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Check out what we are doing and have been doing to keep our parks safe!

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The Return of the Living Walls

The Return of the Living Walls

It’s aliiive! (Yes, I’m mixing horror movies — just go with it.) Our living plant walls are back in Saskatoon and ready for you to visit on the large Galleria balconies. Why are living plant walls so special? We chatted with our Landscape Manager Kyla to find out.

What are the benefits of living walls?

In outdoor settings, living walls soften up the space and add vertical interest while having minimal impact in small spaces because of their small footprint. Plus, they look great.

Definitely! What kinds of plants are on our living walls?

On the North balcony, there’s clover throughout and silver falls dichondra at the top that will slowly grow down throughout the course of the summer. On the East balcony, there’s clover, portulaca, gazania, kenilworth ivy and silver falls dichondra designed to look like pictures inside a scrapbook. You’ll notice that triangles on each corner represent the little tabs that hold pictures and inside the plants create a pattern like a picture.

Very cool. Who designed these?

The designs were done by our Grounds Maintenance Equipment Operator Travis and he and Erin from our Grounds team (pictured above) installed them.

Hmm, what if we wanted more living walls. Do they require more work?

Not more, just different! They need frequent watering because they are shallow, however, they generally get fewer weeds because the weed seeds have a harder time settling into the soil because it’s vertical.

We’re officially in love with the walls. Were they tough to install?

We love the walls too, but they were definitely a challenge to install! There are 32 panels on the North balcony and 210 panels on the East balcony that all had to be hand carried up the stairs by the grounds staff. We made a human chain, but it was still like running stairs in gym class if your gym class was outdoors in a heatwave with a sweaty mask on your face!

Be sure to check out and marvel at all 242 panels of our living walls, snap a picture and tag us in it!

Heatwave! Burning Through Our Parks

Heatwave! Burning Through Our Parks

So, in case you haven’t noticed — it’s been HOT lately. What does it take to keep our buildings COOL on 35+ degree days in the Saskatoon park? Glad you asked.

TWO: the number of chillers in the central plant running at 95% capacity, generating a combined 1,720 tonnes of cooling

THREE: the number of cooling towers running at 100% capacity, generating 57,000 liters of 23-degree condensing water

THREE: also the number of secondary chilled water distribution pumps running at 85% capacity circulating 203 liters per second of 7.5-degree chilled water to the buildings

175,000: the amount of liters of chilled water pumping through a network of underground piping connecting all buildings

What do all these numbers add up to? A whole lot of electrical power and chilled water flowing throughout the park buildings’ equipment like air handling units, rooftop units, fan coils, heat exchangers, terminal boxes, radiant panels, cooling coils, pumps and more! And, once this water has absorbed heat, it’s recirculated back to the Energy Centre in a closed loop to be re-cooled.

In short, this is what it takes to cool our environments and keep humans, and equipment, comfortable. Big thanks to our Energy Centre Operators, Building Operators, Trades staff and Admin and Support staff for the critical roles they play in keeping this operation running smoothly and flowing cooly.

Simply The Best Practices For Office Life

Simply The Best Practices For Office Life

Seeing more smiling faces at our parks and in our hallways and common spaces this past week has been, to put it lightly, seriously amazing. That joyous feeling of collective effervescence (it’s a real thing!) is riding high as we revive and upgrade our many amenities and services and introduce some old faves like Freezie Tuesdays and our Slo-Pitch league and totally new ones like Walking Paths!

Can you tell we’re excited? We’re excited! And we want you to be excited about coming back to work, creating connections (remember people?!) and, not to dampen the mood or anything, feeling safe and ready. We’ve all been through a lot these last 16+ months and we definitely understand that all that excitement is also mixed with trepidation and apprehension about returning to normal. Luckily, we’ve got some best practice honed from research and lived experience to help you and your team ease back in effectively:

  1. Don’t rush! Maybe keep up those plexiglass barriers it took awhile to install or let an anxious employee ease back into in-office work. If things are working, there’s no rush to remove all of them just yet.
  2. Signs & Safety: Keeping basic signage up sets a tone for your workplace and workers that you’ve still got best health practices front and centre. Continue to provide masks, encourage communication and feedback and have plenty of sanitation stations set up.
  3. Go the distance: Keep workstations as separated as possible with additional barriers as necessary. It’s why Mike, our Senior Manager of Business Development, is hanging out in the Brand office these days (see above!). If you need help setting up your office, contact your property manager.
  4. Clean, clean, clean! We’re continuing enhanced cleaning throughout our parks and setting up additional cleaning/disinfecting schedules in your office can be really helpful, especially with cold and flu season coming up.
  5. Try something new: Consider adding something new to your space or process like flexible schedules, employee rotations, mental wellness app subscriptions or new team building activities (like say starting a Slo-Pitch team!)

Want more suggestions? Check out the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services: Post Pandemic Business Resumption Checklist and the Workers' Safety & Compensation Commission: Covid-19 Workplace Safety Planning Checklist and don’t forget to fill out our Return to Work survey with any ideas and feedback!

Let’s Meet Up!

Let’s Meet Up!

One thing that was made incredibly clear this year is that people love meetings. Maybe love is a strong word, but meetings remain incredibly important, especially when people are working remotely or just in another city! We decided this was a perfect time to beef up our meeting rooms in Saskatoon with new equipment, services and more! Here’s a quick list of everything new:

  • ClearOne video conferencing equipment, including wide angle HD cameras, internal microphones and speakers systems, is installed in all meeting rooms across the Saskatoon park and is coming soon to meeting rooms in the Regina park
  • Boffins Event Centre now includes two TVs and ClearOne video conferencing equipment
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitization of meeting spaces continue to keep things fresh
  • Water coolers with cold, ambient, hot and sparkling (ya, sparkling) options are available in all meeting rooms except the Concourse 210 Boardroom and Boffins Event Centre (we’re working on it!)

Need something else? Let us know! Contact your property manager with any feedback.

Stop and Smell the Fresh-Cut Flowers

Stop and Smell the Fresh-Cut Flowers

Start each month with a fresh bunch of seasonal flowers delivered right to the Innovation Place offices in Saskatoon!

We partnered with Poetica Flowers — a fantastic Saskatoon business that sources flowers from local farmers and Canadian growers — for a new flower subscription box service. Here’s how it works:

  • The subscription is $25 + tax per month; gift items are available for add-on purchase and delivery is free
  • Order online between the 15th and 20th of the previous month (i.e., want flowers for August? Order between July 15 - 20)
  • Flower selection is based on what is fresh and available (tulips! chrysanthemums! snapdragons! Oh my!)
  • You can opt-in or opt-out each month
  • We’ll contact you when your flowers are ready for pick up.
Walka Walka Walka

Walka Walka Walka

Our Client Relations team along with the Grounds Crew have mapped out two lovely walking path options worthy of your exploration in Saskatoon. These paths are the perfect excuse to get outside and explore the park on a beautiful day while getting some exercise. And hey, bring a friend!

We’ll be looking to add more pieces to these walking paths over the next little bit to help you learn about the plants and trees populating the park. So, stay tuned!

Check them paths out PDF-style!

And hey, we didn’t forget about our Regina peeps! The walking path will be rolled out soon so keep your eyes open for the cool dude strutting painted on sidewalks around the park in the near future.

We're Back Baby!(Or What To Expect On The Week Of July 11)

We're Back Baby!(Or What To Expect On The Week Of July 11)

Much like the collective weight on all our shoulders, all COVID-19 restrictions in Saskatchewan will be lifted on July 11. Here’s what that means for you at our parks!

  • Masks are no longer required in common areas (neither are the signs!)
  • Physical distancing is no longer required, which means
  • Fitness centres, meeting rooms, washrooms, squash courts and the games room (Saskatoon only) open to full capacity
  • Food and beverages can be served up in meeting rooms
  • Common area furniture shifts back to regular capacity
  • No more one-ways and limits in elevators and stairwells
  • Water fountains are back on (yay!)

Outside our parks, there are some great things available. Let’s have a quick chat!

Q: Will Rapid Antigen Testing be available at Innovation Place?

A: We tried! But, unfortunately no — logistics failed us. However, be sure to check out Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for more info on how this safe and simple COVID-19 test method delivers results in 15 mins.

Q: What about mobile vaccinations at Innovation Place?

A: We tried! I know, we sound like a broken record, but we did! SHA has designated other workplaces more essential, however, they assure us that Innovation Place has a special place in its heart. New news! There will be a mobile walk-in clinic at Innovation Place in Saskatoon on Wednesday, July 7 from 9 am to 2 pm in the Candle Span Room in the Atrium.

I’ve seen great return to work initiatives that would be awesome for Innovation Place. Can I tell you about them?

A: ABSOLUTELY. In fact, we have a survey for that! Take our survey and tell us your plans, what you need, want and anything else. Nothing is too big, small, silly or serious! (Okay maybe too silly, but we can handle it!)

Now, take a big, relaxing deep breath, a sip of water and bask in the relief that we made it.

A New Level Of Clean

A New Level Of Clean

Enhanced cleaning in common areas was one of the first things we did to help keep people safe. Our janitorial crew, including Zege pictured above, sanitizes everything to keep you safe: door handles, elevator buttons, push paddles, fitness equipment, seating… you get the point.

We plan on continuing this level of cleanliness even after Step 3 of the Reopen plan because, put simply, it’s pretty great! If you would like a deep clean using fun things like electrostatic spray to sanitize your space, contact your Property Manager to arrange a cleaning.

As always, thanks to Zege and the janitorial team for their amazing work always and especially during the pandemic.

Safe Space at Innovation Place

Safe Space at Innovation Place

Many employees are excited to return to the workplace to reconnect with their coworkers and, frankly, just get out of the house! What that workplace might look like is up to you and we’re here to help.

Through their network of design industry contacts, our Project Management team has kept up-to-date on the latest solutions to best address the new post-pandemic office models. Coupled with their years of experience, our team is ready to help you and your team navigate and implement any physical restructuring required to fit your short- and long-term space strategies as you return to work.

Contact your Property Manager to talk about space solutions and whatever else is on your mind.

The Air Up There

The Air Up There

Who wants to talk indoor air quality (IAQ)?! IAQ is all the rage these days so we thought we’d give you a little behind the scenes look at what we do to ensure our IAQ is always A+.

  1. A preventative maintenance program helps our highly trained operations staff inspect and maintain the air distribution systems in our buildings so everything runs smoothly. Here’s Rob replacing a MERV-14 filter like it’s his job (it is).
  2. Each building's distribution system has a unique design — don't they feel special! We use a variety of filters and systems — some buildings even have a 100% fresh air intake to make sure the air is always super clean for you to breathe.
  3. Our building occupant management strategy maximizes efficiencies to reduce power consumption and wear and tear on air handling equipment and increase functionality to provide appropriate air movement. We can all learn a lesson from our buildings which throttle down on the evenings and weekends.

Have questions about IAQ, space modifications or more? Contact us — We’ll connect you with the right person at Innovation Place.