I’m here in Fredericton, New Brunswick for a couple of days, observing the Provincial General Election on behalf of Elections PEI. It’s a good opportunity for me to observe an election in a larger jurisdiction up close, and also a good chance to meet my “election IT operations” counterparts from across the country (there are observers here from 8 provinces and a territory).
Yesterday, for example, we got a demonstration of the tabulating machines used to count special and advance votes, and last night at supper I learned about the ins-and-outs of British Columbia’s IT infrastructure. All is valuable information that we can incorporate into what we do for Elections PEI.
This morning our formal program starts with a working lunch at noon, so I had the morning to spend in Fredericton.
I’m staying at the Delta Fredericton – it’s a generally moribund institutional-feeling hotel with fantastic river views and extremely friendly staff – and saw last night that they rent bicycles. With some Twitter-based coffee research in-hand I headed down this morning ready for adventure.
The cycles they rent are of the new-school old-school “easy riding” variety; quite comfortable, in theory, but I forgot to ask them to adjust the seat so my ride felt a little like riding Oliver’s bicycle. They do include a helmet and a lock, and they add the $7/hour rental fee to your room bill.
At the recommendation of the personable front-desk clerk, I headed off down the River Trail toward downtown Fredericton: the scenery was fantastic and the trail well-groomed fine-crush gravel. The only glitch was when I got to the Westmorland Street Bridge, followed a the sign from the path that pointed me “downtown” and ended up having to dash across 4 lanes of traffic.
None the worse for wear, I weaved through downtown streets to find Jonnie Java Roasters. Got a great, lovingly-crafted espresso macchiato and a dense extremely-healthy-seeming muffin; all I wished for was a place to sit down, but alas it’s a stand-up bar only, with a “we appreciate it if you don’t read or use cell phones” policy that wasn’t exactly, um, welcoming.
Fortified, I took a brief loop through the shopping streets of the downtown. At Endeavours, an art supply store, I picked up a three-pack of Moleskin journals and a Pilot V-Pen to enhance my note-taking abilities this afternoon, stopped in at Reid’s Newsstand (an amazing selection of magazines), supplemented the income of several of Fredericton’s panhandler community, and then headed back, this time on city streets, to the Delta.
This afternoon we’re off to tour polls and to learn more about the vote count.
Things wrap up with a breakfast tomorrow morning, and I’m thinking of popping up to King’s Landing to see their reputed print shop before heading home Tuesday afternoon.