascading hair over her chest in the exact same pose her mother used in her Rolling Stone cover 30 years ago. 

“Life | imitates | art,” Kravitz captioned the back-to-back pics comparing her new cover to her mom’s photo shoot from the ‘80s. 

Kravitz goes on to explain why she decided to imitate her mom’s famous photo shoot. “I’ve always loved that cover so much,” she says. “When I think of Rolling Stone, that’s always the image that pops into my head. It’s a really striking image of her. It’s beautiful.” 

Bonet, who is now 50, was almost 10 years younger than Kravitz is now when she shot the racy cover. 

In the magazine, Kravitz opens up about her famous family, her father is singer Lenny Kravitz, saying, “There’s this Kravitz family thing where people think we’re really cool and serious, which always makes me laugh — because we’re some of the goofiest people in the world.” 

For more from the family, watch the clip below: 


Zoë Kravitz Goes Completely Unretouched in New Cover Shoot — See the Stunning Pics!

Zoe Kravitz Dishes on 'Big Little Lies' and Working With Meryl 'F**king' Streep! (Exclusive)

Lenny Kravitz Opens Up About His Infamous NSFW Wardrobe Malfunction in Sweden

Related Gallery

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Leonard, Lowry keep perfect Raptors rolling

While the Raptors ran their record to 4-0 and came close to a franchise record with 36 assists in their highest offensive output of the young season Monday, coach Nick Nurse pointed to his defence after a 127-106 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

"I think we created a lot [of offence] out of our defence tonight which I was probably more happy with," he said. "It was a high-scoring free-shooting team coming in here and we asked [our players] to get out and contest and disrupt some of their rhythm and we did a pretty good job of that."

"Eight blocked shots, [we] got our hands on a lot of balls," he added.

Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points and Kyle Lowry added 16 points and 14 assists for his second straight double-double as the Raptors never trailed. Toronto, which led by as many as 25, was up by double figures the entire second half.

"They're long, they're physical and they're athletic," Charlotte coach James Borrego said of the Raptors. "It's a very good defensive group. Bringing in two elite defenders like Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard, you add that to their length, their athleticism, that's going to be a heck of a defence all season."

Leonard, continuing to shake off the rust from his injury-disrupted 2017-18 season in San Antonio, found his shooting range early — often with some shake-and-bake moves to befuddle the man guarding him.

Leonard, who went for a workout after the game, is now averaging 25.7 points through three games.

Leonard, Lowry lead Raptors in blowout win:

Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 22 points, while Kyle Lowry recorded his second-straight double double in Toronto's 127-106 win over Charlotte. 1:37

"He's still not back to where he normally is but he's getting glimpses of it," said Green, his former teammate at San Antonio. "He's starting to get back to himself, into his rhythm."

Team effort

All 13 Raptors scored and 12 of them contributed assists. Toronto finished with 36 assists on 50 made field goals — three assists off the single-game franchise record.

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto off the bench.

"A lot of guys played pretty well tonight," said Nurse.

Toronto is one win away from the franchise record of five to open the season, set in 2015-16. The Raptors host Canadian Andrew Wiggins and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

Kemba Walker led Charlotte (2-2) with 26 points. The eight-year veteran guard is averaging 33.0 points over his first four games.

Leonard, who was given the night off Saturday in Washington on the second half of back-to-back games, returned to action as Nurse used the same starting lineup — Lowry, Green, Leonard, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka — as he did in Friday's win over Boston.

Charlotte's Kemba Walker has nowhere to go as Raptors Serge Ibaka, left, and Pascal Siakam close in. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Nurse had used three different starting lineup in the three previous games.

The game featured two of the hottest points guards in the league in Walker and Lowry, who have both been scoring from distance. Earlier Monday, Walker was named Eastern Conference player of the week after becoming the first player in Charlotte franchise history to reach the 10,000-point plateau.

Charlotte came into the game ranked No. 1 in the league in three-pointers made per game at 16.3, but made just nine of 28 three-pointers compared to 15 of 39 for Toronto.

Entering play Monday, Walker had an NBA-record 19 three-pointers through the opening three games of the season (a record previously held by Danilo Gallinari with 18 in 2009-10) while averaging a league-leading 35.3 points.

Homecoming for Triano

Walker missed his first three attempts from outside the arc but finished 2-of-7 to tie Steph Curry's record of 21 in the first four games of his MVP campaign in 2015-16.

Lowry, who came into the game second in three-pointers in the East with 12, added three more to his total.

Toronto got off to a hot start and led by as many as 10 in the first quarter, with Leonard and Lowry combining for 13 of the Raptors' first 17 points. The Hornets missed nine of their first 12 shots.

Charlotte missed its first six attempts from long-range. When the drought ended, two three-pointers led to an 8-0 Charlotte run in the second quarter before Norman Powell ended the streak with a spectacular one-handed slam dunk.

The Raptors rebuilt their lead for a 62-47 edge at the half. Leonard was good on three three-pointers compared to four for the entire Charlotte team.

The teams took their time arriving on the court for the second half with each getting a delay of game warning. It was more of the same in the third, with Toronto maintaining its advantage.

Toronto swept the season series with Charlotte last season and has now won nine of the last 11 meetings.

The game was a homecoming for Canadian basketball icon Jay Triano, a Hornets assistant coach who doubles as Canada head coach. The 60-year-old Triano, who coached the Raptors from 2008 to 2011, has also served as interim coach of the Phoenix Suns and as an assistant coach with the Suns, Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers.

The game also marked a return for former Raptor fan favourite Bismack Biyombo, who is making US$ 17 million this season in Charlotte. He had four points in a little more than eight minutes, getting an ovation from the sellout crowd of 19,800 when he entered the game.

Leonard and Green, meanwhile, faced former Spurs star Tony Parker, now in Hornet teal.

Toronto's Delon Wright missed his fourth straight game (adductor strain) but is expected to be ready Wednesday.

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Microsoft Rolling Out Xbox One Keyboard and Mouse Support

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For many gamers, the Xbox controller is just how they’ve always played games. Still, there are some of us who might like the added precision and versatility of a classic keyboard and mouse setup. Microsoft has been promising to add support for this hardware to the Xbox One since the middle of 2016. Now, it’s finally happening. Well, sort of.

If you talk to PC gamers who almost always use a keyboard and mouse for shooters, they’ll tell you the mouse provides finer control of aiming, and the keyboard is easier to remap for access to a lot of functions. At the same time, the true analog input of a controller can make movement more fluid than when using a keyboard (unless it’s analog, too). Basically, everyone has reasons to prefer their control scheme. The point is, most gamers want the choice on consoles.

According to Microsoft, select Xbox insiders will get an update in the coming weeks that enabled keyboard and mouse support. However, that’s just enabling it at the system level — it will be technically possible to game with a keyboard and mouse. It’s up to game developers to allow you to do so. If a developer doesn’t support keyboard and mouse input, you’ll be stuck with a controller.

Microsoft says that most keyboards and mice will work with the Xbox OneSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce, but it’s partnering with Razer to offer enhanced functionality. It did not specify what you could expect from this integration, but it likely has something to do with Razer’s Synapse lighting system. Most gaming keyboards with fancy lighting are controlled via desktop software. Without that software, the lights are not configurable by the user. Not only is that lack of customization frustrating, the keyboards often default to distracting rainbow patterns with the software is missing. 

Xbox One X

The blog post also claims that Microsoft is working with top developers to ensure that keyboard and mouse gaming doesn’t cause balance issues. That could mean that players using a mouse and keyboard could be separated from those with controllers during online play. Gamers have long held that the keyboard and mouse offers a competitive advantage, but Microsoft’s cross-play experiments with Gears of War in 2016 led it to conclude there was no issue with fairness.

There are still some unanswered questions here, but Microsoft should answer at least some of them during the Inside Xbox stream on Nov. 10.

Now read: Sony Doesn’t Have Cross-Play Fortnite Because Other Consoles SuckReport: Xbox One Sales Apparently Doubled Since 2017, and AMD Working With Both Sony and Microsoft on Next-Generation Consoles

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ExtremeTechGaming – ExtremeTech

Rolling Thunder: The Coming Battle Over MPG, Emissions, and States’ Rights

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President Trump’s move to loosen fuel economy standards will polarize the country: SUV and pickup fans versus hypermilers, climate-change doubters and deniers versus those worried about global warming, and spread-out middle America versus California and densely populated northeastern states. It also pits America against most of the rest of the world that is trying to rein in fuel consumption and emissions.

There’s also a simpler explanation: The administration is acknowledging America’s love affair with bigger vehicles that burn more fuel in a time of relatively cheap gasoline — slightly more costly than the historical average, but as much as a dollar a gallon less than much of the past decade.

“Cars That People Want and Can Afford”

In the past week, the Trump administration, through EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, said fuel efficiency standards set by the Obama administration for 2022-2025 are “not appropriate.” A coalition of Republican congressmen said in a statement,

If automakers cannot produce the cars people want to buy at prices they can afford, that will quickly have an adverse impact on the auto industry, its workers, and even the environment as older, less-efficient cars will remain on our roadways. That is why we need reasonable and achievable improvements in fuel economy, and this determination is a step in the right direction … [the Pruitt proposal] reflects current realities and better mirrors what the car-buying public wants.

Pruitt also wants to roll back the exemption granted to California (also followed by 13 other states) that lets California set stricter emissions rules to deal with pollution. Pruitt said,

Cooperative federalism doesn’t mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country. EPA will set a national standard for greenhouse gas emissions that allows auto manufacturers to make cars that people both want and can afford — while still expanding environmental and safety benefits of newer cars. It is in America’s best interest to have a national standard …

Wall Street Journal Headline, April 4, 2018

America’s Love Affair with Big Vehicles Continues

For all that’s written about hybrids and battery electric vehicles as the cars of the future, alternative fuel vehicles comprise only about 4 percent of new vehicles sales. And half of those are diesel engines, mostly in pickup trucks and big SUVs. Some of the BEVs and plug-in hybrids go to buyers whose love of efficient cars goes hand in hand with their desire to ride solo in HOV lanes in coastal cities.

In March, each of the top six auto brands got at least half their volume from pickup trucks and SUVs: Fiat Chrysler got more than 90 percent, Ford and GM got more than 75 percent, and Toyota, Nissan and Honda got more than 50 percent. In March, sales of the new Lincoln Navigator (5,900-6,200 pounds) were up 102 percent, and transaction prices increased by $ 26,000 thanks to Black Label and Reserve models costing as much as $ 93,000. The Ford Expedition was also up 46 percent, and the Cadillac Escalade was up 14 percent. In comparison, the Toyota Prius was down 19 percent. The Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Volt, and Nissan Leaf each had fewer than 2,000 sales in March.

Current gas prices are only slightly higher than the historical average (green line) and well below the $ 3.00-$ 3.50 a gallon of 2006-2014. Early 2018 prices have been $ 2.50-$ 2.65 a gallon. (Source: Department of Energy)

Rolling Back the MPG Standards

The current fuel efficiency targets would have light-duty vehicles — passenger cars, crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks — average 51.4 mpg. That sounds high, and it is, because it includes various credits that aren’t tied to how much fuel is injected into the engine. In real-world terms, the current standard means vehicles would have to achieve 36 real-world miles per gallon. The actual number for 2025 efficiency hasn’t been set, but it will likely be lower than the 54.5 mpg set by the Obama administration. The current administration describes a “lower trajectory” toward 2025. The current model-mix trajectory of the past year and a half puts automakers below 50 governmental mpg and below 35 real-world mpg.

Interestingly, people in California and New York/Massachusetts who decried “states’ rights” — back when that meant keeping the government out of racial discrimination issues — now see very clearly how sometimes, in their opinion, individual states do know better than the feds. There has been talks of legal action if California loses its ability to set tougher standards to deal with its peculiar air pollution issues, primarily in the Los Angeles basin, ringed by mountains, where there are almost no mass transit options to turn to. Anyone who has flow into LAX now versus 10-25 years ago has seen a clear improvement in air quality, although SoCal has also done things such as restrict ships in port from using their dirty engines to create shore power, along with widely ridiculed (if scientifically sound) restrictions on lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and even charcoal fires.

What Goes Around Comes Around

Automakers don’t mind short-term rollbacks. They are less supportive of big-time, long-term rollbacks. They still have to engineer and sell cars in the rest of the world, where the pressure on reducing pollution increases every year. Even if they can scale back all other pollution, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a contributor to greenhouse gases, and it’s emitted in direct proportion to how much fuel is burned. Europe is talking about banning or severely restricting diesel engines. Some cities are charging tariffs on combustion engine cars entering the cities. (New York City is even talk about congestion pricing to reduce gridlock.) China’s megacities have a huge need for EVs, and if US and European companies don’t engineer them, China will do it on its own.

The automakers also have their own demographers, and they know any rollback will be short-term — meaning years, not decades. They suspect it will not survive beyond 2020 if a Democrat wins the presidency. Longer-term, the demographics of the US are trending liberal, and in such numbers that it may be a permanent change.

A recent Pew Research study broke Americans into four segments: Millennials (ages 22-37), Generation X (38-53), Baby Boomers (54-72), and Silents (so-called because they grew up taught to be seen not heard, 73 and older). Among Millennials, 57 percent are consistently or mostly liberal, versus 19 percent that are consistently or mostly conservative. In surveys taken in 1994, 2004, 2011 and 2017, the numbers leaning liberal have increased in each survey and within each of the four age segments. The Silents that leaned conservative by 26-16 perecent in 1994 have slipped to 29-28 percent conservative last year. Liberals in general believe global warming is real not fake news. They also support higher fuel economy ratings, prefer diplomacy to military action, and believe black people have been held back by discrimination and not their own lack of initiative. Millennials are also moving to bigger cities, and have less interest in owning cars, or at least big cars.

So, whatever happens to economy and emissions standards, history and demographics say the impact will come and go over the course of a couple years. In the meantime, enjoy cheap gas and big SUVs.

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How slaying dragons and rolling dice can help people with autism

Dungeons and Dragons has its own special kind of magic, but you can’t find it between the covers of any of its numerous rule books. It’s a kind of social magic between strangers as they learn to become friends over a shared interest. 

Autism Nova Scotia is hoping the game will work its magic on people with autism and improve their social and communication skills.

People living with autism spectrum disorder experience challenges with communication, social interactions and sometimes display restrictive and repetitive behaviour.

Using Dungeons and Dragons to help autistic people become more social may seem like a stretch to people who have never played the game. To the uninitiated, Dungeons and Dragons players may be seen as socially awkward outcasts.

But Yevonne Le Lacheur, the program director with Autism Nova Scotia, said those people just don’t get the game. 

Yevonne Le Lacheur Autism Nova Scotia

Yevonne Le Lacheur is the program director with Autism Nova Scotia. The group is a community-based organization that fosters understanding and acceptance of people living with autism spectrum disorder. (David Burke/CBC)

“We do see somebody who might be quiet start kind of becoming comfortable in that social setting, and because it’s that special interest that they have, they’re comfortable to talk about it and be a little creative and maybe less shy.”     

Dungeons and Dragons is a pencil and paper role-playing game where people create characters and play through adventure scenarios in a shared imaginary world. It’s kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure story played with a group of people.

One of the participants acts as the story’s main narrator, or Dungeon Master, and guides the story using a set of rules and dice while players decide how they want to react. All the action takes place through the spoken word as players describe what they want to do. 

Players fight monsters and explore dungeons while working together to accomplish their goals. 

Dungeons and Dragons

This is just one of three Dungeons and Dragons groups run by Autism Nova Scotia. This group gets together in a community room at Cape and Cowl Comics and Collectibles in Lower Sackville. (David Burke/CBC)

“As they’re playing, they’re working on collaboration skills and communication skills and team-building skills in that safe environment,” said Le Lacheur. 

18-year-old player Jason McNutt said Dungeons and Dragons is helping him improve his communication skills.

“We sort of come up with plans with one another and try to figure out which way would be best to take down the enemy. So, like, sometimes, it’s like divide and conquer where we each take on an enemy at a time,” said McNutt, who wants to get involved in game design someday. “I think we communicate it very well.” 

Jason McNutt

Jason McNutt says Dungeons and Dragons is a lot of fun and it has helped him make new friends and improve his communication skills. (David Burke/CBC)

The games have also led to some fast friendships, according to 16-year-old Riley Samson. 

“It’s really good. I love playing with the friends I met here and it’s just a bunch of communication and all that kind of stuff.” 

Autism Nova Scotia runs three Dungeons and Dragons programs with seven participants in each group — one group of teenagers and two groups of adults. All the Dungeon Masters are volunteers from the community.

The games take place once every two weeks at Cape and Cowl Comics and Collectibles in Lower Sackville, The Board Room Cafe in Bedford, and at Dalhousie University. 

Dungeons and Dragons dice

Along with an active imagination, it takes dice and rule books to run a game of Dungeons and Dragons. (David Burke/CBC)

Le Lacheur said the program has been so popular that the spots in each group were filled within the first few days of registration. If the organization had the resources, Autism Nova Scotia would have no trouble filling another two groups, Le Lacheur said. The program has also expanded to the Annapolis Valley. 

The success of the program may be related to the growing enthusiasm for Dungeons and Dragons. There’s a resurgence in the game’s popularity, according to Cape and Cowl owner, Jay Roy.  

Riley Samson

Riley Samson loves to play Dungeons and Dragons. He says more people should give it a try and discover how fun it is. (David Burke/CBC)

He’s seen a bump in the number of books and dice being sold — particularly after the show Stranger Things premiered on Netflix a year ago. The show features a group of kids who play Dungeons and Dragons together. 

“There’s more groups popping up all over the place with Dungeons and Dragons and other role-playing games. They’re certainly getting popular again in this age where we do have a lot of touch screens and video games and all this stuff. It’s nice to see people gathering together and playing role-playing and board games again.”

Matthew Webber Dungeon master

Matthew Webber is a dungeon master with Autism Nova Scotia. (David Burke/CBC)

Matthew Webber is the Dungeon Master for Autism Nova Scotia’s Dungeons and Dragons game at Cape and Cowl. He said the game has been around for 40 years and now parents who played it are sharing it with their kids. 

“The days of the Satanic Panic are long gone. It’s been 40 years — no one has summoned a demon yet,” said Webber. 

“That prevalence of — I hate to use the word — geekiness, is much more in the mainstream culture.… The mainstream is realizing that it’s fun and it’s cool.”

That kind of fun can be felt in Cape and Cowl’s community room, where a group of new friends meet, roll some dice, play a game and learn a little bit more about how to get along. 

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