airdrielife fall 2014

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fall 2014

Murals & banners & chairs ...

Meet Airdrie


Oh My!


How Airdrie is becoming more colourful



musicians, knitters & a yodeller

ARTON! Creative

Gardens &



French culture in Airdrie is growing


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fall 2014 |



| fall 2014

Contributors Fall 2014

What, to you, makes a city esthetically pleasing? Carl Patzel, Writer/photographer

One of our first introductions to Airdrie was the impressive, glowing Nose Creek fountains in Summerfield. Those esthetics have been continued through developing communities with the pond and canal systems, a perfect place for a peaceful urban retreat. That and perhaps a centralized unique restaurant/ shopping district always make for an attractive community.

Group Publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt




Anne Beaty Vanessa Peterelli Kim Williams


Anne Beaty, Sergei Belski, Jennifer Brigden, Katie Burley, Michelle Carre, Jennifer Cormier, Leslie Davies, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Rob Jamieson, Ellen Kelly, Kurtis Kristianson, Carey Lees, Jeff MacKinnon, Tina McMillan, Carl Patzel, Vanessa Peterelli, Kristy Reimer, Kent Rupert, Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Lisa Silva ADVERTISING SALES Sherry Shaw-Froggatt

PRINTING Print West Distribution manager

John Pirzek

Contact Us

Editorial Advertising Where to find us

Ellen Kelly, Writer

airdrielife is delivered to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. If you do not receive an issue please contact

The parks, the trees and the natural area within a city. Airdrie’s planning and parks departments do a fabulous job.

airdrielife is also available at more than 50 locations around the city. You can also find airdrielife in every showhome in the city and at more than 100 locations in Calgary. airdrielife is published quarterly by Frog Media Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.


Katie Burley, Writer To me what makes a city esthetically appealing is the little things, the things you don’t notice when you are somewhere every day. These are things such as street signs, local artwork, park cleanliness and pathways. Being able to notice the trees and people enjoying the natural appeal of a city is what truly makes it a beautiful place to call home.


| fall 2014

ISSN 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2014 by Frog Media Inc. May not be reproduced without permission. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher. Editorial Policy

airdrielife editorial is not for sale. Editorial is completely independent from advertising, and no special editorial consideration or commitment of any kind can form any part of the advertising agreement. All editorial inquiries must be directed toward the editor. A copy of Frog Media Inc. Writers’ Guidelines can be downloaded from the editorial page on our website. airdrielife does not accept unsolicited submissions. Freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with samples from at least three published magazine articles, to airdrielife is produced from well-managed forests, printed with canola-based inks, and is 100% recyclable.

Fall Days In The Community. Fall Nights In The Home. Autumn is a wonderful time of year. Days are just a bit cooler but still worthy of a full day of walking along the trails in a Mattamy community, or perhaps you take an afternoon bike ride with the family, or relax in the park with the dog. In the evening you can curl up and watch a movie with the family or catch the hockey game in the great room. It’s fall in the neighbourhood. And in a Mattamy community you’ll never have a shortage of things to do! Follow us: Sales Centre Hours: Monday - Thursday 1pm-8pm; Friday 1pm-6pm; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 11am-6pm All illustrations are artist’s concept. All dimensions are approximate. Prices, specifications, terms and conditions subject to change without notice. E.&O.E.

editor’s note One of my dreams for our city is that when people think of Airdrie they think “arts and culture.” When I first began working here two decades ago, there was a strong presence of artists – from musicians to painters to woodcarvers to actors – but no real sense of a unified arts community, at least not one that was recognizable to me. Now, although we do not have a dedicated art gallery but rather facilities around the city which display art (think Airdrie Public Library and Bert Church Theatre), we do have many projects and programs for the arts of all genres and we are becoming more well-known for all we have to offer in terms of arts and culture. From Bert Church Theatre’s fabulous entertainment season to Creative Airdrie’s AIRdirondack Gala, with its namesake chairs decorating the city; from literary workshops and author visits to painting and drawing classes for children and adults; from Nose Creek Valley Museum to music programs for all ages; from that special Taste of Airdrie to a wide variety of second-language learning options – Airdrie recognizes the importance of arts and culture and embraces all there is to offer in our community. On another level, all you need to do is drive around the city to appreciate Airdrie’s esthetics, from public art – street lamp banners, totem poles in Nose Creek Park (a gift from our sister city of Gwacheon, Korea); and utility box art wraps (courtesy of FortisAlberta and local artists) – to ‘green art’ in the form of flowers in planters and hanging baskets, bicycle trails and parks. Airdrie has wonderful sports and recreation facilities, and to complement that aspect of a healthy vibrant community we also now have that strong arts and culture focus, one which has been growing and evolving over the 20 years since I first came to the community. Perhaps people already do think “arts and culture” when they think of Airdrie. Perhaps we already are recognized for our arts and culture atmosphere. Whatever the case, I am thrilled with what I see and hear (and smell and taste), and I’m proud to call multicultural and arts-focused Airdrie home.

Anne Beaty, EDITOR


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OnAdamthe Cover Kolankowski and sarah

hemphill show their true colours. PHOTO BY KRISTY REIMER


life in the Columns & regular features moment 36 Events 44 Healthylife 46 Lifetimes with Ellen Kelly 48 Parentlife with Vanessa Peterelli 50 Reallife with Rob Jamieson 81 Lifestyles with Tina McMillan 82 Lifebuild with Michelle Carre 86 Gardenlife with Lisa Silva 96 Businesslife with Kent Rupert 110 Last Look


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18 Impressionism – Artist plays with textures 22 Iron Horses – Mural tells railroad story 25 Award-Winner – Yodeller garners recognition 30 Starlight, Star Bright – Band has unique sound 34 Theatrical – Bert Church Theatre season opens 38 On the Road – Food truck offers feast 40 Buon Cibo – Italy has it all 42 Two Can Tango – Couple shares makeover 54 On the Cover – Duo embraces the arts

88 life in the

community 60 Citylife – Airdrie esthetics appeal

61 Streetscape – Banners brighten view 62 Raising the Bar – Gala supports creativity 63 Arts & Culture – ARTember flourishes 65 Bright Future – Young actor’s career takes off 66 Dramatics – Students chase their dreams 67 Melodious – High school musicians band together 68 Inaugural Awards – Event recognizes artists 69 Weaving Wonder – Knitters ply their craft 70 Computer Science – Group gives life to bots 71 Fond Memories – Home represents Airdrie’s past



72 Ma Communauté – Francophones celebrate community 75 Underwater Style – Synchro swimmers impress

life at home

78 Fresh Look – Simple ideas = new space 80 A Fair Ways – Neighbours welcome neighbours 83 Growing Creativity – Gardeners express themselves 87 Coming Home – Builder returns to community 88 Transformations – Artist restores beauty 90 Natural Fit – Developer works with landscape 92 Show & Tell – Showhomes are fit for a king

life at work

98 Tech Savvy – Entrepreneurs thrive at home 102 Get Smart – Shared experience helps 104 Motivation – Teacher shares love of music 106 Global Reach – Safety company expands


| fall 2014


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moment life in the 22 in Training

25 vibrant voice 38 Molto delizioso

life in the

moment artist Profile


bstract artist Stephanie de Souza uses art to find balance in her life.“My art depends on my mood,” de Souza says. “I do a geometric if I’m stressed. It’s my way of centring myself if I feel out of control. And when I need a release, I do more creative, more abstract and looser-defined painting.” De Souza returned to her art four years ago when she and her family moved to Airdrie from Calgary. She enjoyed art in school and submitted pieces to various contests in which some were selected, some weren’t, and some were showcased in the community as teen art. However, she stopped painting after graduation. “I was into construction and university,” says de Souza, who has a business degree but no formal art training. “I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush in 17 years when I started again.” Upon her return to painting, she tried landscapes, guided by books from the library on how to colour, how to blend, how to make shadows and light. “I sat with those books and kept extending them from the library,” she says. “But my heart wasn’t in it. You could tell that when you looked at (the paintings).” She tried portraits but wasn’t happy with those either. Then she picked up some books on abstract oils. “I started with oils,” she says,“and branched out into everything. I started going nuts – it said colour-blend and just start messing around. I painted over about half a dozen before I figured out what I was doing.”


Mood sTory by elleN Kelly | phoTos by KrisTy reiMer


| fall 2014


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life in the

moment artist Profile

Working with acrylics, oils, mattings, glosses, sand, jewels, fabric and beads, de Souza mixes items into paint to give texture and depth and to achieve the 3-D appearance for which she strives. “I want my art to be thought-provoking,” she says, adding that she also wants her art to allow people to see something different or new each time they look. De Souza strives to produce art that gives different impressions based on shadow and light. “A lot of mine are 3-D paintings,” she says, “and depending on how light shifts through a room, it’s a whole new painting.” And artists who think outside the box, such as Salvador Dali, inspire her. “I like the fact that it makes me think when I look at it,” she says. Creative ideas come from her husband and from flipping through art books and colour palettes. Other times de Souza visualizes a mood or something she’s seen as an abstract. She has tried painting the elements with varying success. “They don’t necessarily turn out how I originally envision them,” she says,“but I start with that idea and I’m usually happy with them. “But I’m not afraid to paint over them,” the artist adds.“If they’re bad, they’re bad.” De Souza only began bringing her art to the public last August through a gallery on Facebook. She displayed in the arts market at the Airdrie Home and Lifestyles show last spring and her art was chosen for a street banner. She is a member of the Airdrie Regional ARTS Society and participates in its shows. The artist also scrapbooks and hasn’t bought a card in five years, preferring to make her own. “You can’t paint every day,” she says.“Sometimes the mood just isn’t there so I’ll grab my spare paper and make cards.” De-cluttering, reorganizing things and making lists are also favourite pastimes, as is being a Girl Guide leader.“It helps get me out in the community and it’s been in my family for a long time,” she says. De Souza loves the small-town feel of Airdrie and says that everything she needs is here. She likes the active arts scene, but says it took courage to put herself out there. Looking ahead, she sees herself working, enjoying family and painting in her spare time, and she would be thrilled to be holding shows and working in a nicer studio. In the meantime, though,“I am perfectly content to keep painting just for me,” de Souza says. life


| fall 2014

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fall 2014 |


All aboard the ART

life in the

moment Vibrant Visuals

Artist and train enthusiast Glen Collin has put his heart into his mural at Iron Horse Park.


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train! G

story by Jeff MacKinnon | photo by Carl Patzel

len Collin spends much of his time at the Iron Horse Park clubhouse scrunched down trying to see things from the perspective of children. The Airdrie artist is, after all, painting for them. “All my images are two and three feet off the ground because that’s who’s looking at [them],” Collin explains.“It’s little guys.” For the past two years, often alone on a Wednesday night with darkness peeking in creepily from the outside, Collin has been painting a three-wall train-themed mural for the Alberta Model Engineering Society. Asking him when it will be finished is pointless, because he says he doesn’t really know. Whenever time will allow. “There’s no pressure from the people here to get it done,” he says. “The people here have made it a fun project.” The clubhouse is used primarily for birthday parties each Sunday during the months the park is open –Victoria Day weekend to Thanksgiving – after youngsters have had rides on the largest miniature train track in Western Canada and are ready for cake. The mural project began two years ago when the society was given a cheque for $5,000 from the Airdrie Lioness Club to finish off the clubhouse. Birthday parties were being held in the Iron Horse Park main station, but things got too crowded and noisy each Sunday morning. The clubhouse was the original meeting place for the Alberta Model Engineering Society at Camp Gardner near Bragg Creek. It was moved to Airdrie in 1996 and remained unfinished until the Lioness gift. Iron Horse Park president Alan Pile and his wife, Patricia, who is involved in the Airdrie Regional ARTS Society, of which Collin is president, asked the artist to paint a train mural on one of the walls. “We didn’t think he was going to do this. I didn’t even think he was going to do that,” says Pile, pointing to a mural of a train going over a trestle on the west wall.“We’re ecstatic. We had no idea he’d go to this extent.” The train itself is loosely based on one found in Stettler. The trestle was inspired by a trip Collin – a “bit of a train enthusiast” himself – took with his brother and son to Revelstoke Railway Days about 15 years ago. The three climbed a mountain so they could see the bridge across a gorge at Stoney Creek and the visual stayed with Collin all these years. Another wall features a scene from the Airdrie train station and water tower that Collin is recreating from pictures from a history book. Yet another scene is inspired by the grain elevators in Balzac while another will show a busy cattle yard with children on horseback racing alongside a train. Collin has mapped out the entire project and now is looking for help with the painting just to get it done. “I’ve pretty much been working on my own so far, but I need help. I now have it drawn out and I can say to someone,‘I need a wheat field right here.’ Before, I couldn’t do that,” he says. Part of the problem in putting a timeline on the project is that there is a second stage in the works. The society is planning to build an equipment shed for the Iron Horse Park property and that will open up a second room in the clubhouse that is now housing tools and such. Once that wall comes down, Collin will start tackling that section of the building to make it resemble an actual train station. The artist’s original plan was to paint a telegraph office on the party room’s fourth wall, which is still very clear in his imagination. “It had bars in the window and the guy with the white shirt and black sleeves and he’s selling you a ticket,” he explains.“If you look farther there’s a telegraph operator, so it’s like you are looking into a room. Then there’s going to be a family here – a mom with three kids in tow and steamer trunks and stuff. “Then I was going to paint a picture of Alan in a conductor’s suit and he was going to have his ticket puncher. So he’d be the conductor,” Collin adds. life

fall 2014 |


Smile More

New patients welcome. 403-912-9378

Thayne Blunston, DDS, General Dentist


| fall 2014

1, 620 1st Ave NW Airdrie

life in the

moment musician Profile

Yodel Girl story by Ellen Kelly | photo by Kristy Reimer


iriam Dreher, complete with YODELGIRL personalized licence plate, is a musical force to be reckoned with. Dreher is executive producer of Yodelfest, held annually at the Town and Country Centre. Ten years ago, the Swiss Yodellers in Calgary asked her to organize a “yodelfest” in Airdrie and she said she would try. “I was totally amazed,” she says. “It was sold out in no time at all.” The annual event attracts audiences from B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Montana. Entertainers are chosen with an emphasis on showcasing the talent of young musicians, such as world champion accordion player Michael Bridge and fiddle player Susanna Heystek of Rocky Mountain House. Calgary’s Swiss Yodellers and the Swiss dancers are also annual crowd pleasers. This past year, two alpenhorns, playing in harmony, were added. And of course, there’s Miriam and the Mountaineers, entertaining their enthusiastic audiences with a vast repertoire of music, song and yodelling. The show has been sold out every year. Originally from Saskatchewan, Dreher, aged 80, has lived in Airdrie for more than 10 years. She became interested in yodelling when she was a child. Her great-grandfather was from Switzerland and there was always music in the family.

fall 2014 |


life in the

moment musician Profile

“Take that talent and go where you can, whenever you can, for � long � you can.”

– miriam Dreher’s mother

“As a wee girl, my dad would sit me on his knee and he taught me how to yodel,” she says. “He got me into music, as well – he played the fiddle and mom played guitar. We always had people coming to our house to jam. It was wonderful.” Dreher first performed at the age of five when someone asked her parents if she would sing at a Christmas concert. “They put me up on this chair and I sang Kiss Me Goodnight, Sergeant Major. I just loved it,” she remembers. For the past 12 years, Dreher has travelled extensively across Canada and the U.S. She’s done a fundraiser in Canning, N.S., for the Wilf Carter Museum and has travelled from New Mexico to Prince George, where she had the time of her life performing with bluegrass bands. She’s won three international awards for yodelling in Branson, Mo., and in 2007 won an International Platinum Award for yodelling – the musical equivalent of an Olympic gold medal. “I beat out two American men and they weren’t very happy with me,” says the musician, who has a total of 22 music awards and in 2013 received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal. Dreher admires Wilf Carter and Kenny Rogers, who, she says, is a talented yodeller. Her favourite songs are traditional western tunes, songs

her mother and grandmother sang, and gospel music.“I don’t know what inspires me,” she says.“Music is in my blood. It’s my life.” Dreher is currently working on her seventh CD. She records old favourites as well as her own compositions. In July she recorded a song she wrote for her son, who recently passed away, and at Yodelfest 2015, Dreher will start a scholarship in his memory to be awarded to someone who wants to study music at Mount Royal University or the University of Calgary. Dreher’s busy schedule includes gigs at seniors’ residences, hospitals, long-term care facilities, weddings and funerals. She teaches and mentors aspiring yodellers and is also involved with the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Association, performing at gatherings in Alberta and Montana. Last year, she wrote a cookbook of old family recipes, with proceeds going to Mission Aviation Fellowship, an organization that flies doctors, nurses, dentists, food, water and medical supplies all around the world. Through her music and her attitude on life, Dreher has touched the hearts of all she meets. “[She is] a real ambassador for the City of Airdrie, an inspiration for everyone,” says Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown. life

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| fall 2014

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| fall 2014


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life in the

moment musicial Profile

(left to right) david Janssen, Caleb Cummings and Christopher noble

5 �ings

you need to know about folk-b�ed rock trio Wakeup Starlight sTory AND phoTo by KurTis KrisTiANsoN


| fall 2014

David Janssen – b�s, backing vocals Caleb Cummings – lead vocals, guitar Chr�topher Noble – piano, drums, percussion From kitchen party to anthem rock, and woven with thoughtful stories, the band’s unique sound makes Wakeup Starlight the one to get on your playlist.

1 2 3 4 5

Leaves aren’t the only thing falling at Woodside Golf Course

The band’s name comes from a previous song the trio wrote describing the security of parents waking their child in the morning. Wakeup Starlight is only one of a handful of ‘working’ bands in the area and performs more than 100 shows per year. The band is listed on iTunes and has sold more than 10,000 songs (units) since its inception four years ago. The Airdrie-based band has opened for international acts, such as Marianas Trench, Maestro Fresh Wes, Danko Jones, illScarlet and Jars of Clay. You can hear influences by early artists – Paul Simon, Spirit of the West and Grapes of Wrath – which give Wakeup Starlight a clear distinction from other folk-rock artists. life

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fall 2014 |


17 days of fun for the whole family ARTSmarket | SLAM Songwriting Competition Schooled in the Arts | AIRdirondack Art Project & Gala Workshops | Heritage | Performing Arts Literary Arts | Taste of Airdrie | Art in Business LIVE MUSIC Propak Art Pavilion on the Eco-Art ZYTECH STAGE! Food Trucks Festival seating rain or shine!! Live Music Multicultural Experiences Hands-on fun for all ages! Get the complete schedule online at

fall 2014 |


life in the

moment Theatre

Live on Stage! by Jennifer Cormier

Bert Church Theatre 2014-15 season highlights


| fall 2014

Come and experience Airdrie’s hidden gem.

Imagine it … live!

Since opening its doors in 1984, Bert Church Theatre (BCT) has welcomed thousands of patrons to more than 50 events annually. This year there is something for everyone with both professional and family series along with several rental events. Series season subscriptions for 2014-15 are currently available, which provide an entire season of fantastic entertainment at an affordable price. With an average ticket price of just $25, BCT offers an excellent opportunity to spend time with friends and family in the intimate comfort of this beautiful local theatre. Come early and enjoy a beverage while perusing local art, then stay after the show for a meet-and-greet with the musicians. Highlights of the Professional Series include a Neil Young tribute band; the annual Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra concert; high-energy world groups De Temps Antan and Black Umfolosi; and a vintage Christmas show in the first half of the season. The second half brings the guitar wizards of International Guitar Night and Canadian rock icon Rik Emmett, with a little folk, comedy, country and rockabilly thrown in for good measure. From Treehouse TV favourites and a Canadian children’s music icon to fun-filled children’s theatre and fiddlers, the family series will bring your loved ones together for some memorable family outings.

2014-15 Professional Series pass: $324 (actual value of more than $494) Single regular admission ticket to all 12 Professional Series shows: • All Neil All Night – Saturday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. • Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, – Tuesday, Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m. • De Temps Antan – Saturday, Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m. • Black Umfolosi – Saturday, Nov. 22, 7:30 p.m. • Jesse Peters Vintage Christmas – Saturday, Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m. • Rik Emmett – Wednesday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. • International Guitar Night – Saturday, Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m. • 100 Mile House – Saturday, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m. • Tupelo Honey (Acoustic) – Saturday, Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. • Mary Walsh with special guest Sharron Matthews – Friday, March 20, 7:30 p.m. • Cousin Harley – Saturday, April 11, 7:30 p.m. • Ridley Bent – Friday, April 24, 7:30 p.m. • Two free “Bring a Friend” tickets for any of the 2014-15 Professional or Family Series shows (up to $98 value)

2014-15 Family Series pass: $272 (actual value of more than $413) Regular admission for four to all five Family Series shows: • Splash’ N Boots – Saturday, Nov. 1, 2:30 p.m. • Fred Penner – Sunday, Feb. 15, 2:30 p.m. • Calgary Opera: Isis and the Seven Scorpions – Sunday, March 8, 2:30 p.m. • Prairie Mountain Fiddlers – Saturday, March 28, 2:30 p.m. • Dufflebag Theatre presents Snow White – Sunday, April 19, 2:30 p.m. OR upgrade to a Family Series subscription for five individuals for $300 (value $100) • Two family drop-in passes for Genesis Place For event information and program scheduling, visit Tickets may be purchased at or by phone at 1-888-655-9090. In addition to fabulous entertainment, BCT also offers the very popular P.A.C.K. (Performing Arts Classes for Kids). Due to the overwhelming demand, this program will be offered in three sessions this season. Students will take to the BCT stage again beginning Sept. 8. Two classes (juniors: age 7-10; seniors: age 11-16) are scheduled to run Sept. 8 to Nov. 12; Nov. 17 to Jan. 26; and Feb. 2 to April 20. Depending on the child’s age, the class will run for two hours on either a Monday or Tuesday evening, and culminate in a public performance at its conclusion. Register online at

fall 2014 |


life in the



fall is filled with

fun &


sePt. 6 Airdrie fest 2014 Main street square An outdoor market-style festival that combines community group registrations with local artisans, delicious food and an afternoon of free family-friendly activities. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

sePt. 6-7 steAM And stAtionAry enGines Pioneer Acres (irricana) An event that highlights several stationary and portable steam engines as well as a 65 hp Case steam tractor. Visitors can also enjoy an impressive collection of internal combustion engines. early settlers used these stationary engines to pump water, lift grain in elevators, operate blacksmith and woodworking shops, produce electricity and perform a host of other tasks.

sePt. 12-28 Artember Airdrie’s arts and culture celebration features special events, festivals, workshops and the popular Taste of Airdrie restaurant promotion. The full calendar of activities is available online. sePt. 13 roCKy vieW rollers hoMe GAMe Pete Knight Arena (Crossfield) Check out the exciting sport of flat-track roller derby as the rocky View rollers take on the rez City (Wetaskawin) team!

sePt. 12-14 Airdrie fAMily fAll fAir nose Creek Park A fun-for-all-ages event featuring a carnival, food festival, family-friendly trade show, entertainment, laser tag and more! sept. 12, 4-10 p.m. sneak-A-peak (midway only); sept. 13, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (tradeshow only open till 6 p.m.); sept. 14, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free entry.

sePt. 15-27 Artember events At the liBrAry Airdrie Public library sept. 13 – Author Maureen enns; sept. 15 – Movies That Matter: The Avenue (at City hall); sept. 15 – writers workshop with ellen Kelly; sept. 17 – Writers Club with guest author brandy Gassner; sept. 20 – Junior Artists with bob harriman; sept. 20 –Adult Art with Veronica Funk; sept. 21 – sunday Cinema: Muppets Most Wanted; sept. 24 – journaling workshop with sharon Christie; sept. 25 – spoken word poet sheri-D Wilson; sept. 27 – Culture at the Creek: stories in the big Tent (at Nose Creek park).

sePt. 12-14 Artsmarket Bert Church theatre ArTember, Airdrie’s citywide celebration of the arts and culture, is launched at the newly renovated theatre. enjoy the lively arts market hosted by the Airdrie regional Arts society in the lobby and live entertainment on stage. saturday night features the slAM in Airdrie songwriting Competition final performance showcase, sept. 12-13, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and sept. 14, noon to 5 p.m.

sePt. 20 5th AnnUAl AirdirondACK Art ProJeCt AUCtion And GAlA McArthurs fine furniture This black-tie event presented by ravenswood is the highlight of ArTember and the annual fundraiser for the Creative Airdrie society. Featuring the live auction of 12 original works of art on handcrafted Adirondack chairs. entertainment, wine, craft beers, gourmet food and more. 7-11:30 p.m. Tickets online.


| fall 2014

sePt. 26-28 CUltUre At the CreeK nose Creek Park Airdrie’s celebration of Alberta Culture Days, providing free activities for all ages. Music, food, arts, cultural performances and much more. sept. 26, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; sept. 27, noon to 7 p.m.; sept. 28, noon to 5 p.m. sePt. 27 food trUCK frenZy 5.0 nose Creek Park Airdrie Farmers Market moves the food truck flavours to Nose Creek park in celebration of ArTember’s Culture at the Creek. Many different trucks with unique dishes and soul-comforting cuisine. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

sePt. 27 Art of the hArvest Airdrie Ag Park The Airdrie and District Agricultural society (ADAs) is proud to host this event for the third year. horse teams and vintage equipment will be used to harvest the grain planted in the spring. This informational demo and event will have something for the very small to the very tall, and for the city dweller to those with rural roots. located 3 km west of Airdrie on big hill springs road. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. oCtoBer Airscares hAUnted AttrACtion Are you afraid of the dark? The doors of this haunted attraction will open in october 2014 offering new chills and total terror! This year’s theme is Nowhere to hide. Guests will be guided through hidden mazes and bone-chilling experiences that will leave even the veteran haunt-stalker terrified. NoTe: no one under the age of 8 will be permitted. Children aged 8-12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. All proceeds will directly support the boys and Girls Club of Airdrie. exact location, dates, times and ticket prices are available online.

oCtoBer Airscares fAMily friendly A family-friendly, all-ages halloween experience that includes a walk through the fun house with games and activities. NoTe: this is a completely separate experience from the Airscares haunted house. There will be no access to the main attraction during the family-friendly event. All proceeds will directly support the boys and Girls Club of Airdrie. exact location, dates, times and ticket prices are available online. oCt. 23 AUthor visit Airdrie Public library Adult Author series: Janice MacDonald. edmonton’s Janice MacDonald is author of literary and mystery novels, textbooks, non-fiction titles and stories for both children and adults. she is best known for her mystery novels featuring amateur sleuth Miranda “randy” Craig. 7-8:15 p.m. nov. 2 ChristMAs MArKet Crossfield Community Centre hosted by the Crossfield Farmers Market, this show features seasonal vendors and product as well as regulars from the summer season. Watch for santa (plus a photographer) on site! 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

a ing d i v pro que are, fl uni l g a s n n uci lon’ atio d a o s n r r r .P ou inte ee ence e is an i c r s te fr a e a a p p f s h l x su ne lon xed and salo e sa rela u n d y q e a l i t ep ab irit bou ent par a de ll sp y n u nm v i f o Our v s r d a i e l s an h env sty uil eart bold iful q r t n u u tra eo bea plor and x and s t E uc 9 nce. prod esse .909

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nov. 7-8 Airdrie ChristMAs shoW town and Country Centre Airdrie Farmers Market hosts this fun show featuring regular market vendors as well as baked goods and holiday-themed crafts and gifts. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. nov. 15 AnnUAl Wine doWn event the Woods at Woodside Golf Course enjoy wine, appetizers, live music by local artists, silent auction, “balloon pop” raffle, 50/50 draw, raffle for WestJet flight vouchers and more at this third annual event, hosted by Community links.

Creekside Crossing, Airdrie 1109, 35 Mackenzie Way (403) 948-3100

fall 2014 |


life in the



Deb Lawton and Jim Nikiforuk love creating the perfect comfort food.

Just one of the boyz story and photos by Carl Patzel

Business is on a roll for Perogy Boyz.

Bringing the traditional, European-styled perogy to the people, Deb Lawton and Jim Nikiforuk are hard to miss surrounded by their bright red food truck. Taking over the moving restaurant in 2013, the duo soon found out what many Canadians already knew – people are devoted to the simple little boiled treat. “People just love perogies, they really do. It’s like this good comfort food, and who doesn’t like potatoes and cheese in a nice little package?”


| fall 2014

says Lawton, who previously taught at Airdrie Koinonia Christian School for seven years. Call it comfort food, call it a traditional delicacy, call it a little taste of tradition – no matter what you label this street food, customers have been lining up in droves for this on-the-move cuisine. Lawton and Nikiforuk were quickly drawn to the bright 27-foot-long food truck with the hard-to-miss logo and eastern European-inspired menu when the rolling restaurants hit Calgary streets in 2011. Two years later, the two saw the opportunity to purchase the truck and have been dishing out the potato, bacon and cheese sustenance ever since.

When they’re not serving it up at the Airdrie Farmers Market on Wednesdays, the crew is taking part in the many food truck frenzies in and around Calgary. “When we [did] food truck frenzy (trucks accumulate in one area, usually around lunch time) there were four people working and we didn’t stop – not even to go to the washroom – from 11 a.m. until about 6:30 p.m. when we sold out,” Lawton says.“At that time we were going through one dish a minute and served [more than] 400 plates in that time. “We’ve had pretty good lines and a standard line for us is anywhere from 30 to 50 people deep,” she adds. Going through 100 pounds of toppings a week, Perogy Boyz also stretches the menu while offering bacon, onions and sour cream, salsa and three-cheese toppings and even a dessert perogy. The business also serves up traditional pork, and cheddar-jalapeno kielbasa – using local meats – as well as a borscht that is popular during the cooler months (Perogy Boyz is one of the few year-round food trucks). “We get very creative with what goes on top, so we will play around with interesting perogies during the winter: brie and basil; Callebautchocolate perogies, which is a dessert perogy with sweet dough,” says Lawton.

Keeping it fresh has their repeat customers rolling in for more of the versatile, homemade triangular favourites and helping record 350,000 perogies served in one year. The self-admitted ‘foodies’ are always looking to stretch the bitesized morsel’s flavour profile. “We’re always experimenting at home with new things and trying to figure out how to make it quick enough to serve in the truck,” Lawton says. Using real potatoes and a great Canadian cheddar cheese, Perogy Boyz has also made a move among food industry critics. It’s garnered accolades in several newspaper reader’s choice awards and even earned a nod from Reader’s Digest as one of the top 10 culinary food trucks in Canada. “People have told us they are the best perogies they’ve ever had, and I’m not going to tell them any different,” Lawton says with a chuckle. For Lawton and Nikiforuk, it’s a continual balancing act between great taste and fast service. During peak times, the food truck can put out one plate a minute when at a full staff of five people. Although it’s quick, don’t confuse their product with traditional fast food restaurants, Lawton says. “With food trucks the misconception is we’re fast food, but we’re not fast food – we are good food on wheels. We do know when you have people waiting in line 50 deep, they want to be able to get their lunch,” she says. life

fall 2014 |


Eataly! life in the


fooD traVels

sTory AND phoTos by sherry shAW-FroGGATT

inset Photo – the welcoming kitchen staff at Monte Meraviglia: chef flavio faedi, felice and Giusy descrescenzo and salvatore Marrazzo

This past June I had the most extraordinary gift of travel. For my 50th birthday I travelled to Italy on my own to attend a fabulous cooking school with Culture Discovery Vacations. My week in Norcia (in the Umbria territory) was spectacular – you can read about it in the winter 2014-15 issue as part of a new regular travel feature, but first I have to share the surprise at the end of my Umbria travels, because it has a local connection … and how I ended up being wined and dined by the magnificent Magrelli family in Cascia deserves its own story.


t started as an enthusiastic conversation over a bottle of wine and wood-fired pizza at Airdrie’s Ilforno owned by Sal and Anna Maria Monna. We have been customers of theirs since they first came to the community back in 2004. I was telling Sal that my birthday present from Scott was cooking school in Italy and when I showed him on my phone I would be staying in Norcia, he excitedly waved over his waiter, who turns out to be his nephew, Felice Descrescenzo, visiting for a month to help out in the busy restaurant. It turns out Felice works in the neighbouring town of Cascia only 20 minutes away. Graciously Felice offered to make sure on my last day I got to the train station in Spoleto since I was travelling onward to Florence and not heading back to the airport with the tour. Wow, I thought, my trip was going to work itself out perfectly. Then a week before I left I ask Sal to confirm Felice’s contact information. Sal’s next comment threw me: “Everything is taken care of. Felice will pick you up and take you to the Monte Meraviglia in Cascia. It is where he works – they will take excellent care of you.”


| fall 2014

OK, I am supposed to go to the train station in Spoleto … and Sal continues: “You will stay there and meet the chef!” OK! A day/night in Cascia is added to my itinerary. Why the heck not? As promised, Felice is there my last morning in Norcia with his friend and co-worker, Salvatore. Away we zoomed (and I mean literally – Salvatore turned the winding road into his own private racetrack, but I felt oddly safe). Twenty minutes later we reach Cascia – and if I thought Norcia was nestled in the mountains, Cascia is wrapped in a cozy forested blanket. As with most early settlements, Cascia’s buildings and streets zigzag up the hillside like a giant wedding cake. Founded in Roman times, it is most famous for the annual feast of Saint Rita of Cascia – patron saint of the impossible. I loved that! The Magrelli family owns and operates three luxurious hotels, all within a short drive of each other. I am delivered safely to the Le Reggia hotel to settle in and relax until I am ready for lunch. Opening the shutters, to my delight a soccer game is going on and I wander down to the lush lawn to listen to grown Italian men run around yelling at each other.

Lunch is in the Monte Meraviglia hotel, just down the hill in the tranquil il Tartufo Ristorante promoting “ancient flavours in new forms.” Felice is not only my tour guide but my attentive waiter, too. I realize they have opened the dining room just for me! I am flabbergasted and eager to see what is going to appear on the table in front of me. I am not disappointed. Chef Flavio, who I meet when he introduces my secondi, believes in honouring the history of the area and works with fresh local ingredients, turning simple farmer’s ingredients into delectable meals. This is a constant everywhere I go in Italy – the absolute commitment to working with locally sourced products. It’s the original farm-to-table philosophy. During my lunch the Magrelli family members who own the resorts stop by to introduce themselves. A charming, beautiful family. Daughter Gaia, who is the marketing director, and I spend the afternoon chatting about how to attract more tourists to the area, checking out their website and sipping caffe de’orzo (barley coffee). For a town of 2,000, the resort is doing well – during the busy season they serve upwards of a thousand people for lunch on Sundays!

That night dinner in Le Reggia is an Umbrian flavourfest. Overlooking the pool and deeply forested mountain ranges in the distance, I am once again treated to course after course of rustic, fresh flavours. Felice keeps the wine coming steadily and at the end of my meal I am glowing – from the food, the wine, the attention and the view. Grazie, Felice, Flavio and the Magrellis, for sharing your beautiful world with me.

If you go: If you are not part of a tour package, fly into Roma and take the train to Spoleto Station. You can hire a driver or take the bus to Cascia from there. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, rent a car and drive to the region (approximately 3.5 hours from the airport). The freeway system is modern and easy to navigate. Once off the main highway, the windy climbing roads are worth the extra effort. Both Norcia and Cascia are true gems of culinary adventure, surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Learn more about the hotels and restaurants at (but click translate)! life

Lunch Menu

aNtiPaSti: Monteleone spelt (farrow) cake with Cacio Bio (organic cheese) fondue and Aestivum black truffle of Cascia. truffles are an acquired taste – i have learned to appreciate their earthiness and to my delight this dish is my favourite.

PriMi: handmade corn flour pappardelle, hunted boar ribs ragu and crunchy herbs (picked that morning, of course).

SeCoNDi: Cinturino pork chop roasted in porchetta style with wild fennel flower. Cinturino pork is coveted in italy. it is an ancient breed actually raised outside of norcia (i visited the farm the day previous).

DoLCi: spicy dark chocolate parfait with black pepper, chili and sea salt, and two kinds of handmade soft caramels.

Dinner Menu

aNtiPaSti: A trio of lightly fried delights of red potatoes, saffron risotto, eggplant and mint; crispy guanciale (bacon made from hog jowls, often referred to as pig candy); and local Percorino cheese, topped with a poached farm egg.

PriMi: Carnaroli risotto with goat cheese, fava beans, porcini mushrooms and fresh Corallina salami.

SeCoNDi: Grilled veal flank DoLCi: Casa Magrelli trifle, a braised in sage milk with a poached fresh puree of field berries and pear in Passerina white wine. cream.

fall 2014 |


life in the





story by Leslie Davies | photos by Kristy Reimer


ince we’ve started including the makeover as a regular addition to airdrielife magazine, we’ve looked for people (mostly women) who have struggled with self/body image, have a strong desire to feel more confident about their appearance or who’ve worked hard to make changes to their lifestyle and resulting health/body. The two individuals you’re about to meet fall into the latter category. AND … we’re thrilled to feature our first couple’s makeover! You may have already seen them in an earlier edition – Sam and Marsha Nichol entered the airdrielifestyle Fitness Challenge and lost more than 90 pounds between the two of them! To reward them for their perseverance and dedication to getting healthy, they are our deserving makeover recipients for this issue. Here’s a snapshot of Sam’s and Marsha’s whirlwind style and shopping experience with me at CrossIron Mills.


| fall 2014

As with all my clients, I always begin with a consultation to explore their lifestyle, career and wardrobe/fit challenges and to define and refine their style. Sam shared with me that he’s a project manager with a large media provider, often works from home and wears plaid shirts, T-shirts, jeans or long cargo shorts (even to shovel the sidewalk in the winter!). Comfort is a priority for Sam, and when we explored his style, he expressed that he also really appreciates looking sharp. My goal with Sam: to give him an upgrade to both his shorts and jeans; a little more refinement – perhaps something that could also do double duty for a special evening out with Marsha. First stop: Tommy Hilfiger. It’s a brand that captures Sam’s style pretty well – sporty, casual yet refined. After trying on many pairs of coloured denim jeans, we settled on a pair of neutral chinos coupled with a bold, red striped shirt. Sam’s usual go-tos are

plaid shirts and jeans – so this is certainly a comfortable upgrade. Topped with a cotton blazer, the outfit gets a little more polish. Perfect for moments when he wants to make an impression. Next on our list, an outfit that gives him his shorts fix with that uplevel feel, and we found that at the Banana Republic Outlet. I’m a big fan of white T-shirts for both men and women. They’re one of those wardrobe workhorses that can be worn to relax the feel of a blazer, or be a neutral backdrop for a refined pair of shorts and knit hoodie as seen here on Sam. A cool pair of shades finishes his look. Marsha loved this look so much, she insisted that Sam choose this outfit to redeem the gift certificate donated by CrossIron Mills. This outfit fit him really well and highlighted the work he’s done in the gym on his upper body. The day of the makeover, Sasha from Sass Couture Salon reshaped Sam’s hair and enhanced his natural colour.

Marsha shared that she really enjoys dressing up for work – she works in a business-casual office setting so she has lots of flexibility with dressing up or down. And with her new body she’s in desperate need of some clothes that fit her! Sam shared with me that Marsha wears tons of black (she confessed this, too!) and he would love to see her wearing some bolder colours. Another consideration is that Marsha loves to feel sexy and feminine – so I wanted to be certain I included those elements in her outfits. Throughout our shopping trip, Marsha tried on MANY dresses. With each dress I showed her elements of why a style flattered her, or why it didn’t. We really used our time together as a learning session, examining each style, colour and fit. Ultimately, I encouraged Marsha to go with the turquoise faux-wrap dress from Melanie Lyne. It’s flattering in all the right places and hugs her beautiful curves perfectly! The gold-chain details pull the eye up to her shoulders and highlight the curve of her waist – gorgeous! And with the brilliant colour that brings out Marsha’s blue eyes, I think we’ll make Sam happy. All Marsha needs to do to make it office-appropriate is layer a cami underneath to give her a touch more coverage and perhaps add a shapely little blazer. For Marsha’s second outfit, we wanted something that could do double duty for casual weekend fun and potentially for work. This cute little raspberry print dress from Suzy Shier was perfect! Marsha could wear it on weekends with wedge heels OR under a little black blazer, with tights and short booties in the fall. We’ve kept the vibe casual with metallic flats, a bold gold cuff and earrings – and a fun fedora (which was actually chosen for Sam originally, but looked so darn cute on Marsha)! On the official photo shoot day, Marsha had her hair coloured, cut and styled by Sasha from Sass Couture Salon. Sasha added honey-blonde highlights, shortened and shaped up Marsha’s fringe and straightened her style – looking great made easy and effortless! Kendall from Beauty Culture by Kendall first applied a primer and followed with foundation. She wanted to keep Marsha’s eye makeup neutral, so she layered bronzy browns and framed her eyes with a couple of eyelash extensions and several coats of black mascara. Bronzing powder and a touch of blush enhanced her glow and the coral lipstick was a perfect finish – and a nice change from Marsha’s more conservative colour choices. Kristy Reimer from Kristy Reimer Photography set up our shoot once again and this time we wanted to take it outdoors. Mother Nature gave us brilliant blue sky and sunshine – but also a fair amount of wind. We all had fun trying to set up in between wind gusts, fixing hair and clothes to get ready for the next shot. Sam and Marsha Nichol are such an inspiration and a great example of how with hard work, commitment and the support of a great partner you can achieve whatever you desire. Congratulations, you two! life

fall 2014 |



food allergies

life in the


by elleN Kelly

necessitate vigilance

PICTURE THIS: You suspect your two-year-old might have a peanut allergy. He’s tasted peanut butter twice and both times was sick afterward. Coincidence? You’ll ask the doctor at his next checkup. Then one day you pick him up at the babysitter’s and he’s drowsy. Looks like he’s coming down with a cold. Strange, you think, he was fine a couple of hours ago. You hope it’s just sniffles but by the time you reach home, something is very wrong. His face is red and blotchy and his eyes are so puffy it looks as if he’s gone eight rounds in a boxing ring. A phone call to the sitter confirms he might have been in contact with peanut butter cookie crumbs. A quick visit to the clinic and some liquid antihistamine do the trick – this time. You make an appointment with your pediatrician, who sends you to the allergist/immunologist. A series of tests determines that he has a severe allergy to peanuts. And so begins your new life of reading labels, asking questions, advocating for your child and worrying.


| fall 2014


his scenario began my 10-year-old grandson’s frightening and sometimes awkward relationship with food. Alarming at first, but with the help of good medical care, an understanding and supportive school system, and the willingness of friends and relatives to be vigilant, our young man thrives on a peanut-free diet. Allergies are becoming more prevalent in Canada, especially among children. In infancy, the most frequent allergies are to milk, soy, wheat and eggs while in older children and adults, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and sesame seeds are most common. Bee stings, latex rubber and certain drugs are also common allergens. Severe, life-threatening reactions (anaphylaxis) affect the skin, respiratory system, gastrointestinal system and cardiovascular system – and can be fatal. Approximately 2.5 million Canadians report having at least one food allergy and one to two per cent are anaphylactic. Childhood allergies are often outgrown but about 80 per cent of those with peanut allergies and 90 per cent of those with treenut allergies remain allergic as adults. In August 2012, Canada’s new food allergen labelling regulations made it easier to identify foods containing peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk and eggs. Bonnie Kelly, whose son is anaphylactic to peanuts, says, “Adapting was hard at first but you get used to being vigilant when you shop.” The same product can be produced in two different facilities, one peanut-free and one not, so one can’t assume an item is safe.

“We read labels when we shop and again before we use [products],” Kelly says. “Our allergist told us that our life has a whole new level of awareness now and that a miniscule amount of peanuts has the potential to kill my son within minutes. His advice was to be careful, don’t forget his EpiPen, get him a medical alert bracelet and read labels twice.” While her household has adjusted, Kelly says that the hardest part is how others deal with the allergy. Some adults don’t take it seriously, while other parents are often fearful and don’t include her son in social activities. Most schools in Rocky View post an allergy-awareness policy on their web pages or in their handbooks. Many schools choose a “nut-aware” designation asking parents not to send nut or nut products in school lunches. Schools ask to be made aware of allergies and make decisions to best serve their allergic school population, noting that a child’s desire for a certain food is not more important than another child’s right to life. It’s that serious. Kelly says that it’s very important to teach children to advocate for themselves. “It was difficult to teach my son that he can’t have things other children can have,” she says, “but now he asks if a snack has nuts in it. “People are more informed than they were eight years ago when this journey began for us,” she adds.“Public awareness and unbiased education are crucial.” life information on severe allergies is available at

We like being known as the most colourful publication in Airdrie

The ONLY Airdrie-focused publication reaching Calgary & CrossIron Mills Booking deadline for Winter 2014 is October 16.

Carman Thiessen Financial Planner, Investment & Retirement Planning 403-462-7727

Helping you understand your severance cash-out options.

Financial planning services and investment advice are provided by Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). RMFI, RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. RMFI is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec.

® / ™ Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. ©2011 Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. 45808 (09/2011)

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fall 2014 | 7/21/14 11:47 AM


life in the





A Name You can Trust in Real Estate! Serving Airdrie, Calgary, and Surrounding Areas Residential | Acreages | Investments 403-606-1709 403-606-0069



of (dog)



ast Airdrie holds a hidden gem for walkers, joggers and cyclers. Adjacent to Ed Eggerer Athletic Park, located on the east side of Genesis Place, is East Lake Park, an area surrounding a large stormwater-retention pond pretentiously called East Lake which includes two to three kilometres (depending on your chosen route) of Airdrie’s extensive paved pathway system. I’ve been walking regularly around East Lake for about two years and I’ve learned some things in these solitary half-hour jaunts. I’ve learned that I like walking – with my dogs, not my husband. His legs are much longer than mine and my goal is to walk around East Lake, not to jog around it, so he goes one way and I go the other. At first, after many sedentary years, the only thing I could focus on was getting around the lake by the shortest possible route. However, it didn’t take long to become easier so I went farther and faster. There are benches along the way and at first I stopped at every one. I don’t anymore.


| fall 2014

I’ve learned that some days are easier than others; that I prefer walking in winter cold to summer heat; that cloudy, windy days with the clouds boiling and thunder in the distance are the best of all. I enjoy walking in the rain. I’ve learned that walking reduces stress and I continue to walk for this reason. I walk with my buddies: three dachshunds, but only once with all three at the same time – gong show. However, I’ve learned a lot from walking with each of them individually. From Jake I’ve learned to be persistent, determined, focused and fast. There is no route other than right down the middle of the path and there is really no need to be friendly – people and dogs of all shapes and sizes are threats but will leave you alone if you snarl at them and show them your teeth. From Clancy I’ve learned that walking slowly is more relaxing than walking quickly, and stopping, starting and zigzagging make life interesting. I’ve learned there is no need to walk at all if it is too hot, too cold or raining. From him I’ve learned that the shortest route is best and I’ve noticed there is great pleasure in climbing back into the car and immediately falling asleep. And from Lily I’ve learned that by jumping around, by acting silly and confused, and by greeting everyone along the way like a long lost friend (which is almost as off-putting as barking with teeth showing) someone will pick you up and carry you. Although I can’t compete, from her I’ve learned that being cute and silly makes people smile. I don’t always look forward to walking but I know that if I don’t go I miss it, and when I’m done I feel better for it. There are wonderful paved paths all around the city, but East Lake is my favourite. life

The wait is almost over... e are back W late fall in a

beautiful new home in Bayside Crossing with a refreshed menu and a whole new attitude towards giving you a fine experience in dining


Featuring Airdrie’s ONLY waterfront patio.


A fine experience in dining


(No stock photography used... this is the real deal)

fall 2014 |


life in the




Let your


imagination run wild

W Your precious cargo is our precious cargo

Access Chiropractic and Wellness

keeping all ages healthy through gentle chiropractic care

Dr. Jacqueline Boyd Dr. Paul Bajor Two locations to serve you:

North: 403.945.1349 (behind Superstore)

South: 403.945.0855

(in Airdrie CO-OP) active members of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and certified in Webster Technqiue

e’ve all heard people declare: “I don’t have a creative bone in my body!” Perhaps we’ve even uttered these very words ourselves. But aren’t we all born with an ability and desire to be creative? I watch my children in action – creating, painting, composing, producing and performing their way all around the house and yard – and I have no doubt that we are all creative beings at heart. Airdrionians are fortunate to live in a city that embraces and celebrates creativity. To be able to enjoy first-class arts and cultural events that engage the whole family. To have access to music lessons, painting classes, performing arts and dance programs, and everything in between, tailored specifically to youngsters. An encouraging environment is key for creativity to flourish, says Alberto San Martin of Solfeo Music Academy. “Growing up in Chile, we had the freedom to express ourselves,” San Martin says. “I was raised around music, and all forms of art.”

In general, children today spend too much time in front of televisions and computers, he says.“Their minds are not being used in the right way. It’s sad, because their brains are just waiting to get incentive, to develop.” Society expects children to follow and conform rather than take chances and express themselves, he adds, and as a result they are afraid to make mistakes or fail; scared to try new things. “Children can learn to change their mindset; to think outside the box,” says San Martin.“Give them the freedom to be creative and it can be applied to other things later in life.” According to Ruby Bulsara of Airdrie’s Kumon Math and Reading Centre: “Creativity is not just limited to arts and playing, but is [just] as important in education. “Solving a problem in different ways is a result of creative thinking,” Bulsara says. “A creative mind is an engaged mind, for it knows not how to stop, but constantly works at finding solutions.” There are simple, everyday things you can do to nourish creative thinking and problem-solving in

Airdrie Edge Gymnastics: Fun for ALL ages!

Expert programming for special needs children from infancy through school-age.

NE Calgary facility now open! 808 - 55 Ave N.E.

Grand Opening Friday, September 19th 10:30am – 12:00pm Certified Coaches

Daytime, Evening & Weekend Classes

Parent-assisted classes

18 mos to 3 years old (10 kids per class)

Independent classes

4 & 5 years old ( 8 kids per class)

Located at Genesis Place 403.948.7769


| fall 2014

your children. For starters, put away the electronic devices once in a while. Set aside a quiet evening or weekend morning to work on a craft or art project together with your child. Do a puzzle. Make a birthday card for a friend or family member. Maybe even build a racecar out of recycled boxes and cans. For older children, Bulsara recommends imaginative games, such as dumb charades and Pictionary, or reading a book and watching its corresponding movie, comparing the changes in content. When driving, children can look at licence plates of vehicles around them for words formed by the letters or numbers in a sequence or patterns. “A creative mind can not only build forts in a living room but also solve complex problems in school and life, when aided by building a rock-solid foundation in basic math and language concepts at an early age,” she says. Like Bulsara, San Martin helps students build a foundation from which to work. “A carpenter needs to learn how to use his tools first. The same applies to music and art,” he says. When building up that toolbox in the material sense, don’t forget to check online sources, such as Kijiji and Craigslist. From free pianos (bring your own truck and strong helpers, mind you!) to leftover art supplies, unwanted games, construction paper and hodge-podge Lego collections ready to be de-Kragled (that one’s for you, Lego movie fans), treasures and inspiration are ready for discovery. Be sure to spread the word to family and friends about the creative exploits of your budding young artist/musician/inventor/actor/dancer/ crafter. You’d be surprised at the time they might have in the event of a shared interest. Or at what supplies await in their storage rooms, ready for a second (or third) chance at life. Join in with your child, and let your imaginations run wild together. It’s never too late to unleash your creative side. life

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life in the








’ve found myself telling the same story to several different people lately, so I thought it fitting to share it here with you. I share this story not because it’s an earth-shattering tale, or your life will change for having read it … although it might. I just share it so that you have a better understanding of one of my philosophies and where I picked it up. I also share it because I’m human. I relate back to this story myself to help me kick out of thoughts or situations where I don’t feel as if I have any control, because in the end we always have control. I was a young lad – not too young, early 20s – sitting in the second-year studio at SAIT as I worked towards my radio diploma. My on-air shifts weren’t being received well by my instructors. I showed promise and potential to start, but never improved, or so I’m told. My shows were being ripped apart. I heard the critiques in my head before I turned on my mike to speak. I grasped at ideas that others had that worked and had been shared with the class as being “unique” or “creative.”




| fall 2014

8/1/14 12:47 PM

Two dining experiences, one great LOCATION

Back to the studio: I was sitting there, all alone. I’d just finished talking, and I could already hear my teacher rip into that segment as if it was the worst thing he had ever heard come out of someone’s mouth and into his microphones. And then it hit me. I was doing what I was doing for the wrong people. I wasn’t entertaining myself; I was trying to entertain others who clearly were more concerned with technique than being entertained. The technique was suffering because I was preoccupied with the wrong focus. I needed to entertain myself above all else. If I wasn’t entertained, nobody would be. So I changed my demeanour, my technique. Afterward I sat with my instructors again, reviewing my show. Other than hearing my voice, it was oddly silent. “Good.” My instructor moved on. Simple yet deafening. So you don’t entertain for a living. You don’t have access to a microphone. You don’t have your own show. How does this relate to you? I’ve been in many situations since then when I’ve forgotten this day, and done things for too long for the wrong reasons. I’ve tried to entertain the wrong people, and the more I tried the more of a hole I dug for myself. My advice? Just stop and take a moment to answer this question: Whatever it is you’re doing – for whom are you doing it? Big picture or small picture, it should be the same answer. (Now family can be included here, as long as you’re not sacrificing yourself to please them. You need to be as involved and included as they are.) I wrote this column because it’s a story I always enjoy telling. I hope you enjoyed it, too. life

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life in the



A New-You Prize Love our featured makeovers? You could win your own chance at one by sending in your headshot and short explanation why you need a makeover with hair and makeup from The Hair Lounge in Airdrie and a $250 shopping spree at CrossIron Mills! Drop us a line BEFORE Sept. 25 to

ways to


If you’ve never had traditional woodfired pizza … you simply have not eaten real pizza. We want to give you the chance to enjoy it yourself with a $50 gift card for Ilforno Pizzeria in King’s Heights. Enter online at before Nov. 1, 2014.

A Blooming Prize Give your yard or home a colourful boost from our friends at Bluegrass Garden Centre with one of two $100 gift cards. Enter online at before Nov. 1, 2014.

A Zen Prize


Get rid of stress and get in shape with

Fall in Airdrie means a return to a packed routine for most with school, clubs and sports, so don’t forget to pencil in the fun that winning an airdrielife contest can do for your week! 52

A Delicioso Prize

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one of two $100 gift cards for Blacksmith Yoga Community. Enter online at before Nov. 1, 2014.

A Party Prize Make your next party for your child even more fun with a Mystical Masks face-painter onsite! Win one of two $100 gift cards for Mystical Masks! Enter online at

A Good Break Prize Follow us on Facebook as we give away a $20 Good Earth Café gift card EVERY WEEK!

A Smart Prize More Facebook goodies with $20 Smart Automotive gift cards EVERY WEEK!

Isn’t she amazing? If you think so, nominate her. The 2015

Amazing Airdrie Women Awards Nominations now being accepted online at Amazing Leadership Amazing Heart Amazing Determination Amazing Promise Amazing Courage

fall 2014 |


life in the


on the coVer

More to the story Adam Kolankowski, 24, and Sarah Hemphill, 23, are showcased on our fall 2014 airdrielife cover. Over the 11 years that the two have known each other, Kolankowski and Hemphill have both together and individually embraced their passions and talents. When asked how they met, they speak of the long-term crushes they have always had on each other, and how they reconnected after Hemphill returned from college. They have been inseparable ever since. Kolankowski “learned to love music in the womb,” he jokes. He currently plays in a band called Sealegs, which will be releasing an album in October. (If you want to support these local artists don’t forget to look them up on their website.) In the band Kolankowski plays the mandolin, but his favourite would be either guitar or drums, he says. He is the oldest son in a blended family of 12 siblings. His mother is a Suzuki method teacher; therefore, he learned to play through listening. For Kolankowski music is a passion. “When I feel it and other people can feel it, too, it’s like what’s inside of me is outside of me,” he says, adding that he has dreams of “being on the charts,” but also hopes to one day invent something. Hemphill studied theatre studies and motion picture arts at Red Deer College. She recently acted in the short film Year After Year, which is waiting for release into festivals within the next year. “It deals with real-life relationships and struggles,” she says. She has also been getting more involved in music. (She, Kolankowski and anyone else who wants to join in on a family-affair jam session is invited to Good Earth Café on Tuesday evenings.) Hemphill, who hopes to get more involved in the Airdrie arts scene in the near future, loves acting.“For me acting is a chance to be someone I may have never been in my life or experience things I am never going to experience,” she says.“In Year After Year I got to belt out a song in the middle of an airport.” Acting is not just a passion, but a challenge.“It is an incredible feeling to buy into the circumstances the writers put forth and make it believable for your audience,” she says. “[My dream] would be being a selfsufficient actor, making a living doing what I love.” For the two artists, creating the cover was a very unique experience, and definitely not your typical photo shoot. “It was so much fun,” says Hemphill, who has done several photo shoots before,“but it was a small space so we couldn’t go too crazy.” This photo shoot was less intimidating, though, she adds, because with head shots one has to look one’s best, while getting covered in paint couldn’t be anything but fun! life – KATIE BURLEY


| fall 2014


| fall 2014

community life in the 75 Water Wings

65 role Model 72 Bienvenue



City Esthetics story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photo by Sergei Belski

Why creating a city with character matters


hen developing a city, it’s one thing to lay out a jumble of streets, houses and businesses. It’s quite another to create an esthetically pleasing city – a place with character that one is proud to call home. As with many other growing municipalities, the City of Airdrie finds itself faced with the challenge of maintaining that balance of form and function, whether in how it approves new neighbourhoods or in supporting community groups such as Creative Airdrie to promote the city’s arts. Area structure plans (ASPs) – the blueprints for new communities – are vital to balancing development and amenities with parkland and environmental reserve. “You’ll see that in Williamstown – there’s that whole protected area around Nose Creek, an environmental reserve, and we have the authority to protect it from development,” says Tracy Corbett, manager of planning and sustainable development with the City. “In the ASP process we’re able to take 10 per cent of land for reserve … pathways, parks and school sites. This is advantageous for developers as it creates a nice amenity space. “It also comes out highly on surveys; people love our pathway system and regional parks,” Corbett adds. “And we have to make sure the pathways are … usable and connected to places people want to go.” Creative thinking also comes into play when designing neighbourhoods. Technically, the canals on Airdrie’s west side are part of the stormwater management system, Corbett says, but they were designed to be an attractive amenity for residents (and are a major selling feature for The Canals’ developer). Similarly, an engineered wetland has been approved for Windsong, which Corbett says will also serve double duty handling stormwater management. Much of Airdrie’s development is guided by the AirdrieONE Sustainability Plan which, among other things, calls for sustainable planning in terms of protecting natural areas and focusing on cultural and social sustainability. The plan also recognizes that arts, culture and recreation are key drivers of Airdrie’s prosperity. Existing facilities – such as Genesis Place and the recently expanded Bert Church Theatre – are attractions not only for Airdrionians, but also for Calgarians and other visitors, and over the past few years the ARTember festival has sparked a growing movement to promote the city’s culture scene. For example, says community developer Michael McAllister,“The City was approached to do a two-year pilot project to beautify the inner city, where we’ve had a few artistic businesses pop up in recent years.


| fall 2014

” The project – a partnership between the City, Creative Airdrie, Camgill Enterprises and Airdrie Regional ARTS Society – saw the installation earlier this summer of dozens of streetside banners designed by local artists. “We thought this would be a great way to partner with one of our local arts groups and make this happen,” says McAllister. Thirty-three banners were created by local artists and installed along First Avenue east of Eighth Street. The plan is for them to be taken down over the winter to protect them; then they’ll go back up next year. “I think council recognizes (art) is important,” McAllister says of this and other endeavours.“We’re a fast-moving city, and I think it’s a great opportunity for residents new and old to get engaged and build that identity in that community and have some attachment to where they live. “I think arts and culture is one other tool in a variety of toolboxes that allow people to feel a sense of community and belonging,” he adds. One thing Airdrie doesn’t have yet is a formal art gallery, although McAllister says that newly added display space at Bert Church has made it Airdrie’s de facto gallery. As well, Airdrie Public Library hosts arts exhibitions year-round. Art and culture plays a huge role in Airdrie’s esthetics, says Kirk Dunkley, an artist and member of Creative Airdrie’s board. “I think art sustains people and it gives them something they don’t find in everyday work,” Dunkley says. “Art captures the eyes and minds of people passing through spaces and gets them thinking critically.” In lieu of a formal gallery, the artist says, Airdrie “could be spearheading a paradigm shift … maybe bringing art more to public spaces rather than bringing people to private spaces with art in it.” ARTember chairperson Michelle Wagner says the annual event (this year set for Sept. 12-28) has changed the way many in Airdrie view art in their community. “ARTember is changing that perspective for people, giving them an outlet to seek out some of these activities rather than driving to Calgary for them,” Wagner says, adding that such events as the AIRdirondak Art Project, Culture at the Creek (Sept. 26-28, coinciding with Alberta Culture Days), Taste of Airdrie and various workshops could encourage people to seek out such activities on an ongoing basis. “Art can mean anything to anyone,” she says. “As we grow, there [are] going to be more opportunities and it will be great to see the community grow with all sorts of artistic amenities.” Learn more about ARTember (including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities) and other local arts initiatives at and citylife

Artists’ Alley by KATie burley


he area along First Avenue from Eighth Street to the railway tracks is just one of many art projects underway to beautify the community. The two-year Airdrie Street Lamp Banner Program has been launched through a partnership between the City of Airdrie, Camgill Enterprises, Creative Airdrie and Airdrie Regional ARTS Society. The project has helped enhance the city’s identity, image and vibrancy in not just the arts community, but also the entire community. More than 250 local artists submitted their work, but only 33 were chosen to be showcased, an opportunity that many artists can only imagine. “It always means more when you are judged and you get picked,” says local artist Alice Lord. “[With this project] people are becoming more and more aware that there are a lot of talented people in our community.” Fellow artist Frances Iverson agrees. “I think it is just going to beautify the community and people will take a drive and come down and see all the art,” Iverson says. For Glen Collin, Airdrie Regional ARTS Society president, the project is important to the growing city. “It is a way to recognize local and emerging talent,” Collin says. “It gave local talent an opportunity to participate in a juried art show, and gives us a chance to meet and encourage them to join us in more activities.” These banners are a big step towards the enhancement of the arts in Airdrie. “It is a talking point of pride for residents when they describe our city to other people,” says Collin. Representing the City of Airdrie, Michelle Lock participated as one of the judges. As director of community services, Lock commends the partnership and the project. “It brings Airdrie’s community vision to life,” she says. “The Street Lamp Program leverages a combination of community resources to create an exciting sense of place, an elevated appreciation for artistic expression, and contributes to Airdrie as a vibrant, quality-of-life community.” One of the major corporate sponsors was Good Earth Café. Owner Becky Diebolt found out about the program due to her role at Good Earth. “I jumped at the opportunity,” Diebolt says. “When it comes to the logistics of the arts I don’t really know much, so I chose a whole different variety.” Good Earth has played a prominent role in the embracement of art within the community through its showcase of local art groups and performers. “I think art brings the community together, it gives the community something to talk about, it’s curb appeal and it brightens up our city. Knowing it came from someone in our community says a lot,” says Diebolt. “There are so many different forms of art, whether it’s music or painting or acting, and I feel it can bring a whole wide range of people together, as one way or another people can relate through art.” Bob Harriman – one of the founding members of Airdrie Regional ARTS Society, who previously started a similar project in Peachland, B.C. – says he believes the Street Lamp Banner Program will become very popular and lead to other projects. Harriman’s passion for art began when he was 14 and has continued for the past 65 years. “You get to meet a lot of interesting people and artists,” he says. All of the artists who have participated in the program are extremely grateful for the opportunity to introduce new art projects and help in beautifying the community they call home, and the street now dubbed “Artists’ Alley” can only continue the legacy of art in the Airdrie community. life

fall 2014 |


life in the



Jenny Pyykonen

Zack Abbott

Tracy Laxten

Robyn Cooper

Karen Pedersen

Amanda Tozser

d bi ART YOU CAN SIT ON Shawnee Hoffman

Paul Nye/Dave Sharp

Brenna Miller

Char Vanderhorst

Karen Pennifold

Paul Nye/Dave Sharp

fifth annual ravenswood airdirondack art Project & Gala is set to dazzle by sherry shAW-FroGGATT

“Be prepared to be floored

when you see these chairs all together.” That’s the caution given to those finally seeing all 12 AIRdirondack art project chairs on display at the fifth annual Ravenswood AIRdirondack Art Project & Gala taking place Sept 20. The gala has garnered a reputation for not only auctioning off the most original art pieces in the city, but also providing an evening unlike any other. The Creative Airdrie Society (CAS) annual fundraiser takes over McArthur Fine Furniture (think of the world’s largest living room party); brings in a five-piece jazz band fronted by Johnny Summers; and showcases exceptional food stations, including a to-die-for dessert bar by Avenue Cakery & Bakeshoppe and fine wines and craft beers hosted by the Carre Group. The highlight of the evening is the live auction with Mayor Peter Brown. Last year the event broke a record for having no chair auctioned off for less than $1,000. To date more than $55,000 has been raised to assist CAS in developing arts and culture in the community.


| fall 2014

This year the chairs each inspire“oohs” and “aahs” for different reasons. “The artists who were adjudicated came back with chairs that again raised the bar on creativity and workmanship,” says Sheri Reed, project co-ordinator. “We have everything … nature, abstract, florals, fantasy, Haida-inspired, an Airdrie tribute to a Game of Thrones-inspired chair.” There is even an officially autographed Calgary Flames chair sure to fire up the bids for the sports enthusiasts. Got your heart set on one of the chairs but can’t make the party? Don’t panic, says Reed, you can register a proxy bid with Creative Airdrie by contacting This year’s artists are Amanda Tozser, Paul Nye, Dave Sharp, Zach Abbott, Tracy Laxten, Brenna Miller, Jenny Pyykonen, Karen Pedersen, Karen Pennifold, Char Vanderhorst, Robyn Cooper and Shawnee Hoffman. life

tiCKets for the event Are on sAle at

life in the




Story by Sherry Shaw-Froggatt | Photo By Carl Patzel




Fourth annual ARTember festival keeps growing with Airdrie’s flourishing arts community


f you add up all the activities listed in the 2014 ARTember guide (included in this issue of airdrielife), you will get more than 100 different options ranging from tango lessons to totem pole art in 17 days, running Sept 12-28. That is the whole purpose of ARTember, says festival chairperson Michelle Wagner. “ARTember is really the catch-all theme for organizations and businesses to host a wide variety of arts-and-culture-related activities in September. We work with more than 60 different organizations and businesses to put it all together and call it ARTember,” Wagner says. ARTember culminates each year with Culture at the Creek, presented in Nose Creek Park on the last weekend of the festival. Creative Airdrie, which manages Culture at the Creek, was one of five recipients this year of the Alberta Culture Days Feature Celebration Site grant. This means all eyes are on Airdrie as Culture at the Creek (Sept. 26-28) – which is presented by the City of Airdrie – is promoted provincewide in conjunction with Alberta Culture Days. The weekend promises to be the liveliest yet, with a new festival seating arrangement incorporating the Zytech Stage and live music running all three days. Friday features an all-schools performing arts showcase, while the weekend opens up to live acts from across the province, including headliner Garth Prince, an award-winning Namibian singer/songwriter.

Culture at the Creek’s Quilted Clothesline

fall 2014 |


life in the



Good music requires good food, and Culture at the Creek will have that easy, thanks to the Airdrie Farmers Market Food Truck Frenzy taking place in conjunction with the festivities on Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. Mouths are already salivating over Happy Fish Truck, Sticky Ricky’s and Taiko Taco, to name a few of the confirmed Calgary food trucks. (Several of the trucks will also be on hand Friday and Sunday.) “This weekend in Nose Creek Park is truly a family affair,” says Wagner. “Everything (excluding food and art for sale) is free. We have tons of hands-on art activities for the kids in the Propak Art Pavilion, plus everywhere you walk in the park you will come across another interactive activity … a dress-up photo booth, a finger-knit jungle, a giant colour-by-number wall and so, so much more.” Leading up to Culture at the Creek is a long list of activities and events citywide for every interest, age and genre. Highlights of ARTember include the always popular Taste of Airdrie, in which residents are encouraged to dine out during the 17 days and enter to win a $100 gift card for their favourite restaurant. Participating restaurants are offering incentives, such as the free wood-fired pizza at Ilforno, or creating a special event, such as Rico’s in the Village’s combined tango lesson and tapas night. Workshops for all ages dominate the ARTember guide, with six pages of offerings from 4 Cats Art Studio, Cre8ive Ways, Airdrie Public Library and even Good Earth Café, which has become Airdrie’s defacto art central. “We love ARTember,” says Good Earth owner Becky Diebolt. “It brings such vibrancy to the community and showcases a lot of incredibly talented people in our own place and all around the city.” New this year is Schooled in the Arts, hosted by Bert Church High School and open to all Airdrie high school students. Creative Airdrie has lined up such professionals as spoken word poet Sheri-D Wilson, jazz


| fall 2014

vocalist Deanne Matley and improv actor Dave Lawrence (Fubar) to host workshops Sept 12. Visual arts get a boost this year, thanks to the opening of the Bert Church Theatre new lobby space. The Airdrie Regional ARTS Society is hosting a free ARTSmarket in the lobby – Sept. 12-13, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sept. 14, noon to 5 p.m. – featuring area artists selling their wares. The market will be open for two special performances at the theatre. Moose on the Loose – The Impro Show, from Loose Moose Theatre, runs Sept. 12 and ticketholders can peruse the ARTSmarket before the show and during intermission. Same goes the following night when the Original SLAM on AIR Finale takes place. Local musicians vie for a $4,000 prize package performing their original material for judges and an enthusiastic audience. Bert Church Theatre will also be unveiling its own public art project Sept 19. Commissioned artist James C. Smith, from Ontario, will be installing his innovative sculpture pieces and offering a talk on the importance of public art at the unveiling at 7 p.m. This is open to the public. The project is literally going to garner ‘applause,’ as it consists of a series of sculpted white-gloved larger-than-life hands in various stages of applause inside and outside the theatre lobby. Local art can also be seen at more than 20 businesses, which are opening their floors and walls to area artists, making visits to the businesses a little more interesting. The recent explosion of public art projects around the city – from the Street Lamp Banner Program to the FortisAlberta art wraps – makes Airdrie a colourful place to tour year round. The guide features a listing of all the stops you can make around the city. The benchmark event of ARTember is, of course, the fifth annual AIRdirondack Gala, Creative Airdrie’s only fundraising event of the year. See full details on page 62. Heritage is also promoted with free rail journeys at Iron Horse Park Sept. 27-28, free Nose Creek Valley Museum entry Sept. 27-28 and the annual Art of the Harvest Sept. 27 at the Airdrie Ag Society grounds. It’s going to be a busy September, so get your calendar out now and start making notes! For complete details read the enclosed ARTember guide or go online to life

life in the



Now starring


Pound story and photo by Carl Patzel


hile other 10-year-olds were tooling around the neighbourhood on their skateboards and bikes, Carson Pound was steering a course for the big screen. Two years later, the near-teenage actor already has impressive television credits on his resume and some exciting close calls for movie roles. The 12-year-old performer has hit the screen with a recurring role of Stephen on the Alberta-set, family drama Heartland, as well as voicing the play-fight-loving Sir Battlescared in the children’s doll/cartoon Lalaloopsy movie and television specials. For many, of any age, breaking into the world of entertainment may be a daunting task. But the mature Airdrie youngster fell into the role quickly and, for the most part, fairly easily. “Once you get the gist of it it’s not that hard,” says Pound. “The audition is the hardest part. You just have to memorize it and do the best you can at whatever role you go for, and they will get back to you.” ‘They’ have been getting back to the likable, dark-haired boy ever since he was cast as Captain John Smith in a music video from Australian Indie band Sun City. (The song High won Australian music video of the year in 2013.) Romping through Kananaskis Country in mid-winter for the video, Pound’s mother Ronaele didn’t expect her son’s career to snowball. “I let him do the music video and that same week a movie came into Calgary and he asked if we could try and find out how to audition for it,” Ronaele says. “I can’t explain it – one thing led to another. Literally I didn’t know where it all was going.” Now playing the role as a mother, Realtor and teacher for the home-schooled Carson and nearly full-time movie/TV set chaperone, Ronaele can only look back to when a persistent 10-year-old Carson asked about an acting career. “He was all over the map with what he wanted to do with his little life,” she says. “I thought it was just another passing phase, but it didn’t let up.”

Displaying a focus rarely seen in children that age, Carson was soon auditioning for feature films, even landing a part in the Race to Save Nome. Although that movie was put on hiatus before production, it paved the way for feature films. In late 2013 the budding artist was short-listed for an Angelina Jolie movie (Unbroken) as well as another feature project, connected with Dustin Hoffman. “We didn’t get the role but at that point I thought, ‘Holy kazam, we were getting so close and we’d get down to the last two or three [actors] and they would cut us,’” Ronaele says. Finding a good agent has been the hardest part. The acting coaches and travel expenses were offset by Carson’s modeling career, with his warm, natural smile showing up in several magazines and winning national accolades from the child modeling industry. “There are two different phases to this, but the modeling pays the bills faster,” Mom adds with a chuckle. Between shooting a night-session horror film project in July and plans for undisclosed film projects in August in Toronto, Carson’s modeling career is running a close second to his theatrical ventures. One big break and the Pound family lifestyle could be changed dramatically. “Now that we are going into Toronto it’s a popular market and there are a lot of talented kids [who] have done this since before they were born almost. Who knows? I’m just taking it day by day,” Ronaele says. Rubbing elbows with well-known Hollywood talent, Carson is taking his career in stride. He expects to continue learning from the experience, taking advice from fellow actors and expanding his movie resume. “My mom inspired to get me out there. She said if it’s not fun anymore just say so and it can be over,” says Carson. “But this is the best experience I’ve ever had. It’s pretty cool.” life

fall 2014 |


life in the


High school

Acting Up in the Classroom story by Katie Burley | photos by Sergei Belski

Have you ever wanted to pretend to be someone else or break out of your comfort zone? Studying drama can have a big influence on your life. Sam Dodd graduated from Bert Church High School this past June and plans to chase his dream by attending school in Vancouver for professional acting, thanks to his high school drama program experiences. For Dodd, drama has allowed him to escape his everyday life and discover things about who he is and who he wants to become. As with many others drawn to drama, it allows him to become somebody else who has his or her own set of problems, needs and desires. “I love stepping up on stage and having moments where I just completely lose myself in what’s happening in the scene,” Dodd says. “It teaches you so many life skills, and it has taught me things I couldn’t get in the same way from anything else.” In school, drama may seem like the easy option, but it is a place where participants can learn about themselves, as well as honing their life skills. Authenticity and first impressions also play a role. “I am incredibly comfortable around everyone because I understand the importance of a first impression, as well as being open and accepting,” Dodd says. “Most of the time, the audience will only see [a performance] once. You get one chance, and so you have to put everything into that performance, whether it’s script or improv or skits.” Dodd is involved in drama for more than just himself. He uses the art form to give back to the people he cares about. Drama has allowed him – and others – the opportunity to show that risks and leaps of faith are important parts of life. Bert Church graduate and drama enthusiast Jocelyn Spielman is currently involved in the Obviously Improv group in Calgary and plans to attend the University of Calgary this September to continue learning and embracing her passion – thanks to the encouragement of Scott Bloxham, the drama teacher at Bert Church. “(Bloxham) is an amazing teacher, and he provided so many opportunities for everyone,” Spielman says.“There was the spring show, the main stage production in the winter, and then he would bring in special guests, which is actually how I got into improv.” Having such a program and enthusiastic teacher has allowed many Bert Church students to discover their passion.“It is not so much studying it, but a bunch of people getting together and making stuff up, so it is a lot of fun,” says Spielman. More than just a class, the Bert Church drama program is a “safe environment where you can explore, figure out who you are and just all around have fun,” says Lexi Rasmussen, a Grade 12 drama student who plans to attend the University of Lethbridge next year to become a drama teacher. Her decision is based in part on the excellent direction she has received in high school. “[Bert Church students] are extremely fortunate to have an amazing teacher [who] helps support and encourage students to do their best and to step out of their comfort zone,” Rasmussen says.“[I] would recommend drama to everybody even if they don’t plan on pursuing the theatre as a career, as there are life skills that you learn in the theatre that can help you through the rest of life.” life


| fall 2014



life in the

hiGh school music

with the


How high school band experiences shape lives


ooking around Airdrie’s George McDougall High School, it’s hard to categorize someone into one stereotypical group. Have you ever wondered what high school stereotype you embodied? Were you the band nerd that you see in the movies who lived and breathed music? Or were you the one who did everything from band to volleyball to advanced-placement English? As a past band student at George McDougall I always felt that we were a diverse group. To me, band was that one class that pieced everything together, the one place where we could always find a friend and the one place that was always filled with music and laughter. It seems as if everyone with whom I’ve talked has always said that being in band changed who they were, changed their career path, or was the place they met some of their best friends. Music may be something that broadens your mind, but the best part of band for me was that it brought people together. One of the best stories of how band has inspired someone comes from Natalie Demmon, former George Mac band student and current music and drama student at Bishop’s University in Montreal. Demmon was proud

to be a band nerd and to participate in the amazing program that the high school has to offer. “All of this helped me in multiple aspects of life and – because of the instruction I received from the George McDougall band course and from [band teacher Jordan] Harris – led to my decision to continue my post-secondary education in the field of music,” she says. For current senior band student Madelaine McCracken, the band experience has shaped her identity.“Being a band student has changed my life in ways that not many kids get to experience,” McCracken says.“In Grade 9, I entered the program halfway through the semester. I felt shy and it was my first time playing the timpani. The first festival that I was a part of I got a solo and I played as loud as I could. “Band shaped me into the person I am today,” she adds, “allowing me to be heard and to not be afraid of new experiences.” Likewise, for Jessica Heath band has allowed her a chance to really express herself. “It has made me more outgoing,” Heath says, “and has provided me with experiences and memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”

sTory by KATie burley | phoTos by serGei belsKi

George Mac graduate and former band student Connor Fitzpatrick speaks with fondness of band and how it is the high school class he will miss the most. “It was definitely the class where I learned the most about myself and became a part of a team and a family,” Fitzpatrick says. “I’ll always keep those memories I made in band with me throughout my life and the bonds I made with others.” His teacher and mentor also played an important role. “I’ll miss Mr. Harris, because it wouldn’t have been the same without his determination, to the success of our band, and our development as students and musicians,” Fitzpatrick says. From my experience, and those of others, I have learned that band teaches life lessons that you realize after you step away. Band teaches you determination, tenacity and the value of friendship. I met some of my best friends because of band, and that is something I would never wish to change. Personally, the George McDougall band program made me proud to be a band nerd, because in the band room we could always be ourselves and our teacher was always there to make our day just that little bit better. life

fall 2014 |


life in the



by Sherry Shaw-Froggatt


Talent New award program celebrates the arts in Airdrie

Nominations are now open for the first-ever awards program for the arts in Airdrie. A joint committee of creative groups is working with Mayor Peter Brown to create Airdrie’s own Mayor’s Night of the Arts Awards. The awards are presented by TD, and the organizing committee includes key members of Creative Airdrie, Airdrie Regional ARTS Society, Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts, SLAM (Supporting Local Area Musicians) and Airdrie Public Library. Scheduled for Jan. 31, 2015, the awards and celebratory evening, hosted by Mayor Brown and CBC’s Tim Tamashiro, are designed to recognize the contributions that artists and performers, arts organizations, businesses, patrons and arts champions make to the vibrancy of Airdrie’s growing community. The evening will also feature Airdrie performers showcasing their talent. As presenting sponsor, TD has demonstrated its understanding of the value of arts in the community. “Supporting local arts is a key part of what we’re about at TD from a community perspective, and we’re thrilled to be sponsoring the Mayor’s Night of the Arts,” says Derrick Cresswell-Clough, district vice-president of TD Canada Trust. “Great communities have great arts scenes, and we know that this event will show what a vibrant arts scene we have in Airdrie.” Vitreous Glass owner Pat Cashion, long a supporter of arts and culture, is sponsoring the Champion of the Arts Award. “Vitreous is pleased to support the Mayor’s Night of the Arts because it is important to recognize those people who make our lives more interesting by offering us their creativity,” Cashion says. “The arts are a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a society.”


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Vitreous Champion of the Arts Award This category is designed to recognize an individual in the community who has made outstanding contributions through a variety of non-financial ways such as volunteering and mentoring; supporting the arts in Airdrie and therefore enhancing the entire arts community. Patron of the Arts Award This category is designed to recognize a business or individual in the community for outstanding philanthropic contributions to an Airdrie arts organization therefore enhancing the entire arts community. Qualico Communities Youth Artist Award This category is designed to recognize an individual 21 years of age and under who has shown exemplary discipline, effort, talent and promise in his or her chosen artistic endeavours. In addition to the award, the youth recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Hopewell Communities Emerging Artist Award This category is designed to recognize an individual who has been a part of the Airdrie arts community for fewer than five years and who has demonstrated excellence and creativity in his or her work. Artists must be responsible for creating their own work, not interpreting the work of others or creating work under the supervision of an instructor. This individual has shown exceptional promise in the area of the arts: literary, music, dance, new media, theatre or visual arts.

Professional Artist Award This category is designed to recognize an individual in the arts community respected by his or her contemporaries for advancing and enhancing the arts through his or her exceptional talent and body of work. This individual has made a substantial contribution to the community in the area of the arts: literary, music, dance, new media, theatre or visual arts. Nominees shall have demonstrated an extraordinary contribution over an extended period. Nomination forms are now available online at,,,, slaminairdrie. and The nominations will be reviewed by David Casey, associate chairman of the School of Visual Art at ACAD; playwright Eugene Stickland; Jeff Spalding, artistic director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Calgary; Calgary musician Johnny Summers; Calgary actor/improv instructor Andrew Phung; and Lethbridge vocal performance professor Joanne Collier. Finalists will be announced Nov. 15, 2014. “We want to create a first-class evening – our own Academy Awards, so to speak,” says Bruce Kerr, chairman of Creative Airdrie. “We are looking for people in our community with experience in creating live stage events to step forward and work with us.”


Anyone interested in helping with event co-ordination is encouraged to e-mail

life in the


a fine Yarn

Airdrie ravelry members (left to right) ramona demmon, Chris Beland and Margo simpson show off the fibres that bind them together.

“sure i can buy socks … and cooks can order takeout, musicians can listen to ipods, gardeners can hire landscapers….”

Close-Knit Group - ANoNyMous

sTory by elleN Kelly | phoTo by KrisTy reiMer


nitting is no longer a necessity. However, a renewed interest in traditional arts and crafts has brought knitters out of the woodwork, simply because it’s fun. Unlikely celebrities – Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Dakota Fanning, Wynona Ryder, Sarah Jessica Parker and, surprise, David Arquette and Russell Crowe – are avid knitters. Trendy yarn stores and online shops carry finequality, beautifully dyed yarns, in both natural and synthetic fibres. Needles are flying in coffee shops, offices, airports, on rapid transit and in living rooms everywhere. Knitting is no longer a solitary endeavour – friendly groups flourish in real time and online. Search for Airdrie and you’ll find Airdrie Knitters, a chapter with more than 70 online members. The site provides free patterns, information, instruction, e-mail, a place to showcase projects, a marketplace and the opportunity to share successes (and failures) online. In 2010, 12 to 14 online members began meeting at Airdrie Public Library (Thursdays, 6:30-8:15 p.m.), then at Good Earth Café (Sundays, 1:30-3:30 p.m. and Mondays, 7-9 p.m.) and since this past May at Waves

Coffee House (Saturdays, 1:30-3:30 p.m.). Members range in age from 30 to 65+, from beginners to experienced knitters. New members are always welcome, and the reasons for joining are many. “As a stay-at-home mom, the group gets me out of the house. Knitting fills a gap,” says Jennifer Ash, a member with seven years’ experience. Group members divide their time between their own projects and knitting for charity, with the beneficiaries being Foothills Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – preemie blankets and some full-sized blankets are donated through the Western Canada Oddball Baby Blanket Society – and the local chapter of Project Linus, an organization that provides blankets for any child in crisis. In the past year, more than 50 blankets have been donated to individuals and a large donation went to High River flood victims, as well. “I really enjoy the blankets that we knit,” says Ash. “I like to give back a little bit to families who are struggling.” The group is self-directed. Special projects are suggested by members and completed by interested knitters. “I love the charity aspect and I love meeting new people,” says Ramona Demmon, who has been knitting for 25 years.

Friendships have been knit together and several members plan activities outside the group. “If someone runs into a problem, no one minds helping,” says Demmon. Avid knitter Kayla White, who teaches knitting privately, says that the craft isn’t difficult. “It’s pulling a loop through a loop in a variety of ways. It’s sticks and string and yarn, so relax and enjoy it.” White finds knitting calming. It also creates a link to her heritage. “My great-grandmother knitted and I feel it connects me to all these generations of women who did it before me. It’s important that I know how to do it because it was so important to them,” she says. Also around the community, knitters at Bethany Care Centre meet monthly and create mitts, scarves and lap blankets for residents’ outings, and at Luxstone Manor, the Busy Fingers group meets weekly for refreshments, socialization and, of course, knitting and crocheting. Members make squares and sew them together to complete blankets for Street Teams in Calgary. They also make preemie blankets and hats for the NICU at Alberta Children’s Hospital. “It is always nice to do something for a good cause,” says Carrie Worthington, Luxstone Manor recreation director. life

fall 2014 |


life in the





story by Jeff MacKinnon | photos by Kurtis Kristianson

The robot is cumbersome and heavy at 120 pounds and barely fits inside the Allen family’s front door, where it is brought for a demonstration. Once it is far enough inside that the door can close, it doesn’t move again until it is loaded back into the Storrier family car and taken back ‘home.’ “It usually sits in our living room,” says dad Dave Storrier. “It’s too heavy to move to our basement.”

The robot is now basically a piece of unusable furniture, but a few months ago it was the object of obsession for members of Airdrie’s SWAT Bots 5015 team. The team had six weeks to design, build and program it last winter to compete at the First Robotics Championships regional competition at the Olympic Oval in Calgary. In March the local group finished an impressive fifth out of 34 teams and won the rookie allstar team award. SWAT Bots 5015 is part of a grassroots network of teams called Airdrie Robotics, which includes 12 middle- and high-


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Caleb Bannerholt and Levi Roberts work on an electric shifter in the basement lab of Airdrie’s Swat Bots.

school members and 13 younger First Lego League kids, aged nine to 14. The network all began to take shape five years ago when parent Nadine Storrier attended a conference on robotics leagues. She is now a mentor with the program along with husband Dave and other parents. “Our son Kyle was turning 11 and was involved in Learning Through Lego, Mindstorm and First Lego League (FLL),” she says. “It was all very overwhelming, but they gave us a list of websites and we came home and started a team. We did FLL (ages nine to 14) for three years and the Allens (Will and Rebekah) came in second year and we moved up to junior high school and high school.” Very popular in the U.S. and Ontario, robotics is just starting to gain momentum in Western Canada. Robotics competitions, which began in the early ’90s, involve teams competing in 18-by12-foot courts. Teams are given a challenge and six weeks to build their robots before a competition. Once there, they form alliances with other teams to complete the tasks. Robots are controlled from behind a Plexiglas wall using a computer the team has programmed itself. “They often will have platforms or bumps – bridges, barriers and stuff like that – all over the playing field,” says SWAT Bots team member Sam Allen. “There was one in 2010 that involved mountains in the middle of the arena. It was straight up 90-degree angle. You had to go over that or

under a certain height limit. Last year there was a skeleton pyramid and the robots had to climb to the top. It was pretty cool to watch.” The younger FLL teams also program their table-top robot to perform tasks facing a time limit, accumulating points for each task. The Neon Vipers won two tournaments and one scrimmage in Calgary in the past year while Get Smart Robotics won the provincial tournament at NAIT and attended the world championship in St. Louis this year, placing 12th in the robot challenge. “We encourage them to take the lead and learn from their experiences,” says Rebekah Allen. The robotics program gives players an opportunity to learn different skills that help them zero in on areas of study once they get to post-secondary education, say their parents. “We knew Levi (Roberts) from the younger league and when he joined us we thought, ‘He’s going to be a programmer,’” Nadine Storrier says. “Turns out he likes electrical. I think it’s really exciting to watch them find their niche. It’s not to say he doesn’t love programming or mechanical (things), but he’s found an area that he loves.” The SWAT Bots are waiting for word from the international competitive governing body as to what the task will be for 2015. Last year it was shooting an oversized beach ball into a goal, the year before was throwing Frisbees. While they wait the team members will continue to seek out sponsors to help pay for material and travel expenses – and search for mentors so they can grow the program and involve more kids. “Finding mentors to help out and raising money is the hardest part,” says Dave Storrier. Along with building and programming the robot and transporting it. life

Heloise’s House



by Jeff MacKinnon

The next generations: Beth Francois with children Ellie (left), Alexander (second from right) and Landon, 2014

Photo courtesy of Beth Francois

Photo courtesy of Stills by Jill

life in the

Grandma’s house: Beth’s grandmother Heloise Lorimer with sons Gary (left) and Buzz, circa 1941

Heritage home faces destruction or relocation


eth Francois quite literally has warm memories of her grandma Heloise’s house. She and countless others used to sit on the furnace grate in the kitchen on cold days to warm up. At the very least, the Crossfield woman will be able to take mementoes of her childhood with her if her quest to save the tiny bungalow and move it from the corner of First Avenue and Bowers Street fails. Built more than 75 years ago and owned for many, many years by Jim and Heloise Lorimer, the house was facing demolition heading into the fall after being purchased by the Royal Canadian Legion and subsequently deemed structurally unsound. “There are certain little pieces in the house that I’d like to have,” says Francois, who is now in her 40s. “The furnace grate in the kitchen – everyone sat on that and warmed their toes. There are some doors there I’d like, too. There are other little pieces – I know they’re just pieces, but…. “The Legion says I’m welcome to have the house for free and move it,” she adds. “We have access to land but moving it would costs thousands and thousands of dollars.” The house and property were in the Lorimer family since the ’30s, when the lot was purchased for $10 by Francois’s grandfather, Jim (who died in 1972). It was part of the original couple blocks of Airdrie, then a tiny village. The house was built bit by bit over the course of a few years beginning in 1932 and wrapping up in 1936, often using good old-fashioned bartering, says Francois’s father, Buzz Lorimer, who grew up in the house. It was built across the street from the family’s garage and work on the house was often done in exchange for automotive repairs. The lumber cost $32 and the walls were insulated with wood shavings, Buzz recalls. Buzz, for the record, isn’t the sentimental type and doesn’t think the building needs to be saved. “It was a happy house,” says the 80-year-old, who now lives in Calgary. “My brother and I played baseball and hockey. That’s all we did. In between ball and hockey we knocked all the street lights out. There were eight of them. Then we’d wait for the next season and knock them all out again.”

Born in Airdrie in 1912, Heloise Lorimer (nee Vansickle – her family owned the Vansickle store) spent all of her 98 years in the community and became a very well-known and highly-regarded resident. Before she died in 2010, Heloise sold the house to local spa owner Lara Frew in 2007, who kept it for the past seven years before selling it to the Legion. “I feel like I grew up in that house,” says Francois, recalling that she would sometimes take the Greyhound bus out from Calgary to spend weekends there. “My cousins and I would walk down to Jock’s Store and get our Black Cat bubble gum. Jock’s is now where I think (ATB Financial) is on the corner. There was nothing around. It’s long gone now but there was a huge tree in front of Grandma’s house that we’d climb. “The place that’s now Rico’s (on First Avenue), the lady who used to do Grandma’s hair was there,’ Francois adds. “It was all local and just a great little neighbourhood.” Another sign of the changing world is that the Airdrie branch of the Royal Canadian Legion no longer has the membership numbers to support its Third Avenue SE building, so it was put up for sale and the organization went in search of a new location to put up a smaller place. The Legion bought“The Heloise House,” as branch president Bob McNevin called it, and moved business operations in in the spring. However, an inspection found that the foundation wasn’t fit for a commercial business and plans to tear it down began. “We were hoping to keep the house and expand on it but our engineers had a look at it and the basement is crumbling, so we have to tear it down or find someone to move it,” McNevin says. “ That’s what we have to do.” Heloise’s longtime friend and neighbour Mary McCall, who has lived in The Village since moving to Airdrie in 1964 with husband Ralph (the teacher and local historian), will be there to watch her friend’s house get hauled away. It will be either in one piece or scooped up from a pile of rubble. “It’s sad,” McCall says.“I take pictures of (the old houses) going down. One right across the street from me was knocked down. I’ll take pictures of Heloise’s going down too, I guess.” life

fall 2014 |


life in the


multicultural learninG


Airdrie’s french community


or several determined residents, the brand new École Francophone d’Airdrie can be summed up in three little words: ooh la la. The school opened its doors on April 16, 2014, after nearly a decade of hard work and advocacy by local parents, teachers and students alike. Annie Dalton, a proud mother of two boys, was among the first volunteers to become involved with the project. After moving to Airdrie in 2004, Dalton and her husband quickly fell in love with the small community and began putting down roots. A chance encounter at a grocery store with a local French woman who told them about plans to start a French – not just immersion – school in their new hometown piqued their interest and they quickly threw their weight behind the project. Even though her children were nowhere near school age, the born-and-raised Québécois knew she wanted her sons to go to a French school when the time came. Dalton attended the very next planning meeting, rolled up her sleeves and got to work. “I was involved in the creation of the francophone preschool, along with other parents, and we soon began drafting policies, fundraising, looking to hire an educator and taking registrations,” she says.“It was such a rewarding, exciting time.” The preschool spots filled up quickly and the makeshift school grew from there, welcoming more students, teachers and families into its fold. But without proper facilities, students bounced from place to place, taking classes at such venues as Genesis Place before moving to a connected set of portable rooms. “There was no gym, no cafeteria, no staff room; some classes even had to be taught in the hallway,” says Dalton. Moving into the new school last spring was a huge accomplishment for everyone involved. The new space means students enjoy all the amenities of a proper school plus ample room to grow. “We’re proud and humbled to have our own building,” Dalton says. École Francophone d’Airdrie is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) school and the


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students’ education has a strong focus on human rights issues. Both teaching and learning embrace interdependence within a healthy environment where students know, understand and respect one another. According to principal Martin Camirand, approximately 330 students will be kicking off the 2014-15 academic year in the welcoming new space. Camirand, too, has been a part of this school since the beginning and couldn’t be more grateful for the many families and volunteers like the Daltons whose dedication helped propel the project forward.

frANçAiS? goes to school

sTory by JeNNiFer briGDeN | phoTo by KrisTy reiMer

the daltons – (left to right) Annie, elliott, xavier and len – peruse their favourite french magazines (along with another family favourite).

TurN The pAGe For The FrANÇAis VersioN “The staff has been a big part of our success as well,” he added. “They’ve made sure the kids are getting a good education and have been able to keep going without the things other schools have.” The school offers extracurricular activities and has a full slate of options for community members, including kung fu, dance and sports activities – all in French. Whenever a teacher is available, beginner classes for adults looking to learn a second language are also offered. And while the parents and teachers are thrilled to see their hard work

come to fruition, it’s the students who are perhaps the most excited. Thanks in large part to their parents’ efforts, Xavier and Elliott Dalton and their fellow classmates are eager to head back to school this fall. They only had a few months in the new building before summer vacation started and – after making do with stopgap spaces for years – moving was a long-awaited treat. “It felt like we moved into a new kind of world,” Xavier says, adding cheekily,“like Tron.” life

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la vie en


l’apprentissage multiculturel


français? Il y a une nouvelle école francophone en ville Translation courtesy of Carey Lees

Pour plusieurs résidents déterminés, la nouvelle École francophone d’Airdrie peut se résumer en trois mots: ooh la la. L’école a ouvert ses portes le 16 avril 2014, après près d’une décennie de travail acharné des parents, des enseignants et des étudiants locaux. Annie Dalton, une mère fière de deux garçons, a été parmi les premiers bénévoles de s’impliquer dans le projet. Dalton et son mari ont déménagé à Airdrie en 2004 et ils sont tombés en amour avec la communauté. Une rencontre fortuite à une épicerie avec une femme francophone locale qui a parlé des plans pour une école française – pas seulement une école d’immersion – ont piqué leur intérêt et le couple sont devenus impliqués dans le projet. Même si ses enfants n’étaient pas encore en âge scolaire, Dalton – qui vient de Québec – savait qu’elle voulait les envoyer à une école française. Elle est allée à une réunion pour la nouvelle école et s’est mis au travail. « J’ai été impliqué dans la création de l’école maternelle francophone avec d’autres parents, et nous avons commencé à rédiger les politiques, collecter de fonds, rechercher d’un éducateur et prendre les inscriptions, dit-elle. C’était un moment excitant et enrichissant. » Les classes d’âge préscolaire ont rempli rapidement et l’école grandit pour accueillir plus des étudiants, des enseignants et des familles. Mais sans les installations adéquates, les élèves ont suivi des cours dans des endroits différents comme la Genesis Place avant de passer à un ensemble de classes mobiles. « Il n’y avait pas de gymnase, pas de cafétéria, pas de salle du personnel; certaines classes ont été enseignés dans le couloir, » dit Dalton. L’ouverture de la nouvelle école au printemps dernier était un accomplissement énorme pour tout le monde, dit-elle. Le nouvel espace permet les étudiants de profiter de toutes les commodités d’une bonne école avec amplement d’espace pour se développer.


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« Nous sommes fiers et honoré d’avoir notre propre bâtiment, » dit Dalton. École francophone d’Airdrie est une école de l’UNESCO (L’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’éducation, la science et la culture) et un fort accent est mis sur les questions des droits de l’homme. L’enseignement et l’apprentissage sont interdépendants dans un environnement sain où les élèves savent, comprennent et respectent les uns les autres. Selon le directeur, Martin Camirand, environ 330 étudiants vont commencer l’année scolaire 2014-2015 dans le nouvel espace. Camirand a été une partie de l’école depuis le début et il est reconnaissant pour les nombreuses familles et les bénévoles comme les Daltons qui ont contribué à propulser le projet. « Le personnel a été une grande partie de notre succès aussi bien, dit-il. Ils ont veillé à ce que les élèves ont reçu une bonne éducation, même sans des choses certaines dans d’autres écoles. » La nouvelle école propose des activités parascolaires et des options pour les membres de la communauté comme le kung-fu, la danse et des activités sportives – toutes en français. Si un enseignant est disponible, les classes débutant pour adultes qui voudraient apprendre une langue seconde sont aussi offertes. Et pendant que les parents et les enseignants sont ravis de voir leur travail se concrétiser, ce sont les étudiants qui sont peut-être le plus excité. Reconnaissant des grands efforts de leurs parents, Xavier et Elliott Dalton et leurs camarades de classe sont excités de retourner à l’école cet automne. Ils n’avaient que quelques mois dans le nouveau bâtiment avant les vacances d’été ont commencé et – après des années dans les autres espaces – déménagent à la nouvelle école était un vrai régal. « C’était comme si nous sommes entrés dans un nouveau monde, dit Xavier, ajoutant effrontément, comme Tron. » la vie

Grace F under pressure

life at



story by Jennifer Brigden | photos by Kurtis Kristianson

or more than 20 years, Airdrie’s young women have been diving headfirst into a challenging but fun sport – synchronized swimming. The Airdrie Aqua Stars Synchro Swim Club provides a unique opportunity for young girls and teens in the community looking to try their hand at the tough, creative swimming style. “I think synchronized swimming is so different that it really grabs the public attention,” says head coach Nequita Finch. “It promotes healthy body image and teamwork; everyone has to work together in order to complete our goals, and of course it encourages girl power.” All girls aged eight to 16 are welcome to join the club, which runs during the school year. The number of teammates varies from year to year and, depending on their experience level, the girls will practise between one and three times a week. Approximately 16 girls took part in the 2013-14 swim season, several of whom travelled to Calgary for their first competition. “I love that a team can gel so well together and swim together for years. That type of friendship lasts forever,” says Finch.

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AQUATIC ART Airdrie’s Aqua Stars – (below, left to right) McKinley Eurich, Justeen Noyes, Bianca Sierra, Isabella Sierra, Zoe Trombley, Piper Fougere, Nicole Dobinson and Avery Krahn, with Allyson Parker in the middle – epitomize athletic style.

id How d ot he sho? that

see .com to irdrielife at re g Go to a e es tis got th s how Kur to ter pho under wa

Finch began synchronized swimming at a young age after exhibiting signs of unhealthy behaviour due to the stress of competitive figure skating. Her mother recommended she try something new and she quickly fell for the water in general and synchronized swimming in particular. “I love that this sport takes people out of their comfort zone and turns you into an artistic athlete,” she says.“It constantly allows you to grow.” The local club boasts three coaches and a board of directors – typically made up of the athletes’ parents – which oversees financial, logistical and programming responsibilities. The board is volunteer-led and there are open positions available for anyone interested in helping out in a leadership role. Parent and board member Lisa Sierra has two daughters, Isabella and Bianca, in the program. Both girls enjoy synchronized swimming and Isabella, the older daughter, has been taking classes for eight years. “We came out to watch and Isabella fell in love with it – that was that,” says her mother. “Our youngest daughter, Bianca, was terrified of water, but she was really determined to join the team. One day she just put her face in the water and then two weeks later she signed up.” Sierra is proud of her daughters’ commitment to the sport and, like Finch, believes wholeheartedly in the benefits of the program. “Synchronized swimming incorporates a love of dance and music, plus great costumes,” she says. “It also gives them solid role models who talk about how to balance school and practice. It’s instilling great habits in them.”


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Fall registration for the youth beginners class and for new, older swimmers is now open and the group will be hosting a fun “come-try-it-out” night in early September. Sierra encourages young women in Airdrie to sign up and local residents to cheer on the teams at upcoming events. “A lot of the girls find a place for themselves in this sport,” she says. “One of the best things it’s done for my girls is give them confidence in themselves, in their bodies and in their strength.” The Aqua Stars host water shows at the end of each term and even had to add an extra demonstration to their last spring show to meet demand: both quickly sold out. The shows are a source of pride for the girls, the parents and the board, and it’s easy to understand why. “Watching what the girls had achieved at last year’s show – grins ear to ear – they knew they’d worked hard to get there and I was totally choked up,” Sierra says.“It wasn’t even my daughters’ team.” life

home life at 83 Gardening Delight

78 homecoming 87 family-friendly

life in the


new life

Paint gives an instant lift to an outdated kitchen.

Lighten Up S sTory by ANNe beATy | phoTos by KrisTy reiMer

o you want a new kitchen, but your budget is about the size of an atom? Not to worry – it is possible to spruce up the heart of your home for under $1,000. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money,” says Airdrie interior designer Tina McMillan. “You just have to be creative and more selective with what you’re using.” One of the most cost-efficient ways to give new life to your kitchen is to paint your cabinets. “Painting is definitely a great way to go,” McMillan says. “It makes a huge difference.” (This was my choice, and I had a brand new kitchen even before I did anything else.) And with paint, adds McMillan, “If you make a mistake it’s not hard to fix it.” Even if your cabinets are dark, you can change them to a much lighter colour, thus lightening up the entire space and giving it a whole new look. “You can definitely go from black stained cabinets to a high-gloss white,” says Kayla Lewis, interior decorator with Airdrie Paint & Decor. The secret is to sand the cabinets to bare wood; use high-adhesive primer – essential for hiding darkness and any imperfections; paint with two to three coats of very durable paint; and then put a clear coat on top for extra durability. “Preparation is clearly key,” Lewis says. “It’s what’s going to give you longevity.” When it comes to choosing a colour for cabinets, think of what speaks to you.


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“(Your kitchen) should reflect your personality. It should be welcoming,” McMillan says. White is always a classic favourite. “It’s always going to be in style,” says Lewis. “It’s never going to date on you.” The various shades of grey are also enjoying a renaissance. “We’re finding that warm greys are becoming more popular,” Lewis adds. For wall colour, the sky’s the limit, although McMillan suggests that the walls be more of a backdrop in order to highlight the rest of the kitchen. Another facet of changing the wall treatment, Lewis says, is that it may not be necessary to change the cabinets. “Painting the walls can actually change how you look at (the cabinets),” she says. As an example, Lewis points to a client who had older oak cabinets and instead of replacing them, she chose a graygreen wall colour, which changed the whole look of the cabinets and her kitchen. When it comes to a new backsplash, the choices are myriad, as are the prices. Tile can be relatively inexpensive, but the installation cost may turn out to be rather prohibitive. (For myself, I used the most inexpensive option possible: my son-in-law. Not just free labour, but perfectionist free labour! What more could you want?) However, this is a job with great DIY potential. While people may be apprehensive, McMillan says,

they can pick up inexpensive tiles and a bit of drywall and practise. Tile cutters are available at most hardware stores, as is everything else you might need for the job, and there’s plenty of good information online. “There’s the Internet: how to do it,” McMillan adds. (For those who are still really iffy about tackling the backsplash, remember: using larger tiles means fewer grout lines – it’s less busy and very welcoming.) As for countertops, the options are numerous here, too, and laminate is a great choice. (Don’t cringe; it’s not your grandmother’s laminate any more!) Today’s laminate comes in all colours and designs, and some are even textured. Granite veneer is also an option. “We actually have a granite paint,” Lewis says. “It’s meant to be a temporary fix.” For the finishing touches to your revitalized kitchen, appliances can be painted, cabinet hardware can be changed out, plugin switchplates can be replaced … the list is endless. “Lighting makes a huge difference, as well,” says McMillan. Adds Lewis: “Even just updating your faucets is a great way to bring life into the room.” The bottom line is that there are plenty of options for rejuvenating your kitchen without having to sell the farm, so do your research, shop around and just have fun! life

PAINTING COST Cabinets (paint, primer, labour) 320 Paint & primer 50 Equipment (brushes, rollers, trays & liners, masks, etc.) 90 TILE BACKSPLASH Tiles (main + accent) 203 Equipment (ceramic adhesive, grout, grout sealer, sponge, etc.) 36 EXTRAS Hardware (cabinet & drawer knobs) Outlet faceplates TOTAL

115 22 $836

life in the


neighbourhood Kelly and Donna Baltimore feel right at home in their new neighbourhood.

Coming home to the Fairways story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photo by Sergei Belski


ooking out over her backyard and toward the second hole of Woodside Golf Course that snakes behind her property, Donna Baltimore minces no words when it comes to describing her neighbourhood, “This is the best community we’ve ever lived in,” says the executive assistant who, with her husband, Kelly (a health, safety and environmental co-ordinator), moved to Fairways about two years ago from Meadowbrook because they were looking for a house with a more open floor plan. They chose a two-storey, four-bedroom home with basement walkout on a quiet culde-sac, renovating the 2002-vintage home in record time: just four weeks. “We did a really major reno and we only had four weeks from the start to when we had to move in,” Donna says. “We redid the flooring


| fall 2014

(installing tigerwood hardwood), replaced the lights, ripped out the kitchen and we put a wine cellar in downstairs.” It didn’t take long for the Baltimores – who have four grown children, but weren’t ready to downsize just yet – to experience the community spirit in Fairways, located on the western edge of Airdrie. “We were putting in 16- to 18-hour days for the month, and every time we’d come over here there’d be a neighbour checking the place out and they’d feed us and they came over with drinks if we needed a break, or if we needed help,” Donna says. “The barbecue we brought down weighs a ton, but we went around and in five minutes we had eight guys helping. “The first week, one of our neighbours came over and mowed our lawn. We didn’t ask him … he said,‘That’s what neighbours do!’” she adds.

With the golf course out their back door, Kelly and Donna and their neighbours often decorate nearby course trees for Christmas as another expression of community spirit. The Baltimores continue to work on making their place a true dream home. Known for their backyard koi pond in Meadowbrook, they built a 2,500-gallon pond for their fish in Fairways, as well as a backyard shed, and this summer they added a pergola. Both work in Calgary and look at Fairways as their escape from the traffic and bustle of the big city. “We spend a lot of time outside and I love to be in the garden,” says Donna.“In the winter, it’s really peaceful, and we’re close to Superstore, Sobeys, Creekside … we do most of our shopping in town. “This neighbourhood is special to us,” she adds.“It’s really wonderful.” life

life at





What is design to you?


ccording to Wikipedia (the knower of all things), “design,” which can be either a noun or a verb, is “the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system (as in architectural blueprints, engineering drawings, business processes, circuit diagrams and sewing patterns). Design has different connotations in different fields. In some cases the direct construction of an object (as in pottery, engineering, management … and graphic design) is also considered to be design.” TRANSLATION: Design involves developing an idea into something more tangible based on specific variables and needs.


Changing a bedroom into a home office

Let’s take this idea and apply the design tools needed to create something new. You can also apply the basic theories behind these methods to any renovation project. First, take some time to decide the look and style you want to achieve for the new home office space by perusing magazines and the Internet.

ELEMENTS OF DESIGN: Colour – The right layering of colours can help in visual organization and emphasize/create focal points. Room – Choose a paint colour that inspires you and make it the main feature; the furniture can be a neutral black or white. Add contrasting accessories for a more dynamic sensation.

Shape – Organic shapes (circles, waves) like those found in nature produce a casual feeling, while mechanical shapes (straight lines, geometric) are more complex and produce a structured, formal feeling. Room – Use whimsical wallpaper on a wall or covering a message board to juxtapose a formal desk and bookshelves. Texture – Either tactile (touch) or visual (illusion), texture refers to the way the surface of an item feels, which can add a three-dimensional sense making it more appealing by way of a physical response. Room – Install rustic hardwood or laminate-style flooring with the addition of a fun shag area rug. Space – The dimensions of the room itself can present their own set of challenges, as can windows and closets that pose obstacles. Lighting plays a role here with a direct/task source and accent lamps. Room – To enhance the mood you want to experience, add at least three types of lighting (overhead, desk lamps and wall sconces for accent) along with natural light. There you have it, the tools of the trade to help you transform one space into another. Remember: with a little focused planning ahead, you can turn your dream into a reality! life

– Tina McMillan (a.k.a. The Decorating Diva) is a local interior designer, mother of two and wife of one, who has called Airdrie home for the past eight years

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life in the



The art of lifebuild



With a background in real estate, a passion for homes and an ability to find the bright and light side of everything, Michelle Carre gives us insight to the building of her new home.

What I have come to really understand is that it

felt as if we were always waiting for something and

was all a beautifully orchestrated string of events.

we were the last domino on the table.

I can’t count the number of times I have told

I know now it happened exactly as it was sup-

clients, “It will all work out.” But sometimes your

posed to. The buyers for our old house came along

own advice is the hardest to follow. The trick to

exactly when they were meant to, we ended up

trusting in the universe or God or whatever it is

having more than three months from when the deal

you put trust in is knowing what is important to

was signed to possession day, so there was lots of

you and sticking to your priorities. Matt and I were

time to pack. At our rental property the tenant’s

very clear on what kind of building experience we

lease was up at the same time as our possession, so

wanted to have, the type of builder we were look-

we were able to move there and not have to find a

ing for and the end vision for our home.

place to rent with two dogs (one of which is giant).

Once you know what you want you just have to

The majority of our build was happening dur-

take a step forward. You don’t have to know exactly

ing a warm, sunny summer, so we weren’t battling

what each step will look like, just focus on the first

with the weather too much. We appreciate what our

This journey started without even knowing it was

few. I asked Matt why we decided to put the house

builder did and how she managed her teams and

about to. What started out as an innocent meeting

up for sale when we did. His response was that I

her communication (because we have been through

turned into a fact-finding mission and a simple text

had decided it was time, so we did. At that moment

experiences where that was lacking).

to my hubby, Matt, that read: “I think I just bought

I must have believed that we would find the right

This is a serendipitous moment where every-

a lot.” I knew it was a go when his response was:

builder and start moving forward, but we had to

thing has finally come together. All of those frustra-

“I’ll put up the For Sale sign!”

take a first step.

tions finally make sense, all the pieces fit together

Seems simple, right? We found a lot, so let’s

There have been lots of moments of frustration.

build a house. Not. So. Fast. That was almost two

I wondered if we would find the right builder, when

years ago. Since then there have been what felt like

the house would sell, where we would live if we

several setbacks and a lot of “hurry up and wait.”

sold the old house before the new one was ready. It

perfectly and it has culminated in this moment of perfection.


– Stay tuned for more of Michelle’s & Matt’s homebuilding adventures.

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| fall 2014

Exceptional Products, Service & Advice.

life at



Getting sTory AND phoTos by KrisTy reiMer

in the



A photo tour of some of Airdrie’s most unique garden spaces

It was so much fun to be able to go on my own personal garden tour of Airdrie for this story! Four ladies who are a part of the Airdrie Horticultural Society offered their time to show me a bit of what they do in their gardens. These garden spaces have been their creative playgrounds for anywhere from three to 30 years! Their green thumbs make their gardens flourish and each person has incorporated her own creative ideas for esthetics.


Lorri has lived in her Ravenswood home for only three years but has already done some really neat things with her garden. You know those ugly concrete water drainage swales that many yards have? Well, Lorri beautified hers while still allowing the water to flow with a boardwalk over top. Not only is it still functional, but itʼs super cute, as well. In her “swale garden” she has hosta, bleeding heart, woolly thyme, sand cherry bush, hen and chicks, and honeysuckle climbing vine.

fall 2014 |


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Sharon has been developing her garden in Stonegate for 15 years and loves gathering new ideas from fellow gardeners. She is often splitting plants, such as hostas, and finding new places for them to grow, which may even be in a friendʼs yard!

4 5




Brenda lives on an acreage just east of Airdrie and has dedicated a lot of time to her gardens over the past 17 years. She also shares two of her raised garden beds with a friend.


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9 11


Joanne has been developing her garden in Ashwood for 30 years! This year she started companion planting as an experiment and realized that beans loved having marigolds beside them. If you look closely at the photos, you will see herbs mixed into her annual flower pots.


homemade birdbath, wagon wheel, broken pot spilling more sedum into the border garden, periwinkle and sedum ground covers, hosta, and day lilies.


What do you do with a shady corner? Grow hostas and border them with locally found rocks.


yellow day lily in a frame, an idea from a fellow gardener.


Bucket of sedum: this plant can volunteer like crazy so sharon has it contained. this plant likes cool roots and warmth on top so she has submerged the bucket.


King tut grass.


Country vignette: mix of basil, marigolds, tomatoes and savory.


tomatoes in hanging baskets.


Border garden: tiger lily surrounded by various perennials.


Peonies, ornamental grass, ornamental green onions, phlox, marigold, birdbath, snapdragons, purple bell flowers, wire hens, hanging solar lights and recovered rocks.


Border garden: various perennial flowering plants. Attention drawer is the bright birdhouse.


snapdragons surrounded by purple bell flowers.

A huge thank you goes to lorri Derbowka for identifying all of the plants in the photos. Without her help, all of my descriptions would have said: “Green and pretty, name unknown.” There are no rules when you garden. plant what you love, where you love it!

fall 2014 |


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trees, shrubs, sod can

go in

now by lisA silVA


| fall 2014

Fall is for planting and enjoying your yard and garden! Every spring we have some new gardeners who have just seen some gorgeous tulips or daffodils and wonder where they are for sale in the garden centre. Of course, we must tell them they are planted in the fall! Tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth, alliums and squill are beautiful blossoming bulbs that need to have a chilly dormancy period, usually in the ground. They are best planted before Thanksgiving. If you have had troubles with squirrels digging up your bulbs, some good advice is to plant large numbers of them together, then mulch them and even throw some sticks around the area. Squirrels can sense where the ground has been disturbed and find your newly planted bulbs easily unless you disguise the area. Perennials, trees and shrubs can be planted well into fall quite successfully. The soil is warm but the daytime temperatures are not as hot as in July and August, so the plant material has a much easier time rooting. Using Myke, a rooting supplement, is always a good idea when you are planting. It natu-

rally helps create a larger and more efficient root system very quickly. Sod can even be laid well into fall as long as you can water it while it is rooting. When it comes to established lawns in the fall, you may wonder whether or not to fertilize and if so, what type of fertilizer to use. Corn gluten is an excellent natural and earth-friendly product to treat fall annual lawn weeds. It releases over a period of five weeks, preventing any new dandelions from germinating and thereby helping reduce the number that show up in the fall. Gardeners who use corn gluten in the spring and the fall over a period of about three years can usually completely eliminate dandelions and other annual weeds. Once the first hard frosts have hit, you can start cutting back perennials, mulching beds, raking up leaves and watering deeply. You may also want to consider treating the lawn, shrubs and trees with a rodent deterrent, such as Plantskydd or Skoot, to help keep the voles from wreaking havoc under the winter snow! life – Lisa Silva is marketing manager with Blue Grass Nursery, Sod & Garden Centre

life at


builDer Profile

Jayman area sales manager Jeff Mitchell sees Airdrie’s good land value as a big draw for families.

Jayman Homecoming

sTory AND phoTo by CArl pATzel


t may just be fitting to call this a homecoming for Innovations by Jayman. Having left Airdrie in 2007, the well-known home builder was drawn back into the booming local housing market, making a mark on the King’s Heights community. “We were in Airdrie and just came back this year in March,” says Jeff Mitchell, area sales manager with Jayman. Backed by plenty of experience with more than 30 years building in Alberta, Jayman utilizes a philosophy of offering a unique choice and high-standard product. Since 1980, the company has been recognized as builder of the year eight times. Jayman is currently opening up a second phase in King’s Heights with more than 20 lots available.

“Each home generally has pre-planned structural options so you have some ways of altering the home to your own needs. Obviously you can change anything as far as the core – flooring, trim, paint cover, you name it. We have a full-service design centre at our head office,” Mitchell says. Jayman offers nine different models, including the Nitro starter home, which is a threebedroom build highlighting a great room and owner’s suite, starting at $417,400. The top-of-the-line Verge includes four bedrooms, large garage, bonus room and great room. It is listed as starting near $470,000. Homes range from around 1,700 square feet to 2,400 sq. ft. Jayman utilizes a wide selection of awardwinning floor plans and industry experts to help select finish details, with options for a

Chef ’s Fit kitchen and an exclusive Quantum Performance energy-efficiency system. “We appeal to large families with twothree kids and also hit the other end of the demographic, usually a younger couple starting out. There are a lot of first-time buyers as well as second- and third-time buyers,” Mitchell says. The community is minutes away from Kingsview Market, which hosts several shops, restaurants and commercial ventures, as well as being close to Highway 2 with easy access to Stoney Trail and northeast Calgary. “We do have an elementary school that has been approved,” says Mitchell. “We’re just waiting on a construction start time on that. “It’s good land value out here. That’s a big draw,” he adds. “There’s lots of home for your money, especially if you have a large family.” life

fall 2014 |


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Shabby chic turns into savvy business

essie Bell quickly came to the conclusion that several had previously suggested: shabby sells. Picking up a paint brush just for fun rapidly evolved into a colourful career of refinishing and restoring bits of outdated household items for the Airdrie Furniture Revival owner. “It started a couple of years ago with just doing things for our own personal use in our house. Over the last couple of years I’ve had people make comments – ‘Why don’t you sell this stuff?’” says Bell. Transforming furnishings that had lost their flare and flavour, Bell found her friends and future clients were singing praises about her newfound talents.

sTory AND phoTos by CArl pATzel

furniture artist Jessie Bell’s work is a labour of love.


| fall 2014

Encouragement soon restored her faith in a new venture, enough so that the crafty creator was sanding around the idea of walking away from her full-time job to test the finish on a home-based business. Selling one piece opened the cabinet doors to many more pieces leaving Bell’s workshop. That helped to fade the risk of leaving a secure job. “One turned into two and two turned into four and before I knew it after a few months it got to the point where I actually had to make a decision on whether to keep the Monday-to-Friday job or turn this into a full-blown business,” she says.“And I chose door No. 2.” Also serving to refurbish her confidence, Bell sold 17 of 20 pieces before the midday mark at the inaugural Alberta Dames Vintage Shindig furniture sale in Balzac.

Although it’s never an easy process when moulding a startup business, Bell found plenty of reward in the challenge of brushing a new coat on her life-changing direction. “I had to work very hard to get the word out but I enjoyed it,” she says. “For me, if I enjoy it then I don’t consider it difficult. “I do have a ton of support from my friends and family,” she adds,“and they helped in wordof-mouth and advertising and referrals.” Remnants of her shabby chic business can be found throughout her Ravenswood home, in every room, the basement and makeshift garage workshop. Chairs, antique tables, multidrawer dressers, coffee tables and all sorts of furniture in many states of distress are scattered throughout every nook and cranny. Having picked up technique tips and skill sets from several sources, Bell says that it’s been an evolving trial-and-error process with each piece. “A lot of them are done in different ways, different styles. I’ll do a piece for our house and that way if it turns out it doesn’t look as good as I’d hoped … it becomes just an experiment,” she says. “So far every single piece I’ve done, even with a new technique, I’ve been like ‘Wow, this is really good!’” Research and constant work has helped to refine Bell’s techniques, whether it’s a simple distress, stencil work or a complete overhaul of a large six-drawer dresser. Even though she began selling on online bargain-sale sites, customers have been flocking to her business Facebook page, started up on request from friends and clients who wanted to see more of her finished products. “It has grown to almost 2,000 fans,” says Bell. “That’s where most of my custom orders come from. People feel more like they know who’s behind it and are talking to a real person.” Searching for a diamond in the rough has become a labour of love for the furniturerestoration artist, and Bell is always on the hunt for her next eye-catching project. “For me it’s more about,‘Is the piece unique?’” she says. “I don’t care if it’s a coffee table or a dresser. If it’s something that you’re not going to find anywhere else then I want to do it.” life

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Right on Pointe

by CArl pATzel

Set in the heart of Reunion, this Hopewell community in the northwest corner of Airdrie prides itself on offering a relaxed atmosphere. An ideal family destination, there are plenty of open spaces, pathways, playgrounds and wildlife, including the community’s namesake great blue heron. “It was our opportunity to really take a look at what had been successful in Reunion and what buyers in Airdrie were demanding and create something special around what we think is a great amenity in Heron Pond,” says Scott Hamilton, senior manager, marketing and community relations with Hopewell Residential Communities. A natural water feature, Heron Pond anchors the community alongside green spaces and natural settings paralleling Nose Creek. Reunion Park also hosts picnic tables and barbecue pits adjacent to play areas. Hosting three main builders – McKee Homes, Excel Homes and Sabal Homes – five-time developer of the year Hopewell drew on distinctive design, from traditional to contemporary, culminating in a modern and fresh architectural style. “That has always been our vision as a developer from an architectural standpoint ... to provide the community with home styles that were com-


| fall 2014

plementary but also unique in their own right,” says Hamilton. “They work together as a streetscape, but also allow people to express that individuality in their home.” Hamilton adds that the proximity to Herons Crossing School helps enhance the already family-friendly ambience and convenience for those with young children. Hopewell and its builder partners in Heron Pointe also offer landscaping packages helping to mould the outdoor space to suite the natural surroundings. Lots range in size from 36 to 42 feet, while accommodating homes ranging from 1,614 square feet to 2,341 sq. ft. with frontattached garages. Homes backing onto Heron Pond begin in the $550,000 range. Heron Pointe is the final phase of the Reunion community, but that doesn’t mean that Hopewell is finished shaping the Airdrie landscape, and the company is currently working on more land development approvals. “We’re a developer who has loved being part of the Airdrie community,” says Hamilton. “Hopewell will continue to build homes and communities in Airdrie.” life

Photo CoUrtesy of hoPeWell

Heron Pointe is no flight of fancy.

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Taking Style to New Heights MAson


Claim your castle with six bright new showhomes in King’s Heights by Innovations by Jayman, Shane Homes and Homes by Avi. Follow the show home flags on King’s Heights Drive to explore these exceptional new homes. This master-planned Melcor community is close to all the amenities you need. orion ii


orion ii

| fall 2014






Homes by Avi





Shane Homes

fall 2014 |


McKee Homes

Homes, McKee Homes and Vesta Homes


| fall 2014

work life at 104 in harmony

98 high tech 106 safety first

life at




with Kent Rupert contributions from Tracy Corbett


Planning Airdrie’s future

n August, it was announced that Airdrie’s population increased another 10.76 per cent, reaching 54,891 residents. With this growth comes many decisions to be made, such as: Where should the neighbourhoods go? Where should workplaces be located? What roads and intersections are needed? Who pays for all this? To provide answers to those questions, the City of Airdrie develops plans, strategies, policies and regulations based on community needs and feedback. The Airdrie City Plan is just such a plan. Recently adopted by city council, it serves as a strategic vision for managing growth and development over the next 15 years as Airdrie grows from its current population to a projected population of 90,000. The plan was the final piece of the puzzle of previous work done on other initiatives, including Envision Airdrie, a community visioning process; and the AirdrieOne Sustainability Plan, which sets out the City’s vision, goals and objectives for creating a healthier, more liveable and more sustainable Airdrie. Many residents and local businesses contributed their valuable feedback and ideas into those processes.

Areas addressed in the Airdrie City Plan include: future land use (what goes where); environmental protection (where development shouldn’t go); • transportation needs (roads, pathways and transit); • servicing needs (water and sewer services); and • growth management (transitioning rural areas to urban). •

As the city grows there are several areas that need to be considered to ensure we have a well-planned community that continues to offer a high quality of life and that we are proud to call home. To this end, the Airdrie City Plan includes such concepts as “Smart Growth,” which looks at the liveability, health, walkability and safety of the city. The plan also establishes requirements for protecting the public, the environment and the public purse. For example, it addresses public protection through policies that separate residential areas from flood-prone lands, railway corridors and heavy industry. The environment is cared for by protecting the Nose Creek corridor and its tributaries from development.


| fall 2014

The plan’s policies are aimed at making the most of scarce resources and maximizing your tax dollars. To protect the public purse, it outlines how the City will ensure efficient infrastructure, responsible growth management and economic development. As with many fast-growing communities, Airdrie is seeking ways to better balance residential growth with business development. In addition to earmarking a much larger land base for non-residential development, the plan promotes a full range of opportunities from home-based business all the way to large-scale industrial. So as Airdrie continues to grow over the next several years, know that these strategic plans and polices will guide responsible growth for Airdrie and ensure that residents and businesses continue to be proud of our great community. On behalf of the City of Airdrie, we would like to thank residents and the businesses who took the time and effort over the past years to assist in shaping the future of our community. life – Kent Rupert is team leader with Airdrie Economic Development For a copy of the Airdrie City Plan, visit or e-mail

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High Tech

story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photos by Sergei Belski

Technically Speaking....

Development and design are food and drink for Airdrie entrepreneur James Ash.

You don’t need a Silicon Valley address to make a high-tech living. Meet two home-based businesspeople making inroads into this lucrative area right here in Airdrie. James Ash, Modapeak Inc. For some companies, app design is like magic. You might be able to build the perfect widget, but can you design a custom web application to help sell it? After some 13 years in programming and development for a larger company, James Ash set out on his own to form Modapeak about a yearand-a-half ago. “I do just about any kind of development for Internet applications,” explains Ash.“Anything that’s running online, if it’s something you log into, that’s the distinction between web development and app development. If you’re logging in, generally that’s what I do.” Since starting up, Ash has worked with a diverse range of industry clients.“It’s hard to target one area … nobody knows they can use me till they’re talking to me about specific problems,” he says, noting that he’s worked with oil and gas, HR, even online payment systems. “The clos-


| fall 2014

est company I work for is right around the corner, a 15-minute bike ride from me; the furthest one I have regular dealings with is in Tennessee.” Ash says that there’s more to what he does than writing a bunch of code. “It’s not just build it, pat you on the back and say good luck with it,” he says.“It’s an ongoing relationship where you have constant contact. You’re always keeping up on things.” The local entrepreneur recently added his skills and knowledge to the City of Airdrie’s SMARTstart business program for startups. He’s also helped one new business that hits very close to home, because it’s his own. Pinched is an online service – with infrastructure developed by Modapeak – that provides roadside-assistance connections to cyclists in Airdrie. “This time last summer, I was riding home on my bike and got a flat,” Ash says. “I started walking home and I thought it would be great if I could put the message out saying,‘I have a flat, here I am.’”

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fall 2014 |


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High Tech

With co-founder Cody Bell, Ash developed Pinched as a social networking tool where users could log in with their smartphones and communicate with other registered users who might be able to give assistance, plus access links to local bike shops. “I like to build things – I’m always in the garage building stuff out of wood,” Ash says.“Building something drives me.” And part of that includes his aim to build Modapeak into a go-to service for web-application development and Pinched into a household name for local cyclists.

Jennifer Benner, Benner Database Designs Running a business or company involves keeping track of a lot of information, such as payroll and client contacts. And while you’d think everything would be in neat little computer folders available at the click of a mouse, that’s not always the case. Since 2009, Jennifer Benner has been growing Benner Database Designs into a service that helps clients develop the tools to keep track of mountains of info. “Companies often have paper forms or spreadsheets or Word documents ... saved all over the place,” she says. “What I do is I find out what they’re having trouble tracking and take those random files and put them into one database file. I make it easier for them to find (information) and put data into it.” According to Benner, clients don’t always realize how many databases they use every day. “Outlook would be a contacts database; Facebook is a social media database,” she says.“Everyone needs to use a database in some form or shape.” For example, Benner once built a database to help SAIT Polytechnic track its practicum (work-experience) students.


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Database designer Jennifer Benner says that she’ll never get bored with her work.

“I used to work at IBM and was in charge of tracking what we called the tape library,” Benner says (she and a co-worker created a database for this),“and I fell in love with that. I took courses to find out how to do it myself. In 2008, I became a stay-at-home mom and my aunt mentioned to me that SAIT was having trouble tracking students out on practicum.” This led to other opportunities. An oil and gas company, for example, needed help to organize information so it could meet government reporting deadlines. “One really great thing about what I do is it’s very flexible,” says Benner. “Every client is

different and what I like about the job is I’ll never get bored.” More recently, Benner has helped out as a SMARTstart mentor. “I enjoy hearing about other people’s challenges and how they resolved them,” she says. “You never know where the next great idea’s going to come from.” Benner says that she enjoys it when she helps a client solve a problem. “I love when they start using (the database) and they look at it with a look of wonder on their face and say it’s so much easier,” she says. “And I am always learning new things; every challenge is different.” life


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Plans come to fruition

life at

by leoNA esAu


lmost two years ago the seed for SMARTstart was planted among a group of Airdrie business resource organizations. After a great deal of planning and organizing, the program was launched earlier this year. This madein-Airdrie training program is designed to increase the chance of a new businesses surviving those first crucial years. The program will graduate 19 new and prospective Airdrie entrepreneurs this fall.

some of the milestones achieved to date include: 19 ENTREPRENEURS SMARTstart entrepreneurs have spent the last five months completing: • eight in-person training sessions led by local experts; • 30 online small-business training sessions provided by GoForth Institute’s 100 Essential Small Business Skills™; and • draft business plans, including preliminary financial statements.

2014 Entrepreneurs: Pauline Allen; Allison Anhorn; James Ash; Ryan Beaudoin; Melanie Beingessner; Glenda Black; Tammy Block; Ryan Dittmann; Manuel A. Fernandez; David Jones; Andrew Li; Megan Lockhart; David Martin; Alicia McCallum; Paul Nye; Jay Parkinson; Sylvia Schultz; Rick Turenne; Kathleen Walroth 15 MENTORS A big THANK YOU to the 15 local business owners who stepped forward to provide guidance to this inaugural group of entrepreneurs. These amazing men and woman have spent countless hours: • working with SMARTstart entrepreneurs to refine their business plans and financial statements; • strategizing how to best take advantage of opportunities and address the inevitable challenges all entrepreneurs face; and • freely sharing their experiences and wisdom as well as local connections they’ve gained along their own entrepreneurial journey. 2014 Mentors: Gary Armstrong; Joan Bell; Jennifer Benner; Yazdi Bulsara; David Cooper; Jody Funk; Brandy Horn; Jacqui Jepson; Lynn Kehoe; Danielle Kot; Sid Van der Meer; John Papoutsakis; Collette Storms; Brent Swain; Lorelei Talbot MOVING FORWARD The 2014 program ends in mid-October. The application intake for next year’s program will begin in early November. SMARTstart was initially designed to be a public-private partnership with a goal of becoming self-funded through private sponsorships as the program grows and matures. All proceeds from this year’s Business Awards Gala will be used as seed funding for next year’s program. SMARTstart is presented by the partners of the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership – Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, Airdrie Economic Development, Bow Valley College and Community Futures Centre West. for More inforMAtion The City of Airdrie is actively seeking both mentors and sponsors for the 2015 program. visit


| fall 2014



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work uniVersal lanGuaGe

Alberto San Martin shares his talent and love of music sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN phoTos by serGei belsKi

Music MAN

Alberto san Martin shares a happy note with students Cairine Coutts, 8, and Jordan Bencharski (inset).

In Chile, music is everywhere. It’s a part of everyday life. Alberto San Martin, a Juno Award-winning musician who has called Canada home since 1979, hopes to impart some of this spirit to his students at Airdrie’s new Solfeo Music Academy. Solfeo opened a year ago on Main Street. San Martin leads students as young as four and as old as – well, there’s really no age limit (he currently has a guitar student who is 56 and he once taught an 89-year-old to play Ring of Fire). Courses range from Yamaha piano basics to drums, ukulele, guitar, violin, brass, voice and Latin American instruments. “I’ve always had a passion for teaching; I discovered that 20-something years ago,” says San Martin, a graduate of Grant MacEwan College’s jazz and sound engineer programs.“I was an active musician and I started doing lessons at home. After a few years, I found I really enjoyed doing it. “When you’re teaching somebody, you get an instinct for when that person has accomplished something,” he adds.“They get that first chord


| fall 2014

and they’re struggling … but then they get the chord and everything sounds nice and just to see their faces, you know, to see that instant feedback, that’s what I love about it.” San Martin has a love for all forms of music, and his hope with Solfeo is to instil in his students the same love of music he had growing up in Chile. He won the 1994 Juno for World Music with the group Ancient Cultures and his award takes pride of place in one of the classrooms. More recently, he recorded Volver, an album inspired by a visit to Chile where he met his biological mother for the first time. “Music is everywhere. It’s a part of our life,” he says.“I don’t think we’ll ever live without music in this world.” San Martin says that children can benefit in many ways from learning to play music.“When I’m teaching guitar, there are so many ways of playing a song and approaching a song with different rhythm and arrangements, your brain is opened to different ways,” he says. “I have students

right now (composing) their own music, singers writing their own lyrics. And we just started last September!” One goal of Solfeo is to prepare students who want to carry on their study of music. “We want students to be prepared to easily get into music programs at the university or college level,” San Martin says. Practice sessions are usually recorded, which gives both students and their parents a chance to hear how they’re progressing. This past summer, San Martin was also working on installing a recording studio. Solfeo was supposed to open earlier than it did, says San Martin, but delays in construction (caused, in part, by trades being diverted after the June 2013 flood) resulted in the school opening somewhat late for fall registration. With its first full season now approaching, San Martin hopes to expand his programming in the future to include new instruments such as pan flute (“I have kits for students to make their own flutes from PVC tubes,” he says) and an exchange program with students in South America. A key to learning music is family support, San Martin says. “I got my first guitar when I was eight, and I didn’t know how to play anything, but there was family support,” he says. “That’s why I like e-mailing (recordings of ) lessons so parents can get involved. Just today, I had a little girl going to a recital and her father had never heard her singing, ever. He was almost in tears.” life

Go ahead, indulge ... 403.948.6331 | #6, 620 1st Avenue N.W, Airdrie, AB Book your specialty cake at least 3 months in advance in order to avoid disappointment

fall 2014 |


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Community involvement is key to United Safety’s success, says Shayne McCallum, vice-president, North America.

story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photo by Sergei Belski

Company focus is local, global


hen it comes to exploring and drilling for oil and gas, safety has to be paramount. It’s a dangerous job, and keeping workers safe is a top priority. Airdrie-based United Safety Ltd. started out in Calgary in 1987 to service the sour gas industry. It moved to Airdrie in 2000 and today its operations span 14 countries around the globe. “Our prime focus is anything around IDLA – intrinsically dangerous to life and health,” explains Shayne McCallum, vice-president, North America. “We started our business around sour gas drilling, and from there we branched out into a number of different territories, different service lines, and into industrial.” United Safety works with companies in the oil patch and throughout Alberta, and it has its Eastern Hemisphere headquarters in Dubai. Its global philosophy of hiring locally starts right here at home.


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“Our founder, Lee Whittaker, was adamant about local content, about making sure we were providing value and service to the community,” says McCallum.“That’s our covenant worldwide. We promote that, while most of our business is international, we’re almost completely nationalized.” Locally, United Safety recently held a hiring drive, and McCallum says the company is always looking for new faces. “You can walk in here as a young man or a young woman and if you’re motivated and disciplined and have the right character, the sky is really the limit,” he says, noting that women in particular have been making inroads in the field.“Some of the biggest projects we’ve done this year were managed by women. “Character is everything,” he adds. “They can come with nothing and we’ll provide them with everything: on-the-job training, coaching, mentoring and career pathways. We have some people local to Airdrie who are working around the globe today.”

“Your only IT guy just quit... ... panic begins to set in ...” There’s certainly no shortage of demand for United’s Safety solutions, such as its own OSIMS (Operational Safety and Integrity Management Services) program. And the company provides incident emergency management services on average 50 times a year, worldwide. “The demand [for safety solutions] is high,” says McCallum. “Everyone’s reading the news: Keystone, Kitimat, heavy oil … expansion is everywhere. Being that the Canadian market is really only exporting to the U.S., opening up that market will only create more demand. As far as the focus on safety, with the massive amount of workers, [demand] will only grow.” Community involvement is also key to the company’s success. Aside from supporting the Think Airdrie initiative, United Safety has also been a supporter of the Airdrie Pro Rodeo, the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie and Airdrie Food Bank. “We spent a lot of time and energy with the food bank,” says McCallum.“We did a massive drive last Christmas and collected nine truckloads of food in a matter of two weeks. “It was a shocker for us to realize [the need],” he adds. “The food bank told us how many they service in the surrounding communities, which was actually staggering.” Since relocating from Calgary to Airdrie 14 years ago, United Safety has built or purchased several facilities along East Lake Road on the city’s eastern edge. McCallum says that diversifying is one way the company has managed to get through the “feast-or-famine,” cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry – consider that United Safety was founded in the aftermath of the 1980s bust, but it survived, just as it continued to thrive during the most recent downturn. “It was actually a great time for United Safety – a time of reflection, rebuilding and innovating, so when the market turned around, we were ready to go,” says McCallum. “We are in a good position these days.” life

... or, just rest easy knowing that we never quit. Ethical. Efficient. Emazing.


(yes, we did that for alliteration)



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He wants a home with big city


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Welcome to Rivairo Easy to get to...hard to leave! Rivairo Townhome Condominiums in Bayside combine the luxury of big city living with the quaint, cozy comfort of a small-town community. It’s a welcome change to the traditional look of the community. Bold stucco and stone exteriors, stunning landscapes and exclusive faciltities.

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Last look

NATURE’S GLORY One of our regular photographers, Sergei Belski, has the privilege of seeing his own work showcased in the Street Lamp Banner Program on First Avenue. The image is quite striking, but cropped tightly to fit the banner, so we thought we would share the entire magnificence of it with you. “I got up VERY early to get this shot as the sun came up. Moraine Lake is one of my favourite places.” – Sergei Belski,

Sergei used a Canon 1D Mark ii and Canon 16-35 mm f/2.8L lens to get this breathtaking shot. Have an image you think is worthy of a last look? Send it to


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When you live in King’s Heights, you’ll find yourself using words like flambé, purée and fricassee. With stainless steel appliances and tile backsplashes built standard in

*Price of home, lot and GST subject to change.

every Innovations kitchen, we can’t blame you. In fact, your new kitchen may have you frequently using another culinary term-stuffed.
















VOTED Airdrie’s Best COMMUNITY 2013

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