Page 1

winter 2011-2012


$1,000 worth of prizes in our reader contests!

dana tyrell


Everyday Airdrie

HEROES Gridiron rivals

day in the liFe

of an ambulance crew

10 reasons to


NOW In Airdrie



airdrie Festival of lights Guide

58 On the Cover

Hockey player Dana Tyrell proves his toughness PHOTO BY KURTIS KRISTIANSON


Columns and regular features

life in the moment


around town/events


Cover Story – Steady the Wheel rocks out


Lifesmarts with Sarah Deveau


Lifetimes with ellen Kelly


Abstraction – profile of artist Koos de Jongh


rural roots


Happy and Healthy – Killarney’s head chef gets fresh


Lifelines with Linda Bruce


Smart and Savoury – good food advice for the holidays


Lifestyles with tina mcmillan


Best of the Best – Airdrie’s top tastes


Last Look – a moment in time

4 | winter 2011-2012

2011 Alberta Housing Award Of Excellence Winner

Windsong In Airdrie Is A Place Where Neighbours Become Friends.

Windsong Community Streetscape

Great places to live are always more than just a collection of fine homes. They are places that provide great spaces for the families who live there. Great spaces like our two beautiful parks and a third on the way in Windsong. Great spaces like walking and biking trails right in the neighbourhood. Great spaces like streets with gentle curves so traffic is calmed and people can enjoy a peaceful stroll. Str eet

Sales Centre



Range Road 11

W in Dr dso ive ng

8th Street W

Yankee Valley Blvd.

Nose Creek

Right in the community, we have regular events in all seasons, such as neighbourhood BBQ’s and Flower Festivals. There’s even a site in the community dedicated to a future neighbourhood school.There are over 400 families living in Windsong and all of them would be pleased to have your family join them.

n Mai

Windsong is adjacent to Chinook Winds Park where families can skate in the winter, play ball in the summer and where Mattamy will feature a new spray park in 2012.

10 Minutes To Calgary

566 Balzac

Sales Centre Hours: Monday to Thursday 1pm-8pm; Friday 1pm-6pm; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 11am-6pm All illustrations are artist’s concept. All dimensions are approximate. Prices, specifications, terms and conditions subject to change without notice. E.&O.E.

CrossIron Mills Mall

life in the

community 50

Points East – local volunteer lends a hand in Japan


Uniformity – Airdrie soldiers exemplify courage and determination


Young Dreamer – Stephen McPhee helps the homeless


Gridiron Rivals – football teams show mutual respect

life at home 64

Real Estate – updating the market


Habitat for Humanity – groundbreaking project makes a difference


Lights, Camera, Action – holiday vision in colour is worth the effort



Christmas Décor – going all out for the holidays



Doubling Up — duplexes in King’s Heights

life at work 80

Economic Development – building a strategy for success


Emergency Response – a day in the life of an ambulance crew


Specialties – teacher Joan Clarke shines a light


To the Rescue – Andy Vermeer is a welcome sight


Visionary – photographer Ken Hoehn goes wild

68 6 | winter 2011-2012


Sense of Community – going the extra mile


Winning Edge – businesses earn kudos

Fashionable families have found their home. When it comes to looking for a family friendly community in Airdrie, you have a few options. But when it comes to a stylish one that’s family centric, there’s really only one choice. Ravenswood. With its attention to design throughout the neighbourhood it can definitely be crowned Airdrie’s fashionable district. And with starter homes from the 290’s and move-ups from the 380’s you don’t want to be fashionably late getting in either. So drop us a visit

Yankee Valley Boulevard

Ravenswood Drive SE

8 beautiful showhomes now open

Proud supporters of Creative Airdrie and the Airdirondack Art Project TWP Road 270

Market Street

Ravenswood View SE

Monday through Thursday from 2pm to 8pm or Saturday, Sunday and holidays from noon to 5pm. We have eight recently unveiled new showhomes from our proud builders Broadview Homes (403.980.5600), McKee Homes (403.980.1092), NuVista Homes (403.980.9525) and Pacesetter Homes (403.980.8625)

Crestmont • evanston • silverado • the hill • ravenswood Coming soon – redstone • Painted sky • double Creek

Contributors winter 2011-2012


Who has been a hero in your life and why?


CarL PatZeL, Writer/PHotoGraPHer For me heroism starts at home with loving, caring, teaching parents, and lives through courtesy and

Sherry Shaw-Froggatt Anne Beaty Vanessa Peterelli Kim Williams Sergei Belski, Linda Bruce, Sarah Deveau, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Aaron Holmes, Ellen Kelly, Kurtis Kristianson, Tina McMillan, Carl Patzel, Kristy Reimer

everyday acts of kindness. The people who hold a door open for an elder or lend a hand to those in


need, they are the heroes.


Wendy Potter-Duhaime Print West

ContaCt us

Community Investment Editorial Advertising Accounting

LinDa BrUCe, CoLUmniSt I am influenced and moved by the behaviors of so many people. I keenly followed Terry Fox and, later, Rick Hansen. Community people always fill me with pride at their exploits, sacrifice and perseverance to build a better society. Most recently, I was moved by the grace and humility of our former governor general, Michaelle Jean. When I met her at the very end of her term, I

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 including the Airdrie Calgary Co-op. 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.

was overwhelmed by her kindness, dignity and strength. She had a profound impact on me. VOLUME 7, NUMBER 4

SerGei BeLSKi, PHotoGraPHer My heroes have always been my parents. They are the best people I know and they have always been an inspiration to me in both my personal and professional life.

ISSN 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2011 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.

8 | winter 2011-2012

editor’s note

Airdrie’s new definition of value.

As always with this issue, which focuses on heroes in our community – those people who make a difference in the lives of others – I am hardpressed to come up with a specific definition of the word “hero.”

Starting from

I have spent many years interviewing people in and around our community and I honestly see a bit



of hero in every one of them.

including GST!

To me, a hero is that mom who heads out day after day, in the dark and snow and rain and sleet and

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hail, to ensure her children get to the hockey/swimming/soccer/gymnastics/Scouts/4-H/science fair that means so much to them. A hero is that person who smiles as he holds open the door for someone in a wheelchair. A hero is that person who volunteers in any capacity, be it reading to children, cleaning Nose Creek or shoveling her neighbour’s sidewalk. A hero is that person who goes in front of city council to bring forward his neighbourhood’s voice. A hero is that person who takes recycling to the depot instead of throwing it away. With that in mind, we at airdrielife have enjoyed profiling some of Airdrie’s heroes, from a 10-year-



Hours: 2-8pm Mon-Thurs, 12-5pm Sat, Sun & Holidays 115 King’s Bridge Road, Airdrie. Contact: Al Stuckert, Sales, 403-620-1744.

old with a vision for a future without homelessness (page 54) to a special education teacher who has brought light to the lives of her students (page 84), from a hockey player who pursues his career with dignity despite disappointment (page 58) to businessowners who go above and beyond (page 90). I know that we haven’t even come close to mentioning all the deserving people of the community, but we are happy to share these extraordinary people with you. This issue we are also happy to share with you some great winter comfort food, great winter decorating ideas and great winter activities. So pour a hot chocolate, snuggle into a fuzzy afghan, get comfortable – and read on!

Visit our show home for your chance to win an iPad2! Anne Beaty, EDITOR

10 | winter 2011-2012

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moment life in the 14 Good Fun 18 Good Music 26 Good Taste

life in the moment | events

What’s happening, Airdrie?

Here’s a quick snapshot of events coming up – airdrielife will be there!

april Verch band

noV. 19 Cheer Craft bazaar 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., George McDougall High School More than a craft sale. Enjoy local school choirs and the GMHS Sax Quartet. Face-painting, balloon creations and more at this fundraiser for the GMHS Cheer Team. noV. 25 international Guitar night 7:30 p.m., Bert Church LIVE Theatre The world’s premier touring guitars festival comes to Airdrie with San Franciscan guitar poet Brian Gore, England’s Adrian Legg, Lulo Reinhardt from Germany and Brazilian Marco Pereira. Get tickets online at noV. 26 5th annual artisan holiday Market 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Town & Country Centre Let the shopping begin! More than 70 vendors with truly unique gift ideas, including original artwork, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothes, ceramics, paintings, photographs, woodwork, textiles and drawings made by local and surrounding area artisans. Seasonal music, performances by local dancers and musicians. Food, raffle prizes and much more! Admission is $2 or free with a donation to Airdrie Food Bank. Free admission for seniors and children under 12.

14 | winter 2011-2012

noV. 28-Jan. 13 14th annual teddy bear Festival Weekdays 1-5 p.m., weekends 1-4:30 p.m., Nose Creek Valley Museum This year’s theme is Arts and Culture: Teddy Bear Style. Come see hundreds of bears illustrating Airdrie’s arts and culture scene on ice. Admission is $2 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free. deC. 1-31 airdrie Festival of lights 6-9 p.m. nightly It’s the 16th year Airdrie has played host to the largest outdoor walk-through lights display in Western Canada. Lots of new activities this year including movie night, a Christmas marketplace and Singing Santa’s Magical Christmas Show. Look for the complete guide inserted into this issue of airdrielife or get all the details online at deC. 5 the sojourners 7:30 p.m., Bert Church LIVE Theatre Enjoy the gospel sounds of the Sojourners as echoes of doo-wop, R&B, country and blues are woven together to create a unique sound. Get tickets online at

deC. 8 the hunchback of notre dame: freely adapted from Victor hugo’s classic novel 7:30 p.m., George McDougall High School The thespians at George Mac are at it again with a great production. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students; five and under free. Tickets at the door. deC. 8-10 Peter Pan 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Bert Church LIVE Theatre The high school drama program presents Peter Pan. Assigned seating. Tickets are $5 and are available from the school. Seniors get in free Dec. 10. deC. 12 Christmas singfest 7:30 p.m., Bert Church High School Get into the holiday spirit with the BCHS Choir. Feb. 4 Will stroet 2:30 p.m., Bert Church LIVE Theatre Will Stroet, an award-winning bilingual children’s musician, connects with kids through high-energy, interactive and educational music in English and French. Get tickets online at

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Still Glowing, Now Growing! Feb. 10 april Verch band 7:30 p.m., Bert Church LIVE Theatre April Verch is a dynamic Canadian fiddler, singer and step dancer. Her trio is in great demand for its energetic performances featuring breathtaking instrumentals and captivating vocals. Get tickets online at Feb. 19 soaring strings 2:30 p.m., Bert Church LIVE Theatre Antoine Bareil and Sébastien Lépine revisit works by some of the most prominent modern composers and surprise the audience with a few of their own compositions. Soaring Strings is a fun introduction to 20th century music for audiences of all ages. Get tickets online at

GLoWinG niGHtLY December 1 - 31, 2011 • 6 pm - 9 pm Join us for new fun and excitement this year with Classic Christmas Movie Night, Singing Santa’s Christmas Show, Marketplace and new animated light displays. ADMISSION AND PARKING ARE FREE. DONATIONS ENCOURAGED

403.912.xMas teddy bear Festival

winter 2011-2012 | 15

life in the moment | online

1,000 reasons to love airdrielife online!

$1,000 worth of prizes to be won!!! one $500 shoPPinG sPree

Imagine being handed $500 to go shopping in Airdrie! Take our reader survey online for your chance to win!

tWo $50 GiFt Cards For sheer Fusion Just in time for New Year’s! Get a little something nice to go under that great new dress.

More liFe online Follow us now!

Web exClusiVes

Get more life online with these exclusive features all winter long! Students for Change: Local high school students show their true colours Killarney’s chef Sun Yoo Chang shares favourite recipes Fitlife’s Joan Bell introduces two very special women What do gardeners do during the winter? Grow inside! Learn about Airdrie’s newest AWESOME adventure!

Four $50 GiFt Cards For riCKy’s Treat the family to a night out!

ten $20 GiFt CertiFiCates FroM soPhies Pizza Just what you want on those ‘Do I have to cook?’ nights.

enter noW!!! For all contest details, deadlines and rules, go to and click on CONTESTS!

Plus up-to-the-minute community events and happenings Got an event to share online? E-mail us at

Where in the airdrielife world is airdrielife?

airdrielife readers have taken their favourite magazine all over the world – south africa, Cuba, Costa rica, las Vegas. send us your picture of where you took airdrielife and we’ll share it on, Facebook and maybe right here in the magazine!

the Christensens at table Mountain, Cape town, south africa

16 | winter 2011-2012



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winter 2011-2012 | 17

life in the moment | musicians


the band is made up of (l-r) alex saldana, Mike Guenther, dennis tinkler, Jay stoudt and dan Carefoot

18 | winter 2011-2012



Taking the wheel with local musicians story and Photo by Kurtis Kristianson

If you haven’t seen the guys from Steady the Wheel at your local tavern or one of the many events around Airdrie this summer, make sure you keep your eyes and ears open. This unassuming cover band is made up of five hard-working guys who are as committed to keeping their sound tight as they are to rocking out and having a good time. Recently, airdrielife met with drummer Dennis Tinkler and guitarist Jay Stoudt to get the scoop on their passion for music. When did Steady the Wheel form and how long has your current lineup been together? DT: Steady the Wheel, in its current configuration (five-piece), came into being about three years ago. We only recently added a new bass player (Dan Carefoot) and a new singer (Mike Guenther). The five guys you see on stage today have only been playing together for a few months. Our previous lineup was in place for about two years. Half of the band is from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Is there a common thread here or is it just a coincidence? DT: Pretty sure it’s just coincidence, but we Prairie boys tend to stick together. There’s safety in numbers.... JS: Most Alberta residents are from Saskatchewan and Manitoba … coincidence? At which venues or events are people likely to see the band playing? JS: We have been playing local public events, private functions and fundraisers. With the addition of Mike and Dan, we can now comfortably expand out to explore additional music scenes. DT: We haven’t really embraced the bar circuit. We kind of like being the centre of attention. (laughs) Your website states you cover classic and contemporary rock. Describe the era or type of music you play. JS: We actually cover over 40 years of rock and will play just about anything … from Jimi Hendrix, CCR and the Beatles to the Tragically Hip, Collective Soul and Stone Temple Pilots. Each of us favours different music eras, so it is easy to find good, popular songs that fit our style. What is the best thing about playing in a cover band? Is this a job or a lifestyle? DT: I guess the best thing about playing covers is that most of the heavy lifting is already done for you. Generations of brilliant musicians and songwriters have made it easy for guys like us to go out and just have fun playing music for people and for ourselves. It’s a comfortable fit for us so I guess you could call it a kind of lifestyle. It’s certainly not a job … I’d be pretty hungry if it was. Steady the Wheel sounds like an interesting reference. How did the band’s name come about? JS: In 2009 we were still struggling to find a fitting name so at one of our gigs we held a ‘name the band’ contest to win a digital camera. We had over two hundred suggestions and Steady the Wheel just sort of jumped out at us. If you cover mostly classic and contemporary rock, do you try to stay true to the original sound or do you put your own style into it? JS: We have found that people are personally attached to the experiences and memories of a song, which is why we generally try to resemble the original but will often add some STW flair. You know you are playing it well when a fan comments that our version brings back those memories. Is the band as a whole happy covering rock hits or is there some original material in the future? JS: Right now, we are quite content being a cover band, as our focus is to just get out there and play. Covering songs allows us to do just that and although we have produced a few original songs, we haven’t performed them live yet. In due time.... Having full-time jobs and trying to play regularly takes a lot of time. How do your families feel about this or do they just like you more when you’re doing what you love? DT: Our families are very supportive of our little addiction. We couldn’t possibly do it without the support we get from them. We all have young families, full-time jobs and homes to take care of. Everything is a partnership and just because our wives and our children are not up on stage with us, it doesn’t mean for a moment that they didn’t help us get up there. life

winter 2011-2012 | 19

Giving with more than

life in the moment | column




your wallet

ith Christmas approaching, it’s the time of year Canadians are more likely to make larger donations to the charities they support. However, for many, financial limitations mean we wish we could give more money than we’re able. If you’d like to support a local charity, most need a lot more than a cheque – they’re also looking for people willing to give of their time through volunteering. Over the past few years I’ve learned that you don’t need to commit every waking hour to be a valuable volunteer. While organizations are always looking for long-term volunteers able to commit a consistent number of hours a week or take ownership of a regular position, there are many charities that welcome the occasional help at certain times of the year or for a specific event. I recently volunteered for the Hair Lounge’s $10 Haircut Day, arranging silent auction donations and helping man the bouncy tent the day of the event. It was just a few hours of my time, but I felt great being part of an effort that raised nearly $2,000 for Airdrie Food Bank’s R.J. Hawkey breakfast and snack attack programs. Nancy McPhee, director of Stephen’s Backpacks, suggests parents look for opportunities

20 | winter 2011-2012

where everyone in the family can volunteer together. “One of the things we’re really encouraging is to have families come out together. It can really help a family get back to basics, to connect and give back. We have jobs for younger children, such as putting together candy bags, but even the smallest child can colour pictures, on a table we have set up, to include in with the backpacks,” says McPhee. “Even though Stephen has the idea for this effort, we couldn’t have done what we’ve done without many loving hands. It takes a team to do it.” At there are several local opportunities listed, including positions with the Lioness Adopt-a-Family Christmas hamper program. With a goal of providing Christmas hampers to more than 200 local families, volunteers are needed to accept donations and wrap gifts, as well as packing and delivering hampers, and help is welcome, even if just for a few hours. “The program takes 1,900 hours and it’s 100 per cent volunteer run,” says Lioness president Crystal Adamo.“Even an hour makes a difference. We need volunteers to come in and wrap gifts, sort food, deliver the hampers and even help do the recycling. Many hands make light work!” If you’ve contributed as much as you can financially to your charity of choice, give it a call and see if you can help with its next event or the day-to-day operations. With the holidays approaching, charities need our help more than ever. life

Escape to Bayside

in Airdrie

– within reach yet beyond expectations.

Homes Starting from the 390’s Everything’s within reach at Bayside in Airdrie. You can embrace the tranquility, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, or hit the shops at Cross Iron Mills. Here, the pace is a little slower and the cost is a little lower – making waterside living surprisingly affordable. With two new phases of this award-winning community now selling – it’s time you planned your escape to Bayside.

Waterside living without getting soaked.

New Showhomes Now Open Showhomes located at: 2433 & 2437 Bayside Circle Mon-Thurs 2-8PM, Sat & Sun 12-5PM Friday by appointment only Ph: 403-980-3105

Another Genesis Planned Community

Do you know an amazing Airdrie woman? Someone who has shown fortitude in the face of hardship? Who has left an indelible mark on her community? Who has been a guiding light for others? Whose tenacity has helped her overcome obstacles? Nominations are now open for the second annual Amazing Women Awards, the yearly celebration of women in our community. The awards are in five categories: • Amazing Courage (the Tracy Work Award) – a woman who has faced adversity with grace, dignity and spirit • Amazing Leadership – a woman whose integrity, vision and discipline have proved an inspiration for others

Amazing Women 2011 Karen MacDonald, Chelsey Dawes and Jan Morrison


• Amazing Determination – a woman who has confronted challenges with perseverance and resolve • Amazing Heart – a woman whose humanity and compassion has touched the lives of others • Amazing Promise (for under age 18) – a young woman whose initiative and enthusiasm promises for a bright future

Tracy Work was recognized as an amazing woman for her grace and courage while battling breast cancer. We lost Tracy this summer and in honour of her memory we are pleased to name the Amazing Courage Award after her.

Awards Nominate an Amazing Woman Today!

Presented by airdrielife in support of Community Links

Send your nomination before Dec. 21, 2011, to Please include your name and phone number, as well as the name, age and phone number of your nominee with a brief description of why she deserves to be recognized.

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life in the moment | artist profile

abstract F Art and life in the story and Photos by aaron holMes

or Airdrie’s Koos de Jongh, becoming an artist was an adventure in remaking himself, after his lucrative administrative career in the Netherlands left him with a feeling that there was more to life than work. For many years, de Jongh’s life consisted of working hard and arranging for three-day weekends to pursue other interests. He took advantage of those long weekends to explore other passions. Sculpture was one of these experiments, and it sparked his interest in creating art. De Jongh and his wife, Esther, were also avid skiers. They visited Whistler, B.C., on a two-week skiing holiday and were impressed by the world-class skiing and the civilized, friendly way people treated one another. So between the skiing and people, he came to a decision. “If I want to choose where to have my life, I want to have it here [in Canada]. I love it here,” he says. So he wrapped up the projects he had on the go at work and he and Esther moved to Canada in November 2008. Upon arrival in their new country, Esther asked her husband what he wanted to do. After taking a few days to think about it, he had an answer:“I want to be a professional artist.” As encouragement, Esther got him a gift certificate for a painting class. Although lukewarm to the idea at first, he says, within five minutes he was sold on painting.“This is what I wanted to do.” Koos is predominantly a self-taught painter, working primarily with acrylics and mixed media.“Orange is my colour,” he says. He took a few classes at ACAD (Alberta College of Art and Design), which boosted his confidence and helped him develop his abstract style.

24 | winter 2011-2012

That style is inspired in part by nature, and his work comments on the degradation and loss in the landscape. For the artist, it’s simply an observation of what is, rather than a call to do something about it. To him, nature feels so large and powerful, such as a glacier making its way through the landscape, that one person can’t really make a difference to it. According to Koos, everything is cyclical: “What’s my dream? How can I do that again?” he says. Even with his abstract, geometric style, the act of creation – including the unintended surprises – is part of the process. The thick gels he uses, along with the acrylics, can sometimes curl or twist in unexpected ways. In his studio, he prepares his own canvases from 13-ounce canvas and two-by-fours. This allows him to make his paintings exactly the size he wants them to be. Curiously, though, the tools he describes as most important to creating his art don’t appear in it: a long metal ruler and masking tape help define the linear elements common in his paintings. Now nicely settled into their Airdrie home, the de Jonghs are keeping busy. Along with creating his art, Koos has become heavily involved in local and regional initiatives. With several of his fellow ACAD students, he started a group of abstract painters – ab-straKt 373 – and began putting together shows at various locations to give the group more visibility. Some of his work has been in collaboration, which is part of what he terms life’s essential “growing path.” He has also devoted time to such events as The Works Art and Design Festival and Art in Motion and acted as volunteer director with Airdrie’s ARTember. Because the local

1,756 sq. Ft.

• the weston • event was brand new, everything had to be developed from scratch, which was a fun challenge for the former-business-administratorturned-artist. For Esther, Koos’s strongest supporter, life is equally busy and fulfilling. She works as a consultant and spends a lot of time out of town, so the city’s proximity to Calgary International Airport was one of reasons the de Jonghs selected Airdrie when they moved to Alberta. The municipality also has a bit of the vibe that their 100-person village in the Netherlands had, Koos says, although it’s much larger and has more services. Living on the edge of Airdrie with a view of a farm from his living room,“we have the profit of everything that is in Airdrie without the disadvantage,” he says. Koos can’t help but approach his painting with his business experience in mind, an approach that helps him make his art professionally, rather than just as a hobby. When it comes right down to it, though, his role as an artist is about more than paintings. It’s about “making spectacular things – paintings are part of that.” It’s also not just about things people find beautiful.“It has to be art I want to make. If I don’t sell, that’s just the way it is,” he says. Then the business mind kicks in. Even on a day off, Koos is figuring out ways for people to sponsor his next project. “I’m very fortunate to live my dream and do what I want. I live my dream, I changed my life,” he says. life

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winter 2011-2012 | 25

life in the moment | chef profile

story by sarah deVeau Photos by Kristy reiMer

Young chef makes 26 | winter 2011-2012


ucked unobtrusively into the Towerlane Centre complex near Safeway sits Killarney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, a fixture in Airdrie’s restaurant scene for the past six years since owner Michael Pyne bought and expanded the old Stavros restaurant. With a capacity of 250 in the pub and seating for 100 in the restaurant, it’s a popular dining spot for those wanting to meet up for a great meal, wings and a pint, or a rocking night of karaoke. And while the familiar fare served at Killarney’s has been popular, new head chef Sun Yoo Chang has made some healthy changes that are winning over new and veteran customers alike. Yoo Chang, 27, is a first-generation Canadian, but a third-generation chef. “My grandma was a chef in Korea, and whenever I went to her restaurant she always made me the nicest meals,” he says. “I started cooking, myself, when my family moved to Canada and my parents opened Osoyoos Burger House. My parents needed help, so I started making burgers, homemade french fries.”



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life in the moment | chefs profile

chef. “We have homemade, gluten-free pizzas and a rice noodle we can use in place of pasta, and there aren’t many places in Airdrie that can accommodate those needs.” The effort to move from 50 per cent inhouse-made products to 98 per cent was a collaborative effort between Yoo Chang and Pyne. “As the population ages, more and more people are developing food allergies,” says Pyne, who has removed wheat, gluten and dairy from his own diet to help manage his Type 2 diabetes, as well as other health issues.“The problem with most of the food you buy, if you have these issues, you can’t eat most of what’s on the menu at a typical restaurant. We decided to take the

Killarney’s head chef sun yoo Chang is all about freshness and flavour with his new healthy eating menu

When his parents sold the restaurant, Yoo Chang discovered he couldn’t give up cooking. “I tried a bunch of other things first,” he says. “I tried going to school to be an auto mechanic, but only lasted three months, I didn’t like it. I worked as a forklift driver as well. I was always thinking about being a chef, so I looked into studying in Vancouver or Calgary, and SAIT had such a good reputation that I chose Calgary.” A graduate of SAIT’s two-year professional cooking program, Yoo Chang began his formal cooking career at a small pub in downtown Calgary before moving on to stints at the Blackfoot Inn and Calgary Elks Lodge and Golf Club. “Once I had worked at a pub, golf course and hotel I decided it was time to go for a head chef job,” he says. “A friend suggested I apply at Killarney’s. I came to see it, and the pub and restaurant were so big, I knew there was a lot of potential.”

28 | winter 2011-2012

In fewer than two months, Yoo Chang has had a big impact on the restaurant’s offerings. He’s edited the menu by more than 40 items, ensuring he’s kept the signature favourites, such as Ballymaloe Irish Stew and Boxty, and reinventing others to offer more flavour and value for the price. “Before I came they relied more on powders and mixes and premade items, and we’re making everything in-house now – the ranch dressing, the honey garlic sauces, the gravy,” he explains. “Now we’re focusing on fresh, daily or weekly made-in-house product using local suppliers where possible.” This focus has the added benefit of drawing in customers with food allergies or special dietary needs, such as celiacs and diabetics. “If you buy from bottles, you can’t serve those people. When we make everything in-house, we can suggest dishes to customers that we know are going to be safe for them to eat,” says the

menu in a different direction and make everything ourselves to ensure that we know every ingredient in every dish. “We’ve gone with a new healthy eating menu and taken it that step further, and it’s been very well received,” he adds. “If you have an allergy or illness or intolerance, you have somewhere to go now.” Yoo Chang believes the move to fresher fare will result in happier customers. “We’ve also adjusted the portions so there’s going to be less waste and more of what people want. And we’ve brought our desserts in-house now, and we can offer different crème brulees, crumbles and bread puddings depending on the season. “We’re really going to wow them,” he adds. life

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life in the moment | holiday meal planning

Bite back at the holidays eating, drinking and being merry does not have to lead to an expanded waistline by zaCh WintonyK


ne of the best pieces of advice you can ever receive is to prepare. With thoughts of holidays looming, it’s best to plan long ahead of time. Along with the stresses of gift shopping, many of us find it can be a struggle to manage our weight during the holiday season. In fact, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average gain in the six-week holiday season is one pound. At that rate we would all gain nine pounds per year. Remind yourself that it’s the little things that make a big difference to limit holiday weight struggles.

30 | winter 2011-2012

continued on page 32

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life in the moment | holiday meal planning





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Having grown up as part of a Ukrainian family, I am no stranger to a large Christmas Eve dinner, usually consisting of 13 dishes. Thirteen dishes are a little excessive and are one of those things that encourage hyper-eating. Just like an evening on the town, the next morning can leave you feeling groggy and slow with a bad headache. The danger of celebratory meals is your portion size. It’s all right to indulge and enjoy yourself; just remember to scale back on how much of the calorie-laden foods you eat. The Japanese have a saying: “Hara hachi bu,” which translated means “Eat until you are 80 per cent full.” As many of us have heard, our brain is about 10 to 20 minutes behind our stomach, which lets us know our satiety, making it somewhat difficult to judge our degree of fullness. Eating to 100 per cent full typically will lead us to overeat. Much of our food consumption at a party or in the evening occurs as mindless eating. A simple step to avoid overconsumption of finger foods is to move your conversations away from the food tables. Placing food on the smallest plate you can find and then continuing to another part of the room will help you stay away from the ‘just one more’ syndrome. Take a close look at your winter recipes – can you take out some fat by replacing whole eggs with egg whites? Ice cream can easily be replaced with frozen yogurt. When your recipe calls for milk, switching to one per cent or skim can cut the amount of fat by more than half. Other substitutes for fats include yogurt, canned pumpkin or fruit purees such as unsweetened applesauce – these can ensure you have a moist dessert without the hassle of calories from fat. Armed with these quick tips, you can survive this holiday season. Take each and every event in stride. If you slip up once, don’t have an all-or-nothing attitude; rather, get back on the road and continue the journey. life – Zach Wintonyk, BSc, AHN, is a nutritionist with Simply For Life

32 | winter 2011-2012

Airdrie’s only

Tapas Restaurant 136 First Avenue N.E., Airdrie Tel: (403) 980-8055

Turkey Vegetable Soup

Open evenings Tuesday - Saturday Closed Sunday & Monday

Ingredients: 3 stalks celery, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 1 tsp olive oil 2 tbsp whole wheat flour salt and pepper to taste 1 tsp dried thyme or poultry seasoning 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth 2 carrots, chopped 1 cup zucchini, sliced ½ cup unsweetened apple juice 3 cups turkey or chicken breasts, cooked and chopped Sauté the onion and celery in the olive oil. Add the flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Slowly add the broth. Add the carrots; cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the zucchini, apple juice and turkey or chicken. Cook for another 10 to 15 minutes at low heat.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots

Ingredients: 3 cups butternut squash (from 2 lb squash), peeled and diced 4 shallots, quartered 1 tbsp oil 1 tsp fresh rosemary or favourite herb, chopped ½ tsp sea salt ½ tsp ground black pepper 1 tsp maple syrup Preheat oven to 450 F and place rack in centre of oven. Place squash and shallots in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle on rosemary, salt, maple syrup and pepper; toss to coat. Distribute the vegetables evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Stir, and then continue roasting until they are tender and lightly browned, another 10 to 15 minutes. Recipes courtesy of Simply For Life winter 2011-2012 | 33

life in the moment | food

Grilled vegetables from rico’s in the Village

Ten Reasons

to EAT in Airdrie NOW

Sherry Shaw-Froggatt offers up her favourite bites of 2011


very year I write my annual column on my favourite tastes of Airdrie. It’s becoming more rewarding and more flavourful each time as Airdrie is demonstrating a hunger for good food! This year my list includes a few of my favourites from previous years – they remain on the list because these places continue to evolve and experiment, treating us to exquisite new dishes. And there are some exciting new dining options and a few surprises – yes, I talk about hamburgers! Let’s take a foodie drive around town starting right on Main Street with a stop at my favourite Italian restaurant Ristorante Napoli,

34 | winter 2011-2012

thanks to the simple, fresh traditional cooking of Anna Maria Monna. Husband and owner Sal acts as your host, maitre d’, sommelier and even entertainer but I have to give a big shout out to Anna hiding in the kitchen. Regulars to Ristorante Napoli revel in the comfort foods of Naples – fresh pastas and perfectly simmered tomato sauce – but my favourite new discovery at the Monnas’ second home (besides of course always ordering the special of the night – it never disappoints) is cannoli. Why had I not discovered this sooner? All you need is one perfectly rolled shell of pastry dough, fried, stuffed with cream and drizzled in chocolate, to finish a perfect Napoli evening in Airdrie.

There’s still time to improve your hearing for the holidays.

Across the street in the south corner of the Towerlane Mall is Killarney’s Irish Pub. Now I admit I had not been in a pub in years and my views on pub food were, well, not good. But to my great delight owner Michael Pyne, whom I discovered is a true wine aficionado, has also reinvented the pub menu with a new chef and the freshest of ingredients. Michael says everything from the salad dressings and sauces to the lamb burger are made from scratch. And because Michael has his own health concerns, he has made sure the menu has a greater array of healthy options, including six sensational salads. My pick? The candied almond chicken and Brie with homemade maple Dijon dressing. I think I’d raise a pint to that – or better yet drink it in my soup. Try the Guinness and asparagus soup for something soothing on these drab winter days. See the full story on Killarney’s new twist on pub fare on page 26. Moving up Main Street you’ll find a new bakery in town. Cobs Bakery is a Vancouver-based company that’s perfected the art of fresh bread, creating a range of traditional and gourmet options all made from scratch, every day. I like that they slice it once you pick it out and you can choose the thickness. It’s becoming a regular habit for many Airdrionians – and the bane of many “no-carbs-thanks-I’mon-a diet” followers – to stop in daily for fresh chia bread, foccaccia, the ham-and-cheese pull-aparts or, as I guiltily admit, a bag of spinach-and-feta croissants that never make it to the car unopened. But health-conscious eaters can rejoice because Cobs offers chia whole wheat loafs – two slices provide 100 per cent of the daily intake of omega-3 fats for children and women (90 per cent for men). Take a turn east down to First Avenue and find out what all the fuss is about at Rico’s in the Village. Owners Loy and Rico Pacheco lovingly restored one of Airdrie’s oldest homes and created an intimate gathering place for Rico’s South American tapas. If you have never dined out tapas style you are definitely missing out on an evening of good food and

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conversation (and good wine). Tapas are formal appetizers that are ordered by the plate, served as they are ready, and shared among friends. Pick three dishes per person, order a bottle of wine and prepare to sit back and think, “Am I really in Airdrie?” My faves have to be the fiery roasted potatoes, the grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, the crab cakes and the decadent queso con chorizo fundido – baked provolone cheese topped with grilled Spanish chorizo sausage. And in keeping with the tapas theme, dessert is a trio of cheesecakes from the Avenue Cakery & Bakeshoppe. Rico’s is also organizing wine pairing evenings in the new year after the wildly successful night during ARTember, when Rico surprised us all with some of his childhood favourites that I hope make the menu very soon. Rico’s is one the best things to happen to Airdrie in 2011. And speaking of dessert, pull a U-turn, head west on First Avenue and drive right up to the door of Avenue Cakery & Bakeshoppe. Now if you’ve read my column before you know I worship the ground owner Debi Macleod bakes on. I have literally given up trying to do it at home. I mean, why bother? Her cupcakes, cakes, squares, pies and cookies are hands down the best in Alberta. With the Christmas season ahead we can look forward to the return of the gingerbread cupcake, whimsically decorated sugar cookies and gingerbread men. And if you get your act together quickly you can place your order for a pantry full of sweets to impress all of your relatives, even your stodgy great aunt who will be convinced you whipped up the choco-

late caramel shortbread squares. My secret is to cut them into smaller squares yourself – THEN it looks like you did all the work. But don’t delay, Avenue is only taking Christmas orders until Dec. 1. (My tip if you miss the order deadline is to simply show up first thing any morning and say, “I’ll take two of everything.” You won’t be disappointed and neither will Santa.) And one more thing about the cupcakes: since opening, Debi guesstimates she has done more than 100 different flavour combinations, so if you crave it, Debi will “bake it happen.”

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Need a break from shopping? Now you can enjoy a coffee at Good Earth Cafe on the corner of First Avenue and Eighth Street. Local owners Becky and Jason Diebolt have been run off their feet since opening this summer and for good reason. Good Earth offers more than coffees and lattes; it is a great place to stop for lunch as they serve up fresh-baked mac ’n cheese just like Mom used to make and you can order a soup-and-salad combo that provides the right balance of good-foryou and good-tasting. They also offer fresh paninis (try the turkey bacon avocado) and my favourite refreshment this summer – Italian sodas. But now that the colder weather is upon us I am turning to the rooibos vanilla latte ... mmmm. Just down the strip in Creek’s Crossing is the home to my new passion: Sophies Pizza. New to Airdrie this fall, this is the second location of the John Papoutsakis concept for hand-crafted pizzas. With madefrom-scratch sauce, a healthy flax crust and salami from Valbella Meats you are getting an authentic pizza experience. It’s a delivery/ take-out only restaurant, which is my only disappointment – I’d love a cozy little place to nosh on pizza right from the oven, but I will settle for chowing down on a slice of Mediterranean Dream (baby spinach, red onions, tomatoes and feta) with a glass of Chianti in front of HBO. As Elizabeth Gilbert said in her book Eat, Pray, Love,“I am having a relationship with my pizza.”

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Chicken tikka Masala from taj

Now for something completely different ... and about time! Taj Indian Restaurant, located in the north end of the city in Dixon Crossing, is a revelation. Brothers Bhinder and Sonny Dhaliwal have created a really hip environment in which to enjoy traditional Indian food, served in copper dishes brought                right from India. Everything here is made

       from scratch so be prepared to relax – food       this good is worth waiting for. If you are new           to Indian food my best advice is to say, “Bring me what you want me to try,â€? and the boys will See photos and videos ensure you are treated to the heady aromas of from ARTember at chicken tikka, beef vindaloo, prawn masala and my personal must-have: fish pakoras with mint chutney. Add fresh, hot naan bread and prepare to give your tastebuds one of the best experiences available in Airdrie. Nervous about spiciness? Simply request it be toned down and then next time you will know you want it “kicked up a notch.â€? Leave room for dessert because this is the only place you will find kulfi, an exotic homemade ice cream of pistachios, cardamom, mango, almond and coconut. Taj offers a great lunch buffet daily and this is a perfect way to dip your spoon into new territory. Taj also delivers and has replaced Chinese takeout in our house!

Place your order in advance to avoid disappointment.

38 | winter 2011-2012

On the east side of Airdrie, dining is limited. But Peppercorns more than makes up for it. This has always been one of my favourites and the place our family goes for special occasions. (Wednesdays are special occasions, aren’t they?) Chef Umesh Singh has revolutionized dining out in Airdrie, bringing his sophisticated palette to our table each and every time. This is the only other place in town where I recommend regularly ordering the evening’s special. Last month we dined out on

buffalo carpaccio, lobster bisque and blackened ahi tuna (a rarity to find in this city). Umesh promises me my new craving, lobster Balinese, will show up often on the evening special and I personally think it should be on the menu permanently. It’s basically a shellfish lover’s dream: lobster topped with sea scallops, tiger prawns, mussels and clams and finished in a coconut ginger cream sauce with a hint of chilies. Last but not least and although I rarely promote chains, I have to give Five Guys Burgers and Fries a juicy high five. If you are ever craving a burger you have to try these at least once in your life (or every third Tuesday of the month). Everything is fresh – you won’t even find a freezer here. The place is simple, the menu even more so. You can order burgers and fries. No milkshakes, no salads, wraps, muffins or sundaes. And that’s okay because these burgers are hand-formed and apparently there are more than 250,000 possible ways to order a burger here. (What they lack in menu items they make up in toppings!) These burgers are not for the meek. By the time you get all your fresh toppings added (I think my last burger had a full inch of pickles) you are biting into burger nirvana. Everyone knows the sign of a good burger is how messy it is. Well there is a reason these aren’t sold in a drive-thru – you would get in a crash a block from the window from juggling your custom creation. And here’s a little secret – for two people you only need one order of fries. I don’t think they understand the words “regular size” because they overload the container and then stuff the paper bag with more. And who knew peanut oil-made fries taste so ridiculously good? Bon appétit, Airdrie! life lobster bisque from Peppercorn’s

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Shopping Guide

You don’t have to leave Airdrie city limits to discover great gift ideas!

Fuzzy pyjamas There is nothing better than slipping into a warm pair of pyjamas on a cold winter’s night and there is no better place to find those cozy jammies than Cream Body & Bath. The line of P.J Salvage pyjamas from the Real PJ Company are not only warm, but also very fashionable and stylish. Fleece polka-dot pyjamas, $79.99

silk sleep set They are sleek, elegant and can make any woman feel like a million bucks. Cream Body & Bath’s line of silk sleepwear by Donna Lingerie is a treat for all the senses and something not to be missed. Donna Lingerie floral camisole and matching pant, $114.99

undies It may be hidden from all the world, but it is the one thing a woman puts on that can make her feel immediately sexy and vivacious. Gorgeous lace panties with a matching bra and silk stockings are a must-have for any woman. Cream Body & Bath has a huge array of these intimate items from which to choose, so make sure to stop by and treat yourself to a little luxury. Montelle Intimates burgundy and black lace panty, $8.99; Montelle Intimates burgundy and black lace bra, $49.99

lingerie Treat yourself and your loved one to a little sexy lingerie this holiday season. The store is full of a wide selection of delicate and feminine lingerie that will not only appeal to her, but also to him. Tesa Classics Red Roses bustier, $84.99; Montelle Intimates black lace panty, $8.99

Cream body & bath 206, 304 Main st.

airdrie home Furnishings 2874 Kingsview blvd. se

dog dish When it comes to decorating your home you can’t forget about your four-legged friends. At Airdrie Home Furnishings there are goodies to pamper even the furriest of family members. This set of white ceramic dog dishes in a wrought-iron stand is available at the store for $89. recliners A brand-new Lane recliner is something any dad would be happy to wake up to on Christmas morning. With recliners in all shapes and sizes from which to choose, Airdrie Home Furnishings is the place to go to make a dad’s Christmas wish come true. Whether he wants leather or microsuede, power lift or a built-in back massager, there is a chair at Airdrie Home Furnishing with your dad’s name on it. Prices start at $499.

40 | winter 2011-2012

home accessories Lamps, bookcases, coffee tables, picture frames, vases and candleholders are just a few of the many home accessories available. If you’re looking to spoil that special someone in your life or just want to treat yourself to something new, then stop by the store – you won’t be disappointed. Display cases, picture frames, clocks and vases vary in price.

Gift Certificates Finding the perfect piece of furniture for your home is a very personal decision and one no one else can make for you. Not only does the item have to fit in with your home’s unique décor, but it also has to have a style and look that appeals to you. Airdrie Home Furnishings knows exactly how important that decision is, which is why it offers in-store gift certificates. This great gift idea is perfect for anyone looking to brighten up the abode of that special someone in his or her life. Gift certificates are available throughout the year and can be made out in any amount.

little Girls Gifts The Store Upstairs has so many great gift ideas to pamper the little princess in your life. From dress-up gowns and accessories to unique dolls and craft kits there is something for every little girl. From left to right: Miss Corolle doll, $69.99; stuffed Webkinz pig, $19.99; Princess Cupcake Party, $16.99; dress-up gown, $19.99; mould-and-paint set, $9.99; Groovy Girls doll, $21.99

little boy Gifts Whether your little guy is a thinker, a performer, a dreamer or an athlete, The Store Upstairs has the perfect gift to keep him entertained for hours. From the wide selection of Lego sets and action figures to the collection of science kits and books, there is something to pique the interest of every little boy (and big boy) in your family. From left to right: Captain America action figure, $19.99; Playmobil Safari, $31.99; Technorobot, $11.99;; Transformers action figure, $18.99;; Playmobil Castle, $44.99

baby Gifts Christmas is the perfect time to spoil your favourite little one with a soft, plush toy. With the large collection of infant- and toddlerthemed toys and products, you’ll have no problem finding exactly the right thing to fill that tiny stocking. Why not treat your little angel to this adorable Lamaze Octopus for $24.99?

luxury Gifts The holidays can be a stressful time, so why not treat yourself to a little luxury courtesy of Pharmasave? Scented lotions, powders and scrubs will have you feeling like a sugarplum fairy as you deck your halls with boughs of holly. Stop by and try some of Rocky Mountain Soap Company’s line of bath and beauty products that range in price from $10 to $40. Party Gifts If you want to impress your dinner guests with a table setting that is festive and cheery, then stop by and browse the huge selection of partyware. From left to right: Red etched wine glass, $16.99; frosted red glass, $6.99; dimpled silver vase, $9.99

Pharmasave/ the store upstairs 209 Centre ave. W

Fashionable Gifts She’s your own fashionista and for her there is nothing better than a gorgeous handbag and accessories. If you’re looking for a gift that will make this fashion-savvy gal swoon, then look no further than Pharmasave. The affordable accessories and huge selection of handbags and wallets will make shopping for your favourite girl a breeze this Christmas. Items in purse: High Fashion handbag, $189.99; floral scarf, $26.99; Liebeskind belt, $59.99; feather earrings, $12.99; Julie Sinden hat, $55; leaf necklace, $28.99 travel Gifts If you plan on spending your Christmas lounging along the shores of some tropical island getaway, then you’ll want to stop by to pick up some stylish luggage like this matching P & G Collection travel set. Made from genuine leather and accented with silver buckles and rhinestones, this suitcase and travel bag are sure to get you noticed when you’re far from home. Small travel case, $39.99; roller suitcase, $139.99

Kitchen Kitsch Gifts Spending time in the kitchen can be fun when your kitchen looks amazing. Dress up that drab countertop with some brightly coloured apple-themed dishes and cookie jars in gorgeous reds and greens. These Boston Warehouse kitchen goodies can be picked up for less than $20.

home décor Gifts You can never go wrong when you add a little pizzazz to your home’s décor. And there is no better place to satisfy that home decorating desire than The Store Upstairs. With charming home decorating items that will give your home the flare you’re looking for without breaking the bank, The Store Upstairs is your one-stop shopping centre. From left to right: Picture frames, $29.99; silver candle, $6.99; vanilla candle, $7.99; candle holder, $14.99

Food Gifts If you have a sweet tooth and love the idea of sitting around a roaring fire drinking decadent hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night, then The Store Upstairs is the place for you. From a wide selection of gourmet foods to ceramic cups and mugs, you will undoubtedly satisfy that shopping hunger when you visit this oneof-a-kind store. From left to right: Travel mug, $29.99; hot chocolate, $3.99; Gourmet Village, $19.99; ceramic mug, $24.99

bath Gifts If your loved one loves to enjoy a hot soak in the bathtub after a long day at work, then why not treat him or her this Christmas to a selection of fine bath salts and bombes. Lemon, vanilla, chocolate and lavender are just some of the many sweet scents you’re bound to stir up when you indulge in a few yummy treats for the tub. Prices of bath bombes vary. winter 2011-2012 | 41

adVertorial Fine dining at its best The Homestead Restaurant at Woodside Golf Course is open year-round and always available to the public. Look no further for a unique dining experience with panoramic views and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Whether it’s a dinner for two, a larger group or a catered event, the Woodside team is ready to go above and beyond your expectations! More than Just Golf Does your company need team jackets, jerseys, golf balls or accessories with your logo on it? Woodside Golf Course can help. Golf-related or not, Woodside can get it done! Visit or call Tom Lee in the pro shop for details.

Woodside Golf Course/ homestead restaurant

525 Woodside dr.

dinner 4 dollars Need money? Want help raising it? Book your fundraising event at Woodside Golf Course and let them help by putting $1 back into your pocket on every alcoholic beverage sold. tickets are $30/person and can be resold to your guest at $40. An instant profit!

Clothing sale Woodside Golf Course is offering great savings on all men’s and ladies clothing and outerwear lines including Adidas, Travis Matthews and Mizuno. buy one, get 30 per cent off; buy two, get 40 per cent off both. buy three, get 50 per cent off all three. Open throughout the winter.

assorted Jewelry Kameleon rings (left) give women the chance to show off their changing style with interchangeable designs that can be customized to dress up any outfit or occasion. They are versatile, flexible and come in an infinite array of colours and styles. Pair them up with a soft-pastel-coloured ZiZi charm bracelet (centre) or exceptional leather and Swarovski crystal bracelet (right) and you’ll be sure to impress this Christmas. Prices vary for each item.

Where Memories are Made 203, 906 yankee Valley blvd. se Customized Gift baskets Where Memories Are Made has the perfect gift-buying solution for those of us who don’t know what to buy our loved ones for Christmas. With a wide selection of gift basket options and prices available, your holiday shopping just became easier. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a spouse, boss, child or friend, Where Memories Are Made has just the right gift basket to ensure a holiday smile is on everyone’s face.

trinkets and Fun Flare For the woman who loves to make a statement, Where Memories Are Made has a quirky array of shoe-themed trinkets. From zebra-striped notepads and coffee mugs to stiletto wine holders, bottle toppers and piggy banks you’re sure to find the perfect gift for that shoe-loving gal in your life. Prices range from $5.95 for the ceramic picture frame (left) up to $30 for the Gift Craft wine holder (right).

42 | winter 2011-2012

Customized Memory box If you know someone with a sentimental heart then a custom-made Memory Box by Where Memories Are Made might be the perfect gift for them this Christmas. Made with the finest-quality wood frames, these personalized keepsakes can hold anything from wedding souvenirs to your baby’s first blanket. Prices begin at $50. Make sure to stop by the store early to pre-order.

Muk-luk Magpies stained Glass emporium

103, 2966 Main st. se What better gift to wow someone with this Christmas than a gorgeous, handcrafted hummingbird-themed Mystical Mosaic made by Muk-Luk Magpies. The brightly coloured stained-glass cube has small lights inside that can be turned off and on revealing a cozy, warm glow. This one-of-a-kind piece of art can be purchased for $75 and orders are welcome.

Expect great things... from a global kitchen

with fresh ingredients featuring local cuisine

Reservations Recommended


91 East Lake Cr. NE Airdrie

Strong Individuals Strong Families Strong Communities

Yoga & So Much More

Pre-natal Yoga Family Yoga Gentle Yoga Hatha Yoga Moms & Babes Yoga

Pilates Zumba XFit Lean Cuts

403-945-1825 Visit for current schedule #201, 191 Edwards Way N.W., Airdrie winter 2011-2012 | 43











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Opening Summer 2011

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To Edmonton

This map is for thematic purposes only. This map may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means without written permission of the City of Airdrie. The City of Airdrie provides this information in good faith, but it provides no warranty, nor accepts any liability arising from any incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or its improper use.

© April 2010, City of Airdrie

44 | winter 2011-2012


To Calgary & International Airport

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Church School

Visitor Information Services/Shopping

Grocery Shopping

ATTRACTION 1 ! ( 2 ! ( 3 ( ! 4 ( ! 5 ( !


Bert Church Live Theatre Festival of Lights (December) Iron Horse Miniature Railway Park Nose Creek Valley Museum Rodeo Grounds

FACILITY 1 ( ! 2 ! ( 3 ! ( 4 ! ( 5 ! ( 6 ( ! 7 ( ! 8 ( ! 9 ( !

Airdrie Airport Airdrie Public Library Bethany Care Centre Cemetery City Hall Community Health Centre/Urgent Care R.C.M.P. R.V. Sewage Station

1 ( ! 2 ( ! 3 ( ! 4 ( ! 5 ( ! 6 ( ! 7 ( ! 8 ( ! 9 ( ! 10 ( ! 11 ! ( 12 ! ( 13 ! ( 14 ( !

BMX Track Chinook Winds Park Curling Club East Lake Park Fletcher Park Genesis Place Monklands Soccer Park Nose Creek Park Plainsmen Arena Skateboard Park Splash Park Spray Park Ron Ebbesen Arena Woodside Golf Course

Town & Country Centre

Edmonton 270 km

Airdrie ^

Travel the nICE way Alberta


30 km

m 145 k


Calgary International Airport




k 10


Calgary Downtown

US Border



With one-way trips only $5.00, the Airdrie Intercity Express is your most affordable option to downtown Calgary. ICE routes and schedules: • • 403.948.8875

(340 km) winter 2011-2012 | 45

Light up the night with your own

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We are offering, exclusively from BUGABOO Lights,


Call 403 283 7843 today for a complimentary estimate and to book your Christmas Light Set-up. Remember, WE LOVE LARGE TREES.

CALL 403.283.7843 AND BOOK TODAY BUGABOO Lights is Fully Insured, has WCB and practices Safety First at all times.

46 | winter 2011-2012

community life in the 50 West Meets East 52 Uniformity 60 Looking Ahead

For whatever floats your boat - Genesis has it in Bayside

Genesis Builders Group offers a fabulous line-up of masterfully crafted homes in Bayside. The maritime theme is captured by steep pitched roofs, front verandas and decorative trim. Choose from a wide selection of homes on lots ranging from corner, pie and walkouts with many of the lots accommodating docks. Surrounded on three sides by six kilometers of canals, enjoy ice skating in the winter and kayaking and canoeing in the summer.

Show Home:

2433 Bayside Circle SW Contact Anni Jansson: 403.980.3105

Also Building in:

Bayside in Airdrie

Sage Meadows | Saddlestone | EvansRidge

• • • • •

Show Home Hours: Mon - Thurs: 2 pm - 8 pm, Fri: By appointment only, Sat, Sun & Holidays: Noon - 5 pm

Great selection of floor plans Executive style bungalows and two storeys Side by Side bungalows and two storey 46 ft. and 48 ft. wide walkout lots available Private dock / private water access available

48 | winter 2011-2012

life in the community | column



THEY say.... In keeping with the magazine theme this issue, which focuses on how members of the community influence those around them, my thoughts turn to those who inspire others to stay on the straight and narrow – specifically, those who inspired me.

What will THEY think?

Growing up at a time when children should be “seen and not heard” I was expected to be on my best behaviour, especially in public. To keep me in line, I was introduced to THEM. I became aware of a transparent balloon something like a very large thought bubble floating above me wherever I went. THEY – stern, unsympathetic, faceless entities – resided inside the balloon and watched my every move. If I burped out loud or rolled my eyes or talked back to my par-

ents, I was admonished with, “What would THEY think?” If my hair was messy or my hem dragged or my shoes were scuffed and untied, what would THEY think? THEY saw my chewed fingernails and my sloppy ponytail. THEY heard me mutter under my breath and THEY knew if I forgot to say please or thank you. Even when I was alone, THEY were watching me. I suppose this inflicted paranoia, which was a technique used by many parents of that generation, was intended to turn out well-mannered, compliant children. And it worked. I would rather have eaten glass than brought shame to my folks by having THEM think that my mother and father had been insufficient parents. This balloon followed me into adolescence. If I stayed out late or arrived home in a really hot car or was seen in inappropriate places, what would THEY think? If my skirts were too short, my jeans too tight or my makeup too obvious, what would THEY think? By the time I reached high school, THEY were really getting on my nerves. I wondered who, exactly, THEY were and why THEY were so important. I rebelled as teenagers do and as far as I know, nothing terrible happened. My parents weren’t banished from the neighbourhood, no one painted red Xs on our door and there were no secretive phone calls informing Mom and Dad that I was up to no good. As an adult, I’ve been caught in a surreal dichotomy. The thing is, as much as I’ve come to realize there is no THEM, THEY are still with me. Even now THEY still haunt my moral and ethical decisions. “What would THEY think?” fleetingly slips through my consciousness and I can freely either let it go or not. The thing is, though, that balloon with THEM in it is still there. THEY are still keeping track of me. However, THEY now fall into the category of excess baggage, so thank you, whoever YOU are, for your guidance along the way, but honestly, I wouldn’t miss YOU if YOU disappeared. life winter 2011-2012 | 49

life in the community | compassion story by alex Frazer-harrison | Photo by Kristy reiMer

To Japan with Love Crossing an ocean to make a difference


he March 11, 2011, Japanese earthquake and tsunami changed the lives of thousands of people. It also affected the life of an Airdrie teen who decided to make a difference. For James Stone, philanthropy actually runs in the family. His father, Andy, runs Camp Freedom, a getaway for disabled youths; his grandfather, Jim, works with Habitat for Humanity in the Olds area. The younger Stone has had his share of giving, too. Inspired by a pamphlet he saw while accompanying his mother to a hair salon, he got involved in the MS Bike Tour, raising more than $10,000 over three years. Grade 12 came along and things changed. “I started the whole party lifestyle and … lost sight of who I was,” he says. But then came the March 11 earthquake off the coast of Sendai, Japan, which sparked a massive tsunami that wiped many homes and villages off the map. The Stones had a personal connection to the disaster. “A friend of my dad’s lived over there, and we hadn’t heard from him, so we were wondering if he’d made it through all right,” says Stone. “He finally got hold of us and said he was doing volunteering, and he wanted me to partake.” For the recent George McDougall grad, it was a chance of a lifetime. It took a while for the arrangements to come together: money had to be raised from family and friends for the trip, and James also took the prescient step of getting an international driver’s licence. “I thought it might be useful over there,” he says. By June, he was ready to go.

50 | winter 2011-2012

But arriving in Japan was like landing in a new world for the 19-year-old.“You go from your life having everything you know, and you get off the plane and you don’t know any Japanese and have to get 300 kilometres south of the airport,” says Stone. “It was hard to leave because of my friends, family … and then I started realizing, this was for the best and I was going to help others.” Stone went to work with the OGA for Aid organization on Japan’s east coast, centring around Sendai. “Our friend, Steve Whiteman, lives in the Sendai area … the epicentre was just off the coast and the most amount of damage was in this area, and James was living around all of this on a day-to-day basis,” says the young man’s father. “We didn’t know if he’d have a chance to use that international licence over there, but literally on the first day out, he’s the one delivering life sustenance to people who have nothing.”

James was recruited to drive supplies, such as water and food, along a 200-km stretch of coast. “You see people who are living in temporary housing, and it’s a good feeling to walk up to the door and hand them water,” he says.“Over here, we don’t show our gratefulness for the essentials. But there, they’ve lost everything and they’re thanking you for bringing them water.” James remembers an ice cream day they facilitated for the children. “You can’t forget the kids – we had 2,000 ice cream bars donated, and it was cool to see the kids happy again,” he says. It takes money to volunteer, to be able to pay for room and board. So James spent part of his three months in Japan doing contract work, helping to rebuild houses.“I made some money so I could go back and volunteer,” he says. James came back to Airdrie in September with memories to last a lifetime. “One man named Takahashi owned a bed-andbreakfast on the coast, right by the water, and his dad was sick and living in the house with him,” James recalls. “The tsunami came in and wiped out the house and the B & B, and his dad was put back in hospital. This man made it his goal, took out all his savings, to put up a house on the land his dad gave him, so if things went to worse, his dad would be on his land if he passed. “It hits a good spot in the heart – we’re giving [these] guys water, and [they’re] doing that,” he adds. James kept in touch with family and friends via Skype and Facebook, but was glad to be back in time to see his sister’s Grade 12 year. He’s been invited to speak about his experiences at a local school, and he’s already gearing up for his next MS Bike Tour next June. Andy says he’s seen a positive change in his son since he returned, and he hopes it serves as an example that teens have it in them to give back, whether locally or around the world. “He’s been back a week, and we see a sense of calm,” says Andy. “It’s like, ‘I’ll deal with what’s important today.’” life

winter 2011-2012 | 51

life in the community | in uniform

lieut. Jason leek

retired major Kim Greenizan

Over there story by alex Frazer-harrison Photos by serGei belsKi

Meet two Airdrie soldiers who represent all of Canada overseas 52 | winter 2011-2012


t’s a long way from Airdrie to a place where it gets so hot, thermometers melt. But Airdrionians are never afraid to step up when called to duty. Lieut. Jason Leek joined the Canadian Forces in 2005, fresh out of Army Cadets. Leek says being a soldier is in his blood. “My father was in the army, my grandfather, my greatgrandfather … as far back as we can find,” he says. Leek trained and was stationed across Canada, and in October 2009 began an eight-month posting in Afghanistan.“The infantry is the backbone of the army – we’re the ones who hold the ground and kick in the doors,” he says of his role as an infantry officer. Three days into Afghanistan, he had his first firefight in a Taliban stronghold. His training prepared him well, but it was still a reality check. “None of our guys got hurt,” Leek recalls. “I remember looking to my right afterwards … and seeing three new bullet holes in a post, around my head level. And I thought, OK – this is a little different than being back in Shilo, training!” Leek often met with villagers as part of the army’s effort to, he says, “win the hearts and minds” of the population. For example, he and his colleagues worked to convince a district governor to reduce corruption in his local government.“Then a month or two after I get back [to Canada], he gets blown up by the Taliban,” he says. Leek returned to Airdrie in May 2010 and is currently a platoon commander with the Calgary Highlanders, with 37 soldiers under his command.“What I enjoy the most is working with my soldiers,” he says. For most of 2008, Airdrie’s Kim Greenizan also served in Afghanistan, only his job was to help civilians rebuild after the battles had ended. Greenizan was 18 when he signed up in 1974, starting out in the navy and later moving to the army, and becoming a reservist in 1992. In the 1990s, Greenizan began working with CivilMilitary Co-operation (CIMIC) initiatives.“This was the interface between military and civilians, when they start to rebuild, and we try to accept some kind of responsibility to help them rebuild their own lives as civilians,” he says. “We’re there to reassure the locals – yes, we’re there for a purpose … but we’re also there to help then, rather than just damage stuff and run away.” Greenizan moved to Airdrie in 1993 and, from Calgary, trained reserve members headed to such places as Bosnia. In May 2008, he was deployed to Afghanistan as

chief of operations for CIMIC for Regional Command (South) under Maj.-Gen. Marc Lessard. “My job was co-ordination of the UN and different international and non-government organizations,” Greenizan says. “Say there was a village that needed assistance … we’d do the interface. We’d work on ‘Quick Implementation Projects (QIP).’ “[For example] we’d look at an area that’s really dry because they’re not getting any water because the canals were damaged,” he adds. “We’d do a QIP where we’ll clean out the canals and repair them, and we’d hire locals to work, giving some temporary economy.” “Knowledge-transfer” is a big part of CIMIC’s job, because once the troops and organizations leave, the people have to be able to fend for themselves, he says. After returning from Afghanistan in late 2008, Greenizan wrote a book about his experiences entitled Afghanistan: A Soldier’s View from the Ground Up. “Everyone kept asking me about the trip,” Greenizan says, adding that he wanted to shed more light on the reality of what comes after the fighting. “My intention was, here’s a little history of the tribal system, the people, what we’ve done right and what we’ve done wrong, and why,” Greenizan says. As with any career, there are pros and cons to being in the military.“If you join the military with the frame of mind [that] you’ll stay for a while, it can be phenomenal,” says Greenizan.“It does become a family … you’re with a group of people who are like-minded and rely on your expertise. If you put the same effort into that that you do in a normal job, you can excel.” Adds Leek: “It’s a physically demanding job: hard hours, long work days.” And that’s just the reserves training in Alberta. He also agrees it’s lonely at the top, especially in the field. “Being an officer ... you’re the one everyone looks to to make the decisions, to make the right choices, to bring all the boys home alive,” Leek says. Now retired from service, Greenizan works for a defence contractor in the area of regulatory compliance. He dedicated his book to the reserves’ CIMIC operators. As for Leek, although he’s undecided whether to stay on full-time or in the reserves, and is presently taking communications and majoring in political science at the University of Calgary, he wants to go back to Afghanistan. “I can see myself staying in the army till they kick me out … and I quietly step out the door,” he says. life winter 2011-2012 | 53

life in the community | young inspiration

Ten-year-old Stephen McPhee is an experienced advocate for the homeless

Stephen’s Story


t the tender age of 10, Airdrie’s Stephen McPhee has already spent several years helping those in need. He is the driving force behind Stephen’s Backpacks, a charitable organization created to help the homeless. His generosity and compassion have touched countless lives. He has been honoured with a Leaders of Tomorrow Award from Volunteer Calgary; he met with Canada’s Governor General, David Johnston; and he has even received a letter from Buckingham Palace, after Johnston sent to the Queen a copy of Dream Outloud, a book about Stephen’s Backpacks penned by his mother, Nancy McPhee. “Stephen has given homeless children a voice,” Nancy says. Yet even as he has been focusing on the needs of those less fortunate, Stephen has struggled with his own issues. Diagnosed in 2005 with atypical autism, or PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified), his journey has been a challenging one at times. But he has demonstrated that although his disorder could have proved crippling, his autism doesn’t define him, but is rather a small part of who he is.

54 | winter 2011-2012

Stephen became part of the McPhee family – Jim, Nancy and their son, David – at the age of 11 days (he became an ‘official’ McPhee at age three, when he was adopted by foster parents Nancy and Jim). By that time, Nancy knew that there was something wrong with the toddler, although she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. However, the autism diagnosis, along with the identification of some other medical concerns, allowed Stephen and his family to move ahead and Nancy credits early intervention – from doctors, teachers, and other experts and specialists in their fields – and welcoming preschool and school environments with her son’s high functioning. While not everything has come easily for Stephen, he loves school and he has been looking forward to getting into middle school and getting right into his best subjects. “I like math,” he says, adding that English is another favourite. Stephen’s namesake charity came about when, at the ripe old age of five, he overheard Jim and Nancy talking about a homeless man and asked them if there were also children on the street. When they said yes, his response

story by anne beaty Photo by Kristy reiMer

was unequivocal: “I need to help them.” His idea was to fill backpacks with all sorts of things a child might want and need and so Stephen’s Backpacks was born. That first year, Stephen and his family filled 15 backpacks, thanks to support from local businesses and individuals. “I thought it would just be a small little thing that we do every year,” he says. But the concept grew beyond all expectations, so that the next year the number of backpacks doubled. “And we never looked back,” Nancy says.“It’s just got an energy of its own.” In February 2008, Stephen’s Backpacks Society was formed, working with the Inn from the Cold program, and Nancy documented the family’s experiences in Dream Outloud (Stephen’s exact words when he said that he wanted to fill 150 backpacks). The national charity has evolved, adding other focuses: Footprints (which provides shoes for children in need), Project Hope and Project Education. Stephen continues to share his passion with the wider community and people in need.“Stephen never doubts it,” says his mother.“He has never lost the passion.” For Stephen, he would love to see an end to homelessness, a goal he believes is possible. “In the future, yes,” he says. Ultimately, her son’s dream for all children is simple, Nancy says. “All kids should have a home with grass to run on [and] their own bed and toys,” she says. While that may seem like a lofty goal, he has certainly made a huge start – since its inception, Stephen’s Backpacks has helped more than 12,000 children in need. “I think the sky’s the limit,” says Nancy. For now, Stephen is looking ahead with hope and he is pleased with how far his dream has come. And he encourages everyone to do their part to help. “You can donate stuff to [Stephen’s Backpacks] for the homeless,” he says. life

life in the community | friendly rivalry

On the Airdrie

GRIDIRON story and Photos by Carl Patzel

Chargers, ’Stangs go head to head

winter 2011-2012 | 55

life in the community | friendly rivalry

the George Mcdougall Mustangs celebrate their hard-fought win in the 2011 airdrie bowl


nything but tame, this adaptation of gridiron greatness contains all the expected adversaries, antagonists and head-to-head action encased in a long-standing high school rivalry. Playing for their version of the Grey Cup, the George McDougall Mustangs and Bert Church Chargers have been officially bashing helmets for eight seasons for a chance to earn the coveted Airdrie Bowl trophy. Separated by more than just the Queen Elizabeth II Highway, this royal rivalry has had decades to grab upcoming generations searching for the ultimate crown. On the local scene, it ranks right up there with the Calgary-Edmonton battle. And if you think it’s any less intense than the professional version, you’re highly mistaken. “It’s certainly a big game for [the players], but what makes it fun is they really know each other well. A lot of them know each other through bantam and the midget Raiders,” says 16-year veteran Chargers coach Andy Kirk. “They’ve grown up together basically with [bantam and midget] football so this is a chance to get the bragging rights for Airdrie. So the intensity level is definitely up there.” Since the Airdrie Bowl hardware was introduced in 2003, each squad

56 | winter 2011-2012

has endured some embarrassing blowouts on the white-lined turf. The blue-and-yellow-jerseyed Bert Church team earned the first three bowls, with the following four games being split between them and their cross-town adversaries. These modern-day gladiators are accustomed to fighting it out in the Tier 2 arena of the Rocky View Sports Association. They put on armour against teams from Chestermere and Springbank as well as two squads from Cochrane. But the Airdrie battle between familiar foes and former brothers-inarms is that much more ferocious. “Now that they’re across from each other it’s a little more intense and a little more heated,” says Mustangs coach Brent Legault.“No one wants to be on the losing end of the game, but unfortunately someone will be. “The players obviously get amped up for it every year,” Legault adds. “[The winners get] the bragging rights for the next year.” Regardless of past lopsided matches, the latest local battle went down in the record books as one of the most closely contested bouts since 2003. Several players, including the Mustangs’ slippery-speedster running back Josh Duazo, put on brilliant performances in a 22-20 George McDougall victory in the 2011 edition of the Airdrie Bowl. The seesaw battle, loaded with big plays, concluded with a de-

the tri-bowl?

fensive stand by the boys in black to give the visiting Mustangs a thrilling victory. Bragging rights are also displayed in the colour realm, as Bert Church uses a blue plaque for a win on the Airdrie Bowl trophy and George McDougall commemorates conquest with its jersey black. “There’s a little of colour connotation to it, too. It makes it exciting, because you see the colours change a little bit and we’re getting excited to see that happen,” Legault says of his Mustangs, who are working to tie the series. But flowing through the undercurrent of competition is always a mutual respect for the opponent. Each contest includes congratulatory pats on the helmets and shoulder pads of the opposition, as well as the ritual after-game handshake. As with life and competition, sporting lessons are offered on and off the field. “Our team focus is always [to] be a good citizen within the school first. Be a winner in life and then you can be a winner out on the field,” says Kirk, who has a bit of extra motivation to keep the Kirk family-owned trophy closer to home. “I always use that as a bit of motivation with our guys: Listen, my wife paid for that sucker and if she has to go over to McDougall to see it she won’t be happy,” says the coach. life

In the next couple of seasons, the long-time Airdrie football rivalry could grow even more intense, with another threat added to the competition arena. The booming city is set to welcome another Grade 9-12 high school in September 2015, setting up in the new community of Chinook Winds. This will affect all high school sports, but directly impact the Airdrie Bowl, which would have to expand from the head-to-head format. “That would be fantastic. We’ve noticed a big influx in Airdrie football in the last four or five years where the quality has gotten a lot better,” says George McDougall Mustangs head coach Brent Legault. “Everyone wants to see a good football game. If Airdrie was able to support four football teams you’re halfway to a league of your own.” Adding another team to the fold would not only change the Airdrie Bowl, possibly to a tournamenttype, multi-team format, but also result in a realignment in the Rocky View Sports Association. But don’t expect to see a fourth team competing on the local gridiron any time soon. St. Martin de Porres high school has no immediate plans to suit up a local squad. Those attending the CCSD (Calgary Catholic School District) school who wish to don football shoulder pads must select the option of playing for a local high school or go to Notre Dame high school in Calgary. Bert Church Chargers coach Andy Kirk doesn’t expect to see his squad line up against St. Martin any time in the future. “I don’t think they have the population for it. We get a lot of kids come to our school [who] want to play football. They come our way to stay in Airdrie,” says Kirk. “I think that’s one of the reasons [St. Martin] will struggle getting a team, because those kids aren’t willing to go to St. Martin’s school. “It’s unfortunate; it would be kind of fun,” he adds. Kirk will welcome another team into the football arena when the time comes, and he hopes to see the Airdrie Bowl grow in both scale and excitement to become one of Airdrie’s premier community sporting events each season. “It creates more excitement in the town and more chance for people to come out and watch Airdrie football,” he says. winter 2011-2012 | 57

life in the community | sports hero


ICEMAN story by anne beaty | Photos by Kurtis Kristianson


Dana Tyrell represents Airdrie on ice (and greens) 58 | winter 2011-2012


he life of a professional hockey player is certainly one of ups and downs. For Airdrie’s Dana Tyrell, his relatively new pro career has been an interesting one so far. Picked by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round (47th overall) of the 2007 NHL draft, Tyrell went from the Prince George Cougars to Tampa’s AHL affiliate team, the Norfolk, Va., Admirals. Then it was back to the Cougars again briefly and back to the Admirals before being called up to the Lightning last year, where he played the full season and even seven playoff games before being benched by a foot injury. Then came the beginning of the 2011-12 hockey season and, in early October, Tyrell headed back to Norfolk again. The decision by the Lightning did not have to do with Tyrell’s playing ability. Rather, it was all about business – the team needed to cut players to finalize its roster and Tyrell didn’t need waivers to be sent down.

The right-winger may be disappointed, but the move just provides more incentive, and Tyrell will continue honing and developing his skills and proving himself ready for the big leagues. And Tyrell may be called up again later this season – all the more reason to continue the hard work and effort he has already put toward his professional hockey career. “It’s tough to break into the NHL,” the 22-year-old says of his experience thus far. “There’s always players coming up trying to take [your place].”

Yet if he wasn’t playing hockey, what would he do? “Golf? I might take that up as a professional,” Tyrell says. Growing up in a family of six – parents Ray and Dawn, along with brother Corey and sisters Kaitlyn and Sarah (his twin) – Tyrell had no idea that he would be playing in the NHL one day. While he cheered for lots of teams, he had one all-time favourite. “I had my walls all [covered] with Toronto Maple Leafs,” he says. In skates almost before he could walk, he was playing hockey as soon as he could manoeuvre around a rink. He still remembers his first goal at age seven. “I fell into the net,” he says. (Tyrell’s first NHL goal came on Oct. 27, 2010, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He did not fall into the net.) Hockey took centre stage from the beginning, although it wasn’t until Tyrell actually headed to Tampa that it really sunk in that he was living his dream. “I knew I could make a career … and a life out of it then,” he says. “I love what I do,” he adds with a huge grin on his face. Adjusting to life with a professional team hasn’t always been easy. There’s the 80-plus game schedule. There’s the travelling, which means getting in late, then getting up early. There’s the constant training, both during the season and in the off-season. (Back in Airdrie last summer, Tyrell trained with boyhood friend and fellow AHLer Zach Boychuyk, who was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2008.) “We don’t get too many days off,” Tyrell says. And then there’s adjusting to playing in a hot, humid southern city surrounded by sea grass, hibiscus and mangrove trees (read ‘slushy ice’). Nonetheless, Tyrell has thoroughly enjoyed playing in Tampa, which he calls“paradise,” and Norfolk. And he has already got some practices down pat. Like a lot of sports professionals, he is somewhat superstitious, so on game days he always eats the same thing (fettuccine and chicken) and puts on his hockey gear in the same way. “I always get bugged about it,” he says. Tyrell may be back with the Admirals again, but he is living by good advice given him by Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman. “He told me to never take a back seat to anyone on the team,” Tyrell says, adding that his favourite player, veteran Lightning teammate Marty St. Louis, reiterated that advice, telling him that he belongs in the big leagues and to never think any differently. “I’ve got a lot of work to do,” he adds. No matter what happens in the future, though, Airdrie will always be home, filled with his loving and supportive family and friends. And should Tyrell become a huge hockey (or golf ) megastar and a household name around the globe, he always has his twin sister to remind him of just exactly where he stands in life. “She still bugs me because she’s a minute older than me,” Tyrell laughs. life winter 2011-2012 | 59

life in the community | rural roots

Heart of the Community Airdrie’s rural beginnings create a legacy for the future


story by alex Frazer-harrison | Photo by serGei belsKi

hen you think “rural roots,” no organization in Airdrie walks the talk more than the Airdrie and District Agricultural Society. Since it was founded in 1974, the society has spearheaded development of major recreation and community projects, while promoting and supporting agriculture. “The ag society was formed to build the Plainsmen Arena,” president Brenda Moon says, adding that the society helped build the Plainsmen, as well as the twin arenas now called the Ron Ebbeson Arena.“Our history is really about community-building.” Over the years, the society has supported 4-H, organized the Airdrie and District Fall Fair in August and hosted City Slickers, a program aimed at giving inner-city youngsters a taste of life in rural Alberta. It also supports such initiatives as the Farm Women-Decision with Vision

60 | winter 2011-2012

conference, steer and heifer shows and the junior rodeo at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo, as well as sponsoring the ranch hand competition last July. Now, the ag society has embarked on its most ambitious project yet – the $35-million, 150-acre Airdrie and District Agriculture and Recreational Park. When completed over several phases, the park, located two miles west of the city, will include an agriculture/barn complex, an RV park, a rodeo arena, a commercial area for potential agri-business, wetlands and even a nine-acre “heritage farm.” “What sparked my interest was the proposed project,” says board member John Lee, a local rancher who operates Chico Ranches and specializes in black Angus beef cattle. “I’ve been involved in agriculture one way or another all my life, and I see that agriculture really is losing some of its people – they just don’t think about agriculture the same way; they don’t have the understand-

Members of the Airdrie and District Agricultural Society truly walk the talk when it comes to community-building in all its various forms

ing of agriculture,” Lee says.“I believe the Airdrie ag society can play the role of really bringing back and heightening that awareness of agriculture and the importance of the ag industry.” Indeed, Moon says, the role of the proposed park will be as much about promoting education about agriculture as it is about hosting events, sales and a top-of-the-line RV park. “We believe agriculture is essential – it’s what helped us become who we are,” she says. “Is it important to keep agriculture front and centre? Well, it’s kind of important to eat!” Moon says the society’s volunteer membership has doubled in the past year to some 80 members. Former Calgary-Glenmore MLA Dianne Nielsen brings her skills to bear as the society’s fundraising chairperson. “I’m a total urbanite, so I’ve been learning a lot about agriculture,”

Nielsen says, noting how Moon recruited her into the society. As for the facility: “We’re at the phase now where we’re planning the capital campaign launch. We hired a consultant to help with a feasibility study to see if there was the appetite in the local community … support for a project such as this. He came back and said support was probably 80 per cent.” Now, she adds, the society is trying to raise enough money to open a Main Street office “so we can display what this particular piece of land will look like.” The long-term economic impact is estimated at $1.1 million in tax revenue for Rocky View County and the City of Airdrie, $3 million in income and $1.5 million in wages and salaries, above and beyond the 268 person-years of employment, $18.5 million in wages and nearly $12 million in taxes generated by construction. A capital campaign was slated to launch in the fall, Moon says, adding that although the project has support from both the City and County, some funding sources have dried up due to changing economics. “Right now, because of the current economic conditions, our funding is a little slower than we expected it to be,” she says. But, she adds, the delays have allowed the ag society and its consultants to fine-tune their plans, in terms of both land use and business, identifying priorities. For example, a racetrack originally planned was dropped, as sustainability became a mantra for the project. The project has to be able to sustain itself and help generate revenue for further development. That’s why, says Moon, the first phase of construction will include the RV park, along with an indoor ag/barn facility available to host events. “Everything in that ag building will be associated with agriculture,” adds Nielsen. “And we also want to be innovative with sustainability initiatives – the site has a wetland; we want to have a wind turbine; and over 10 acres we’ll be putting in samples of crops and shelterbelt and have a natural walking path, so it can be educational.” The funding delay has even had a positive side.“It allowed us to hone our process, do our due diligence and make sure we have our ducks in a row and be first in line when the purse strings get loosened,” Moon says, adding that it also allowed the society time to address infrastructure issues with the County and City. And when the facility opens, Moon hopes it’s a reflection of the ag society’s dream: “Our vision is rural and urban communities, growing healthy together. We want a place where people can come together – a gathering place.” life For more information on the Airdrie and District Agricultural Society, including upcoming events and fundraisers, or to volunteer, visit or call 403-948-2290.

winter 2011-2012 | 61

life in the community | column



Defining Heroes W

hat defines a great community? I bet if a hundred citizens were gathered to ponder this question a hundred ideas would emerge. People would speak of their neighbourhoods, their sports interests, their church groups; schools would pop up. There would be discussion around amenities, such as shopping, recreation facilities, clean and safe streets. Perhaps sooner or later the discussion would move to people. Great neighbours can sure define a great community. Volunteers make community events (ARTember!) come together. They ensure that kids can play their favourite league sport and that field trips can happen at local schools. I think the real essence of community rests with our local heroes. Heroes often come in the shape of a police officer, a firefighter or a paramedic. Certainly, we can look to Sept. 11, 2001, and recognize heroism at its most intense. People take jobs that put them in harm’s way every day so that the community has peace and safety. Look at our soldiers in such places as Afghanistan. They surely are heroes to many Afghans, who recognize that their own peace may come at the hands of our dedicated Canadian men and women who leave something of themselves behind in Afghanistan. Some become heroes because they put a special cause above themselves. I clearly remember in 1980 standing outside of the Dairy Queen in Dartmouth, N.S., and seeing a young man run by with a few people close behind him. What was extraordinary was the fact that he had a prosthetic leg. I thought it was a road race and assumed this amputee was winning. That night I discovered Terry Fox when I watched the news. Seven years later we watched Rick Hansen wheel around the world. Here were two men who gave so much of themselves for causes they believed in. In Airdrie we have had our share of local heroes. Jonathan Dockman and Tim Harriman are two fine men who come to mind. In 2003 John ran across Canada to raise awareness and money for cancer. Four years later Tim biked across Canada with the same mission for childhood cancer. Two young men – two local heroes. Is heroism always about the extraordinary? There are people in Airdrie I consider some of our many unsung heroes. These are folks who quietly go about the business of building community, with little fanfare but great personal satisfaction. If they were singled out they would flatly deny they do anything special. But they are special. They have the capacity to bring community together to get a job done or they are the quiet background support person at all our community functions. I think everyone can put a name to the descriptions above. In my eyes, Jodi Matsuba-Sucz (founder of the Mayor’s Run and Airdrie Aces Athletics Club) and Ron Simons (if there is sound at an event it is probably Ron behind the scenes) are just two of hundreds of people in this community who define ‘community.’ Their names may not be known to you, which is my point. Heroes are a quiet lot. They don’t know they are heroes, but we do. THANKS! life

62 | winter 2011-2012

home life at 66 Fertile Ground 68 Light-Hearted 70 Happy Holidays

life at home | real estate

Market Analysis How the housing market has fared year-to-date

story by alex Frazer-harrison

Although Alberta as a whole continues to buck the economic is one of the drivers of Airdrie’s real estate market these days, she says. And for those looking for older homes, she believes that it’s a buyer’s

trends of other parts of Canada, it was still a quiet summer for market. “If they wait too long, they will miss a good market and wish they’d bought earlier,” she says. “There are a lot of good signs out there the Airdrie real estate market, say local realtors. “The really odd thing is there’s so much optimism out there – there’s still positive migration in Alberta, and the province has created 80,000 new jobs so far this year, yet so far Calgary [and area] is the only major market with pricing down year-to-date,” says Matt Carre, realtor with the Tennant Carre Group with Re/Max Rocky View.“We have a strong economy, yet we’re not seeing a real pickup in the number of sales. Yearto-date, we’re 10 less than last year.” Bonnie Wegerich of Century 21 Castlewood Agencies adds:“It’s kind of a bizarre market this year … all the signs for buying are positive. It seems in the fall we were expected to pick up a bit, and it hasn’t happened yet. But that could change tomorrow.” Wegerich considers the quiet summer “an anomaly,” given Airdrie’s continued economic growth and the continued development of new communities such as Hillcrest and Windsong on Airdrie’s south side. Demand for new, rather than preowned, homes among young buyers

64 | winter 2011-2012

for everybody.” Carre agrees this is “a fantastic time to buy,” given continued low interest rates and no guarantee that situation will last forever. “First-time home buyers are still driving the market because of affordability,” he says. “They don’t have to worry about payout penalties … they don’t have those burdens. But higher-end stuff is taking its time to sell … anything over $450,000 is taking a bit longer.” However, Airdrie as a whole continues to be seen as a more affordable alternative to Calgary. Carre says that as of September the average price for a single-family home in Airdrie was $359,000, compared to $468,000 in Calgary.“I’d be willing to drive the Deerfoot for $109,000,” he says. Looking ahead, both Wegerich and Carre expect this ‘blip’ to work itself out. Continued development not only in this city, but in Balzac and north Calgary, will continue to drive interest in Airdrie real estate, Carre says. life

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life at home | words into action


hen the seeds of an idea are planted in fertile soil, eventually something fine grows. Such was the case with Linda Ray in 1997 as she pondered her mortgage payments during an economic downturn. Ray read about a woman in India who was scraping together funds to keep her home, and it struck her then that although worlds apart, she could relate – the problem of affordable housing was universal. Fast forward to 2006, when Ray and son Kevin spent two weeks in Mexico building an orphanage in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse. Once again she thought, “There are still people in my own backyard [who] don’t have affordable housing.”

building lives

Habitat for Humanity breaks ground in airdrie

laurence and linda ray have seen their habitat for humanity dream come to fruition in airdrie

66 | winter 2011-2012

story by ellen Kelly Photo by aaron holMes

Then, in 2008, a bible study group at Faith Community Baptist Church, which included Linda and husband Laurence, was discussing social justice. “We decided that we wanted to make a difference and put words into action,” says Linda. “Affordable housing kept coming up.” “We needed to decide how this could work in the community and the group (Airdrie Faith Build) was formed,” Laurence adds. This group, led by the Rays, approached Habitat for Humanity about working together. The Airdrie project is overseen by the Calgary office, which supervises each build and selects the recipient families. Airdrie Faith Build is still involved, but the original group of five or six has morphed – Linda boasts an e-mail list of 135 people who are willing to help, as well as phenomenal support from Genesis Land Development, the City of Airdrie and many businesses and services in the community. “Everything we’ve raised in Airdrie stays in Airdrie,” says Linda. “Every penny is going toward the new build.” Money is raised annually through the Diamonds and Denim Fundraising Gala, organized by the Rays and held each fall, and four golf tournaments, organized by Canada Merchant and Savings Directory. Airdrie’s Habitat homes are currently under construction, after ground was broken Oct. 6 on Baywater Crescent SW. The homes meet all community standards. “It’ll look like every other home on the block,” says Linda, “but on the inside they’ll be modest, green and efficient.” High points of the journey include the affirmation by city council that there is a place for affordable housing in Airdrie; working with Genesis Land Development; the fantastic support of the volunteers; and, of course, the groundbreaking. The Rays will continue to fundraise and work toward more affordable homes in the community.“If the developers can follow Genesis’s lead and look at a piece of property in every brand new development and make it affordable, then I think Habitat will be here for a while,” says Linda. life

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life at home | exteriors

These guys really know how to light up a neighbourhood

Holiday Heroes story by sherry shaW-FroGGatt Photos by serGei belsKi

They work in the worst conditions: wind, snow, freezing temperatures and steep, slippery slopes. Yes, they are your local exterior Christmas lights installers. And for the entire dark month of December they are the, ahem, light of my life. For years I have begged my husband to be more creative with the lights but, alas, he does not find rooftops very appealing. When we moved to a corner lot with lots of steep, interesting roof angles I knew Scott was dreading the “So honey what do you think we should do with lighting for the holidays?” question. Enter Patrick Giles of Bugaboo Christmas Lights. In one day he and an equally brave helper transformed our house into a glowing gingerbread castle complete with a mini forest of lit trees (borrowed from the City – don’t worry, he didn’t move them, he lit them!) For anyone with no time, and no desire to climb on a roof in -20 C weather, the Bugaboo boys are real heroes. At our house, Patrick will come back in January, remove the lights and take them away. (Although he will install your own lights, if you prefer, rather than supply them, it’s worth noting the best part for us has been less stuff in the garage!) life

68 | winter 2011-2012

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life at home | holiday decor

“I admit it, I am a Martha Stewart wannabe at Christmas,” says airdrielife publisher Sherry Shaw-Froggatt. “Last year I went a little overboard – with three trees – because I had the space!” Mind you one of the spaces required Shaw-Froggatt climb a ladder and balance precariously on a ledge to place a six-foot tree in a window alcove eight feet off the ground, just so the lights could be seen from the street.

A Very Froggy Christmas airdrielife publisher invites readers into her home to share her love of the holidays and her favourite Christmas décor

I have a home office with bright red walls and when I found this line of ornaments I knew I had to have a little tree in there to showcase these whimsical creatures. They make me giggle every time I walk by them.

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I love a beautiful table setting – it just makes the whole meal even more special. And I love gold as an elegant yet traditional touch. I also enjoy taking things and using them out of context, like putting tree ornaments on the table or placing them like Easter eggs all over the house.

My No. 1 tree and most prominent in the house is the seven-foot one placed by the fireplace in the great room where it can be seen from any angle. It’s where the most cherished ornaments are placed: ones we have collected for 20 years in our travels; ones with special meaning. The most treasured ones are those made by my daughters. Frogs are a recurring theme in the house (the last name is the tipoff) but at Christmas, Santas reign supreme. My mother-in-law started giving me one a year when we first married, so I have a lot.

My mom has made me beautiful holiday quilts and inspired me to try a few – I love the homey feel they provide in a room. winter 2011-2012 | 71

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life at home | showhomes

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life at home | interior design


Don’t fall back on




-2 Pantone 18 Honeysuckle

Finally, it’s out with the autumn orange and in with the holiday honeysuckle! You don’t need to ‘fall’ back on orange anymore to warm up your home this winter. Spring forward with the hottest new colour for 2011 – honeysuckle, a reddish pink/coral hue chosen by Pantone Color Institute for its vibrancy. All you need is a small sampling to add a breath of fresh air and excitement to any room. So, what other trends can you incorporate to make your home a reflection of your unique personality? here they are, in no particular order: retro The 1960s-based television show Mad Men and our current economy have given us a chance to reflect on our childhood memories and feelings of nostalgia. You can achieve this whimsical look inexpensively by taking the time to go to auctions or resale stores where you can find an original piece of retro treasure. With a bit of paint and/or elbow grease, you can make it your own. Furniture haCKinG Have you ever painted or recovered a dining chair? Well, furniture hackers take it one step further and actually change the chair into a coffee table! By definition, furniture and accessory hacking is the artistic alteration of one or more pieces of furniture and

repurposing them into something completely different. This takes recycling to the extreme. Global VillaGe The Internet can be a fantastic resource for images of the ways different cultures decorate their homes. Popular regions or countries from where we can take design inspiration include: • Africa – tribal and ethnic fabrics in rich colours; • Central America – folk art patterns in wall art and prints; • Europe – woven blankets and tapestries on the sofa and the wall, tweeds and chunky weaves on pillows; • Indonesia – baskets to hold everything from mittens to towels; • North America – furniture and fabrics embellished with appliqués; and • Northern Europe – linens and velvets as drapery. Creative and inexpensive ways to decorate will be in style for many years to come. It is up to you to choose the decorating road that resonates most closely with your lifestyle and culture. Have fun and stay warm! Tina McMillan, CID (a.k.a. The Decorating Diva), is a local interior designer who has called Airdrie home for the past six years. winter 2011-2012 | 77

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work life at 84 Special Successes 88 Picture Perfect 90 Business Etiquette

life at work | economic development

Business Satisfaction

story by Alex Frazer-Harrison


ince 2009, the City of Airdrie’s economic development team has been talking to owners of local businesses, large and small, about what they need and want in terms of municipal support. The next step is to take all this information and put it together into a strategic plan for business development. “Over the last number of years, we’ve been doing a lot of research with the business community – the business satisfaction survey, community cafés and our business visitation program,” says economic development team leader Kent Rupert. “We got a lot of information, recommendations and suggestions. So what we’re doing is building a strategy around business development … to meet their needs,” Rupert adds. Having collected feedback from more than 750 businesses (out of the approximately 1,600 licensed in Airdrie), “we’re now in the process of pulling together [10 to 12] business leaders and owners to help us sift through the challenges and opportunities that have been identified,” says Leona Esau, City economic development officer. “This will help us really focus the programs and services we offer to the local business community … those with the most value added.” Esau says that forming this advisory group is important because, while the economic development team generates many ideas for devel-

80 | winter 2011-2012

oping and nurturing Airdrie’s growing business community, “we’re not business owners – we facilitate, connect people and provide information.” As such, she says, it’s important to hear from the people who run the shops and the services that benefit directly from such initiatives as the Think Airdrie awareness campaign. “A lot of people are talking about Airdrie being business-friendly – we have to take that into account, with the business satisfaction survey coming in at 89 per cent,” says Rupert.“But we also have to look at the 11 per cent who don’t think we’re business-friendly, and so how can we become more business-friendly? If you’re not improving, you’re standing still.” To date, information gathered has included feedback on infrastructure and suggested upgrades. For example, Rupert says, there’s been talk about enhancing downtown and East Lake – Airdrie’s older industrial area. Concern over competition from the CrossIron Mills mall has been heard. There’s also been feedback received about such topics as permitting and licensing processes at the City. Esau says that after meeting with the new advisory committee this fall, the team hopes to be able to take the new strategy to city council in early 2012. “Some projects we’ll be able to implement right away, while some may take a year or two if [they affect] capital budgets,” adds Rupert. life

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life at work | lifesavers

day in the liFe 82 2011-2012 82 airdrie airdrielife. com || winter winter 2011-2012

Photographer Sergei Belski spends the day with paramedics Rob Bryden (left) and Steve Scott

winter 2011-2012 || winter 2011-2012

airdrie airdrielife. com 83 83

life at work | careers Joan Clarke and her team devote their careers to improving the lives of students in need

Clarke’s Compassion A

story by ellen Kelly Photo by Kristy reiMer

t George McDougall High School, where students in Grades 9-12 hurry between classes, a very special room houses an oasis of what assistant Pam Audette describes as “absolute organized confusion.” During their school day, 30 students with diverse abilities and individual needs call this classroom home base. Under the supervision of teacher Joan Clarke, many attend regular classes, sometimes with an assistant as the need dictates, while 13 life skills students spend their time on projects suited to their abilities in the classroom, in the school and in the community. The class schedule, a.k.a. the magic board, is an organizational masterpiece.“One student may be collecting pop bottles while another is going to Grade 12 English and there’s everyone in between. Everyone has a place on the board,” says Audette, who works mainly with the Grade 11-12 students. The schedule has been personally developed to fit everyone’s individual requirements by Clarke, who has been working with students with special needs in Airdrie for the past 23 years. Her program is unique because of the students she teaches, the program she has developed throughout her career, her uncanny sense of placing the students in the right situations with the right supports in place and her devotion to ‘her kids.’ At one time, most students with special needs were taught a modified program but several years ago, with cuts to the education budget and the qualifications for AISH (Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped) made more stringent, Clarke realized many of her higher-level students would no longer qualify for government help once they were finished school. She worried that

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they would have limited opportunities as adults. “The kids have to be able to go out in the world, so the whole program started to evolve,” says Clarke. “We tried to reach whatever their success level could be.” She began placing students in core classes with an assistant, supplemented by a block of time for tutoring. The extra time on each subject helped prepare them for the next class, and having exams read and learning test-writing strategies helped them achieve their goals. Students who many thought would never graduate were able to earn their high school diplomas. Work experience has also been a major component and contributes to the success of the program. Clarke notes that at first the employers were leery, but when they realized the students would be placed in a job they could succeed at and would be supervised, they became willing partners.“We look at the potential of each student and we don’t let them give up,” she says. A strong work ethic is crucial and develops as the students practise determination and perseverance. Clarke and her assistants lay the groundwork so students become more confident as they experience success. “Work experience is a gradual process,” says Virginia Taumoli, who has worked withClarke for the past 10 years. “We start off (in Grade 9) with a little bit of time and after four years they’re able to be out in the workforce.” Former students work in retail, childcare, data entry, maintenance, welding and mechanics. Some have gone to SAIT and many have gone to Olds College or Mount Royal to attend the transitional vocational program.

Clarke’s unwavering belief in her students’ abilities comes from her own upbringing. She was born when her mother had polio so “we learned how to walk together,” she says. Her mother’s influence has been a gift to her students as they’ve learned to cope with their own unique differences. “My mom’s philosophy was that it doesn’t matter how you do something as long as it gets done in the end,” Clarke says.“I remember her saying that it doesn’t matter how you wash dishes as long as they get in the cupboard and they’re all clean. You do what you need to do in order to achieve.” In a job where many teachers burn out after a few years, Clarke says that it’s the students who keep her going. “I honestly love my job,” she says. She also credits the success of her program to the support of her administration and the volunteer students who help in her classroom, but most of all to the great relationship she has with her team of assistants, which include Audette, who has been with Clarke for 15 years, Taumoli, Sharon Musto and Scarlett Yakiwchuk. Clarke has absolute confidence in her diverse workmates – Audette and Taumoli agree that Clarke’s receptiveness to their suggestions and ideas make their jobs a pleasure – and feels that everyone has a different approach to teaching the same thing. “You never know which approach will work and make the light bulb go on. We sit down together and do a lot of brainstorming and come up with wonderful ideas,” she says.“We have to be a team, respect each other and realize we’re all working for the same thing and that’s the kids.” Outside the classroom, the team has become fast friends. “We know each other’s families and everyone chips in to help with problems and successes,” says Audette. Whether it is selling Taber corn, grown by Clarke’s sister, from the back of a truck or sharing an impromptu movie night and a glass of wine, the ladies enjoy each other’s company. And that group dynamic has proven a win-win situation for both students and the team. life






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winter 2011-2012 | 85

life at work | wheeler dealer

Knight in shining steel andy Vermeer rescues motorists for a living


ike a character out of Arthurian legend, Andy Vermeer arrives just in time to save the damsel in distress, or in this case a damsel in the ditch. A modern-day hero on wheels, the 12-year tow truck driving veteran uses a steed of steel to rescue the automobilestranded public. “You are the knight in shining armour when you show up on the highway for somebody with a dead car,” says the co-owner of Airdrie Towing & Recovery who runs the show with business partner Dion Baroldi. Vermeer stumbled into the profession like many searching for gainful employment, but was immediately attracted to the noble profession. “Believe it or not I was looking for a job, saw an ad and went, ‘I don’t mind helping people, maybe I should do that,’” he says. In his career Vermeer has dealt with plenty of fire-breathing dragons in the guise of overheated vehicles, and every kind of situation from

86 | winter 2011-2012

story and Photo by Carl Patzel

boosting a dead battery to dealing with extreme crash scenes. Reactions from stranded motorists can vary for the practiced rescue driver, usually dependent on the time it takes to reach a stressed and marooned car owner. “I had many a kiss from a woman who was stranded on the side of the road. They are happy to see me,” says Vermeer. “But it’s mixed,” he adds.“Sometimes it’s,‘Why did it take you so long?’ because everyone’s in a hurry these days.” As with many occupations, towing has just as many risks as rewards. Separated by a major highway, Airdrie offers unique challenges when it comes to dealing with day-to-day traffic. “On Highway 2 when you’re stopped, it’s a nasty thing. People are going by at 120-130 kilometres an hour – it’s really scary,” Vermeer says, adding that he’s had several close calls himself on the busy section of roadway.

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“Years ago I had a gentleman go by me and [take] the mirror off my truck, just seconds after I was standing there. I actually leaped over my truck to get out of the way,” he says. Although a boost for business – usually triple the company’s output from the summer months – the winter season offers more challenges and dangers. Being prepared for the sometimes freezing, and quickchanging, Alberta winter conditions comes as second nature for Vermeer and his crew of four drivers. “When it’s really hot it’s no fun either, but when it’s 40 below and you’re trying to do a tire change on the highway it’s not fun,” he says. “Any time we’re on the highway we’re nervous. [In winter] it gets even worse. Then we literally put our lives in our hands every time we go out.” In the grips of a severe blizzard, like those southern Alberta has witnessed over the past few winters, the city’s vehicular community can come to a standstill on the snow-covered side streets and treacherous, icecovered Highway 2. Driving peril rises with the blowing snow, lack of visibility and motorists not heeding the slippery conditions. “If you get a snowstorm we could be towing 24 hours a day for three or four days,” Vermeer says.“Most of the winter [crashes] are caused because of speed, driving too fast for the conditions.” But, he adds, the most intense crashes come during the non-winter months when road conditions aren’t a factor. On call with the RCMP, the flashing lights of an Airdrie Towing & Recovery vehicle can be regularly seen at crash scenes alongside fire and rescue personnel. Vermeer says he and his colleagues deal with the strange and weird on a regular basis and even have to cope with violent crash scenes they’d rather not remember. “You sometimes get involved with a couple of things that you would rather not,” he says. The extremes aside, hooking onto new and interesting people from all walks of life is the appealing aspect of the job, says Vermeer. Some are grateful, while others are frazzled. For many drivers, easing that stressful situation is worthy of a knighthood for the rescue squad. “Nobody thinks about a tow truck until they actually need one. We will pick you up and take you anywhere you want, as long as you pay us,” Vermeer adds with a chuckle. life

COUNTRY HILLS BLVD. NE Contact: Neil Donnelly P: 403.980.8510 E:

winter 2011-2012 | 87

life at work | wild and woolly

Stone Path Gallery

story and Photo by Carl Patzel


hile trekking through a tranquil natural wonderland and encountering a 350-kilogram grizzly bear sheltering her cubs, creativity may not be one’s first thought. Flight would probably be a better option for the average hiker during a faceto-face meeting with the handsome, yet ferocious, predator. But in seeking out this dodgy scenario, the first consideration for wildlife photographer Ken Hoehn is the quality of light. As with many chosen occupations that require a spark of creativity and imagination, Hoehn relies on years of experience as well as timing, lighting and a little bit of luck to capture breathtaking imagery. “As a wildlife photographer, it’s a competitive field; my work has to be artistic,” Hoehn says from the Stone Path Gallery located in the basement of his Airdrie home. “The challenge and thing I find most gratifying is simply that idea of working with moving wild sub-

88 | winter 2011-2012

Photographer Ken Hoehn travels the world for his work but brings it all home with him

jects, and being able to come out with something that is a little bit artistic.” Growing up in Saskatchewan farm country, where he gained an appreciation for watching wildlife, Hoehn has spent most of his adult life tracking untamed creatures through their natural habitat. The naturalist’s gallery presents photographs of moose, wolves, elk, big horn sheep, ducks and songbirds, and an impressive collection of bald eagle images. The well-respected, sharp-toothed and long-clawed grizzly also plays a prominent role. In his image Grizzly Mother’s Day 1962, Hoehn put himself just yards from mother and cubs, a dangerous situation even for the most experienced adventurer. “This photograph required that I would have the camera low and that I was close,” says Hoehn.“That is an experience thing. I’ve been working with bears for 14 years. I certainly wouldn’t advise anybody to try [this]. “That is one of the risks of my art; that’s part of that commitment,” he adds.“I could run across a bear in a bad mood, but I think I’m

very good at judging that, at least until something bad happens. Then people will look at me and say, ‘That guy was a fool.’” For now, most call Hoehn an artist, who happens to have sold more than 1,000 copies of his book Time, Light and Luck … the stories of a wanderer. Calling Airdrie home since 1997, the photographer spends a huge amount of his time tracking down subjects from Alaska, the Amazon jungle, northern B.C. and Alberta, where 60 per cent of his photographs are taken. Hoehn is thoroughly committed to the painstaking process and persistence needed to be a wildlife photographer. “The process is to try and have the picture in your mind before you ever leave the house. We’re talking about apex moments. You’re trying to catch that precise moment that you’ve imagined and dreamed of,” says Hoehn, who also takes a mystical approach to his art. “In the book I say I become a bear, a tree, a wolf. I try to think like the wild creatures so that I can anticipate their movements.” life

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GenesisBuildersGroup.comwinter 2011-2012 | 89

life at work | doing good

Global Pet Foods’ rose Plett and James Froese continue to be part of the community above and beyond their business

Work Ethics story by alex Frazer-harrison | Photos by serGei belsKi

These Airdrie businesses understand that success also comes from their community involvement

Airdrie’s business community is about more than simply selling goods and services. Many businesses go the extra mile to support the local community, whether by sponsoring, donating, volunteering or thinking outside the box. Here are three examples.

eaton CorPoration Big things are growing at Eaton Corporation. As in potatoes, carrots, tomatoes – all destined for Airdrie Food Bank. It started three summers ago when account manager Linda Churchman organized a group of employees to build a 48-by-72-foot garden on an unused piece of ground behind the Eaton plant on East Lake Boulevard. Volunteers poured concrete, hammered in wooden posts and placed the topsoil as the garden took shape. Soon, seeds were in the

90 | winter 2011-2012

ground, with a mix of root and salad veggies destined for families in need. “Part of Eaton’s philosophy is we always want to give back to the community,” says Churchman. “In fact, we have a program here where we ask all our employees to do a minimum of four hours of community service work [per year], for which we’ll give them time off work; and then we ask them to match it on their own time.” The Airdrie plant is part of Eaton’s electrical division, manufacturing motor control centres for buildings; a second location in Calgary, under the same umbrella, makes fire pump controllers. There are about 175 employees between the two plants, and Churchman says many of them are active in community service. For example, a group braved rainy weather to take part in the Heart & Stroke Big Bike ride, while a cohort two-dozen strong goes out each year for Run for the Cure in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Ea-

ton also supports the breakfast program at R.J. Hawkey Elementary School. The garden has wrapped up its third year, although weather made it a challenge to get it up to full steam. “The first year, the garden came up and it was awesome,” says Churchman. “Then Aug. 1 – hailstorm, though we still got a lot of produce. Last year … it started raining, and we didn’t get in to plant until the third week of June. This year, we planted before the May long weekend, but it rained the month of June.” Mother Nature’s shenanigans didn’t stop dozens of Eaton employees from coming out each day to help weed and harvest, and Eaton was able to donate healthy produce for the food bank to use to augment its hampers. Next year, Churchman says, plans call for the garden to be relocated to another part of the property. “I’ve yet to buy one packet of seeds – I put a table up at the front this year and I have enough donated seed to do next year’s garden,” she says.

GLOBAL PET FOODS After working the oil patch as an environmental consultant, James Froese decided to leave all that behind. But you could say he’s still working with precious natural resources – just of the fourlegged variety. “I was looking for a change, so [one] morning I woke up and said, ‘I’m going to open a pet store,’” says Froese, who opened an independent franchise of Global Pet Foods on Main Street in 2007, and recently started a second shop in Kingsview Market. When they aren’t selling pet food for critters ranging from dogs to lizards, Froese and his wife, Rose Plett, are figuring out ways to give back to the community. For example, Froese saw a need to ensure pet owners using Airdrie’s pathway system had easy access to bags to pick up Fido’s droppings.“I spoke to the City’s park’s department, and they said sure,” he says.“There were a lot of pathways, a lot of people walking dogs, but not a lot of receptacles if someone forgot a bag – or you run out and your dog has a bad day, now what? It was about keeping the pathways a bit cleaner.” Froese arranged to have receptacles and bags set up along the pathways. The City has since taken over the program, although Global still provides the bags. The store also supported the Airdrie and District Humane Society’s Dog Day Afternoon event by supplying some 500 portable doggy bag dispensers. Global Pet Foods has also hosted several ‘adopt-a-thons’ for local animal rescue groups. “We provide a venue, a space where they can set up for a few hours, and people can come in and look at the pets, make arrangements for future interviews, whatever the process is for that particular organization,” says Froese. Groups hosted have included Little Mutts Rescue, Tails to Tell Animal Rescue Shelter of Crossfield and OopsaDazy. The shop also sponsored the municipality’s first Doggie Doo Day last May, which saw Airdrionians come out to clean up off-leash areas along Highway 2. And last spring, Froese put aside a percentage of one week’s sales to donate to Red Cross relief efforts after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

“We are not just in this for the business – we want to be part of the community,” says Plett. “The community is important to us.” ROCKYVIEW INSURANCE SERVICES The idea of an insurance agency supporting its community through sponsorships and programs sounds like a natural thing, and Michael and Kimberley Acheson of Rockyview Insurance Services would agree. Since opening as Airdrie representatives of The Co-operators in June 2003, the Achesons and their staff try to support several events every year, including events aimed at promoting bike and child car seat safety and healthy choices for teens, and such community gettogethers as the Festival of Lights. “The Co-operators’ slogan is, ‘A better place for you,’ and a lot of the support they give is about making communities safer and better places – it is a natural fit,” says Michael. For example, for five years Rockyview hosted the Buckle Up Bears car seat safety program. Besides providing valuable information to parents, staff members underwent training and certification in child seat safety. Kimberley says the clinics weren’t offered as standalone events this past year due to low demand, but one was held as part of last May’s Safety Days event at Wal-Mart. “I think if people approached us and said [they’d] like to have a clinic, we’d be interested in working with them on it,” she says.

Michael laughs that, as a new father himself, he has learned a lot through the clinics. “Four out of five seats are installed incorrectly, and I was guilty of it myself,” he says. Rockyview has also been involved in such initiatives as bringing drummer Mitch Dorge of Crash Test Dummies fame to speak to students at Bert Church and George McDougall high schools about teens making good choices. “His talk [is] not so much about the evils of drinking, driving and drugs, it’s about making the right choices,” says Michael. “It’s been a well-supported program by The Co-operators, and it was the first time he’d been brought to Airdrie.” As past president and current secretary of the Airdrie and District Rotary Club, Michael has gotten his staff involved in several events supporting local charities, such as the Tour de Airdrie race, which last year raised some $21,000 for programs addressing domestic violence. The agency has also supported Rotary’s charity golf tournament. “We supply volunteers for Tour de Airdrie, and we try and get as many people out for the golf tournament as possible,” says Kimberley, whose staff has also volunteered at the Festival of Lights for many years. Michael calls Airdrie a community of volunteers. “I’ve always been impressed by it. The community benefits by having a population that’s very volunteer-aware,” he says. life

Kimberley and Michael Acheson, of Rockyview Insurance Services, support volunteerism in their community winter 2011-2012 | 91

life at work | awards

They’ve got the Edge T story by alex Frazer-harrison | Photo Courtesy oF the City oF airdrie

Dick Buchannon headlines a list of local entruepnuers who were honoured at the annual Winning Edge Awards

he best of Airdrie’s business community was honoured at the online,” says Laschinsky, who started her business in 2009, working from 2011 Winning Edge Awards, organized by the Airdrie Business home. “Other parents were saying, ‘If you’re ordering this let me know, Resource Partnership and its partners. I’ll split shipping with you.’ So I decided there were a lot of people lookLocal business icon Dick Buchanan received the Airdrie ing for this stuff.” Business Leader Award for his contributions to the community In two years her business has expanded from distributing two prodsince taking over Air-Alta Insurance (Airdrie) Ltd. in 1976. ucts to more than 700.“I need a new house!” Laschinsky laughs. “Small business really is the backbone of our country,” says Buchanan, Another young business, Grow with Us Retail & Consignment whose award was sponsored by the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce. (established in November 2010), won the Family-Friendly Business “We never became large beAward. Going beyond just sellcause … I wanted to stay at a ing clothes and accessories for medium size and make a differchildren, the five-employee shop ence in a smaller community.” established a breastfeeding supBuchanan, who has been port group, a diaper exchange selling insurance professionally and a childcare exchange prosince getting his licence in B.C. gram, and even offers discounts at age 14, says he is humbled by and free clothing for staff. the award. He credits his suc“We’re happy to know we’re cess to the support of another going in the right direction,” says longtime Airdrie businessowner Rebecca Reaville, adding man, Hugh Hamilton, who that this means “maintaining a Buchanan describes as a mencustomer’s perspective when tor, as well as his wife of nearly they come shopping and con50 years, June. signing with us – knowing how “This is a wonderful comit is to be in their shoes as a shopmunity, where a man or woman per, rather than just being a clerk can do anything they want to behind the counter.” do,” he says.“If [you’re] prepared The Winning Edge Award to go out and volunteer and be itself went to Al and Lois airdrie business leader award-winner dick buchanan a part of the community – this Jones, longtime owners of community will give back and support you, if you support them. the Here’s the Scoop “good news” newspaper and ADvance Distribu“I made up my mind when I was a young man … that one day I would tion, for their longevity in the Airdrie business community (since prove that I could run a good little insurance agency that would be a part 1996) and support of causes from Airdrie Food Bank to the Boys of the community, and I did that – with the help of my wife,” he adds. and Girls Club. Natural e GREEN, which distributes eco-friendly goods – such as “A lot of the things we do … I’m not sure would fly in other communihealth and wellness and cleaning products – while raising awareness of ties – you have to have the community’s support, trust, desire to be part toxic chemicals and how they impact the environment, won this year’s of it,” says Al. “You need that spirit and camaraderie. I can’t think of any Eco Edge Award. Tamara Laschinsky became the first online business small community other than Airdrie that has that.” life owner to be honoured with a Winning Edge award. “I started it because I wanted nice products for my kids, and a lot of See the complete list of finalists at and learn about an AWESOME new parents have to order [eco-friendly] products from five different places initiative to be launched in Airdrie.

92 | winter 2011-2012

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What do you think about a community where residents, organizations, businesses, professionals, cultural and sports groups, volunteers and social clubs all work together in support of one another? Learn more at winter 2011-2012 | 93

life | last look

LIFE THROUGH THE LENS Airdrie photographer Rod Wood saw more than lights at the Airdrie Festival of Lights; he saw art. “My daughter and her family were visiting at Christmas and a trip to the Festival of Lights was a must-do. It was a cool, very dark night and the dazzling, colourful displays presented a magical world we were soon lost in. When the kids scurried off ahead I began playing with shutter speeds on the camera as I walked through arches of coloured lights. I was thrilled to discover the resulting shots had captured the excitement and wide-eyed wonder of those brilliant displays.” (1/5 second, F13, ISO 400, 81mm) – Rod Wood

Share your photograph with airdrielife and you may see it come to life here in a future issue. E-mail a jpeg to

94 | winter 2011-2012




Profile for airdrielife magazine

airdrielife winter 2011  

explore the good life in Airdrie Alberta in our gorgeous lifestyle magazine

airdrielife winter 2011  

explore the good life in Airdrie Alberta in our gorgeous lifestyle magazine