Page 1

Fall/Winter 2008



5of years life in Airdrie More than 15 prizes to be won

Get more out of life! New features and columns


All in the Meet three families who have grown with us

Mega Mall

How the

affects Airdrie

Proud Media Supporter of the Airdrie Centennial 2009

LIFEstyle | Community | HOMES | City | WORKS

Vol. 5 | No. 1 Display until Feb. 28, 2009



Future Development by Hopewell

Reunion Grove

Reunion Terrace Place






Reunion Storm Pond

Reunion Terrace

Future Multi-Family Site


Reunion Avenue

Reunion Boulevard

Reunion Green

Phase 1



Phase 2

Future Public School

Bowen Park

Reunion Boulevard

Phase 2

Veterans Boulevard NW (Highway 567)

Church Site

Reunion Heights

Reunion Court

Reunion Gateway

Reunion Close

Future Multi-Family Development by Others

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Reunion Mews

Existing Homestead

Future Development by Others

Reunion Landing



Reunion Avenue

Reunion Street

Reunion Rise


24th Street NW

Municipal District of Rocky View

Reunion Grove




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1540 square feet • 3 Bedrooms 2.5 Baths • Loft Space • Open Concept

1847 square feet • 3 Bedrooms • 2.5 Baths Bonus Room • Large Open Concept



Fall/Winter 2008

LIFEStyle 17

worth writing about


Lamont Developments takes on a good cause

for Airdrie animals


Jill Munday goes gourmet


Fall in love with these fashions from several

styling Airdrie shops


Big names are coming to the Bert Church Live Theatre


Meet international guitar icon Lou Rye


Ellen Kelly just needs to make brownies

Then and Now: Take a look at how three Airdrie

families have grown with us


Airdrie Little Theatre takes the stage


Korean Exchange Program bridges the culture gap


Meet a few Airdrionions who are having fun behind and

in front of the camera


Discover three artists with a passion for paint



Local writers trade thoughts on the writing process Read about the growth of the Airdrie Public Library


Victims of violence have solid support


Lost? Not with this handy city map


Gourmet Gateauâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jill Munday with one of her wonderful creations (see story page 25). Photographed for AirdrieLIFE by Kristy Reimer


5 years of life in Airdrie 126 Enter our five fab contests

Kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Heights brings together all the features families look for in a neighborhood. It offers outstanding value with larger lots and bigger homes compared to Calgaryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suburban communities. There will be numerous parks, paths and water features that are perfect for active families who value the outdoors. And the wide range of future amenities and services means running a few errands wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require a full tank of gas. Why live like a pauper in the city when you can afford to live like royalty in Kingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Heights? Make your home your castle in Airdrieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier community - brought to you by Albertaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premier developer, Melcor.




On the cover:



Stacey Carefoot discovers a dining experience

61 Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;*,-Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; "1 /9Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;"/Ă&#x160;-< -Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160; / -




The Airdrie Festival of Lights gets ready to glow



North on HWY 2, East on Yankee Valley Rd. COUNTRY HILLS BLVD

W W W. K I N G S H E I G H T S . C A




Fall/Winter 2008



94 Your Life. Your Magazine. Online DISCOVER OUR EXCITING REDESIGNED WEBSITE! We’ve made a ton of changes to enhance your enjoyment of AirdrieLIFE.


Good news—Airdrie’s real estate market is worth investing in


Our comprehensive Community Profiles chart gives you the

information you need to make your move


Get floored with laminates


Builders go green by recycling housing materials


Empty rooms? Check out what’s new (and old) at local shops


Basement developments step it up


Find Airdrie show homes easily with this map


Elite show home shows that size matters


The Horth home is an artful canvas


Vesta on the park


How coffee and pie help a community take shape


Centennial planning on target


Resourceful staff at City Hall


Reduce, reuse, recycle and read this


Take the bus


Join a club, get fit, help a cause—our City Listings make it easy


Genesis Place aquatic schedule

Get more online with web extras from stories featured in the magazine. Check back regularly for web-exclusive features and new contests. Turn to page 126 in this issue for a full listing of web contests. Then go online for your chance to win!


This month at


Economic Development works the plan

Get great recipes from Jill Munday and Rico Pacheco. Stay on top of


Small Business Week big on ideas and events

planning for Airdrie’s centennial with updates from the City’s Centennial


What will CrossIron Mills mean to Airdrie?


Highland Park is attracting attention


Working from home successfully


Sierra Springs takes advantage of rezoning

committees. Join a book club; read works by terrific local writers. Get in-depth profiles of every neighbourhood in Airdrie with photos. Find out if acreage living is for you. Learn how to stage your home for resale. Get more facts on CrossIron Mills. Sort your recycling according to City guidelines. Stay abreast of local events, and so much more!


Editor’s Note



Brandi Dickman


Kim Williams






Sherry Shaw-Froggatt

Joan Bell, Sergei Belski, Stacey Carefoot, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Jeanine Froggatt, Elizabeth Hak, Ellen Kelly, Kristy Reimer, Tara Richards, Alan Tennant Audra Gorgiev Angela Burford Wendy Potter-Duhaime Print Jeff Cummings

Video Rob Ing Productions

Teldon Print Media


Where to find us AirdrieLIFE is distributed quarterly to all homes and businesses in Airdrie and area and is available at more than 100 locations in Calgary. Additional copies are available at Airdrie City Hall, 400 Main Street, Airdrie AB T4B 3B4. Read AirdrieLIFE online at

What a LIFE! What a difference 832 pages makes. That’s how many pages of AirdrieLIFE

have been written, edited, photographed, designed and/or sold in the past five years. When this magazine first came out in the fall of 2004, it was a humble 48 pages. The issue

How to reach us Editorial Advertising 403.969.5190 AirdrieLIFE is published quarterly by Frog Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.

you are now holding is a whopping 128 pages. The growth of AirdrieLIFE has kept pace with the growth of Airdrie itself, and we believe this is because we have always strived to deliver you the best information and entertainment in the highest-quality format. There were just three work-at-home moms involved in the first few issues, and the picture above shows you how much we’ve grown. We managed to crowd 10 of us into Kristy’s studio for our first team photo, and were still missing a few friendly faces. (See the who’s who on page


Economic Development Leona Esau, 403.948.8844 Communications Tara Richards, 403.948.8800

12.) AirdrieLIFE would not be here today if it had not been for the guidance and encouragement of the City of Airdrie Economic Development team, our growing list of advertisers (many of whom have never missed an issue since day one), and the readers who constantly approach me to tell us we are doing something right by bringing to life stories of the people, places and events that make Airdrie a great place to live and work. This fall issue launches us into our fifth year, and we hope you notice and love all the changes—from the subtle (if you know your fonts) stylistic enhancements, to the eye-grabbing new features and columns. Stay tuned for more as we prepare for 2009—we just have to keep up with this city!


ISSN 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2008 by Frog 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. 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

The first 48 pages were humbling in their mere stature and production. This issue is humbling in its history. Thank you Airdrie for allowing me to celebrate your LIFE! City of Airdrie Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Editor & Publisher 10 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

AMbassador Award Winner 2008

Cert no. XXX-XXX-000

The AirdrieLIFE team

Team questions:

AirdrieLIFE has grown from three eager people wanting to get into publishing to an impressive cast

1. What’s your favourite vacation?

of talented and dedicated people whom I cannot thank enough for their commitment to quality,

2. What do you love most about your career?

creativity and meeting deadlines! In honour of our fifth year in publication, I thought it would be fun to ask everyone five questions as a way to let you get to know them better.

3. What’s the best career advice you ever got? 4. What’s your favourite flavour of ice cream? 5. What is something you are most proud of?

—Sherry Shaw-Froggatt

Joan Bell, writer 1. The perfect getaway for me is anywhere with sand and sun. 2. I have many careers: business owner, mentor, volunteer, writer, artist and creator. What I love about all my careers is that they allow me to pursue my passions, while affording me the freedom to spend time with my family. 3. The best career advice I have ever received is to pursue my passion. When you like what you do for a living, it doesn’t feel like work. 4. I rarely eat ice cream, but when we go to Invermere, I always have a black cherry ice cream cone. 5. There are so many things I am proud of—my children come to mind first. When I think of my many careers, however, what I am most proud of is my ability to support other women in business.

Sergei Belski, photographer 1. I like going tropical. Every time my wife and I go on vacation we try to go somewhere we haven’t been before. So far my favourite place is the Dominican Republic; it’s big enough so we don’t get bored and have lost of interesting places to explore, and local people are very friendly. 2. I love working with people. As a photographer I get to meet very many interesting people and some of them become good friends. And I get to go to many great events and get a front-row seat for free. I love that I can make my own hours and all the good things that come with having your own business. 3. When I started out I didn’t get much advice. Probably the best advice I would give is to treat everyone the best you can, because you never know who your next client will be and who they know. It’s a very small world; don’t burn any bridges. 4. Häagen Dazs, Vanilla Swiss Almond. 5. I was very proud when I first made money on photography and was published in a magazine. It was my hobby back then, and at that moment I got an idea in my head that I could make a career out of this. I still get proud every time I see my work in magazines, books and other publications.

Angela Burford, associate publisher 1. My favourite vacation would be anywhere that is quiet and I can read a book from start to finish and not have to worry about anyone else. 2. I love the ability to be creative and run with ideas. I don’t mind being edited as long as I can be quirky first. 3. I was always told that one day I would get a real job and I would have to be more serious. I’m still waiting for that day. 4. Most people would say I like chocolate covered in more chocolate with chocolate on top, but it’s really pistachio and butterscotch. 5. I like to reflect sometimes on some of the things/jobs I’ve done in the past, to see how I’ve influenced the position and/or people I’ve met.

Stacey Carefoot, writer 1. Mara Lake, B.C., is a great place to unwind, spend quality time on the water with my family, and gather with great friends for long nights around the fire. 2. This career constantly reminds me that everyone has a story and each story is important, and

12 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

I love that. I also appreciate the opportunities that present themselves for a writer—like travel, meeting wonderful people and learning about things I might not otherwise have taken an interest in. 3. My grandma constantly reminded me that my children would only be little once, and to enjoy them as much as I could; to not work and be away from them too much or I would regret it. Now that they’re bigger, I appreciate her advice and am thankful I listened to her. 4. Apple pie ice cream. 5. I’m proud every time I meet a deadline or nail a story that in the beginning I might have considered impossible.

Jeff Cummings, advertising production 1. I can only imagine it would be the Caribbean with my wife, though I’ve never been there. Until then, the beach at the ocean with my family. 2. I get to be creative. It’s fun working with people to turn their ideas into visuals that help contribute to their success. 3. Do what you love—the money will follow. 4. Cherry Garcia by Ben & Jerry’s. 5. Beating Donkey Kong Country on Super Nintendo.

Brandi Dickman, managing editor 1. Anywhere there’s warmth and water. 2. The wide variety of interesting people, subject matter and challenges I encounter as a freelance editor. Working from home allows me to set my own schedule and put family first (though it invariably means too many late nights). 3. Relax (ha!). 4. Most anything chocolatey. 5. Raised four terrific kids with my husband while running our own company and building our respective careers—without babysitters (which explains the late nights!).

Alex Frazer-Harrison, writer 1. The West Coast and, on rare occasions when I have the time to travel beyond Alberta or Saskatchewan, Los Angeles. 2. The variety; the stories I get to tell or hear about. The fact it’s not a nine-to-five office grind, and as a freelancer I have the freedom to pick and choose my work. Usually. Sometimes. OK, when I don’t have bills to pay. 3. Always spell people’s names correctly. (Now watch— I’ll have Kent Rupert’s name spelled wrong in this issue or something.) 4. Maple walnut, though with all those exotic flavours out there, good old vanilla has itself become an exotic flavour because no one orders it anymore! 5. Three things: arranging for an asteroid to be named in honour of my musical idol, Bill Haley, in 2006; in the 1990s I was responsible for the Calgary Sun running a world exclusive: the first-ever newspaper column written by an astronaut in orbit (Calgary’s Dr. Robert Thirsk); and I once wrote a story that was directly credited with preventing a young man from committing suicide, which makes all the others pale in comparison.

Elizabeth Hak, writer/photographer 1. Anywhere a cruise ship can take me. I wake up in a different place each morning; I don’t have to cook or clean. I get entertained and I don’t have to rent a car. What’s not to like? 2. My two favourite pastimes are photography and writing. I get to do both and get paid for it. 3. Ask yourself what you would do if you

didn’t have to earn a living (and after you bought a Maserati and six vacation homes). If you aren’t doing it, find a way to make it happen. 4. Chocolate chip mint, burgundy cherry, chocolate fudge brownie—it’s not possible to have only one favourite. 5. After my son finished kindergarten, I followed “Best Career Advice” and went back to school to earn a diploma in journalism.

Ellen Kelly, writer 1. Back roads in Alberta; poking around in neat little places. Maui really is paradise, though. 2. I work when, where, and as much or as little as I want to, and I meet interesting people. 3. “Bullsh— baffles brains.” 4. Heavenly Hash. 5. Various publications, especially fiction; not biting my fingernails anymore; my kids who have grown up into people I admire and respect.

Wendy Potter-Duhaime, sales manager 1. St. John’s Island, U.S. Virgin Islands— fabulous beaches. 2. Working with very creative people, and job flexibility. 3. Do what you love; love what you do—then it doesn’t feel like work. 4. Peppermint. 5. Starting my own business; working only for people I enjoy; helping small businesses succeed.

Kristy Reimer, photographer 1. Camping in Hawaii. 2. Seeing clients’ faces light up when they love their photos. 3. Be anal about image quality; although most people would never notice, two points too magenta is an F grade. 4. Moose Tracks. 5. Starting a full-time business before I was 25.

Alan Tennant,

real estate advisor 1. Scotland. 2. Seeing how excited my clients get when they achieve their goals. 4. If you are down to your last $10, go buy a new tie. (My father told me that and, yes, you could buy a very flashy tie for $10 when he gave me this advice in 1977.) 4. Chocolate. 5. I held my grandson in the first few hours of his life.

Kim Williams, design and production manager 1. Before kids, my husband and I drove in our little VW through the States; we tented it every night. We did the true tourist thing, stopping at every landmark—the Redwood Forest, the Golden Gate Bridge, Disneyland, Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Little Big Horn, Mount Rushmore . . . 2. Working from home gives me the freedom to be a stay-at-home mom. 3. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. 4. Tiger. 5. Designing a 128-page AirdrieLIFE in two weeks, while making three meals a day, changing diapers, picking up toys, getting the kids out of their PJs before lunch, trying to build a house—and all without losing my mind. Actually in all seriousness, I would say it was our move to Texas (for two years); it was an incredible opportunity that gave us experiences and memories that are irreplaceable. LIFE


LIFEstyle Aid for Animals | 22

Gourmet Gateau | 25

Fall Fashions | 27 Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE

LIFEstyle | Events

Get Your

Airdrie Festival of Lights




December 1–31, 2008

Story by Sherry Shaw-Froggatt | Photos by Kristy Reimer

t’s the event that outshines all others in southern Alberta—literally. For the whole month of December, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night, families can tour a winter wonderland glowing with thousands and thousands (and thousands) of lights that create colourful displays of gingerbread houses, penguins, reindeer, candy canes and, yes, Santa Claus himself. (The real deal makes special appearances, so be prepared!) And the best part is you actually get to park your car and walk though Nose Creek Park. No drive-by viewing here—dress warmly and plan to spend a good 45 minutes strolling the whole pathway system. Warm yourself by a bonfire, sip some hot chocolate and, if the weather’s right, bring your skates down to the pond. The festival, presented by Vesta Properties, keeps adding more activities and fun for all ages—from camel rides (get your picture taken, too!) and train rides, to the Co-op children’s activity tent, where little fingers make a wonderful mess of icing, sprinkles and cookies. The Zytech Stage has grown to encom-

pass a wide variety of talented performers, and the schedule gets fuller each year. This year includes the return of the wildly successful Festival Idol competition, presented by The Range. Last year, Canadian Idol runnerup Jaydee Bixby was a guest performer in the festival finale, and entertainment co-ordinator Theresa Wasden promises a stellar lineup of acts for 2008. Monday, December 1, the lights are turned on. Official opening ceremonies are on Saturday, December 6, complete with special entertainment, the arrival of you-knowwho and plenty of fireworks. More fireworks (a Propak Systems tradition since day one) and a family dance wrap up the season on December 31—and there’s a great reason to visit every day in between. More than 55,000 people thought so last year. Airdrie residents are starting to discover that the festival has so many different activities and special events, that they plan to visit at least once a week. Plus, the festival is the perfect destination when out-of-town guests arrive. Out-of-town visitors account for nearly 70 per cent of the traffic through the

park each year. Christmas Eve is one of the largest nights, and if there is a light snowfall, it becomes almost magical. The Airdrie Festival of Lights is organized and operated by more than 700 volunteers who put in more than 6,000 hours each season. As the festival is non-profit, it relies completely on sponsorships from area businesses and donations from visitors. Twenty dollars per family is a recommended donation since there is no admission or parking charge. It’s a great way to support the community and spread a little Christmas cheer with your family and friends. LIFE KEEP AN EYE OUT for the Festival Guide the third week

of November, or visit for a complete schedule of special events and entertainment

The glowdown

Nightly, December 1–31 6 p.m.–9 p.m. Admission and parking are free Bring your toonies for train rides. Independent vendors provide snacks, beverages. Donations are strongly encouraged

Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 17

LIFEstyle | Column

That’sLIFE By Stacey Carefoot

Dinner with Rico

Behind every door of every

OK, to set the story straight, they didn’t exactly invite us

household in this city there’s

to dinner. My husband and I had first met the Pachecos when we both were dropping of our children on their first day of kindergarten. Between tears and anxiety we managed to share a warm hello that August morning eight years ago, and our paths have crossed numerous times since. Learning early on in our friendship that Rico Pacheco, who now operates a family business, was a former chef for some pretty high-end establishments, I hounded him and his wife Loy relentlessly until they finally, out of pity and in hopes of getting me off their backs, invited us to dinner. Rico immigrated to Canada from Chile with his family at the age of eight, during a time of political unrest in Chile. Canada represented the possibility for a new life and a chance to follow new dreams. After obtaining his double red-seal accreditation from SAIT, Rico went on to work for what is now the Fairmont Hotel chain, travelling across the country, gaining experience and knowledge in some of the country’s most famous kitchens. Rico’s Chilean roots shone through during the first course of our dinner. The Pachecos pulled out a few simple ingredients and created pebre, a fabulous, fresh twist on salsa. When I first tasted it, I felt instantly like I was on a seaside patio on some tropical island, rather than at the island in the Pacheco’s kitchen. Following the pebre and after a couple glasses of white wine, we were treated to a crab cake appetizer that Rico had been making during our wine intermission. The crab cakes were delicious—the perfect presage for the main course to come. Everyone has a favourite meal; mine is peppercorn steak. Coincidentally, the Pachecos had chosen this as our main course—without so much as a hint from me (it’s bad enough that I invited myself to dinner; I have more tact than to place an order). So, as my husband and I visited with Loy, Rico went to work slicing, dicing and preparing. He interjected in the conversation here and there, but it was clear he was concentrating on his craft in the kitchen. “We’re almost ready,” Rico announced—just before he set the kitchen on fire! Panicking, I reached for the phone to dial 9-1-1, but was intercepted when Loy explained that the fire was on purpose: Rico was flambéing the peppercorn sauce. Seriously, I didn’t know you could do that at home. When I come across the word “flambé” in a recipe book, I read, “Turn the page; this is way over your head.” As we sat with the Pachecos to enjoy our meal, we found that the only thing better than the food were the stories we shared. It is remarkable how much you find out about someone—where they come from and where they’re going—when you just take the time to listen. A great evening was topped off with generous helpings of homemade apple pie, à la yours truly. It’s the least one can do when one invites themself LIFE to dinner!

a story just waiting to be told. In this, the first edition of That’sLIFE, columnist Stacey Carefoot gets a chance to go inside one Airdrie household to share a story of hidden talent, outstanding skill and great friendship. It all started when the Pachecos invited her to dinner . . . PHOTOS BY KRISTY REIMER

Dinner Menu Pebre with tortilla chips Crab cakes on organic greens with balsamic vinaigrette Pepper steak, grilled asparagus, roasted baby potatoes with lemon Homemade apple pie

18 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

Recipe Pebre (PE-bray) (pictured on page 15)

A staple in Chilean households—goes well with everything 2 large ripe tomatoes, finely diced 1 large onion (we like sweet, but any will work), finely diced cilantro (use most of a bunch, no stems), finely chopped jalapeno (your call—you like it hot, use it all), finely chopped juice of one lemon salt to taste 2 tbsp (approx.) olive oil Stir to mix; let sit for a bit to let the flavours blend. Serve with tortilla chips, chicken, steak, pork, eggs, crackers.

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Lifestyle | Health

FitLIFE with Joan Bell

Turning winter woes into wellness The happiest people are tHOSE with their health. In every issue of AirdrieLIFE we’ll explore Local fitness and wellness options with area wellness advocates. In this issue, Joan Bell shows that Airdrie has plenty of choices to encourage you to stay in shape over the winter months

In Airdrie, it often seems that winter lasts for six months. For some people that means lots of outdoor activities—skiing, tobogganing, skating, snow angels. For others it means countless hours at the hockey arena or skating rink, warming up with a Tim Horton’s coffee and hauling the kids to early morning practices. For still others, it means turning to a good book and a cozy spot by the fire instead of going for a daily run. Airdrie offers myriad fitness opportunities through the long cold months— just flip to page 98 in this issue to discover how many sports and recreational clubs and organizations are located here. Organized activities through the winter include curling, gymnastics, hockey, martial arts, bowling, ringette, skating, swimming and, of course, hockey. For those who are not into organized or team sports, Airdrie is a city of diversity, with plenty of fitness alternatives to keep you active all year long. Enjoy the warm Chinook winds and the city’s green spaces by getting outside for a breath of fresh air. Go for a walk on a sunny day on one of Airdrie’s bike paths or through our parks, including Nose Creek and East Lake. When the weather turns chilly, head indoors to one of Airdrie’s many great fitness facilities. Check out the In the City Guide for all the programs offered at Genesis Place. In addition to pool programs and the weight-training room, you’ll find a wide variety of youth and adult aerobic and fitness offerings. Curves offers their own special blend of fitness for women, and Goodlife Fitness Club, upstairs in Superstore, also caters specifically to women, with weight and fitness machines and drop-in classes. Penny Peacock-Walmsley of Big Bear’s Fitness Centre has a background in body-building, and can assist you with your fitness and weight-training goals—whether they be getting in shape or going for gold. Why not try yoga this winter? It’s a great way to unwind, build up body strength and regain flexibility. Airdrie Yoga Studio offers three types of yoga: from gentle yoga for those with injuries or looking for a gentle introduction to yoga; to hatha yoga, the basic form of yoga; and flow yoga, for those seeking more of a challenge. You can attend on either a registered or drop-in basis and enjoy the serene surroundings. Genesis Place also offers yoga classes. If you choose to be more active in the winter, try a dance class. Check out your options at Airdrie Yoga Studio, Genesis Place, Airdrie Dance Academy, Shimmy Dance Productions, Star Baton & Dance Company or Ambition Performing Arts. For a more intense fitness challenge, join one of the boot camps offered in Airdrie. Airdrie Yoga Studio holds eight-week indoor boot camps for women. The Studio’s Ladies Get Fit! Boot Camp program includes a nutrition seminar, three-times-a-week cardio workouts and great instructors. Check out other boot camp programs offered in Airdrie through Genesis Place, Sculptures, and the Mom and Baby Stroller Boot Camp. Airdrie offers many ways to keep fit this winter. Don’t let the cold weather turn you into a couch potato, hiberLIFE nating until spring. Get out there and keep active! JOAN BELL is owner of the Airdrie Yoga Studio

20 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

...for Ravenswood. Our next exceptional Airdrie community. Only 20 minutes from Calgary with all the amenities and services you expect.

8 delightful showhomes opening late summer’08. Broadview • NuVista • McKee • Sterling


LIFEstyle | PETS

Clockwise from left: Renae Warne, ADHS; Don Doolan, Talisman Homes; Teresa Greene, Talisman Homes; Avtar Klair, Prominent Homes; Gerry Lamont, Lamont Land; Sergio Russo, Prominent Homes; Peter Jensen, Lamont Land; and Jacqui Cooper, ADHS

Establishing a fostering program

Aid animals for Airdrie and area

Lamont Land (Prairie Springs) and builder partners join forces to help the Airdrie Humane Society get rolling—literally, with a new car STORY BY ALEX FRAZER-HARRISON | PHOTO BY KRISTY REIMER


hanks to the generosity of a local developer, Airdrie’s new humane society is getting off to a strong start. A brightly coloured 2008 Chevy HHR has hit the road, providing transportation for animals being aided by the Airdrie and District Humane Society. Lamont Land Inc., developer of Prairie Springs and Luxstone Landing, collaborated with builder partners Gallery Homes, Talisman Homes and Prominent Homes to make the donation a reality. “We thought it fit well,” says Lamont office administrator Susan Westersund. “Most people when they buy a new house . . . like to get a pet,” she explains. “We didn’t know Airdrie had a humane society, but we found out one was just starting up,” Westersund continues, “so we approached them and said, ‘We don’t have $100,000 to put into a building fund, but what else could you use?’ They said a vehicle to transport animals would be great—they had no way 22 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

to transport supplies or help take pets to the vet or anything.” Westersund says Gerry Lamont of Lamont Land suggested the HHR, instead of a standard van, which she says“can be expensive to operate, big and clunky. So he came back to us and said he’d found the ’08 HHR . . . He wouldn’t take a penny for it.” The HHR was a lease return with only 15,000 kilometres on the dial. “This will be awesome for us,” says ADHS president Renae Warne. “The nice thing about having this vehicle donated is it shows us people care about the cause as much as we do. And the vehicle also raises awareness in the community.” Warne says the ADHS will be looking to community support to help the society operate. “Ideally we’re looking for corporate sponsorship,” she says, to enable the society to LIFE build its own facility.

for pets and building a facility all its own—these are just two items on the Airdrie and District Humane Society’s to-do list after receiving official humane society status from the minister of agriculture. “Everyone is aware of animal abuse and stray animals, but not having an option in Airdrie, we needed to create one rather than always transporting animals to [humane societies] in Cochrane and Calgary,” says ADHS president Renae Warne. One goal of ADHS is to relieve pressure on the other two humane societies, while providing an option to keep needy pets and animals in the Airdrie community. Warne says the role of ADHS will also be one of education and awareness-raising, citing recent high-profile animal abuse cases in Didsbury and elsewhere as catalysts for the form ation of the society. “One of our main goals is to educate people about responsible pet ownership,” she says. “We plan to be in the schools . . . Hopefully our presence will teach kids about the importance of animals.” The ADHS covers areas including Irricana, Didsbury and Crossfield. Warne says its first priority is to set up a foster home network for animals in need, as an interim measure before either reuniting the pet with its family, or adopting it out. Also on the agenda is seeking corporate and public support for the construction of a facility, she says. Is your pet AirdrieLIFE cover material?

For more informatioN, call 403-980-0119 or visit

Go online and enter our “Cover Pet”

contest at


Blunston Dental Group â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you want a Hollywood smile, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to go to Hollywood to get itâ&#x20AC;?

A gentle silence and muted tones on the wall greet clients entering the Blunston Dental Group office. A splash of green on the walls, with metal and glass sculptures, adds a funky modern feel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you want a Hollywood smile, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to go to Hollywood to get it,â&#x20AC;? laughs Thayne Blunston. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s available here.â&#x20AC;? Underneath the polished veneer is a group of caring professionals who make their clients feel like more than just another appointment. In 2000, Blunston, who graduated from Dalhousie University 12 years ago, started the Westsyde Dental Clinic in Airdrie. After a few years, he decided to move in a new direction. After extensive training at the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dental Studies, Blunston started focusing on cosmetic and neuromuscular dentistry. From smile makeovers, to full-mouth rehabilitation, to restorative/general dentistry, Blunston Dental Group works with the client to achieve both oral and overall health and wellness. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are a comprehensive dental office,â&#x20AC;? stresses Blunston. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Everyone gets a thorough exam, but then the treatment is individualized based on what we find.â&#x20AC;? With advanced technology, Blunston Dental Group offers solutions that focus on long-term health and client convenience. With the Velscope, a non-invasive oral cancer detection system, Blunston emits a light into the mouth that measures the fluorescence of the tissue. Healthy and abnormal tissue fluoresces differently. Blunston is able

LIFEstyle | Food to assess the results immediately, so any treatment can start quickly. Blunston also uses digital 3D imaging x-ray technology to look at bone, jaw joint, airway and sinus structure. He can assess posture and bite problems. In keeping with their overall health strategy, Blunston can give his patients a strategy to deal with potential long-term issues. Using the new E4D milling system, same-day dentistry for crowns has arrived. By using a high-speed laser scanner, multiple images are taken of the affected tooth. A computer-aided model helps produce a perfect restoration from high-quality ceramic or composite materials in a short period of time. Blunston fits the crown in the same visit. One of the most exciting dental options at Blunston is the Pure Power Mouthguard, which is used by high-level and weekend athletes for protection as well as improved performance. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When the jaw is in the optimal relaxed position, it allows the rest of the body to achieve its potential,â&#x20AC;? explains Blunston, who has fitted an Olympic swimmer and other elite athletes. After relaxing the patientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s facial and jaw muscles, Blunston fits the mouthguard accordingly. Athletes are always looking for an edge, and the Pure Power Mouthguard can greatly improve their abilities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To see people become more outgoing and at ease with themselves after dental work is a really rewarding part of dentistry,â&#x20AC;? states Blunston. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want everyone to achieve their full oral health potential; we want you to be your best.â&#x20AC;?

Gourmet J



The sweet smell of success




Be your best.

ill Munday is incredibly good at multitasking. As she glides through her modest but well-organized kitchen, setting timers and adjusting equipment, it becomes evident sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a girl who not only knows what sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s doing, she loves what she does. Munday is the executive chef and owner of Airdrie-based Gourmet Gateau, a specialty baking business with a flair for creating decadent and edible works of art for all occasions. Since its inception in 2004, Gourmet Gateau has flourished and Munday, a member of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, has had to become a disciplined home-based business owner. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I now limit myself to making three cakes a day and filling two major orders in a week,â&#x20AC;? Munday says, a statement thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a little hard to fathom for those of us who may not have baked three cakes in a lifetime. In addition Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 25

BLUNSTONairdrieLIFEhalfPAGE.indd 1

8/27/08 12:36:19 PM

LIFEstyle | Food

to her custom orders, she has standing orders with Benjamin’s Coffee House and the Urban Treehouse, providing both Airdrie businesses with tasty treats for their customers on a regular basis. Hidden deep in the basement of the home Munday shares with her husband and two young children is her custom-designed, professional-grade kitchen filled with cake decorating supplies, pans, cookie sheets and ingredients. Shelves packed with trimmings and trappings provide everything she needs to customize her orders. “I don’t have a selection of two or three cakes for my customers to choose from,” says Munday. “Each one is custom-designed specifically for the client,” she continues. Cooling racks are filled with cupcakes and cookies right out of the oven and wedding cakes are lined up for decorating. There are no mixes to be found here, no 26 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

vats of commercially prepared icing, and nowhere in this kitchen will you find a low-fat or sugar-free product. “If you want a treat, it should be worth it,” she jokes. While creating gorgeous and delectable cupcakes and cookies and everything in between, Munday’s dedication and determination have boosted her business and are the reason she’s been a two-time sugar craft design award winner in Calgary’s Western Showcase Competition. Munday has also received international recognition—three of her cake designs have been published in the British magazine Cakes & Sugarcraft. Her wedding cake creations have travelled across the country and around the world. Munday, a Red Seal chef, admits she’s always had a sweet tooth and a passion for desserts. “When we travel, it’s not unusual for me to load up on desserts instead of a meal,” says Munday who, through the good fortune of a high metabolism or lucky genetics doesn’t show any physical signs of being able to pack away copious amounts of sugary delights.“We eat dessert in my house every day,” she taunts. “It was a little hard for my husband to get used to, but now he’s OK with it,” she laughs. You don’t have to be a bride-to-be or host a huge event to employ Munday’s services; she often prepares desserts for dinner parties and other small functions around the city at a reasonable cost. Gourmet Gateau’s comprehensive website is packed full of information and pricing. Munday, like many flourishing artists, dreams of making it big. “I’m going to make a cake that will be on the Oprah show one day,” she says. In the meantime, as she awaits her call from Oprah, it’s Airdronians who continue to benefit from her sweet offerings, giving us the ability to have our cake, and eat LIFE it too!

Guys& Dolls

Lifestyle | Fashion

Who needs 17th Ave. in Calgary? We’ve got the goods right here

Shopping & Styling by Jeanine Froggatt Photos by Kristy Reimer

This guy’s gotta have it Nomis hoodie, Lifetime tee, LRG jeans, Let’s hear it for the girl

Foursquare belt, DC hat, Sheckler shoes, Vestel watch. All from Sully’s

Dragon hoodie, Nikita Merga Crew sweater, Lifetime jeans, Electric “Lead” sunglasses, Nixon belt, Insight toque, Nikita necklace, Nixon bag and watch, Ethnies shoes. All from Sully’s

Little looks Pink Chicken dress/ leggings, Petit Lem sleepset, Wild Mango tee and cargo pants— all from Kiddo & Co. Hoodie, sweater, tee and jeans, all Quicksilver. Shoes by Vans. All from Get More online!

Jill shares her secret recipe for perfect butter frosting at

Sully’s Knit beanies and onesie from Cater Tot

Fall/Winter AirdrieLIFE 27 Fall/Winter 2008 2008 || AirdrieLIFE 27

Fashionistas e and ur tru o ead R from ing stories z . ama shoppers al y ld our lo y cou stor Your your Get on . t x et be ne and g s e o h ing s shopp here! over

I have been shopping at S’in Style since the first month it opened. The first time I walked in it felt like I was walking into a friend’s huge walk-in closet with all the clothes I love. Lisa was quick to greet me and made me feel so comfortable and welcome. She has continued to be my fashion consultant two years later! I have a lot of friends who live out of town and when they come to visit their first question is “When are we going to S’in Style?” My reply is always “As soon as you get here!” At work my co-workers comment on my clothes, “Did you get that at S’in Style?” My reply is always “yes”. I work full time and have two kids so I don’t have a lot of time to shop. S’in Style is very convenient and has all the clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories I need for my busy lifestyle. 


ce ing at S’in Style sin I have been shopp the at ors ed her do the day Lisa open my . I can remember za Pla y lle Va Yankee Bush Joe of ir pa A e. as exciting first purch nd a very unique bra jeans. Joe Bush is en ev ns jea made my of jeans but what m the d ha a Lis that more special was Irish and even had the me for ed siz m sto cu m tto bo the l imprinted on Claddagh symbo s wa It d)! ste at I reque of the pant leg (th ve one else would ha no t tha ed nte guara de just ma re we y the y these jeans, the wa for ME. nd —Rianna Drummo

I feel I must take the time to write a testimonial letter to let others know what a great store S’in Style has been for me. At first I thought this store was ‘too young’ for me, but Lisa assured me that most of her clientele are 30+, so I continued to try on these fabulous clothes. Lisa was absolutely outstanding in determining my needs and taste.  She kept bringing me clothes that she thought would work for me, certain styles I had not even considered.  An upbeat, fun fashion store was desperately needed here and S’in Style has filled this void.  I have told many of my friends about S’in Style because when they compliment me on a new outfit, they just don’t know whether I purchased it in Paris, Montreal, Los Angeles or Orlando.  I just whisper in their ear - S’in Style!  —Karla Reinhard

a breath in Style is like Walking into S’ d an the friendly of fresh air! From ndy tre d an the unique helpful staff to has yle St in S’ , ice eat pr fashions at a gr it all and more! rowski —Nikole Kozd

Day to night in one sweater!

Derek Alexander purse and copper necklace, from Side Street

For daytime, try this Spicy Sugar cardie with a Liliblue blouse and Mexx bottoms. In the evening (right), switch to a Donna cami-

Styling in silver

sole and Angel jeans.

Jeans, sweater and

All at S’in Style

jacket—all Spanner. Fashionable weekend ahead

Derek Alexander purse

Naughty Monkey shoes, Mexx shirt, D.E.P.T.

and Pladium necklace.

skirt, Guess purse. All from S’in Style

s’ in style women’swear

All from Side Street

Fashion Forward

Since S’in Style opened it has become my one-stop shopping spot. I know that if I’m searching for something special and unique I’ll find it here!  The service is amazing even if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for you they will help you find it.  Whether it’s a special occasion outfit or a new pair of jeans I will always find it here!  I don’t know how many times I’ve searched all over Calgary just to come back home and find it at S’in Style.  Now I don’t even bother shopping anywhere else.  Thank you to Lisa and S’in Style for making shopping so much fun!

I tell everyone I meet about S’in Style it is by far my favorite store...ever. —Tammy Quam

207-960 Yankee Valley Blvd. Airdrie, Alberta 403-945-0388 SHOP ONLINE…FREE SHIPPING

Lifestyle | Fashion

—Kari Becker

Airdrie women know a thing or two about style and they don’t have to leave town to find it

Not your boring office type Joseph Ribkoff skirt, Tribal


S’in Style Fashionistas

Top to bottom L.A.-designed

shirt, Louben coat, Christina C necklace. All from Side Street

Sinful tanks (below). Denim (from top) by Dereon, Paris Hilton, Guess and Apple Bottoms. All at S’in Style

rs! I ed by your lette I am overwhelm ference dif are making a love knowing we your f of ep showing in your lives. Ke there be to e inu ll cont style. And we wi every way. to help you in le —Lisa Silvernag yle St in S’ r ne Ow

Fall/Winter Fall/Winter 2008 2008 || AirdrieLIFE 29

Lifestyle | Fashion



A career path

that feels like a walk in the park…


the little dress gets accessorized

Foxy Jeans dress, Guess purse (black), designer belt, Naughty Monkey leopard print shoes. All S’in Style Cuff watches, earrings, necklaces and bracelets, Nine West purses—all available at Pharmasave

Sukhy and Keith Leprieur with son, Liam Sukhy, New Connects Coordinator, and Keith, Apprentice Power Line Technician, Airdrie Field Operations

Sheldon Kerr, Contact Centre Agent

Tyler Hutton, Power Line Technician

Gord Hofer and Dan Plantinga, Distribution Planners

FortisAlberta moves to Airdrie….come join our team! If you live in Airdrie or surrounding area, why not let your career path lead you to the electric distribution utility business at FortisAlberta? The Company is opening a new office in Kingsview Heights Industrial Park that will house 300 employees. You can join FortisAlberta’s customerfocused employees working in areas such as dispatch, contact centre, new service quotations and connections, procurement, engineering, project management, information technology and field operations. FortisAlberta owns and operates 106,000 kilometres of power lines and serves more than 448,000 Albertans in communities like Airdrie. The Company is committed to meeting the needs of its customers and providing safe and reliable electrical service while supporting the growth and development of its more than 1,000 employees.

30 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

If you would like to join the FortisAlberta team in Airdrie, please send a copy of your resume to referencing “Airdrie position” or visit to apply for specific positions.

LIFEstyle | Entertainment

Bert Church

Get more out of


Live Theatre Tanning… Look Good, Feel Great!

Lisa Brokop

Plaid Tongued Devils

Outerbridge, Magical Moments in Time

West Side: 205 - 304 Main Street

The Calgary Philharmonic kicks off the 2008/2009 season


East Side: 805 East Lake Blvd.


BY JENNIFER CORMIER We’ve got a brand new format for

the 2008/2009 season, with performances in two series: the Professional Series, featuring internationally renowned touring acts; and the Community Arts Series, highlighting family-friendly local talent from Airdrie and Calgary. The Professional Series opens October 15 with the annual community concert by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. Sponsored by the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, this performance brings some of the classics to our community. International Guitar Night (IGN) takes to the Bert Church stage in November. Since 1995, IGN has featured the best performing guitar composers from around the world. A unique brand of “guitar positivity” has helped make IGN the most successful guitar showcase of its kind in North America. Everyone’s favourite Christmas ballet, Tchaikovsky’s musical fantasy The Nutcracker, returns to the Bert Church Live Theatre in December—a seasonal family 32 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

tradition in Airdrie. January 2009 brings the world of hockey to the stage. Todd Williams is living his own worst nightmare: his daughter is hooked on hockey and he’s trapped in a rink-side dressing room with his childhood demons. Hockey Dad: A Play in Three Periods, an interactive story of one man’s turbulent return to the game his father loved, will delight audiences of all ages. The theatre will see lots of activity in February, beginning with a spectacular songwriters’ session on February 5 featuring the Borderlanders—Sylvia Tyson, Ron Hynes, Gretchen Peters and Graham Isaacson. Visit for more information. On Friday the 13th, we will bring a little magic to the stage. Ted Outerbridge’s worldclass illusion show—Outerbridge, Magical Moments in Time—has played to sold-out houses and standing ovations across Canada and Europe. Ted and his wife Marion reach into the minds and hearts of audiences, tak-

ing them on a magical journey through time. We end the month of February on a high note, with international country superstar Lisa Brokop. She will be touring her newly released album, Beautiful Tragedy. The month of March brings Hotel California, the original Eagles tribute band, to Airdrie. From eighties rock, we slide into good old-fashioned fun with the Prairie Mountain Fiddlers—back by popular demand. This annual event is always sold out, so get your tickets early! We end the Professional Series in April with two performances. Ten Lost Years, adapted from the novel by Barry Broadfoot, brings to life the stories of an entire generation of Canadians who lived their formative years during the Great Depression. For our final performance of the season we bring you one of Canada’s most original and entertaining bands. The Plaid Tongued Devils have played with such Canuck greats as Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea and the Skydiggers.

Our Community Arts Series will feature local favourites such as Airdrie Little Theatre, Extreme Rock, Airdrie Community Choir, Airdrie Family Theatre, Calgary Opera and the annual My Child concert and silent auction. Come out and support our local talent! We have introduced new performance packages this season. The more shows you purchase, the larger your discount. Purchase tickets for two to three different shows at 10 per cent off the ticket price; four to five shows, 15 per cent off; and six or more shows at 20 per cent off the ticket price. Tickets for all performances are available by calling the theatre at our new phone number, 403-948-8824, or at our two Airdrie ticket outlets— Music Centre Canada and Page and Turners Bookstore. We look forward to seeing LIFE you at the theatre! Jennifer Cormier is publicist for the Bert Church Live Theatre.

A place for kids,with parents in mind

Visit us online for hours & events

LIFEstyle | Music





Lou Rye

Jayman Innovations - Reunion Starting at

$285,930 includes lot & GST

As low as $1011 per month*

AirdrieLIFE introduces a new feature this issue on up-and-coming or established musicians in the Airdrie area. We are pleased that our first profile is with legendary musician Lou Rye

Jayman MasterBUILT - Reunion


Starting at


Dead or alive, who would you like to be on stage with? Carlos Santana. He’s been a role model for me since the 1960s. He expresses himself so much through his music. You can tell it comes straight from the heart. LIFE:

includes lot & GST

As low as $1401 per month*

What do you think of the music scene in Canada? Canada has its own unique style. It’s “folk rock pop”–based. I’ve lived in Vancouver and Montreal. Wherever I go, there are some really talented musicians. However, I don’t believe musicians are being supported in Canada. It seems you have to go international to get your fame and fortune. Making a living as a musician in Canada is difficult. LIFE:

What is your most memorable performance? Well, there’s a couple. I played a matinée performance at Woodstock. Before Woodstock, I played in front of 80,000 people at an outdoor concert in Arkansas. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan were there, as well. I can’t remember what the concert was supporting, but I think it was about civil rights.

Jayman MasterBUILT - Kings Heights YANKEE VALLEY RD




















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includes lot & GST

See your area representative for information. Homes available for quick possession. j a y m a n . c o m

Reunion Jayman MasterBUILT 957 Reunion Gateway NW 403.912.2162 Area Manager: Dennis Fitzpatrick

What’s your favourite type of music? Chicago blues is my bread and butter, but Spanish and Latino is where my soul is. It’s very emotional music. LIFE:

LIFE: Do you prefer big venues or small ones? I need both. In a small place, I feel very humble as the people are right in front of me. But there is nothing like playing with four or five of my favourite musicians to lots of people.

What’s next? My dream is to play with my own show band at the Vancouver Olympics. I want to LIFE record more CDs, as well—I have a lot of music in me. LIFE:

*PI, based on 15% down payment, 35 year amortization, variable rate of 4.15%, OAC. Clients to qualify at a 3 year posted rate. Rates subject to change without notice. E&O apply.

Reunion Innovations 2015 Reunion Blvd NW 403.980.1906 34 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008 Area Manager: Kym Daigle

Music Centre Canada offers music lessons in drums, guitar, bass, piano, voice and violin. Students of all ages are welcome to learn.


Starting at



King’s Heights Jayman MasterBUILT 1430 King’s Heights Blvd NW 403.420.1962 Area Manager: Terry Jackson Building is our Passion. No Apologies.

LAY AWAY & GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE #8 125 Main St Airdrie PH. 403-948-1116 Monday - Friday: 10:00am to 9:00pm Saturday: 10:00am to 6:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm to 5:00pm





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403-948-2121 36 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008


Then and Now | 41

Screen Time | 53

Where the Art Is | 55

Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE

Community | Column

LIFEtimes by Ellen Kelly

Brownie Points


Sometimes we just need to make brownies

’m standing at my kitchen counter making

I can’t heal him. I can’t lessen his parents’ worry. I

brownies. This decadent little family recipe con-

can’t keep myself from feeling terribly sad. So I wan-

tains a pound of butter, two cups of sugar, four

der aimlessly, trying to find something soothing,

eggs and way too much chocolate. Depending

something I can actually accomplish. Something that

on how the spirit moves me, the whole pan can conceiv-

turns out right.

ably be eaten in a day. I don’t need brownies—nobody needs brownies—but I need brownies.

I know there is danger in a diet loaded with cholesterolproducing fats and white sugar. I know that a healthy

Sometimes, when life throws in a lemon, we seek com-

diet of fruits and vegetables, balanced proteins and

forts from our childhood. I didn’t enjoy school and

whole grains can prevent a multitude of hideous af-

came home regularly feeling gloomy, but often when

flictions. My mind tells me not to lose control, but my

I got there, a fresh-baked snack would be waiting to

heart is breaking anyway. Sometimes we just need to

accompany my after-school glass of milk. Sometimes

make brownies.


there was a piece of lemon loaf, sometimes delicious oatmeal cookies, and sometimes there was my favourite—gooey, chocolatey brownies. My mother made the best brownies in the world (see ingredients above). Somehow, after that snack and a settling conversation, I always felt better. I’ve been grown up for a long time now; it is no longer possible to have comforting conversations with my mother, and these days the problems are too large for even her to solve. A seriously ill grandson weighs heavily on my mind and all I can do is watch.

Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 39


Community | Family

ThenNow and

In the very first issue of AirdrieLIFE in 2004 we featured three families who loved their city. We checked in on them, and discovered the love is still there. Here’s to family life in Airdrie! STORY BY SHERRY SHAW-FROGGATT | PHOTOS BY KRISTY REIMER


Maritime themed architecture creates a prairie oasis


esidents, enjoying their first cup of coffee on their patio, listen to the plaintive call of a gull as it breaks the silence. Water laps softly against a gently-sloping rocky shore. Colourful homes reminiscent of the Maritimes are reflected in the still water. Is this Halifax? No. This is Bayside in Airdrie, and it’s as innovative as its designers. “We wanted to be different,” says P.S. Sidhu, production manager with Genesis Builders Group. “Our goal was to create a community that would set us apart.” They succeeded. The Bayside community is a multi-phase development that will provide new housing in Airdrie for many years to come. Six kilometres of gently circulating water winds through thickly treed walkways and bike paths before reaching a five-acre lake, which helps create a coastal feel in the heart of the Prairies. “We wanted to foster a strong recreational theme, where families could stroll beside the canal or float down it on hot summer days,” says Sidhu on the choice of a prominent water feature for this community. Other amenities include tot lots, a newly opened elementary school and a soon-to-be-developed waterfront commercial zone. Reliant Homes, Evolution Homes and Majestic Homes, all exclusive

to Genesis Builders Group, offer many home styles to suit the most discerning clients. Reliant offers a variety of home plans with back lanes and cement garage pads. With generous porches and landscaped front yards, you can start enjoying your new home upon moving in. Evolution Homes has a number of single family models with attached garage available for clients looking to move up from their starter home. While all models can be modified, if a home designed for your family’s specific needs is on your wish list, Majestic Homes specializes in custom and estate homes. Higher-end features like granite counters and hardwood floors are standard with Majestic. “Our home layouts are very open to maximize the space—they are designed for ease of entertainment and living enjoyment,” says Sidhu, adding that show homes should be complete by the end of the year With Phases 1 through 3 complete, Phase 4 is now underway. The large lots—many backing onto the canal—and generous green spaces are ideal for families, young couples or anyone desiring a distinctive lifestyle. Bayside is the epitome of Genesis Builders Group’s motto—“Freedom of choice, freedom of design.” Why live anywhere else? For more information contact Lynn Abrams at 403-980-3015


Mark and Brenda Nielsen enjoy some downtime with Kelsey and Cody


The Nielsens

The Nielsens were the first family featured in AirdrieLIFE to talk about what they loved about Airdrie and why they chose to make it home. Back in 2004, Mark, Brenda, Cody, now 16, and Kelsey, now 10, lived in their Thorburn neighbourhood—more than content with their decision to move from Calgary. In the early fall of 2006, though, they were ready to move into a bigger home. But they couldn’t give up the neighbourhood. “We live in the best part of Airdrie,” says Mark, “We’ve made great friends here and loved the access to East Lake, the schools and all the facilities, from the pool to the arenas.” So they patiently waited for Qualico to develop the phase of Thorburn adjacent to East Lake, and started planning their dream home. They even went back to the same builder (ReidBuilt) because they were so pleased with the results the first time. Today the Nielsens can sit on their back deck overlooking East Lake and catch the sunset. “It’s our dream house in our dream location— we literally moved a block!” Mark says. From the teachers who have seen the progress of their children, to the coaches and team-mates who have helped them form great memories, Airdrie has provided Cody and Kelsey with a safe and nurturing environment to grow up in. The kids agree. “We had the opportunity to move out of the country two years ago and asked the kids, and they were adamant about staying in Airdrie,” says Brenda.“It’s been great growing up and playing hockey with the same friends since Grade 1,” Cody adds, and Kelsey, who is now a provincially ranked gymnast, says she loves that Airdrie is not as “busy as Calgary.” Mark’s job now has him travelling extensively, and the proximity of the Calgary International Airport is a bonus. “It allows me to do my job much easier when I can get to any city in the world with a minimum of connections.” Both Mark and Brenda admit they weren’t the biggest fans of Airdrie’s fast growth, but acknowledge that it has brought more jobs and even less of a reason to travel to Calgary. “We have everything we need right here,” says Mark.“Why would we leave Airdrie?” Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 41

Community | Family

The Labaits

Stacey and Jason Labait give daughter Riley a lift

Then 42 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008










Beginningsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what Jason and Stacey Labait were celebrating in our first issue. The picture of the two of them running out of the church, with their family and friends rejoicing at their nuptials, was a memorable moment captured on film. Since then, the Labaits have celebrated the birth of their first child, and today, moments caught by a camera centre on a precocious three-year-old named Riley who can sing all the words to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do-Re-Mi.â&#x20AC;? The family also bought a new home in Cooperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Crossing, and discovered a whole new world within Airdrie through Rileyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s eyes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve discovered how truly family-oriented this city is,â&#x20AC;? says Jason, now a platoon captain with Airdrie Emergency Services. The Labaits love their new neighbourhood in Cooperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Just about every house has young families,â&#x20AC;? Stacey says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve made some great new friends ourselves,â&#x20AC;? she adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so good to know Riley will have friends all around her.â&#x20AC;? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s if Riley has time. Riley keeps Stacey busy taking in the programs and swimming at Genesis Place.â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are so many options in town for young childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait for her to start dancing with Miss Susan [at the Airdrie Dance Academy].â&#x20AC;? But for starters, there is preschool this fall, and both Jason and Stacey are starting to pay close attention to the education scene in Airdrie. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want to be informed and involved,â&#x20AC;? Stacey says. The Labaits have always lived an active lifestyle, staying in shape, and Riley has simply redefined their idea of active. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Walks take a little longer,â&#x20AC;? Jason smiles, â&#x20AC;&#x153;but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OK.â&#x20AC;? Walking around the paths of their neighbourhood is just one of the things the Labaits love about Cooperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, but mostly the smiles come when they walk up the front steps. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When we moved in, it really felt like home,â&#x20AC;? Stacey says,â&#x20AC;&#x153;and it still does.â&#x20AC;? Every day begins anew in Cooperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, and the Labaits are loving every minute of it.

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Community | Family The Belles


Christy and Dave Belle enjoy a silly moment with Madeline, Owen and Nicholas (in front)

Then 44 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

In 2004, Dave and Christy Belle were running in every direction, chasing after three kids under the age of five. Getting them to sit still for our first cover was, well, a challenge. For this issue’s photo shoot, the challenge was getting them to stop laughing. As you can see, this is a family with a whole lot of love, and the kids have been taught not only excellent manners but a healthy sense of humour. The boys—Nicholas, 8, and Owen, 7—had lots to say about their hometown: they love school and riding their bikes around East Lake, and Nicholas is pretty pumped about starting “minis” basketball in the Airdrie Minor Basketball league. Madeline, 5, is a sweet girl with an infectious grin, who loves to colour and paint and skip rope—her list is endless. You would not know she is autistic, thanks to the early intervention and incredible support system the Belles discovered just outside their doorstep in Airdrie. “I am still in awe of the people and services available to us,” Christy says.“It has made a world of difference to Maddie, and to us as a family.” Family is number one—Christy and Dave have designed their work schedules so one parent is always home for the kids, and they recently started thinking ahead to a houseful of teenagers by purchasing a larger home in Meadowbrook. Staying within their school district was a priority; the family is very happy with the teachers and programs at R.J. Hawkey. And, like the Nielsen’s on page 41, they didn’t want to stray too far from their Thorburn neighbourhood. “We’ve made some great friends and still want to be invited to the annual Christmas Tree Tour Party,” Dave chuckles. The laughter is infectious, and soon everyone is forgetting about the camera and goofing around on the set. The LIFE Belles are just being themselves.


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“The play’s the thing”


Airdrie Little Theatre is big on talent STORY BY STACEY CAREFOOT | PHOTO BY KRISTY REIMER

They gathered in the Bert Church Live

Theatre. There weren’t many of them, but the ones who were there were prepared— some were nervous, all were determined. They were engineers, electricians, mothers and fathers, old friends and new friends, from all walks of life. The group that gathered has one thing in common: their love for the stage. Many of us love live theatre. But this group—the people who make up Airdrie Little Theatre—love acting in, directing and producing live theatre. Twice a year the troupe treats theatre-goers to a top-quality live performance, complete with sets, props and well-practised scripts. From the audition process through to opening night, the group is led by director Rob Christie. Christie, who had acted occasionally in junior high school, was bit by the acting bug as an adult, and in a very unlikely location—the oil patch. “I was working in the Northwest Territories, in the community of Hay River,” he recalls. “There was a drama club that put on a show once a year. My surveyor’s helper at that time had the lead role in Li’l Abner,” he continues,“and asked me to come out because 46 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

they needed more men. I showed up, they gave me a part, then took it away and gave me the lead protagonist plus two other roles.” Of his first experience Christie says, “I had a blast, and wanted to do more.” That was 1993. When Christie moved to Airdrie two years later, he answered a call for auditions in the local paper for Airdrie Little Theatre. He was soon cast in a play, and went on to perform in each of their biannual productions for the next eight years. Five years ago, Christie took on the role of director. Since 2003, Christie has been choosing the company’s plays from among scripts provided by Samuel French Inc., a publishing house for plays. “We get a catalogue once a year that gives the play’s title, the number of actors needed, what kinds of groups it’s suited for, and a short paragraph describing the play,” Christie explains. “We usually look for comedies, farces and the like,” he says.“When something grabs my attention, I’ll read the entire script either at the U of C or the public library, if available. If I laugh or I get a good feeling about a particular play,” Christie says, “we do it.” Back at the theatre, the group that has

gathered is busy following Christie’s direction. “Stand here; read this; do that again,” Christie instructs as he goes about the tricky task of auditioning actors for various roles. Already he has a vision for each of the 10 characters in the upcoming presentation of Exit the Body by Fred Carmichael. This three-act farce will be presented by this dedicated and talented group November 6–8 at the Bert Church Live Theatre. Also coming up at the Bert Church Live Theatre: Airdrie Family Theatre presents The Pirates of Jilligan’s Island, January 30–February 1, 2009. Airdrie Family Theatre is a community-based organization featuring the acting talent of local youth, aged 7–12. Last year the group performed an original play called Clueless, a three-act, Broadway-style performance that at times left the audience at the edge of their seats, and at other times had them rolling in the LIFE aisles with laughter. If you’re interested in becoming a part of Airdrie Little

Theatre, contact For ticket information, visit For more information about Airdrie Family Theatre, visit

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community | Culture











In the classroom, the Gwacheon exchange students gather supplies to start their English classes



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or 15 days this summer, Airdrie welcomed a group of young visitors from our sister city, Gwacheon, in South Korea. Thirty-two students aged 16–17, accompanied by four chaperones, arrived on July 25 for a reception to introduce them to their Canadian home-stay families. The exchange program marks its 11th anniversary in 2008. In the mid-1990s, representatives from Gwacheon came to Alberta in search of a twinning partner close to the mountains. Airdrie, pleased with the idea of a cultural exchange, was a perfect fit. Gwacheon (population approx. 75,000) and Airdrie share bedroom-community status to

nearby larger centres (Seoul and Calgary), and have a common connection to the 1988 Olympic Games: Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics; Seoul hosted the Summer Games. Soon after, agreement was reached on the twinning project, and the student exchange, with the goal of helping Korean students develop English skills, was initiated. Asked to reflect on the project, former mayor Dan Oneil says, “It’s a really good program. It exposes our children to another culture and they learn about our culture.” He is pleased that the exchange, which began during his tenure, continues to flourish. Each year, the City of Airdrie partners

with the community in arranging billets— two students per household, usually pairing one student with good English skills with a less fluent partner. Chaperones help with communication problems. Activities are planned throughout the two-week stay. “This year we really tried to showcase our own community,” says exchange co-ordinator Michael McAllister, a community developer with the City of Airdrie. He says the benefits to the students are obvious, but this year they wanted the city to feel the impact, too. “The shift we’ve tried to make is that it affects the community, as opposed to it [all being] for the students,” McAllister says. The students were shy, nervous and a Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 49

Community | Culture

The Harwood family gets to know their exchange students

little intimidated by the wide-open spaces, large homes and sparsely populated areas when they arrived, but soon started to feel right at home. Weekday mornings were spent in ESL classes, then students enjoyed afternoons bowling, visiting the Nose Creek Museum, the fire hall and the library, getting active at Genesis Place, participating in a Canada Day activity, and practising performances to be presented at the farewell banquet. Weekends offered unstructured time to enjoy activities planned by home-stay families. Students also spent a day in the mountains at Banff, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Two “conversation cafés” held at city hall invited community members to come and chat with the students. The students’ enthusiasm increased along with their English skills and, McAllister notes, “It was a great way for the community to learn about the program.” The laughter and lifelong friendships that blossom are just as important as the educational and cultural opportunities the exchange provides. Many families and students keep in touch through letters and e-mail. The final evening’s performance gave students an opportunity to express themselves with their newly acquired English skills—and to say thanks, and farewell. Home-stay families become involved in the program for a number of reasons. Dawn 50 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

Foster, first-time participant, says, “It makes me feel good that I am sharing my home.” She feels that helping and sharing are an important part of being Canadian. Sue and Ben Bernier also hosted for the first time. “It was an eye-opening experience because we saw everything . . . with a new perspective,” Sue says. She was also pleased to learn a great deal about Korea. Mac and Gina Horwood and their children have been a home-stay family before. They decided to participate again because it was fun, and enlightening for the whole family. “Learning the lifestyle of the Korean students is good,” Mac Horwood says, “because it lets the kids see that everyone doesn’t live like we do.” He considers his family “pretty average,” yet his Korean students told him their lifestyle would be available only to the most affluent two per cent of Koreans. “They are really amazed at how we live—how much we have and how little they have in comparison,” Horwood says. “Many want to come back to learn more about the culture, but also to learn about opportunities here.” Horwood is most impressed with how well the Korean students bonded with his young children. Both Bernier and the Horwoods commented on how enthusiastic the students were to try “Canadian” food during their stay and how much they enjoyed it. Sue says

one of her billets told her she was, “a more delicious cook than Korea”—quite a compliment from someone not used to our food and language. Both families look forward to hosting again. The exchange benefits individuals, families and the community. McAllister, program co-ordinator for the second time, says that gaining a better understanding of Korean culture was an important benefit for him. “We tend to generalize Asian culture,” he says. “Learning and understanding that the Korean culture is very different from other Asian cultures is important.” He feels strongly that tolerance and acceptance come from encounters such as the exchange. “As a community, we want to be accepting of everyone,” McAllister says. “It’s classic Sesame Street,” he adds, explaining,“you get people from different backgrounds doing different things, having a good time together.” Current council supports the project wholeheartedly. As for the future of the program, community members have commented on the value of a reciprocal agreement allowing Airdrie youth to travel to Korea. McAllister believes that “with enough support and enough interest from the community, this can be realized.” He also sees huge benefits to the community in terms of what Airdrie can learn from Gwacheon regarding environmental concerns and sustainability. Recruiting home-stay families is a challenge due to the timing of the exchange, which takes place over a long weekend each summer. “We probably get five to eight people every year who want to take part, but are going away. That’s a significant number of people,” says McAllister. The exchange is promoted at community venues like the Home and Garden Show, career fairs and other events. When a family expresses interest, the program is explained in detail, student accommodation is approved, and the family is asked to provide a criminal record check and a child welfare history search. Home-stay families support not only the program, but culture in the community as well. Next year, the City will be looking for home-stay families once again. To get involved, or for more information about the Korean exchange program, contact Michael LIFE McAllister at 403-948-8800.

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screen time

Community | People


Hollywood shmollywood—Airdrie has got a cast of thousands working behind and in front of the camera. Meet three people who are making it happen for themselves and others

Alyson Lockwood


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When Airdrie resident Alyson Lockwood was asked to contribute to the production of the Academy Award–winning motion picture Brokeback Mountain, she, like most, never dreamt it would be the resounding success it turned out to be. “I thought it would be one of those films that would end up on a shelf in the library somewhere,” says Lockwood, casting director and owner of Airdrie-based Classic Casting. Classic Casting has been providing extras casting for Alberta film and television productions for the past 11 years, a relatively short period of time considering the long list of movie productions that appear on Lockwood’s resumé. “It’s really not that glamorous,” says Lockwood as she explains all the hard work that goes into casting what can total up to thousands of extras for a movie production. Although she claims there is not much glamour in her job, she must have a certain je ne sais quoi in order to compete for, and land, many of the most notable productions that

have taken place in the area of late, including the Robin Williams hit RV. “Casting RV was a wonderful challenge,” says Lockwood, who was responsible not only for casting the background individuals, but also had the challenge of providing the producers with the recreational and other vehicles that appeared in the background of the movie. “I had no idea there were so many different types of trucks and campers,” she laughs. All joking aside, the life of an extras casting director isn’t all red carpets and Perrier.“In this industry we’re always under a time crunch,” says Lockwood.“We all have a specific job to do and we are all extremely focused while on set,” she continues. With hard work comes rewards and Lockwood is rewarded when she sees the end result, when a movie wraps and it’s time to look back and reflect on the hard work, long days and unavoidable frustrations. “All of the shows we’ve worked on have their own place, but it’s when we complete a piece that will have impact that I feel the best,” Lockwood says, citing Everest, the CBC miniseries based on the life of Erik

Weihenmayer, the only blind man in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Once Lockwood has secured a movie, she begins finding the individuals who will be used as extras in the production. This is done through casting calls and the use of local talent agencies. Individual productions call for an array of people depending on the plot and setting. Some productions require children, or specific ethnic backgrounds, body types or genders. It is Lockwood’s job—literally—to wrangle these people onto set and keep them contained with the help of her assistants during filming. “The people who work for me have a strong sense of what it takes to keep it all together,” says Lockwood, whose employees range in number depending on the workload. Last year, Classic Casting held a casting call in Airdrie for the production of Burn Up, a film staring Neve Campbell that was filmed on location right here in Airdrie. “It was nice working so close to home,” admits Lockwood. Taking on Talent

Airdrie resident Paul Ritchie and his family have been a part of the community for the past 11 years. After being introduced to the world of background acting by a friend, Ritchie’s wife Kirsten and their children began to land roles in numerous locally produced films and commercials, working through a Calgary-based talent company by the name of Talent Inc. When the former owners of the talent company planned to close their doors, the Ritchies saw it as an opportunity to change direction and open new doors of their own. They bought the business and have been Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 53

Community | Painting Pictures

Community | People

Paul Ritchie

operating Talent Inc. since April 2006. “It was a good fit,” says Ritchie, who has a background in marketing while his wife Kirsten has a background in music and theatre. “We represent talent in the areas of film, TV, print and photography,” Ritchie says as he begins to explain exactly what it is that his diverse company does.“We also represent people for voiceover and promotion modelling, and corporate spokespeople,” he continues. Representing this broad a range of talent means working with a lot of individuals. The Ritchies have seen their talent roster blossom from 225 in 2006 to nearly 500 today. Of those 500 background and principal actors, 25 are from Airdrie. Members of the Talent Inc. roster range in age from 3 to 85. They come from all ethnic backgrounds and with a wide variety of abilities and skills. Individuals represented by Talent Inc. have appeared in everything from principal roles for feature films to billboard advertisements. “Our goal is to increase our roster size to 850,” says Ritchie. He cautions, however, that this is not a business for everyone. “Do your research—make sure it’s what you want,” he says. The world of auditions, callbacks and spending days on end waiting on a movie or photo shoot set can be a tough one, warns Ritchie, who spends most of his days meeting with existing and prospective members of his growing roster, researching roles and arranging auditions. “One of the best parts of this job is seeing a member of our roster become part of a big movie,” says Ritchie. “We have recently had members appear in Heartland and Fear Itself,” he says, naming just a couple of the productions that actors with Talent Inc. have been involved in. Whether you’re interested in trying your hand at background work or believe you’re a star just waiting to be born, you may want to 54 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

consider becoming a part of the Talent Inc. roster. For more information, check out the Talent Inc. website at In the background

Brian Doucette is a typical guy. He goes to work each day at Propak in Airdrie, works the occasional overtime shift, comes home to his wife Renee and daughters Dayton and Danni, plays golf and slo-pitch, and enjoys as much time at the family cabin as possible. Oh, and he just happened to appear in the recent made-for-TV movie Burn Up. It was an innocent enough start. Back in October 2007, at a casting call for background performers at Towerlane Mall, Doucette signed up for “some movie about the clash between big oil and environmentalists,” he says. He didn’t think much of it, until he got the call to be on location at Olympic Plaza in downtown Calgary, and bring a few different changes of clothes. Doucette didn’t really know what to expect. A huge movie buff, he was excited to learn some of the behind-the-scenes business. He soon found out that the majority of the time put in by bit players is “pretty boring,” he says—“You sit around a lot and wait.” But the waiting would pay off; Doucette was called over for several crowd scenes. It was a long, 14-hour day, during which Doucette says he did about four hours of actual work—but a very enjoyable day, he adds. “I talked with a ton of people, most of whom

have been background extras before. One of the ladies I was sitting beside in one of the scenes had been in over 50 movies!” And it’s a small world, even on a movie set. “When I went out for our first scene,” Doucette recalls, “I ran into a friend, Brad from my ball team, who was dressed as a cop. So at least there was someone there who could show me the ropes.” Doucette says he didn’t do it for the money; he was after some first-hand experience, to get a better understanding of the film business. He discovered it’s a game of “hurry up and wait” for the extras, but he was overwhelmed by the work going on around him. “Even though there’s a lot of downtime, the camera and lighting crews, ADs [assistant directors], directors, and all craft services [the crew that supplies the food for everyone on set] work hard for their money. They are always on the go, overseeing everything you could possibly think of.” “I think the part of the day I enjoyed most was the riot scene, where I got to follow the stunt team over a knocked-down fence into the smoke, barking police dogs and SWAT team,” Doucette says.“That was really something.” He jokes that he made sure he was front and centre, and knew exactly where the camera was while filming. And, sure enough, his affable mug can be seen at least five times during the movie. He also says he got “this close” to star Neve Campbell during a sports stadium scene. And the best part? Doucette made the cover of the movie poster. OK, the side of his head did. “It was just like that scene in Monsters, Inc. where the Billy Crystal character is exhilarated that he is on the cover, only to discover his whole face is blocked by a sign. . . . My face is covered by a protest poster!” So next time you watch a made-inAlberta movie, watch for Brian Doucette, or one of hundreds of local, everyday people getLIFE ting to have a movie magic moment.

Where the

Art is

Veronica Funk is one of three Airdrie artists who share a passion for paint STORY BY ELLEN KELLY & Stacey Carefoot | PHOTOS BY KRISTY REIMER Brian Doucette

Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 55

Community | Painting Pictures

That’s very important to me.” She plans to attend the Alberta College of Art (ACAD) when she graduates. Besides consistently achieving an academic average of 85+, Rachel has played clarinet in the senior band since Grade 9 and has enjoyed trips to Edmonton and especially Halifax, where the band won gold in competition with other bands from across the country. She loves participating in the two school drama/musical productions each year and says her first, Lucky Dollar Private Eye, was her favourite because,“I was trying something new. I was really scared, so when I came out and did it I was very proud of myself.” More recently, she loved playing the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. “She’s very expressive,” says her teacher Sheila Stacey. “And she’s a great performer— a very well-rounded, artistic, creative gal and a lovely person to be around.”

The Artist


ife’s everyday comforts are the essence of Veronica Funk’s art. Her warm, colourful acrylic paintings of overstuffed sofas, wingback chairs, books, coffee cups and other familiar objects produce a welcoming, secure feeling that all is right with the world. Funk was raised in northern Manitoba— Leaf Rapids, the end of the road. “When we first moved there,” Funk recalls, “we had to take the train. There was no road.” As isolated as it was, Leaf Rapids had an amazing town centre that included a library and arts education centre. “They brought in original artwork and artists, and poets would visit. Lynn Johnson taught us how to cartoon. I loved the arts centre.” As a child, Funk knew she was an artist, but her formal fine art education began in high school in Edson, Alberta. “The Art program had a profound influence,” she says. “I had a great teacher who really extolled the basic principles of art—to draw properly, pay attention to line, form, shade, colour,” she says. “I learned more from her than from any teacher since.” Following high school, Funk attended Red Deer College where she was influenced by such artists as Mary Pratt and Robert Bateman. “Artists would come and talk to us,” Funk recalls, “and then after school they would come down to the little pub and sit with us all night and talk art.” She says the mentors she has met on her journey have been wonderful. “Artists are incredibly generous with their time and support,” she says. Funk has been a member of the Airdrie arts community for the past 10 years. In 2005 she sojourned in Saskatchewan, living on a farm for ten months where she had the opportunity to explore mixed media with a focus on oils. Besides painting, Funk is currently working on a quilt top, using one of her landscapes as a pattern. She loves literature and reading and says, “Doing research is a huge part of who I am.” She belongs to the Alberta Society of Artists, the Federation of Canadian Artists and the Airdrie Regional Arts Society. Her art has been displayed throughout western Canada, recently at Art 56 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

The Teacher


hen Bob Harriman steps into the gym at R.J. Hawkey Elementary School you would swear he was Tigger entering the gates of Disneyland. Shouts of “Bob’s here!” and “Hi

Bobby!” are heard as smiling children scurry to greet him. It’s Thursday morning and Harriman, a local resident and artist, is at the school to share his talent and his time with students who attend the breakfast program. For the third season in a row, Harriman will instruct the group, which fluctuates in number from 30 up to 50. He teaches them cartooning and shares with the kindergarten to Grade 4 students his wit, wisdom and undivided attention. “They don’t see me as a 74-year-old,” says Harriman, “I’m a young guy in an old container,” he jokes. Harriman, who always had a natural ability for art, began cartooning in 1991. His editorial cartooning work has been published in local and national newspapers across the country. “You have to base your work on the news of the day,” Harriman says, adding, “Some readers don’t realize that it’s not based on my personal opinion.” His editorial cartoons have engaged and enraged the likes of local politicians on up to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who wrote a personal note to Harriman thanking him for his accurate renditions and suitable likeness. Although Harriman is an outstanding cartoonist, cartooning is not his only artistic

Rachel Zwambag, left, and art teacher Sheila Stacey show off Rachel’s works

and Soul Gallery in High River and locally at Benjamin’s Coffee House and the Airdrie Public Library. Funk says,“Painting is my joy. I tried to give it up for awhile but I was miserable. My family said,‘You need to paint.’”

The Student


eing an exceptional artist is only one facet of Rachel Zwambag’s contribution to student life at St. Martin de Porres Senior High School. The Grade 12 student is outstanding academically, plays clarinet and participates in the drama program. Rachel, who has lived in Airdrie since she

was three, displayed a keen interest in art from an early age. “I loved to draw when I was little, and I was always doing crafts,” she says. Her love of art comes from her artistic mom, who, along with her high school Art teacher Sheila Stacey, continues to inspire her. She loves painting with acrylics and admires the works of Wassily Kandinsky, an abstract impressionist whose bright colours and active lines inspire her art, and Juan Miró, an abstract/ surrealist painter. She also enjoys using illustrative mediums such as crayon and markers, and looks forward to using her whimsical characters to illustrate children’s books. Asked what her art means to her, Rachel says, “It’s a way of expressing my creativity.

Bob Harriman at his easel

forte. The walls of his home are adorned with numerous works he created over the past 60 years. Much of his work holds nostalgic value; for example, hanging proudly on his wall are paintings he did in collaboration with each of his two grandmothers, then gifted to them. A detailed painting of a Bolivian market scene in the dining room is his wife Pat’s favourite. Harriman humbly admits he can’t fairly name a favourite painting of his own; rather, he takes a shining to the works of other Canadian talent, such as aviation artist Don Connolly. A former flight engineer, Harriman is happy to show off a Don Connolly flight painting created specifically for him. In contrast to the preciseness of Connolly, the Harrimans are also fond of the art of Alberto de Castrom, the late PortugueseCanadian artist whose use of vibrant colours and abstract designs caught Harriman’s sharp eye for talent. Harriman discovered his first de Castro in a gallery window in eastern Canada in the early 1980s. A strong supporter of the new Airdrie Arts Society, Harriman also lends his talents to charity auctions and cause-based programs. He is currently working on a painting telling the story of a threatened species of animal he likes to refer to to raise public awareness. Harriman and his wife Pat relocated to Airdrie in 2005 from the interior of British Columbia. The former mayor of Peachland, Harriman is the type of person that just can’t sit still. “I don’t want to ever retire,” he says as he sits down to share yet another of his numerous talents—baking buns. So how does Harriman manage to work on three paintings at once, submit editorial cartoons on the news of the day, author a book on the secret to baking buns, and energetically teach a grateful group of kids much more than how to cartoon? When it seems there aren’t enough hours in a day to accomplish the tasks Harriman has set for himself, he shares a little secret: “I only need a couple hours of sleep a night,” he announces. “It’s a Harriman family trait that I inherited.” For Harriman, it’s all in a day’s work; it’s just that Harriman’s days are LIFE a little longer than most. Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 57

LIFEstyle | Reading




Airdrie writers talk shop, from left: Laura Clegg, Karla Reinhard, Marjorie Rockburn, John Warner and Judy Semmler

Write On BY ELLEN KELLY | Photo by kristy Reimer

Recently, a small but diverse group of local published authors met at Page & Turners bookstore and spent an informative evening discussing the writing community in Airdrie.

Is there a need for an organized writing community in Airdrie? Karla: Yes. People have asked regularly if there was such a group. John: I’ve had calls to go out and make presentations so, yes, there is an interest. Judy: It would be advantageous. Writers need the opportunity to bounce ideas off one another. John: If you meet somebody who has [been] published . . . an aspiring writer might say, “Maybe I can do that.” . . . There is a lot of undiscovered talent out there. LIFE:

What could a writing community offer? Judy: Writers gain confidence dealing with people who have [been] published. Karla: Critiquing. You learn from writers in a group. Marjorie: Information about contests . . . and to be able to talk about magazines and markets. Judy: Groups are encouraging and motivating. Groups get you writing. LIFE:

58 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008


“Our libraries require all the love and care we can give them; for libraries don’t just preserve the wisdom of the past, they contain the seeds of a better future.” —The Honourable dr. Lois e. Hole

Marketing is a full-time job in itself. Perhaps marketing could be part of a group helping individuals. Karla: [Writers] need someone to tell them they have talent. Laura:

Is Airdrie too close to Calgary to sustain its own writing community? Judy: My [Internet] writing group is Fraser Lake, B.C. There is nothing out there so people just focus on their art. There are not as many diversions. Marjorie: I don’t think we’re too close . . . I think it has to be put together where there is critique [and] getting information; it’s a whole package. I think a lot of people would be interested. Karla: Encouragement is important. I would really like to see an active writing group in LIFE Airdrie. LIFE:

Creative Writing courses are offered locally through

Rocky View Adult Education and the Writer in Residence program at the library.

Writers in Airdrie will be included as part of the arts

community by the Airdrie Regional Arts Society. www.

Learn more about the writers featured here and see some of their work online at

The Airdrie Public Library is bursting at the binding. Circulation (including DVDs, books on CD, board books, ESL material and traditional library material) is increasing as cardholders use their new TRAC cards, which allow them to make requests, online or in person, from collaborating library systems in Alberta. “By the end of 2008, the library will have processed 45,000 items, and that’s just the items arriving via mail and courier,” says library director, Janine Jevne. Basic literacy and lifelong learning are focuses of the library’s strategic plan, and programs to meet these needs are being developed. There are currently 11 preschool programs, all running at capacity. “Every

single weekday we have sessions for babies and their parents, toddlers and their parents, and [preschool] story time,” says Jevne. “They sing, they listen to stories, they play rhyming games, and parents can interact with other parents. It builds community.” The 2008 Summer Reading Program garnered about 2,000 visits from 400 enthusiastic participants, and made July and August the busiest months this year. Other children’s programs include Pyjama Time and kids art classes. Teens are welcome, too. The library has increased its young adult collection to include a selection of graphic novels, and Teen After Hours, on the last Friday of each month, welcomes young teens for an evening of movies, games and fun. Adult programs include ESL, Genealogy, Financial Planning, Chronic Pain Workshop (Calgary Health Region), Technology Tutoring, Chess, Digital Scrapbooking and adult book clubs. There are computer classes geared specifically for seniors. The ever-changing “Art in the Library” program regularly features local artists, but also includes travelling art shows sponsored by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Library staff members are available to answer questions and help with research. More specialized services—among them a Merlin machine to enlarge text for the visually impaired; Kurzweil, a program that reads text aloud; and an adaptive desk to accommodate wheelchairs—are available on-site. Through the Marigold Library System, a multitude of online services— from requesting material to learning a foreign language—is easily accessible, and more than 50 databases can be searched. Marigold also sponsored a Writer in Residence program for the first time last year and the library welcomed Jacqueline Guest as mentor, speaker and LIFE instructor. Visit the library in person or online at The library accepts quality donations as additions to its library collection or to sell as a fund-raiser.

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ince its inception as a non-profit society in 1993, Airdrie & District Victim Assistance Society has been offering support, information and referral services to victims of crime and tragedy in Airdrie, Crossfield, Beiseker, Irricana, Balzac, Kathryn, Linden and surrounding communities. Volunteer advocates are available through the RCMP 24 hours a day, offering crisis intervention to victims and their families. Services are free and confidential. ADVAS is a close-knit team of 10 highly trained volunteer advocates who work in conjunction with the Airdrie and Beiseker RCMP detachments. Three paid staff members, who have previous volunteer experience,

look after daily administrative duties, while the overall operation of the society is governed by a nine-member volunteer board of directors. RCMP liaison Sgt. Dennis Esayenko rounds out the team. Executive director Lori Rehill says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;From our staff sergeant . . . down to every one of the members, as well as the support staff at the detachment, we could not do it without them. We are really blessed to have so much ongoing support and co-operation.â&#x20AC;? Volunteer advocates come from all walks of life and span a wide range of ages and interests. Most are women and most work outside the home. The majority have between one and five years of experience. They work oncall shifts, from Wednesday to the following

Tuesday, in teams of two or three. Rhonda Fisher, a volunteer advocate for four-and-ahalf years and 2007 Golden Heart Award recipient, says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re always learning, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always something new. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nice to have that feeling that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve helped somebody. It keeps me coming back every month.â&#x20AC;? The award is chosen by peers and presented in memory of volunteer Marlene LeBlanc to the volunteer advocate who best represents the spirit of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Golden Heart.â&#x20AC;? Becoming an advocate requires a strong desire to help those in need and a genuine commitment to the process it takes to become qualified. Potential advocates must undergo a rigid security clearance and 75 hours Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 61

COMMUNITY | Volunteer Advocacy

of compulsory training (mandated by the Solicitor General for all 125 victim services units in the province). Rehill stresses that this is “just the basics, but covers every type of case that we potentially would deal with.” Throughout the year, volunteer advocates re-qualify in such areas as crisis intervention, suicide intervention, and grief and bereavement training. New courses are offered, as well. Rehill says, “Criminals are getting smarter, so we have to stay on top of it.” Courses are being planned on understanding Internet crime, stalking and harassment, and, for the volunteers’ well-being, critical incident stress management. “We want to help them take care of themselves,” says Rehill. “If volunteers aren’t healthy emotionally, it’s very difficult for them to support people who have been traumatized.” Volunteers act in three specific capacities. First, they are victim advocates who offer support to victims following a crime or tragedy. Volunteer advocates will accompany the RCMP to such calls as next-of-kin notifications, though this sort of callout makes up only

about 10 per cent of cases. Most callouts are office visits—volunteer advocates meet victims at the detachment, at the request of the attending RCMP officer. “We couldn’t do our job if we didn’t have a good working relationship with the RCMP,” says Rehill. “Ninety per cent of our referrals are RCMP referrals. Only about 10 per cent come from the community.” Debriefing takes place after each call. Rehill says,“We never know what kind of call is going to affect someone, so we try and debrief after every single call, regardless of what it is.” The second essential duty of ADVAS is to provide support for victims throughout the court process. A court co-ordinator and the volunteers ensure that all Victims of Crime programs are covered, including the victim impact statement, restitution and financial benefits. Volunteers attend court so victims can be updated without being present and also accompany victims when they’re required to appear. Volunteers also make up the ADVAS board of directors. “We hope people will serve

at least a couple of years because it takes that long to understand what the board does, what the volunteer advocates do, the scope of what we cover, and who is involved,” says Jo Tennant, who chairs the current board. One board member has been involved since its inception; some have administrative and previous board experience. The RCMP liaison officer is a member of the board, and the treasurer has financial experience. The society is funded by grants, primarily through the Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security Victims Programs. Some fundraising is also involved. Tennant can foresee a major fundraiser in the future and a casino is held every 18 to 24 months. Of her impression of ADVAS, Tennant says,“I think it’s one of the most worthwhile services available . . . it’s too bad more people don’t know about it, but when most people find out about it is when they need it, and then they find out how wonderful and supportive it is.” LIFE

Soon, You’ll Have A Place Where Neighbours Can Enjoy Each Other’s Company.

ADVAS is always looking for committed volunteers.

For more information, visit their website at

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If your referral proves to be a homebuyer who purchases one of our Elite or Todays Homes we will pay you $5,000. It’s that easy! Elite and Todays Homes want to offer you $5000 ever y time you refer anyone to purchase a home from us. Just ask anyone you know who is looking for a new home to register at one of our showhomes with yourself as a referee.* UÊÊ œÊˆ“ˆÌÊ̜ʅœÜʓ>˜ÞÊ«iœ«iÊޜÕÊÀiviÀ UÊÊ …œœÃiÊvÀœ“Ê™ÊVœ““Õ˜ˆÌˆiÃÊ܈̅ˆ˜Ê >}>À ÞÊ>˜`ÊÃÕÀÀœÕ˜`ˆ˜}Ê>Ài>à UÊÊ"˜Êʅœ“ià UÊÊÎÊޜÕÀÊv>“ˆÞ]ÊvÀˆi˜`Ã]ʘiˆ}…LœÕÀÃ]ÊVœ‡ÜœÀŽiÀÃ]ʜÀÊ>˜Þœ˜iÊޜÕʎ˜œÜ UÊÊ"vviÀÊiÝ«ˆÀiÃÊ iVi“LiÀÊΣÃÌ]ÊÓään *i>ÃiÊۈÈÌʜ˜iʜvʜÕÀÊŜ܅œ“iÃÊvœÀÊ`iÌ>ˆi`ʈ˜vœÀ“>̈œ˜]Ê register your referral and start thinking of how you can spend your money.

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Community Profiles | 70

Homes Furniture Shopping | 78

Basement Planning | 81 Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE

HOMES | Real Estate

Airdrie’s Housing Market

on Top

Airdrie’s residential market shows strong future


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irdrie gained another accolade this summer, being named one of the top real estate investment towns in Alberta by a national organization. For the first time, Airdrie cracked the Top Ten Towns Alberta ranking by the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), coming in seventh. The ranking is based on long-term investment potential, and compares factors ranging from income growth and employment base, to the cost of labour and materials. “This report comes out every couple of years, depending on the economy,” says REIN president Don R. Campbell. “For [current] homeowners, it shows they can expect for the next five years for Airdrie to be outperforming most of the rest of the province. For investors, they’re going to see investments be less volatile than in other regions of the province.” Campbell says the report takes into account the ebbs and flows in the Alberta real estate market.“Real estate is not a short-term investment,” he says. “Current market conditions can never predict what the future market holds.” Campbell says major development just outside of Airdrie—the CrossIron Mills mall and a $2-billion development in the north end of Calgary—“will have a ripple effect on real estate demand in Airdrie,” as well.

To tie in with Airdrie making its top 10, REIN organized a visit by 400 real estate investors in August. “We filled seven buses with investors from North America and around the world,” says Campbell. “Our job was to get beyond perceptions and show people what’s real,” he says, noting,“They loved Airdrie.” The REIN standings add to Airdrie’s growing reputation as an investment powerhouse, says City of Airdrie economic development team leader Kent Rupert. “When you get on any type of top-10 list, it recognizes where you’re at in the marketplace,” Rupert says. “Three years ago, we weren’t even on the list. It recognizes there’s a lot going on in this city.”

Current homeowners can expect Airdrie to outperform most of the rest of the province for the next five years Alan Tennant of Re/Max Rocky View Real Estate, says the only surprise with the report is that Airdrie didn’t make the top 10 sooner. “It’s a confirmation of something people have known for a long time, and it’s surprising it didn’t happen sooner and [that] we didn’t rank higher,” he says. “Obviously, it’s great news [that] will be repeated in many presentations for years to come.” Meanwhile, Airdrie’s building market shows signs of catching its breath after several years of frantic growth. By the end of August 2008, the yearto-date building permit construction value registered by the City totalled just over $1.3

million, down from the nearly $2.3 million registered in 2007 for the same period. A total of 428 residential building permits were issued for January–August 2008, compared to 1,197 for the same period last year. This doesn’t mean Airdrie’s housing market is entering a time of doom and gloom, says Darryl Poburan, team leader for building inspections at the City. “I hear talk that a lot of other communities and builders say we’ll be down 45–50 per cent housing-wise this year,” he says. “We’re expecting around 600 [housing permits] by year-end; we did budget for 1,200 and the previous year we ended up with 851, which is not too far off that mark.” Poburan adds that, “Everyone’s been used to being in a boom, and our numbers, even this year, are still good numbers. I think we’re not in the boom anymore,” he continues, “but . . . people—contractors, staff—are feeling the relief now because it’s more normal activity.” On the other hand, he notes, residential permits for renovations, garages and basement developments “are really busy, which may result in a record year.” And, he adds, “Our commercial permits are very strong. LIFE We’re really busy and on budget.” For more information on REIN’s Top Ten Towns Alber-

ta report, visit

The Real Estate Investment Network’s Top 10 Real Estate Investment Towns in Alberta for 2008: 1. Edmonton 2. Calgary 3. Red Deer 4. St. Albert 5. Grande Prairie 6. Lethbridge, Fort McMurray (tie) 7. AIRDRIE 8. Cochrane, Sylvan Lake (tie) 9. Lacombe, Devon (tie) 10. Sturgeon and Strathcona counties Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 69

Estates of Cooper’s Crossing See Cooper’s Crossing figures



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Average condo price $264,838 Average house price $383,000

B5 D T C N


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Silver Creek

Average condo price $296,300 Average house price $354,942



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Average condo price $274,300 Average house price $382,015

E2 D T S

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Average house price $322,002

F8 D A S 15+

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Average house price $352,875




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Average house price $420,866




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The Village

Average condo price $175,000 Average house price $346,833

G4 D S A 15+


Average house price $449,142



In development phase



Average condo price $269,687 Average house price $338,491

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Average house price $319,797





Average condo price $318,875 Average house price $407,640




Jensen Heights

Average condo price $277,750 Average house price $298,875




King’s Heights

Average condo price $283,600 Average house price $443,362

I10 D T C N


Average condo price $240,528 Average house price $365,791




Mackenzie Pointe

See Luxstone figures





Average house price $352,644





Average house price $403,306




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D7 N

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Water feature

Cultural: theatre, museums, library, church

Major roads or highways


Public transit


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Golf course


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Indoor recreation, arenas – hockey, curling

Average house price $365,000


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70 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

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D M 15+ C



Average house price $404,746

No stats available





East Lake Park

Average house price $420,466


In development phase


Prairie Springs


Average condo price $175,000 Average house price $281,333

Final phase of Luxstone, in development phase

See Prairie Springs figures

Downtown (Old Towne)

On the Park

Prairie Springs Hill

Outdoor recreation: pools, tennis courts, skating rinks

E10 D T

Community pricing


Average condo price $373,000 Average house price $559,907

Community Name


Cooper’s Crossing


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Shopping, gas, restaurants

C5 D S T


development (Ravenswood, Williamstown and Windsong),

City services: police, firestation, medical

Average condo price $284,158 Average house price $408,375

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communities, plus information on new communities in

Schools, daycare

The Canals/Canals North


Get more online! for more information on these

Show home parade

H8 D S T 15+ AM

• •

Age: New (N), Newly Completed (C), 10-15 years

Average condo price $259,566 Average house price $236,430


Detached (D)/Semi-detached (S)/Townhomes (T)/ Apartments (A)/Condos (C)/Mobile Homes(M)

Big Springs

A handy chart for comparing neighbourhoods and finding your new home Map Location


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Cultural: theatre, museums, library, church


• •

Water feature

Average condo price $325,125 Average house price $453,700

Major roads or highways

Bayside/ Bayside West

Public transit


Golf course


Indoor recreation, arenas – hockey, curling

See Luxstone figures

Outdoor recreation: pools, tennis courts, skating rinks

Amberwoods (in Luxstone)


F5 D S T 15+ AC


Average condo price $199,900 Average house price $305,000

Shopping, gas, restaurants

Airdrie Meadows

City services: police, firestation, medical

Community pricing

Schools, daycare

Community Name

Show home parade

Map Location

Compiled By Alan Tennant

Age: New (N), Newly Completed (C), 10-15 years



Detached (D)/Semi-detached (S)/Townhomes (T)/ Apartments (A)/Condos (C)/Mobile Homes(M)

Homes | Airdrie Communities

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D S 15+ TC

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Average condo price $244,142 Average house price $406,714


D S 15+ TC

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In development phase


Every edition of AirdrieLIFE features an update on the MLS® sales activity in each



• • • •

• •

what prices have been doing.

of Airdrie’s communities. The following statistics are for the 2008 year to date—January

In general the Airdrie market has followed the trend in Calgary, where activity and

1 through August 31, 2008. This report indicates average sale prices during this period,

sale prices are down from last year. It may surprise you to know that according to the

but shouldn’t be used as a means of determining the overall average property value in a

Calgary Real Estate Board, the average sale price of single family homes in Calgary is

particular neighborhood. Your REALTOR® can provide a more detailed analysis on which

down just 2.01 per cent in 2008 to date, compared to 2007. For the same time period,

to base a purchase or sale. In the meantime this report provides you with an overview of

average condo sale prices are down just 2.58 per cent.

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t’s easier to install, more durable and less expensive. No wonder laminate flooring is becoming the number one choice for Airdrie consumers when it comes to floor covering. Laminate flooring is made from highdensity fibre or wood particles, with a laminate overlay designed to look like wood, and covered with a clear hard layer that gives it its durability. Now one of the most popular ways to update a home, laminate has evolved over the past decade, providing consumers with more design options and finishes. Laminates with the look of exotic woods, such as jatoba, iroko and bamboo, are now available, complementing the existing maple, oak and cherry laminates, and appealing to the green movement as well. “Laminate flooring is the fastest-growing section of our industry,” says Dale Massey, owner of Airdrie Flooring Connection.“It has been popular in Europe for years, and now that popularity is catching on here in Canada.”

Massey sees demand growing here for a wood-like product with the performance of stone or tile. “Laminate flooring offers many benefits—from easy maintenance to outstanding long-term warranties, exceptional durability and abrasion resistance,” says Massey. “With the new ‘click together’ laminates, this flooring option offers easier installation so that you could easily make it a do-it-yourself project,” Massey says. The easy installation means laminate flooring is an ultra-budgetfriendly option and in less than a weekend you can transform an entire room in your home on your own. While the materials in laminate flooring are moisture-resistant, there is some debate over whether laminate floors should be installed in kitchens and bathrooms. Laminates are also not recommended for basements. It is recommended you speak with an expert before installing any flooring in your home.

1. Empty the room. 2. Vacuum and clean the floor thoroughly. 3. Lay out foam underlay according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If the flooring has a pre-attached underlay, you won’t need to purchase one separately, and it will save time on the installation. 4. Always begin laying the laminate along the most prominent wall in the room. That way, if the room is not exactly square, the crooked cut will be hidden under cabinets, or at least not in the most noticeable area of the room. 5. Use a mitre saw to cut pieces to length and a jigsaw to cut around any corners or pipes. The clearance of the door(s) from the floor may need to be taken into account during the change in the height of the floor. 6. Install transition strips where new floor meets tile, carpet or hardwood floors, typically at a doorway. Cut strips to fit, and nail or glue down, or secure with the manufacturer’s “snap track” if one is provided. Before You Buy

If you are considering laminate flooring, it’s important to do your research before making a decision. Talk with store associates at the local flooring stores and research the various manufacturers online to ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for. Remember that there may be additional costs, including furniture removal and/or replacement, demolition and disposal of the previous floor covering, sub-floor preparation and product delivery. LIFE Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 73

Contributing to Airdrie’s

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Recycling opened its first Resource Recovery Depot at the old landfill site west of Airdrie. “There was an existing landfill from days gone by that’s been closed for years; it had been converted into a transfer site a number of years ago by the City of Airdrie,” explains Zembal, president of the company. This transfer site was intended to supplement Airdrie’s recycling depot as a place to handle larger-item recycling and waste, he says. “We said we could compliment that further by adding construction material to be recycled.” The Resource Recovery Depot features a series of bunkers—constructed in part from the remnants of a demolished bridge that was found in the landfill—for containing refuse from construction, renovation and demolition

projects in the area, including wood, drywall/ gypsum, asphalt shingles and other materials. After preliminary processing, they are transferred to other processing facilities to be recycled. For example, wood can be used as mulch or as the fibre base for asphalt shingles, Zembal explains. Drywall can become a soil amendment component for agriculture. Each year, more than one quarter of Alberta’s municipal solid waste—some 600,000 tonnes—comes from construction and demolition, and it’s estimated 80 per cent of this could be recycled. Instead, much of it ends up in landfills. Alberta Waste and Recycling aims to follow its Airdrie facility with others in the region, to give builders and individuals a place to take most of their waste so it can be recycled rather than filling the landfills.

“We’re making a dent,” says Zembal. “We’re aiming at [processing] upwards of 1,000 tonnes a month—right now we’re at 500 and we’re increasing. All of this would have been in the landfill.” Zembal says there are other advantages to choosing his facility over a landfill. Processing fees are less, for one, and for builders in Airdrie, Cochrane and region, the site off Highway 567, six kilometres from Airdrie, is more convenient than accessing Calgary landfills. “We’re getting used by everyone from the littlest guy with one truck to the biggest waste haulers,” says Zembal. “We won’t accept material that doesn’t have long-term sustainable use through recycling,” he adds, “but I’m confident I’ll never have a pile of wood or a pile of drywall I can’t recycle.” Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 75


HOMES | Waste Recovery

Cathy Falcione, AMP Mortgage Specialist

Airdrie, Cochrane & Surrounding Areas

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It’s time to brighten up. Home of the Address Light Residential Lighting Fixtures

Exciting ighting Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX Whether you’re looking for a home across the street or around the world, RE/MAX is there for you. RE/MAX agents average more experience and more sales than other agents.

Material currently accepted by the Resource Recovery Depot: •

• Sarah Belcher Owner

Jean Buchanan Owner

Dennis Driscoll Owner

• Laurel Black

Jo Deichert

Jason Buchanan

Louise Dolen

Rick Dawes

Danny Hansen

Matt Carre

Kipp McGonigal

Michelle Carre

Blake Richards

RE/MAX ROCKY VIEW REAL ESTATE PH: 403-948-5900 540 - 2nd Avenue S.E. • Airdrie, Alberta Fax: 403-948-7902

Brandy Cowan

Alan Tennant

Kiln-dried wood (used as foodstock for roofing material, landscaping chips, compost) Drywall/gypsum (used as an agricultural soil amendment) Asphalt shingles (recycled into a hot-mix asphalt process) Scrap metal (recycled into metal products) Cardboard (recycled into new cardboard products) Scrub and brush (mulch); includes trees and stumps from site-clearing, but no roots

As of August, the depot was not accepting asphalt from road repair and removal or concrete pieces, though this is normally on their list of acceptable items. Items currently not accepted: garbage, rubble, plastics, film wrap, PVC piping, carpet, treated LIFE lumber, sod. For more information, call 403-200-3001

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403-945-8769 or toll free 1-866-388-1838 Members of Alberta Mortgage Brokers Association, CAAMP and Licensed by Real Estate Council of Alberta Payments are based on rates the date published. Rates are subject to change. Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 77

Homes | Shopping


This saddle seat from Where on Earth...Did You Get That? is

What’s your

a perfect conversation piece,

and still practical as additional seating

Rustic, contemporary or antique

Whatever your style, we’ve found furnishings at local stores to outfit your whole home. Stop following the trends and start finding your style—right here, right now! By Stacey Carefoot

little bit country

It’s a and a little bit cozy. Brighten your room and your day with this table lamp from Rustic Ranch Log Furnishing Ltd. & Western Décor


This antique solid oak icebox

delightful Victorian-style accent table

from the

from Airdrie Home Furnishing is small enough to fit

early 1900s can be put to use in countless

almost anywhere in your home. The drawers are

ways in every room. Find it and other unique

the perfect place to tuck away those little pieces of

items at Where on Earth...Did You Get That?


This Mott chair in avocado and rust from EQ3 is a

blast from the past,

with its fifties-style contemporary low square back and polished metal arms. Distinctive and comfortable

Add some colour and storage space to your home with this unique red telephone booth shelf unit—sure to make your visitor ask, Where on Earth...Did You Get That?

Majesty and history combine with the rustic feel of country living in this grandfather clock from Rustic Ranch Log Furnishing Ltd. & Western Décor

Nothing says relaxation This impressive piece of furniture can provide storage space in the kitchen for linens and dishes. In the bedroom it’s the perfect hiding spot for your wardrobe. This superbly built log cabinet with easy-glide drawers can be found at Rustic Ranch Log Furnishing Ltd. & Western Décor

78 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

more than a chaise lounge. Put your feet up in modern style on this one from EQ3

functional yet stylish dining This

set from Airdrie Home Furnishing allows you to save space while maintaining timeless class

Fall/Winter Fall/Winter 2008 2008 || AirdrieLIFE AirdrieLIFE 79 79

HOMES | Renovating

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Under Your basement should be an extension of your home—not a storage room BY STACEY CAREFOOT

There are big jobs around the house,

and then there are big jobs. When that moment comes in the life of a growing family where you’ve outgrown current quarters and the kids are begging you for more space, you’d like to think the basement is something you can finally get to, and tackle on your own. But chances are, unless you’re superman (or woman), taking on this challenge will be biting off more than you can chew. To get an idea of the enormity of the task, and to help you choose the right man (or woman) for the job, we spoke with a couple of local experts on the subject. Airdrie interior designer Tina McMillan reminds homeowners to have a vision and a plan for their basement development before they do anything else.“Decide what you want for that space,” she says.“Is it going to be a simple rec room, or do you have more planned for the space?” When it comes to hiring tradespeople or contractors, Wade Barkhouse, owner of Airdrie’s W.D.B. Developments, encourages homeowners to ask a lot of questions. He recommends asking for references, and finding out if potential suppliers are licensed and insured. “And get a feel for their ability to generate ideas and suggestions,” says Barkhouse, who has been in the Airdrie community for

10 years. “Inevitably your plans will have to change and be adapted, and the person you hire will have to be able to come up with good ideas and solutions.” Barkhouse shares some scenarios that should raise red flags, and advises that you keep looking if the contractor or tradesperson you are interviewing: • does not want to pull permits • will not give references, or • asks for a large deposit before agreeing to begin the job. “Anyone who is not willing to give references probably doesn’t have any good ones,” jokes Barkhouse. “When it comes to the financial end of things, consumers have to be real careful that they are not stepping into any fraudulent situations,” he adds. After you are through the sometimes arduous process of hiring a contractor, you’ve settled on a design plan and permits are pulled, it’s time to make choices on building materials and finishings. Tina McMillan reminds homeowners to make the basement a continuation of their home; it doesn’t have to feel like a dungeon just because it’s located downstairs. Baseboards, woodwork, doors, fixtures and cabinetry are just a few ways to unify the basement with the rest of the house. Here are some tips that will help brighten

the space and create an open, yet cozy atmosphere in your basement: • When choosing a paint colour, keep in mind that a monochromatic colour scheme is better for hiding intersections of walls, floors and rooms, thus opening up the space. • Place furniture in a manner that allows for good flow throughout the room. Concentrate the sitting area and large pieces of furniture away from the entrance to the basement, to keep access wide open. Choose smaller, less bulky furniture—perhaps pairing a couple of club chairs with a loveseat instead of a large sofa—if space is an issue. • Basements are often light-challenged, but you can mimic natural light with halogen or PAR (parabolic aluminized reflector) lighting. Low ceilings are often not conducive to hanging lights, so recessed lighting is another great option. Due to safety regulations and code requirements, it’s important to follow your electrician’s advice carefully when it comes to lighting installation. We’re moving away from the time when basements were used as dingy storage spaces, arenas for indoor hockey or, at best, semipleasant accommodations for the in-laws. Basements are now a continuation of your existing living space, and a great place to gather LIFE the family for movie night. Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 81


Airdrie Show Home Map and Guide


Airdrie has more than 30 show homes. Use this handy reference map to help you find the show home parades and show suites featured in this issue. Visit for more information and links to all advertised builders and developers.


Elite Homes takes a new view on the family home










Single Family Homes: 1



King’s Heights – Jayman Masterbuilt Loreck Homes McKee Homes, Reid Built Homes, Shane Homes


Luxstone West Pointe – Talisman, Vesta, Douglas Homes


Morningside – Excel Homes, Shane Homes


On the Park – Talisman, Vesta, Douglas Homes


Prairie Springs – Beattie Homes, Centrex, Lorek, McKee


Prairie Springs Hill – Gallery Homes, Prominent Homes, Talisman Homes


Ravenswood – (coming soon) Broadview, NuVista, McKee, Sterling


12 13


Canals North – Elite Homes, Reliant Homes, Majestic Homes, Evolution Homes, Reid Built Homes, Generations Developments


Reunion – Excel, Jayman Master Built, McKee Homes, Sabal, Innovations By Jayman Williamstown – (coming soon) Windsong – (coming soon) Mattamy Homes



Bayside West – Swiatek Homes, Majestic Homes, Evolution Homes, Reliant Homes, Mainstreet Homes, Vanity Homes, New Look Homes, Generations Developments

Cooper’s Crossing – Beattie Homes, Homes By Avi, McKee Homes, Trillium Developments

HOMES | Show Home Profile

Second Floor

Main Floor 18

















With the widest floor plans in the city, larger families have a long list of reasons why they love these designs


Top: The long view of the Newport MK1—at over 2800 square feet, this home gives spacious a new meaning. From the kitchen you can see clearly though the family room, right to the office. Right: The sun filters into the master ensuite, illuminating the oil-rubbed bronze fixtures

Multi Family Projects: 14

Bayside Point


Generations Breezes


Copperstone Village


Luxstone Village


Downtown – Smith’s Crossing, Centre Pointe, Airdrie Main Square


The Edge

Above, from left: A formal dining room brings the whole family together, with plenty of room for guests; the generously proportioned kitchen, with gold and silver granite and cherry cabinets, can handle more than one cook in the kitchen; double French doors lead to an office area, providing privacy for getting work done but still accessible to keep an eye on what’s going on; one of the generously sized four bedrooms, this one connects to a second bedroom through the popular addition of a Jack-and-Jill bathroom—no fighting over sinks (there are two!)

Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 83

HOMES | Ask an Expert

Welcome To Blue Grass. We’re Down to Earth.

Changes to

Jaquie Carstensen explains what it means to home buyers

Michelle Carre

Matt Carre

Alan Tennant

Frank Shreenan

403-948-1411 RE/MAX

Rocky View Real Estate • Real Estate (Central)

Calgary’s in the name, but

AIRDRIE’s in the game.

Ron Priest Associate Broker

Resident realtors with over 25 years combined experience are your

Airdrie Connection!

Robert C. Matthews Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public Real Estate Law Wills and Estates Criminal Defence 17, 620 - 1st Avenue NW P.O Box 3665 Airdrie AB T4B-2B8

Phone: 403 948 4949 Fax: 403 948 2410 Email: John Maygard



Proud Sponsors of local traffic reports… CUSTOMER SERVICE IS OUR FIRST PRIORITY

In an effort to prevent a mortgage crisis here in Canada, such as has occurred in the U.S., the federal government is eliminating 100 per cent financing as well as amortizations longer than 40 years, effective October 15, 2008. New credit requirements will also include at least one applicant having a minimum beacon score of 620, with well-established and well-maintained trade lines reporting on their bureaus. “Most Canadians were already aware of these impending legislative changes, [which were created] in order to preserve the integrity of the Canadian mortgage financing and real estate industry,” says Jacquie Carstensen of www. “However, most Canadians were not aware of the vast dissimilarities of the licensing and regulatory requirements of Canadian mortgage associates compared to their American counterparts.” Since July 1996 when the Real Estate Act became law, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA)—an independent, non-governmental agency—has been responsible for the regulation of Alberta’s real estate and mortgage broker associates. Alberta leads the mandate for minimum industry requirements protecting consumers from receiving mortgage financing advice from unqualified sources. The Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) designation further boosts consumers’ confidence that they are dealing with a professional who has met the highest standards of education and training, is bound by a strict code of ethics, and has committed to continuing education for the sole benefit of keeping consumers well-informed. “When seeking mortgage financing advice for what quite possibly will be the largest loan [debt] of your lifetime, it is important to ensure you receive it from a mortgage specialist who has their AMP designation,” recommends Carstensen, an Accredited Mortgage Professional herself. Jacquie’s dynamic personality complements her unparalleled commitment to all clientele she serves at Having her AMP designation further demonstrates her commitment to maintaining the highest of industry LIFE standards.

For three generations, Blue Grass has been providing Albertans with all their landscaping needs from sod to sunflower seeds, we pride ourselves on bringing you the very best to make your backyard a rewarding and relaxing extension of your home. We invite you to join us year ‘round and discover our expanded facilities and expert staff ready to help your dreams grow!

Year round fun Non toxic and safe Installation available Modular and expandable Redwood & Cedar construction Looks great in your yard

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Sod, Trees, Shrubs, Mulch, Firewood, Rock, Soil, Perennials, Annuals Garden Accents & Ornaments Architectural Artifacts Garden Tools & Accessories Pond Equipment & Supplies

Supporting the Alberta Children's Hospital, and it's Fun for the whole family!

Join us for our Annual Pumpkin Festival October 11, 11 - 3 pm

Airdrie Balzac

#566 2


Service Road

by Jaquie Carstensen

mortgage legislation

From Hwy 566 go 2 kms South on Service Road (RR 294) to Blue Grass

Country Hills Blvd. NE


HOMES | Style


rom the moment I got this assignment, I was intrigued and excited about the opportunity to photograph the home of an interior designer, realtor and home stager—even more so once I pulled up in

Exotic locations and dreams

Heading back downstairs, as I was trying to figure out how I was going to light the dining

give inspiration to this Airdrie family home

room, Horth mentioned that he is from the East and noted that the fall colours they have there are really

front of the house. From my very first glance at the

vivid and inspiring for designs. “I find that our sea-

lovely front yard, I was sure the inside of the home

was going to be amazing, too!

sons here in Alberta are way too short (other than


the white one),” he chuckles, “and we really never

Cory Horth is the homeowner and designer, and his place

get to enjoy the beauty of them. I particularly like

is indeed spectacular. He had lots of candles lit throughout

fall. The colours are spectacular, the morning air

the house, so when I opened the door I was welcomed by

crisp and, with any luck, in the afternoon the sun

many wonderful fragrances.

reminds you every once in a while how beautiful

Close to the main entrance, Horth had a couple of differ-

its warmth is.”

ent setups of guitars. When asked about them he said, “The roots of all of my designs and my style are in music. Be it jazz, blues, country, chamber music, rock or heavy metal, I love the emotion being relayed through music. When you close your eyes, you can imagine colours, patterns, and the passion that lies within the message.” He continues: “As a musician and songwriter, I’ve had many bouts with writer’s block, and I turn to my designs as an outlet. Equally so, I turn to music when I have ‘designer’s

Canvas block.’ As a creative person, there is a need to express

yourself, or your soul becomes restless and everything loses balance.”

When your Home is your

When I went upstairs to photograph

For Horth, a home “is a place to live and to breathe. It’s a canvas to express

who you are and to feel at one with when the day is done.” Your style may not suit everyone, he notes—perhaps not anyone but you. “It’s your home,” he says. “The time to conform,” Horth adds, “is when you decide to sell.” He says you want the home to appeal to the masses, allowing them to envision themselves and their own creativity in the home. “This is where I, as a realtor and home stager, can help,” Horth says. “Providing you are willing to let go of the emotion for a short time and work with the conformity, we’ll land your deal and get you back to being yourself, with a whole new canvas to go wild with.” Thanks, Cory, for letting me invade your beautiful home and disrupt your family LIFE

with lots of lighting gear and a photo assistant! Keep the music going!

the bedroom, I fell in love with the colours

there, and got a sense of south Asia. I asked Horth if he’d done any extensive world trav-

elling. He said not yet, but that he is often inspired by dreams, and by places he’d like to visit and things he’d like to see. What a great idea, I thought: if you don’t have the chance to explore other countries, bring a part of them to your home! Horth says he is excited to travel one day, and looks forward to finding lots of authentic treasures to add to his designs.

Members of the Horth household: Cheryl Brown, Cory’s fiancée, with her children Ashley (top left) and Devin (bottom left), and Cory and his kids, Whitley (top right) and Logan (bottom right) 86 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

Airdrie Home Furnishings Furniture Importers & Distributors


Centennial Update | 92 Human Resources | 94

Recycling | 96 Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE

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Tanis Houck facilitates a successful community meeting


1 - 704 Main St. • Airdrie

Monday Tuesday

8am - 1pm & 2 - 6pm 7am - 6pm

Dr. Victoria McDermid

Wednesday Thursday

8am - 1pm & 2 - 6pm 8am - 1pm & 2 - 4pm

Dr. Marilyn Given

Friday Saturday

nother step toward the completion of Airdrie’s Sustainability Plan—an initiative known as enVision Airdrie—was taken on June 10 with a very successful Community Café held at City Hall. Thirty-six interested residents and representatives from community organizations—a combination of long-time Airdronians and newcomers, young and elderly—shared their vision for Airdrie’s future in an energetic and enthusiastic workshop format. “The café provided an opportunity for people to share their ideas, and the open dialogue encouraged people to build on each other’s ideas,” says Tanis Houck, sustainabil-

8am - 4pm by appointment only

Dr. Neil McDermid

ity co-ordinator for the City of Airdrie. Mindy Gautama, who has lived in Airdrie for the past eight years, says, “It was a wonderful opportunity to voice opinion and appreciation, as well as address concerns on growth. Any time you bring community into planning, the results are positive.” After a brief overview, the meeting broke into groups, each with a facilitator, and for two hours ideas were shared and questions were discussed concerning life in Airdrie, changes to be made, hopes for the future and action plans. Houck says, “Although the café is part of the bigger picture and an ongoing process, community ownership is the goal, with the City of Airdrie being one of many partners.”

Participants were pleased that their ideas were given serious consideration and that their time was valued. Linda Ray, a 15-year Airdrie resident felt the café was a really encouraging experience. “It was nice to be part of the process at the grassroots level, and good because ideas originated at the table,” she says, adding,“It was nice to see businesses involved and interested in the concerns of the citizens.” Both Ray and Gautama want to see growth managed well to maintain the sense of community and friendly atmosphere that exists today. Houck feels the most important aspect of the evening was that Airdrie residents were exercising their democratic right to actively participate in their community’s development. Both council and staff members will benefit from the insightful responses in their decision-making for the future. Information collected at the café, as well as that compiled through surveys and smaller facilitated sessions throughout the summer, has been reviewed by the Citizens Advisory Group and Airdrie council. “This is part of the initial stage of the Community Sustainability Plan,” Houck explains. “We will be celebrating the launch of the ‘Community Vision’ with members of the community in November, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the community.” LIFE Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 91

CITY | Centennial Committees Update

Bustling downtown Airdrie, 1964. Courtesy Heritage Park Historical Village

Cows were common sightings in town back in the day. Courtesy Heloise Lorimer

Anyone interested in helping us identify buildings (for the DVD), and the changes that took place, would be helpful. Laurie: Volunteers for the projects, especially during homecoming. We want people to think about how they can fit into the centennial, whether it’s by volunteering, sharing the word LIFE or planning to be part of the events. Sharon:

Airdrie Centennial 100 years in the making—one year in the planning. Writer Ellen Kelly checks in with committee members on their progress for the big event in September 2009 What planning is happening right now? Tara: We’ve been working with businesses— they have the opportunity to sponsor something that has meaning and is lasting. We’re in as many publications as possible; we have a website; we have our banners up outside. Sharon: We’re finishing the centennial book. The committee has been proofing; the author is checking for appropriate pictures and consistency; the designer is working on layout. We’re keeping the text to a minimum—it’s a coffee table book. Laurie: We’re identifying a song. Recording will take place and the song will be announced at the Festival of Lights on December 31, 2008. Regarding homecoming weekend, September 10–13, 2009, we’re doing an old-time fair with a family dance, a couple of breakfasts and a barbeque. We want to encourage people to come back to Airdrie and have a really great celebration. We’re also creating a float for the 2009 parade. We’re co-ordinating with other groups—asking them to put a centennial spin on things. 92 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

What actions are being taken at this time? Tara: We’ve approached sponsors. We welcome in-kind donations, too. We’re looking for people with various skills. Sharon: Once the book comes out (fall 2008), we’ll be working on other ongoing projects. Laurie: We’re finalizing details for the Legacy Art Project. We’re identifying what is already planned by various groups and organizations, and working together to make it a year-long celebration. We have a centennial flower— the blue flax; we hope people will use it in their centennial theme. What upcoming events are happening now? Tara: We’re working on sponsorships. Marketing is ongoing and we’re focusing on merchandising. We’re in the ordering process; there will be items for sale, such as T-shirts, water bottles, pins, et cetera. Michael: We’re focused on quality goods— producing items that people will want to keep; things that will last. Sharon: Rob Ing is making an oral DVD about what Airdrie was like. Notes from

the book’s author, Anna Rebus, and the DVD will go into a kit for the schools and the library. We’re placing five plaques around the city—at the Water Tower, the United Church, Jensen Park, the grain elevators and Nose Creek—to mark them as historical sites. Doug Sanden, advanced media specialist, is producing a virtual walking tour of the old buildings in Airdrie, to be made available online. Laurie: Right now, the song is our main project. Planning for homecoming is ongoing. What are the urgent needs of the committee at this time? Tara: Volunteers—anyone with marketing and sales skills would be very helpful.

For more information, go to or contact

Airdrie’s Community Services Department at 403-948-8800, ext. 776

Marketing, Merchandising and Sponsorship Committee chair: Michelle Carre Michelle will be returning to the committee after spending some time at home with her new baby. Speaking for her are committee members, Tara Richards, communications co-ordinator, and Michael McAllister, community developer, City of Airdrie. Historical Committee chair: Sharon Bilben Sharon has been an Airdrie resident since the early 1980s. She became involved through family participation in the Nose Creek Historical Society and her interests in social studies and history. Projects and Events Committee chair: Laurie Jacob-Toews Laurie is a long-time Airdrie resident who is passionate about the community she grew up in. She enjoys planning events.

Airdrie baseball team, 1913. Courtesy Heloise Lorimer

City | Inside City Hall

Putting the


in Human Resources


Working at City Hall is fun and rewarding— this team makes sure of it

94 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008


ert Assen has a knack for finding people with chutzpah. He knows what questions to ask and which answers distinguish individuals with and without chutzpah, a popular Yiddish term often used to define risk-takers, self-starters and those willing to step up and speak out. Assen, director of human resources with the City of Airdrie, leads a department of city employees who help set the tone and define the city’s inimitable and often entertaining corporate culture; a culture unmatched and often envied in most other municipalities. Corporate culture is a buzzword that has been floating around North America for the

past few decades. It has a broad range of meanings and of late has become a concept used by employers to attract potential employees in today’s tight labour market. A happy work life, it’s been proven, makes for happy employees, and walking the talk of a positive work environment has paid off in spades for employers worldwide. Following their own homegrown formula for success, the City of Airdrie has managed to attract and retain employees who are free to grow and are looked upon to step up and tell their truth. “One of the first questions I often ask a potential employee is, ‘Who is the most important person in your life?’” says Assen. Beware, this is a loaded question. Most of us are

The City of Airdrie human resources team (left to right): Judy Molnar, Tiffany Mochinski, Leslie Hanson, Bert Assen, Wendy Friesen and Lori McKendry

inclined to cite our children or a loved one but the best answer, according to Assen, is “me.” “You should be the most important person to you,” he says. “If you’re not taking care of yourself and putting your needs first, how can you have balance in your personal life or your professional life?” Assen continues, “We don’t preach a work–life balance,” he says,“we promote a work–life alignment; we challenge our employees to bring out the best in themselves and take everything in their lives from good to great.” “We look for three main characteristics in all of our candidates,” Assen says. The first is “fit”—do your values match the organization’s values? Second, can you do the job or can we train you to do the job? And third, can you take what you’re doing from good to great? “In every position we fill, we are looking for the individual who can take that role and improve it and make even better use of taxpayers’ money,” Assen explains. Through an intense and collaborative process, the City of Airdrie has created a strong set of values that are present in everyday proceedings throughout city hall and other city facilities.“We eat, breathe and sleep those values,” Assen says. The six key values are open dialogue, collaborative relationships, learning, vision-driven leadership, innovative and entrepreneurial sprit, and encouraging the heart. These values are posted all over city property, and employees at all levels are openly encouraged to use them to direct their professional lives. Upon being hired, all employees are given an extensive employee handbook— on CD-ROM, in keeping with the city’s commitment to the environment. Employees are also given a number of publications to read and discuss with their managers and peers. “We teach people to understand themselves,” says Assen, who became the City of Airdrie’s personnel manager back in September 1989. “Overall I’m responsible for Airdrie’s training program,” Assen says of his tall order. Assen facilitates many popular and effective learning tools and personality tests, including Myers Briggs, Insights and Discovery.

All of the city’s 219 full-time and 178 part-time employees have endured an intense screening by the human resources department and proven they have what it takes to actively develop and sustain this growing city. “I feel like this job has no limits,” says city health and safety co-ordinator Tiffany Mochinski. “I’m excited to be part of something that’s leading edge, not bleeding edge,” she says. Referring to the city’s permissive versus prescriptive environment in which employees are encouraged to find outcomes on their own, she recalls that at first,“the freedom to achieve things I set out to accomplish using my own path was a bit unnerving.” Now she says,“I like to be able to push the limits and feel that I am adding value for the taxpayer in everything I do.” The frequent fireside chats led by city manager George Keen are just one example of the extensive open communication at city hall. During these scheduled, informal chats, employees—no matter what department or where they sit in the organizational chart— are welcomed to sit and chew the fat with the city manager, exemplifying the open and honest communication that helps the City of Airdrie thrive. Though city employees often have a tough row to hoe, they do take time for fun. The corridors of the back rooms at city hall are lined with photos from the past 20 years depicting a strong sense of camaraderie during social functions, golf tournaments and weekend trips. The city has a thriving social club that encourages employees to take part in various spirit-builder days and special events throughout the year. It’s obvious that Halloween is a fan favourite and, with the human resources department leading the way, city hall undergoes an annual ghoulish transformation. When we look past the facade of the City of Airdrie we discover a team with an acute sense of direction and extreme heart. The city’s human resources department has successfully secured a squad of unique individuals with strong leadership in a place where everyone’s individual strengths are encouraged to flourish in an environment where LIFE chutzpah is always welcome. Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 95

City | Recycling



City | Transit

The City of Airdrie (Airdrie Transit) contracts First Student Canada (formerly Cardinal Coach Lines) to operate both the Public (Routed and

Your City Recycling Guide

Dial-a-Bus) and Special Needs Transit services.

Recycle Depot

Transfer Site

15 East Lake Hill Phone: (403) 948-0246 Email: Winter Hours October 1 – April 30 Monday and Tuesday: Closed Wednesday: 9 am – 8 pm Thursday – Sunday: 9 am – 5 pm Statutory Holiday Hours Call to confirm (403) 948-0246 The City of Airdrie has a user-pay system for waste collection. It works by taking the cost for waste collection out of the general tax base and putting this charge on the residential utility bill. The City of Airdrie has a two unit limit as part of this system. By using the City’s recycling, composting and other waste reduction programs, a resident can stay under the two unit limit. Beverage Containers Please return beverage containers (except for milk containers) for deposit.

Location: Six km west on Highway 567 next to the rodeo grounds Phone: (403) 948-0808 Web: Alberta Waste and Recycling is a local company contracted by the City of Airdrie for a pilot project of operating the Transfer Site. The Transfer Site is a multi-material recovery facility designed to handle both residential and construction waste materials. Hours of Operation Monday – Saturday: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (year round) Sunday: Closed Statutory Holidays: Closed Transfer Site Residential Fee: $20/level load (please ensure you arrive in ample time to offload prior to closing)

Public Transit: Route 1 West: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm Route 2 Central: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm Route 3 East: 7:00 am – 6:00 pm Special Needs Transit – Airdrie Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm Special Needs Transit – Calgary Tuesday – Thursday: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Christmas Tree Chipping

Evening Service Dial-a-Bus Provided on a shared public/special needs basis Monday – Friday: 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm


December 27 – January 20 (approx.) Airdrie Bottle Depot

26 East Lake Green Phone: (403) 948-3202 Hours: Monday – Saturday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm Sunday: 11:30 am – 3:30 pm Statutory Holidays: Closed

Saturday Dial-a-Bus Service Provided on a shared public/special needs basis (403) 948-8888 9:00 am – 10:00 pm


Please ensure trees are free of tinsel, ornaments, metal wire and stands. Trees are chipped and used for landscaping in City parks.

Residential Garbage Collection Schedule Garbage must be out by 7:00 a.m. MONDAY






Airdrie Meadows

Big Springs



Cooper’s Crossing


Meadow Brook


Main Street Trailer Park



King’s Heights

Willow Brook



Old Town (Village)


Prairie Springs







96 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

Silver Creek

On the


Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 97

CITY | Connecting

Distress Centre 24-hour Crisis Line, 403-266-1605

AADAC Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, 403-912-3306

Proud to be a partner in your commitment to the Airdrie Community. New Residents & New Mothers Susie Spurgeon 829-1773 New Businesses Mrytle Brewster 948-0743 Brides-to-Be Stacy Zimmer-Otteson 980-2025

Airdrie Employment Services, 403-948-9711 Airdrie Mental Health, 403-948-3878 Airdrie Regional Health Centre/Urgent Care Centre, 403-912-8400 Bethany Care Centre Airdrie, 403-948-6022 Block Parents Association, 403-948-0111 Calgary Rocky View Child & Family Services, 403-912-4758 Closer to Home, 403-948-9776 Credit Counselling Services of Alberta, 403-265-2201 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), 403-278-8081 Rocky View Adult Literacy Program, 403-948-6556 TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), 403-948-5880 SUPPORT GROUPS Airdrie & Area Parent Link Centre Services and programs to promote family wellness and provide support for families of young children, helping them connect with resources to meet their needs. 403-945-3900 or toll-free 1-866-945-3905,, Airdrie & District Victim Assistance Support and information for victims of crime and tragedy. 403-948-3468, Airdrie Boys & Girls Club Safe and accessible social, educational and recreational programs for youth. 403-948-3331, Airdrie Food Bank Short-term food assistance to residents of Airdrie and outlying communities. 403-948-0063, Airdrie Meals on Wheels Regular nourishing meals to help people to remain healthy and independent in the comfort of their own homes. 403-815-1400 Airdrie Seniors Outreach Program Linking seniors, information and resources to enable seniors to remain healthy and engaged in the community. 403-948 0263, Airdrie Women in Small Business Association (AWSBA) Support for women in small business. Meetings held once a month. 403-912-7502,

Read & Win! Did you know that October is Read Alberta Magazines Month? And that you can choose from nearly 200 different magazines, including this one, all published in Alberta? Subscribe to an Alberta magazine during October and you could win a weekend getaway to Canmore. Check out full event and contest details at

Alberta magazines. Flippin’ sweet.

AMPA acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Magazine Fund and the Government of Alberta through the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for this project.

Children’s Link Providing support to all family members raising children with disabilities. Various programs are available. Contact the Children’s Link Society for more information. 403-230-9158, mPower Youth Mentoring (Formerly AMFY, now merged with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Calgary) Matching junior and senior high-school students with a caring adult volunteer mentor. 403-777-3535,

Rocky View School Division Family School Liaison Program Working with school staff and community agencies to provide social support services to children and families in Airdrie. 403-219-6252, SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS #88 Royal Air Cadet Squadron A/Captain Carol Hartwick: 403-948-7788 cell 403-880 3253, #3016 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps Commanding Officer: 403-710-7363 Airdrie After Five Women’s Connection Kathy: 403-948-5694 Airdrie & District Agricultural Society 403-948-2290, fax 403-948-2131

Knights of Columbus Mike Perri: 403-948-5160,

Airdrie Minor Hockey Association 403-912-2680,

Airdrie Artists Guild Tami Lathwell: 403-668-4118

Lioness Club Jean Hart: 403-948-4850

Airdrie Mixed Industrial Slo-Pitch Ray Frederick: 403-948-1339

Lions Club Dan Mckinnon: 403-948-5447

Airdrie Nutty Housewife Hockey Club

Airdrie Community Choir Christine Waldner: 403-980-0071

Optimist Club Bill Hope: 403-540-2852,

Airdrie Ringette Association Sherrie Enes: 403-948-7515

PAGE (Parent’s Action Group of Education) Cheryl Blakke Martin: 403-948-9877 Probus Club of Airdrie Bob Harriman: 403-945-0663 , Rotary Club of Airdrie Paul Schulz: 403-948-8852, Royal Canadian Legion George Dunn: 403-948-3000

Airdrie & District Humane Society Jacqueline Cooper: 403-912-7652

Royal Canadian Legion—Ladies Auxiliary Jill Combs: 403-948-7207

Airdrie & District Pro Life Carmen: 403-912-5419

Shriners—Wild Rose Shrine Club Clayton Bailey: 403-948-0270

Airdrie Babysitting Co-operative Kathy Kimak: 403-948-4508

United Church Women’s Group Betty McArthur: 403-948-3863

Airdrie Boys and Girls Club 403-948-3331,

Woodside Seniors’ Association 403-948-4088

Airdrie Breakfast Club Bonnie: 403-948-2121 Airdrie Chamber of Commerce 403-948-4412,

SPORTS & RECREATION Airdrie & District Soccer Association 403-948-6260,

Airdrie Christian Home Educating Parents Peggy Buzzard: 403-948-0330 Airdrie Festival of Lights Society 403-912-9627 Airdrie Girl Guides Barb Young: 403-226-0814 Airdrie Mentor Foundation for Youth (AMFY) Leanne Hall: 403-945-2535 Airdrie Regional Arts Society (ARAS) Greg McRitchie: 403-948-4080 Airdrie Regional Recreational Enhancement Society (ARRES) Peter Brown: 403-948-8804 Airdrie Scouts 403-283-4993, Airdrie Wild Rose Masonic Lodge Hugh Hamilton: 403-948-5901 Airdrie Women in Small Business Association Joan Bell: 403-912-7502

North Rocky View Community Links Society Individual/family crisis support, intake/assessment/referrals, avenues to basic needs and much more. 403-948 0263 or toll-free 1-866-912-7272,, • Counselling Program: Prevents personal and family breakdown, enhances the abilities of individuals and families to constructively manage their lives and enriches the quality of family life. • Family Resource Program: Supports families towards the goal of optimum family functioning. • Out-of-School Care Program: Decreases the number of Airdrie children left unsupervised by helping families in financial need who are working, attending educational institutions, or who have special needs.

Airdrie Youth Justice Committee John: 403-948-7110

R.J. Hawkey Breakfast Program Care for students with needs for personal, social and/or nutritional support outside their homes on school-day mornings. 403-948-0063 or 403-948-3939

Alberta 4-H Youth Program Rob Smith: 403-948-8501, Beta Sigma Phi—XI Alpha Psi Chapter Darlene Hoogstraten: 403-948-7491

Airdrie Rodeo Ranch Association Clint McLeod or Sylvia Kerr: 403-948-0512 Airdrie Seihoku-Ryu Shotokan Karate Club Tim Dunlap: 403-945-3300 Airdrie Skating Club Coach Joanne: 403-945 4230 Airdrie Storm Football (Bantam) Mike Ware:, 403-826-2146 Airdrie Taekwon-Do/Airdrie Tae Boxing Academy of Champions Airdrie Thunder Junior Hockey Club Frank McEvoy, president/general manager: 403-948 7511, fax 403-912-1762

Airdrie Dance Academy Susan Laing: 403-948-5530, Airdrie Family Theatre Tony Belland: 403-980-0301 Airdrie Little Theatre Rob Christie: 403-807-1894, Airdrie Public Library 403-948-0600, Ambition Arts Studio 403-912-3203, Bert Church Theatre 403-948-2153, Friends of the Airdrie Public Library Karin Simpson: 403-948-4003 Imeson Highland Dancers Jessica Imeson, head instructor: 403-701-0726, Staying Tuned— Women’s Community Choir Liz Bilben: 403-948-9973 Nose Creek Valley Museum 403-948-6685

Airdrie Volleyball Club Jim Kramer: 403-948-3367

Nose Creek Valley Museum Society Larry Bilben: 403-948-4145

Airdrie & District Special Olympics Kim Nicolas: 403-912-7842

Airdrie Yoga Studio 403-945-1825,

Northern Trails Riding Club Deana Harbidge: 403-220-1624

Airdrie BMX Association Carolyn Croft/Tim Croft: 403-948-1839 Track: 403-912 2012,

Airdrie Badminton Club Chris Gardner: 403-948-6642

Star Baton & Dance Company Mandy Yip: 403-948-9999,

Airdrie Bowling Club Youth/Adult/Senior Leagues 403-948-3404, fax 403-948-4685 Airdrie Curling Club Elliott Doriron: 403-948-8711 Club/Pro Shop: 403-948-7100 Concession: 403-948-0602 Airdrie Chinook Winds Baseball Association Dennis Driscoll: 403-948-7387 Airdrie Drag Racing Team Harry Svingen: 403-948-2962 Airdrie Edge Gymnastics Club 403-948-7769, Airdrie Extreme Athletics Shannon Howorko: 403-912-1364 Airdrie Girls Softball Association Nancy Jones: 403-948-2811 Airdrie Judo Club Paul Hachey: 403-592-0918

Catholic Women’s League Cathy Buchanan: 403-948-2921

Airdrie Ju-Jitsu/Goshindo Karate/Airdrie J.K.A. Daniel Verzotti: 403-239 9467, cell 403-607-0621

Ducks Unlimited Keith Wilson: 403-948-3922

Airdrie Ladies Fastball League Linda Raymond: 403-948-4699

Junior Forest Wardens Gary Thompson: 403-237-1652,

Airdrie Little League Rob Morphew: 403-948-6279,

Kinsmen Club Don Scotten: 403-948-6519

Airdrie Minor Basketball 403-912-1783,

Flying Tiger Martial Arts Academy Andrew Erickson: 403-945-0800 Horizon Taekwon-Do Aron Johnston: 403-912 6TKD (6853) Kensho Karate Club 403-912-5065, Ladies Recreational Fastball Rene Cherry: 403-420-5890 Mall Walkers Walking Club Marion Smith: 403-948-5901 Nose Creek Swim Association (Airdrie competitive swim club) 403-288-2817,,

HOBBY & LEISURE Airdrie & District Quilt Guild Mary: 403-948-1741 Airdrie Summer Classic Car Show Brian: 403-912-2141 Airdrie Horticultural Society Ruth: 403-948-2380, Airdrie Farmers’ Market Sandy Ancion: 403-948-2826 Airdrie Flying Club

Pegasus Pony Club Brenda Wise: 403-935-2382

Airdrie Revolver and Pistol Club 403-608-0783

Rockyview Lacrosse Association Jaana Critchley: 403-637-2706

Iron Horse Park Mike Gibbons: 403-948-2380,

Woodside Golf Club 403-948-6717,

L.A. Social Club Leslie-Ann Scobie: 403-539-0524

Synchro Stars Club of Airdrie Arlene Mayer: 403-948-1969

Modellers Aircraft Society Mark Townsend: 403-598-5667

Terry Fox Run 403-212-1336

Rockyview Ramblers Square Dance Club Hilda Fletcher: 403-948-4181

Windy Ridge Riders Donna Normdon: 403-946-5842

The Over 50 Club Neil Ellison: 403-948-4207

ARTS, CULTURE & HERITAGE Airdrie & District Art Council Rob Lemorande: 403-948-2153

Toastmasters 403-948-4569, Woodside Seniors Club 403-948-4088 Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 99

CITY | Genesis Place

Leisure Pool Schedule 9 am





Lessons 9 am–11 am



School Bookings


School Bookings



9 am–3 pm

9 am–11 am

9 am–3 pm

9 am–11 am

9 am–12 pm


10 am 11 am

Fit Over Fifty H20

Fit Over Fifty H20

Fit Over Fifty H20

12 noon 11:15 am–12 pm

11:15 am–12 pm

11:15 am–12 pm

Family Swim

Family Swim

Family Swim

12 pm - 4 pm

12 pm–4 pm

12 pm–3 pm

1 pm

Family Swim

Family Swim

12:30 pm–2:30 pm

12:30 pm–2:30 pm

2 pm 3 pm

Public Swim

Public Swim

Public Swim

3 pm–5 pm

3 pm–8 pm

3 pm–9 pm

Public Swim

Public Swim

2:30 pm–8 pm

2:30 pm–8 pm

4 pm 5pm




4:30 pm–6:30 pm

5 pm–7 pm

4:30 pm–6:30 pm


Family Swim

Family Swim

7 pm

6:30 pm–7:30 pm

Public Swim

Public Swim

7 pm–9 pm

8 pm

6:30 pm–9 pm

6:30 pm–7:30 pm

Public Swim 7:30 pm–9 pm

Adults Swim 8 pm–9 pm

9 pm Public Swim–Aquatic areas open for public use. Floatation pool toys may be used during this time. Family Swim–Patrons under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Floatation pool toys may be used during this time. Adult Swim–Patrons must be 18+ to enjoy a quiet relaxing swim. School Bookings–Public Swim/Family Swim is not permitted at this time. This time is allotted for schools to use the aquatic areas. Lessons–Public Swim/Family Swim is not permitted at this time due to registered programs. Fit Over Fifty H20–This class is for the 50+ fitness enthusiast. It provides a great cardiovascular workout.

Additional Aquatic Areas Schedule Lane Pool








6:15 am–4 pm 7 pm–9 pm Kayaking Club 8 am–9 am

6:15am–4 pm 7 pm–9 pm Masters 7 pm–8 pm

6:15am–4 pm 7 pm–9 pm Masters 7 pm–8 pm

6:15 am–4 pm 7 pm–9 pm

8 am–8 pm Kayaking Club 8 am–9 am

8 am–8 pm

(3 lanes available)

(2 lanes available)

6:15am–4 pm 7 pm–9 pm Special Olympics 7 pm–8 pm

(3 lanes available)

(2 lanes available)

(3 lanes available)

**Drop-In Fitness Classes are located in the Lane Pool and Dive Tank- during those times space in limited. Please see Drop-In Fitness Classes Schedule** **Monday to Friday Lane Pool is closed from 4:30pm – 7:00pm for Swim Club**

Dive Tank

Group Booking 7 pm–8 pm

Group Booking 7 pm–8 pm

Hot Tub

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

8 am–8 pm

8 am–8 pm

Steam Room

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

6:15 am–9 pm

8 am–8 pm

8 am–8 pm

6:15 am– 9 pm

6:15am–9 am 3 pm–9 pm

6:15 am– 9 pm

6:15am–9 am 3 pm–9 pm

6:15am–9 am

8 am–8 pm

8 am–8 pm

Tot pool

Children under the age of seven are required to be accompanied by a responsible person 16 years of age or older. Further, to ensure safety, the child is to be within arms reach of the responsible person.



CrossIron Mills | 105 Home-based Success | 113

Commercial Changes | 121 Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE

CITY | Economic Development

Airdrie Now!

A new marketing strategy is designed to help Economic Development attract targeted industry and growth By Alex Frazer-Harrison

strategy suggests companies with fewer than 50 employees are the ideal target. Environmental industries have also been identified as an “emerging sector” for Airdrie, which already is home to a number of companies involved in recycling, including eCycle Solutions (electronics recycling), Vitreous Glass (glass recycling) and Alberta Waste and Recycling (construction materials). “Ideally we’d like to have a ‘green industrial park’ in Airdrie some day—promoting green roofs, how they manage their water treatment, et cetera,” Rupert says. As part of the campaign, Rupert says Airdrie representatives will be scouring trade shows, conferences and meetings related to the key sectors, in order to promote the city.

Half of our residents have

The City of Airdrie Economic Development team, from left: Kent Rupert, Sara Chamberlain and Leona Esau As one of Alberta’s fastest-growing

cities, Airdrie is moving into the big leagues. While its close proximity to Calgary might lead some to expect it to fall into the shadow of its mighty neighbour, Airdrie has proven it has what it takes to create its own identity as a business and investment hub. The City of Airdrie’s Economic Development department is in the process of launching a new marketing campaign, stressing new priorities as it looks to a future of potential growth. “In late 2007, we did a business and investment attraction marketing strategy; we looked at where Airdrie was at and where it’s going,” says team leader Kent Rupert. He notes that while Airdrie has always been seen as having a small-town feel, the city’s process of interviewing businesses and companies identified that, while that’s certainly a big part of Airdrie—“people are friendly, people know their neighbours, it’s a very tight business community,” says Rupert—in fact, he says, “We are truly a dynamic small city that’s growing.” Rupert points to how Airdrie used to fit the “bedroom community” stereotype—a community made up mainly of families and people who worked in Calgary. Now the city sees more singles and young professionals moving in, and more 102 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

businesses setting up shop in Airdrie. “There’s a real energy to this city,” he says. The City started to look at ways to promote this energy,“ and change the way people are thinking about Airdrie,” Rupert says. “Half of our residents have lived here less than 10 years, so we’re refocusing our marketing for Economic Development to highlight that we’re a young, exciting city.” The new slogan for business attraction— “Airdrie Now!”—speaks to this drive. “It really represents where we’re at,” says Rupert.“People are moving here now and things are happening now, and there is excitement and energy behind it.” The three-year campaign comes during a veritable boom time for business development in Airdrie. Rupert reports that in the first six months of 2008, his department responded to 120 businessrelated inquiries (“and that just counts those we had contact with”), and the number of new business licences jumped as high as 85 per month. “We’re seeing it on the industrial and the retail and the home-based business side—everything’s expanding,” he says. With so much development going on— new business/commercial projects in Kingsview, Highland Park and Sierra Springs (see stories pages 110 and 121), not to mention the

ongoing redevelopment of downtown, as well as the yet-to-be-determined potential spinoffs from the CrossIron Mills site in Balzac (see story page 105)—one might wonder if the City needs to market itself at all. “We’ve been fortunate that for the last three years Airdrie has been a choice destination,” says Rupert—“we’ve been on the map with investors, with retailers.” He adds that “we need to continue to be focused, so if the economy slows down or levels out, we aren’t scrambling and we have a plan.” That’s why the City, through its business and investment attraction marketing strategy, has identified three sectors and one emerging sector as areas to promote for future growth. “We’re open for business to anybody, but we want to make sure we’re targeted . . . in the type of business we go out and chase after,” Rupert explains. The target sectors are: advanced manufacturing; transportation and logistics, which includes the new Costco distribution centre now under development; and professional, scientific and technical services, which is a large sector, Rupert says, involving “home-based businesses, storefronts, designers, architects, et cetera.” The marketing

lived here less than 10 years, so we’re refocusing our marketing for Economic Development to highlight that

we’re a young, exciting city

“We’ll be out there making sure they’re aware of Airdrie and what our focus is and what our priorities are,” he says, “and letting them know we’re very business friendly, and what the key advantages are of doing business in Airdrie and in Alberta.” Rupert doesn’t see Airdrie as trying to compete with Calgary. “We work well with Calgary and Calgary Economic Development, and if we can’t have [a business] in Airdrie, we’d still want it in the region,” he says. “But there’s always friendly competition.” Just don’t call Airdrie a bedroom community. “I think we’re well past that stereotype,” says Rupert. “I would challenge anyone who calls us a bedroom community,” he says, “and I have!” LIFE For more information about Airdrie Economic

Development, visit

October 19–25, 2008 Every year across Canada small businesses and entrepreneurs are recognized during Small Business Week. Airdrie is home to a significant, and growing, number of small and home-based businesses. These businesses are an important part of our economy and our community. Celebrate Small Business Week in Airdrie by attending one of the events listed below.

Events In Airdrie

Women in Business Trade Fair Sunday, October 19 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Town & Country Centre, 275 Jensen Drive For more information, visit or phone 403-912-7502. Chamber Networking & Small Business Week

Kick-Off Luncheon Monday, October 20 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. Ramada Inn & Suites, 191 East Lake Crescent $15.00 members/$20.00 non-members To RSVP by October 17, or for information, call the Chamber at 403-948-4412.

Am I An Entrepreneur? Evening Tuesday, October 21 6:30–9 p.m. Airdrie City Hall, 400 Main Street SE $10 in advance/$15 at the door Interested in starting your own business but don’t know where to start? This fun and casual evening is your chance to learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Get your questions answered by representatives from business support organizations (including funding agencies), and hear success stories from real Airdrie entrepreneurs. Plus, you’ll have the chance to win a fabulous “Kick Start Your Business Basket” prize. Hosted by Airdrie Economic Development and Community Futures Centre West. For information, call 403-948-8844.

Marketing: Kicking it Up a Notch Wednesday, October 22 8:30–10 a.m. Airdrie City Hall, 400 Main Street SE Join us for this lively, one-hour seminar—part of Airdrie Economic Development’s monthly Business Education Series. Take your marketing to the next level! Learn ad agency secrets ranging from evaluating media to creating highly effective messages that your target market will identify with. Presenter Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, publisher of AirdrieLIFE, is a certified ad agency practitioner with more than 20 years of experience in the advertising industry. To register or for information, call 403-948-8844.

Winning Edge Awards Banquet Thursday, October 23 6 p.m. Woodside Golf Course Celebrate Airdrie’s finest businesses at the 11th annual Winning Edge Awards Banquet. For ticket information, call the City of Airdrie at 403-948-8844. Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 103

WORKS | Regional Development

Proudly serving Airdrie, Cochrane and the MD of Rocky View! Turn your radio dial to 106.1 FM in Airdrie and 95.3 FM in Cochrane.

Who’s afraid of Office: 403-217-1061 Contest Line: 403-212-1061 159 B East Lake Blvd, Airdrie, AB, T4A 2G2

104 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008



It’s OK to be cautious of the giant down the road. CrossIron Mills is going to change the economic landscape, and Airdrie stands to benefit Story By Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photos BY Sergei Belski and Kristy Reimer | Illustrations by Kelly Gannon

Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 105

WORKS | Regional Development


giant is slowly coming to life just south of Airdrie. CrossIron Mills is the largest shopping mall project Alberta has seen since West Edmonton Mall transformed the capital’s retail scene, and it, too, is bucking the trend of all-outdoor, car-dependent power centres. And it’s also only part of a larger plan that will ultimately include a racing entertainment centre, complete with track, and other commercial and industrial development in what’s called East Balzac. The CrossIron Mills property abuts Calgary’s northern boundary, but it’s still miles from the closest competing retailer or Calgary residential area. So that places Airdrie, less than five minutes to the north, more directly in the giant’s footprint. When plans for the mall were first announced, the media tried to play up the “fear and loathing” aspect among Airdrie business people. For some, these concerns still exist, while for others concern has been replaced by enthusiasm for what the mall might mean for Airdrie’s already booming economy. We talked to a number of Airdrie business and city leaders and clearly, for most, feelings are mixed as they weigh the benefits and the challenges. It’s an enormously complex issue, involving not just the new giant in the neighbourhood, but the region’s development overall. But first, what exactly will the new neighbour look like? John Scott, vice-president of development for mall owners Ivanhoe Cambridge, describes the genesis of CrossIron Mills: “In mid-2005, we started to look for a site in the Calgary regional area,” Scott says. “We wanted the exposure of the QEII, and to take advantage of the north–south trade corridor between Calgary and Edmonton.” Scott says CrossIron Mills will be unique from other enclosed malls, “a hybrid centre,” they call it, “with a combination of the best attributes of enclosed regional shopping centres, outlet centres, power centres and entertainment venues.” Unlike most malls that rely on one or two name-brand anchor stores, CrossIron Mills will have 17 anchors occupying from 20,000 to 150,000 square feet each. “We don’t have the traditional department 106 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

stores,” Scott says. “Our premier anchor will be a 150,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops [a sporting goods retailer], and it’s the uniqueness of those anchors and the overall merchandise mix that will bring in our customers.” CrossIron Mills is an adaptation of a concept launched earlier this decade with Vaughan Mills, a similar “super-regional” shopping centre in the suburbs north of Toronto. Scott says it will be a single-level mall covering 1.4 million square feet. Besides the anchors, another 200 smaller specialty retailers are planned. As of early summer, 77 per cent of the specialty retail and 80 per cent of the main anchor space had already been leased out, with the mall scheduled to open in August 2009. Down the road, CrossIron Mills will ultimately include a racing entertainment centre, developed and run by the United Horsemen of Alberta, housing a one-mile thoroughbred track and entertainment venues. Another 120 acres on the north side of the mall, coowned by Ivanhoe Cambridge and UHA, is earmarked for mixed-use office, commercial and hotel development. All told, 700 acres are being developed for the project, which Scott estimates represents a $1 billion investment, $400 million of that for the mall alone. Scott says an estimated 3,500 people will be employed by the mall (“one-third full-time, two-thirds part-time”), with a target of 5,000 employees once the racing venue is operational. Post time for that is 2010, he says. Last May, Ivanhoe Cambridge announced many of the planned tenants for the centre, including a mixture of retailers making their Alberta debut, and retailers opening their largest stores at CrossIron Mills. Besides Bass Pro Shops, other announced anchors include Holt Renfrew Last Call, Pro Hockey Life, Bed Bath & Beyond, Toys ‘R’ Us, The Children’s Place, H&M and Forever XXI. So the face of the giant is clear. What it will mean for Airdrie businesses, infrastructure and residents is rather less so. Kent Rupert, economic development team leader for the City of Airdrie, compares concerns over CrossIron Mills with the initial concerns over the arrival of Wal-Mart. “Usually when a big box moves into town,

Brian Roddick (left) and John Scott on the CrossIron Mills site

CrossIron Mills will be unique from other enclosed malls— a hybrid centre, with a combination of the best attributes of enclosed regional shopping centres, outlet centres, power centres and entertainment venues

particularly something like Wal-Mart, there’s a syndrome of ‘the sky is falling,’” he says.“But even talking to our businesses after a year [after Wal-Mart’s opening], we found within that year some of their business dipped a little bit and then it skyrocketed.” Rupert says he doesn’t know if CrossIron Mills might siphon businesses that would otherwise have opened in Airdrie. “Looking through [the tenant’s list] it’s a lot of national chains, a lot of higher-end stores in some ways and outlet stores,” he says. “Would some of these have moved into our community? I’m not 100 per cent sure; a few could have moved here, but others I don’t expect would move to the Airdrie market per se—the mall is seen as [part of ] the Calgary market,” Rupert says. “Even though we’re just up the road,” he adds, “we’re seen as a different market.” All this suits Lisa Silvernagle fine. The owner of S’inStyle Women’s Wear Inc. says she actually considered relocating from her

Yankee Valley Crossing site to the new mall. “We decided against it for a few reasons,” she says. “People come to my boutique from across Calgary and Airdrie because we stand out and we are different from the box stores in all the malls. I don’t want to be the same as everybody else.” Silvernagle is confident her unique business will keep customers flocking to her, even as they check out the new mall. In fact, she feels the mall’s proximity to Airdrie is likely to draw potential new customers to her shop and to others in the city. “I truly feel that for Airdrie it will increase [customer] traffic,” she says. “People will go to the mall who may have never been north of Calgary before, and they’ll say, let’s check out Airdrie.” Airdrie Alderman Shawn Howard sees the mall as a catalyst of potential economic benefit for Airdrie.“I certainly hope it will attract people from around the region to spend

money, and as they’re doing activities in and around Airdrie, they’ll stop in Airdrie to buy fuel or go to a restaurant,” he says. “There is a lot of potential in this corridor,” he continues, “we have to make sure we plan it right.” Howard says the mall, coupled with other development in East Balzac, will likely “impact housing and future growth not just in Airdrie, but the MD [of Rocky View] and the city of Calgary.” He notes that “Balzac wants to build out to 40,000 people, which is bigger than Airdrie is today.” Airdrie–Chestermere MLA Rob Anderson says the mall will have a major impact on Airdrie and the MD in terms of generating employment. He’s quick to point out, though, that the mall is just one part of the larger development picture in the Edmonton– Calgary, or QEII, corridor—a zone straddling Highway 2 that is expected to see continued commercial, industrial and residential growth in the coming years. Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 107

WORKS | Regional Development

Lisa Silvernagle, owner of S’in Style is not worried about competition from the mall project, in fact she is looking forward to it. Lisa Silvernagle, owner of S’in Style is not worried about competition from CrossIron Mills; in fact she welcomes it

“I expect it will have a positive economic impact as it will create a lot of new jobs, which is a good thing,” Anderson says. “But whether or not the mall was in there, the corridor would be growing. I don’t think that’s necessarily the mall’s fault.” Anderson explains, “I think it’s very possible the Edmonton–Calgary corridor is the most affluent region in North America. Its standard of living is one of the highest in North America and people want to live here,” he says. “One concern I have is we have to make sure we’re developing in accordance with the land-use framework,” Anderson continues, “and to make sure the development is environmentally friendly . . . so we don’t put a bad mark on this great province of ours.” An Airdrie-based marketing and business development specialist says she sees plenty of potential for positive impact from CrossIron Mills and related developments. “Positive impact includes job creation, regional diversification and substantial tax 108 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

gain for the MD,” says Natalie Gibson of InnoVisions and Associates. “There will be lots of business opportunities and economic growth springing from this development, no doubt.” But with such a huge development, Gibson says, come challenges. For example,“we have a lack of affordable housing, and the majority of the thousands of potential employees are from the retail, hospitality and food service industries,” she says, adding,“this segment typically earns between $9 and $11 per hour.” And that’s assuming the mall can find the employees, given Alberta’s infamously tight labour market, notes Mike Brandrick, president of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce. “This is a major concern for existing businesses already,” he says, “not just as a result of the mall—the mall only increases the concern, as we are now looking at significantly increasing the staffing needs of the area.” And this, says Brandrick, introduces another area of concern: “the logistical challenges of moving those employees. Will there be transit opportunities? Will there be shuttle services?” he asks. The City’s Rupert says such nuts-and-bolts stuff as servicing, access, emergency services and other issues, for the most part, fall under the MD of Rocky View’s responsibility. “If Calgary were doing it, they have the infrastructure to support it—the roadways, policing, medical services,” he says. “Our biggest concern is that it’s out in the middle of nowhere, with not a lot of infrastructure, so the 5,000 people [working there] will use recreation services, medical services, et cetera in both [Airdrie and Calgary].” He, too, has questions: “Will there be [enough] affordable housing? What kind of medical and fire services will there be?” “The MD has a project that’s more urban than rural, and they have to start playing by a different set of rules,” Rupert adds. A development like this has the potential to cause a ripple effect, InnoVisions’ Gibson believes. “The first line is your infrastructure; then the housing, the business opportunities, and the challenges ripple out to encompass all communities in the region,” she says. “There will be a higher degree of traffic on secondary

roads, more affordable housing [needed] in the smaller communities.” Scott from Ivanhoe Cambridge says there have been discussions about such issues as transit. “One of our challenges is [that] we’re not within Airdrie or Calgary,” he says. “There have been some ongoing discussions between the City of Airdrie and City of Calgary in terms of transit,” he says, adding,“we’d be interested in participating in those. Ultimately it makes more practical sense to have a regional transit system, but these things take time.” Scott says Ivanhoe Cambridge is looking at creating a private shuttle service to the centre for customers and employees, but cautions,“that discussion is in the early days.” The Municipal District of Rocky View has had a plan in the works for major development in Balzac since crafting the Balzac East Area Structure Plan (BEASP) in 2000. The BEASP covers an area of 4,500 acres adjacent to Secondary Highway 566 and Airdrie’s southeast boundary and covers residential, industrial, commercial and agricultural land uses. The CrossIron Mills/ racetrack site was originally identified as a potential business campus location. Besides CrossIron Mills and the racing entertainment centre, work is already underway on the Wagon Wheel Industrial Park, and this year the planning approval process is in motion for a business park, the Balzac Commercial Campus, and the Ham West

Industrial Park, including a proposed educational campus. “We’ve had a policy framework in place for eight years,” says Lori Pesowski, director of planning and community services for the MD. “And we’ve enjoyed excellent community engagement with the City of Calgary and City of Airdrie.” The MD has also looked ahead to next year’s mall opening by unveiling a temporary fire station in Balzac earlier this year. “Before that, all fire services were from Airdrie, under contract, or Calgary,” says Ted Gard, the MD’s director of emergency services. “As development was increasing, we had more responsibility to take ownership of those functions.” He says the hope is for ground to be broken for a permanent station in 2009. Gard says policing of the mall will fall under the purview of the RCMP, adding local Mounties have travelled to the Vaughan Mills centre to compare notes on what law enforcement-related issues could be expected. “Right now, the Airdrie detachment has seven rural members,” says Gard. “That’s sufficient to respond to [current] needs; as we develop, those needs will change.” Gard says they’ve been dealing with the regional superintendent and inspector “and they’ve identified the number of people who will be required . . . when [the mall] opens.” MD economic development manager David Kalinchuk concurs that in the bigger picture, the planning for East Balzac involves more than just the mall and racing centre. “East Balzac is more than just retail—it has a heavy component of manufacturing and light industrial,” says Kalinchuk. He says the attraction of developments like CrossIron Mills is that they lay “The foundation for future industrial and commercial development in these sectors.” There is a temptation to compare the Balzac development to that of Nisku, a large industrial development between Edmonton and Leduc that forms part of the northern gateway of the QEII corridor. “The difference with Nisku,” explains Derek Lovlin, director of infrastructure and operations at the MD, “is it has the [Edmonton International] Airport and there’s a huge servicing industry for oil and

gas . . . it attracted a certain type of development [such as] heavy industry.” He says,“Our starting driver is looking at commercial and light industry—it’s going to drive a different type of development to start with, with heavier applications as you go east [of the QEII].” Addressing concerns about access and the potential impact on traffic, Lovlin says plans are in the works to upgrade some of the roadways in the area.“We’re working with the cities of Airdrie and Calgary and Alberta Transportation to develop a long-range plan of parallel road networks to Highway 2,” he says. For example, says Lovlin, one road likely to be upgraded is Airdrie’s 8th Street W., which becomes Range Road 11 when it leaves the city and passes to the west of the development area. Plans are also in the works to link Calgary’s Metis Trail with the MD’s Range Road 293, which will approach CrossIron Mills and the racing entertainment centre from the south. Alderman Howard says he’d like to see concrete plans in place for dealing with infrastructure issues. “It’s not enough to say it will be taken care of or that plans are being developed,” he says. “For example, the RCMP is struggling to find recruits—these aren’t just simple solutions.” Rupert, while sharing some of the infrastructure concerns, believes that, overall, the development of CrossIron Mills could mean an exciting time for Airdrie’s business sector and local consumers. “On the retail side, it will help Airdrie quite a bit because rents [in the Balzac mall] will be quite high, and perhaps a business that wants to be in that area will see Airdrie as a better alternative because it’s more affordable,” he says, comparing the situation to a few years ago when Airdrie’s housing market benefited from being considered more affordable than Calgary’s. Says Scott: “We’re hoping [CrossIron Mills] will be a benefit to Airdrie and Airdrie residents. Clearly [with] the proximity of this development to Airdrie . . . I think it will be really appreciated.” CrossIron Mills may well turn out to be a friendly giant, even if it is something of a monster. One thing’s for sure: Airdronians are going to be among the first to find out. LIFE


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Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 109

WORKS | Industrial Development

Taking the

Drawings from the Beedie Group show a master plan for success

get our ducks in a row and identify [desired] sectors,â&#x20AC;? he says.â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll work directly with the developer to get a common outcome.â&#x20AC;? Gormley says heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worked closely with the City and has found them to be very supportive of the project. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been extremely helpful, wanting to see the industry coming in and wanting to see the employment,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re assessing a long-term relationship with Airdrie,â&#x20AC;? he adds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not planning to just build and leave town.â&#x20AC;? One sector the City is hoping to cultivate in developments such as Highland Park involves professionalâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;technical businessesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; surveyors, architects and similar companies. Boundary Technical Group Inc. has been

High Road

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Highland Park brings a focus on industrial growth to Airdrie STORY BY ALEX FRAZER-HARRISON

A new industrial/business park is

taking shape in Airdrieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northeast corner, further cementing the city as a major hub along the growing QEII corridor. Highland Park Industrial covers more than 200 acres north of Veterans Boulevard, and is already making headlines as the home of Costcoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s huge distribution centre, now under construction on a 58.7-acre parcel. Kent Rupert, economic development team leader for the City of Airdrie, says Highland Park is a vital piece of the puzzle as Airdrie continues to cultivate its commercial, business and industrial investment opportunities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a lot of industrial land coming on thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s serviced or being serviced,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In the Calgary region, that gives us a distinct advantage.â&#x20AC;? Highland Park is the first Alberta development by the Beedie Group, a Burnabybased firm that has developed a number of industrial and business parks in the Lower Mainland. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been looking at Alberta . . . and an opportunity came up for property in Airdrie,â&#x20AC;? says Dave Gormley, Beedieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s director of development. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m familiar with Airdrieâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;I used 110 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

to work for the town engineers 20 years ago, and was involved in the design and construction of their first industrial park.â&#x20AC;?

Highland Park will contribute to the cultivation of the QEII corridor as a major economic driver between Calgary, Airdrie and points north Design guidelines will ensure Highland Park is not a hodgepodge of warehouses and office blocks, says Todd Yuen, Beedieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vicepresident of industrial development.â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be no prefabricated buildings like you often see in business parks in Calgary,â&#x20AC;? he says. He adds that the developer is aiming for â&#x20AC;&#x153;a fully finished business park atmosphere.â&#x20AC;?

Highland Park is still in its early stagesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; except for the previously announced Costco development, as of August neither the City nor Beedie could confirm potential tenants. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There are three or four groups weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re speaking to, ranging from 50 employees to a couple of hundred employees,â&#x20AC;? says Yuen. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had a lot of sincere and serious inquiries about the properties.â&#x20AC;? As Costco builds its facility, Beedie is working on constructing two â&#x20AC;&#x153;specâ&#x20AC;? buildings on the site, each approximately 30,000 square feet. Project manager Jordan Creamore says these are targeted for completion by next April. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Particularly in a market like Alberta, where the market is so robust, the focus is often on the largest tenants,â&#x20AC;? adds Yuen. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We recognize that the smaller, mid-tier businesses so critical to the economy need homes, too.â&#x20AC;? Several properties are currently available off the northern extension of East Lake Boulevard. A total of seven phases are planned, with the first phase currently being serviced, and a predicted five- to ten-year time frame before build-out, depending on the market. Creamore says the location of High-

land Park will contribute to the cultivation of the QEII corridor as a major economic driver between Calgary, Airdrie and points north. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And having the [Stoney Trail] bypass coming through, and easy access for transportation, and [development] of areas in and around the [Calgary International] Airport, will make Airdrie a significant hub,â&#x20AC;? he says. Rupert agrees, and says thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why the City needs to ensure there is a good supply of ready-to-use industrial/business park land available.â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kingsview is sold out, and we have Gateway behind Superstore starting to move forward,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And now with Highland Park, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exciting that we have the land and can offer it to industrial [development].â&#x20AC;? Rupert adds that â&#x20AC;&#x153;seeing the work Beedie has done in B.C., itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exciting that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve chosen Airdrie.â&#x20AC;? Rupert says the timing is good, with no hard-and-fast rules in place yet for the types of business and industry that might ultimately go into Highland Park.â&#x20AC;&#x153;It gives us a chance to

in Airdrie for about 25 years, and president Craig White says his company is ready to make a move from its current location in a business-condo bay on the east side. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have pretty much outgrown where weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re at, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking at another place to go,â&#x20AC;? he says,â&#x20AC;&#x153;but it has to be a good fit.â&#x20AC;? Boundary is a land-surveying company that does most of its work between Red Deer and Montana, and employs about 30 people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I started out, there were only six of us,â&#x20AC;? says White. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think you can continue to grow, but you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to just grow for the sake of growing. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re at a nice, sustainable level,â&#x20AC;? he says. White says even though most of Boundaryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work is done outside of Airdrie, the city has been the logical home base. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of my guys live in Airdrie and the surrounding area,â&#x20AC;? he says, adding that wherever the company eventually moves, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll still be in Airdrie. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need to be in the big city,â&#x20AC;? he says. LIFE For more information about Highland Park Industrial,


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Airdrie, Alberta Phone: (403) 948-6018 Fax: (403) 948-5948 Internet: Email: Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

WORKS | Small Business

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Brad Racette, Nerds On Site

403-605-0029 STORY BY ALEX FRAZER-HARRISON | PHOTOS BY Sergei Belski Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 113

WORKS | Small Business

Many people dream of owning their

own business—no nine-to-five rat race, no boss looking over your shoulder, the freedom to make your own decisions. Many Airdrie businesspeople are not only living this dream, they’re running their businesses out of the comfort of their homes. More than a third of all business licences in Airdrie are for home-based businesses, in fields ranging from professional, scientific and technical services, to construction and oil and gas extraction. “The type of spirit we have in Airdrie is very entrepreneurial,” says City of Airdrie economic team leader Kent Rupert. “We’re seeing a lot of people who used to work in downtown Calgary who got tired of the commute . . . and wanted to run their own home-based business.” Rupert says home-based businesses are “crucial to our economy. It’s nice to have a storefront,” he continues, “but sometimes it just makes sense to keep them in the home. We have international consultants, for example, who fly around the world, but their base is in Airdrie.” Large or small, every business has an impact on the Airdrie economy, adds Mike Brandrick, president of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, who says the Chamber’s homebased business membership is on the rise. “All [Chamber] members are important, whether they are larger corporations with hundreds of employees, or a one-employee home-based business,” Brandrick says. “The contribution to the Airdrie economy can be just as significant.” Here are just a few examples of the growing range of businesses Airdronians are running from home. Revenge of the Nerds

Whether it’s a PC or a human heart, Brad Racette has always been interested in how things work. Today he owns the Airdrie franchise of Nerds On Site, a network of computer experts providing personalized technical assistance to individuals and businesses. But Racette’s interest in computers dates back to long before the advent of terabyte hard drives and the Internet. 114 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

“My first computer was a Commodore 64, and it’s always been a hobby,” he says.“I got my first PC in the early nineties; I remember I was up late one night and I’d taken it apart on the kitchen table to see how it worked.” Racette comes by his proclivities naturally. “My dad worked at SaskTel, so I picked up that whole technical side from him,” he explains. “I ended up being the guy friends and family would phone for computer help.” Last year Racette learned about the Canadian-based Nerds On Site (www.nerds, now in 11 countries, and realized he could turn his passion for computers into a home-based business. He affiliated with Nerds On Site and opened last January. Although he works on his own in Airdrie, Racette says he has access to a 600-strong network of Nerds On Site affiliates he can call upon if he encounters a specific situation that needs specialized knowledge. When he’s not visiting homes and busi-

nesses to help people work the bugs out of their systems, Racette, a trained emergency medical technician, works as an open-heart ICU nurse. “That’s my ‘stress job,’” he jokes, adding that he’d love to become more involved in the medical IT side of the health industry. Racette says he enjoys the freedom of selfemployment and the atmosphere of working in Airdrie. “I like being able to set my own hours, and become more involved in the community,” he says.“I’ve lived here six-and-a-half years,” he adds,“but since I started Nerds On Site in January, I’ve met more people in eight months than in the previous six years!” Go Fly A Kite

When Bud Taylor was a child, his dad used to build kites out of sticks and mom’s nylons. It created a lifelong love affair with kites that ultimately led to Taylor starting his own business.

Bud Taylor, Kite Guys

Dallas Lammiman, MovieMakers

“I moved to southern Alberta in 1988 and was in the oil patch, working for an oil company for about 10 years. I decided it was time for a change,” says Taylor. “I wanted a small business on the side, and kites seemed to be the perfect fit.” With his brother Scott, Taylor formed the Kite Guys in 1989 and has seen the business grow to include everything from exotic single-line kites to kite kits for classrooms, as well as aerial-promotion banners and windsocks. He’s also launched an online store at Taylor can often be seen at events such as the Lethbridge Air Show, giving demonstrations.“We used to run the Pincher Creek Kite Festival—that’s been running for 18 years,” he says.“I’m still an active participant.” He also does workshops for schools, Girl Guides, church groups and others. “I’ll come in and teach about kites and how to build them,” he says. Taylor says kites are often overlooked in this day of fast-paced computer games, but they still have the power to enthrall people of all ages. “Kids see these things and they want

to fly jet planes—if they can get a kite in their hands, they’re starting out,” he says. Taylor, who has carried on the business since his brother’s death a few years ago, says Airdrie is a great place to ply his homebased trade. “I have never met a kite I didn’t like,” he chuckles, adding he feels he has the best job in the world.“It’s my fountain of youth. I have Peter Pan Syndrome!”

more about Prairie, Inuit and Acadian communities, but some of these communities had very little source material for teachers to work with. Lammiman came up with the idea of The Amazing Map, an educational video series profiling two of these hard-toresearch communities: Bouctouche, N.B., and Meteghan, N.S. “We flew down there and spent about 10 days shooting and doing interviews,” says Lammiman. “We started writing scripts when we got back and got two child actors and filmed them using green screen.” Start to finish, the project took 16 months. MovieMakers is a family business with Lammiman and his father Greg producing professional video projects such as The Amazing Map. “You don’t need a huge studio,” says Dallas, who says he hopes MovieMakers will be the springboard to even bigger film projects down the line. “I’ve always wanted to do feature films and that’s still my goal,” he says. “But we have other projects going . . . right now we’re working on a math project and we’re hoping to do more projects in an educational vein.” Lammiman says The Amazing Map was geared towards the specific goals of Alberta’s school curriculum, but other projects he has in mind will have a wider scope and potential audience among educators. For samples of the Lammimans’ work, visit

Movie Magic

The best home-based businesses are often those that identify a need that matches a personal interest. For Dallas Lammiman of MovieMakers, starting a business to make educational films was just such an opportunity. “I’d wanted to get into video for a long time, and I’d been looking for a way to do that—what a good market would be, and how to get in there,” he says. “My dad happens to be a teacher for grades 1 and 2, and the [province] recently switched over the curriculum for Social Studies.” The province wanted schools to teach

Armchair Traveller

For Sharon Radder, opening a home-based travel consultancy has given her the best of both worlds. It has also led her to become an advocate for home-based businesses in Airdrie. “About four years ago I was looking to get back into the workforce,” Radder recalls. “I went to a franchise show and learned about Travel Professionals International, a company that supports home-based travel agents. “It hit the mark exactly for me. I loved the idea of being a travel agent out of my home.” With the support of TPI, she established Radder Travel ( and Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 115


Works | Small Business

Home-based Business Statistics Fall 2008

As of June 30, 2008, we have some 685 home-based businesses licensed in Airdrie. That’s 34.3 per cent of all business licences issued! Here’s how those businesses break down by industry:

Types of home-based businesses by industry classification codes North American Industry % of Classification System Total Total 11 Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting 2 0.3 21 Mining, Oil & Gas Extraction 2 0.3 23 Construction 232 33.9 31-33 Manufacturing 18 2.6 41 Wholesale Trade 31 4.5 44-45 Retail Trade 53 7.7 48-49 Transportation & Warehousing 24 3.5 51 Information & Cultural Industries 8 1.2 52 Finance & Insurance 5 0.7 53 Real Estate, Rental & Leasing 12 1.8 54 Professional, Scientific & Technical Services 91 13.3 55 Management of Companies & Enterprises 1 0.1 56 Administration & Support, Waste Management & Remediation Services 92 13.4 61 Educational Services 18 2.6 62 Health Care & Social Assistance 7 1.0 71 Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 8 1.2 72 Accommodation & Food Services 11 1.6 81 Other Services (except Public Administration) 70 10.2 Total 685 100.0% Source: City of Airdrie Economic Devleopment

If you’re thinking of starting your own home business, be sure to check out these excellent online resources: •, a provincial, municipal and industry partnership promoting business and community development in Alberta: Starting_Home-Based/default.asp • The Government of Canada’s Business Startup Assistant for home-based business: http:// su06828.html • The Business Link, an online information service for the small business community in Alberta: main.cfm 116 AirdrieLIFE | Fall/Winter 2008

Dana, Al, Lois and Stephen Jones ready for the cake-cutting at their grand opening in King’s Heights, May 29, 2008

No News is Sharon Radder, Radder Travel

has built a loyal client base in Airdrie. She says travel is the ideal field for her. “My husband works for Air Canada, so we always travelled,” she says. “I think the world is a beautiful place and the only way to really experience it is to travel.” Radder says although people keep saying she should get involved in the Calgary market, she’s content to focus her energy on Airdrie, citing her own company’s slogan: Where would you radder be? “These are my people. And what I like about a home-based business is it lets me get involved with people on a one-to-one basis,” she says. “The way I look at it, I’m making friends.”

As secretary of the 47-member Airdrie Women in Small Business Association and a member of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, Radder works to increase the profile of home-based businesses in the city, “building a platform for home-based businesses to become more recognized, more accepted, more legitimate within the Airdrie community.” She says the City of Airdrie has been a key supporter of home-based businesses. “They’re probably the home-based business’s best partner,” she says. As for herself: “I love being able to put my family first and work around them, rather than work nine to five and miss something that important. It’s the flexibility I enjoy.” LIFE

Good News

Here’s the Scoop & ADvance Distribution know a good thing when they see it




he little company that could; that’s how to describe ADvance Distribution, whose staff firmly believe there’s more to business than just providing quality service— it’s also about supporting the community.

Al and Lois Jones started the company in 1996, later

expanding into publishing the acclaimed Here’s the Scoop in 2001, guided by their motto—business with community in mind. “As we’ve grown, our basic idea has not changed; we still believe it’s in the best interest to work for the betterment of the community,” says Al. “And we believe in our staff committing themselves to the community.” That’s why you’ll often see members of the ADvance team taking part in such events as the Weekend to End Breast Cancer and the Leprosy Carnival, or helping at local schools. And this fall, ADvance Distribution/Here’s the

Teri Peressini, our Circulation Manager, and Sharon Corman, our Warehouse Manager, prove having a little fun at the workplace can surely go a long way, and these ladies keep us smiling

Scoop hosted the first Mayor’s Roast, which Al hopes will become an annual event, with a target of raising $20,000 Larry Boland, caught red-handed doing his weekly store drops. Local businesses have come to appreciate and look forward to seeing Larry’s smiling face each week

to 30,000 a year for the Airdrie and District Community Foundation. ADvance Distribution provides a door-to-door delivery service for Airdrie and region, delivering flyers, ad mail and publications

ADvance Print & Design

such as AirdrieLIFE. Other services include business cards, letterhead printing and design, and custom printing. The company’s flagship, however, is Here’s the Scoop, a

Your one stop shop for ALL your printing & design needs

weekly “good news” publication Al and Lois started in response

◘ Business Cards ◘ Letter Head ◘ Post Cards ◘ Brochures ◘ Flyers ◘ Custom Printing ◘ Websites

to the attacks of 9/11. “Most media are into ‘conflict sells,’ ‘dirt sells,’” says Al. “We wanted something the exact opposite; something with inspirationKaren Wilson joined the Scoop Troop in September, 2008. Accounts Manager is Karen’s calling at Scoop Central. Her positive energy is contagious and an added asset to our team

feel-good read.” After more than 350 issues, Here’s the Scoop has become an Airdrie institution, with copies circulating around the world. Readers have sent in photos of themselves holding the Scoop in places such as Scotland and Australia. “You get people who move away from Airdrie, but still keep


their subscriptions because it keeps them updated,” says receptionist Jenn Wilson. “It really ties the community together.”

29 5 5 8 4 9 3 0 4 VISIT


al stories, quotes—a reason for people to laugh,” he says. “It’s a

Al and Lois attribute the success of Here’s the Scoop and ADvance Distribution to a talented team of staff, from graphic designers and office support, to its 90-strong courier team covering Jennifer Wilson was a summer student hired on to alleviate the holiday stress that comes with growth. Jen is off to the University of Ottawa this fall and we wish her all the best and welcome her back to our front office any time

a region from Irricana to Carstairs. “We can teach them the job, but we can’t teach personality— and they’re a great group,” says Al, adding that this team spirit improved even more when ADvance moved all of its operations


Sierra Springs WORKS | Commercial Development

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Phyllis McCallum-Hunter working diligently on her weekly payroll


under one roof, at its new office and distribution centre on Kingsview Boulevard. “It’s definitely the people—that’s what I enjoy,” says Trudy Lovstad from the graphic department, who joined ADvance last year. “It’s nice to work for a company that’s very community-mindRendering courtesy Hopewell Developments

ed and gives back as much as they do.” Her graphics colleague, Jason Trudeau, says ADvance Distribution is a very hands-on company, deeply committed to its advertisers and clients. Sharon Corman has been warehouse manager and “jack of all trades” at ADvance for three years. When she’s not helping sort the thousands of fliers sent out each week, she can often be found doing deliveries herself. There are also plenty of other committed staff members who have been working with ADvance for a long time. When you reflect on ADvance Distribution, it’s this all-around commitment that stands out; it’s the key that will continue to drive this company to ever-greater success. Leading by example with

To advertise in Here’s The Scoop contact their office at 403-948-5529 or


its commitment to customers, staff and the Airdrie community, ADvance Distribution shows what success really means. For more information on how ADvance Distribution can help you get your message out, call 403-948-5529.


Rezoning allows Hopewell to spring into action, changing the commercial landscape of southwest Airdrie

Recent revisions to Airdrie’s commercial development zoning are expected

to open the door to greater diversity in business investment, say City of Airdrie spokespeople. Last July, city council voted to amend the Land Use Bylaw to address the realities of commercial growth in Airdrie. The biggest change was to the Regional Commercial (C-3) zoning, which previously restricted retail to 8,000 square feet and larger. Now, provided a master site plan is approved, smaller businesses will be allowed under C-3. “We went to council to look at the ‘big picture,’ the whole commercial–industrial side of things,” says economic development team leader Kent Rupert. He says a number of past bylaws had become outdated, given the demands of commercial development beyond the downtown core. “We were very focused on the downtown,” Rupert says, “but now we are looking at lots of development and reinvestment in the downtown.” According to Rupert, the City now believes “there should be other commercial nodes . . . to meet the needs of the residents,” he says. The 8,000-square-foot minimum caveat would have restricted C-3-zoned developments to “big box”–style stores.“We decided to open it up a bit,” says Rupert. Fall/Winter 2008 | AirdrieLIFE 121

WORKS | Commercial Development


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The catalyst for the rezoning was Sierra Springs, a planned retail development by Hopewell Development Corp. that takes up three parcels of land: the area immediately west of Main Street, north of Wal-Mart and south of Totem; a tract of land sandwiched between Sierra Springs Drive, Main Street and the Queen Elizabeth II Highway; and another piece of land on the north side of the intersection of Main and Sierra Springs Drive. “We are working directly with the developers on that,” says Rupert.“They understand that we have a certain vision for the city and we understand they have a certain vision for the community, and we want to make sure both are working together.” The rezoning helps address the demand for alternatives from potential tenants of Sierra Springs, says Richard Glubish, director of retail leasing for Hopewell. “The interest being brought forward by the retail community for the site was not permissible under the existing zoning,” Glubish says. With approvals now in place, he says, “we’ll be proceeding.” While the zoning change was sparked by Sierra Springs, it will have a long-term impact on commercial development across Airdrie, says community planner Perry Neufeld. “I think the Land Use Bylaw changes will add diversity and flexibility to different locations in the city . . . and add opportunities for business,” he says, noting that “Airdrie is constantly evolving and developments are happening at such an incredible pace.” A master site plan, Neufeld explains, is the road map for development of an area.“It shows us the types of uses that are intended, the connectivity [i.e., roads and pathways], public areas, private areas,” he says, adding that Sierra Springs is “quite a large tract of land.” Rupert says Sierra Springs is a piece of a larger puzzle involving the development of lands to the south of Yankee Valley Boulevard, east of the rail line, and west of the Queen Elizabeth II Highway. Over the past decade there has been gradual commercial development in the area, ranging from a branch of Totem hardware to the recently expanded Wal-Mart. Light industrial is


planned further to the south, complementing the Kingsview industrial area on the other side of the highway. All this, in turn, is considered part of a growing business corridor straddling the highway from Calgary to Airdrie and beyond, which includes the planned CrossIron Mills mall and East Balzac development to the south (see story page 105). Glubish says Sierra Springs is still in its “early days,” so it’s premature to suggest what sort of retail is destined for the site. (Rupert concurs, noting that until the City actually receives development permits, nothing is official). The next step for Hopewell, Glubish says, is to develop the master site plan and submit it to the City of Airdrie, followed by submission of development permits. “We are hopeful of breaking ground by LIFE the spring of 2009,” Glubish says.

Lunch Dinner Special Occasions Weddings Parties

• • • • • • •

Regional Commercial (C-3): retail uses below 8,000 square feet are allowed if accompanied by a master site plan Community Commercial (C-2) zoning is removed from the bylaw (sites already designated C-2 to be grandfathered) Central Business Commercial (CB): height restrictions in the downtown core are removed Renaming of Highway Commercial zoning (C-HWY) to Convenience Commercial (C-C), with additional permitted uses added New rules for industrial districts, including the addition (and subtraction) of permitted business uses, particularly to the IB-1 zoning General revisions to permitted business uses in the various commercial and industrial zoning categories A three-year time limit on the use of temporary buildings, and new rules regarding recycling material Reorganization of the definitions used within the Land Use Bylaw

Source: City of Airdrie

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Five years! Five contests! Five months of online fun!

We’re celebrating our fifth year of LIFE and you get all the presents! Go online from October 2008 through February 2009 and discover daily, weekly and monthly contests, including:

Don’t miss our all new webLIFE features—visit regularly for event listings, news and more!

2009 BRINGS YOU 4x the LIFE!!! Starting with our bright new spring issue, AirdrieLIFE comes to your door four times a year—every spring, summer, fall and winter. Because we all need to get a little more out of LIFE!

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is your guide to fun in the sun. Explore the city’s parks and recreation programs. Discover our rural connections. Get a few green tips from local environmentalists. Grow a better garden and grill a better burger. Learn why windows make a room, and talk to home builders who know a


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thing or two about bringing the outside in. Take a walking shopping trip. Find out why Airdrie is RV central. And see if you have what it takes to learn an extreme

Plus Is your pet cover material? Send us your pet’s photo and find out!

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Fall 2008  
Fall 2008