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spring 2014

Mackenzie Murphy Why

is so


30 more



How China is looking at Airdrie The Dream Bedroom Makeover

MEET the incredible shrinking airdrielifestyle fitness challenge participants – their stories will MOVE you!

Smile More.

New patients welcome. 403-912-9378

Thayne Blunston, DDS, General Dentist

1, 620 1st Ave NW Airdrie

Contributors spring 2014

Jennifer Brigden, Writer What will you remember about your experience writing about Airdrie’s Amazing Women? Writing about the 31 nominees for the Amazing Women Awards this year was a writer’s dream. Through e-mails and phone chats, I was introduced to a collection of local women who go above and beyond to give help where help is needed, who run successful local businesses with ease, and who are friendly and positive to a fault. I feel lucky to have had the chance to learn about each and every one of the remarkable women profiled in this issue.

exploring the good life in Airdrie for 10 years! Group Publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt




Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Publisher What has your connection with Airdrie’s Amazing Women meant in your life? I can’t believe it’s the fourth year we are doing the Amazing Airdrie Women! And again this year I am so pleased to meet these amazing ladies. The photo shoots were especially fun. We shot over two nights in the McKee Canals showhome (wow) and enjoyed hot coffee (thanks to Good Earth) as well as a bit of wine for those who wanted to ‘relax’ before their moment in front of the camera. There was lots of laughing and conversation and it was nice to see everyone meet and learn about each other. I am also secretly thrilled to find a few fellow wannabe glee club singers … who knows where this will go!


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Vanessa Peterelli Kim Williams

CONTRIBUTORS Sergei Belski, Jennifer Brigden,

Michelle Carre, Leslie Davies, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Keely Hockstein, Kevin Hunt, Rob Jamieson, Ellen Kelly, Danielle Kot, Kurtis Kristianson, Marie Lauer, Britton Ledingham, Jeff MacKinnon, Tina McMillan, Vanessa Peterelli, Kristy Reimer, Kent Rupert, Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Leigh Smythe ADVERTISING SALES

Kristy Reimer, Photographer What will you take away from your time with Amazing Courage Award recipient Mackenzie Murphy? When I was photographing Mackenzie Murphy, I was reminded of something I was told when I was about her age: Don’t let anyone tell you that you could be tomorrow’s leader because you can be a leader today! Set an example for your peers and the adults around you and you will inspire positive change.

Anne Beaty

Corey Wine

PRINTING Print West Distribution manager

John Pirzek

Contact Us

Editorial Advertising Where to find us

airdrielife is delivered to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. If you do not receive an issue please contact airdrielife is also available at more than 50 locations around the city. You can also find airdrielife in every showhome in the city and at more than 100 locations in Calgary. airdrielife is published quarterly by Frog Media Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.


ISSN 1916-355X

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

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

10 Things To Enjoy In Southwinds In Airdrie.

1 2 3 Abundant park spaces Neighbourhood playgrounds Walking trails and natural throughout the community. where you can hear pathways winding through children’s laughter daily. the community.

6 Community events all year ‘round.

7 Natural wetlands to enjoy.

4 5 A wide variety of distinctive Streets built in progression home styles. to minimize construction noise and traffic.

8 9 10 Visually pleasing streets with Access to popular Chinook Schools near the community. a mixture of contemporary Winds Park and the Mattamy and classic styles. Splash Pad in Windsong.

Follow us: All illustrations are artist’s concept. All dimensions are approximate. Prices, specifications, terms and conditions subject to change without notice. E.&O.E.

editor’s note Visit McKee show homes in these outstanding Airdrie communities. Inspirational, compassionate, caring, selfless, loving, humble, giving, thoughtful – these are just some of the words used by friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances to describe this year’s Amazing Airdrie Women nominees. And even these words can’t possibly say enough about the amazing women who grace our city.

Canals Landing 6 Canals Close Cooper’s Crossing 1161 Coopers Drive Heron Point 386 Reunion Green King’s Heights 1191 King’s Heights Road Ravenswood 115 Ravenskirk Road

Each year, I have the pleasure of getting to know a little bit about the women who have been recognized for what they offer to the community, be that a next-door neighbour, a student or a global organization. Each year, as we come out of a long cold winter, these woman help to brighten my day, and the days of those around them. They all shine their own unique light; they all make Airdrie – and our world – a better place. As our city continues to grow, we are fortunate to be able to welcome even more amazing women (and men) into our midst. These people have helped make Airdrie such a warm, friendly, caring community – something almost everyone who lives or visits here remarks upon. As we prepare to honour the 2014 Amazing Airdrie Women, I would also like to recognize a woman who has made an incredible difference in the community. Thanks to airdrielife publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt and her vision, we are able to celebrate the incredible women who live and work here – let them know that they matter, that they make a difference – and to share their stories with our readers. Sherry’s contribution to this community makes her an amazing woman, too (even though she would shrug it off and say she’s just doing what she loves). So, thank you, Sherry, and all the amazing women of Airdrie, for giving us something to smile about (as if the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl isn’t enough!). 403-948-6595 Anne Beaty, EDITOR


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McKee Airdrie Life 1/3p Feb 7.indd 1

14-02-07 8:47 AM

You’re all invited to our house this weekend.

McKee Homes is building in five outstanding Airdrie communities. Our show homes display our unique and ultimately livable designs, and our outstanding quality and craftsmanship. The McKee home buying experience offers you the chance to have us build the home of your dreams. Visit us soon, and see where your dreams can take you.

403-948-6595 


spring 2014 |


56 On the Cover

Mackenzie Murphy was prepped for her cover shoot with the help of sasha Thaxter from sass Couture hair salon and Kendall Wallis from beauty Culture by Kendall.

exploring the good life in Airdrie for 10 years!



Columns & regular features 30 events 32 reallife with rob Jamieson


36 Petlife with dr. Kevin hunt 38 healthylife 40 lifetimes with ellen Kelly 42 makeover with leslie davies 44 Parentlife with Vanessa Peterelli 52 Citylife 72 gardenlife 77 tradeslife 79 lifestyles with tina mcmillan 82 lifemoves with michelle Carre 84 Businesslife with Kent rupert 94 last look


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life in the moment 20

Classical Instrument – Musician hits all the right notes


nature-Inspired – Artist incorporates her experience


What’s Cooking – Chef has ‘fresh’ ideas


Arts Alive – Rotary Festival delights


Take the Challenge – Teams gear up


65 85

life in the community


Moms Unite – Group enjoys friendship, fun


Special Summer – Let the games begin


Absolutely Amazing – Special women are celebrated


Sense of Community – Airdrie is now home

life at home


Sleep Tight – Couple enjoys new room


Green Living – Rental options abound


Showing Off – Special features impress


Where the Heart Is – Family settles in Windsong


Building Bonds – Company is perfect fit

life at work


Award-Winner – Florist has an edge


Global Ventures – Company puts down roots


Canine Capers – Dogs play and socialize

90 All in the Family – Manager relishes non-traditional role


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Business Q & A – Market comes back to life

City living with small town charm. Make your move to Airdrie!





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Close to major shopping, numerous schools and amenities Minutes to CrossIron Mills Shopping Centre and Costco Parks and green spaces

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Showhome Hours: Mon - Thurs: 2 - 8 PM Sat, Sun & Hol: 12 - 5 PM


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Prices include house, lot and GST. Subject to change without notice.

& Woodside Golf Course ■ 20 minutes from Calgary & 15 minutes from Calgary International Airport ■ Close to CrossIron Mills Shopping


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Showhome Location: 2 Hillcrest Street SW, Airdrie 6 Hillcrest Street SW, Airdrie

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| spring 2014

canals blVD


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canals close


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| spring 2014

moment life in the 22 landscape as Muse

20 in harmony 26 savoury success

life in the



Emily Contos’s fascination with her chosen instrument began at age three.

Sweet sounds story by Jeff MacKinnon | photo by Britton Ledingham


mily Contos was three when she saw and heard the harp being played for the first time. It was at the Chateau Lake Louise and the performer was Deborah Nyack, who still entertains guests in the lobby there with the sweet sounds of one of music’s most elegant instruments. “I really wanted to play harp like she did,” Contos, now 19, recalls. “It was the sound and also the kind of music she played. She played classical and Disney music. She wore a princess dress, which is what I was into when I was three.” The Airdrie resident began taking general music classes for children at that tender age, then got her first harp and began taking lessons when she was nine years old. Contos has been studying for the past five years with professional Gianetta Baril at The Conservatory at Mount Royal University. In Baril, Contos found an instructor who has more than 40 years with the instrument. Baril, in fact, won a Juno in 1987 for a recording she made with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Baril guided Contos through Grades 2-8 of Royal Conservatory of Music studies at Mount Royal, which was highlighted last spring by Contos receiving a gold medal for top marks at a ceremony at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary. Still, Contos remains reluctant to talk about her abilities as a musician, despite the fact that she has won multiple awards at the annual Calgary Kiwanis Music Festival for her playing and is an advanced level pianist. She is also now teaching the harp to others.


| spring 2014

“I’m not nearly as good (playing harp) as I’d like to be,” she says. There are two types of harps – lever and pedal – and Contos is a student of the lever. Levers can weigh as little as 10 pounds, making them easier to manoeuvre than the pedal. They are also not as loud. Because of these two things, lever harps are better suited for smaller spaces. “With the lever harp it means, in order to switch to sharps or flats, you have to switch a lever,” Contos explains. “You can only have a sharp and a natural (note) or a flat and a natural (note). A lever can only be down or up, so you can only get two sounds out of a string. It makes it quite a bit more limited in what keys you can play in.” An instrument that always draws second glances, the harp is steadily gaining popularity for music students in the Calgary area. When Baril first began to play while growing up in Edmonton, she says there were three harpists in total in Alberta. She would have to drive down to Calgary and later on even fly to Toronto to study. “I now have 17 students, including some who are not at Mount Royal,” she says.“I could take more if I had time. I’m the primary teacher in town and there are others who teach, so the numbers are higher. “So, in that respect it has grown a huge amount,” Baril adds. “It was always popular, but it was always difficult to get instruments. That has changed.” For Contos, her musical tastes with the harp are wide-ranging, from classical to Celtic to Christmas to “even Metallica.” And likely Disney, but without the princess dress. life

canals blVD


sagewood drive SW ca noe crescent

ca nals close


life in the


ARtist pROfilE

ERIN FRIESEN (GRAHAM), OWNER OF EMG STUDIOS, has found a comfortable balance between her formal artistic training and her career as a landscape artist. An early interest in all things artsy led Friesen to the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD). Encouraged by her parents, she graduated in 2008 with a bachelor of fine arts degree, majoring in drawing. She credits her artist aunt, whose work she admires, and Calgary artist and ACAD instructor Don Kottmann with providing inspiration and motivation. Friesen’s drawing major gave her the freedom to experiment with various media and develop her love of painting, her favourite medium now being ink and Mylar. Most of her work is on acrylic and canvas but in college she began mixing together ink and Rhoplex (similar to liquid latex) and pouring the mixture on Mylar to create large works of art – six-bythree-foot or six-by-four-foot paintings were not unusual.

Landscapes in Artist Abstract Erin Friesen sTory by elleN Kelly | phoTos by serGei belsKi


| spring 2014

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life in the




| spring 2014


ARtist pROfilE

While the paintings are abstract, the artist says, they do reflect nature. “They are my most unique artwork and my favourite of all that I’ve done,” she says. Nature and landscape inspire her. “I’ve always loved the prairie landscape, the colour and the way it changes with the seasons,” she says. Last year Friesen painted acrylics on canvas that were influenced by the plant material she uses as a landscape artist.“They are abstract,” she says,“but I see them as close-up versions of a plant.” Her style is fluid or “painterly,” meaning that the artist appreciates the medium – lets the drips show and lets things cool.“My paintings are very liquid. I let it set up as a big puddle and slowly dry so it leaves more of a stain on the canvas. Jackson Pollock used that style,” she says. Friesen hopes to hold her second successful private show this year. In 2011-12 she displayed her art through the Adopt an Artist program in Calgary, where art is displayed by various businesses. In 2004, while in college, Friesen’s summer job was in landscaping and she feels that this is where she began to love being creative outside. After ACAD, she travelled, then took some design and plant identification courses at the zoo, where she was mentored by landscape designer and instructor Sue Gaviller. “I’ve worked landscaping since I was 18 or 19. I did the gardening and construction. I was the foreman, one of the very few females in a male-dominant industry,” Friesen says.“I wasn’t afraid of being dirty and working with my hands and I was reading the designs and interpreting them. I decided that I wanted to take my creative path into the landscaping industry.” After forming her company in 2011, she decided to focus on design and leave the construction to a contractor.“I wanted to separate myself from the physical part,” she says. Friesen now combines her art and her gift for creating beautiful outdoor spaces as a successful landscape artist and designer. Emg Studios promotes both her paintings and her ability to take her talent outdoors, complimentary choices that allow her to paint during the winter and work outside during the nice weather. She uses the same kinds of shapes, textures and colours in both her art and design.“The material I paint is very nature-inspired, and the kinds of lines I like in my paintings are fluid and soft, like the lines in my designs. “I get to balance my art side and my design side and I love the flexibility, creating my own hours and having my dog sitting at my feet while I’m designing,” Friesen adds. “My art is mine. Whatever is in my head, I get to put out there but my designs are there for somebody else. I still get attached and try and lead clients to what I see as most aesthetically pleasing but when I do my art, I just get to do it for me.” life

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spring 2014 |


life in the


Chef profile

Chef Dennis Ramirez puts the finishing touches on one of the special dishes from his new menu.

A great personal success story generally starts with two critical events. First is someone who offers to open a door of opportunity and understands the value of it. And second, of course, is someone who recognizes the importance of that opportunity and is willing to run with it. Meet Dennis Ramirez, executive chef at The Woods at Woodside Golf Course. Not only did Ramirez go for the open door, but his passion for the kitchen and people is opening up success for anyone who is lucky enough to be around him. Ramirez came to Canada from the Philippines in 1994 as a landed immigrant, but even with a bachelor of science degree in commerce (majoring in accounting), his education would not equal the qualifications he needed to do the same job in Canada. Still needing to work, Ramirez took a job washing dishes at a kitchen in northeast Calgary while he decided whether or not to upgrade with another two years of education. He knew right away that he wanted more and soon the head chef noticed Ramirez’ hard work and dedication and asked him if he wanted to apprentice and work as a prep cook. Ramirez was ready to advance and began thinking that this line of work might be something he wished to pursue professionally. Not long after, that defining day came: “The day I was given a (recipe) book and told to choose the special I would make,� he remembers.

Out of the kitchen and into The Woods story and photos by Kurtis Kristianson

New chef breathes new life into an Airdrie icon


| spring 2014

He had been offered the job of line cook and more importantly, someone had given him the chance to take control of his future. Ramirez has been an executive chef for 15 years now but has never forgotten where he came from or the importance of those around him. His energy is infectious and his attention quickly flashes to anyone who comes close. Greetings exchange and Ramirez shows a real interest as he connects with each member of his kitchen and serving staff. His title may be executive chef but, according to Ramirez, there is no hierarchy in his kitchen. “Respect my authority as chef,” he says,“but we are a team and all just as important to getting the job done.”

Shrimp-Wrapped Prosciutto and California-Grown Curly Endive, Arugula with Basil Pesto Vinaigrette and Jack Daniel’s Orange-Green Peppercorn Reduction For the salad: 3 large shrimp or tiger prawns 3 thin slices prosciutto 2 oz. curly endive 2 oz. arugula lettuce 1 thin slice cucumber to garnish

And indeed that is the philosophy he keeps – everyone is an important part of the team and, like the chef who gave him his opportunity years ago, Ramirez tries to nurture an atmosphere of personal responsibility and growth. There is no bad part of the job and every day offers a chance to learn and gain new experiences from his staff, Woodside and the diners. Ramirez saw a lot of potential for the kitchen at Woodside, not just for the business aspect but a chance to really be creative. When asked about his ideas and what influences his cooking Ramirez lights up and starts to reminisce about his youth in the Philippines and how fresh food was always readily available. For him, being creative means classic dishes with fresh ingredients and a love for simple and natural techniques. “When I go back to my roots, I think,‘Hey, I can get these same [fresh] vegetables I could when I was home,’” he says. “As long as you have the basic style, you can do everything [fresh].” Most chefs with whom you’ll speak or who you might see on the Food Network clearly love to cook but for Ramirez it is about the whole experience. The people, the kitchen, the cooking are all driven by Ramirez’ energy and when he hears of a diner’s satisfaction it fills him right back up with more energy. “People embrace your food, they smile; it makes me want to work harder,” he says with a grin. life

For the dressing: 3 or 4 oz. fresh basil leaves half white or yellow onion 1 tsp. garlic 1 cup vinegar 1 cup olive oil salt and pepper to taste Combine all the ingredients (except olive oil, salt and pepper) in a blender; gradually add olive oil to make the proper emulsification and once the dressing is emulsified, add salt and pepper to taste. For the reduction or sauce: 1 cup orange juice ½ cup white sugar 1 tsp. green peppercorn 1 oz. Jack Daniel’s salt and pepper to taste Combine orange juice and sugar in a saucepan and simmer until it gets to a proper reduction. Add green peppercorn, Jack Daniel’s, and salt and pepper to taste.

White Cheddar French Toast Banana Foster with Rum 1 slice white cheddar 2 slices Texas toast soft butter or margarine 2 whole eggs 1 tsp. vanilla syrup 1 tsp. cinnamon powder vegetable or olive oil Spread the butter on the bread; place the cheese on one side and place the other bread on top to close. Cut in half. To make the batter, beat the eggs, add vanilla and cinnamon, dip the sandwich and place in medium-heat cooking pan with oil. For the sauce: 1 banana cut in circles 2 tbsp. brown sugar 1 tsp. butter 1 oz. rum Put the banana in a saucepan with the butter and brown sugar, wait until it turns to a sauce and add the rum. Serve.

EAT this story! WIN dinner at The Woods Restaurant and Patio! Enter online at for a $100 gift card See website for complete contest details

spring 2014 |


life in the




ach spring, the Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts hosts young people from throughout Rocky View entered in voice, musical theatre, piano, choral, band, strings, instrumental and speech categories. According to the festival’s mission statement, the event “promotes the appreciation of music and speech arts by encouraging amateur performers and students to participate and perform in a non-competitive environment, leading toward further personal growth and excellence.” This is the third year for this traditional festival, which will run March 12-22, 2014. Venues include Bert Church Theatre, Genesis Place and Grace Baptist Church. Participants enter the festival through school music programs or private instruction. This year an increase is expected with the addition of a band category, which accommodates up to 30 bands, some with almost 100 members. “The challenge was to find space,” says Nadine Low, president of the festival board of directors.“We have a strong band community in Airdrie that has been anxious to have band included. Our biggest struggle right now and as we look into the future is venues.” The festival is also building the speech arts category.“You don’t have to be musical to enter speech arts,” says Low. “It covers everything from Shakespeare and poetry to monologues, speeches and even improv.” Entry fees cover about one-third of festival costs, so sponsorships are essential. The Rotary Club of Airdrie is the major sponsor, complemented by a supportive community of businesses, organizations and private individuals. “Our first year, people came forward and asked if they could help,” says Low. The public is invited to attend daily events free of charge. There is a nominal fee for the band concert and showcase concert held at the end of the festival and for the benefit concert and silent auction held in April featuring provincial participants. The festival committee’s current project is to purchase a grand piano to be housed in the Bert Church Theatre expansion and used by the community, as well as the festival. The committee, working with Steinway, has established a piano fund and is looking for a sponsor. Airdrie’s Rotary Festival of Performing Arts falls under the umbrella of the Alberta Music Festival Association. Those who qualify can compete at the provincial level with participants from the 36 other registered music festivals in Alberta. Benefits include an opportunity to perform in a friendly environment with positive feedback. Scholarships are awarded to exceptional participants identified by the adjudicators. “The arts define community,” says Low. “The joy that you get from listening to beautiful music or watching a wonderful performance in piano or speech arts transcends what you’re doing in everyday life. Come and see it because to watch these kids perform is a joyful experience.” life

Sing it loud! sTory by elleN Kelly | phoTos by Keely hoChsTeiN

The third annual Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts takes centre stage


| spring 2014



Spring around town

life in the


March 1 Abrams Brothers Bert Church Theatre, 7:30 p.m. This teenage bluegrass/Americana family band from Kingston, Ont., features brothers John (vocals/guitar/mandolin) and James (vocals/fiddle/guitar), along with cousin Elijah (bass). The brothers, aged 22 and 19 respectively, are fourth-generation musicians and have been touring the folk/ bluegrass circuit in Canada and the U.S. extensively for many years. Their latest CD Blue on Brown was produced by Chris Brown and includes guest appearances by Bruce Cockburn, Justin Rutledge and Amy Millan. Admission is $28.70; custom ticket package price is $25.55. March 8 Calgary Opera’s Hansel and Gretel Bert Church Theatre, 2:30 p.m. The story of Hansel and Gretel and their encounter with the witch of the magical gingerbread house is retold through beautiful melodies from Engelbert Humperdinck’s well-known opera by the same name. This 45-minute opera, sung entirely in English, is fully staged and performed by Calgary Opera’s professional Emerging Artist ensemble with keyboard accompaniment. Admission is $12.50; custom ticket package price is $11.45. March 12-21 Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts Bert Church Theatre, Genesis Place and Grace Baptist Church 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily Free and open to the public. Daily schedule available at schedule.php March 15 Shamrock Shimmy Fundraiser Town and Country Centre Cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., dance to follow. Silent and live auctions, 50/50, raffles, entertainment. Tickets $50 per person, available at Airdrie Food Bank or by calling 403-948-0063. All proceeds support Airdrie Food Bank.


March 15 The Arrogant Worms Bert Church Theatre, 7:30 p.m. It began as a hobby, making fun of a big dumb world. Luckily, the world is still dumb and The Arrogant Worms (Mike McCormick, Chris Patterson and Trevor Strong) still have plenty to sing about. The shows are fast, furious and family-friendly. The wit is quick, the satire is biting and the musicianship is second to none. Their appeal has earned them fans from children to parents; grandparents to Princess Leia. Admission is $33.95; custom ticket package price is $31.85.

March 22 Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts Showcase Bert Church Theatre, 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, available during festival week or at the door. March 29 Prairie Mountain Fiddlers Bert Church Theatre, 2:30 p.m. Back by popular demand! This will be a foot-stomping, toe-tapping afternoon full of good old-time fiddle music. This group plays for the people and for love of the music. Just good old-fashioned fun! Admission is $12.50. March 29 Annual Pub-Night Fundraiser for Ride to Conquer Cancer Town and Country Centre Hosted by Team What If and featuring Mark Lorenz plus a silent auction and 50/50 draw. Doors open at 6 p.m.; roast beef buffet dinner at 7 p.m. Admission is $40. More information and tickets through Kevin at 403-969-2184 or April 3-5 Nose Creek Players presents The Courtship of Sarah Chandler Bert Church Theatre, 7:30 p.m. A full-length play written by Kim Cheel. Penny and Paul are getting married. Their respective attendants, Sarah and Rick, want nothing to do with the institution of marriage. Penny doesn’t want to get married until Sarah is happily settled down and conspires with Paul to get Sarah and Rick together. Note: This play contains some strong language. Tickets available at

| spring 2014

April 6 Robert Post Bert Church Theatre, 2:30 p.m. Robert Post is a brilliant physical comedian with a stunning theatrical mind. Combine a quart of dry humour with three tablespoons of expert mime, versatile acting and skilled juggling; add a keen sense of satire and the absurd; blend in splendid timing and experience; and what do you get? A host of unforgettable characters at the perfect comedy feast! Admission is $12.50. April13 Airdrie Farmers Market Spring Fling Town and Country Centre 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Details available at April 17 Ashley MacIsaac Bert Church Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Much has been said about the antics of the enfant terrible of the fiddle, but only because he has had international success and notoriety from an early age and grew up in the spotlight as one of the most dynamic fiddlers from Cape Breton, N.S. MacIsaac constantly pushed the traditional styles of Celtic music as he grew up and incorporated rock, pop and everything imaginable in between. Admission is $46; $51.25 at the door. April 26 The Great Cloth Diaper Change Grow With Us,11 a.m. Change babies into cloth diapers – simultaneously with others around the world – and help break the world record! Hosted in Airdrie by Grow With Us, this free event is intended to raise awareness about cloth diapering as well as bringing like-minded families together. Prizes and food for participants. Please arrive at 10:30 a.m. to register. Check out Facebook for details. Also visit the official Great Cloth Diaper Change at

April 26 Spring Mom and Tots Sale Airdrie United Church CE Building 1:30-3:30 p.m. Airdrie Stay and Play is pleased to present this annual sale of gently used mom’s, baby’s and children’s items, such as clothing, baby gear, toys and more. Tables available to rent for $20; rack space available for an extra $5. Admission is $1 at the door, with proceeds going to Airdrie Food Bank. Visit or e-mail April 26-27 Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show Genesis Place See story page 31 for details. May 15 Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts Benefit Concert and Silent Auction, Bert Church Theatre Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Program at 7 p.m. Tickets $10 at the door. Contact to donate. May 24 Light Up the Night Location TBA A black-tie fundraising gala for the Airdrie Health Care Foundation. Live entertainment, dinner, auction and dance. Tickets are $125, available through May 31 Third Annual Boys and Girls Club Race for Kids More than 30 Boys and Girls Clubs across Canada will participate in this national event to raise funds for children and youth programs and services. Not a run and not a walk – something completely different, embracing the very essence of being a kid that is ingrained in every adult participating. Teams of four will compete in a series of challenging checkpoints (similar to activities seen on Minute to Win It) in a race to the finish line. Post-event party for all participants. Register at; click on Airdrie and sign your team up to qualify for event prizes. The individual who raises the most amount of pledge money to participate will win a set of two tickets anywhere WestJet flies. Contact Denisa Sanness at 403-948-3331 or

by MArie lAuer

Not too big, not too small …

just right

THAT’S HOW THE ORGANIZERS OF THE 37TH ANNUAL AIRDRIE HOME & LIFESTYLE SHOW FEEL ABOUT THIS SPRING TRADITION. You’ll often hear people say that what makes Airdrie such a great place to live is that small-town feeling. The Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show is a great example of that atmosphere. The show is an excellent event at which to connect with your community; explore home and lifestyle solutions; and shop, compare, try and buy. Chances are you will meet friends and neighbours while taking in the exhibitors and entertainment. Let’s not forget the free ARTS Show & Sale, hosted by Airdrie Regional Arts Society, which runs in conjunction with the home show. The 2014 show features 149 exhibitors in 171 booths, and includes such traditional favourites as the Lioness homebaked pies and the Blue Grass Garden Centre rainbow play centre. There are 59 new exhibitors this year, many featuring cash-andcarry products such as jewelry, purses, clothing, yoga wear, skin products and stained glass. No home show would be complete without a full array of home renovation/improvement experts, and the Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show is no exception. There are experts in air conditioning, bathtubs/showers, decking, interior decor, flooring, landscaping, painting, roofing, window coverings/tinting, renovating, sunrooms, insulation and much more. If it’s a lifestyle change you are looking for, be sure not to miss the experts in travel, fitness, nutrition and golf. There will also be information on seniors’ services, children’s programs, volunteer opportunities and even something for pets. There is literally something for everyone at the Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show. Don’t miss the local entertainment found on the Talent Stage. This year will feature a bigger and better dog show, a hula-hoop demo (it’s amazing what you can do with a hula hoop!) and a psychic medium. Also returning to the stage are local dancers who look forward to the annual tradition of showcasing their talents to the community. The Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show runs Saturday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. Admission is $5 for adults; children under 12 get in free. Door prize draws include a $1,000 shopping spree courtesy of platinum show sponsor Canada Safeway. lfe

for more information and show updates, visit

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spring 2014 |


life in the




with Rob jamieson

The Road to Here

I “We make decisions on a daily basis that will alter our path, ever so slightly.”


t’s amazing when you take a few minutes to think about the roads that have brought you to where you are today. What were the choices you made to get you to the point you’re at right now? Would going in a different direction change much? If you had to make a major decision to drop everything tomorrow, would you? Could you? It’s been 10 years, I remember, since I drove my girlfriend to Calgary International Airport, which would be the last time I’d see her for six months while she got training to become a pharmacy technician in Kamloops, B.C., I was just finishing up the radio classes at SAIT and would be in Kelowna, B.C., when she would return. Nothing out of the ordinary, for the most part, right? Well, the decision to get on that plane was made fewer than 48 hours earlier, as the school she was going to had her on the wait list and someone dropped out the first day. When they called, she needed to make an immediate decision; otherwise the spot would go to another potential student. The pressure was on. We weren’t ready for this at all. She made two phone calls. The second was to her parents to see if there was room at the inn for her. The first was to me, as we were getting pretty serious, to see if we could handle a temporary long-distance relationship. Neither of us had been in one, and by reputation we knew there could be consequences without contact. We could and we did and we would again, as we would find out when I moved to Red Deer months after my

| spring 2014

schooling was done. She stayed in Calgary, but I drove back in every weekend to see her. It was another sacrifice we made on the road to where we are today. Two 20-somethings took a big gamble that involved buying a plane ticket. So what would have happened if she didn’t go, or if we didn’t believe we could make a go of half a year apart from each other? What if she never got into the class, or couldn’t get a seat on the flight? What if? Doesn’t matter. Because we can’t go back, we’ll never know those answers. We make decisions on a daily basis that will alter our path, ever so slightly. We have to have the confidence in ourselves to think that those decisions are the best at that time, otherwise why make them? Just make the decision and move on. Ten years later, and both of us are currently into other careers. Decisions that we recently made have changed the road on which we’re now travelling. Who knows how long that will last, but for right now, it’s the decisions we’ve made that have shaped us as individuals, as a couple and as a family. You decided to read this. I hope it doesn’t alter your path greatly. If it does, it’s probably for the best. life – Editor’s Note Rob Jamieson has been a part of the Airdrie community for four years, spending most of that time hosting a very popular radio show. Happily married and the father of two boys, Rob is now sharing his thoughts on life in Airdrie with us and through his own podcasts at

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spring 2014 |


life in the



Ready, set, go!

by Danielle Kot

the 2014 airdrielifestyle Challenge participants are eager to get started on their new lives, with support and encouragement from nicole lacoursiere (front left) and danielle Kot (front right).

melissa & Cindi

We have officially kicked off our 2014 airdrielifestyle Challenge! This year brought about an unbelievable number of amazing entrants. After choosing our final teams, we could not be happier to follow along over the next 12 weeks as we help to transform the lives of the lucky participants. Each pair will be given a 24-hour gym membership with Anytime Fitness and free personal training with Body By Nic, as well as customized nutrition coaching and education from Simply For Life. For 12 weeks, the teams will be asked to exercise five days a week, cook their food from scratch and maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

HERE IS A QUICK INTRODUCTION OF OUR TEAMS: Melissa and Cindi of Team Grey are excited to start their health transformation journey. They are good friends and stay-at-home moms, with newborns born within the last year. With caring for little ones and being super busy on a daily basis, the focus on them has faded and they are now motivated more than ever to get healthy and be active! Melissa and Cindi have come up with a plan to support each other throughout this program, so bring on the challenge – these ladies are ready for it!

marsha & sam


| spring 2014

Marsha and Sam, Team Green, are a dynamic husband-and-wife duo. They are best friends – each other’s motivators and support system. With life getting in the way over the last couple of years, they have decided to get back on track and make the most of every day by embarking on this new adventure as a team. Marsha and Sam recently moved to Airdrie from B.C. and look forward to getting involved with the community. What better way than through this challenge!

Team Blue’s Michelle and Kim entered this challenge not knowing one another. They immediately became each other’s biggest supporters – sharing information and tips and tricks on food preparation and workouts. With extremely hectic schedules, Michelle and Kim are amazing examples of how women can make good nutrition and exercise a priority. With lots of questions to answer and nutrition myths to bust over the next three months, we invite you to follow them as they embark on this incredible journey toward building a healthier life. michelle & Kim

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Peter and Tim are our honorary members representing Team Orange. Peter, Airdrie’s mayor, has been doing a great job taking care of the City of Airdrie. He has lost focus on his own health and is ready to make a change. Tim, who is also a prominent member of the Airdrie business community, is taking the right steps toward managing his health through whole foods and exercise. We are very thankful to have our leaders along with us to inspire a community to positive change. Congratulations to all of our 2014 participants. We look forward to following your achievements through the next 12 weeks, as well as setting the stage for a lifetime of ultimate health, fitness and well-being. life

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life in the





Weighty issue A

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s a veterinarian, one of the most common health issues I see is pets being overweight. An extra five pounds on a person may not be a big deal, but on a Labrador retriever, that same weight can amount to an extra 10 per cent of the dog’s body weight! You can’t always just look at pets and see their shape (especially if they are furry) so the best way is to give your pet a rub over the ribs and spine. If what you’re feeling is more like the palm of your hand rather than the back of your hand, your pet is overweight. You should be able to feel each rib and vertebra, with a small covering of fat and muscle over them, using only light pressure. Keep in mind that if your pet feels more like your knuckles, he or she need to put on some weight. Pets carrying extra weight are at a higher risk of joint disease, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. As with humans, weight loss is best achieved with proper diet and exercise. Diet is easy. Trust me. The first thing to do is have an honest look at how many treats your pet gets. Figure out how many calories you’re feeding in treats – this should be no more than 10 per cent of the total calories your pet gets each day. Of course if you’re feeding something like raw carrots as treats, skip this step. You’re already feeding a low-fat, healthy, crunchy treat. Well done!

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| spring 2014


2/11/14 10:31 AM

The kibble you’re feeding your overweight pet should be low in fat and calories. If a diet says it’s “lite,” ignore it. This means nothing. If the diet is ‘light,’ keep in mind that’s only compared to that company’s regular diet. This may still be too much fat for your individual pet. An important tool in your weight loss arsenal is a cup measure. Not a coffee cup, not an empty soup tin – a measuring cup. Low-fat food is no good if you still feed eight cups of it per day to your Bichon! If math scares you, don’t worry. Your vet does diet calculations dozens of times a day and would be happy to help you out. Exercise scares a lot of people. Just as with people, exercise doesn’t have to mean running a marathon. A simple walk around the neighbourhood is just as good. It’s great for the body and mentally stimulating for you and your dog. Of course, jogging, swimming and playing fetch are excellent ideas, too! Any cat owner can tell you that cats have a natural desire to hunt, so use that to your advantage. Throw a toy mouse down a hallway or dangle a toy on the end of a wand. You don’t even have to be that fancy – crumpled paper, pipe cleaners and plastic rings from milk jugs can provide hours of fun. Just be sure your cat doesn’t get carried away and eat its ‘prey.’ You can also use food puzzles for both cats and dogs. They can have doors to open, tubes to pull food out of, or even a ball that rolls around releasing food as it goes. Weight loss should always be gradual, so don’t be discouraged if one week your pet stays the same weight or even puts a little back on. As long as the general trend continues down toward the ideal weight, you’re doing fantastic! life

• • • •

– Dr. Kevin Hunt is a veterinarian with Airdrie Animal Clinic

spring 2014 |


life in the



Each issue an airdrielife contributor will bring a health topic to a local professional and share their experiences. In honour of the Amazing Airdrie Women issue, we investigate … Editor’s Note:

the mammogram by Sherry Shaw-Froggatt


admit it. I had never had a mammogram until my own sister was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. Her diagnosis was a true WTF? moment. There is no family history, and there were no lifestyle choices or pre-existing conditions that made her a candidate. But it happened. In fact, according to Alberta Health Services Screening for Life program, 80 per cent of women who develop breast cancer have no family history at all! And my first reaction was: “Why wasn’t it me? “ Since I am the older sister – why should she be the one to suffer through this? To be honest, I feared a mammogram. Horror stories about ‘stick your boob in the refrigerator door and slam it’ put me in the ‘nah, maybe later’ mindset. And quite frankly I didn’t like the idea of my boobs splayed out on a giant cold petri dish. But my sister’s positive diagnosis scared me right into the offices of Airdrie’s Pureform Diagnostics. (Did you know that once you’ve had your initial doctor’s requisition, from ages 40 to 49 you can book your an-


| spring 2014

nual appointment directly? Women 50 to 69 can make an appointment without a referral or requisition.) Thank God for Deb. She was my technician and she instantly made me relax with a warm smile and handshake and a winking “Hi, I‘m Deb. I will be touching your breasts but I won’t be buying you dinner!” Her sense of humour put me at ease right away and what can I say? It was NOT the horror story I imagined. Deb was so good at putting me at ease; she explained every step of the way and I forgot that it was MY breasts she was gently placing onto the full-field digital mammography machine. This space age machine ‘twists and turns’ to adjust to my height, body and sensitivities as opposed to the feared ‘twisting and turning’ of my breasts. Was it uncomfortable? Not really; there was a small amount of pressure as the plates were compressed to allow the scan to access the widest area possible. And each scan takes less than 30 seconds. Before I knew it Deb was telling me to tie up my robe and relax.

Deb knew about my journalistic curiosity and showed me what my breasts looked like on the computer screen. All I saw was a crazy roadmap of white lines and blotches. But she pointed out the healthy markers on my scans. Of course, Deb’s job is not to provide a diagnosis – that is the radiologist’s role – but she did let me know I have (“ahem”) very dense breasts. Which is a good thing, ladies, when it comes to defying gravity! Less than 30 minutes later I was on my way out the door with a load off my chest (yes, pun intended) and a funky little keychain pendant to remind me my annual exam will always be in October. My second annual exam was this past fall and Deb was there to greet me with her warm smile. So while I have no more apprehension about getting a mammogram, the fear that SOMETHING will show up is there, and that is why yearly mammograms are so important. It is a fact that risk of breast cancer increases as we get older. life For more information about yearly mammograms. Dr. Nili Katz with Pureform shares more information with us online at

The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce presents

Airdrie Home & Lifestyle Show

$5/adult 12 & under FREE

Genesis Place 800 East Lake Blvd

Saturday, April 26 Sunday, April 27 9 am - 5 pm


10 am - 5 pm

$10,000 in prizes

CONNECT EXPLORE to your community home & lifestyle solutions

Spring Shopping!!


compare, try & buy

spring 2014 |


life in the





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


| spring 2014


Thank you, Miss Tupper

doubt if Miss Tupper heard many thank-yous in the 1960s when she taught Fashion 10/20/30. She was old, spinsterish, stylishly conservative bordering on dowdy, and she was a tyrant. At least her students thought so, as she tried to teach us to sew. I resented Miss Tupper’s almost unattainable expectations but loved to sew so I signed up for the option each year. By Fashion 30 there were only a few of us left in the class. Miss Tupper instructed, demonstrated and continued to demand excellence as we struggled to meet her perfect standard. I cut out and altered tissue patterns, made prototypes, pinned at right angles, cut in the direction illustrated on the pattern, basted with tidy stitches, interfaced, sewed straight and true and pressed seams. I ripped out more seams than I can count, realigned buttons, rehemmed garments, adjusted collars and cuffs and became so tired of my projects I couldn’t wear them for months afterward. The thing is, to anyone else the clothes I made were pretty good. They were comfortable, they fit nicely and they looked professional. That, Miss Tupper told us, was the difference between “homemade” and “handmade.” I didn’t get the concept at the time. Old habits die hard, though. The techniques I learned are ingrained, as though the ghost of Miss Tupper is watching over my shoulder when I sew. I still cut out pattern pieces (not sure why), pin at right angles (the fabric doesn’t slip), baste when necessary (a stitch in time saves nine – literally) and I always press (it makes such a difference). Friends who also sew but never had a Miss Tupper ask why I do all that. “Just because,” I say, then add to myself “of the difference.”

Today the emphasis is on speed rather than skill, positive feedback rather than constructive criticism. There no longer seems to be pride in a job well done and there is no longer an appreciation for good craftsmanship. In our disposable society where it is easier to replace rather than repair, careful workmanship has lost its value. I continue to sew to this day, and almost everything looks pretty good. I’m good at a few other things, too, not because I’m really talented but because I’m persistent and have high expectations, in part because I learned to measure up to Miss Tupper’s standards, which, at least when I sew things, have become my own. What I took away from Fashion 10/20/30 was a lot more than learning how to make a blouse or a pair of slacks. So thank you, Mrs. Tupper. life

Summerhill Florist Unique, Stylish and Fresh Designs

CONTESTS!! We are delighted to announce Good Earth Coffeehouse as our official supplier of and that means great giveaways all year long! -at-work Contest Does your office need a morning pick-me-up? Let and Good Earth deliver hot coffee and breakfast treats to your office. Enter online by telling us why you and your co-workers deserve a coffeebreak on us! Draw date: April 30, 2014 goes better with coffee on FFacebook to win weekly prizes Follow fr from Good Earth! Who cut the cheese? Enter online to win a Swissmar knife set and cheese keeper from our friends at the Kitchen Boutique. Perfect for wine-and-cheese night! Draw date: April 30, 2014

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.com spring 2014 |


life in the



trANNEsformation W sTory by leslie DAVies | phoTos by KrisTy reiMer

ith makeovers there’s usually a transformation that happens – not just from the outside, but from the inside, too. A new confidence emerges, a sense of purpose and a feel-good vibe that can actually be observed. That’s the most rewarding part of any makeover – and to be effective, it has to be maintained, not abandoned like yesterday’s dirty socks. Our team of professionals always comes together with low maintenance and lifestyle fit in mind. And that’s just how we approached working with Anne Eichmann, who was nominated for a makeover by her husband, Jurgen. Anne is a stay-at-home mom of two very high-energy young boys. Her days are filled with play dates, grocery shopping, running errands and shuttling the boys to and from school and activities. She admits it can be easy to fall into a rut of wearing jeans and T-shirts. Anne’s wish list? She wants to get away from feeling frumpy and desires a look that’s more stylish yet easy to maintain. That means easy-care, versatile garments that can go from playing on the floor with her boys to slipping out the door for groceries in a flash. With an upcoming hip surgery in her schedule, Anne also needs footwear that is comfortable and flat – no heels for this lady! And another wish list request: an outfit that Anne can wear to take her husband out for a birthday dinner in February.



hAir – Wendy Wiebe, The hair lounge MAKeup – Jamie-lee Wiebe TeeTh WhiTeNiNG – Dr. Vicki McDermid, Airdrie Dental studio CloThiNG seleCTioN AND sTyle CoNsulTATioN – leslie Davies, iMpACT image essentials CloThiNG, ACCessories AND FooTWeAr – pharmasave/The store upstairs phoTo shooT – Kristy reimer photography


| spring 2014

Check out the outfits that made the shoot The cornerstone of any great versatile wardrobe is well-fitting, comfortable pants. These TanJay, pull-on ponte pants are perfect and fit all of Anne’s wish-list criteria! They elevate the everyday to be just a bit more polished than jeans yet don’t compromise comfort or durability. Here (at right) I’ve paired them with a brilliant coral print top (that I shortened for the photoshoot), a stylish, sharp-looking jacket and gold-toned accessories. The little coral metallic flats are a perfect, fun finish! A favourite piece of the retail team at The Store Upstairs is this long, silky hooded cardigan (upper left) with contrast sleeve detail – so I thought I’d see if we can work it into Anne’s outfit options. It’s a fabulous, flattering topper to the same black TanJay pants but this time with a jewel-embellished V-neck print Tshirt. The matte silver tote with gold-tone stud detail fits Anne’s life perfectly (think kids’ snacks, errand lists

and small toys) and gives her that stylish edge she was looking for. She’s a mom on the move! At the time of outfit selection for this photo shoot, spring trends were just beginning to trickle into the store. One of spring’s biggest trends is pleat detail. You’ll see pleats featured on everything from tops to bottoms and accessories. This gorgeous blush-and-purple sheer pleated blouse (top right) has been layered over a plum tank. I love how the beautiful blush tone pulls the eye to the top of Anne’s body and flatters her complexion. I’ve paired it with grey pullon pants from Lisse – and rocked it out with multi-coloured chains around her neck, some bracelets and a purple patent-and-suede clutch (all from Pharmasave/The Store Upstairs). Our final look: the birthday dinner dress (right). This LBD can be easily dressed up as you see styled here, or dressed down without the cardigan, effortlessly worn on a warmweather vacation with a pair of sandals or flip-

flops for a casual dinner – or even tossed over a bathing suit. No dry cleaning on this dress required – easy care, easy wear! The brilliant silver-toned earrings, bangles, fuchsia clutch and studded flats lend a little upscale dazzle. The day of the photo shoot, Anne was glammed up by makeup artist extraordinaire Jamie-Lee. Here’s what Jamie-Lee had to say: “As soon as I saw Anne and her beautiful blue eyes, I knew I wanted to play them up. I used some warm brown and bronze shadows in the crease and a light vanilla colour on her lid. Her cheeks and

lips were accentuated with warm pink/brownish tones and to complete the whole look I added some fringey false lashes to make her eyes absolutely spellbinding. A darker brown eye shadow and an angled brush were used to line her eyes rather than an eye pencil, creating a softer, more natural look.” Wendy from The Hair Lounge transformed Anne’s mane and adds: “I felt that Anne needed more volume on the sides and that her current style was too long and dragged her face down. I took about two inches off and layered it for more bounce to work with her natural curl or [so it] could be styled to be more refined-looking if she used a round brush (as shown here in the photos) – and I showed her how she could do this easily at home. I added in some honey-blonde highlights and a few lowlights to work with her natural hair colour, keeping it nice and low-maintenance for her lifestyle.” The end result? A woman whose brilliant smile (thanks to Airdrie Dental) is captivating, whose style is head-turning without being too ‘done’ and whose radiant confidence is unmistakable. What a way to begin 2014! life

spring 2014 |


life in the




with Vanessa Peterelli

The 123s of ABCs


e’re busy people in a busy world replete with distractions. In an age of quick hits and fixes, instant gratification and even-more-instant oatmeal, how do you keep your child focused and engaged in the learning process? Is he or she struggling academically? Frustrated by homework? Withdrawn or unwilling to talk about school? Falling behind in class after an illness or other personal change in circumstance? Perhaps your child needs help with a learning disability, struggles with English as a second language, lacks motivation, or is just plain bored. What can you do to ensure your child is getting the help he or she needs to succeed in school, beyond school, in life? There are several different after-school learning options available to Airdrie families who might be seeking guidance. Considerations include a child’s learning style, personality and specific needs. Family schedules, flexibility and after-school commitments are among other important factors. Programs are intended to supplement and enhance the school experience, and encourage pupils to develop a solid foundation of skills that will benefit them for life. “Catching kids early and providing them with that desire [to learn] is key to their success as adults. It’s all about having the confidence to pursue your dreams,” says Danielle Coulter, owner of the Tutor Doctor franchise serving Airdrie, Cochrane and part of Calgary. Says Ruby Bulsara, instructor at Airdrie’s Kumon Math and Reading Centre: “It’s about enrichment; developing the potential within [children] to do more.” Both Coulter and Bulsara point to the importance of mastering basics such as comprehension, problem-solving, planning and organizational skills. Tutor Doctor offers one-on-one teaching in a student’s home environment, helping pupils of all ages meet their learning goals. Subjects include math, English/ESL, languages, science and more. Tutoring is fully customized, with students matched to tutors according to subject,


| spring 2014

learning style, personality, availability and personal goals. Kumon is an after-school math and reading program aimed at helping children become eager, independent selflearners. Students from preschool to Grade 12 are guided through level-appropriate curriculum, using Kumon worksheets and exams designed to build skills and confidence step by step, with an emphasis on structure, focus and building stamina. Students work independently in a classroom setting, with guidance from an instructor and assistants as needed typically twice a week, with homework assigned for all other days. Kumon challenges students to aim beyond the minimum requirements at their grade level. “Students amaze us, once their basics are strong,” says Bulsara. Making the choice to seek help outside the family can ease the stress of balancing hectic lives, and can also take the pressure off parents to be their child’s main resource outside of school. “Tutoring is not just for the individual – it really is for the entire family,” notes Coulter. Coulter and Bulsara agree that a team approach involving teachers, students and parents is key. Both have observed an increase in the popularity of their businesses in Airdrie. A young population here translates to lots of kids, and in some cases, class sizes that make it difficult for teachers to focus on students who would benefit from extra help. “Airdrie is unique in so many ways. It’s a growing, dynamic community where education is top of mind for a lot of people,” says Coulter, noting that increased competition for admittance to top-level universities has become an added motivation behind getting good grades. Do your research, consider the options and take advantage of a complimentary consultation or two to see what’s right for your family. “Invest in your [children’s] education, no matter what level they may be at,” says Bulsara.“Don’t wait until you see a problem or when they lose confidence to seek outside help, and know that an investment in learning will reap great rewards later in life.” life – Rocky View County resident Vanessa Peterelli is a freelance writer and editor who has been working for Frog Media Inc. for the past six years

parent page Your guide to the programs, service and products your growing family needs! look to these Airdrie and area experts to help you raise healthy, happy children. Did you know you can advertise your child-focused business here for as little as $18 a week?

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Kumon Centre of Airdrie - Station Crossing 403-912-2972 •

5 125 Main Street N 587.360.3749

Access Chiropractic and Wellness Chiropractic adjustments for almost everything... except attitudes. Dr. Jacqueline Boyd, B.Sc., D.C. Dr. Paul Bajor, B.Sc., D.C. Two locations to serve you:

North: 403.945.1349

How changes lives Expert programming for special needs children from infancy through school-age. Family Support for Children with Disabilities (FSCD funded) programs

NE Calgary facility opening Fall 2014



Alberta Learning (Program Unit Funding) Funded ECS Preschool Program • Multidisciplinary and Speech and Language Enhancement programming available

(behind Superstore)

South: 403.945.0855 (in Airdrie CO-OP)

providing safe & gentle family care from newborns to adults Webster Technique Certified

• Low child-to-aide ratios • Year-round FSCD programming • Operating as a nonprofit for 20 years • Consultative and direct therapy models

Find us on Facebook. Search for Pacekids.

spring 2014 |


It’s going to be an AMAZING day. PRESENT THE 4TH ANNUAL

Awards Luncheon Friday, May 2, 2014, 11:30 a.m. The Woods, Airdrie With guest speaker Kirstie McLellan Day Author, playwright, TV personality and CEO

“Canada’s Ice Queen”

Maclean’s Magazine

“Hockey’s leading muse”

The Globe and Mail

TICKETS NOW ON SALE! delay. Tickets sell out early! *each Don’t Purchase online at


Great door prizes and Blessingways Chiropractic swag bags full of goodies from: Anytime Fitness, Baja Bronze Salon, Pink Wand Cleaning, Sass Couture Salon, The Hair Lounge, The Store Upstairs and The Woods Restaurant and Patio! *AAW is pleased to make a $5 donation to the Airdrie Relay for Life for each ticket sold.


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Main Floor 1074 sq. ft.

Upper Floor 1193 sq. ft.

community life in the 56 heart and soul

55 like-minded 65 northward ho


City of Green S QUALITy OF LIFE

by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN

From e-billing to curbside organics recycling, the City of Airdrie is setting the bar for environmental initiatives.

everal “green” programs planned or underway intersect with the AirdrieONE Sustainability Plan in place since March 2012. AirdrieONE looks at sustainability issues related to (among other areas) natural environment, water, waste management, energy and transportation. “It’s very much about the rapid growth we face,” says Amanda Ginn, the City’s sustainability co-ordinator.“Last year, we added 11 new residents per day, so that’s a lot of people coming in. You start looking at how we preserve the quality of life in the community.” And it doesn’t require big, all-encompassing changes to make a difference. For example, under the energy category, one objective of AirdrieONE is to “reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” One way the City has done this is by ramping up the use of solar energy in its newer fire halls in King’s Heights and Chinook Winds. “We use something called solar tubes for the interior lighting,” says Ginn. “In our new fire halls, you’ll see glass domes on the roof and the duct [below] is a mirrored tube … you’ll see less electrical lighting needed in the halls.” Similarly, City Hall has had occupancy sensors installed in meeting rooms and managers’ offices, so lights shut off when no one is around. “We’re also introducing paperless agendas,” says Ginn. “Our legislative services team integrated an electronic agenda program for council meetings and senior management meetings, so instead of everybody getting paper agendas and endless drafts and paper wastage, it’s all done electronically.” It sounds simple, but moving away from working with reams of paper every day has a noticeable trickle-down effect in terms of efficiency – from reducing downtime on equipment to less staff time spent on copying and distributing to reduction of water use required to make the paper, says Ginn. Of course, it’s not just City staff members who are doing their part. New programs are allowing Airdrionians at large more chances to help the environment. This spring, the City is launching a curbside organics-recycling program, following a successful four-month trial run in Waterstone and the Canals in 2013 that saw an 81 per cent‘buy-in’ from residents. “We pay about $107 per tonne to landfill garbage; for organics, it’s about $55 per tonne. In the last six years, the cost for disposing at the landfill has gone up 40 per cent,” City waste and recycling manager Kathleen Muretti says, adding that even when grass and clippings are factored out, “some 25-30 per cent of your residential waste is organics.”


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The City is currently accepting proposals from different recycling firms indicating their plans for the organic waste. Once a proposal gets the green light, the City hopes to kick off the program in April. “We’re excited council has chosen to go this route,” says Muretti.“It’s not in Calgary yet. And we were the first to have construction waste and recycling; Calgary followed. We like being in front of everyone else.” One thing you’re not yet seeing in Airdrie is a blue box program for other recyclables. Muretti says that this is in part due to residents already achieving a 23 per cent diversion rate for recyclables via their use of the City’s existing recycling facilities. “With a curbside collection program like blue box, what you can achieve is around 28 per cent, so we’re almost at what you can achieve with curbside,” says Muretti. That said, the City is planning to revisit the blue box question in 2014, as well as looking at whether more recycling depot locations are needed to augment the existing sites (the main depot, Eastside Recycle Depot, at 21 East Lake Hill, and the Westside Recycle Depot at 2925 Main St.). “If you’re using recycling facilities [and curbside organics recycling], the only thing left in your garbage should be non-recyclable plastic packaging and Styrofoam,” says Muretti. Another new green initiative in Airdrie is e-billing, which the City introduced in June 2013. “Residents can sign up for e-billing on the City of Airdrie website and they will then receive all their utility bills via e-mail,” explains Shannon Schindeler, team leader with utility administration. “Going paperless benefits the environment, the consumer and the City. We are able to reduce our paper, postage and printing costs and the customers can now receive their utility bill from anywhere in the world. “In the [first] six months, we had almost 15 per cent of our customers signed up for the program,” Schindeler adds.“We’ll continue to promote it throughout 2014 by [offering] a monthly draw for $100 credit on utility bills for all customers [who] have signed up.” Green programs are nothing new for Airdrie. The City launched a toilet-replacement program in 2006, and Schindeler says that some $200,000 has been refunded to residents who have replaced their old ‘high-flow’ toilets with high-efficiency models in properties built prior to 2004. life

for more information on recycling programs in Airdrie, and the AirdrieONE Sustainability Plan, visit

life in the



Made for Moms

sTory by elleN Kelly | phoTo by serGei belsKi

A YEAR AGO, ASHLEY REID, MOTHER OF TWO says, adding that the group consists of mothers and children of all ages YOUNG CHILDREN, began to search for a way to connect and circumstances. with like-minded women in Airdrie and area to share interests, concerns, ideas and friendship. She turned to social media, supplemented it with regular in-person social events for both children and adults, and came up with the Rocky/ Mountain View District Mom’s Group. The closed group requires administrator admittance and members must reside in the described area, but, stresses Reid, “Everyone is welcome. Just go on Facebook and ask to be added.” For Reid, her aim is simple. “I want it to be positive and empowering to women and I want it to be comfortable for women to ask questions about kid stuff or women’s stuff in general, and to get positive feedback,” she says. The group blossomed overnight and currently has 500 adult members, many of whom are active participants, taking part in both the discussions and the in-person social events.“The group got larger than I expected very quickly,” says Reid, who is now helped by her able assistant, Leanne Bayko. The group encourages members to get out and meet new people in a friendly, supportive atmosphere for both children and adults. “I wanted my kids to get out and meet other kids for socialization,” Reid

Reid, who has a passion for event planning, enjoys organizing events for both children and adults. “I set up parties for the kids every couple of months,” she says. “The kids get out, the parents get out and it’s a lot of fun.” She also arranges moms’ nights out and special occasion parties, such as the children’s Christmas party. “We’re looking forward to an outdoor event during the summer,” she adds. Couples nights have also been a big success, and Reid plans three adult social events per year.“When we do adult events, there are always chances to win prizes,” she says. “We try to raise money for the kids’ events so they are free for everyone.” And new people continue coming to the group every day. “We’ve had a couple of men who have asked to join, and they’re welcome,” says Reid, “but I think we only have one man in the group. A lot of the discussion probably isn’t interesting to guys.” The group is also involved in community service and has donated to the NICU at Peter Lougheed Hospital and supported a family with a Christmas hamper. “I really enjoy the group and I love Airdrie,” says Reid.“It’s a great community. I feel safe here.” life

spring 2014 |


life in the




ummer is fast approaching, and Airdrie is preparing to host the biggest sporting event in the city’s history. From July 24 to July 27, Airdrie will play home to the 2014 Alberta Summer Games. Some 3,400 high-calibre athletes, coaches and support staff will be here to participate in 15 different activities ranging from track-and-field, team handball and BMX to baseball, soccer and football. As such, the entire city will be full of excitement … and just a bit crowded.


Photos CoUrtesy of dan oneil



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“Hosting the Games is an opportunity for Airdrie,” says Michelle Carre, a member of the organizing committee. “It’s an opportunity for the community to come together to put on something greater than the sum of its parts; it’s a chance to showcase our sports facilities and extend our hospitality to fellow Albertans. “It’s also a time to celebrate the accomplishments of these youth athletes, and their talents,” Carre adds. By the time July rolls around, Games director Al Jones and his board will have had two years to get all the puzzle pieces in place, as Airdrie was awarded the event in June 2012. With a budget that originally was to exceed $2.3 million and a crew of thousands of volunteers needed to pull it off, it is a formidable task. “Our biggest challenge is volunteers,” Carre says, adding that some 3,000 volunteers will be needed. Organizers have been recruiting for several months, but more help is needed and welcome.

“This is a great opportunity. You can meet new people, share your expertise or try something new,” says Carre. “Come on out and be a part of the Games; you will make a difference in your community. “Whether you can spare a two-hour shift or two days, it doesn’t matter – every hand helps,” she adds. Lending support is the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, which has

provided a manual on how to run an event of this magnitude. It has been helping host committees pull off the Summer Games for more than 25 years. When the Games are on, Airdrie schools will be turned into mini Olympic Villages, minus the beds. “We supply them with foamy mats and they sleep in the classrooms and gymnasiums and we will have a food centre set up (at Genesis Centre),” explains Kerry McAndrews, Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation host consultant. “The idea is for them to have a miniOlympics or that stepping-stone to go to an Olympic event or a larger organized event.” The first Alberta Summer Games were held in Calgary in 1974 involving all age groups in-

cluding seniors. In 1980, the province’s 55-plus group got its own Games and in 1986 the Alberta Sport Council initiated a new concept for the Summer Games to emphasize involvement by athletes in the 11-to-17 age range. Just four years ago Airdrie played host to the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games, which offered the city a chance to get its feet wet with a smaller-sized competition involving around 1,100 senior participants. Now, organizers expect around 12,000 people all told, which is good news for the local economy. Just how good? Figures being thrown around estimate the Alberta Summer Games could bring between $5 million and $7 million to the city. Organizers have relied on some of their experience as observers at the Lethbridge Summer Games in 2012 to formulate their plan. The Airdrie committee members have been compiling a manual as they go and will pass it along to the community to successfully bid for 2016, which will be announced this summer. Financially, a budget of some $2.3 million was anticipated for the three days, but with some generous gifting and some thriftiness, that number was whittled down to about $1.6 million. The City of Airdrie has committed $300,000 to the effort. The Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation has provided grants totalling $350,000 and an Alberta Culture grant of $70,000 has also been received. In charge of finding the rest of the money is director Keith Wilkinson and his Friends of the Games committee, which is looking into sponsorship and fundraising. The committee’s work has been made more difficult because, with last summer’s flooding, some corporations have already opened their wallets to help pay for recovery efforts and don’t have much left to give. Among its efforts, the Friends of the Games committee is organizing a golf tournament for the end of May at Apple Creek Golf Course. “We’ve always got sponsorship opportunities available, from $500 right up to $100,000 if somebody’s feeling really generous. I probably wouldn’t even say ‘no’ to more than that,” Wilkinson jokes. life


The Alberta Summer Games 2014 needs Airdrie’s army of volunteers to mobilize in an effort to make the July 24-27 event go off without a hitch. Organizers are looking for as many as 3,000 volunteers in Airdrie, which will host more than 3,000 athletes, coaches and officials – and thousands more family members. “We have a volunteer database that we are adding to all the time as people step forward to volunteer,” explains Al Jones, chairman of the Games board of directors. “The more hands the better, though. We need a lot more bodies to step up. Even if they work one shift out of the four days, that’s a help.” Anyone with some free time can call the Alberta Summer Games Main Street Square office at 403-945-0204 or e-mail

for more information on the Games, visit

spring 2014 |


life in the



Meet the Amazing

PUblisher’s note: This marks the fourth year we have asked the community to tell us about the amazing women in their lives. It is always such an overwhelmingly rewarding time for us at airdrielife. The photo shoots are my personal favourite, when I get to meet most of the women and everyone shares a few laughs (and nerves over being the centre of attention). The women featured in this issue are fabulous, endearing, humble and yes, quite simply amazing! be sure to cast your votes for your choice of recipient in each category by going online to until March 30. (Reader votes count for 50 per cent of the award decision. Sponsors, past recipients and the airdrielife editorial team determine the other 50 per cent). The awards will be presented May 2 at a very special luncheon; see page 46 for all of the details. We hope you can join us. – Sherry Shaw-Froggatt the traCy WorK amaZing Courage aWard

Mackenzie Murphy airdrielife is pleased to present the Tracy Work Amazing Courage Award to Mackenzie Murphy – her courage to speak up won our hearts. The award will be presented to Mackenzie May 2 at the Amazing Airdrie Women luncheon. There are no two ways about it: Mackenzie Murphy is strong. Now just 14 years old, Murphy was mentally and physically bullied, harassed and threatened at school for years. Early on, she turned to positive coping mechanisms such as singing and acting – her two passions. As a young girl living in Calgary, Mackenzie took great pride in singing songs about strength and empowerment, and saw her performances as a way to stand up to her bullies. But she learned negative ways of dealing with her pain as she grew older. “Self-harm was new to me. I never knew it even existed until I moved to Airdrie [in 2011] and started junior high. In my school, it seemed to be the new fad,” she explains. “The emotional and physical scars got deeper and harder to hide.” Eventually, self-harm gave way to a suicide attempt. When she was discharged from the hospital, Murphy began lobbying Airdrie city council to adopt an anti-bullying bylaw, which it did on Sept. 16, 2013. “It’s important citizens know that in Alberta, this behaviour will not be tolerated,” the teenager says. “It’s sad that we even need a bylaw.” Mackenzie felt strongly that the bylaw should include conditions to define bullying as a repetitive act and says that there is more to bullying than people might think. “I do believe that sometimes we say very hurtful things in the heat of the moment. Does that make it right? Absolutely not. But it doesn’t mean people should be punished for making a mistake,” she says. Along with her continued efforts to have other municipalities enact similar bylaws, Mackenzie is an ambassador for the Amanda Todd Legacy. “My job is to carry on the message for more awareness on mental health in my province,” she says. “Mental health and bullying go hand in hand. As someone who struggles with mental health, working with this organization really hits close to home.” Mackenzie’s mother, Tara – herself an Amazing Woman nominee – couldn’t be more proud of her daughter. “The strength she has gained from standing up is amazing for me to watch,” says Tara. “I truly believe as parents, all we can hope for our kids is that they learn from mistakes, and take those lessons and make something truly great come out of them.”


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Women of 2014 by JeNNiFer briGDeN, phoTos by KrisTy reiMer AND KurTis KrisTiANsoN

Linda bruce

back row, left to right: robyn Curtis, Kasia sholter, erinn Jones, mackenzie Carr and daryenne fletcher. front row: Christina madge and Christina toteda.

amaZing leadershiP

Jeanette Akhurst

amaZing determination If hockey is in your blood, you’ve probably crossed paths with Jeanette Akhurst. The owner of the popular East Side Sports in Airdrie, Akhurst has been outfitting young players with gear since 2001. “I always knew I wanted to do something on my own,” she says. “Little bit of luck and a lot of a hard work, and here we are 13 years later.” Akhurst is the first to tell you she has the best job in Airdrie. She runs the store with her two adult sons and credits the business’s success to personalized, local service. “Everyone can really tell it’s a family business,” she says. “We’ve grown right with Airdrie.” Her sons were teenagers when she started the store and were instrumental to its growth. While her husband was busy working as a mechanic, mother and sons were putting in long hours getting East Side Sports off the ground. Today, her two boys couldn’t be more proud of their mother. “Everyone I know looks up to her,” says son Jason Akhurst. “Her work ethic, customer service and dedication to help out the citizens and organizations in Airdrie have made her known ... and loved.” As for Akhurst, she works hard for the customers – adults and youngsters alike – who come back to her store time and time again. “We see all the kids growing up,” she explains. “Kids who were five when the store opened are 18 years old now. They’re grown men.”

Former Airdrie mayor Linda Bruce is a familiar face around the community. Bruce was a member of city council for 14 years, six as mayor, and she has had an incredible – and positive – impact on the city. Having watched Airdrie grow from 12,000 people to the nearly 50,000 residents of today, Bruce knows that Airdrie is as welcoming as ever. ”We always talk about the small-town feel of this community,” she says. “I think people still feel it.” Bruce has continued to prove her passion for the community since leaving politics behind. “When she left public office, she continued to be very involved in the community,” says friend Sherry Shaw-Froggatt. “She is highly respected locally, regionally and provincially.” Today, Bruce is the regional lead of educational business development for Bow Valley College, where she works to expand and improve post-secondary opportunities in Airdrie. The goal, she says, is to create a vibrant college campus in the city with diverse programming. “I’m … happy to be part of something that is really growing and has a lot it can offer our community,” she says.

building Futures Program

amaZing Promise Thirty-two lucky Grade 10 students from George McDougall High School were given a unique chance to get their hands dirty this year. In partnership with McKee Homes, the school launched a one-of-a-kind program in Airdrie called Building Futures, designed to introduce students to the construction industry and offer hands-on learning experiences. Seven of those students are young women. “More than a third of the Grade 10 school population applied,” explains Sheri Reed, the project lead. “We are focusing on exposing the students to all aspects of construction to create awareness of all the amazing opportunities ... in the industry.” Two full-time teachers run the off-campus class and students must complete their regular classes plus the construction work. They get to work directly with McKee Homes tradespeople to learn valuable skills. “This has been the most rewarding project I have ever worked on,” says Reed. “It’s awesome to see everyone’s mind open up to the possibilities.”

Michelle Carre amaZing heart

Mother, Realtor, spouse, business owner, volunteer, friend – Michelle Carre wears a lot of hats. Helping out comes naturally to Carre, who sees it as an important part of being a good resident. She’s lived in Airdrie for nearly all of her life and there is nowhere else she’d rather be. “One of the greatest things about Airdrie is its sense of community,” she says. “It’s the people [who] create that.”

spring 2014 |


life in the



Carre was involved in ARTember during its first two years, giving a platform to local artists to highlight their work, and she is currently vice-chairperson for the 2014 Alberta Summer Games organizing committee. She also pitched in for the city’s Centennial, the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games and numerous other events and fundraisers. “I feel a sense of responsibility to do my part,” she explains. “I want my kids to grow up to have a sense of belonging, a sense of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, a sense of community.” All of this, of course, is in addition to working with her husband, Matt Carre, to raise their two young children and run their successful real estate business. “Michelle does nothing but care for her friends and colleagues, the city of Airdrie and her family,” Matt says. “She doesn’t stop.”


Meet the Amazing Women of 2014

Robyn Cooper

amaZing heart Smart, artistic and passionate about her community, Robyn Cooper has been living in Airdrie for 25 years. Cooper currently works for Alberta Waste and Recycling but her work for the environment began a long time ago when she joined a group called Grassroots. Before the current

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Airdrie recycling program was in place, its members would personally collect waste from local residents and work to have it recycled. Cooper was one of the signatories on a grant request to the Alberta Government for funding to launch local recycling in Airdrie – a personal and professional highlight for her. “I’m not an eco-warrior,” she says, “but I want to make sure when I leave this earth I leave it in the same condition I entered it, or better.” She is also a dedicated advocate on behalf of the local arts scene, sitting on several committees and even contributing a panel for the Main Street art display, along with other local artists. “I have a passion for promoting people I see talent in,” says Cooper, “and I really like to empower people who may not otherwise have that opportunity – bring them and give them an opportunity to shine.” Her passion does not go unnoticed. “She constantly inspires me artistically,” says friend Courtney Rose. “Robyn does so much for others; it’s time she is recognized for it.”

heather Crippen

amaZing leadershiP / determination Heather Crippen, or Coach Crip, busies herself creating a safe space for people to get fit. Crippen opened her business, CrossFit 403, in her garage in 2010. Today she has a much larger venue where more than 200 members benefit from her supportive and encouraging style of coaching.

“Her goal from day one has been to bring together a community of fitness, a friendly atmosphere that everyone is comfortable in, and [develop] a way to give back,” says Crippen’s spouse, Regan. Eager to help others, Coach Crip organizes regular charity events at the gym. The Fitness for Change event has raised $4,000 over two years, with money going to support the Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society (ADVAS). A second event, called CF24, is held in partnership with other CrossFit gyms across the country and money collected supports Special Olympics Canada. With the hugely successful initiative, Heather and her fellow organizers and members of CrossFit 403 were proud to help raise $20,000 last year alone. For Heather, the best part of her job is seeing the changes in people as they progress through their training. “I love watching someone change not only in body but in spirit. I love watching them do something they weren’t able to do on their own,” she says.

She is a huge supporter of the library’s early childhood programs and applied for her trusteeship to help ensure local children have the opportunities they need to begin school ready and eager to learn. Best of all for Daigle, her children still live in Airdrie and are raising their own families here, which means she lives wonderfully close to her grandchildren. “She is one of those people who, just to look at, will make anyone smile,” daughter Amanda Daigle says, adding, “She is an outstanding citizen.”

Shelley Goulet Katie Gelsi

Adila Faheem

Tara Daigle

amaZing heart As a senior business analyst for TELUS, Airdrie Public Library board trustee, active volunteer, proud mother and grandmother, Tara Daigle is no stranger to hard work. Daigle moved to Airdrie in 1989 with her husband and two young children and in all the years since has helped out with myriad events and causes, taking great pride in giving back to the city she calls home. “I love Airdrie,” she says. “The community has always been there to support me … to ensure the community spirit lives on, I volunteer my time to help others.”

River and gave treats to local children in the flood-ravaged town. “She is a lovable heart,” says her friend, Samreen Junaid. “A mother of four kids from the ages of six to 14, her courage is limitless.”

amaZing heart If you’re a child, there is no place more beloved than the local candy store and in Airdrie, that’s Drizzzles, a charming shop owned and operated by Adila Faheem. “I have lived in so many places but [have spent] the last six years in Airdrie,” Faheem says. “Now … I cannot even think of moving anywhere.” Shortly after opening her store last April, she launched a program called Thumbs Up, through which parents, relatives, friends – anyone – can nominate local children they believe are examples of positive behaviour. Faheem then makes a surprise visit to the ‘winner’ to give sweets and words of encouragement. “I love that moment and the expressions on their faces when the nominated children receive gifts and get recognized,” she says. Faheem also gives candy and donations to support other fundraisers and organizations whenever possible, including Airdrie Food Bank. Last summer, she and her husband even brought their cotton candy machine to High

amaZing heart Katherine Gelsi is the very model of a generous volunteer. She makes me want to be a better person,” says her daughter, Devin Poulter. “She is always encouraging me and my two children to help others.” Crediting her own mother as inspiration, Gelsi makes the time to lend a helping hand whenever possible. “Giving back through volunteering is a commitment to the cause and yourself,” she says. “You meet great people … and learn discipline: attending meetings and working with people determined [to reach] the same outcome.” Gelsi volunteered for the Alberta Summer Games bid committee, has given her time to Airdrie Victim Assistance and organized a team to support Operation Christmas Child. She also volunteered with the 2009 Senior Games in Airdrie and the Airdrie Air Show. As if that isn’t enough, Gelsi is a regular donor with Canadian Blood Services and has given blood an impressive 50 times. But that’s not all. She works in nearby Calgary and lends her time to that city’s causes, as well, supporting Enmax Pond Hockey, helping out at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and pitching in where needed during the 2013 Alberta flood. Despite her strong ties to the neighbouring city, Airdrie is her home. “I am so proud to say that I am part of this wonderful community,” Gelsi says.

amaZing heart Putting others first is second nature for local resident Shelley Goulet. “She is always thinking of everyone else’s needs before her own,” says Goulet’s daughter, Nicole Neilson. “She would do anything for anyone. She is brilliant and compassionate and I’m lucky to call her my mom.” Goulet is a board member on the Rocky View Schools Community Learning advisory board and an instructor at Bow Valley College in Airdrie for the career transitions program. A dedicated teacher, she facilitates the life management component of the program, which focuses on physical and mental health, self-esteem, time and money management, communications, teamwork and cultural diversity. “I have a passion for learning and believe strongly in the importance of education for all,” says Goulet. “Continuous learning is an essential skill for every individual, no matter what their age. Education opens the door to amazing opportunities.” Herself a proven lifelong learner, Goulet went back to university as an adult student in her 40s to earn a master’s degree. She lives on a small farm with her husband of 39 years and is a proud grandmother to eight kids, ages one to six. “To see the world through the eyes of a child helps me to keep in perspective what truly is important in my life,” she says.

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life in the



Meet the Amazing Women of 2014 Laura Jacyk

Nicole Lacoursiere

amaZing leadershiP

amaZing heart / leadershiP

Nicole Kamke

Kelly holmes

amaZing heart Kelly Holmes moved to Airdrie in 2001 with her husband and considers herself lucky to have had both her family and community on her side. Shortly after giving birth to her son, Hayden, Holmes was diagnosed with a brain tumour on her brain stem that was having an impact on her breathing, balance and eyesight. “They weren’t sure if it was cancerous,” Holmes says, “but they wanted to perform surgery quite quickly.” A few months later, she underwent an operation. It took 13 hours to complete and she was given only a 50-50 chance of survival. “Even with the odds I was given, I wasn’t giving up,” she says. “With the support of my husband, son, parents, sister, brother, in-laws, family and friends and the community of Airdrie, I knew things would go great.” After her surgery, Holmes shifted focus to healing. She was in the hospital again for a few weeks and then spent a year fighting off an infection while on the road to recovery. Her friends and family were – and still are – eager to offer support. “Kelly is not only a friend to many, but she has a heart of gold,” says her friend, Randi Andrews. “She … would give the shirt off her back for anyone.”


With five children aged seven to 15, four of whom are girls, it’s no surprise that Laura Jacyk found herself involved with the Girl Guides of Canada. “I was impressed early on … each of my girls looked forward to going each week and hated to miss out on any of the activities,” Jacyk says. In 2011, she volunteered with the organization and found the experience positive and rewarding. With her knack for organizing and love of children, being a part of the Girl Guides program has been a natural fit. Jacyk has remained steadfast in her commitment and helps lead Airdrie’s 2nd Brownie Unit even as her own girls have moved up through the organization. “I have stayed involved because the leadership support in Guides is both fabulous and fun,” she says. “The program is set up to help girls and adults learn leadership skills and give them opportunities to lead in a fun way, among many other things.” Catherine Davidson, a mother with a daughter in Brownies, is impressed with Jacyk’s dedication and skill as a leader. “Laura has demonstrated selflessness in her giving to the community and these girls,” Davidson says. “When she speaks to the parents about the program, you can see that she really believes in it.”

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amaZing heart Local children and parents have a helping hand at the ready should they need it, thanks to private tutor Nicole Kamke. Nicole Kamke works with children who need help because of behavioural and learning difficulties, providing confidence building and life-skill support where needed. “She is compassionate and the children really like her,” says a former student’s mom. “Nicole works hard [and] is committed to helping students of all ages develop the confidence and skills they need to succeed.” Kamke has worked in education for many years and seen firsthand an increase in opportunities for children to find an educational path that suits their exact needs. Her job helps support that journey by providing sessions that promote individualized learning, confidence, accountability and self-advocacy. “I love my job,” she says. “I encourage students to have a voice in figuring out what learning techniques work for them.” Her commitment to each pupil is easy to see. For Kamke, the goal of her job is simple, both personally and professionally. “I want to make a difference for the students,” she says.

For one local trainer, personal training is just that – personal. Nicole Lacoursiere started her business eight years ago out of her garage and now has a studio in her home where she provides personal training sessions for her clients. “I love what I do!” says Lacoursiere. “Every single day I giggle because I actually get paid to do it.” Lacoursiere works closely with her clients to meet their goals, emphasizing emotional, mental and spiritual health as well as fitness. “Nicole encourages you, cries with you and cheers you on when you think you can’t do it,” says her friend, Sandy West. “She never gives up, ever.” Not content to just be the best trainer she can be, Lacoursiere looks for ways to give back to her community. She’s held three charity boot camps to support causes she believes in, such as flood relief after the devastating damage last summer. Why do it? Lacoursiere says that as a trainer, helping charities by helping people get fit is an easy choice. “Airdrie is filled with amazing people [who] love to give everything they have; these events are successful because of the people [who] come to them,” she says. “People [get] to donate to a great cause while still doing something for themselves.”

Tara Murphy amaZing heart

A loving mother, Tara Murphy is working to turn her worst fear into a brighter future for children and their parents throughout the province. After her teenage daughter, Mackenzie, attempted suicide, the two strove to raise awareness on bullying, pushing for an anti-bullying bylaw to be implemented in Airdrie. “I had been living in a nightmare no parent wants to be in, not knowing how to help your child, wanting to protect them and yet there is nothing you can do,” Murphy says. “Kids depend on their parents and we want to be there to shield them from pain.” For Murphy, helping her daughter recover is her No. 1 priority, but keeping other young people and their parents from enduring the same challenges is a close second.

“Tara has worked tirelessly to bring the antibullying bylaw to Airdrie, as well as trying to bring the bylaw to Calgary and the rest of the province,” says her friend, Chris Gourlie. The anti-bullying provision to the Public Behaviour Act gives a more universal definition to the term “bullying” and is unique in recognizing damages to a person’s mental state and reputation. “When that bylaw passed, I was more relieved that no other parent would have to be left to struggle, and be so lost,” Murphy says, “and that maybe no other child would have to feel so hopeless that they would try to end their own life. “It felt as though in a small way, we set forth a safety net for others to carry on,” she adds.

breanne McPhee

amaZing Promise Breanne McPhee may only be in Grade 11, but this George McDougall High School student has a list of accomplishments far longer than plenty of people twice her age. Smart and enthusiastic, this go-getter is taking charge through leadership and volunteer activities at her school, including peer support, Students for Change, Leadership and Ride of the Mustangs. “Breanne has become an invaluable member of our school,” says Cathy Perrotta, a Geo Mac guidance counsellor. “She is determined to make this world a better place for all.” McPhee was one of 24 students chosen in Alberta to represent the student voice through the Minister’s Student Advisory Council via the Speak Out Student Engagement Initiative. “I am so humbled to have been chosen for this position,” she says. McPhee has already organized two student forums to give more young voices the opportunity to discuss the school system and suggest improvements. Her goal is to help refocus the foundation of special education programming. “I believe that it is everyone’s responsibility to step up to the plate,” says McPhee. “You can watch it happen or make it happen: I choose the latter.”

spring 2014 |


life in the



Danielle Polsom amaZing determination

Danielle Polsom was the victim of sexual assault from the ages of nine to 17 and made the brave decision to come forward, bringing charges against her attacker. “I felt like I needed to come forward … for the benefit of other children, men or women going through a similar situation,” Polsom


Meet the Amazing Women of 2014

explains. “Maybe someone out there saw our interviews and thought, ‘If she can do that [then] I can tell just one person.’” The criminal case, however, languished until it was thrown out due to court delays. After the case was dropped, Airdrie MLA Rob Anderson helped Polsom start a petition asking for violent crime cases to be expedited so they don’t fall by the wayside. Polsom and Anderson delivered the 2,000 signature-strong petition to Alberta Legislature in April 2013 and today, practices within the justice system have been amended to reduce delays. “People are always asking me if I understand what I did and that it’s a big deal,” Polsom says. “However, I did what I felt like anyone would do if they were given the chance to make a change, and I didn’t do it alone. I had all my family and friends and all of Airdrie on my side.” Polsom’s mother – and nominator – Alison Jones, couldn’t be more proud. “This was a major accomplishment,” says Jones. “The Alberta Justice system has been changed dramatically.”

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Linda Ray

amaZing heart For Linda Ray, community-building begins with homebuilding. That’s why she works closely with Habitat for Humanity, helping construct much-needed homes for local families. Ray was inspired by her own circumstances – during a long-ago economic downturn she became worried she and her husband wouldn’t

be able to make their mortgage payments. A church trip to Mexico and an article about a woman in India in need of a home got Ray thinking about the many people in Airdrie without good housing – a familiar and relatable feeling. She helped form a fundraising group to make a difference. “Airdrie Faith Build became the ambassador for affordable home ownership for families who otherwise could not see their way into their forever home,” Ray explains. The group partnered with Habitat for Humanity and held several promotional and fundraising events to raise money. “Whenever the work seemed to be daunting, I would envision the faces of families that would benefit from our work,” says Ray. With the help of the local community, businesses and government, Airdrie Faith Build was able to turn over house keys to a pair of deserving families. “Linda exudes peace, love and serenity, and kindness as a person,” says friend Jacqui Jepson. “[She] is the reason, in my mind, why two Airdrie single moms have homes.”

Collette Reyes

Odell Sinclair

amaZing heart

Rebecca Reaville

amaZing determination Local parents are familiar with Grow With Us Retail & Consignment and its hardworking owner and mother of three, Rebecca Reaville. Eager to give back, Reaville threw her weight behind a new venture last spring and helped launch Airdrie Upcyle, a local thrift store. “Both shops provide affordable outlets for people to get what they need for their families,” she says. Reaville is heavily involved with the local homeschooling community and her own family keeps her plenty busy. She enjoys being her own boss, and launching Airdrie Upcyle, she says, was a way to give back and promote sustainability. But she is quick to point out that she couldn’t do it alone. “My drive and perseverance come from my faith in God and support [from those] around me,” she says. “If I didn’t have those, I am sure I would have given up a while ago.” With so much on the go, Reaville is happy to be connected to the community through the store and thrift shop. “She has worked so hard to make her business a success and, at the same time, raising three children aged six and under,” says her friend, Lynn LePage.

amaZing determination

Megan Rolfe A mother and WestJet flight attendant living in Airdrie, Collette Reyes knows what it means to have both roots and wings. Reyes and her husband love their home city and enjoy its small-town charm; it’s the perfect choice for their family, which includes two children. She is an active member in the community and prides herself on buying from as many local businesses as possible. But it’s the people Reyes loves most about Airdrie. “Everyone watches out for each other and there is so much support,” she says. “I live on a street where people aren’t just my neighbours, they’re my friends.” Her twin sister and nominator, Allison Rinkel, is her No. 1 fan. “She is a kind, loving, caring person who is always nice to everyone she meets,” says Rinkel. “She helps her family and friends without a second thought.” The sisters have enjoyed seeing their relationship deepen as they grow, moving from teenage squabbles to a mature and grownup friendship they both treasure. For Rinkel, nominating her sister for the Amazing Airdrie Women Awards was an honour. “Collette is a truly wonderful person,” Rinkel says, “not just because she is my sister, but because she has a huge heart.”

amaZing Promise All set to graduate this year from Bert Church High School, Megan Rolfe has already made a mark on her school and community. “It is because of her community-mindedness, her conscientious approach to her studies, her well-rounded nature and her school involvement that Megan is viewed as an exceptional student,” says Bert Church principal Pam Davidson. “She is articulate, humble, positive and proud of her school.” An active and engaged student, Rolfe cultivates school spirit amongst the student body. She is a keen volunteer – both in school and throughout Airdrie. As a student, she’s helped organize two popular events: a schoolwide game of tag, and a fundraiser dubbed the Wake-A-Thon, in which students pledge to stay awake for 24 hours and raise money in support of Alberta Children’s Hospital. “I wanted to leave a legacy behind with an annual activity that students could get involved in to help others,” she says. After high school, Rolfe plans to earn a science degree before transitioning into dentistry. She would like to eventually have her own dental practice, focusing on pediatrics.

Family is first and foremost for Odell Sinclair, and she comes by it honestly. One of six children to parents who took in a grand total of 105 foster children set to be adopted, Sinclair has seen just how special adoption can be. Sinclair moved to Airdrie in 1980 with her husband and the couple was on a wait-list to adopt a baby of their own. “I knew that the day would come when we would be parents for the first time,” she says. When they got their daughter, Sinclair quickly applied for her employment insurance benefits, but was declined a few weeks later – adoptive parents did not qualify. She decided to appeal the decision and prepared to make her case. “I informed them how many years I paid into UI [now EI] and that what they were doing was separating me – and all the other parents [who] adopt – from parents [who] could have children naturally,” she says, “and that was discrimination.” While sympathetic, the appeal board was unable to help, so Sinclair worked with a local politician and together they successfully argued for legal changes, ensuring adoptive parents would enjoy the same rights. “She took this as a challenge,” says her friend, Trudy Bounds. “Now all people adopting are entitled to maternity benefits, same as natural parents.” Happily, when Sinclair and her husband adopted their second child, she received the benefits she’d fought so hard to earn. “I am glad I fought for my rights,” she says.

spring 2014 |


life in the



Meet the Amazing Women of 2014 Wendy Wiebe amaZing heart

Dawn Smith

amaZing leadershiP

ries,” says Smith. “I am inspired by the amazing people in Airdrie. Fellow writer and Airdrie resident Veronica Funk is first in line to sing her colleague’s praises. “I’ve known Dawn for many years and have seen her grow into her role … [at the] Airdrie Echo,” Funk says. “We’re lucky to have her as a positive female role model in Airdrie.” For Smith, living here is perfect for an artist and a performer. “What a wonderful community to be part of,” she says.

Stephanie van Dewark amaZing heart A longtime Airdrie resident, Dawn Smith has excelled in two uniquely different careers. The first, as a classical pianist and singer, saw Smith singing at local weddings and funerals, volunteering her musical prowess in churches and opening up her home to give music lessons. Then, itching for a change, she decided to try her hand at journalism, and local residents have been enjoying her reporting and storytelling ever since. After a few years as a reporter and then assistant editor for the Airdrie City View, she accepted her current position as multimedia editor at the Airdrie Echo. “I am lucky enough to be able to make a difference in people’s lives by sharing their sto-


| spring 2014

Stephanie Van Dewark has been living in Airdrie for nine years and she loves the sense of community. “Airdrie still has the small-town feeling,” Van Dewark says. A good friend and neighbour, she lives by a simple and familiar motto. “It is important for me to treat everyone as I would like to be treated,” she says. “I have always enjoyed helping others.” Van Dewark is happy to do her part and lend a helping hand when it matters most, which is how she met her friend, Samreed Junaid. When the latter was overburdened with too much on her plate, it was Van Dewark who went out of her way to offer support. “She is a woman with an amazing heart and soul,” says Junaid. “She had ... so much to do but still managed to drive – sometimes twice a day – from Airdrie to Calgary just to help people she barely knew.” Shortly after the two women met, Junaid learned she was pregnant and that her health wasn’t great. Van Dewark helped out whenever possible so her friend could go to doctor’s appointments, and it was because of her encouragement that Junaid and her family eventually moved from Calgary to Airdrie. “This is Stephanie,” adds Junaid. “A great lady from a great city. A stranger who is always there for everyone.”

Giving back comes easily for Wendy Wiebe, owner and stylist at The Hair Lounge. “To be business owner, you need to count on your community’s support to grow ... so the day I opened the salon in December 2008, I started giving back,” Wiebe says. Each year, Wiebe hosts a $10 Hair Cut Day to raise money for local charities and help parents save money. Since the launch of the initiative in 2010, The Hair Lounge has collected more than $11,600 and has given 517 discounted cuts to date. “There were four of us in my family and I was the youngest, which meant hand-medowns,” says Wiebe. “It wasn’t until I went into high school, Grade 10, that I got a new haircut for school. It was empowering.” Funds raised go to support, among others, Airdrie Food Bank, Community Links and the Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie. “Wendy is one of the most giving, thoughtful women I have ever met,” says her friend and nominator, Sheila Norris. “She loves the city of Airdrie, and gives back and gets involved when she can.” Wiebe is also on the Airdrie Food Bank board of directors and is an active member of the Airdrie Rotary Club. “The rewarding feeling I get from making people happy keeps me moving forward,” she says.


Out of Africa life in the



south African couple is happy to call Airdrie home sTory by JeFF MACKiNNoN phoTo by serGei belsKi

deon and Jeanne botha appreciate airdrie’s small-town feel.

Airdrie continues to grow and develop as a multicultural community, drawing people of various walks of life from all around the globe. Thanks to those who now call Airdrie home, our community is evolving and airdrielife is pleased to be able to welcome and introduce them to our reading public. irdrie’s Jeanne and Deon Botha went to a gathering of South African expats in Canmore a few years back and noticed something striking: There were no teenagers and no senior citizens present. “It looked like a bunch of clones,” Jeanne recalls.“It was just funny. Everybody was upper middle class with smallish children. The older generation was not there. They were all in South Africa. It was just odd. It was a certain part of the population that came over (to Canada).” The Bothas are part of a large exodus of South Africans to Canada within the past 20 or so years. Small-town Canada is now known for being home to many doctors born, raised and trained in that country. After living for five years in Spiritwood, Sask., northeast of Prince Albert, the Bothas moved to Airdrie nine years ago. Deon is a family physician at Stonegate Medical Clinic, while Jeanne, who has a masters degree in organic chemistry, is a stay-at-home mom. They have two children – Ingred, 10, was born in Saskatchewan, and Heinrich, 7, was born in Airdrie. As with others of their generation, the Bothas were drawn to Canada by the adventure that comes with trying life in a place different from where they grew up. They have stayed in Airdrie because they find Canada very welcoming and very safe. “In terms of safety, people don’t realize what they have in Canada; they take it for granted,” Deon says. “If you’ve lived in South Africa you don’t take it for granted like Canadians do.” Despite its ever-expanding population, Airdrie’s small-town feel is a big reason why the Bothas call themselves big fans of the city. “It’s got a good sense of community,” Jeanne says. “There’s everything going on, like with the arts for example. There’s so much that you can enjoy here. People make an effort to do things.”


Deon adds:“It’s a young community and it’s very vibrant.” One of the activities the Bothas have found themselves immersed in as a family is taekwondo. All four have been studying at Master Rim’s Taekwondo for the past two years. Jeanne originally went to the Main Street dojo to sign the children up for classes, was drawn in by the energetic atmosphere, and signed up, too. “It’s a little gem in Airdrie,” she says. “It’s just a positive thing going there for the kids and for the whole family doing something together.” The Bothas still hold dear to their roots, visiting home as much as they can to see their parents and grandparents. (“South Africa is a fantastic country and Cape Town is just beautiful,” Deon says.) They continue to speak some Afrikaans – the German dialect developed in South African by Dutch settlers – around the house. “I think in English now; I don’t think in Afrikaans. But we talk to our kids in Afrikaans all the time. They speak it a bit,” Deon says. Asking the Bothas for help in guessing the size of the South African community in Airdrie is difficult, because they purposely live outside the bubble of their nationality. Deon does some quick math and says there are five South African doctors here and that he has“a few South African patients.” “[The community] exists but I opt out of it,” says Jeanne.“I like to go to the odd social thing but I didn’t move here to create South Africa all over again. I like to make friends outside of the South African community. “Also,” she adds,“it’s because it’s just a certain demography. Nobody has friends [who] are just doctors. It’s not normal.” The next time the Bothas get together with other South Africans in the Airdrie/Calgary area, it’s likely the demographics will look less odd than in the past. Maybe there will still be no old folks there, but certainly there will be teenagers, Ingred among that group in a couple of years. Looking at their life in Airdrie, the Bothas have no plans to move. “We are very happy here,” Deon says. life

spring 2014 |


He wants a home with big city


She wants a home with small-town


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

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Hours: Mon. - Thurs. 2 pm - 8 pm Closed Fridays Sat. - Sun. 12 pm - 5 pm

home life at 68 sweet Dreams

70 fit for a King 78 second home

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AL: How was the experience? Was it all worth it? HS: Yes, the transformation has been incredible! It was a whole lot of work, but the hours invested were worth it in the end! The makeover experience was awesome, the highlight being that the team of people I met and worked with were all genuinely passionate about their jobs, customer service and satisfaction of their clientle. Pete Lewis of Airdrie Paint and Decor, designer Lisa Lavertu, Trudy of Exciting Lighting along with her husband and son, and photographer Kristy were all fantastic to work with and determined to ensure that the final product was outstanding.   AL: What did you learn? HS: I learned that my biggest obstacle in any room was finding a starting point. Once the base takes root, we could build the vision from there. Being that we really weren’t attached to any furniture in this room, we chose to use the walls as our starting point. I also learned to hang wallpaper, which was not nearly as painful as expected. Finally I learned that ceiling fans can be ridiculously stylish and also quite an efficient way to increase the comfort level in your home! AL: What was the easiest decision to make? HS: Our easiest decision was the wall colour. Initially, I struggled to envision the correct shade, but as soon as I described what I was looking for in a room, Lisa showed us some paint samples that she felt would achieve that look. The three of us – Mike, Lisa


| spring 2014

and I – all gravitated toward the same: Benjamin Moore’s Puritan Grey from the Aura line. It was calming without being so bold that it would clash with existing tones throughout the house. From there the rest of the bases, including textiles, wallpaper and furniture selection, flowed more smoothly. AL: How challenging was it for your do-it-yourself skills? HS: We expected the wallpaper to be our greatest challenge. Both Mike and I have painted our fair share of rooms over the years so we were fairly confident with our painting abilities, but neither of us had ever hung wallpaper. We were very apprehensive as it is far more expensive than painting and we were unsure of making such an investment in a single wall, especially if we were not able to hang it properly. Besides that, both of us were proficient in stripping this stuff off and now it’s stylish again? Hard to believe, but yes, all that was old is new again and we were going to put up the wall paper. After we viewed several YouTube tutorials, we finally took the plunge and were relieved to find that it was far less intimidating than either of us had expected. The wallpaper was worth the investment as it really gives the room a luxury feel. AL: Any bumps along the way? HS: The room’s progress flowed quite smoothly until the final weeks when we were so close to completion, and it was here where our DIY skills were tested.  There were just a few loose ends to tie up in adding accessories and finishing detail. Hours were invested into finding the right artwork while staying within budget, but

Dream a little dream We first met airdrielife room makeover winners holly and Mike Sousa last issue. After moving to Sagewood last year, this busy couple with three young daughters was eager to inject some new life into their neglected master bedroom. With help from interior designer Lisa Lavertu, Airdrie Paint and Decor, and Exciting Lighting, the Sousas have since been able to transform their room into a dream-worthy space. We had a chance to catch up with holly to find out more. phoTos by KrisTy reiMer

nothing seemed to be a suitable piece! Ultimately, it was decided a mirror might be all we needed to fill the void. Then Lisa intervened and showed us how two large, identical mirrors placed together would give a much grander feel to the space. It was an ideal, yet simple, solution with a dramatic effect. AL: Is Mike happy with the transformation? HS: The first morning following completion, Mike commented on how well he slept with the room all done, and that was great since I could see his patience wearing thin in the final days before completion when the details were all we had left. On the other hand, I felt the deadline was a blessing to ensure the room did see finalization! The best reaction came from our six-year-old who recently found a before photo and commented, “Whoa Momma, your room was UGLY!” There was no denying that it lacked all sign of effort prior to the contest. AL: Would you do anything differently now? HS: We can’t imagine changing the room in the near future. Both Mike and I are very pleased with the outcome and are incredibly [grateful] to all the people who participated in making the space our own. The dorm-room look we had unintentionally mastered is gone and neither of us miss it. The space is beautiful without being overly feminine. It’s great to have a room that you love to fall asleep and wake up in. If I were to do anything differently, I would encourage more local retailers and business to get involved and contact airdrielife to offer their contribution to this contest. It really

is a great way to advertise, bring business to your location and contribute to building a reputation in the community. There were (obviously) several other large- and small-ticket items required to complete this room, including furniture, bedding, accessories, photos, floral pieces, etc. We did our best to shop locally but still had to work within a budget. If a product or service were offered, even at discount, we definitely were compelled to shop there first. AL: Has this room makeover inspired you to try other things? HS: This experience has really given us inspiration to do more with the rooms in our home. Next on the docket will likely be giving our kids more customized bedrooms that they can call their own. From there, I would like to do more with the living and dining area. It has been a learning curve; it’s been fun. It’s really amazing to see the illusions created in a space when light, colour and texture all come together to give a room a feeling. Designers are artists. Or magicians. Maybe both. BEFORE

Thanks again for the opportunity! We made some awesome contacts who have not seen the last of us. We would be pleased to do business again with any of the local talent we were introduced to through this makeover contest. life

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liVing AltERnAtiVEs

For Hali Bible it’s going to be easy being green. Easy on the eyes and easy on the pocketbook. The Airdrie woman, scheduled to move into her new home in February, will rest easier knowing she will be doing her small part to help the environment while living in a really nice place. “My children grew up in Airdrie and Airdrie is big on recycling ... my children have taught me that I need to be conscious of that,” says the 49-yearold, who works at a Calgary law firm.“That was definitely part of it.” Bible is a former homeowner who no longer wants to be one. She’ll pay $1,400 per month – a reasonable amount in today’s market – for a two-bedroom unit in King’s Heights Apartments on the city’s east side. The rent, design features, underground parking and King’s Heights’ green initiatives are what drew her to the building. Bible will be a resident of King’s Heights’ third building, which has solar panels, triple-pane windows, LED lighting in corridors and parking lots, high-efficiency boilers and low-flow toilets. The project is being spearheaded by Don Bell, well-known Airdrie businessman and one of the founders of WestJet, and his partners, developer Scott Butler and builder Matt Butler, who comprise the management team for Highstreet Ventures, a real estate development company which is working on several projects in Western Canada.

“We went around and asked people: ‘If you had a choice of moving into a building that had solar panels and high-efficiency stuff over one that didn’t, what would you move into?’” says Bell. “They said: ‘Well, we’d move into the one with the solar panels. It’s the right thing to do.’ There’s really not much more to it than that.” Bell says that when he and his colleagues first began to look into the project they found that there were only 200 official rental units in Airdrie, a city which is now nearly 50,000 people. “Based on the population, we thought there should be around 5,000,” he says. “We’re desperately trying to buy up more land here right now. We’ll continue to build.” Demand for King’s Heights’ 192 units backs up Bell’s claims of the lack of inventory for those looking to rent rather than buy. “In seven days we rented 64 units,” says Linda Raymond, Highstreet’s regional manager/communities. “These are definitely not apartments and that’s one of the things we need to stress,” Raymond adds. “We’re catering to the condo market. We’re reinventing what communities are and not so much focusing on the rental community.” Each unit has a washer and dryer, open-concept design and large deck, adding to what makes King’s Heights a true condo-style property. “The prices of rentals are crazy out here, as far as I’m concerned,” Bible says. “But with King’s Heights … what you’re getting is the most reasonable and economical.” life

new tenant hali bible and high street Ventures partner don bell (inset) are excited about the new King’s heights condo-style project, which includes such green features as solar panels.

Energy efficiency taken to new Heights

sTory by JeFF MACKiNNoN | phoTos by serGei belsKi


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gREEn thuMB

by leiGh sMyThe

Top gardening trends of 2014

This is a great year to grow more edibles for fun as well as practical reasons, focus on friendlier ways to grow with success, and accessorize the yard and garden with lots more colour and pizzazz! trend 1 Cultivating our own food for the pure desire to know it is safe, organic and local is a big driver of vegetable gardening and one of the strongest trends in the gardening world today. trend 2 Growing foods for special purposes is also huge. Healthy smoothies made from our own homegrown raspberries, haskap berries, apples or cherries; a Mojito made with mint; or a rosemary/cucumber lemonade made from the garden produce is an amazingly wonderful experience on a hot summer day. trend 3 Growing hops for beer-brewing and grapes for wine-making is also becoming very popular again. Hops grow very well in our area and there are several varieties of grapes, such as valiant and beta, which are very hardy and produce great juice quality. trend 4 The Calgary area is full of foodies and they not only love to eat out, they also love to cook. Herb gardening is exploding as the desire to be able to use fresh herbs – including those less readily available at the local grocery store, such as lemongrass or the many varieties of basil – continues to grow. trend 5 Making salsa, especially with spicy homegrown peppers, continues to be a popular hobby, especially for men. When it comes to the latest hottest pepper, the gardening world continues to provide new ‘hot as Hades’ varieties that are making the jalapeno look like a ‘has-been’! Knowing where a pepper is on the Scoville scale is an important bit of trivia to have at one’s fingertips. Hot sauces are huge!

trend 6 Lots of urbanites live in condos and apartments or do not have large yards, but there are many new options to grow all this desirable, edible food at one’s fingerstips. Container- and raised-bed gardening is making this possible and allowing many new gardeners an opportunity that they did not think was available. Growing in pots, bags, towers and waist-high raised beds – even removing front lawns – are just a few examples of how we can do intensive urban gardening. trend 7 Earth-friendly gardening practices are very important to today’s gardeners. Attracting bees with plants and even artificial hives to improve pollination, releasing ladybugs to control insects, composting, collecting rainwater and using organic fertilizers are all examples of these kinds of these practices. trend 8 Planting trees has become crucial because of the benefits to the environment. Two trees can produce enough oxygen for a family of four for a whole year and they also remove carbon dioxide. trend 9 Water gardening also continues to grow in popularity. It can run the gamut from a simple watertight pot on the deck with a few plants to a large pond and waterfall in the yard. There is nothing as peaceful and pleasing as the gentle sound of water. trend 10 Accessorizing the yard, garden and deck with wall art, statuary, wind chimes, colourful pots, solar stakes, lights and music have all become popular as the extension of our homes into our outdoor rooms continues. Black-and-white themes and splashy geometrics are two big trends for 2014.

– leigh smythe is blue Grass Nursery, sod & Garden Centre’s social media guru

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Our spectacular new showhomes are now open in Airdrie. Tour your home before you decide to move in – what you see is exactly what you get! Our condos in Airdrie start as low as the $205’s, so take the tour today at 604 East Lake Blvd NE. Immediate possessions available.



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your new home comes with a community. It’s more than a home. It’s that feeling of familiarity you get when you walk through your community, knowing memories are waiting to be created. Whether you’re skating with the kids on the canal or driving them to school, Canals Landing is big enough for your family to play and grow. Canals Landing has partnered with four wellestablished builders who offer the ultimate in home design and quality: Crystal Creek homes, Genesis builders Group, McKee homes and Reidbuilt homes. the showhomes are located on Canals Close.

Life at Canals Landing

genesis builders group


| spring 2014

mcKee homes

reidbuilt homes

spring 2014 |


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nEighBOuRhOOD pROfilE the moar family – mitchell, sarah-Jane, son lincoln and canine members griffin (left) and bishop – will be calling Windsong home for many years to come.

Wild about Windsong sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN | phoTo by briTToN leDiNGhAM

Located at Airdrie’s southern gateway, Windsong is one of many communities proving attractive to those looking for an alternative to the big-city lifestyle of Calgary. Windsong, developed by Mattamy Homes, rests off the west side of Eighth Street, north of 40 Avenue and southeast of Chinook Winds, offering a mix of single-family and townhomes. “What we hear from interested people who live in Airdrie, or are considering the move to Airdrie, has a great deal to do with housing affordability and the time component of the family lifestyle,” says Mattamy sales and marketing manager Charles Boechler.“It would seem everyone has two budgets they are working with – one measured in ‘dollars,’ the other measured in ‘minutes.’” That’s certainly the case with Sarah-Jane Moar and her husband, Mitchell, who relocated from their rental home in Tuscany to an 1,800-square foot two-bedroom home in Windsong in May 2012. “It’s actually five minutes shorter to get from my home to work from here than it was from Tuscany,” says Sarah-Jane, who, along with her husband, works for the City of Calgary. A major selling feature for the Moars’ home was not just its proximity to planned and future amenities like shopping and schools – it was its bathtub.


| spring 2014

“I was planning to have my first child at home,” says Sarah-Jane, who was midway into her pregnancy when she moved in, after having signed the construction papers the previous November. “And ever since I was a little girl I wanted a big bathtub, so when I went into the showhome and saw the ensuite bath with this big corner bathtub, that was a big seller for me!” Fast forward 16 months and Sarah-Jane, Mitchell, son Lincoln and their two dogs, Griffin and Bishop, are well and truly settled. “This is not a home we’re going to be forced to move out of because of a growing family,” Sarah-Jane says. Joe Case, Mattamy’s land development manager for Airdrie, says that there are exciting plans in store for Windsong and vicinity, including a large wetland, increased connectivity to regional pathways (it’s already easy to get to Chinook Winds Park), a 10- to 12-acre commercial hub dubbed Cooper’s Commercial at 40th Avenue and Eighth Street, a “community-level” mixed-use development off Windsong Boulevard and future twinning of Eighth Street. Case says that a sister neighbourhood called Southwinds is planned adjacent to Windsong and will include a multi-activity park and an additional school site, in addition to the one already at the heart of Windsong. life

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tradeslife welcome to tradeslife, where we ask the Airdrie area pros to give us solid advice on our home and business building projects.

What are the benefits of asphalt paving? According to Kevin Rediger, owner of Bulldog Paving, “Asphalt is a wise investment – not only is the product cheaper to use, it takes less time to use and repair or resurface. This in turn saves you time and money. “Durability is another key benefit,” adds Rediger. “A professionally installed asphalt pavement should last eight to 10 years before requiring any repairs.” And aside from the esthetically pleasing look, the finished product offers noise reduction and better driving conditions. When choosing a paving company, Rediger says, look for a full one-year warranty on the service, but also be sure the company is professional. “We come to you and provide a free estimate and help you understand what you can expect from us during the paving process,” he says.

What is thermal imaging in a home inspection? “Thermal imaging detects what the naked eye cannot visibly see,” says Glenda Black, of A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections Airdrie. “We use this camera during all our inspections. “Moisture intrusion is the most common problem and is

the root of all evil.” Black adds. “[It] can cause costly repair issues with the roof, such as damaged or missing shingles/flashing, insulation (loss of energy), developed basements, and rot or mould in various components of the home (affecting your health). “Thermal imaging is also able to detect leaking air caused by poor windows/doors, lacking or missing insulation, or poor construction, which lead to high energy costs while you own the home.”

What should you consider when hiring a plumbing and heating contractor? Monty Barnes, of Monty’s Plumbing & Heating, says that the No. 1 consideration is working with a licensed contractor. “Don’t be afraid to ask for the contractor’s business license, insurance, qualifications or references. A good contractor has them readily available to you,” Barnes says. He also recommends getting at least three quotes on projects that are going to cost you more than $1,000. “A proper quote will show labour, material costs and additional fees, such as call-out charges,” he says. “Ask what the hourly rates are and how long

the quote is valid for. Don’t automatically accept the cheapest quote. Plumbing and heating jobs can sometimes be complex, requiring a contractor who specializes in a particular area or skill set.” life

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spring 2014 |


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Builder profile

For Shane Homes, Airdrie is like a second home, says company VP of sales and marketing Dave Rickett.

Building community

one house at a time story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photo by Britton Ledingham

Shane Homes has been a major player in the Calgary homebuilding homes … very close to downtown. It will be a mix – some single-family, a market since the late 1970s. For the last nine years, it has also made small commercial area, some condos, duplexes. It will be a whole mixture. “The whole idea is if you’re just buying a new home, you can go into a name for itself in the growing Airdrie scene. there; if you’re moving up, you can go into there, if you’re looking for The Shane Homes Group of Companies was founded by Cal and Elaine Wenzel in 1979, who named it after their youngest son. After years of building homes and establishing communities in Calgary, Airdrie’s booming housing market began to catch the firm’s attention. “We started our own project [in Airdrie] and did a bunch of duplexes in 2006, and we started to buy land [in Airdrie],” says Dave Rickett, vicepresident of sales and marketing for Shane Homes. “We got into areas that were quite attractive and different from Calgary. We came out here and really came off in a big way. “Airdrie is now like a second home to us,” Rickett adds. After building in such prime neighbourhoods as King’s Heights, Hillcrest, Morningside and Luxstone, the company’s latest project is a subdivision called Midtown, which is its first development through Wenzel Developments Inc. “We hope to start moving dirt in the spring and have showhomes by the end of the year,” says Rickett. “It’s a great little project, about 700


| spring 2014

something different that’s close to downtown,” he adds. According to Rickett, Shane Homes has found a good fit with Airdrie, a family-oriented community. “Shane Homes is a very family-oriented business … we’re looking for someone who appreciates a good-quality home with good specifications,” he says. “The growth we’ve seen in Airdrie is unbelievable. To me, Peter Brown has been one of the best mayors this place has had in a long time; he promotes the city, big-time. Airdrie is in a growth mode now, but they still have a bit of that small-town mentality – they care about the people who live here.” That has spurred Shane Homes to be an active supporter of the community. “You can’t take from the community and not give something back,” says Rickett. “We’ll support pretty well anything they throw in front of us! “I enjoy dealing with the folks in Airdrie,” he adds.“It feels good when you go out there. It feels like home.” life

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Pretty in … purple? lifestyles

with Tina McMillan, C.I.D.

Pantone Colour of the Year 2014 is Radiant Orchid, a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple. “While the 2013 colour of the year, Pantone #17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid (#18-3224) reaches across the colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society. An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health,” Eiseman adds.“It is a captivating purple, one that draws you in with its beguiling charm.” Last year Sephora jumped on the Pantone bandwagon, featuring Emerald in its cosmetic line. This year, Lowe’s has partnered with Pantone Universe’s palette of its top 100 trend colours and is highlighting 2014’s Radiant Orchid.

Did you know? Men and women actually do see colour differently. As shown in colour experiments, they each tend to attribute different shades to the same objects. Researchers think they know why. “Across most of the visible spectrum, males require a slightly longer wavelength than do females in order to experience the same hue,” scientists conclude in the latest issue of the journal Biology of Sex Differences. Since longer wavelengths are associated with “warmer” colours, an orange, for example, may appear redder to a man than to a woman. Also, the grass is almost always greener to women than to men, for whom green objects appear a bit yellower. This can also be said for purple, which will be seen as more red to women and more blue to men, resulting in purple shades being the most challenging for couples to agree on.

Radiant Orchid for interiors Spruce up your interior spaces by incorporating this eye-catching hue in paint, accent pieces and accessories. As adaptable as it is beautiful, Radiant Orchid complements olive and deeper hunter greens, and offers a gorgeous combination when paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows. Complementing this colour with palm fronds, ferns and other fabulous foliage is the new favourite of design trend-setters. Likewise, the vibrant colour is sure to liven up neutrals, including grey, beige and taupe. Uplifting and bold without being overpowering, Radiant Orchid re-energizes almost any colour palette and provides a unifying element for diverse spaces. life – Tina McMillan (a.k.a. the Decorating Diva) is a local interior designer, a mother of two and a wife of one

spring 2014 |


Builders, McKee Homes and ReidBuilt Homes


Rivairo townhomes


| spring 2014

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life at




with Michelle Carre

It’s no secret Do you know the secret to being an amazing woman? It’s having a team, a group

If your partner loves to cook and you are better at cleaning, then stop slaving away in the kitchen, racking your brain for what to make for dinner. Instead do the cleanup after your partner has worked his or her magic in the kitchen and the gourmet meal has been devoured. Maybe cleaning just isn’t in your wheelhouse, so you have a professional come in. Obviously there is a cost involved, but if you are gaining time to be amazing, you can probably give up a few pairs of shoes or the occasional dinner out. The size of your team doesn’t matter; it’s the quality of the folks who are on it and what skill set they bring. Your team could include the friend off whom you bounce ideas, your hair stylist, the woman who does your nails, your handyman, your webmaster, your accountant, your Mum – it doesn’t matter. The one thing all of these people have in common is that they help you be more amazing by making you feel beautiful, encouraging you and allowing you to focus on what you do best. life

of go-to experts to help you when you need it. Amazing women know they can’t do it all so they surround themselves with people who can help them. A lot of the time we think they do it all, but if you look more closely you will see they are spending their time doing what they are great at and asking for help with the stuff they aren’t as good at or as passionate about. Some of you may think having a team sounds fancy but it’s not – we all have one. The question is: are you leveraging it? Are you doing what you are great at and focusing on your strengths while asking others to help elsewhere? If you really want to leverage your team you first have to ask yourself what you like to do and what you are good at. Then you have to look for people to fill the gaps. This can be a negotiation, so be prepared for some give and take. Start by looking at your home and family. We all know the care and maintenance of a home and the people in it is a lot of work, so having a team to help you with the stuff you don’t like to do or aren’t passionate about gives you space to be amazing and do what you love.

– Michelle Carre is a Realtor® with Re/Max in Airdrie


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| spring 2014

work life at 88 Doggy Daycare

86 out of the east 90 high and dry

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Strategic growth



with Kent Rupert

Airdrie looks to meet future needs

L Photo courtesy of Sergei Belski

iving in Airdrie, one of the most common phrases you hear is “how the community is growing.” We hear through regional, provincial and national media how Airdrie has been one of the fastest-growing cities in Canada over the past several years. With more than 3,000 people moving here each year and all the construction that is happening in every corner of the city, our community is constantly evolving.

While some think growth is great and that it brings vibrancy and excitement to our city, others would like to see Airdrie stay at our current population of 50,000. While it is difficult to stop growth in a community that sits in the middle of a global economic hot spot, it can certainly be managed in a strategic and responsible manner. The growth we are experiencing offers great opportunities for residents and business alike. Over the last 10 years Airdrie has become a destination of choice for many new offices, industrial and commercial businesses. This means more jobs, and in turn allows many people to work and live in Airdrie. All of this growth also affords us the opportunity to have great recreation facilities and other important community amenities.


| spring 2014

Last year Airdrie hosted a trade mission from Arizona, and the comment we kept hearing from our visitors was how everything was new – new schools, new retail, new housing developments and new recreation facilities. They could not stop talking about the newness of the community and how fortunate we are to live here. In 2013 Airdrie was ranked in the top 10 by Alberta Venture for best places to operate a business, and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business named the Calgary region (including Airdrie) as No. 1 on the list of Canada’s Top Entrepreneurial Cities. With media exposure like this we know for sure that Airdrie is going to continue to grow and prosper. That’s where the City of Airdrie has a role to play in ensuring that we are well positioned today to meet future growth needs. One of the first steps we have taken is the annexation of 12,000 acres of land (in 2012) to make sure that we have the space to increase our commercial, industrial and residential development for the next 75 years. Other initiatives on which the City of Airdrie continues to work is updating the City plan and substantially changing land-use bylaws to make sure that new development has a clear, streamlined process through which to move. As the city continues to evolve and develop, there will be opportunities for the public to get involved with shaping the future of the community. I encourage all of you to start thinking about what you want Airdrie to be in five, 10 or 25 years. Start that conversation with your family, friends and community members. Then share it with your mayor, city councillors and the City of Airdrie.  As a community, together we will work to develop Airdrie and make it an even greater place to live and raise our families. life – Kent Rupert is team leader with Airdrie Economic Development

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WInnInG eDGe

Customer service and creativity combine to give summerhill florist owner Colette storms the ‘edge.’

WatCh airdrie noW tV to learn more about Summerhill Florist and the other 2013 Airdrie business Award Winners.

sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN phoTo by serGei belsKi

blooming Success Story


Florist’s business takes the top award

olette Storms credits her son’s graduation with pointing her toward a new career path that led to her buying Summerhill Florist Ltd. three-and-a-half years ago. “My background is in interior design, and I was doing that for a while,” Storms recalls. “I came in here out of the blue one day to buy a corsage and boutonniere for my son, who was graduating, and there was a Help Wanted sign on the door. “I’m a naturally creative person and I’m drawn to this sort of stuff, and they needed somebody right away. So I started the next day,” she adds. Storms put her interior design training to good use creating arrangements and centrepieces, initially under the guidance of a 15-year veteran of the industry. Five years later, she was the owner. “Anyone can sell flowers, but an aspect of that is how you sell yourself in the community,” says Storms, who accepted Summerhill’s first Winning Edge Award at the 2013 Airdrie Business Awards. “Can you sell your personality? Your customer service is a huge part of that and how you build relationships with the people in the community. “You’re there for the milestones in their lives, whether it’s graduation,

getting married, having babies, bereavement – you see all aspects of life in a flower shop,” she adds.“And that’s the part I enjoy the most.” The business owner has seen a marked change in how she serves customers in the digital age. “When I first started, a large portion of our business was walk-in and phone,” she says. “Then one day this order came in and I didn’t know what it was, and I phoned the owner and he said he thought it was an Internet order. From that point on, we’ve seen an increase in Internet orders to the point where last Valentine’s Day (2013), 87.5 per cent of our orders were off the Internet.” Storms has seen her business provide flowers for weddings and corporate events large and small, sourcing flowers locally (in season) and from as far away as Thailand and Israel. She estimates she’s contributed to some 30 different events over the past year, with events such as the Diamonds and Denim fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity and a gala for the Boys & Girls Club of Airdrie on tap this year. “It’s about giving back to the community, and we enjoy every minute of it,” Storms says. life

spring 2014 |


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“There’s this talk of taking Canadian [products and companies] to China, but here’s a Chinese company coming to you.”


or Jay Jamali, relocating to Airdrie last year to head up the first Canadian office of a global oilfield technology company was a homecoming in more ways than one. As the first Canadian hired by China-based GOWell Petroleum Equipment, Jamali found himself working out of its offices in Dubai and Azerbaijan, as well as working on projects out of Tunisia, before being asked to head up GOWell Oilfield Technology Canada Ltd.’s Airdrie office. “I’m from Windsor, Ont., and I loved the idea that it was a small town, but it was right next to the big city – so, for me, Airdrie reminds me of home, like a sister city,” says Jamali. Since opening its sales and repair office last September after several months of getting organized, GOWell has taken its place among Alberta’s competitive oil and gas industries. “GOWell started in 2005 and we’re a manufacturing company,” explains Jamali. “We manufacture specialty instruments … geophysical instruments that measure or record certain types of parameters like pressure and temperature. “It used to be [these types of instruments] gave us the idea of where the oil was. It’s now, How much oil is there and how fast can I produce it?” he adds.“Everybody wants to make their money right now … but if you produce it too fast, you’ll bring in the water.” Jamali says that GOWell also develops equipment which allows companies to monitor such things as wear and tear on casing pipes, noting that this type of technology is in demand due to requirements for monitoring by such entities as the Alberta Energy Board. Jamali joined GOWell in 2009 after attending the University of Alberta and SAIT, and cutting his teeth with such companies as

Schlumberger. He’s seen GOWell open offices in Baku, Azerbaijan, and in Dubai, and in 2011 GOWell opened its American headquarters in Houston, with 80,000 square feet dedicated to research and design (R&D). “Eventually, we want to build R&D here as well, and open up a production line,” Jamali notes. The decision to move into Airdrie is the result of a desire to provide equal support to both the decision-making head offices in Calgary and the in-the-field services based out of the north. “We could have handled it from Houston, but we need to be here,” Jamali says. “A lot of ideas come from here.” Indeed, he says, one of GOWell’s goals in Canada is to support and promote innovation coming from local entrepreneurs and provide international exposure. (Technology such as multi-stage fracking, for example, was developed in Alberta.) “There’s this talk of taking Canadian [products and companies] to China, but here’s a Chinese company coming to you,” says Jamali. One thing he says makes GOWell stand out from the crowd – and fit in well with Airdrie’s entrepreneurial spirit – is the fact that, despite having offices from Venezuela to China, GOWell is still at heart a“momand-pop” company. The CEO is Xi Zhang, and the vice-president is his wife, Wendy Liu; both have been hands-on in helping establish the Airdrie sales and maintenance office, which currently has six employees, including Jamali. “We wanted to bring [one-on-one] customer service to the market,” says Jamali, a few moments after the interview is put on hold so he can meet with a client who drops by the office to discuss an order. Such accessibility, he says, is made easier being located in a place like Airdrie. “I live five minutes away, so if something happens at 7 p.m., I don’t have to say,‘I’ll be there in 45 minutes,’” says Jamali. life goWell’s Jay Jamali is pleased to bring his China-based company to airdrie.

Chinese firm chooses Airdrie sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN phoTo by serGei belsKi

Asian Influence


| spring 2014

One stop for all of the volunteer opportunities in our community!

The MAN Issue

Meet men we admire, cool guys with cool jobs and check out manly pursuits and yes, decor. All in the summer issue of

Man up! Book your ad today with

How can we help you buy or sell your home? Call us.

In association with The Carre Group of RE/MAX Rocky View

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Michelle Carre

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RE/MAX Rocky View Real Estate | 540 2nd Ave Airdrie T4B 2C2 | 403.948.5900 Independently owned and operated.

spring 2014 |


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business profile

Melanie Johnston, owner of Cloud K9 Ltd., enjoys the avid attention of her canine charges.

Dog Day Afternoon How one entrepreneur’s love of pets became a full-time business story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | photo by Kristy Reimer


ver wonder what trouble your dogs get into when you’re away at work for the day and they’re left to their own devices for seven or eight hours? Melanie Johnston opened Cloud K9 Ltd. just over a year ago to give Airdrionians an alternative to leaving Fido vegetating on the couch all day, with only a TV or radio for company. “I previously owned another business where I worked from home, but it was very seasonal,” says Johnston, who worked in architectural design and drafting.“So I decided to follow my second passion, which was dogs.” And so she opened up the dog daycare with her husband, Landon, in southeast Airdrie. “We wanted to create a daycare that was a little different from others available in Airdrie at the time,” she says. “We focus a lot on supervision and smaller group sizes, structure and exercise.” Dog daycares offer a chance for pets to have fun all day (and enjoy, the brochure promises,“unlimited belly rubs”) while learning how to play nicely with other dogs – in many respects, not too different from human daycares (minus those belly rubs).


“It’s very much about getting them to play as much as we can, socializing, having fun,” says Johnston.“They’re free to be with us, with other dogs. And they enjoy their time here. In fact, we often see dogs coming through the door dragging Mom and Dad behind them, they’re so excited to be here!” For Johnston, the rewards of starting this type of business come from helping people – and, of course, their four-legged friends. “I do enjoy spending time with the dogs and I enjoy meeting the people … seeing how I can help them,” she says. “A tired dog is a happy dog, and if dogs are getting frustrated and not getting enough exercise at home, they’re more likely to end up re-homed or in the pound. So if I can help [owners] get along better with their dogs, that’s great.” Johnston has had customers from as far away as Lloydminster and Fort Saskatchewan take advantage of her daycare and boarding services – sometimes dropping Fido off so they can go shopping in Calgary or head off to B.C. for a few days. “Starting a business like this isn’t for the faint of heart,” Johnston says. “You have to be persistent, diligent and driven. You have to push on and do your best.” life

A tired dog is a happy dog

| spring 2014

Are you new to the neighbourhood? Having a baby? A new business? Employment Opportunity Available: Business Program Representative Contact Welcome Wagon Today! Call: (403) 829.1773 Website: Welcome Wagon has been a Canadian Tradition for over 80 years.

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spring 2014 |


A fair way to work life at



story by Alex Frazer-Harrison photoS by Kurtis Kristianson

For Lynda Gordey, Fairways Drywall general manager, her business is all in the family.

When Lynda Gordey drives around Airdrie, she sees many of its homes as snapshots of a job well done. “When I’m driving through a community, I’ll go, ‘Oh yeah – there’s a house we’re super-proud of, ’” she says.“It is a bit of a hazard. I walk into anyone’s house, [and] the first thing I do is look up at the [ceiling] angles.” But that’s what you expect when running a drywalling company is in your DNA. For 26 years, Fairways Drywall Ltd., founded by Fred Robichaud, has provided construction-related services for new homes in Calgary, Airdrie and other locales. Robichaud’s daughter, Gordey, started working at Fairways 16 years ago, making her way up to her current position as general manager. “I remember going on job sites with my dad when I was little,” Gordey recalls.“I used to love going into a house that had been freshly taped and mudded because that’s what my dad smells like. It’s always been a comfort thing for me. “When I was in my first year of high school,” she adds,“someone asked me if my brother was going to take over Dad’s company, and I said, ‘No, I am.’ And when I said it, I went,‘Oh, yeah, I do. I want to do this.’”


| spring 2014

Fairways has been so much a part of Gordey’s life growing up, she jokingly refers to the company as another sibling. “My dad hired me at reception and I think he thought it’d only be temporary … but I worked my way through reception, accounting clerk, all the way up to where I am today, ” she says. “Working your way through the ranks is always challenging, especially when you’re working for a family member,” Gordey adds.“You’re always worried if you move too fast there might be the nepotism aspect. So I held myself back … but then circumstances change and someone has to fill a position.” The SAM Awards-nominated company was located in Calgary until about five or six years ago. It’s seen its share of booms and busts over the years, and it was during the downturn that the decision was made to relocate to Airdrie. It was an easy move, since Gordey and her parents had already been living here for many years. “We came here because things had slowed down,” says Gordey. “We worked out of Fred’s house in Airdrie and we started to pick up work in Red Deer, Blackfalds, Calgary – Airdrie was a perfect location for us and we realized the benefits of no business tax, easy access to the highway and the ability to work locally. “Most of us who work here live in Airdrie – and I love the sevenminute commute!” she laughs. Today, you can find Fairways’ work in homes in such communities as Evanston, Sage Valley, Panorama and Cranston in Calgary, and closer to home the firm has worked with local builders, such as McKee Homes, in Cooper’s Crossing, Bayside and the Canals.

“We do insulation up to ceiling finish and making the walls ready to paint,” Gordey says. “We still do a big chunk of our work with homebuilders in Calgary. It’s strictly new homes for builders.” Her father is still involved in the company, but Gordey says that the succession planning is underway for when she eventually takes over and he begins “practising his retirement.” But even in the 21st century, being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry has had its challenges. “But I’ve never really used my gender as a weapon or weakness; I tried to avoid that as much as possible,” Gordey says. “There’s always the occasion when you recommend something to a subcontractor and it’s, ‘What do you know?’ But I think my decisions and the work I do speak for my knowledge and experience and relieves any skepticism I might come across.” Working in a smaller community like Airdrie allows Fairways to be more accountable to its customers. “For builders in Airdrie, it seems to offer … easier access,” says Gordey.“If you have a problem, call up the supervisor and they’re right there to discuss it with you. This is somebody’s home; you need to give it 100 per cent.” Aside from helping to build communities, Gordey says her company also likes to support those who have sacrificed for the community. “We focus on military families and veterans, and that is where our charity focus usually goes into,” she says.“We give to the Wall of Remembrance they’re building in Kingston, Ont., and we [support] military family support services.” Gordey’s advice to women entering socalled non-traditional fields is simple: “Forget you’re a woman. Don’t use that as an excuse to not try. Don’t use it as an excuse for anyone else to hold you back. “You have the knowledge, you have the journey, so go for it,” she says. life

spring 2014 |




last fall, Candice Kolson added “politician” to her resume when she became one of Airdrie’s newest city councillors, but she was already well known for her work operating Airdrie farmers Market each summer. sTory by AleX FrAzer-hArrisoN | phoTo by KurTis KrisTiANsoN


life at

Q&A BusinEss

with CAnDiCE KOlsOn

Kolson recently sat down with airdrielife to discuss her career. AL: how long have you lived in Airdrie? CK: I’m originally from Rocky Mountain House. We moved to Calgary and then to Airdrie a couple years after that, in 2005. AL: how did you get involved in Airdrie Farmers Market? CK: My mother-in-law has been involved in farmers markets for years and I used to work at her booth. When I had kids, I started making baby blankets and she said I should sell them at the farmers market. I started a business called Sassy Babes. [Airdrie] had a farmers market and it was struggling. It was on Saturday and couldn’t attract a lot of vendors. [Eventually] I said I’d take it over, but said I’d change everything. AL: it must be a challenge to compete with Calgary’s markets. CK: It’s about a destination. Airdrie needed its own destination, which is why we have it on Wednesday. It’s the biggest weekday farmers market in the area. AL: What inspired you to run for city council? CK: I wanted to make sure our demographic was represented on council ... something like 85 per cent of Airdrie is under the age of 45. We had a race of 15 people and I was concerned, with two empty seats ... I wanted to make sure we had strong voices with independent minds on council. AL: how has it been so far? CK: I’m on the finance committee, so my one meeting a week is now three-four per week! It’s kind of out of the frying pan into the fire. Actually, I was prepared for what my job as a councillor would be; I was not prepared for an election. AL: What challenges face Airdrie? CK: I think affordable space will be a problem. It’s difficult to open a business and find an affordable space. Community involvement is also a big challenge ... we add at least 5,000 new residents every year [and on message boards] they’re asking where to buy Christmas trees, where’s the Home Depot, is there a place to recycle bottles. A lot of people don’t have time [to seek out this information]. And we need to start focusing on the young people because five years from now they’ll say they don’t have anything to do. AL: Any words of business advice? CK: Follow your instincts and do something you’re passionate about. You need to be prepared to work hard and work long hours. Airdrie Farmers Market opens for the season in June. for more information about the market, including its Spring Fling April 13 at the Town and Country Centre, visit


| spring 2014


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Last look

Rocky Mountain High I woke up early in the morning determined to get a sunrise shot in the mountains. I loaded up the truck and the dog and off we went while it was still dark. The clouds were not co-operating that day and we found ourselves at Upper Kananaskis Lake. There was not a soul around and it seemed as if I was the only one in the park. It was unusually calm on the lake, as normally it is quite windy. I decided to walk down to the beach and set up my camera for some HDR (high dynamic range) photos. I was snapping off quite a few when I noticed the scene in the photo. I quickly composed my shot and began firing off my camera.

– Darryl Berntsen, Settings: Tripod-mounted Nikon D90, Nikon wireless remote, Sigma DC 18-200 mm lens with polarizer attached

 Have an image you think is worthy of a last look? Send it to


| spring 2014



Profile for airdrielife magazine

airdrielife spring 2014  

airdrielife spring 2014