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AirdrieLIFE Fall 2009

yOur LIFE. yOur mAGAZInE

Showing our

ROOTS

4Rave

showhomes to about

A special focus on our rural connections

101 giveaWays

100 PoinTs of PriDe

7 artists of

influence

The WORKING LEARNING Issue

&

Local entrepreneurs share successes and words of wisdom

Proud Media Supporter of the Airdrie centennial 2009 vol. 5 | No. 4

AIrdrIELIFE.COM

LIFEstyle | cOMMUNITY | HOMEs | cITY | WORKs

dISPLAy UNTIL

Nov. 25, 2009 Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 1


2 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


Reu nionAirdrie.com


COMING THIS FALL

A community that connects with nature. Over 60 acres of tranquil open space featuring an environmental reserve.

Visit WilliamstownAirdrie.com Register Today for Updates

Single Family Homes and Townhomes Located at Veterans Blvd. and 8th St. • Airdrie Watch for our Discovery Centre Opening Soon

A N OT H ER M A S T ER PL A N N ED CO M M U N I T Y BY

PROUD SPONSOR OF AIRDRIE CENTENNIAL


Manulife One_Swainston_admat 4:Layout 1

7/6/09

1:35 PM

P

Contributors

Fall 2009

For our fall issue a lot of our focus is on lessons in life and business – we asked some of our contributors for their thoughts. Big shout out to our newest contributor Carl Patzel, a writer, photographer and photo editor for more than 20 years. Says Carl: “I became enthusiastic about photography from working in my father’s darkroom in my early years and have since shot for many publications across the world. I’ve photographed everything and everyone from Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, actress Natasha Henstridge’s wedding, several prime ministers, entertainers, musicians and travel locations around the globe.”

Wow, and now we’ve got him! Welcome to Airdrie, Carl! Anne Beaty, writer, photographer The best advice I’ve ever received is something I have heard over the years from family and friends, who have always encouraged me to pursue my dreams – in other words: Go for it! I pass that advice along to others, as well.

Give yourself some financial flexibility In times of economic uncertainty, it pays to add some flexibility to your finances. Manulife one combines your mortgage, loans, savings and income into an all-in-one chequing account. If your finances hit a bump in the road, you can access your home equity, up to your borrowing limit, to get you through the rough patch. And, during normal times, this efficient account can help you save interest and accelerate your debt repayment. To add some flexibility to your finances, ask your financial advisor for a referral or contact me directly.

Heather Swainston, Banking Consultant (403) 567-7115 Cell: (403) 999-7004 heather_swainston@manulife.com www.manulifeone.ca

Sergei Belski, photographer The best advice I ever got would probably be not to burn any bridges and to treat everyone the best I can. I get reminded of it pretty much every day, seeing how small the world is.

Stacey Carefoot, writer I’ve been given a lot of advice over the years. Some has helped, some hasn’t but I always appreciate getting it. My best culinary advice: leave the avocado pit in the guacamole to avoid it turning brown. My best parenting advice: choose your battles wisely. My best driving advice: go as fast as the rest of the vehicles on the Deerfoot. Alex Frazer-Harrison, writer One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard came from my friend Dick Richards Boccelli, film actor and drummer for Bill Haley & His Comets: “If you don’t have a goal in life – find one!”

Ellen Kelly, writer, columnist Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Carl Patzel, writer, photographer In this day and age when advice – financial, medical, relationship, etc. – is just a Google away, I have to think of a time before electronic information mastery for the best piece of counselling I ever received. Bouncing around as a big-headed, semi-successful high school athlete, and shooting my mouth off about it any chance I could get, my father gave me a piece of advice on how to live a little more humbly. I took it to heart and give him, and my parents in general, credit for helping mould me from boy to the man I am today. Krysta Remington, Mount Royal College intern It may sound cheesy, but the best advice I ever got was to treat others as you would want to be treated. My mom engraved that in my brain when I was in elementary school and it has stuck with me. What goes around comes around as some people say.

Manulife one is offered through Manulife Bank of Canada. Manulife, Manulife one, the one logo and the block design are registered trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by it and its affiliates including Manulife Bank of Canada. Used with permission.

6 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Kristy Reimer, photographer Work doesn’t need to be painful. Do what you love.


SHOWHOMES

Hwy No.2 / De

er Foot Trail

What will you do with all the space?


LIFENote

airdrielife.com

EDITOR & PUBLISHER

Sherry Shaw-Froggatt

MANAGING EDITOR

Vanessa Peterelli

DESIGN MANAGER

Kim Williams

Why does it seem like I just sat down feeling the pressure to write my June editor’s note and here I am writing my September one? Where did the summer go? As my second-favourite commercial

CONTRIBUTORS

Anne Beaty, Joan Bell, Sergei Belski, Stacey Carefoot, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Ellen Kelly, Carl Patzel, Kristy Reimer, Krysta Remington

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

ADVERTISING SALES

ADVERTISING PRODUCTION

PRINTING

says, “Alberta has two seasons, winter and July.” (My first fave is the Staples jingle “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” ... hold that thought.)

Angela Burford

This was a summer of no exceptions (let’s NOT talk about

Wendy Potter-Duhaime

the weather, okay?) – it flew by in myriad events and activi-

Jeff Cummings

ties and it’s true, time does fly if you are a) having fun or b) volunteering for the biggest events in Airdrie’s history. A

Teldon Print Media

summer of an insane amount of volunteering, coordination, dedication and creativity.

Where to find us AirdrieLIFE is distributed quarterly to all homes and businesses in Airdrie and area and is available at more than 100 locations in Calgary.

I am talking of course about all of the people (more than 1,000) involved in the Airdrie Air Show, the Alberta 55 Plus Games, the Airdrie Centennial and the assorted

Additional copies are available at Airdrie City Hall, 400 Main Street, Airdrie AB T4B 3B4.

golf tournaments including one of the last big ones of the summer – the Airdrie Cham-

Get more LIFE at www.airdrielife.com

to Woodside for donating their time and costs plus the generosity of the Chamber

ber of Commerce tournament in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Thanks membership through which more than $25,000 was raised. That’s just one success

How to reach us Editorial sherry@froginc.ca Advertising wendy@froginc.ca Web Inquiries angela@froginc.ca

story in a hundred that have happened this summer. Alberta Parks and Recreation rated us 98 out of 100 for hosting the 55 Plus games. As a member of the media liaison team I was honoured to host media from around

AirdrieLIFE is published quarterly by Frog Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.

the province who were blown away by our facilities, volunteers and sheer energy. (P.S. How on earth did we lose two points? Seriously!) So of course we can’t rest on our laurels; no, not at all. As Airdrie celebrates 100 years, we move forward to recognize the collaboration of artists, the dreams of the Ag Society, our future in the hands of active 4-H members, builders that believe in building

CITY CONTACTS

Economic Development Leona Esau, 403.948.8844 Communications Tara Richards, 403.948.8800

VOLUME 5, NUMBER 4

ISSN 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2009 by Frog Inc. May not be reproduced without permission. The publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher. AirdrieLIFE does not accept unsolicited submissions. Freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with samples from at least three published magazine articles, to editorial@airdrielife.com

more than profits, the future of our city and the pride of our city employees. I thought that since we come out just after the official centennial celebrations we would celebrate moving forward by embracing our past, which is why we have so much rural emphasis in this issue. We also celebrate the future by encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurs and sharing advice and success in our WORKS section. But we also want to celebrate the present like the 300-some employees at City Hall who don’t get the kind of recognition they deserve. We asked them to tell us what makes each of their departments a source of pride and we are happy to share their 100 thoughts with you. After all, centennials are not only about celebrating where we came from and where we are going but where we are right now. And right now, Airdrie feels damn good.

XXX-XXX-000

Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Editor & Publisher 8 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


contents

Fall 2009

Features

lIFeStyle

26 28 30 38 33 41 46

Grip & Grin – Darrell Belyk wrestles past a debilitating health issue little Green Dress – a Q & A with one of Airdrie’s inspiring duos enter Stage left – the Bert church lIVe theatre season Must Haves – the fashion pieces you need for fall Spice of life – cooking with nash Pet Whisperers – Airdrie dog trainers Artistic Seventh Heaven – local artists team up

coMMUnIty

28

54 57 64 66 69

Growing together – how a garden plot brings people together Gentle lambs – PaSu owners plant a dream and harvest a new life 4 More than you think – 4-H is not just a beef club anymore this land is our land – Airdrie’s Agricultural Society finds a future rural curiosities – rural artifacts create an impressive photo essay

HoMeS

41

regular columns 16 18 20 22 52 92

74 76 78 81 83 85

techlIFe lIFebeat lIFeMoments citylIFe

10 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

A long Winter’s nap – advice for prepping your garden for the winter Focus on Style – photographer turns lens on her own home Building on Faith – Habitat for Humanity’s first Airdrie project one House, A thousand thanks – building peers overwhelm Walter Steingart Selling More than a Home – Williamstown takes a new approach in its new community

86

raving about ravenswood – Qualico’s new Airdrie neighbourhood has everyone talking

that’slIFe FitlIFe

real estate Market in review – has Airdrie survived?

cIty 90 93 95 96

Growing Plans – city wish list is about managing expectations Spreading the Word – the city communications team explains their role at city Hall Preserving Heritage – A centennial project becomes a lasting tribute 100 Points of Pride – city staff share the pride in their jobs


Folks here enjoy liFe to its Fullest...only Fuller. The conventional wisdom is that you get a bit more for your home-buying buck in Airdrie. It turns out the conventional wisdom is right. Here, the combination of amenities, small-town charm and easy access to the city is unlike anything you’ll find in Calgary. LIFE AS yOU wAnT IT, And THEn SOME!

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Contents

Fall 2009

WORKS 100 Small Business Week – why small business is a big deal in Airdrie 103 A Resourceful Partnership – what the Business Resource Partnership offers 106 Learning to Leap – local businesses share what they’ve learned in the

process of growth

109 Coneheads – how planning, preparation and churning helped a new

business launch

111 Start Here – three different businesses find three different ways to take their

business from home to storefront

114 Lessons to Grow On – Bow Valley College provides classes for local residents

ready for a change or challenge

115 Expanding Horizons – ongoing regional development and construction will have

positive impacts on Airdrie

118 The Job Mill – CrossIron Mills on hiring and coordinating more than

115

12 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

3,000 employees

On the Cover Amazing agricultural artifacts turned into art | photographed by Carl Patzel


LIFEStyle Sports | 26

Fashion | 38

Arts | 46 Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE


LIFEstyle | Column

That’sLIFE By Stacey Carefoot

Everything I need to know I learned at a

F

punk rock concert

or those far cooler and way-more-hip Moms, agreeing to go to a punk rock concert with their children would have been no big deal. Having grown up in small town Alberta surrounded by cowboy country, listening to the likes of George Strait and Garth Brooks, for me, this was more than just outside the box; the idea of attending a rock concert was right out of this world.

insanely loud introduction to their latest album, titled 21st Century Breakdown, described recently by the band’s lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong as a“snapshot of the era in which we live as we question and try to make sense of the selfish manipulation going on around us, whether it be the government, religion, media or frankly any form of authority.” Hmm, he might be onto something.

As the date drew closer my anxiety grew stronger to the point that I tried to concede my ticket to anyone I could think of, but since the rest of my family is deeply engrossed in all things rock and roll I decided to stick it out and see what I could learn from the experience.

As the second song began, Armstrong – who I would describe as an f-bomb-dropping Cat in The Hat mixed with the intolerable energy of Richard Simmons – began to put the entire crowd into a trance. “This isn’t a bleeping tea party,” he screamed.“This is a bleeping rock concert,” he continued,“so get up out of your seats and join in.”

Upon arrival I realized that in order to get through the next few hours I might need to find myself some liquid courage. As I stood in the stadium refreshment line up I noticed a plethora of different people walk by, some with piercings in places I didn’t know could be pierced and others with purple Mohawks.

All 30,000 of us were instantly under his spell. Dads with ear plugs who were obviously brought along strictly to chaperone, country music Moms like me, the kid with the Mohawk and the girl with the piercing: we all sang along, did, yelled and screamed whatever he told us to. He encouraged participation and co-operation. No matter what walk of life any of the audience members came from, for that two-hour period we were all getting along, following someone’s lead and having a really, really good time doing it.

As I made my way to the front of the line the vendor looked me up and down and then asked for my identification. I quickly demanded that she repeat herself, there was no way I heard her correctly, and again she asked to see my driver’s license to ensure I was of legal age. At that moment, which happened to be two days before my 35th birthday, Now, as the ringing in my ears slowly subsides and I’m getting I leapt across the counter and hugged a perfect stranger, and over the euphoria of feeling younger than the number of my then decided that rock concerts aren’t so bad after all. driver’s license, I begin to wonder why life can’t be more like a punk rock concert. Things on earth would go a whole lot Feeling less ready to be put out to pasture than I had smoother if all of our leaders had the ambition, stamina and before the ID request I took my seat beside my amped- honesty of Billy Joe and the followers were filled with accepup family and we waited for the punk rock band Green tance. I’ve learned that perhaps our parents were right; if we try Day to appear. something new we just might end up liking it. Out they came complete with male makeup and an 16 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Rock on, Airdrie!

LIFE


Q. Whose name is on your butt? And why on earth does it matter? A. Jeans. Everyone wears them. Not everyone looks good in them. UNTIL NOW!

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LifeStyle | Health

The Wellness Journey FitLIFE with Joan Bell

Joan shares her insight on how a desire for a fitter lifestyle changed more than her waistline

T

en years ago, I made a conscious decision to live a healthier lifestyle. I quit smoking, signed up for a yoga class, and began taking better care of myself through diet and exercise. It has been an interesting journey with several setbacks along the way, but the benefits have been substantial. I enjoyed yoga so much I chose to leave the fast-paced world of corporate Calgary and open a yoga and fitness facility in Airdrie. The focus of the studio is strength, flexibility and balance. These three keywords describe the changes I have experienced on my path to health and wellness. I have gained strength both mentally and physically. I am more fit now than ever. As a young woman, I did not understand the importance of exercise. With age has come grace and wisdom. As a result of yoga and pilates, I no longer suffer from chronic headaches and neck pain. My mental strength gained through meditation and the calming spirit of yoga has allowed me to more easily weather the calamities of life. It has also allowed me to change my focus to allow me to devote more time to giving back to my community by volunteering, mentoring and being involved in Airdrie business ventures.

18 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

My healthier lifestyle has introduced flexibility into my everyday activities. Not only has my body rediscovered ways to bend and stretch through yoga and belly dance, but I have also been able to incorporate many of my passions into my life. As my sister Cathy pointed out, it is much harder for people to push my buttons now. I am more relaxed and take the time to enjoy the good things in life –

my family, my garden and my artistic endeavours. Many things have helped to create balance in my life. Marcy, my yoga instructor, has noticed that I am calmer, more centred. I credit Danielle Kot from Simply for Life with helping me balance my metabolism. Her advice on nutrition has assisted me in maintaining a healthy weight. Friends tell me that I seem happier and more able to focus on the things in my life under my direct control and less distracted by things or people that I can’t change. Personally, I have noticed that my more balanced approach to life has also had a positive impact on my business. I am more easily able to take things in stride and have become proactive rather than reacting to minor challenges such as the recent economic downturn! My ability to handle stressful situations has improved according to my goal-setting partner Sharon. “You seem to mentally take a deep breath, then just move ahead with grace and ease. Nothing seems to be able to fluster you or rattle your sense of well-being. You are well grounded.” I believe that I am now more accepting of the differences in the people around me and try not to judge others based on my preconceived notions of right and wrong. I may not always succeed in being totally impartial, but I try to see the good in everyone. The strength, flexibility and balance I have achieved to date as a result of a healthier approach to life have mellowed me from a high-strung overachiever to a calm, centred individual. As my sister reminds me, I have always been a caring person, efficient and organized in everything I do. Now I have managed to find a way to present myself with elegance and maturity. These are attributes that I have always had, but now my life is more balanced. Only time will tell how much further my journey to a fitter lifestyle will LIFE take me. Namaste.


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On The

Web AirdrieLIFE online is the only place to find these exclusive features: • PaSu Farms Fall Activities

LIFEstyle | Technology

Welcome to

TechLIFE By Brad Racette

T

TechLIFE!

his is a new column in AirdrieLIFE designed to keep readers up to date on technology. We’ll profile products, services and people who keep Airdrie connected to the world and along the way, also give your thumbs more fun things to do.

• Community Links Programming • Chef Nash’s Recipes • Airdrie’s New Arm Wrestling Club • Behavioural Management Techniques for Your Dog

What’s the hype about Skype? It’s a software program that allows you to make audio and video phone calls from your computer to any other computer in the world for free. It is a simple, completely secure download from www.skype.com.

• Celebrating the 55 Plus Games – More Photos! • Centennial Updates • Air Show Photo Highlights • Workplace Workshops • Updated Course and Class Listings PLUS CONTESTS INCLUDING

100 CENTENNIAL DVDs GIVEAWAY

Win a Flip HD video camera

WIN AN ED HARDY T-SHIRT

airdrielife.com Because we all need more out of LIFE. 20 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Imagine you need to set up a conference call from your Airdrie office with a new client based in Toronto, New York or even both. With Skype you can talk to all of them without worrying about long-distance charges. Video conferencing is also available so you can be visually connected to as many people as you need to without booking a board room.

era. It allows you to shoot up to two hours of high-definition video on a camera that is a little bigger than a deck of cards. Built into the camera is an arm that flips out to connect to your computer. The software is installed in the camera so it is all ready to go. You can even take still pictures from the video footage. I was walking around with my camera during the Alberta 55 Plus Games in Airdrie this past July and had several people stop and ask me what I was doing. When I told them it was a video camera the common response was “That is a camera? But it’s so small.” It is the perfect size to have in your purse or pocket so that you can grab those once-in-alifetime videos of the kids or grandchildren. They retail for about $250 – check them out LIFE online at www.theflip.com.

This is great news for Airdrie small businesses who may not have the travel budget to meet important contacts. It also saves time – and when was the last time anyone lost luggage online! I am hearing from families who use Skype to connect with grandparents around the world, so from Airdrie, Alberta to Airdrie, Scotland – the world is getting smaller! Brad’s Gadget Pick

FLIP OUT WITH AIRDRIELIFE!

I recently picked up and cannot stop playing with the new Flip Ultra HD video cam-

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LifeStyle | Column

LIFEBeats By Anne Beaty

Back to school “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

T

hat quotation from John Dewey says it all, and this is especially true for adults going back to school in whatever capacity. Hitting the books again as an adult offers a wonderful opportunity to pursue subjects that have interested you all your life. For myself, having gone to journalism school as an adult and later earning a bachelor’s degree in political science while working full-time as a journalist, finding time to fit it all in was a challenge, but well worth the effort. More recently, I have been working diligently (well, sort of ) on a master’s degree in strategic studies. (The ‘sort of ’ means that as a deadline writer I have found it exceedingly difficult to attempt to put together a paper or my thesis over a long period of time and have preferred to wait until the last minute to stress out as I pull several all-nighters writing.) For me education has truly proven to be “life itself ”. Now, if I could only find a job that pays me to go to school, but not actually have to produce anything other than deep thoughts … Heading back to the classroom is easier in some ways for adults, who have spent years learning how to prioritize their time, honing their multitasking skills and generally setting their sights on a goal and going for it. They are back in the classroom for many reasons: pursuing interests, upgrading professionally, finishing studies started years ago. Their life experience is beneficial in many ways, and not only for themselves. As Dave Johnston, University of Calgary associate viceprovost, enrolment and registrar, says, the different perspective adult students offer brings breadth and depth to the school experience. “They do also bring a richness into the classroom that they do share with 22 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

the younger students,” Johnston says. Part of that richness adult students provide comes from being seen by their younger classmates as peers, rather than parents, which can lend them a real sense of credibility, Johnston says. Mature students know enough to ask the more probing questions; they can equate their own life experience to what they are learning in the classroom and while they can appreciate learning something new, they can also share what they do know. Personally, I have thoroughly enjoyed being accepted by my fellow students as myself – not mother, daughter, partner, employee – just me. At the U of C, students range in age from 17 to 65 plus. This means that there’s a place for everyone in the academic environment and everyone can fit in, no matter how many decades they have under their belt. “People who do come here are able to find people who look like them,” Johnston says. Age is truly no boundary when it comes to education. Currently, the U of C has 24 graduate students aged 60 and over, proving that you’re never too old to learn. I have to admit that about the only down side for me to being a ‘mature’ student is that I have on occasion felt out of place among all the young, enthusiastic and seemingly far more intelligent students who have been my classmates. The upside is that being able on a regular basis to immerse myself in fascinating topics with young, enthusiastic and intelligent people has opened my eyes to new perspectives and encouraged me to express myself without fear, and listening to what the younger generation has to say gives me all that much more hope for this old world. And when people have asked what I intend to do when my graduate program is finished, I have also been able to laughingly (and truthfully) LIFE say,“I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”


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LifeStyle | Sports

Grin and Grip Darrell Belyk muscles his way around the world Story and photos by Carl Patzel 26 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


Darrell Belyk doesn’t remember much about his right-handed life.

At the tender age of three years, Belyk’s right-handed ability was stolen away by a stroke or birth defect. “When I first started writing and talking, I used to be right-handed. After the stroke I had to learn to do everything again – walk, talk and write again with the left hand. I’ve been left-handed ever since I can remember,” says the 48-year-old Airdrie resident. Belyk went on to travel a great distance with the help of a strong left arm, touring the world and meeting celebrities along the way. Entering the sport of arm wrestling 22 years ago, Belyk didn’t realize he would be muscling his way around the world participating in a lifelong love and sport. “It’s been quite the experience in both the sporting and political [arena] of arm wrestling.” On the road to many provincial, national and world championships, Belyk has competed across Canada and the world, including Israel, Moscow, Tokyo (earning a world championship), Bulgaria, Copenhagen, Denmark, Sweden and Germany. “When we were over in Moscow, in Red Square, [Mikhail] Gorbachev was there. I shook his hand and talked to him in my broken Russian that I knew. He just sort of smiled and went on his way,” Belyk adds with a chuckle. Through the CLAWS (Calgary Leopards Arm Wrestling Society) organization and competitive events, Belyk went on to rub shoulders with former Calgary Mayor Al Duerr, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, singer Sarah McLachlan, and wrestling promoter Stu Hart. “It’s taken over my life.” In 1992 Belyk met his wife Karlene Bowen through the grappling sport. Currently the president of the Airdrie Arm Wrestling Club, Bowen was also the secretary of the North American Arm Wrestling Federation.

Combined, the duo have seven children and several more grandchildren. At one point, the whole family locked wrists with arm wrestling. “We were sort of the Stu Hart of arm wrestling because we had seven kids and grandkids who were starting to arm wrestle, too,” says Belyk. Though not competing, it didn’t take long for Karlene to get an elbow lock on the world-travelling activity. “A couple of years ago she went to Bulgaria with me and that was her first trip out of Canada. Now she has the bug and wants to go with me everywhere. She’s my cheering section, too.” Belyk says most of the family has had their moment in the arm wrestling spotlight and are onto bigger and better things. Everyone except for 15-year-old grandson James Bowen, who recently pulled seconds, both in right and left hand, at the national championships in Summerside, PEI. Qualifying for the world championships this September in Venice, Italy, Belyk finished first in the Masters class (40over), Disabled class and pulled a second in the open class. The left-handed wrestler has been undefeated in the Disabled class for the past five years. Pinning down his success didn’t come so easy in the early years of locking wrists with more experienced competition. Living on muscle and little technique, Belyk tabled most of his opponents through his high school years and against working buddies. In 1987 he was encouraged to enter a Calgary arm wrestling tournament. “I went down there all cocky thinking I would win this. But I didn’t. I got my heinie whooped pretty good.” Grappling with that defeat, Belyk realized he needed some expert instruction to help arm himself for future competitions. The 70-kilogram (150-pound) powerhouse was taken under wing by Calgary arm wrestling club members who taught him technique and how to train.

At the time, Edmonton was the hotbed of world and national champions. Belyk would work a night shift, get up at four in the afternoon, take a three-hour trip to Edmonton, train for a couple of hours and travel back for his 11 p.m. work shift. “That was probably a year-and-a-half every week to gain that experience.” It didn’t take long for Belyk to get a grip on the wrist-wrenching activity. Four years into the sport, he pulled his first provincial and national titles and finished second at the world championships in a war-torn Israel. A couple of decades and several trophies later Belyk is eyeing another worlds and is already scouting some familiar and unfamiliar opponents as his strongest competition. “I know half of them. [Victor Bratchenia from Belarus] has taken the world title twice now and I’ve been third place in his class. He’s the guy I’m really gunning to take out this year,” says Belyk of the younger adversary. But with the sport pumping up more interest every year, the local puller should have plenty of challengers in his future. Nationals is drawing between 300-350 competitors with that number growing to 1,400-1,600, from 43 countries, on the world stage. “So it’s not like it’s a mom-and-pop sport. It is like an Olympic qualifier. We’re trying to get into the Olympics and talking to the IOC. But the numbers are there to do the representation to be a viable sport,” Belyk says. “I’m not too sure if it’s going to happen in my age before I have to retire.” But after watching an 85-year-old competitor pull in the Grand Master class at a recent nationals, Belyk doesn’t see reLIFE tirement coming any time soon. MORE LIFE ONLINE

THINK YOU’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES TO ARM WRESTLE? CHECK OUT THE AIRDRIE ARM WRESTLING CLUB AT AIRDRIELIFE.COM

Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 27


lIFeStyle | musicians

Q&A with

JESSICA SChOLLAArdT from the Little Green dress By krySTA rEmInGTOn

Tiffany and Jessica (on violin) Schollaardt Jessica and tiffany Schollaardt are two Airdrie sisters who

What got you into music?

decided to use their lifelong musical backgrounds to form a

My sister grew up singing. It came naturally to her. ever since she was a baby I can

band with passionate melodies and lyrics. they call them-

remember her singing. My grandfather was a master builder of violins in Germany.

selves little Green Dress and describe their sound as folk with

He built my instruments, so that inspired me to play. It’s a part of him that carries into

a modern twist.

our music, too.

the band name was inspired by Jessica’s trip to Africa to

What instruments do you play?

help open an orphanage. While there, she spent a lot of her

My sister plays piano and/or guitar and she’s our lead vocalist. I do violin and

time playing with the children, but she was especially struck

vocals.

by a little girl wearing a green dress who was smiling, singing

Why do you use only acoustic instruments and not electric?

and dancing despite a massive stomach tumour. Despite the language barrier, the two instantly connected through their love of music and Jessica realized how important music can be. the name was fitting because the Schollaardts want their music to be bigger and greater than themselves, just as that chance meeting was. you may have seen little Green Dress perform at the Festival of lights last year. throughout the summer the band had a steady gig at V Ultra lounge in calgary on Stephen Avenue every Saturday night; they have also performed at a local conference and at a new year’s eve event. this fall, they will focus on recording their first album, but if they do have any shows they will post them on their Facebook page. Anybody can request to be their friend on the website and track their progress. tiffany has been singing since as long as Jessica can

We do more of a folk thing. We sometimes have drums and sometimes another guitarist. you are unsigned right now. Any plans for that to change in the future? We’re hoping to record a cD in the fall and see where that takes us. We work full time and are saving our money to get it done. My sister was in a band before so she has connections and might be able to get us a deal. What are your day jobs? My sister is a piano and vocal teacher and I work for an engineering company. Who are your musical inspirations? Michael Franti, Jon Foreman, regina Spektor. For me, some classical influences as well like Vanessa May. I could list about 20 classical influences. describe your sound: We’re definitely a folk band with a modern influence. not as folksy as Sarah Mclachlan; a bit more modern than that. What will people get out of listening to your music? the message of our music because we are so passionate. What we write about is so real that I know if people listen to it they’ll relate to it, even if they aren’t going through

remember and Jessica learned to play the violin at a young

the same thing. It becomes not just our journey; it’s their journey as well.

age despite the not-so-cool factor at the time. years of musical

How do you song-write?

training and their musical inspirations have helped channel

the music we play is the music we are feeling. It’s based on your emotion and the

their passions into an up-and-coming band to look out for.

words come out of that emotion.

28 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


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How does it feel to be on stage? It depends on the show and the crowd. If people are responding to it, it becomes a tango and you want them to react more. This large picture unfolds and it’s a great feeling. What is in your CD player right now? Disturbed. My sister probably has Regina Spektor. Any guilty-pleasure music? Britney Spears is probably mine. What would you tell your younger self if

Contact The Range with your community news or information!

events@therangeonline.ca

you had the chance? How important it is to practice. When I was younger the violin wasn’t the coolest thing in the world. As you get older you appreciate it more. It’s so important to have the technical skills to back you up and it makes your musical journey much easier. Where do you want to be in 20 years? My sister and I would like to be a professional band. We would like to take our music around the world and experience music from all around the world. Quick Association: I’ll say a word or phrase and you say the first thing that comes to mind. Perez Hilton: Lady Gaga Twilight: Vampires The Dove for Real Beauty Campaign:

Fabulous A little black dress: A must! Twitter: Boring, I don’t understand it. North Korea: Tension

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Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 29


LIFEstyle | Entertainment

Live from the

story by Krysta Remington Photos courtesy the Bert Church Live Theatre

Bert Church LIVE Theatre...

B

It’s a full season of entertainment!

ert Church LIVE Theatre has a fantastic line-up of performers for the upcoming season. They’ve chosen a wide variety of genres to ensure everyone’s interests are sparked and that the audiences will hopefully become more diverse. The goal is to keep regulars coming back, while bringing in new audience members who weren’t aware that Airdrie has such a space. The variety of performers coming this season might help to bring in a younger generation as well. There will be everything including musical comedy acts, orchestras and groups with a hearty dose of Maritime flavour. “I have really high hopes that we will have a lot of sold-out shows this season,” says Jennifer Cormier, the theatre’s publicist. First on the docket as part of the theatre’s Professional Series Season Listing is an annual community concert with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. With just 345 seats the Bert Church LIVE Theatre creates a close and intimate setting for performers and concert-goers. “It’s a great way to get everyone out to the orchestra in an inexpensive way,” Cormier says, because tickets for adults are only $15 30 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

and $10 for students. In celebration of Airdrie’s 100th birthday, the theatre is excited to present the Centennial Concert Series. It encompasses four evenings of entertainment from all-Canadian performers who each have something different to offer the audience. “We were trying for names that people would recognize and get excited about,” Cormier says.“It’s a real mish-mash of genres.” The centennial series includes Barney Bentall and the Grand Cariboo Opry with a variety-type show. They will perform in late October and as Cormier describes, “they create quite the spectacle.” In early November the Marc Atkinson Trio will perform. Their name isn’t as recognizable, but Cormier promises they are absolutely fabulous and their genre can be described as gypsy jazz with a stand-up bass player and all. Sass Jordan, the late ’80s/ early ’90s Juno-award-winning pop star, will be stopping by in the middle of November. Last but not least in the centennial series, Michelle Wright will perform a country Christmas show at the end of November. The Centennial Concert Series is part of the regular season as well. The regular season

prior to the New Year also includes returning favourites Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers, a musical comedy, and the Nutcracker performed by Jeunesse Classique Ballet Company. “Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers have become so popular we can’t present them in the Bert Theatre anymore,” Cormier says. Instead they will be presented in Calgary at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in October. The second half of the season brings Joel Fafard, a slide-finger-style guitar player who has a hillbilly-farm-boy onstage persona. Rankin, Church and Crowe, a trio from the east coast who does acoustic folk roots music, is lined up for February. Raylene Rankin is a recognizable name from the popular ’90s group the Rankin Family. Also from the east coast is the Barra MacNeils, a family of Maritimers that produces harmonies only siblings can create, Cormier has heard people comment. “In typical Maritime fashion they have step dancing, storytelling and a lot of unique instruments,” she says. To finish the season with a bang are the Prairie Mountain Fiddlers who have a great following with good old-fashioned fiddle music, The Lorne Elliott Comedy Show 2010, a


Now Open!

well-known comedian from the CBC, as well as the Arrogant Worms, who come to town in April for the last performance. “They have a lot of social commentary,” Cormier says. “They write songs about Tim Hortons and all kinds of Canadian things.” There is undoubtedly a lot to look forward to this season at the Bert Church LIVE Theatre with a little bit of everything to suit everyone’s tastes and preferences. Seasons tickets are available or you can buy tickets for each show separately. Centennial Concert Series tickets can be purchased separately as well or for a total of $89 for all four tickets, limited to the first 100 packages sold. “[Bert Church LIVE Theatre] is like Airdrie’s hidden gem ... even Calgarians come out to see what we’ve got,” LIFE Cormier says. MORE LIFE ONLINE COMPLETE Bert Church LIVE

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lIFeStyle | food

Spices of The

Life Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 33


Lifestyle | Food

Chef Nash dishes on cuisine and culture Story by Anne Beaty | Photos by Kristy Reimer

W

hen it comes to heating up the menu, Airdrie’s Nash Visram has it all down pat. Chef Nash, as Visram is known around town, is an expert when it comes to East Indian cooking. The interesting part, though, is that Visram did not begin his career as an East Indian chef, but rather learned the continental cuisine during his training in England. His expertise in all foods East Indian has come as the result of demand from customers in Western Canada. Visram was born and raised in Kenya, but when it came time to consider higher education, his sights were set outside the country. In the 1960s, he says, Kenyans looked overseas for post-secondary education, so he headed to London to study hotel management. His topic of choice was a natural one – at that time, tourism was booming in Mombasa and around the African country, so the expectation was that Kenyans would learn overseas and then come back to their own country to ply their trade. Visram, though, was recruited after his

34 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

studies by Hilton Hotels, one of several international hotel companies seeking qualified applicants. He headed to Canada to continue his training at the company’s flagship hotel in Montreal. Western Canada became the next stop on his itinerary when he moved to Edmonton after getting married. Once there, he expanded his repertoire by running his own enterprises in the food industry while working at Western hotels. “So many times I’ve opened my own restaurants, but most of the time [I’ve run] catering companies,” Visram says. After a divorce, Visram set out on the path that ultimately landed him in Airdrie two years ago. Along the way, he worked at Fairmont in Invermere, B.C. for five years before coming to Calgary to work at both Fox Hollow and Douglasdale golf courses for several years. Early on in his career out west, Visram discovered that East Indian food was the choice of many and he was expected to provide it when he was asked to cater at mosques and for weddings and other special ethnic events.

The challenge was that he didn’t have any experience in that cuisine. “I’m a European-trained chef,” he says. “[Customers] knew what they wanted, but I didn’t know how to cook that. They take it for granted you can cook anything.” So he began researching and experimenting and eventually taught himself what he needed to know to meet the demand. Now, East Indian food is definitely one of the chef ’s favourites. While spices may be mild in his native Kenya, Visram has grown to appreciate the hotter dishes, particularly from northern India’s Punjab region. “I enjoy it,” Visram says. His choice appears to mirror that of many other foodies. “East Indian food has really mushroomed so fast in the last five to 10 years,” he says.“Everybody’s on the bandwagon.” Visram’s business initiatives developed along the way, as well. While in Calgary, he even had a catering company, Travelling Tandoor – a clay oven on castors, with which he would cook on-site at people’s homes or


other venues. “It was just like a hobby – we just did weddings and parties,” he says. While Visram can certainly be considered an expert on the subject of East Indian cooking, he continues to learn, experiment and hone his skills in the kitchen. “I get my ideas from the different recipe books,” he says, adding that cookbook author Madhur Jaffrey is one of the best. “She’s amazing.” Throughout his educational journey, Visram has been interested in more than just taste. The nutritional value of the food, as well as the medicinal properties of the spices he uses, is equally important. Having taken a nutrition course at SAIT, the chef incorporates his learning into his products – for example, a low-fat option for his butter chicken is the use of yogurt rather than whipping cream – and he hopes to share that knowledge, as well. “Eventually I want to compile a recipe book,” he says. In the book – which he will make simple enough so that anyone can make the East Indian dishes, despite the sometimes-confusing number of ingredients – Visram also wants to include information on the various spices used. “Every spice that we use [in East Indian cooking] has got some kind of medicinal properties,” he says. Examples include fennel seed, which is a digestive aid; tumeric, which is good for arthritis and joint pain; cardamom, which can relieve heartburn and gas, as well as acting as a breath freshener; and coriander, which can relieve an upset stomach. The chef would also like to open a cooking school based on health benefits, offering nutritional cooking classes using only highquality ingredients. “You don’t want to cook with ingredients that are going to harm you,” he says. In the meantime, he encourages anyone interested in cooking East Indian dishes for themselves to jump right in. The recipes may look complicated, but Visram says that the ingredients are all available and the dishes can be concocted relatively effortlessly – even his

famous melt-in-your-mouth butter chicken. “It is so easy,” he says. For the more adventuresome, Visram suggests searching the Internet for recipes, finding out the common ingredients and then simply experimenting to suit one’s own personal taste. Now happily settled into his role as chef at Fletcher Village – where he boasts many converts to the East Indian cuisine, which is offered on a regular basis – Visram is also enjoying running his business, A Fine Balance Catering, which caters weddings and holiday parties, as well as providing individual meals. He is allowed to use the kitchen at Fletcher Village for the business, a partnership that has worked well for everyone. “I think it’s working out good for them and good for me,” he says. Through his business and his work at Fletcher Village, he has been having a lot of fun introducing the community to the best India has to offer. “Experience the joy of not cooking,” he says with a smile. Airdrie is now home for Visram and he and his customers couldn’t be happier. The community has also proved fulfilling for the chef in yet another way. He remarried two years ago and he and his wife, Nevin, are delighting in watching their children grow into their own. One of Visram’s sons is working in Africa, having completed a master’s degree in public health, while the other has applied to the master’s program in education at Simon Fraser University after having earned a BSc in psychology. Nevin’s children, a son in engineering at Western University in Ontario and a daughter in medical school in the Caribbean, round out the family. Career aside, Nash and Nevin eat out quite often, checking out what’s on the menu around the region. So far, the chef has not been overly impressed. “Really, the [restaurants] are so mediocre … they don’t pay attention to nutrition at all,” he says. Perhaps that is the only assessment one could expect from a man who has such an exceptionally high standard for himself when it LIFE comes to the culinary world.

Chef Nash’s Simply Indian Basic Curry Sauce Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp Patak’s hot curry paste 1 tsp Patak’s mild curry paste 1 tsp ginger and garlic mix, minced 1 can (30 g) Aylmer whole tomatoes 1 large onion, chopped Preparation: Heat olive oil in skillet. Add onions and garlic/ginger mix. Sauté until nearly brown. Add curry pastes and mix until oil starts to float. Blend whole tomatoes in food processor and add to skillet. Simmer on low heat, or bake in oven for 45 minutes at 250 F.

MORE LIFE ONLINE

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Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 35


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Lifestyle | Pets

Who let the

dogs out? Story and Photos by Krysta Remington

Airdrie has a variety of dog trainers and whisperers Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 41


Lifestyle | Pets

H

anging out with cute puppies all day and going for walks sounds like a dream job, but being a dog trainer takes hard work as well as years of experience and education. There are a variety of training methods out there but when it comes down to it, owners should see for themselves and attend different classes to find one suited to them and their dog. “It’s a lifelong commitment and you have to work on your dog every day,” Rhonda Labas says. Labas is a certified dog trainer, educator and behaviourist on top of her grooming and dog daycare duties for her own company Four on the Floor. It’s not hard to spot Labas because she’s the one walking around the neighbourhood with 13 dogs, big and small, of a variety of breeds, all at the same time. She’s a true animal lover who understands the different personalities 42 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

of dogs as well as their behaviours. Labas was trained by Brad Pattison from the popular show At the End of My Leash on the Slice Network and has expanded her training with Cesar Milan who is considered a dog whisperer. She combines the two methods in her own training, but says “My best teachers have been my dogs.” “I teach lifestyle training so the dog becomes a strong member of today’s society’s rules and they can be taken anywhere and they’ll behave,” Labas says. Her training methods are based on letting the dog know that the owner is in the alpha position and has control. “It’s really important to be a true leader,” says Labas, to keep the dog from thinking it has a high status. In order to show your leadership, says Labas, eat before your dog does, don’t leave food out all the time for him to graze, don’t let him on your bed or couches, don’t let him through doors or gates

before you and when you’re walking, your dog should be one step behind you. Dogs are just like humans and they need not only their physical needs taken care of, but their mental needs too. Labas uses the example of labs and poodles, who have the need to nurture and care, so in order to fulfill these need Labas takes them to mental health programs or to the Bethany Care Centre so they can do what they want to do. Labas also stimulates dogs’ minds by taking them to different locations and settings all the time, and always outdoors. One of her favourite places to take dogs is downtown Calgary, where there are a lot of distractions. This is a setting that tests the strength of the bond between dog and owner. As for agility, Labas uses everyday objects as obstacles, such as going in and around poles and doing sits on park benches. At the moment Labas is based out of her


Left: Rhonda Labas plays with her favourite friends Below: dogs train with their Airdrie owners

home, but she says she will soon be opening a behavioural centre in Airdrie with all types of training, daycare, day trips and two-and-a-half acres of enclosed play area outside. Pami Pantigoso, owner of Button Head Pet Services Inc., is also a certified dog educator and trainer under Brad Pattison. This training method – putting the owner in the alpha position without any use of treats – is the only one Pantigoso uses, but she understands that all dogs are different and in order to make them all successful, she will alter her exercises to accommodate the different learning styles. “Dogs are a big part of society; everyone has a dog and you want to have a good dog that is well-mannered. To do this you need to learn the tools on how to do it,” Pantigoso says regarding why people should train their dogs. A lot of people have a misconception about Pattison’s method, says Pantigoso. “[It’s] not about domination, it’s about discipline, discipline, discipline.” It’s also about creating a relationship between you and your dog, and being committed and persistent, she adds. All of Pantigoso’s training is outside and like Labas she likes a variety of locations. It’s an eight-week program and the class meets up twice a week. During class owners have their dogs on an umbilical leash that is wrapped around their hips, so their dogs are forced to move with them. Some of the exercises are stops, sit-and-stays, phone numbers and even an obstacle course. For the phone numbers exercise, the owner walks in the shape of their phone number on the ground, making the dog adjust to the quick changes of direction. The obstacle course is done at the end of every class to allow participants to practice what they did in class. Owners and their dogs go in and around trees, change direction multiple times, and so on, giving Pantigoso a chance to watch the dogs and how they react LIFE to their owners, she says. MORE LIFEONLINE

Meet more dog training specialists online including Kim Wells and Simone Allen

Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 43


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LIFEstyle | Art

Kristen Shima

7

Lucky number 46 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Airdrie artists demonstrate strength and creativity in numbers Story by Ellen Kelly Photos by Kristy Reimer


Michelle Wiebe

Rhea Warholik

T

he Airdrie 7 is not just a group of artists making pretty art, although the end result of their individual creative efforts has led to professional recognition for all of them. They are a group of like-minded visual artists who have come together to promote an arts community in Airdrie as well as collectively share their love and passion for what they do. Unlike the original Group of Seven, they are women, mothers and artists who focus not so much on landscape, but on nurturing the creative spirit in response to their immediate environment. “I do it because it’s part of who I am. I want to know that when I leave this earth, somehow I made a difference,” says Brenda Campbell. All of these ladies – Rhea Warholik, Cheryl Bakke Martin, Michelle Wiebe, Kristen Shima, Veronica Funk, Susan Harris and Campbell – are committed to supporting arts and culture in Airdrie. They work in a variety of media including glass bead jewellery, oil and acrylic painting, encaustic, drawing and photography. As the Airdrie 7, they’ve already garnered attention from art groups and galleries in southern Alberta. The group, which first came together in May, 2009, was inspired by the philosophy of the “Regina 5” in the 1960s, who disagreed with the establishment concept that art was elitist. The women say that they’re not doing anything radical, only making art accessible to everyone to improve the community. “We dream of a thriving arts community here where we live,” says Bakke Martin, who believes everyone is creative. “Art gives pride in the community. We see ourselves as a vital part of making that happen.” The group was formed when the women, who were Susan Harris getting together in small groups as artists, realized they were all looking for the same thing – accountability, support, encouragement and inspiration. They shared the challenges of balancing families and the often-unrecognized need to create. “There’s a balance of trying to juggle everything and still [getting] to soccer on time,” says Warholik, whose passion is to bring beauty to the community. “We all had a common longing of what arts could and should be in Airdrie. We’ve all been working in a solitary environment and it’s nice to be with people who understand. Our work is different but our goals and our dreams are very similar. There’s a soul and a spirit in what we do and in how we approach our art.” At their first formal meeting, they planned their first show, which was held at Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 47


LIFEStyle | Art

Warholik’s home last May. It attracted a steady flow of interested and enthusiastic visitors from the community as well as Calgary and Didsbury. The group was encouraged by people who were genuinely happy to see artists alive and well in Airdrie which made the group even more determined to establish a visible arts community.

Brenda Campbell

Cheryl Bakke Martin

“It’s really no more than showing what you love doing and answering some questions,” says Wiebe. “We need to demystify the Arts.” Since their first endeavour, they’ve held another successful show in Irricana and been invited to the Cochrane and Calgary Art Walks. Education is also a strong mandate for the group. “The Arts can touch people in ways that nothing else can,” says Harris, who would like to see encouragement and support for the talented youth in our city. The women have talked about creating a gallery, offering workshops and perhaps even a scholarship in the future. They want to connect with the community. Shima, who was voted Calgary’s Child Photographer in 2007, 2008 and 2009, says,“I would like to see people value the Arts more. Often people take it for granted.” Funk agrees.“This isn’t a hobby. It’s my life’s work. I’m going to do it until I die.” The ladies are unified in their commitment to use their talent and determination to enhance the community through the LIFE creation, preservation and enjoyment of the Arts. Veronica Funk MORE LIFE ONLINE See more information and artwork for each

artist plus details on their upcoming art show and sale

48 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


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community Growing Together | 54

Hands on with 4-H | 64 Rural Curiosities | 69 Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE


Community | Column

LIFEtimes by Ellen Kelly

Memories of a Lady I unwrap the flannel-backed, oil-cloth tablecloth

and shut my eyes as I bring it close to my face. I inhale the precious familiar scent that I have managed to preserve for the 30 years since my uncle’s passing and immediately I am 10 years old, in the kitchen, on the farm. Each summer my mother and I would visit my uncle on his farm. For her, it was a duty visit. She would clean the house top to bottom, do the laundry, change the yellow flypaper coils in the corners and cook for the two weeks we spent there. For Uncle, we represented home cooking, a clean kitchen and welcome company. For me it was a vacation. I climbed on tractors, explored granaries, threw rocks in the nearby slough, and longed for a horse to ride.

consisted of me sitting on Lady’s broad back while she wandered. When she tired of me, she would put her head down causing me to slide off her lovely neck. Sometimes she would scrape me off on trees or rub me off against the fence. If I ignored her she would nudge me and follow me like a puppy. How I loved that horse! By the summer I was 14, I had a job and other things to do. I thought about Lady often but I never saw her again. My uncle died when I was 30. Mom took care of his belongings and asked, “Is there anything you’d like?” I was about to say no when she said,“You know, the neighbour said that old horse was still out there with the cattle. She went along with them to auction.”

My uncle grew grain and raised Hereford cattle. He kept a dog for company but made it clear, in answer to my persistence, that he had no desire to feed an animal that wasn’t useful. Therefore, the summer I was 10, I couldn’t believe my eyes when we pulled into the farmyard and there was a little sorrel mare, calmly eating the tall grass behind the house. Her name was Lady and she was beautiful.

Lady. My horse. I hadn’t thought about her in years. All that time, he had cared for her because his small niece wanted a horse to ride. And I hadn’t cared enough to say “thank you” or to keep Lady safe. My heart ached knowing there was no way to make this one right.

My mother was not pleased.“You’re spoiling the girl,” she said. “You shouldn’t be giving in to her whims.”

My eyes settled on the tablecloth. As I unfolded it, the smell of the cigarettes, manure and machine oil escaped from the folds and there I was, back on the farm. I held it to my face and sobbed.

“I can use a horse, Al. Let her enjoy it,” he told her. Lady was his horse but in my heart, she was mine. I rode her bareback with only the halter rope to guide her so my “rides” 52 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Now, another 30 years later, I still have that tablecloth packed away in a sealed plastic bag. Occasionally I open it and let the LIFE faint, familiar scent take me back.


Community | Projects

Growing Together The Airdrie Community Garden

Story and photos by Krysta Remington

A

ll the time people spend squeezing and picking through the tomatoes and heads of lettuce to find the freshest ones at the local supermarket could be better spent picking fresh vegetables from their very own garden. These vegetables come with a sense of pride, are pesticide free and cost effective. Seeds are a lot cheaper than paying per pound. A community garden allows access for those who don’t have enough space in their yards for a garden, people who live in apartments or rental properties, or those who have dogs. Whatever the reason may be, the Airdrie Community Garden is a space for all ages from toddlers to seniors to turn some dirt, meet great people and grow fresh food for their homes. “A lot of people just do it because they enjoy gardening and fresh food is more enjoyable than anything else,” the garden’s manager says. Tyler Bradbury has been the manager for the past three years and has watched the garden’s popularity grow, which he sees as a sign of the times. Whether it is the economy and people wanting cheaper vegetables, the rising awareness of organic health factors or word of mouth in general, the garden this year and last year rented out all 59 plots. When it was started back in 2001, only half were occupied, says Sharon Uhrich, volunteer with the Horticultural Society. Uhrich has taken care of the rentals for the garden for the past seven years. Ironically enough, when there were fewer renters it meant more work for the volunteers because it left them with more weeding to do. Now with 42 renters and a newly added children’s garden “it has evolved to be more well-known and a place where people want to go,” Uhrich says. Getting involved is easy and inexpensive. A five-foot by 20-foot plot costs $30, but if you are a member of the Horticultural Society it is only $25, Bradbury explains. Once you have signed up and paid, you can pick up your package,

54 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

consisting of the rules and a set of keys, from the Home and Garden Fair. The garden is located in the Monklands Soccer Fields and is protected by a chain link fence. The garden opens up in the second week of May and then there is a harvest and clean-up in the middle of October. A map of the garden with everyone’s names and their plots is provided. Each plot is divided with wooden planks. The City’s Parks Department provides water through hoses and taps and the City also provides compost and woodchips for the pathways, Bradbury says. Margaret LeBlanc describes herself as “a farm girl living in the city,” but since her backyard isn’t big enough for her own vegetable garden she became involved in the community garden three years ago and says it’s very well organized. “I appreciate that aside from the plot rental, they have water you can use, the shed has tools in it and they have top soil and mulch,” she says, adding she enjoys the e-mails from Uhrich with helpful tips. Every year LeBlanc writes down everything that she has planted, so the following year she can look at what worked and what didn’t. She grows everything including tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, spinach, carrots, zucchini to make salsa“which is really good” and this year is trying butternut squash for the first time. LeBlanc likes to bring her son Caleb to the garden for him to learn and she says he loves coming so much that he will even give up his favourite TV shows to come.“He’s a total TV addict,” she says. The garden is not just for people like LeBlanc who have experience because there have been a “few people who haven’t gardened before in their lives,” Uhrich says. One boy from the 4-H club got his mother into it after he gardened for a season for recognition in the club. Uhrich says he grew eight-foot-tall sunflowers that eventually had to be tied just to stand upright and “he was quite excited.”


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Since the garden’s inception, any leftover plots have been used to grow root vegetables for the food bank. As only half the plots were rented in the first year, the vegetables harvested for the food back had to be loaded into a half-ton truck. “We filled that truck,” Uhrich describes. Now, since all the plots are rented, they had to find room at the end of the rows to dedicate growing space for the food bank. “I think it’s a great community project,” Uhrich says. “When it is in a neighbourhood, it does create community pride.” Bradbury says the gardeners look out for each other and when someone is on vacation others will water and take care of their plot. He adds that whoever has the time can pitch in and weed the food bank plot. Unfortunately with “the base of volunteers we have, we can’t go much bigger,” Uhrich explains and since people are already on the waiting list for next year, Airdrie “could definitely use a second garden.” After all the hard work, the gardeners can reap the rewards of what Bradbury guesses amounts to around 30 pounds of vegetables per plot. He bases this on the fact that potatoes are pretty heavy. So, if there are about 30 pounds per plot and 59 plots plus the food bank section, that means close to 2,000 pounds of food are produced each growing season. That is a substantial amount for one garden even if it does take a community to LIFE grow it.

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Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 55


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At ravenswood, old-world charm meets contemporary living. With Phase 1 just underway, you can be one of the first to be part of this ambitious project. “Life to its fullest but fuller” is not just a tag-line for ravenswood; it promises – and delivers – an enviable lifestyle. Embracing many different kinds of families – young couples, empty nesters, established families – ravenswood comprises 155 acres with 1,000 single-family homes and 200 multi-family units in a variety of different styles and sizes. Qualico communities have set out to create an enchanting neighbourhood that evokes imagery of an old-world European village. Streetscapes featuring nostalgic architecture, gracious courtyards, traditional street furnishings and picturesque walkways enhance the community. diverse housing styles and use of land are reminiscent of an organically-evolved village. “The conventional wisdom is, that in Airdrie, you get more for your money,” says Lori masse, marketing manager at Qualico, espe-

cially with the combination of amenities like small town attitudes and easy access to the city. masse has friends who live in Airdrie and work in downtown Calgary who can get there faster than if they lived in a Calgary suburb. Getting home more quickly to enjoy your family, your home and your community is the perfect balance between working and living life. Located in southeast Airdrie just off yankee Valley Boulevard, everything you want and need is close by. Schools, a large recreation centre with a pool, gymnasium and fitness classes, large box stores as well as unique independent retailers are a short drive away. If one-stop shopping appeals to you, look no further than a few minutes south of Airdrie to the new CrossIron mills mega-mall. Entertainment, high-fashion, great restaurants – all available without battling traffic in the city. now that’s a bonus! If tree-lined streets, friendly neighbours and enchanting homes nestled in a vibrant, gracious city appeal to you, come to Airdrie. Live life to the fullest in ravenswood.


Community | Out and About

Gentle Lambs

Sue and Patrick de Rosemond share the bounty of their farm to the delight of visitors Story and photos by Anne Beaty

When Patrick and Sue de Rosemond

emigrated from South Africa to Canada 32 years ago, they had no idea that they would be building a legacy. Now, after 27 years of operation, that legacy – PaSu Farm – is as integral a part of the local scenery as the wheat fields and rolling hills. After an exploratory trip in 1975, during which they went by bus from New York City to Salt Spring Island, the de Rosemonds came to Alberta in 1977, not exactly sure of what they wanted, but confident that this would become their family’s home. They spent the first 11 weeks in a motel before settling in Carstairs, but soon realized that they were not ‘town’ people. So they bought a farm to raise sheep, knowing that they were young enough to carve a future for themselves and strong enough to fight to succeed. Patrick and Sue started with some land and a barn, lacking even the funds for a tractor, but that didn’t stop them. Two years of struggling produced enough money to purchase that much-needed tractor – “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” Patrick laughs – but it still wasn’t enough. “We tried and tried and tried and it didn’t work,” Patrick says. The de Rosemonds weren’t about to quit, though, so they decided to see about supple-

menting their income by selling woollen products and that was the first step in the evolution of their dream. Despite a great deal of skepticism from the banks, they turned the barn into a store; then came the restaurant – simple but popular. They sold soup and scones and the people came. “They loved it,” Patrick says. From that time on, there was no looking back. Over the years, the store was enlarged and the product line expanded, as was the restaurant and its offerings, and lenders no longer looked askance at the couple. “When you’re in business long enough, people take you seriously,” Patrick says. The couple also learned not to try to be all things to all people and instead developed a niche market. Although that market includes a lot of seniors, families have also been regular customers. “We’ve been able to serve more than one generation,” Patrick says. As PaSu has evolved, so, too, have Patrick and Sue grown into their roles in the partnership. Patrick’s passion is cooking. “Food, to me, is a cultural experience,” he says. For Sue, interacting with the clientele is what it’s all about. “I’m useless with the food,” she says. “I

like people.” People and food have been the heart and soul of PaSu Farm from the outset. Even though Patrick doesn’t don the apron in the restaurant kitchen as much as he used to – he’s more of the ‘executive chef ’ – he still has 100 or more cookbooks, which are used on a regular basis. Patrick’s adventuresome culinary spirit has found an outlet in all the special dining events PaSu has to offer. During the summer, the de Rosemonds host a South African barbecue every Saturday evening, serving meat (lamb, chicken, beef ) and such South African dishes as boerewors (sausage), samp (cracked corn) and cornbread. The atmosphere is informal and relaxed and shorts and sandals are the attire of choice. Come fall, PaSu marks the season change with hearty farm food, or ‘Dinner on the Farm’, as the de Rosemonds call it. Christmas brings special Victorian dinners and even Valentine’s Day provides an opportunity to add a little spice to the menu. Even as the farm has evolved, the focus on sheep has remained throughout the de Rosemonds’ three-decade tenure, as they carry on the history of the land. “All the people who owned this farm had sheep,” Patrick says. In his eyes, the sheep is the most valuable Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 57


Community | Out and About

Carrie Peddie, Realtor 403-836-1399

Real Estate Central #1 Top Producing RE/MAX Office WORLDWIDE 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003,2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008

www.CarriePeddie.com Committed to Excellence - Driven by Results A parrot named Peaches will greet you at PaSu as you watch the sheep graze in the fields

animal around: its milk can be used for babies; its meat is good to eat; it provides wool; and the hide is great for warm outerwear. “I don’t think there’s an animal on the planet that’s as versatile as the dear old sheep,” he says. That appreciation for versatility is apparent with the restaurant menu and applies equally well in the garden. The de Rosemunds raise their own vegetables and home-grown saskatoons are a favourite. As for the restaurant, Patrick and Sue try to look no farther than their own community. “We try to buy as much local as we can,” Sue says. The de Rosemonds have also created a sense of community at their home, a place where all are welcome. “Our lifestyle out here is a very pleasant lifestyle,” Patrick says. “This place is very relaxed and very peaceful. It has atmosphere and it has ambiance. Our customers like that.” Being part of the community has meant many things at PaSu. A Sunday afternoon poetry reading and art show opening held in the summer proved to be an outstanding success, with 30 to 40 people in attendance. The event featured local artists, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s. “They were thrilled,” Sue says. The de Rosemonds’ flower garden has also brought them in contact with local people who have become close friends – among them master gardener Verna Kirkwold, from Airdrie, and Bob and Marg Davidson, from Carstairs, who took the couple under their wing. As well, the garden has become a place of remembrance – two memorial trees have been planted in honour of long-time friends with whom Sue and Patrick exchanged plants. “We’ve seen people come and go,” Patrick says.“Every one of them has left a great mark on PaSu Farm.” Fine food, flowers, family and friendship – these are the culmination of the journey begun 32 years ago, and what has made all the hard work worthwhile for Patrick and Sue de Rosemond. “The people who have supported us all the way through have LIFE been absolutely amazing people, amazing,” Sue says. MORE LIFE ONLINE See what’s on the menu for fall at PaSu at

airdrielife.com

58 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

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TEL: 403.804.9804 EMAIL: mdebokx@dominionlending.ca WEB: www.MikeDeBokx.ca Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 59


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Big Hill Springs RD

SAGEWOOD HT

SAGEWOOD RI

SAGEWOOD DR

SAGE WOOD CR

SAGEWOOD MR

1 AV

FAIRWAYS DR

AYS P

Fairways

S ME FAIRWAY

AYS FAIRW LD

WOODSIDE PA

WOODSIDE CI

B

Williamstown

WILLIAMSTOWN CL

To Rodeo Grounds & Transfer Site (6 km)

REUNION GD

R EUNION CL

FAIRW

24 ST

567

REUNION AV

REUNION HL

REUNION CO

1

FAIRWAYS

REUNION GW

WOODSIDE BV

SILVER CREEK DR

Reunion

WOODSIDE DR

WOODSIDE BA

SAGEWOOD BV

CL

100 FLETT PL

REUNION ST

SAGEWOOD WY

N O E RD CA

REUNION HT

V

CANALS BV ST BA YW AT ER

G

100 CANO E PL OE CA N CI E ID BA YS

XSTO E RI LU

BAYWATER BV

200

SID E

100

BAY

TONE LUXS GR

400

L

300

100

200

O ST AM

C ANOE SQ

RGE RD 292

EAST LAKE BV

A

100

WOODSIDE CR

CANALS CI

SUN

FLETCHER RD

200 FL E PL TT

S TO TONE LUXS LI

PT

DR CA NO E

200 CANOE SQ CI CA NA LS R

OD

BAYSIDE GA

8 ST

SUNRIDGE PL

TOWER LANE DR

WILLOWBROOK DR LUXSTONE WY

MAIN ST

WILLOWBROOK CL

PT

Y

EDWARDS W

SUNRIDGE CL

1 ST

CL

RIDEAU

BOWERS ST A

VIRGINIA ST

G AT EWAY DR JENSEN HEIGHTS PL

JENSEN CR ALBERT ST

CR

ERA

CANALS CV EL N D AN R H E C SID

8 ST

LUXSTON

NG GA

EDEND ND EDM U

R F IELD BV

EM

ALLEN ST

DR

SMITH ST D

G RIN WOO

SP

GATEWAY DR SYLVAN PL E

AK E TL

To Edmonton EDMONTON TR EDMONTON TR

HIGHLAND PARK BV R E G

1 ST

P NE

ME

STO LUX

M

0

ERWO

SU

200

SPR UC

300 SUMM RD

RS TO

5

L

WA TE

DR

EP

BIG SPRINGS DR

200

C AN

TER WA NE STO A G

100

WY

R

200 BIG HILL PL

EAST LAKE WY

R

EAST LAKE CR

BIG HILL WY

T

EAS

SPRIN G

WY CR NE C

ND

SPRING HAVEN CO

LUXS T ONE

Y

00

SPRING DALE CO

CI KE

LA K

H IL LR D

EA LA ST K GA E

100 HIL BIG LP L

100 SPRING HAVEN CO SPRING HAVEN CL

D

BIG

E ID LS

300 SPRINGS PL

L RUN DLE P

SU

W

200

NE

K DR

CR

O EB RO

S

100

SA GE W AN CH

RD

NG

SPRING GROVE CR

PL R

RIDG

O AD

SPRING DALE GA

OD

W GE LD SA D G

AV

L SIDE WY

OR

EAST LAKE BV

WO GE

ELD

RI

SPRINGS RI

OOD EW

D OO

E

L NP TO ELS

SP

SPRING GROVE CR

SA

EAS T LA

CI

SAG NO CA

Y

A

reek

R

W

WOO D SID

C Nose

N TO A B

D

TAY L OR

S WAY FAIR 100 WOODSIDE PL B EM

IN

B IG

MARQUIS WY

GR

EAST LAKE DR

WO O D EN JENS S CO HT HEIG S EL R

RING 200 SP N CO HAVE

TIPPING CL

CM BV

CR

L

MONARCH GA

OWN AMST WIL LI

N E

ER PL TILL

MEADOWLA RK RD

MEADOW PL

ED MONTO N TR

RNDALE CL HO

MARQUIS PL

OWN AMST O BR

OK KE RP

K

500

ION REU N GR

CREEK GARDENS PL SE

LI

H ORNLEIG H W Y 600

WILI

60 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009 WILLI EAST LA

KE C TU

T

RD

MAPLE WY

GARDENS CL JEN LD

T LA

ER CL

CL

MORRI S RD

CREEK SPRINGS RI 200 ST O N PL

MEADOWBROOK BA

WY SILVER SPRIN GS EAS

TANN T

STONEGATE WY BV

CL

R

CL

PER

LD

BAYWATER

4

3

2

1


RCM P

0

1 AV 1 ST 2 AV 24 S T 3 AV 4 AV 5 AV 6 AV 8 ST

WINDSTONE WINDSTONE LN TO TO

CANOE CI 3B C R E E K S ID E B A 1C CANOE CL 3B C R O X FO R D P L 2C CANOE CR 3B E CANOE CV 3B CANOE DR 3B E A S T LA K E A V 2E CANOE GA 3B E A S T LA K E B V 2E - 5E CANOE GR 3B , 4B E A S T LA K E C I 3E , 3F C A N O E P L (100 - 200) 3B E A S T LA K E C R 2E , 3E CANOE RD 2B , 3B E A S T LA K E D R 3F CANOE SQ 3B E A S T LA K E G A 4E C A N O E S Q (100 - 200) 3B E A S T LA K E G R 3E C E N TR E A V 3C , 3D E A S T LA K E H L 3F C H A N N E LS ID E C M 4B E A S T LA K E LI 2E C H A N N E LS ID E C V 3B E A S T LA K E R D 2F, 3E , 3F C H A N N E LS ID E D R 4B E A S T LA K E R I 3E C H A N N E LS ID E R D 4B E A S T LA K E R P 2D , 2E C H A N N E LS ID E W Y 3B , 4B E A S T LA K E W Y 2E , 3E C H IN O O K W IN D S D R 6B E A S TE R B R O O K P L4D C H IN O O K W IN D S P L 5B E D E N D A LE C R 4D COOPERS BA 5C E D MO N TO N TR 2D , 3D , 4D COOPERS CI 5C , 6C E D MU N D W Y 4D COOPERS CL 5C EDW ARDS W Y 2C , 3C COOPERS CM 5C E LD E R W O O D P L 4D C O O P E R S C R O S S IN G G A 5 C , 6C E LD O R A D O R D 3D , 4D COOPERS DR 6C , 6D , 7C , 7D E LD R ID G E R I 4D COOPERS GV 6C E LIZA B E TH W Y 4D COOPERS HL 6C E LK H L 3C , 3D COOPERS HT 6C E LS MO R E P L 4D C O O P E R S LI 6C E LS TO N B A 4D C O O P E R S MR 6C E LS TO N P L 4D COOPERS PA 6C E MB E R D A LE W Y 3C , 4C , 4D COOPERS SQ 6C E ME R A LD C O 4D CREEK GARDENS CL 1C E MP R E S S P L 4D CREEK GARDENS PL 1C E R IN D R 4D C R E E K S P R IN G S R D 1C E V E R G LA D E B A 4D C R E E K S P R IN G S R I 1C E V E R G LA D E D R 4D

B

April 2009, City of Airdrie

100 COOPERS GV

LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E

HAW KEY CR 2C , 2D H IG H LA N D P A R K B V1E H IG H LA N D P A R K LN 1E H IG H LA N D P A R K W Y1E , 1F JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N JE N S E N

J CR 2D DR 2C , 2D H E IG H TS C O 2D H E IG H TS P L2D LD 2D PL 2D

COOPERS CROSS

E GSID RNIN MO PT

INGSI DE PL MORNINGSIDE

MORNINGSIDE PA

ING RN A MO IDE G MORNINGSIDE S

MORNINGSIDE LD

MORNING SIDE BA

INGMORN SIDE CO

Morningside

MOR N

6F 6E , 6F 6F 6E , 6F 6F 6E 5F 5F 6F 6E , 6F 5E , 5F, 6E , 6F 5F, 6F 5F, 6F 6E 6E 6E 5E , 6E , 7E 5D , 5E , 6D , 6E , 7D 6D , 6E BV 4C , 5C CR 5C DR 4C GA 5C GR 5C G R (100 - 200) 5C LD 4C LI 5C PA 5C PL 5C P L (100 - 500) 4C , 5C PT 4C RD 5C

L

H

G A TE W A Y D R G A TE W A Y LI G A TE W A Y R D

1C , 1D 1C , 1D 1D

K IN G S H E IG H TS D R K IN G S H E IG H TS B V K IN G S H E IG H TS G A K IN G S H E IG H TS R D K IN G S B U R Y V W K IN G S LA N D C L K IN G S LA N D C O K IN G S LA N D G A K IN G S LA N D H T K IN G S LA N D P L K IN G S LA N D R D K IN G S LA N D V W K IN G S LA N D W Y K IN G S TO N B A K IN G S TO N C R K IN G S TO N LI K IN G S V IE W B V K IN G S V IE W R D K IN G S V IE W W Y

C

K

G

M

COO PER HL S

Cooper's Crossing

PA

FA IR W A YS B A 2A FA IR W A YS C I 2A FA IR W A YS C L (100) 2A FA IR W A YS C R 2A FA IR W A YS D R 2A FA IR W A YS G R 2A FA IR W A YS LD 2A FA IR W A YS ME 2A FA IR W A YS P L 2A FA R R C R 2C , 2D FLE TC H E R R D 2C FLE TT C R 2D FLE TT D R 2C , 2D FLE TT P L (100 - 200)2D

S

P ER

F

C OO P E R S SQ

200 COOPERS GV

COOPERS LI

HT COOPERS

RI SQ VW WY

5C 5C 5C 4C , 5C

k

P

MO U N TA IN C I

D

ree

5E , 5F

Q E II

M

P R A IR IE S P R IN G S B A 6B P R A IR IE S P R IN G S C L6 B P R A IR IE S P R IN G S C R 6B MA C K E N ZIE W Y 3C P R A IR IE S P R IN G S C V 6B MA IN S T 1C - 5C , 4D - 7D P R A IR IE S P R IN G S D R 6B MA P LE W Y 5F P R A IR IE S P R IN G S G 6AB MA R Q U IS P L 5E , 5F P R A IR IE S P R IN G S G 6RB MA R Q U IS W Y 5E P R A IR IE S P R IN G S G 6VB MA R S E LLA C O 5F P R A IR IE S P R IN G S H L6 B MA YFA IR C L 4E , 5E P R A IR IE S P R IN G S P A 6B McC R A C K E N C R 2C R ME A D O W P L 5F ME A D O W B R O O K B A (100 - 600) 4F, 5F R A ILW A Y A V 3C ME A D O W B R O O K D R 5E , 5F R A ILW A Y G A 3B , 3C ME A D O W B R O O K G A 5F R A V E N S C R O FT A V 6F ME A D O W LA R K R D 4F R A V E N S C R O FT C L 6F MO N A R C H G A 5F R A V E N S C R O FT C R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E B A 6C , 6D R A V E N S C R O FT G R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E C I 7C , 7D R A V E N S C R O FT W Y 6F MO R N IN G S ID E C O 6C R A V E N S LE A C R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E C R 6C , 6D R A V E N S LE A G D 6F MO R N IN G S ID E G A 7D R A V E N S MO O R W Y 6F MO R N IN G S ID E G D 6D , 7D R A V E N S W O O D D R 6F MO R N IN G S ID E G R 6D R A V E N S W O O D V W 6F MO R N IN G S ID E LD 6C , 6D R E U N IO N A V 1A MO R N IN G S ID E MR 7D R E U N IO N B V 1A MO R N IN G S ID E P A 6D R E U N IO N C L 1A MO R N IN G S ID E P L 6C R E U N IO N C M 1A MO R N IN G S ID E P T 6C , 6D R E U N IO N C O 1A MO R N IN G S ID E W Y 6D R E U N IO N G D 1A MO R R IS C R 5F R E U N IO N G R 1A MO R R IS P L 5F R E U N IO N G W 1A MO R R IS R D 5F R E U N IO N H L 1A

LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E LU X S TO N E

MORNINGSIDE

No se C

ST

B A YS ID E R I 5B 2A , 2B , 2C , 2D , 3D B A YW A TE R A V 5A 2C , 3C B A YW A TE R B V 4B , 5B 2C , 2D , 3D B A YW A TE R C A 5B 1A - 7A B A YW A TE R C O 4B 2D , 3D B A YW A TE R C R 5A 2C B A YW A TE R D R 5A 2C B A YW A TE R G D 4A 2C B A YW A TE R P A 5B 1B - 7B B A YW A TE R R D 4B B A YW A TE R R I 5A A B A YW A TE R S T 4B , 5B A C A C IA C R 3D B A YW A TE R V W 5A A C A C IA D R 3D B A YW A TE R W Y 5A A LB E R T S T 2D , 3D B IG H ILL C I 4E A LD E R C R 3D B IG H ILL G A 4E A LLE N S T 2D , 3D , 4D B IG H ILL P L (100 - 200) 4E A LP IN E C R 3D B IG H ILL R D 4E ARBOR CR 3D B IG H ILL W Y 4E ASHW OOD GR 3D B IG S P R IN G S C O (200 - 300) 4E ASHW OOD RD 3D B IG S P R IN G S C R 5E ASPEN CR 3D B IG S P R IN G S D R 4E , 5E A S TE R P L 3D B IG S P R IN G S G R 4E B IG S P R IN G S H L 4E B B IG S P R IN G S ME 5E B A YS ID E A V 5B B IG S P R IN G S R I 5E B A YS ID E B V 3B , 4B B IG S P R IN G S W Y 4E , 5E B A YS ID E C I 5B BOW ERS ST 2D , 3D B A YS ID E D R 5B C B A YS ID E G A 5B B A YS ID E LD (100 - 200) 5B C A N A LS B V 3C B A YS ID E LI 5B C A N A LS C I 3B B A YS ID E P A 5B C A N A LS C V 3B B A YS ID E P L (100 - 400) 5B C A N A LS D R 3B B A YS ID E P T 5B C A N A LS LI 3B B A YS ID E R D 5B CANOE AV 3B

A

250

DR

NE CR

125

NG

Windsong

N

PRAIRIE SPRINGS HL

SO ND

BV

GS DR

PR SP AI RIE RI N GS PA

RI N

NE GR

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.

NG

SP

PR SP AIRIE CL RING S

RD

Meters 500

Airdrie City Limits

Green Space

Creek/Pond

Facility

Public/Private Path

Tennis

Outdoor Rink

Dog Off-Leash Area

Sports Field

Basketball

Baseball

Splash Park

Skateboard Park

R.C.M.P.

C

R

E AV DH WIN L GE C ID GA DR IN W

PRAIRIE SPRINGS GA

IN

IE AIR PR INGS SPR R G

DR

COOPE RS

Sierra Springs

KIN G

SAGEW OOD BV 3A SAGEW OOD CR 3A SAGEW OOD CV 3A SAGEW OOD DR 3A SAGEW OOD GA 3A SAGEW OOD GD 3A SAGEW OOD GV 3A SAGEW OOD HT 3A S A G E W O O D LD 3A S A G E W O O D LI 3A S A G E W O O D MR 3A SAGEW OOD PA 3A SAGEW OOD PL 3A SAGEW OOD PT 3A SAGEW OOD RI 3A SAGEW OOD W Y 3A S A N D S TO N E C R 4D , 5D S H A R P H ILL W Y 7E S IE R R A S P R IN G S D R5D , 6D S ILV E R C R E E K B V 1C

1A 1A 1A 1A 1A 7C 1C , 1D 1E 1D , 1E 7D 4C 4C 3C 4C

K

GS

E

GS

TS BV

LA N DWY

KINGS HEIGHTS RD

HE IG H

Banff

King's Heights

CR TON

KIN LI GS TO N

N KI

K IN

KINGSLAND GA

KINGSBURY

KINGS HEIGHTS GA

F

YA N K E E V A LLE Y B V

R

2B 2B

7B 7B

2C 2C

5A - 5F

2C 2C 2B , 2B , 6B 6B 6B 6B , 6B , 2A 2A , 2A , 2B 2A 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2B 2A 2B 2B 2B 2B

7

6

5

AV: AVENUE BA: BAY B V : B O U LE V A R D CA: CAPE C I: C IR C LE C L: C LO S E C M: C O MMO N CO: COURT CR: CRESCENT CV: COVE D R : D R IV E G A : G A TE GD: GARDEN GR: GREEN GV: GROVE G W : G A TE W A Y H L: H ILL H T: H E IG H TS LD : LA N D IN G LI: LIN K LN : LA N E ME : ME W S MR : MA N O R PA: PARK P L: P LA C E P T: P O IN T RD: ROAD R I: R IS E R P : R A MP SQ: SQUARE S T: S TR E E T TR : TR A IL V W : V IE W W Y: W A Y

Street Abbreviations

RAVENSMOOR WY

NS VE D RA OO W VW

RAV ENSCROFT AV

Calgary International Airport

W ILLO W B R O O K C R W ILLO W B R O O K D R W ILLO W B R O O K G A W ILLO W B R O O K R D W IN D H A V E N C L W IN D H A V E N G A W IN D R ID G E G A W IN D S O N G B V W IN D S O N G D R W O O D S ID E B A W O O D S ID E B V W O O D S ID E C I W O O D S ID E C L W O O D S ID E C O W O O D S ID E C R W O O D S ID E D R W O O D S ID E G A W O O D S ID E LI W O O D S ID E LN W O O D S ID E ME W O O D S ID E P A W O O D S ID E P L (100) W O O D S ID E R D W O O D S ID E R I W O O D S ID E W Y

Y

C FT

Airdrie

US Border

Calgary Downtown

145 km

Edmonton

RAVENSCROFT CL

O RAVEN SC R

C

R

RAVENS L E A

RAVENSWOOD DR

RAVENSLEA GD

Ravenswood

S DR I GHT HE

KINGSLAND CO

KINGSLAND RD

S ILV E R C R E E K D R 1C S U N R ID G E P L 2C S ILV E R S P R IN G S W Y 1B , 1C S YLV A N P L 4D , 5D S MITH S T 2D , 3D T S O U TH C R E E K P L 5D S P R IN G D A LE C I 4E TA N N E R C L 3F, 4F S P R IN G D A LE C O 4E TA N N E R D R 4E , 4F S P R IN G D A LE G A 4E TA YLO R W Y 4E S P R IN G G R O V E C R 5E TH O R B U R N D R 4E , 4F S P R IN G H A V E N C L 5E TH O R N B IR D R D 4F S P R IN G H A V E N C O (100 - 900) 4E , 5E TH O R N B IR D R I 4F S P R IN G H A V E N C R 5E TH O R N B IR D W Y 4F S P R IN G H A V E N ME (100) 5E TH O R N D A LE C L 4F S P R IN G H A V E N R D 4D , 4E , 5D , 5E TH O R N FIE LD C L 3F, 4F S P R IN G S C O (100) 4E , 5E TH O R N FIE LD P L 4F S P R IN G S C R 5E TH O R N LE IG H C L 4F S P R IN G S P L (100 - 300) 5E TH O R N LE IG H W Y 4F S P R IN G W O O D C R 4D , 5D TILLE R P L 4F SPRUCEGROVE CR 5D TIP P IN G C L 4E , 4F SPRUCEGROVE GA 5D TO W E R LA N E D R 3C SPRUCEGROVE W Y 5D TU C K E R R D 4E , 4F S TO N E G A TE C L 1C V S TO N E G A TE C R 1C S TO N E G A TE D R 1C V E TE R A N S B V 2A - 2F S TO N E G A TE P L (100 - 200) 1C V IR G IN IA S T 2D , 3D S TO N E G A TE R D 1C W S TO N E G A TE R I 1C S TO N E G A TE W Y 1C W A TE R S TO N E C R 5D S U MME R FIE LD B V 4D , 5D W A TE R S TO N E G A 5D S U MME R FIE LD C L 5D W A TE R S TO N E P L (100 - 300) 5D S U MME R FIE LD R D 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N B V 1B S U MME R W O O D P L (100 - 500) 4D , 5C , 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N C L 1B S U MME R W O O D R D 5C , 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N G R 1B SUNDANCE PL 4D W ILLIA MS TO W N LD 1B S U N N YS ID E P L 5D W ILLIA MS TO W N LI 1B S U N R ID G E C L 2C W ILLO W B R O O K B A 2C S U N R ID G E C R 2C W ILLO W B R O O K C L (100 - 400) 2C

SHARP HILL WY

WY IEW SV

R E U N IO N H T R E U N IO N ME R E U N IO N R D R E U N IO N R I R E U N IO N S T R E YN O LD S G A R G E R D 10 R G E R D 292 R G E R D 293 R G E R D 294 R ID E A U C L R ID G E B R O O K D R R ID G E G A TE W Y R U N D LE P L

S

S VIEW RD

Kingsview Industrial Park

K IN G

KI N G S

km

N um bered Streets

7

6

Post Office

Nose Creek Valley Museum

Curling Rink

Bert Church Live Theatre

School

Church

Chinook Winds Park

W

K

CHIN OO

DR

R

PRAI RIE SPRINGS C

COOPERS MR COOPERS GV

DS

C

SIERRA SPRINGS DR

COOPERS CL

COOPERS HL

BV EW

SV I IN G

Prairie Springs

PRAIRIE SPRING S

SO W IN D

PR SP AIR RIN IE GS BA

PRAIRIE SPRINGS CV

WINDS

R BA S

OPERS DR

PRAIRIE SPRINGS GV

WINDWINDHAVEN STONE GA LI

WINDS

MORNINGSIDE CR REYNOLDS GA

G KIN

ING S LAN D RD

K

CHINOOK WIN DS P L

KINGSVIEW RD

CL D SL AN

KINGSLAND VW KIN G S

HT AN D GS L

GS LA ND PL K IN

KIN

5

24 ST

MR

CI

WI

GD

CO

DE INGSI MORN WY

To Calgary

IN 270 km

MA KINGSVIEW BV

m

IE

KINGSTON BA

30 k

IR

RAVENSCROFT GR

A PR

O T

COOPERS CI CO RA VE NS W CRO Y F

ERS DE INGSI MORN GA

VW

10


Photos by Carl Patzel

62 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


Alberta 55 Plus Games Airdrie made quite an impression on 1,100 athletes from all over the province this past July – we’ve raised the bar for the Games by being a community that came together, from city staff, to the business community, to the 829 volunteers. As Rob Van Biezen, the Games Chair, aptly put it, “Everyone I have talked to, from guests to athletes, has been overwhelmed by what we accomplished. I am so proud of our city.” AirdrieLIFE is proud to have been associated with the Games and shares these incredible memories with our readers. To see more photos from the Games please visit our website at airdrielife.com.


coMMUnIty | involved

You can put out to field the notion that 4-H is just about cows and horses. Leaders like Rhonda Bollum (left) and Kathy Patey (right) are helping groups around Airdrie get involved with creative programs and opportunities, including archery, computers, welding, photography, pottery, small engines and many other areas of study. 4-H members (pictured here) Jolene Rudisuela, Shelby Patey, Brandon Bollum, Kate Bollum and Jeffrey Rudisuela are taking advantage of the opportunity to branch into different areas with the local clubs

Hands On

sTory By ellen kelly | PHoTo By Carl PaTZel

4-H members “learn by doing”

M

ost people picture farm kids and cattle when they think of 4-H, and although that can be part of it, 4-H is so much more. It’s an international youth program, with clubs in 85 countries, that focuses on fun, friendships, personal development and learning new skills. 64 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

In Alberta, the program is open to young people between the ages of nine and 20. Each club operates independently. “It’s members working for members,” says Sharon Uhrich, one of two key leaders in Rocky View district and secretary of the Calgary region for the past 13 years. Club members meet

monthly to make decisions and plan activities. They organize fundraisers, fun outings and achievement days, and participate in community events. Two different types of clubs offer opportunities to both rural and urban youth. Livestock clubs involve caring for, showing and


sometimes selling livestock (usually beef, horse, dairy or sheep) while multi-club members can choose from more than 30 projects ranging from computers to cooking, photography to small engines. Members 12+ can explore special interests by doing a Creative Options project which they develop themselves. Although projects are the member’s responsibility, the whole family is welcomed and encouraged to attend meetings and social events. “Parents put a lot of time in as well,” says Rhonda Bollum, past leader of Helping Hands Multi-club.“Everyone is really committed to it – the kids, the parents, whole families.” There are six active clubs in the Airdrie area – Airdrie Beef, Balzac Beef, Goldenrod Multi-club, Helping Hands Multi-club, Midnight Express and Airdrie Flying Hooves. Members come from the Airdrie area and as far away as Calgary, Chestermere and Cochrane. Club activities begin in the fall, usually late September, and end in May or June. Besides project work, each member is required to participate in a communications activity, perform community service and attend 70 per cent of club meetings as well as the annual Achievement Day where members show off their projects, receive club awards and finalize their year. Public speaking and demonstrations are held in February/ March, first at club level, then at area, region and district levels. Advancing senior members (15+) can compete provincially. Andrea Church, co-leader of Balzac Beef, says she feels that self-development through public speaking is the biggest benefit club members take away from their years in 4-H. Lorraine Parkinson, leader of Goldenrod Multi-club, agrees. “These kids can go out and present themselves,” she says. “Benefits carry over to other parts of life. They’re great in job interviews.” Public service is also important, says Bollum. “Because of the things the kids

learn and see in 4-H, they become good community members. They care about what is going on in the community and help out.” Public service projects have included yard cleanup, preparing Christmas gifts for seniors, shoeboxes, recycling small electronics, helping at the rodeo, helping with the Salvation Army toy drive – the members are full of great ideas. 4-H members are also creative fundraisers. A $45 annual fee paid to the

_______________ It’s nice to see [members] progress through their teenage years and think you’ve maybe played a part in it _______________

Provincial 4-H Foundation covers the cost of project material and members pay club dues which vary from club to club, but special events require members to raise money to cover expenses. Local clubs have recycled electronics and tires, sold chocolates, held bottle drives, been servers at community events, sold 50/50 tickets at Hitmen games, sponsored a haunted house on Halloween and cooked at 4-H on Parade (a regional event sponsored by the Calgary Stampede). 4-H has four legacy sponsors – Alberta Agriculture, Alberta Treasury Branch, UFA and EnCana – and is grateful to the many other sponsors that help make the program a success. To take full advantage of what 4-H has to offer, members participate beyond the club level. Camps are held at the Alberta 4-H Centre, a facility

run by the Alberta 4-H Foundation at Battle Lake, where leader training, project training and conferences are also offered. A “Leadership Through Counselling” seminar gives senior members the opportunity to be counsellors at junior camps. Club Week, a week-long selfexploration camp, is held at Olds College for members 15+. At Selections, held at the 4-H Centre, members are picked for trips and exchanges, and the Premier’s Award winner and regional ambassadors are chosen. 4-H also sponsors scholarships for members attending post-secondary institutions. In the past few years 4-H has introduced new initiatives. There is now a strong focus on safety and many clubs offer first-aid courses and safety awareness to members. In a move to expand into urban centres, the Royal Bank sponsors “4-H in the City” – there are two active clubs in Calgary – and 4-H now has programs in three schools in Alberta. Students choose various projects, materials come from 4-H, and they learn bookkeeping, organizational skills, marketing skills, public speaking and community service. The whole student body is involved. There are opportunities for adults, too. 4-H leaders attend the Leaders’ Conference each January. “It’s like an adult camp,” says Uhrich who was inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame in January, 2009. “We have so much fun and it’s a good learning time through the various workshops.” Benefits are also found closer to home. Parkinson loves working with kids. “Every kid is a good kid,” she says.“It’s nice to see them progress through their teenage years and think you’ve maybe played a part in it.” Church, who has been involved in 4-H for 35 years, first as a horse club member, then as an employee and currently as a leader, says, “Balzac Beef has been a club for 76 years, with some third, maybe even fourth generation members. 4-H is my community.” LIFE Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 65


Stewards OF THE Land coMMUnIty | ag society

sTory By ellen kelly | PHoTos By krisTy reimer

The board members meet for a photo op on their new land west of Airdrie

The Airdrie & District Agricultural Society works to help rural and urban communities grow together

W

hether we realize it or not, many events that Airdrie and area residents enjoy throughout the year are successful because the Airdrie and District Agricultural Society (ADAS) is working behind the scenes to make things happen. A community development organization, ADAS has played an active role in Airdrie and the surrounding community, with a focus on agriculture, youth, sports and recreation, for more than 30 years. As one of almost 300 agricultural societies incorporated under the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, the Airdrie group is mandated to promote and sponsor agricultural events within the community. There are agricultural societies in many Alberta communities and each one chooses projects important to their own area but so66 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

cieties often work together for mutual benefit. Some societies run arenas, many operate local farmers’ markets and some have built local arenas and other facilities. ADAS was a builder and major funder of the three arenas in Airdrie and operated the arenas before the City of Airdrie took on that responsibility. Wild Pink Yonder, a breast cancer fundraiser involving a wagon train from Cochrane to just outside Edmonton, relied on the co-operation of agricultural societies along the way to help organize lunches, care for the animals and find a piece of land to camp on during the three-week-long trek this past July. ADAS partners with several organizations including Airdrie Pro Rodeo. The society sponsors cash prizes and buckles and member-volunteers assist with events and infield maintenance. ADAS also sponsors junior rodeo events.

“That’s our future,” says Brenda Moon, newly elected president of the ADAS and rodeo committee member for more than 10 years. In addition, ADAS hosts the Ranch Hand Competition, an amateur team competition which involves five events – cattle penning, cattle doctoring, cattle sorting, cattle loading and branding, and gives spectators a first-hand look at what happens on a working cattle ranch. ADAS, among others, sponsors prizes (in the form of cash, scholarships and RESPs) for the Canada’s Richest Youth Steer and Heifer Progress Show held at the Cow Palace in Olds each May. And each August for the past 45 years, the community has enjoyed the Airdrie and District Fall Fair – an old time country fair sponsored by ADAS and held at the Plainsmen Arena. Entries such as flowers, vegetables, baking, photog-


raphy, artwork, handicrafts, woodworking, scrapbooking and quilting, as well as children’s categories such as Lego and arts and crafts, are judged and then placed on display for the public to enjoy. In keeping with its involvement with youth, ADAS sponsors 4-H programs in the Airdrie area. The society focuses on leadership but leaves it up to the individual club to let them know what funding is needed. “It’s a fabulous organization,” says Moon. ADAS also administers its own annual scholarship program consisting of two awards: one Agriculture scholarship and one Non-Agricultural Studies scholarship. Applicants must have graduated from a high school in Airdrie within the previous 12 months and be attending an accredited postsecondary institution. The award, valued at $1,000, is based on academic achievement and extracurricular activities and is applied to the first year of studies. There is a short essay component to the application (deadline: Sept. 15 each year). Other recipients of ADAS support have included Meals on Wheels, Communities in Bloom, and the Optimist Club. ADAS was also instrumental in founding the Airdrie Home and Garden Fair 32 years ago and remains involved as a participant in the event held each April. With an excellent track record of community involvement, ADAS is looking toward a bright and expanded future housed in a new facility constructed on 150 acres of land two miles west of Airdrie on Big Hill Springs Road and the SE corner of RR14. “We are in the land use re-designation process and believe we’ll start development in 2010,” says Moon. ADAS has identified needs. “We’ve spo-

ken with over 80 possible users of this area and asked them what they would need and how would they be able to help us build it or operate it, that kind of thing,” says Moon. Agricultural societies receive an annual grant from the provincial government to cover the cost of agricultural functions.“However,” says Moon, “when it comes to funding for something like our new facility, that’s another story. That’s where partnerships come in – corporate partnerships, public partnerships, private partnerships – we’ll leave no stone unturned.” Moon is pleased with the interest and support shown by the business sector. There is excitement in the new development but also responsibility. “It’s a bare quarter ... native prairie,” says Moon. “We’re all feeling such a stewardship of the land. To find that kind of land so close to Airdrie had been a tremendous boon for us.” The new complex will include facilities for equine, recreation, livestock, rodeo and other uses. The Rodeo grounds will move to the new facility. There are plans to build a barn complex with an outdoor rodeo arena and a covered grandstand that can be used for a variety of events. The plan includes a large area for parking and trailers as well as a seasonal shortterm RV park with a maximum stay of two weeks, operating from April to October. “It’s a fabulous location transportation-wise” says Moon, “just off QE2 and Big Hill Springs, close to the airport.” Another aspect of the development will be a heritage farming site which will be based on Irricana’s Pioneer Acres. ADAS, which once operated City Slickers Harvest in Airdrie, hasn’t decided if the heritage farm will include combining, threshing etc. but it will allow urban residents to enjoy a farm expe-

rience. Development around a catchment pond will include nature trails so visitors can walk, hike and ride. The new facility will encompass all aspects of rodeo – Airdrie Rodeo, Police Rodeo, bull riding, specialized events, amateur cowboy associations and barrel racing. Each group has specific needs but the facility will provide a way for the general public to access their event. The space will be available to anyone or any group who has a program that would fit into the venue.“This place has to be multi-use. It has to be sustainable. That’s our mantra,” says Moon. Moon came to the ADAS five years ago, after realizing through her involvement with Airdrie Pro Rodeo that the rodeo grounds, currently on city land, would have to be re-located by 2012. She has committed her energy to address that need within the larger project of developing a multi-use agricultural facility for the entire community. Asked why she stays involved, Moon says, “We’ve never tried to raise 35 million dollars. It’s a challenge. It’s keeping me energized; it’s keeping me excited about doing something like this. This has really captured my imagination.” ADAS is governed by a board of directors, chosen each May at the annual general meeting, which includes a president, four vice-presidents (finance, agriculture, special projects and operations) and a group of directors at large. The society has a recording secretary and the vice-president with the finance mandate acts as treasurer. Membership, at a cost of $2 per year, is open to everyone with an interest in ADAS projects and interests. ADAS meets the fourth Monday of every month at the Alberta Agriculture Centre. New members are welcome. The next meetLIFE ing is Sept. 28, 2009. Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 67


COMMUNITY | Rural Roots

Agricultural

Artifacts

A rural curiosity creates incredible photo ops for our new contributor Carl Patzel STORY AND PHOTOS BY CARL PATZEL


COMMUNITY | Rural Roots

P

art museum, part fabrication shop and home to a collection of curious items and wagons of all types, this picturesque place easily draws your eye. Situated at the corner of Highway 566 and Range Road 13, it’s tough to miss a metallic, skeleton Ghost Rider, a gigantic Colt 45 pistol, several combines and tractors, and wagons of all sizes, ages and stages of completion. According to the owner (who would like to remain anonymous), the western curiosity village gets business through word of mouth, those just passing by or anyone looking for a farm motif to decorate their front yard. “It’s not actually a business; it’s just kind of a hobby,“ says the owner and fabricator/ restorer of most of the homestead items. “I farm for a living and just do it for acreages.” Despite that low-key approach, the outfit has sold 68 complete wagons over the past four years (including 12 already this year) to country-style collectors across Alberta. It is also a one-stop shopping centre for wagon wheels and other odds and ends. But the wagon train doesn’t stop there. Several items display stylized poems, including the Ghost Rider which displays the warning: Bones and Boots that shake

70 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


and rattle, Loud enough to spook the cattle, Heading for a wreck, Twisted bones and broken necks, The Ghost Rider goes by to the roundup in the sky. The metallic cowboy is joined by a plastic-ribbed bull complete with real skull and horns, and a giant- sized Colt 45 pistol that, at one time, shot flames and smoke. That item was constructed for a display at Sharp Hill, the location of the only stage coach robbery in Alberta’s western history. The oversized model duplicated a Colt 45 used during that hold up. Also hard to miss, even at 80 kilometres per hour, is a mannequin sheriff who sits at the reins of a chuckwagon just across the fence from the hustling traffic along Highway 566. “We used to have a sheriff sitting on top of the gun and he used to move around when we fired the shots. So we took him off and set him on the chuckwagon.” Old caterpillar combines, several antique hand plows, tractors and numerous wooden and metal wheels are scattered throughout the piece of land. But that’s not all. It takes just a short walk to find something new in LIFE this rural-artifact storehouse. MORE LIFE ONLINE

SEE MORE OF CARL’S PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THIS STORY AT AIRDRIELIFE.COM

Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 71


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Building on Faith | 81

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Homes | Real Estate

Bonnie Wegerich with a sign of the times in Airdrie –“Sold”

Airdrie market bucks the trends and shows consumer confidence Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Sergei Belski

T

he recession might be hanging on by its fingernails in Alberta, but Airdrie’s real estate market is still managing to buck the trend and set records. July 2009 was the local market’s busiest July ever, according to statistics compiled by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) and the City of Airdrie. And this activity also flew in the face of what is generally a slow month for home sales. “Usually, we see the sales activity slow down a bit in June, and that didn’t happen; it was the busiest month in two years,” Alan Tennant, a local realtor with Re/Max, said in a press release. “So we would expect a bit of a slowdown in July, and instead we set an all-time record for MLS sales in Airdrie for the month.” The statistics indicated there were 113 MLS sales in July, up from 88 in July 2008. June 2009 MLS sales numbered 115. The average sale price for homes in Airdrie in July was $322,000. The CREB and the City also reported 53 new single-family home construction permits were issued in July, up from 28 for the same month in 2008. These stats indicate Airdrie is weathering the economic storm well, says CREB president Bonnie Wegerich of Airdrie-based Cen74 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

tury 21 Castlewood Agencies. “I think Airdrie’s real estate market is reflective of Calgary’s … which was really slow earlier in the year and has now picked up,” she says. “We are in a balanced market now.” By “balanced market,” Wegerich means the Calgary-Airdrie area currently has less than three-and-a-half months of real estate inventory, compared to 11 months of inventory that was sitting around back in January. Factors that have helped to keep Airdrie an attractive place to buy a home include affordability (the average MLS sale price for July 2009 in Calgary was $395,000, compared to Airdrie’s average of $322,000), recent commercial development in the region and improved access to Calgary for those commuting between the cities. “You can get more of a house here than you do in Calgary [for the price] … it’s what’s in the affordable range that’s moving faster,” Wegerich says. “It’s fairly even across the board, all across town; the newer areas like Sagewood and Reunion for the newer homes, for example, but if you go into the upper-end homes there has been sales in Cooper’s Crossing, too. “But first-time buyers are still driving the market.”

The recently opened CrossIron Mills megamall just south of the city at Balzac is also having an impact, she says.“I would think that CrossIron Mills will be great … adding a lot of jobs,” Wegerich says. The market is also looking forward to the long-awaited completion of the northwest and northeast legs of Calgary’s Stoney Trail bypass, which is scheduled to open in November. Wegerich says it will be a boon for Airdrionians who work in the northwest, northeast and southeast quadrants of Calgary. Although final statistics for August had not yet been released at press time, the strong showing of Airdrie’s real estate market appeared set to continue. As of Aug. 13, there were 285 MLS listings in the local market, which Tennant indicated was a higher showing than August 2008, which had a total of 482 listings for the month. Tennant, in his press release, says Airdrie continues to lead the way as a community that bucks the downturn in real estate being seen elsewhere. “Without any fanfare, our local real estate market continues to be a healthy picture of stability, and even setting a few records along LIFE the way,” he said.


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Homes | Gardening

A long

winter’s nap Story By Anne Beaty

Prepping your garden for winter is worth the work

Y

es, it is a bit depressing, but it’s that time of year to start thinking about prepping the garden for winter. The flowers may still be in full bloom (or they may not – the growing season in this area is notorious for its unpredictability), but there are still things that can be done to ensure a great garden next year. First comes cleanup. If there are any thick, heavy falls of leaves, these need to be cleared away, as well as any weeds, debris and diseased plant material. This ensures that pests can’t find a place to overwinter. Non-diseased leaves and plant material may be saved for the compost pile or dug directly into the soil. As well, annuals can stay in the ground over the winter.

76 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

“Most of the really good gardeners recommend that you leave what’s in there in there,” says Frog Hollow Garden Center’s Ruth Gibbons. “You can dig your annuals [out] in the spring.” Any perennials that are becoming overcrowded can be divided now and transplanted to other parts of the garden or, of course, given away to fellow gardening enthusiasts. Perennials can be either cut back or left unpruned, with dead material acting as protection for the plant until spring, when the plant can be trimmed and cleaned up as new growth appears. However, it is important to ensure that none of the dead leaves are infested by pests, because this could mean an infestation come next growing season.

Fall is also the time to plant bulbs – daffodils, tulips, crocuses, hyacinths, alliums, some irises and lilies – for a wonderful, colourful welcome to spring (when it finally arrives). Trees, shrubs and perennials may be planted as late as October or early November, Gibbons says, providing they go into the ground before the first really hard freeze-up and are well watered. Autumn is an ideal time to prune trees and shrubs, according to the experts at Blue Grass Nursery and Garden Centre, as pruning a plant when it is dormant is less stressful than during the growing season. This allows for the removal of dead, diseased or damaged wood. Winter-sensitive plants need to be protected from the harsh Alberta weather, so


Cathy Falcione, AMP Blue Grass suggests that such plants as tea roses and cedars be wrapped or covered. Composting should be done both in the spring and the fall and even small spaces can benefit from the addition of nutrient-rich compost material. “If you top dress, it works its way down,” Gibbons says. Mulching is another essential practice. Mulch is an excellent insulator for plant roots and the surrounding soil, as well as acting as a weed barrier. The experts at Blue Grass say that fall is the perfect time to build up mulch, as it not only helps protect plants from becoming dried out by the winter sun and wind, but also keeps soil from freezing and thawing throughout the winter, a cycle that can be stressful for plants. The mulch then continues its job during the growing season, aiding moisture retention, keeping out weeds and ultimately breaking down and adding nutrients to the soil. The type of mulch used – including shredded pine, chipped cedar, bark, straw and landscape rocks – is a matter of personal preference, depending on the look that is wanted. “Wood is more natural and the wood does break down on its own,” Gibbons says. Just before the ground freezes completely, Blue Grass staff recommend a thorough watering of gardens and planting areas. The water will then freeze around the roots, creating an ice cube that protects the roots from extreme temperature changes. And next year when spring does make its appearance, Gibbons reminds gardeners to have patience, as the roots of the plants are still programmed to grow, despite weather to the contrary. “A lot of people didn’t show a lot of patience this year,” she says. “They keep thinking that because there’s nothing showing in June, [the plant] is dead.” Blue Grass is planning to host a seminar in September. For more information, check the website at: www.blueLIFE grassnursery.com.

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Homes | Personal Style AirdrieLIFE asked photographer Kristy Reimer to turn the camera inward on her own home. Here are her favourite images and her thoughts on what makes her home style unique. Says Kristy: I had to laugh a little bit when Sherry asked if I would take some pictures of my home because I definitely don’t have a high-end “magazine” home. It’s a colourful place though, which I’ve put my mark on, and am always happy to come home to.

In Focus 1 1 My inspiration. I have always loved orange and brown, and when I was searching for paint chips to add some spice to our very beige home, I came across this photo of a bedroom in Home Hardware. I fell in love with the orange, brown and green theme and decided this is what the living room/dining room open concept area would be based on. 2 Living room 3 My in-laws recently travelled to Thailand and brought back these pillow covers for us. 4 I was originally going to paint the dining room walls orange, but I freaked out when I held up a painted colour-test board to the wall. The orange chairs give just that little punch of colour I was looking for without being overpowering. 5 We had my husband’s sister design an island to fit the kitchen space. It was brought out all of the way from Winnipeg, MB, disassembled in a van. It’s handy to have family in the kitchen industry. 6 I knew the stairs down into my studio would be a high-traffic area, and I really didn’t want to carpet them, so we gave our very first tiling project a go! It was a lot more work than I thought it would be, but worth it in the end. 7 This Vesta-built home has many art niches and ledges for decorating. I’ve been collecting old cameras, and they sit on a ledge as you go down into the studio. My favourite one, shown here, was found in my grandparents’ attic when their house was being cleaned out after they passed away. 8 I wanted to create a relaxing, cozy atmosphere with warm and rich colors. It’s a cheery “welcome home”. 78 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

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6 WANT TO SHARE YOU PERSONAL HOME STYLE WITH OUR READERS? GO TO AIRDRIELIFE.COM AND TELL US ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOUR HOME STYLE UNIQUE. YOU COULD HAVE A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER VISIT YOUR HOME!

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Laurence Ray and son Kevin are ready to get to work

HoMeS | Habitat for Humanity

Building ON Faith Airdrie Faith Build brings the first Habitat for Humanity Project to Airdrie sTory By anne BeaTy | PHoTo By sergei Belski a liTTle faiTH goes a long Way.

Thanks to the passion of long-time Airdrie resident Linda Ray and a group of dedicated supporters, Airdrie Faith Build is on its way to becoming a reality. The initiative, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity (H4H) Calgary, is aiming to provide sustainable housing for needy families in Airdrie, starting with one single-family home. “It’s a very exciting project,” Ray says. The idea for a local Habitat for Humanity project was born when Ray and fellow parishioners at Faith Community Baptist Church were discussing social action and the meaning of social consciousness in the community, at both local and global levels.

“We knew that we needed to make a difference in our local community,” Ray says. Thinking about some of the initiatives around the globe that work to provide homes for people in need, Ray realized that even in Airdrie affordable housing topped the list of necessities in the community. “We’re all on the planet together,” Ray says, “and we need to provide for our families.” With that in mind, she and her group decided to see if they could partner with an existing program to address the local requirements. As such, Habitat for Humanity Calgary became a willing and able partner. “They’ve been tremendous,” Ray says. Habitat for Humanity – which was

founded in Georgia in 1976, came to Canada in 1985 and has built 300,000 homes globally to date – is aimed at providing safe, decent, affordable shelter for people in need of housing. “Habitat’s purpose is to end the cycle of poverty through providing for families,” Ray says. H4H involves the family from the beginning. The homes built are not free. Potential families – low-income, with children – must go through a strict screening process. Family members must volunteer 500 hours building the home. They also take home ownership classes and financial planning courses – in other words, they are prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with owning a home. Once the home is built, under strict Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 81


Homes | Habitat for Humanity

H4H architectural guidelines to help it fit into the neighbourhood, the family members are responsible for the mortgage; however, they don’t actually own the home until the mortgage is completely paid out. And the mortgage they pay helps to build other homes in the Calgary area. “This is a family that invests in their own future,” Ray says. “These families, they are good neighbours. They are going to take care of their homes.” “It’s a hand up,” says Ray’s husband, Laurence,“not a handout.” Kent Rupert, City of Airdrie economic development team leader, agrees. “The neat thing about this program is it’s not a giveaway,” Rupert says. “There’s such a pride with that.” By helping families take pride in home ownership, put down roots in the community and find a sense of stability, the H4H concept goes far beyond one generation. “This allows their children better hope for the future,” Linda says. From the City of Airdrie’s perspective, Habitat for Humanity is a great fit with the community. “People are dealing with issues around affordable housing,” Rupert says. “Habitat is a fantastic organization.” Rupert knows of what he speaks. In August, 2008, he and his wife, Sheri Reed, volunteered with H4H in Costa Rica. After having applied to the program and being chosen, they headed south for a week of hard work, digging holes, putting in pilings and erecting walls. “It was an amazing, amazing experience. There’s so much emotion and people-power [put] into it,” he says. “We’re thinking about doing another build.” From the beginning, the Airdrie Faith Build concept has met with positive response. The organizing group realized that it would take more than “just a few people in a local church” to see the initiative through, Laurence says, but what could have been an obstacle – getting people involved – became a huge measure of the community’s support. In the first year, $50,000 of the necessary $250,000 has been raised and businesses far and wide have stepped up to the plate with en82 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

thusiasm, donating everything from appliances to trees and sod, from funds to electrical and plumbing work. Group building days on-site, or ‘Adopt-A-Days’, have also proved popular. “We’ve got a lot of the corporate world that are donating their time,” Laurence says. The next step is to secure a lot, after which construction can begin and the family can start investing ‘sweat equity’ into their new home. Those wishing to support Airdrie Faith Build may do so in several ways, from donating funds to volunteering at the building site. While corporate sponsorship is always needed and much appreciated, individuals can do their part, too. “They could have a garage sale and donate the proceeds to Habitat,” Linda says. “Everybody can be involved.” While H4H Calgary is the umbrella organization under which Airdrie Faith Build is running, any funds raised in the community are put toward the local project. “All the money raised in Airdrie stays in Airdrie,” Laurence says.

The Airdrie Faith Build second annual fundraiser, Diamonds and Denim, will be held Nov. 13 at Woodside Golf Course. The $100-per-plate evening, which is limited to 100 people, is highlighted by the chance to find a diamond in a glass of champagne (the other 99 are zircons). The ‘denim’ part of the event’s name is a reference to the actual construction portion of the initiative. The evening consists of a sit-down meal, with cash bar, and silent auction. While Airdrie Faith Build has received a heartening initial response from the community, Linda, Laurence and everyone else involved in the project are hoping to see that momentum continue, in order to help a local family secure a bright future. “It’s not just a house, it’s a home,” Rupert LIFE says.“It’s a home of love.” For more information on Airdrie Faith Build or the

Diamonds and Denim fundraiser, call Laurence Ray at 403-540-3438. For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit www.habitatcalgary.ca

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Homes | Builder Profile

Walter Steingart is the passion and brains behind the House of Jabez

Jabez

House of

Area builder discovers compassion among peers in a very special project

T

he House of Jabez is a home built to help others. Built in Carstairs, once sold the proceeds will support struggling kids in Ethiopia and provide them with an essential education at two schools in the country. All it took was a creative yet simple idea from Walter Steingart who took what he did for a living as a home builder and turned it into a successful way to raise money for a cause he was passionate about. “My vision was just to see what we could do,” Steingart says, adding he was completely shocked when he realized how many people were willing to offer their services to help out. The original plan was to get some businessmen in Steingart’s network to invest money for the house to be built. Once the house was sold the investors would get their money back, just without any interest. The money from the investors didn’t come right away; instead, people started to approach Steingart and ask him who was doing what in the house. As word of mouth spread, help came in the form of free or wholesale materials and labour. Much to Steingart’s disbelief, things like the cribbing, plumbing, heating and cabinets were provided for free. The windows were supplied wholesale and the realtors

Story and photos by Krysta Remington

offered to sell the home at no charge. Even the not-so-good economy was a positive in this process, according to House of Jabez president Vince Kostesky. He says the timing worked out because the labourers were not as busy and could donate their time. Steingart mentions how touched he was when a man he had only met once gave him “all the lumber in the entire house for free – just wild,” adding, “It just kept on going and going.” John Deregt from Wolf Creek Building Supply was that man. He describes it as a simple decision.“Walter came in with the idea and it seemed like a good one.” To show his appreciation for all the generous contributors to the House of Jabez, Steingart held a banquet for all of them in June. The banquet opened with a hard-hitting video by singer Sarah McLachlan called World on Fire. Demonstrating how the $150,000 it normally costs to make a video can help 1,000,000 people around the world, it provided a number of comparisons, such as the cost of production assistants on set for a day to school fees for 100 Ethiopian children for one term. It served well in getting Steingart’s message across.

Following the video was a slide show of pictures from Steingart’s own trip to Ethiopia, when he met some of the kids he would be helping. His speech afterward was an emotional and endearing one and as he started to choke up he said,“I always get very emotional when it comes to kids, and the kids you saw are the ones I held.” Steingart, who had never taken on such a project, says he has always had a “great interest in people that can’t make it on their own.” What took Steingart from wanting to help to actually doing it was someone asking him what he had done in his life that made a difference. Reflecting on this, Steingart says he’d “done some stuff, but what [had] I done to tell my grandchildren about?” Now he can tell his grandchildren he helped build two schools in Addis Ababa and Nekempt, Ethiopia that will encompass clinics and kitchens, too. The schools teach up to grade eight and then focus on job training. The qualification to attend these schools is a family income of less than $6 a month. Steingart says the intent is to help those who don’t have many options. “Without an education they’ll be dead before they’re 20.” Right now both schools are being funded Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 83


Dealing with an adjuster and contractor for your insurance claim shouldn’t be puzzling.

HoMeS | Builder Profile

enough to operate, but they are in rented facilities and if the landlord discovered the funds were coming from western sources, the rent would increase dramatically, Steingart says. In order to help secure their future, the goal is to purchase new land or build on old facilities for both schools, as well as provide funds for the coming years. Steingart says these efforts “may not be world-changing, but community changing.” LIFE

Lindsay Marr recently gained 54 kids in her extended family after her father Phil Nordin funded a school in Ethiopia for her called Lindsay’s Hope

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This April marked the opening of another school for orphans. Located in rural nekempt, Ethiopia, this school was made possible by the pastor at Walter Steingart’s church. Phil nordin accompanied Steingart on his trip to Ethiopia and financially supported the house of Jabez project as well. The school is called Lindsay’s hope and is dedicated to nordin’s daughter, Lindsay marr. marr has lived with epilepsy since she was in grade eight, but says after she had a seizure at her own wedding shower, “my dad was angry and said that for every second that seizure lasted, he would save a child’s life.” nordin was already helping out a school when he decided to name it after his daughter. Whether it’s coincidence or fate, marr says her seizure lasted 57 seconds; the school has 58 kids. “I’ve seen the films, I’ve seen the pictures, but it is completely different to actually be there,” marr says. She now has a growing adopted family that will be financially supported by marr and her husband, as well as the church.


Homes | Builder Profile

Vesta take a new approach to create a traditional neighbourhood

Artist’s rendering of some of the townhomes planned for Williamstown that evoke a heritage feel Image Courtesy Vesta Properties

Williamstown Discovery Centre This fall, the innovative Discovery

Centre for Williamstown, Airdrie’s newest community, will be open to the public for pre-sales and to highlight its unique features. Vesta Properties, the developer behind Williamstown, wants the Discovery Centre to be different from the showhome parades that have become the norm. Instead, it will take an interactive approach with kiosks, artist renderings, interactive screens and animations to create a fun and exciting experience for the whole family. Rather than focusing on floor plans and lots, the Discovery Centre will be“more about the neighbourhood you are purchasing into and focuses more on the community,” Judy Rohatyn, sales and marketing manager for Vesta Properties, explains. Just off of Veteran’s Boulevard and 8th Street in the northwest part of Airdrie will soon be the 160 acres of Williamstown, the community that wants to connect its homeowners with nature. Nose Creek Environmental Reserve runs right through it, which is 43 and a half acres of green space that will

never be developed. “The environmental reserve is a huge selling feature,” Rohatyn says. It will provide people living in the community with open views and kilometres of trails that connect with the City of Airdrie’s pathways as well. To embrace the friendly neighbourhood atmosphere Williamstown will have a future school site, a central clock tower, an impressive entrance feature, lots of playgrounds and a pond. For a minimal annual fee, Williamstown residents become members of a Residents Association to ensure the integrity and quality of the community remains as intended. Even though it is a new community it is “centred around preserving the heritage and culture of Airdrie, while protecting the environment,” Rohatyn says. Vesta Properties is working with the city to put up interpretive signage throughout the environmental reserve that educates people on the ecosystem and the environmental reserve itself. “The look and feel of the community is based on Arts and Crafts architecture,” Rohatyn describes, ensuring a cohesive and

By Krysta Remington

complementary look throughout the community. Architectural controls will be in place to maintain the heritage feel. With a variety of price points and home sizes, Williamstown will have something for everyone, whether it is empty nesters looking to downsize or first-time buyers. There will be townhomes and single-family homes with options for garages, walk-out basements and lots that back right onto the environmental reserve. For a better idea of the different styles and sizes, four fully furnished showhomes will be coming soon. Everyone’s first stop into the new community will be at the impressive Discovery Centre, acting as an information centre (at least until all the phases of homes are sold). “We want people to use it as a destination. People will love coming in,” Rohatyn says. Homeowners spend a lot of time purchasing a home and it is a major life decision, so “the Discovery Centre will be an exciting opportunity to allow them to experience the community,” Rohatyn adds. With all the kiosks and animations it hopes to be a fun stop LIFE for children too. Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 85


Raving about Ravenswood

Qualico puts a spin on their newest community in Airdrie

The NuVista Devonshire, at 2,013 square feet, has a spacious master suite, a kitchen with an oversized granite island (perfect for two cooks) and maple built-in bookshelves around the great room fireplace. The main floor is covered in rustic red alder flooring

86 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

The McKee Ballymartin, at 2,278 square feet, provides ample room with a flex/study space with built-in cherry cabinets adjacent to the maple staircase that features convex stair treads. The master ensuite features his and her sinks, granite counters and a soaker tub while the master bedroom is finished with such details as cove moulding in the ceiling and built-in speakers


No wonder everyone is raving; McKee Homes, Pacesetter Homes, Broadview Homes and NuVista Homes have outdone themselves presenting four distinctive and lively options for your next home

The Pacesetter San Marino with 2,204 square feet of style. The bonus room has a cathedral ceiling and multiple windows, and the kitchen features granite counters and a butler’s pantry. All the bedrooms are bright and spacious for a growing family

Broadview Homes’ Manhattan, at 2,258 square feet, fills every square inch with extras – the master suite has his and her sinks, granite counters and a soaker tub. The kitchen features a curved granite island and the spacious master suite with sitting room is topped with a painted tray ceiling for extra style. All showhomes are located in Ravenswood in southwest Airdrie

See more photos online at airdrielife.com


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City Growing Plans | 90

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100 Things | 96 Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE


QE ll

TWP. RD. 274

RGE. RD. 290

DICKSON/STEVENSON

cIty | future

567

RGE. RD. 13

567

CITY OF AIRDRIE

RGE. RD. 292

BIG HILL SPRING RD

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BALZAC WEST AREA STRUCTURE PLAN

QE ll

BALZAC EAST AREA STRUCTURE PLAN

Proposed Growth Boundary

Adopted Municipal District of Rocky View

City of Airdrie Boundary

Municipal District of Rocky View - Airdrie Proposed Growth 90 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

January 2009

January 2009 Scale: nts June 2009

Scale: nts Scale: nts

PHoTo CourTesy CiTy of airDrie


Growing

Plans Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison

The City of Airdrie keeps an eye on the lay of the land

Here we grow again.

With Airdrie’s residential and industrial growth starting to push toward the existing city limits, the City of Airdrie and Rocky View County are starting to discuss options for future growth. Last summer, the two governments unveiled a preliminary concept for potential future expansion of Airdrie’s boundaries. Airdrie’s rapid growth over the past few years has pushed ahead thoughts of adding to the city’s land holdings, says Mayor Linda Bruce. “Ideally, the City likes to have a 30-year land supply,” she explains.“Typically, when you get to the 15-year [point], you go back into an annexation discussion with your neighbour. Our last annexation was in 2003, but here we are six years later and looking at diminished land supply, so we want to enter into discussion with our neighbour with regard to their growth and our growth in the future.” Annexation discussions are rarely quick. Calgary’s most recent annexation in 2007 took several years to finalize, and amendments were made to the city’s proposed boundary changes before the map was finally redrawn. The annexation placed Calgary’s border next to that of Balzac and CrossIron Mills, leading to speculation as to whether the city limits of Calgary and Airdrie could soon meet. This is unlikely to happen in the near future, as Airdrie is looking to expand north, west and east, says Bruce.

“There’s less complication by choosing not to go south,” she says.“The County made it clear that they truly want to create a community at Balzac, so to push south would be a problem for them. “We could choose to go south and spend a lot of years in mediation, or we can choose to work as two communities and respect each other.” The early annexation proposal is part of the process of the County and City developing a new Intermunicipal Development Plan, says Shelly McIntosh, a planner with the City of Airdrie. “We’ve come to discuss where Airdrie may grow in the future and where the [County] of Rocky View wishes to develop,” she says. “But before we wanted to begin the formal annexation process, we wanted to get some public feedback.” That’s why earlier in the summer, public open houses unveiling the concept were held in both Airdrie and Balzac, attracting landowners whose holdings could be affected by future annexation. “I’m interested to see what they think is a reasonable timeline for [annexing] these areas,” Peter Miller, who recently moved from Airdrie proper to the outskirts, said during the Airdrie open house last June. “I always knew it was a potential expansion area, and I’m just curious.” Miller says one concern is about development density.“Obviously, my home is there, so

I want to make sure it’s among other homes, but not too dense,” he says. At the Airdrie open house, Ron Hanson pointed out more than a half-dozen parcels of land he owns both inside the dotted red line denoting the proposed annexation area, and outside. His concerns include regional water supply, as well as the influence the City of Calgary has on development plans within the Calgary Regional Partnership. Larus Thorarinson owns land just off the QEII highway north of Airdrie. He said his concern is the potential impact of annexation on taxes. “It’s nice to be annexed into the city of Airdrie, but once you rezone the land into something like residential … the taxes could go up,” he says. “It’s okay to be annexed into the city, but you don’t want to be paying high taxes.” Bruce says hearing concerns such as these (she attended the Airdrie open house) is why the two governments decided to unveil the proposals now, rather than holding an open house “after it’s a done deal. “As long as we’re discussing the possibilities, we have the ability to work with landowners and with their issues,” she says. Bruce says the current plan is for the County and City to complete the new Intermunicipal Development Plan in 2009, and begin formal LIFE annexation discussions in 2010. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

GO TO AIRDRIELIFE.COM AND TELL US WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS ARE ON THE CITY’S GROWTH

Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 91


City | Column

CityLIFE By Carl Patzel

New in Town

L

oading up the truck and moving to Airdrie, we didn’t expect movies stars or even swimming pools.

What we found though was much more sparkling and inviting than some Hollywood hills. Having had enough of the bubbling crude of Fort McMurray, we went searching for a place with a small-town atmosphere and big-city qualities. After much searching, Airdrie proved the ticket. Now change can be stressful in itself, but toss relocation into the salad and it’s easy to become wilted. Moving is a lot like war – there are always casualties and a few wounds to patch up during and after the battle. What ultimately helped us get through that stressful event was arriving in a new community full of friendly people, courteous retailers and residents with an overall great attitude. During the transition, and house-hunting trips (with agreeable realtor/chauffeur/tour guide in tow), motel staff treated us like we owned the place, exceptionally welcoming restaurants became second homes, and local furniture warehouse staff began to know us on a first-name basis, chatting with us like lifelong friends despite the fact we owed them money. 92 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Heaping helping of hospitality aside, we soon found Airdrie has plenty to offer. First there’s the natural beauty of the surrounding country: majestic views of fields flowing green through the foothills only to be separated from the glowing blue skies by the snow-capped spikes of the Rocky Mountains. My photographic eye was also drawn to the area wildlife. On a daily basis you can spot Great Blue Heron, mother ducks escorting their young around the interconnecting storm-water ponds, Canada Geese, coyotes (though not admired as much as cartoonfamed Wile. E. Coyote), fox, deer and even moose roaming the city streets. You’re never really sure what nature-world creature will be around the next corner. But what ultimately makes a community a home are the people. Coming from a place where quality customer service was never the number-one goal, we were enthralled by the reception received wherever we went. From hotels, where you could exchange ideas with fellow patrons or servers over breakfast, to even being asked if you needed help finding an item at a big-box store (believe me, that was a jaw dropper). Not only are we delighted and amazed to get a

good morning while taking our pooch on his daily sniff fest, but the morning walk proves a good venue for a morning discussion about coyotes, the weather or life in general. We are already on a first-name basis with Chloe the Golden Retriever, and the black-bodied, short-legged, tail- wagging Ozzy. Then there’s the community pitch-in spirit. A helping hand shovelling snow on the corner lot – after this last winter I went shopping for a chiropractor – and neighbours pulling together while clearing ponds for young hockey players and figure skaters to blade away a brilliant winter day. This summer we hacked our way around the nicely groomed golf course, visited the affordable and welcoming activity centre, and have been seen on several occasions to spend a couple of hours in the local antique mall. Through volunteerism we witnessed residents giving back to the community with participation at events such as the Airdrie Rodeo and Alberta 55-Plus Summer Games. Community associations have hosted barbeques just to meet fellow neighbours. There’s plenty to be attracted to Airdrie, and as the months living here turn into years, I’m sure that feeling will just grow. We’re sure to set a spell, take our shoes off and thank Airdrie for kindly letting us drop in. I LIFE think we’re going to stay a while.


100years

cIty | Centennial

Captured on

Camera Creating the Centennial commemorative DVD Story By ellen kelly | PHoto By krISty reIMer

W

hat happens when you have hundreds of photographs, hours of interviews, metres of old 16 mm film and free rein to turn it into a centennial video? If you’re Rob Ing, you work very hard for months and months, sifting and sorting, finding pictures that complement interview clips, reproducing film so it works with still shots, begging for more pictures, taking more photographs, recording video, editing, choosing audio to match, and you end up with a small masterpiece of living history. Ing’s business, Rob Ing Productions, produces corporate training and promotional videos as well as promotional video for non-profit organizations. “But this project was unique,” says Ing, “because it’s a documentary.” He first became involved when asked to make a video archive of the interviews conducted by Anna Rebus, author of Airdrie 1909-2009, the Centennial history book. The idea of a centennial video project and the DVD spun off from there.

“We started shooting in June of 2008 … I needed about an hour per person,” says Ing.“Anna asked the questions and we let it roll.” Ing studied clips from the interviews and photographs collected by the Historical Committee and from the Glenbow Museum as the project took shape. The call for more photos and especially old film footage went out and was answered by the community. The topic of the video project came up at a bridge game – someone knew a family with old footage on 16 mm film. The Watson family gave Ing the canisters and the search was on for a 16 mm projector that would show them. “The film was so old that I couldn’t run it on the projector reel because the splices would break. I ended up spooling it onto the floor, recording it in high definition with my camera, and then re-spooling it by hand,” says Ing. It was returned to the family along with a DVD of the films. Ing shot the recent live footage himself.“We tried to include young people, too, so it was well-rounded,” says Ing. The hardest part was matching the visuals to the interview clips and narrowing it down to tell a story. Halfway through the project, talented editor Kasper Jorgensen joined Ing to help move the project forward. “And the easiest part was looking at the old footage and realizing what great material we had; that and listening to the people talk, the stories,” says Ing. “When you find the right sound track and put the video overtop, it pulls at your heart strings. The whole thing comes together. I’m totally pleased with the direction it went.” Ing hopes that everyone who remembers growing up in a small town – the farming, the dirt roads, the old cars – will see their experience in the video. It’s about community. He would like to thank the City of Airdrie for putting their trust in him and giving him artistic control over the project. About the Centennial, he says,“The community is alive – congratulations to everyone who has made Airdrie the place that it is today.” The Airdrie 1909–2009 Commemorative DVD can be purchased LIFE for $5 at City Hall.

WIN ONE OF 100 dvdS. Be one of the first 100 visitors to airdrielife.com to win your own copy of the Centennial dvd starting Sept. 10th! Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 93


City | Inside City Hall Jill Iverson (l) and Tara Richards have fun showing the sometimes chaotic side of their jobs

Central Communications

Keeping the public informed is a big responsibility Story and photo by Krysta Remington

94 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


I

f you attended the Airdrie Pro Rodeo or the Home and Garden Fair this year, signed your kids up for soccer, or took a stroll through Nose Creek Park, you are involved in the community. The only way a community can run smoothly is with sufficient communication. The Communications Department at the City of Airdrie consists of two dynamic women who are responsible for a lot of the ways you connect with your community, whether you are aware of it or not. They are the ones in contact with the local media letting them know what events are going on throughout the city and what decisions are being made at city hall. “We pay taxes, too,” says Jill Iverson, adding the public should know that somebody from their community is working for them, and going through the same experiences. That applies even when it comes to driving through construction zones and the frustrations that come with that, she adds. Iverson is one half of the department and Tara Richards is the second half. The pair consider themselves what Iverson describes as “the go-betweens; passing information between the public and the departments” at the city and constantly working between the two. They work with the mayor and the council, as well as about 20 City departments including emergency, parks, public works, environmental services, utilities, finance, engineering and Genesis Place. With 33 press releases last year and 21 so far this year, plus the daily 80 or so e-mails, the numerous voicemails and three to five phone calls a week from media outlets, Richards and Iverson keep themselves very busy. Over time relationships have been built with media outlets such as the Airdrie Echo, Airdrie City View, the Range and AirdrieLIFE Magazine. Richards says it is refreshing to work with local media, because a mutual relationship develops, with both sides helping each other out. “What I love about communications is no day is the same,” Iverson says.“I enjoy the corporate culture here. It’s not what people would expect because they encourage you to take initiative in finding the best way and giving people the means to do it.” “It’s not bureaucratic with lots of red tape,” Richards adds, because city hall has “embraced a culture of entrepreneurial thinking.” On top of the events, reader boards, guides, newsletters and brochures, Iverson and Richards say they want to branch out into the social media world. Iverson says Twitter and Facebook are of interest because they “provide a different way to reach the city.” “The hardest part of the job is that it’s not all good news; there is bad news, too,” Iverson explains. “Those are tough because you get to know people in the community,” Richards says, adding you have to be considerate of the human factor.

In the past, the two have also done crisis communication practice through mock training. They have covered possible scenarios such as a pandemic and being cut off from Calgary, the water running out or what would happen if there was a chemical spill from a train or a truck. Richards knows how hard this would be in real life because “to keep it all business is one thing, but my family would be at home while I’m here,” she says. Due to their self-described open door policy, they have widened their personal social networks. “I definitely can’t go to the grocery store and not run into someone I know,” Richards says, adding she ends up filling people in at the rink or the school on what’s going on. Iverson and Richards find their weeknights and weekends full of activities and events to attend and take pictures at for the department. It gets them going to places and trying things they probably wouldn’t have considered if they worked anywhere else. Iverson recently went to a Nose Creek Park clean-up to take some pictures, “which I never would have gone to, but it was so interesting,” she says. There was an electro fishing demonstration at the end where they zapped the fish momentarily. All the kids there, including her daughter, got to see what kinds and sizes of fish are in the river. Iverson also went to a tree planting put on by the Airdrie Hawks Junior Forest Wardens and afterward was ready to sign her daughter up. Explaining the function of a communications department has become part of the job for Iverson and Richards because people sometimes have a misconception about of what a public relations job entails. “We’re not Samantha Jones from Sex and the City,” Richards jokes. Instead, the majority of their job is writing and graphic design. Writing and graphic design is not the first image that comes to most when they think of a public relations job, but Iverson and Richards are responsible for the City of Airdrie’s website, the e-newsletter, numerous brochures such as how-to manuals (e.g. how to develop your basement), the annual community report, the budget-at-a-glance report, press releases and much more. “I’ve lived in Airdrie my entire life, but I’ve never been as involved in my community as much as now,” Iverson explains, and she says since she started working with the communications department she has developed more community pride. “We use the parks and amenities too and want the same things,” Richards adds. Being such an important part of the community has made Iverson look at the city differently and she’s constantly thinking about things they could do better or what they should try next. Despite their busy schedules, deadline pressures and not always having good news to share with the public, Iverson and Richards say they manage to laugh every day and who better to connect the close-knit community of Airdrie than a pair with LIFE such great spirits. Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 95


100 cIty | Pride

POInTS OF PrIdE

Airdrie Transit: • Riding transit reduces emissions • Riding transit is sustainable • Riding transit is less expensive than driving a car • We help to increase social connectivity • Transit improves economic growth • Transit links the city • We help individuals with special needs to connect to the community Assessment, Finance and Strategic Planning: • We’re the best looking and the best dressed • We’re a three-time recipient of the GFOA Budget Award. It represents the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the award, the City had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well the City’s budget serves as a policy document, financial plan, operations guide and communications device • We’re a one-time recipient of the GFOA Canadian Award for Financial Reporting (CAnFR). The CAnFR award is presented to municipalities whose annual financial reports achieve the high program standards for Canadian Government accounting and financial reporting • Airdrie is the lowest of Alberta cities (excluding Calgary and Edmonton) for operating costs per capita based on 2007 financial results (provided by Alberta Municipal Affairs annual Benchmarks) • We’re in a healthy fi nancial position: operating Reserves at 7% of operating budget; positive net asset position • Our fully participatory budget process involves all levels of the organization. Comprehensive quarterly reporting includes narratives related to the status of annual business plans • We have proactive long-term planning facilities with a 10year plan, and effective debt management. • We’re also well within self-imposed debt limits as well as 96 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

The City of Airdrie is officially 100 years old. AirdrieLIFE has been celebrating the centennial all year and we thought it would be fun to turn our attention to a sampling of the 271 full-time and 189 part-time employees of the City. These people demonstrate a great sense of pride and community spirit (plus in some cases, humour!) when talking about some of their respective departments or areas within the City infrastructure. The simple exercise of “tell us the best things about what your department does for the city” produced 100 points of pride, some short and sweet, some more detailed, but all of them worthy of celebration!

MGA-imposed limits (2008 - 6.9% of operating revenue well within the self-imposed limit of 10%) • We have a successful cash and investment management plan, with a return of 3.7% on investments less than 1 year Benchmark 3.59%; return of 4.46% on Bonds greater than 1 year - Benchmark - 4.01%; total portfolio of $78.6MM • More than 50% of property owners participate in the monthly tax payment plan significantly improving the City’s cash flow, maintaining high tax collection rates • We have high quality assessments resulting in minimal tax appeals (2009 - 0.15% of total parcels; 2008 - 0.1% of total parcels) • Our payroll department successfully completed a payroll compliance audit to assess the organization’s readiness in the event that it is audited by Canada Revenue Agency. The results were very favourable, finding that “the City runs a compliant payroll process with only a few exceptions that pose no significant risk”

people and provide them opportunities to live full, vibrant lives • We believe that our interactions with individuals, groups and organizations have a positive impact on the well-being of our community • Airdrie has the best volunteers! Aside from everyone’s regular volunteer duties with their children’s sport groups and extra-curricular activities, as well as other volunteer commitments with various service groups, volunteers in the community have stepped up to the plate and are a major force in organizing some major events in 2009. Events such as Centennial, the Airdrie Regional Air Show and the Airdrie 55-Plus Games all require countless, selfless hours to make them exceptional for all attendees • Airdrie has phenomenal organizations and societies that help make our city a warm, welcoming, well-rounded community. These organizations fill in the gaps that City staff/schools and other forms of government can’t. (There are too many to mention ... you know who you are!)

Bert Church Live Theatre: • We’re LIVE!! • We offer quality entertainment for very reasonable prices • We have free parking • Our friendly, knowledgeable staff make your visit a fun one! • We offer a perfect evening out in your own community • We’re a professional venue to host community events • We offer something for everyone! • We’re intimate • We give you a chance to meet the performers after the show • We have a professional-grade sound system • We are the city’s hub for dance recitals and concerts

Engineering Services • Airdrie infrastructure is a holistic system. We identify opportunities to increase systemic energy and material efficiencies, improve public livability, boost economic development and reduce emissions through infrastructure planning • Airdrie municipal buildings incorporate LEEDS design systems. This may include an analysis of the costs and benefits associated with facility retrofits, energy management programs, route planning algorithms, etc. • Airdrie has a balanced private and public transportation system. We ensure an optimal balance between infrastructure efficiency and other sustainability objectives • Airdrie ensures that sustainability principles are embedded in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from contractors, and that proposals are evaluated according to the sustainability principles • Airdrie roads and streets are evaluated for their suitability in accordance with the sustainability principles • Airdrie water and wastewater management uses innovative technologies and techniques, and evaluates their suitability in accordance with sustainability principles • Airdrie actively seeks and builds partnerships within the development community • Airdrie is aware of the importance of including public values in a wide range of issues. We ensure that public values are reflected in municipal engineering decisions

Community Development: • We get to work with the best people in the community ... volunteers! • For a small team, we aren’t afraid of big events, i.e. 55-Plus Games, Centennial, Showcase, Airdrie Air Show ... to name a few… • We are great inspirers and motivators – we empower people to create opportunities to enhance their quality of life. We help them create the city we all want to live in • Fun, fun, fun … we help encourage people to have fun in order for them to want to volunteer again • Community development is community building. It might not be the roads and buildings, but we certainly build capacity within


• Airdrie is alert to opportunities to consider application of the sustainability principles over “business-as-usual” approaches to existing issues or new problems • Airdrie acknowledges that the leadership role of the public is properly invested when considering capital expenditure decisions Environmental Services: • We provide free tours and education to residents of Airdrie and Rock View County (formerly known as MD of Rocky View) • The Environmental Education Centre reduces the City’s energy consumption by providing solar power to itself and the building adjacent to it. If there is extra energy available, it feeds back into the grid • City of Airdrie residents disposed of 198 kg/person of residential waste, which is 31.5% below the Alberta average of 289 kg/person • Residents have recycled and composted enough materials in one year to have a net greenhouse gas (GHG) savings of 3.704 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. That is equal to the emissions of 675 passenger vehicles in one year, more than 8,600 barrels of oil, the energy used in 325 homes, and the carbon sequestered by 95,000 tree seedlings over 10 years • Environmental Services was able to continue to move recyclable materials through turbulent market periods due to Airdrie residents’ diligent separation efforts resulting in high quality materials • Environmental Services is available for requested tours of our facilities, outlining strategies used to reduce energy, waste and water. Our facilities serve as a model on how to provide waste diversion opportunities for our residents in a fiscally responsible manner • Environmental Services has partnered with Alberta Waste and Recycling to provide one of the first opportunities for construction, renovation and demolition recycling within Alberta • Airdrie is creating an Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (ISWMP) increasing its commitment to environmental stewardship with the model of Zero Waste • Environmental Services has staff who are environmentally conscientious and dedicated to providing exceptional education and customer service • The Recycle Depot is open to the community providing education and practical applications of the concepts reduce, reuse and recycle Parks: • The parks system in the City is one of the most extensive of its kind in Alberta. All communities are designed with parks being a central focal point of new communities • Staff plant and maintain 18,000 flowers each year • Staff change upwards of 25,000 garbage bags a year • We have great parks for great events – approximately 128 events are booked in City Parks per year • Airdrie boasts two indoor arenas with three ice surfaces • Airdrionians have access to four outdoor boarded rinks (two with asphalt base for year-round use)

• • • • •

We have 82 kilometres of paved path to enjoy Our city loves trees! Airdrie has 10,000 city-maintained trees! Airdrie has 68 sports fields Airdrie has 23 ball diamonds Airdrie has 46 soccer pitches

Peace Officers/Municipal Enforcement: • We provide seven-day-a-week coverage • We help citizens to resolve their concerns • We provide educational programs (bicycle, driving, pedestrian) • We host the annual bike festival • Our officers check installed child restraint seats • Our bike patrols are active throughout summer • Our officers provide local legislation enforcement • We provide traffic enforcement under the Traffic Safety Act (TSA) • We assist RCMP and Airdrie Emergency Services (AES) • Airdrie Municipal Enforcement (AME) supports other community services, as: Citizens on Patrol; Neighborhood Watch; school liaison Planning: • The City of Airdrie Planning Department was one of the first municipalities to evaluate the fiscal impacts of land use and set targets for the balanced provision of housing and employment-based uses • We are a city where developers are eager to bring forward sustainable initiatives such as preserving natural features and creating live/work built environments • We are moving toward more pedestrian-focused community developments – starting with the downtown core • Airdrie is located in a valley and we are unique because being bisected by rail, road and Nose Creek our pattern of growth is linear rather than concentric • Growth on the east side of the QEII was largely driven by the Province of Alberta through development of Alberta Housing Corporation lands • Due to the location of our downtown and the trend of “power centres” the City purposefully located box centres at either end of Main Street. This spreads out traffic and results in new synergies for development in the downtown core • The Woodside Golf Course was a principal driving force (no pun intended) in bringing development west of the track • Airdrie is a leader in encouraging new forms of housing in Alberta • The Canals of Airdrie was an innovative approach to community design. It created the opportunity for country-like homes in the city and also created the canal system in an area where water features are limited Social Planning: • We get to work with the best people in the community … social service agencies and their volunteers! • We build community capacity by ensuring that Family and Community Support Service funds are distributed to our agencies that serve children, youth, families and seniors in Airdrie

• We are great listeners and work with local agencies to ensure they receive resources to fulfill mandates that build and promote community resiliency, and prevent breakdown • We are great strategists that look to build a future of hope and create opportunities for people to develop capacity within themselves and their community, i.e. youth strategy, social planning funding framework • Social planning is community strengthening. We provide resources, tools and direction to guide our community to a greater quality of life through prevention • We have great fashion sense!!! • The Social Planning Unit supports the development of Airdrie as a socially cohesive city by investing in preventive social programs through Family and Community Support Services (FCSS). The Unit measures the impact of services provided by the City’s FCSS-funded preventive social programs. These measures suggest residents who participated in these programs reported having: – learned new strategies to cope with crisis (77%) – increased their awareness of social needs (34%) – gained new information about available resources in the community (77%) – acquired resources needed to live independently (77%) – improved relationships with peers, families and community (82%) – increased their community participation (92%). • In 2008, the City of Airdrie invested $552,063 in preventive social programs. This investment equates to a per-capita investment of $16/resident. Research has shown that a $1 invested in preventive social programs can yield a range of $6-12 return in avoided costs such as police, justice, addiction treatment and increased productivity in employment and contribution to the community (source: City of Calgary) Youth: • Airdrie has an amazing youth council, called Hyjinx. In the past year alone they’ve raised more than $2,000 for charities, hosted a forum for youth to discuss their vision for Airdrie, met with City staff to learn about city services, hosted youth week and volunteered at countless events across the community • Airdrie’s youth are incredibly active and engaged. Groups such as Hyjinx, Keystone, Torch, Students 4 Change, I Can and various church youth groups are working to build a better tomorrow for themselves and other youth • The City of Airdrie’s recently developed Youth Strategy ensures that the city is always striving for greater youth friendliness and encouraging youth to participate in decision-making processes • Airdrie’s local non-profits and service groups are focused on collaboration, not competition. Groups such as the Airdrie Resource Council and North Rocky View Action Group see that everyone works together for the betterment of the community

Can you add to the top 100? Send us what you think should be added to this list and let city hall staff know you appreciate them! airdrielife.com Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 97


AdVERTORIAL

CALL PRAIRIE SPRINGS HOME City amenities with a small-town attitude. Large lots without the hefty price tag. Pride of ownership and a leisurely lifestyle. If living here sounds good, Prairie Springs in Airdrie is calling you home. Located in southwest Airdrie, the final phase of this delightful development is selling quickly. Just west of Prairie Springs, the Chinook Winds regional Park is beginning to take shape. With tournament-quality ball diamonds as well as a proposed splash area, skateboard park, multi-use courts and acres of green space, a short walk takes you to this lush playground. Close to the new CrossIron mills shopping centre, six of the finest builders in the Calgary area have come together to build the 350 single-family homes that make up Prairie Springs. Airdrie-based mckee homes builds great homes while forming solid relationships. “When we build homes for our clients, it’s

not just a house, it’s a lasting friendship,” says kari Ann hodge, area manager for mckee homes. Being a part of Airdrie’s steady growth for the past 20 years, mckee homes is a homebuilder with a reliable history of customer satisfaction. many of the trades mckee uses to build their homes have been with them since their inception. This leads to consistent quality, a trademark of mckee homes. “We have a broad range of plans for customers to choose from,” says hodge, but they can be modified or your home can be designed from scratch. By listening to their clients, mckee has been a “quiet innovator” to improve quality and energy efficiency in their homes. All budgets are accommodated but even a smaller home will get all the components that will allow it to stand the test of time.

Talisman homes, an award-winning builder since its inception 15 years ago, builds upper-end custom homes in Prairie Springs. With more than 75 stock plans, home buyers can choose to build from a plan or personalize with custom features, with long-lasting quality as the objective. “When we build a home, we build it with longevity in mind,” says Teresa Greene, manager of Talisman homes in Airdrie. Going the extra mile during construction so that the customer does not have challenges down the road is very important, says Greene. While a finished basement may not be in the budget right away, many home owners will do the job later. Talisman always includes a three-piece rough-in for a bathroom in the basement; a substantial savings later for clients. dreaming of a perfect community? Come to Prairie Springs and find out for yourself.


works Partnerships | 101

Ice Cream Dreams | 109

Home Starts | 111 Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE


WORKS | Small Business Week

Small Business Week a

BIG Deal

Airdrie goes all out to support and recognize small business Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Kristy Reimer

A

city needs a strong core of small businesses to help support its economic growth. Airdrie is no different, which is why Small Business Week, Oct. 19-23, is considered an important part of the city’s business calendar. “The events we host are part of National Small Business Week, the one week a year from coast to coast when we recognize the contributions of small business,” says Leona Esau, economic development officer with the City of Airdrie. “In this city, two-thirds of all businesses are either self-employed or small businesses. This is a chance to provide these businesses with good training opportunities, as well as our annual award celebration.” An Airdrie Chamber of Commercesponsored Kick-Off and Networking Luncheon starts the week on Oct. 19 at the Ramada Inn & Suites. Tickets are $15 for Chamber members, $20 for non-members, and are available by calling 403-948-4412 before noon, Oct. 16. Then, on Oct. 20, the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership hosts a special Entrepreneur Evening at City Hall. “It’s aimed at people who have a [business] idea and are looking for guidance, and who have the energy and enthusiasm to move to the next step,” says Esau. Representatives of Community Futures Centre West, Canadian Youth Business Foundation, the Business Development Bank of Canada and Alberta Agriculture are a few of the organizations scheduled to attend. A question-and-answer session will involve graduates of CFC West’s self-employment program. “We’re aiming for a frank and honest discussion of their experiences,” says Esau.“We’ll also have a session on the top 10 things to consider when starting a business.” 100 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Tickets are $15. On Oct. 21, City Hall will host a Human Resources Strategies for Employers Workshop on the topic of work-life balance. “Our facilitator is Linda Wilson … an independent HR consultant,” says Esau. “She will go over the idea of work-life balance and show what other companies have done, large, medium and small. We’ve offered this workshop before and we’ve had everyone from Fortis down to home-based businesses with a single owner.” Maintaining work-life balance can be as simple as coming up with de-stressing group activities like noon-hour walks, Esau says. Registration cost for the workshop is $20. A highlight of the week is the annual Winning Edge Awards Banquet, which this year will be held Oct. 22 at the Woodside Golf Course. “We present three awards to recognize the contributions businesses make to the community,” says Esau. “The Winning Edge Award goes to a small business of 50 or fewer employees, and we look at exceptional customer service, commitment to the community, innovative practices, and marketing strategies and presence in the community.” This year, creative marketing is being added to the criteria for judging nominations, Esau adds. Second, the Eco-Edge Award (established in 2002) recognizes companies of any size for their best practices in being environmentally friendly. “It goes to the company making a significant effort to decrease their environmental footprint,” says Esau.“It could be through office paper recycling, a composting program … recently the use of solar and wind energy, too. For this award, we welcome self-nominations.”

The third award is the Family Friendly Business Award. “These businesses support employees’ needs outside the workplace,” explains Esau. “It might include flexibility in hours of operation [and] work schedules, providing areas for children to play, or maybe extended health benefits to cover families.” Nominations for the three awards close Sept. 18. Tickets to the banquet are $50 before Oct. 3, and $60 after that date, Esau says. Small Business Week represents a coming together of many local agencies dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed, says Esau. Other sponsors include Airdrie Employment Services, Alberta Employment & Immigration LIFE and the Calgary Regional Partnership. For more information on registering for this year’s

Small Business Week events, and for information on nominations for the Winning Edge Awards, visit the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership website at www.airdriebizresources.org

2008 Winning Edge winners – Sign Concepts


carl Patzel

AirdrielIFe is pleased to present oUr FIrSt AnnUAl

Photography exhibit AnD Sale

in support of the Airdrie Affordable Housing Initiative (Airdrie Housing Limited)

celebrating the photographic artistry of AirdrieLIFE photographers: Sergei Belski | Elizabeth Hak Carl Patzel | Kristy Reimer

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2009 5 - 9 p.m. HOMESTEAD RESTAURANT

Kristy Reimer

With live jazz entertainment by the legendary Lou Rye Tickets $10 at the door Wine Tasting & Appetizers Included

AirdrieLIFE thanks our partners: Airdrie Housing Limited Homestead Restaurant Trophies Plus & Fowler’s Frameworks The Airdrie UPS Store

Elizabeth Hak

Sergei Belski

For more information or to purchase your tickets in advance to guarantee admission, please visit airdrielife.com

ENJOY AN EVENINg OF PHOTOgRAPHIc ART, JAZZ AND gOOD WINE. 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction and a portion of the sales from the photography exhibit will be donated to the Airdrie Affordable Housing Project.


MOUNT ROYAL

Continuing Education

Leadership Build a new perspective on leadership and become an effective leader.

http://conted.mtroyal.ca/leadership

Supply Chain Management Seeking a career in this growing field? Gain skills and understand the components of supply chains. http://conted.mtroyal.ca/supplychain Information: 403.440.7785 E-mail: cebusiness@mtroyal.ca

www.mtroyal.ca/conted


Progress

WORKS | Small Business

Partners in

Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison Photo by Sergei Belski

If it takes a village to raise a child what does it take to launch a business?

F

Mike De Bokx is the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership chair and vice-president of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, one of the partner organizations

or people establishing and operating a business, there are so many potential sources of information that it can be a challenge finding the right service to meet a particular need. The Airdrie Business Resource Partnership (ABRP) has been formed to help businesses find the information and support they need as efficiently as possible. The origins of the ABRP go back to the mid-1990s and Small Business Week, says ABRP chair Mike De Bokx, a mortgage broker and vice-president of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, one of the partner organizations. “The first Small Business Week in 1994 [involved] a networking night and sharing small business information,” he says. “The idea came about to create a one-stop shop for businesses just starting up and businesses needing to learn how to retain employees. You could contact the Airdrie Business Resource Centre in City Hall, at first.” Later, the Centre was relocated to the Airdrie Public Library, and De Bokx says the original “one-stop shop” idea eventually fizzled. “For the longest time, the only purpose of the Centre was putting on the Winning Edge Awards,” he says. Several years ago, De Bokx was involved in sponsorships for the awards, and the event began to generate a surplus. With these extra funds, he says, “we started the process of, okay, what are we doing, why are we doing it and where do we want to see [the Centre] go in the future?” Over the past several years, De Bokx and his colleagues have gone back to the Centre’s roots. “We all realized it had lost some direction, and was nothing more than an organization getting together to put on the awards,” he says. Through a strategic planning process with Community Futures Centre West, the concept of the Centre was solidified; along the way it was decided to change its concept to that of a partnership. Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 103


WORKS | Small Business

Find your smart fit. Smart Phones Cell Phones Mike Phones TELUS SATELLITE TV TELUS High Speed Internet

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• 403.912.0512 • 403.932.5335 • 403.934.4010

The current members of the ABRP are: the City of Airdrie, Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, Airdrie Public Library, Community Futures Centre West and Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “What we realized was there may be [services], for example, that the City was offering that were similar to Community Futures Centre West,” De Bokx says. “We wanted to streamline it, so if two of the partners are doing something similar, they can come together, reducing their costs and effort.” The idea is for these partners to pool their resources and information, initially via an online presence and through hosting special events, says De Bokx. The ABRP will make accessing business resources more efficient, says Jodie Eckert, community economic development co-ordinator with Community Futures Centre West. “Every partner brings something unique to the table,” she says. “For example, we offer different resources for small-business development – financing, advising and a self-employment program. [The partners] can use our networks to help businesses develop their networks.” The ABRP has helped each partner better define the role it plays in Airdrie’s business development, says Kent Rupert, economic development team leader for the City of Airdrie. “It identified each of our roles,” he says. “That’s not to say there still isn’t a bit of crossover now, but it’s where it’s needed, and not where it’s not needed. “At the end of the day, it’s making sure the businesses know where to get the resources they need quickly and easily.” This year’s Small Business Week in October will be something of a “coming out party” for the refocused ABRP, which will be sponsoring several of the local seminars. The ABRP has also begun the process of incorporation to become a non-profit, says LIFE De Bokx. For more information about the Airdrie Business

Resource Partnership, visit www.airdriebizresources.org


In the next issue of AirdrieLIFE

AN HOUR OF YOUR TIME MAY BE WORTH MORE THAN YOU THINK.

On the streets Nov. 26

Schedule your FREE retirement review today.

WinterLIFE – What do we do when the weather turns foul? Host the best parties, tie on the skates, turn on the fireplace, cook heart- warming meals, buy a new snow blower (and the hottest winter coat) and finally insulate the garage! Plus we recognize the Winning Edge Award winners – Airdrie’s best of the business community.

Special Focus Section Getting your financial LIFE in order. Local experts share their wisdom for jumping into 2010 with your finances in tune.

EVERY ISSUE contains our popular local columnists and regular features on fashion, pets, shopping, homestyle, gardens, technology (NEW), sports (NEW), food, music, theatre and the arts. Watch for your copy in your mailbox the week of Nov. 26. Out of market? Contact us at subscriptions@airdrielife.com

Justin White Financial Advisor

400 Main Street NE Unit 108 Airdrie, Alberta 403-948-3292


Works | Lessons

Knowledge is Key Three local businesses share their wisdom

Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photos by Sergei Belski

Jan Wregget

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irdrie is home to a wide variety of businesses, from home-based workshops to corporations hiring hundreds. These businesses have one thing in common: for the people who operate them, being in business is a continual learning process. AirdrieLIFE spoke to people involved with three diverse companies to find out what they’ve learned from doing business in this growing city. Time to Play Preschool Ltd.

Jan Wregget admits she was annoyed by all 106 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

the hoops she was required to jump through to open a preschool in Airdrie. But today she says the effort was worthwhile. Now in its eighth year, Time to Play Preschool Ltd. has grown to a capacity of 184 children (48 per class), and has seen the city grow tremendously. “When I started, Airdrie had about 12,000 people – it’s a little different now!” says Wregget, who initially planned to be a schoolteacher. “But I had children, so I got involved with preschools,” she recalls. “My husband moved around a lot in the military, and when we

landed in Airdrie, I checked out the preschool situation and there were a lot of kids on the waiting list, so I decided I’d try my hand in it here.” Wregget came to Airdrie with experience running preschools in other parts of Canada, but “the ones I ran were on a volunteer basis, or through a community club.” The difference this time was she planned to establish a full business. A big lesson Wregget learned out of the starting gate was the process required to open a properly licensed preschool in Airdrie. “My biggest hurdle was when we bought


Jon, Marco and Joel Salomons of Sully Boardsports

the house and remodelled it and gutted it and put in the occupation permit and development permit … only to find two months into [the process] that it had to be totally remodelled with all the specs for a daycare,” she says. “There were so many things the City of Airdrie required for it to be safe. It took me another nine months to get finished. “At the time, it was annoying. Now I’m glad I did it. The number of washrooms and number of windows that were required … I have the most fantastic facility and it’s worked out so wonderfully.” Wregget employs five and offers pre-Kindergarten and preschool programs. She says her biggest lesson was learning the value of positive word-of-mouth. “This is such a small community, even at 38,000,” she says.“You need to get to know the people over the garden fence. And in a small community, remember you can lose your reputation much quicker than you can keep it. “If you do a good job, [your customers] will do the advertising for you.”

Sully Boardsports

Jon Salomons has come a long way since he started selling designer clothing out of the back of a truck seven years ago. Today, the owner of Sully Boardsports runs two stores – including one in the new CrossIron Mills megamall – but says he never stops learning. “I started the business out of my truck in high school,” Salomons recalls. “I manufactured my own Sully clothing – Sully’s my nickname – and I had logos and lanyards and stickers, and I started selling them in the parking lot. “I started to sell quite a bit and decided to start up the store.” With help from his fashion-savvy brother, Joel, and other family members, Salomons opened his shop at 117A Main St. and expanded not only his clothing offerings, but also began selling skateboards and snowboards. “We started with only two brands and now we carry well over 50-plus brands,” Salomons says, adding this includes brands such

as Freeboard (a skate- and snowboard hybrid) that are exclusive to his shop. “I think the biggest learning curve for us was in the ordering [of merchandise],” says Joel. “What do you bring in – you have to learn from every season. “You have to put your personal tastes aside … you have to keep up with the trends and your customers and what they want.” Sully Boardsports is one of the only independent businesses invited to have a berth in the CrossIron Mills megamall. “They came to us and said they wanted a snowboarding shop in their Sporting aisle,” says Jon.“The new store is about the same size as our original store, and everything we carry here we’ll carry there.” Joel says opening a second location is both scary and exciting.“You’re competing with stores that have years of experience [in malls],” he says. “The good thing is the product is so strong, you can’t go wrong keeping on top of it.” Joel says the biggest lesson he’s learned is the value of customer service. Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 107


Works | Lessons

MOUNT ROYAL

Continuing Education

“Make the time to make sure customers are your No. 1 priority,” he says. “A customer that doesn’t buy anything is still a customer, because they could come back in two weeks or tell someone about us.” Adds Jon: “Don’t think too much about the risks, or you will be scared away. When the decision came around whether to open the new store, my reaction was, yeah, let’s do it!” United Safety Ltd.

Community & Health Studies

Become an Everyday Hero while developing your career! • Addiction Studies • Adult Educator • Behavioural Strategies • Child Care Leadership • Child & Youth Human rights* • Children’s Environmental Health & Wellness* • Children’s Mental Health*

• Conflict resolution • Curriculum Development and instructional Design* • Human Justice • international Community Development* • Personal Fitness trainer • Police Studies • Supportive Counselling Skills

* These programs are only available online information: 403.440.6867 toll-free: 1.866.616.3606

registration: 403.440.3833 E-mail: cehealth@mtroyal.ca

http://conted.mtroyal.ca/hero 108 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

From its headquarters in Airdrie, United Safety Ltd. works to help keep oilfields, refineries and gas plants safe for workers in Alberta, B.C. and around the world. Originally based in Calgary, United Safety relocated its head office to Airdrie in 2000, and now operates three buildings here, including a warehouse, technical operations and a recently opened training facility. “We chose Airdrie because it was a great opportunity in terms of cost and access to the highway, and it had all the amenities we needed,” says Randy Becker, VP Operations Support. “And Airdrie had the labour force to facilitate our expansion. Airdrie provided flexibility, and had the infrastructure and facilities to meet the organization’s needs.” The growth of Airdrie’s hospitality industry also made it viable for United Safety to add a training centre here, Becker adds. “People from all over Western Canada, primarily Alberta and B.C., come here … as do people from our global operation, for the technical training,” he says. “Airdrie continues to grow with the organization, and the organization continues to grow with Airdrie.” As United Safety was already a well-established multinational by the time it relocated to Airdrie, there was little in terms of lessons that the company needed to learn from a business perspective. However, its level of community engagement in Airdrie can serve as a lesson to others. “For example, at Christmastime we always adopt a couple of local families anonymously, and provide them with a Christmas wish list and groceries,” says Katie Whittaker of United Safety’s Human Resources Group. “We also support a number of local sports activities, we donate items to silent auctions, and we always donate money to the food bank throughout the year.” All this is in addition to United Safety’s ongoing support of the United Way of Calgary and Area and local fire departments, and sponsoring a night at the Airdrie Festival of Lights each year. Whittaker says this engagement compliments the impact United Safety makes on the community through supporting construction trades, housing, fuel … even through washing its fleet of vehicles. “So much of the money goes back to the community … the operations and the construction of everything,” she says. “It’s rewarding because of your ability to impact the community.” LIFE


Coneheads

Works | New Business

story by Alex Frazer-Harrison Photos by Kristy Reimer

Local entrepreneurs churn a business out of lessons and ice cream

W

Deanna and Michael Doucette chill out

hen JFK gave his stirring speech inspiring the space program to put people on the moon back in the 1960s, little did he know he’d also inspire Michael and Deanna Doucette to someday open an ice cream shop in Airdrie. After a decade making her own ice cream at home, Deanna Doucette decided two years ago to take her experience and open up her own shop. “I was really motivated by the space program, and when [ John] Kennedy came out and said to the public, if it is hard, we must … work together for a goal,” she says. Appropriately, an image of the earth taken from an Apollo mission covers one wall of Ice Age Ice Cream, located in Dickson Trail Crossing. The first things most kids are likely to no-

tice, though, are all the dinosaurs covering the other walls. The Doucettes have connected two things that nearly all kids love – dinos and ice cream. But before the dinosaurs and the earth went up on the walls, and before Michael could track down the unique 1924-vintage player piano that greets customers, the actual business of going into business required research, dedication, support and hard work. “About two years ago, we started talking about opening the business,” recalls Deanna. “I ended up calling Leona [Esau] at the Economic Development department at the City of Airdrie, inquiring about how to start a business. She sent me a complete package of information. “That October, there was an entrepreneurs’ night at the City, and I went to that, Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 109


Works | New Business

and I ended up meeting with Patricia Alderson of Community Futures Centre West, who runs a self-employment program. She thought we had a great, viable business idea, and I started training.” Through the self-employment program, the Doucettes learned about aspects of the business that went far beyond churning ice cream and rolling waffle cones. They were brought up to speed on accounting and bookkeeping, record keeping, time management and networking, and how each of these elements (among others) are vital to keeping the ice cream flowing. For Deanna, learning about a relatively new philosophy called “duct tape marketing” was a revelation. “I just ate that up,” she says. “Duct tape marketing is about identifying your clients, and then getting them to know you, like you, and then trust you, and make a sale. Then they come back and make repeat sales and they make referrals and it sticks like duct tape.” Not that the Doucettes have much to worry about in terms of repeat customers. The couple opened their doors in late July and soon had fans. “Our first two customers were two little boys, who sat on the pew with their little ice creams,” says Deanna. “I imagine little kids coming here and bringing their little kids here when they have a family of their own.” Deanna wasn’t using an odd turn of phrase referencing “pews” – there are indeed a pair of antique pews, described as “indestructible” by Michael, that used to rest in a Calgary church, but now provide a comfortable place for customers to enjoy their ice cream treats. As for the player piano, Michael says, “when I was little, I saw a player piano and it was one of the most mystifying things I’d ever seen; I was maybe five years old and this thing was just banging away! “I thought it would be great to have one with the ice cream … to have that going when little kids are in here because you don’t see them anymore.” Michael found one in High River. “It came out of a farmhouse in Vulcan, and we’re only the third owners,” he says. 110 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

All the ice cream served at Ice Age is made on site, and in full view of customers. “I wanted to demystify ice cream-making, so you can see it happening right in the lab,” says Deanna, who initially offered a half-dozen in-house flavours including licorice, chocolate chunk, Rolo and Smarties, but plans to eventually offer as many as 22 varieties, as well as custom-made flavours for customers. Michael says Ice Age’s waffle cones are also made on site, and they also plan to get into the ice cream cake business. Right now, Ice Age is a true family business: Deanna runs the shop by day (along with their daughter, who helps scoop the cones), while Michael covers the night shift when he isn’t working for an oil and gas company. As the business grows, the Doucettes hope to also scoop up some extra community involvement. “I was a big-time volunteer before I started this,” says Deanna, whose resume includes volunteer work with Girl Guides in Airdrie and the palliative care department at the Fanning Centre in Calgary. “I’m very much into the community and helping others,” she says. “And that’s why we opened this place up – I love to make people happy and make the world a better place.” Deanna says the biggest lesson she’s learned from starting the business is “the process of having faith in yourself and believing in what you’re doing. “All of us have a purpose in life, and it may seem risky and it may seem like a challenge, but it’s worth it in the end to do the LIFE things that make you happy in life.”

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Contact Wendy Potter-Duhaime today at wendy@froginc.ca or 403-969-5190

The benefits of joining today • Discount registrations to Chamber events • Airdrie Home & Garden Fair Booth discount of 20% • VISA and MasterCard Merchant Discount Rates • Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance • Purolator, Husky, Esso and Petro-Canada discounts • Business Listing on the Chamber web site • Export Document Certification • Exhibit at Chamber Business and Consumer shows • Participate in seminars and workshops • Receive business referrals from the Chamber office • Sponsor one of many Chamber functions or activities • Network at monthly business and social events • Advertise in the monthly Chamber News newsletter and monthly Chamber Chat • Exclusive copy of Chamber Roster and Chamber News monthly newsletter

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Works | Entrepreneurs

Home is where the

business begins Home is where the heart is but for many local businesses it’s often where their dreams begin to come true Brent Highfield

Photo by Krysta Remington

Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 111


Works | Entrepreneurs Leona Le Lievre

From left: Joanne, Blaire and Marvin Fowler

Photo by Krysta Remington

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rent Highfield gets ready to go out on a service call to do maintenance on a client’s punch press. In another part of town, Leona Le Lievre sets up for a day of cleaning teeth and shooting dental X-rays. In Kingsview, Wendy Puttick teaches a child how to play piano. These are a few examples of the diversity of Airdrie’s entrepreneurial spirit. Independent-minded businesspeople who faced the challenges of establishing their own businesses in an increasingly crowded marketplace. “If you look at Airdrie’s demographics, it’s a young community, a family community,” says Kent Rupert, economic development team leader for the City of Airdrie. “When people look at starting a home-based business, there are a ton of motivations, whether they’re looking for additional income streams, or they have a hobby they want to take to the next step.” The term “home-based business” is actually passé, says Rupert: “We’ve started to call them home-based entrepreneurs. That’s because we have everything from someone doing Amway two hours a week to multimillion-dollar companies.” A full third of Airdrie’s business community falls into the category of home-based entrepreneurs, says Rupert.“This is huge and it’s something we’re nurturing.”

112 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

For example, Airdrie Economic Development launched airdrienow.ca, which provides information and resources for start-up and established businesses. The City also launched BizPal, an online service providing information on business-related permits and licences. As well, the City joined the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership. “Last year, we also hosted the first Am I an Entrepreneur? evening, and we had 72 people register for it,” says Rupert. “That’s 72 people who were looking to start a homebased business, or who had started one and were looking for information. We’re looking to build upon that.” Some home-based businesses become successful enough to move into a storefront. Puttick, who teaches the Music for Young Children program, has been a piano teacher for 19 years, but it was only a couple of years ago that “I began looking at it more as a business than a hobby. “The Music for Young Children program was developed in 1980, and when I moved to Airdrie, I found a few other teachers already were teaching it. But I got so many phone calls asking about it, I decided with Airdrie having so many young families, there was definitely a need,” she says. Puttick opened in the Kingsview Busi-

ness Park. “Just teaching piano, I could do it from home, but now it’s an actual business,” she says. Rupert says the beauty of Airdrie’s business community is the flexibility available for entrepreneurs – they can open a storefront, or stick to working from home. “Sometimes you don’t need a storefront if you have a clientele already,” he says. “Homebased entrepreneurs are able to manage their quality of life. If they want to work at 10 p.m., they can; if the kids need to go to soccer practice at 4 p.m., they can manage that.” Frog Hollow Garden Centre started as a small greenhouse set up on Safeway’s parking lot, but has evolved into its own storefront.


Blaire Fowler, who works with her mother-inlaw, Joanne, says Airdrie is a supportive community for self-employed businesspeople. “A lot of people in Airdrie really like to use the local connection and support local business … that’s helped us grow from a small twomonth-a-year business to where we are now,” she says. “All the people who used to come to the parking lot followed us here.” The scope of entrepreneurship in Airdrie is diverse, says Patricia Alderson, selfemployment manager with Community

Futures Centre West. Today, she says, entrepreneurs in Airdrie can be found in occupations including precision equipment repair, consulting engineers, professional and life coaching, interior decoration, accounting, even ice cream-making. CFC West’s Self-Employment Program works with local people with viable ideas to help them learn how to operate a business successfully. “One of the basic traits of entrepreneurship is risk-taking,” Alderson says.“But it has to be a

Wendy Puttick

Photo by Sergei Belski

Photo by Sergei Belski

calculated risk. You have to do research before you take the risk – if you fly blind, that’s not smart business.” Highfield took a risk. After eight years with a major manufacturer of machinery for the precision sheet metal industry, he decided to strike out on his own and form High-Tech Services. “Who doesn’t want to be self-employed?” Highfield says.“It was a little scary. I ended up going to Airdrie City Hall and found out what resources were available, and I got hooked up with Community Futures, which guided me along the way.” Highfield became independent last October – just as the economy began to tank. But,

in true entrepreneurial spirit, he saw it as an opportunity to diversify. “I thought, what else do my customers need? A lot of them have punch presses [for metal] and tooling that needed to be sharpened, so I did a market study and they were all sending out to machine shops,” he says. “I told them, I can do that … so now I have this second [service] going when things get a little slow.” Le Lievre opened Cusp Dental Care Inc. in June, taking advantage of legislation changes allowing dental hygienists to open their own clinics. The entrepreneurship bug bit her when she worked on her own in Crossfield for a time. “I loved it – it was totally for me,” she says.

Le Lievre says the best advice she has for fellow entrepreneurs is “don’t assume – and do your homework. “Find out as much information as you can that is specific to your business. It’ll save you a lot of money to do things right the first time.” The effort is worth it. “It’s wonderful to have your name on the door,” Le Lievre says. For more information about services offered by City of Airdrie Economic Development, including upcoming roundtable sessions for home-based entrepreneurs, call 403-948-8844 or visit airdrienow.ca. To contact CFC West, call 403-932-5220 or visit LIFE cfcwest.com. Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 113


Works | Training

Classes fill quickly at the Airdrie campus of Bow Valley College

Skills that work Bow Valley College offers local training for Airdrie job market Story and photos by Krysta Remington

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ow Valley College isn’t just about upgrading and completing high school classes; it has expanded to programs for people of all ages with different schedules and goals. A community consultation was conducted two years ago, allowing businesses, agencies and individuals to give feedback to the college and describe what they want from it. According to the dean of business at the college, Bow Valley has since adapted to meet those needs and wants. “Our interest is serving the Airdrie community with our grads,” says Elza Bruk, adding “we know our graduates will be able to find work in Airdrie and surrounding areas.” Bow Valley College has been a part of the Airdrie community for more than 20 years and over time has expanded its offerings based on student demand, Bruk says.“We’re very interested in staying and growing in Airdrie.” New programs to Bow Valley are the hospital unit clerk certification, which has had heavy enrolment, the career transitions program, and a licensed practical nurse program to come next January, according to one of the college’s instructors.

114 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Muriel Bostick is an employment instructor for the career transitions program. Career transitions is a three-prong program with employment preparation, computer skills and life management skills. For the employment portion of the program Bostick approaches employers to see if they’ll give the student work experience. Time is also spent on resume writing and interview preparation. The career planning Bostick conducts with her students involves assessing the students’ academic background and their interests, to “help them focus on a particular career and [get] them thinking about what they want to do,” she says. The life management portion of the course includes topics such as communication skills, stress management, nutrition, conflict resolution and first aid. Bostick describes this as a reflection course and jokingly says, “There are times when I want to take my own course.” Career Transitions takes about six months to complete and brings in “all spectrums of society,” Bostick says, because the age varies from people a few years out of

high school to 60 years old. “We have a lot of moms who took the time off to be a mom and now their skills are out of date,” Bostick says, referring to older computer programs and operating systems. Other students of this program are people looking to change careers because their health won’t let them do labour-intensive work anymore. “We never know who’s coming through our door, so it makes it interesting,” Bostick says. Bow Valley College is for anybody looking to upgrade, make a career change, or find a career that has a demand in and around Airdrie. Programs offer flexible scheduling – with courses during the day or evening – and welcome self-paced learning. For those who live in a rural area, the college offers home-study and online programs, too. “As the community grows, it’s exciting to see Bow Valley change to meet the needs,” LIFE Bostick says. MORE LIFE ONLINE Learn more about Bow Valley

College courses and classes at airdrielife.com


Works | Regional Development

Construction on the Yankee Valley interchange changes shape daily

MergingTraffic story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Sergei Belski

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All roads lead to Airdrie and that’s a good thing

hose little orange signs by the side of the road announcing “Construction Ahead” are the bane of many a motorist’s existence, along with the spectre of being nabbed by a construction-zone speed trap. This has definitely been true for Airdrionians going to and fro between here and Calgary, as a number of major road projects have snarled traffic for months, even years. Although those little orange signs aren’t going away anytime soon on roads like Yankee Valley Boulevard, some relief is in sight as several major road projects in Rocky View County and north Calgary come to an end this fall – and the light is at the end of the tunnel for Yankee Valley, too. “With Stoney Trail, we were recently able to open the link between Sarcee Trail and Harvest Hills Boulevard, and all that remains

is the section between Harvest Hills and Deerfoot Trail, and we hope to have that open sometime in the fall,” says Alberta Transportation spokesperson Trent Bancarz. Once the $430-million northwest leg of Stoney Trail is completed, Airdrie motorists will be able to take a much-welcomed shortcut from the QEII highway over to the westbound Trans-Canada. A link to eastbound Trans-Canada via the northeast leg of Stoney Trail is also expected to be open by November 1, Bancarz says. “From what I understand, they’re doing very well and they’re a bit ahead of schedule,” he says of the project, which is being built through a private-public partnership, which was budgeted at about $650 million in 2007. According to Rocky View County, the opening of Stoney Trail will also include the

unveiling of a new link into Calgary from the Balzac-Airdrie area: a northern extension of Calgary’s Metis Trail, linking with the CrossIron Mills development at Highway 566. “We’ve been working on that for some time,” says Byron Riemann, manager of project delivery for the County, adding the plan is to open the link – which will connect with a new interchange at Stoney Trail – in November. The County is also building a short, but expected-to-be-well-used stretch of Range Road 292, which will provide alternate access to Highway 566 (and, in turn, CrossIron Mills) from Yankee Valley Boulevard. It, too, is expected to be open by November. Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce says the reconstruction of the Yankee Valley/QEII interchange – scheduled for completion by the continued on page 118 Fall 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 115


AdVERTORIAL

The Canals OF AIrdrIE

Water lapping gently against a dock or the sudden splash ruffling the still water as a flock of ducks noisily land are sounds heard at a weekend cottage. With miles of canals in Bayside to enjoy, every day is a getaway. you can start your work day with a cup of coffee and the call of the shorebirds. Or end your day with an evening paddle from your backyard pier. Living near water, one of the key components of Feng Shui, can help bring peace and balance into your life. But the canal system is more than just a wonderful side-benefit of living at Bayside; it is also a stormwater retention facility. The canal is naturally replenished from subsurface water sources, surface runoff as well as a number of tributaries from the surrounding area. As the water flows slowly to the east, it eventually drains into nose Creek. But the six kilometres of canals aren’t simply a water-holding system, they also help to maintain the quality of the water entering it. during the spring, water run-off and heavy rains can greatly increase the amount of water flowing into nose Creek. The canals help control the rate at which it enters this waterway to help prevent erosion and preserve the delicate ecology. While the water is exchanged naturally a few times a year, an extensive recirculation system is also in place. Waterfalls and creeks create aestheticallypleasing architectural features while helping maintain a healthy aquatic environment. The depth of the canals varies between three and five metres. At this depth, sunlight cannot reach the bottom which helps reduce the growth of weeds. From two larger lakes, seven smaller offshoots wind their way through Bayside so many residents can appreciate the water from their backyards. Swimming is not allowed in the canals but non-motorized boating in the summer and ice skating in the winter is encouraged. Along the canals are extensive green spaces and walking paths. If spending time on the water isn’t for you, an evening stroll or an afternoon picnic is delightful. When the Bayside and Canals communities are completed, all of the canals will be connected with pedestrian and vehicle bridges. up for a morning run? Imagine jogging for miles while listening to birds instead of car horns; where you stop for a break, not for a sign. Going for a walk with the kids means not worrying about fast-moving traffic. A simple walk can nurture a love of nature as little ones enjoy the wildlife living near the safety of the abundant aquatic environment. The network of canals at Bayside and the Canals have been meticulously planned to ensure the future of the surrounding ecosystem. Being able to live there and enjoy them makes everyday living feel like a vacation.

116 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009


continued from page 115

fall of 2010 – has meant some inconvenience for drivers, but notes Airdrionians generally are taking a “short-term pain for long-term gain” point of view. “I think the amazing thing is there are people writing letters to the editor on how good the process has gone,” she says. The work involves replacing the old overpass (dubbed the “Rat Hole”) and widening both QEII and Yankee Valley. Airdrie-area building-construction trades will be kept busy in the coming months, as well. Bruce says with Phase 2 of Genesis Place nearing completion, planning is already underway for Phase 3. “We’re also in the planning and design stage for a new fire hall on the west side of the rail line,” she says, adding she hopes to see construction underway in 2010. Meanwhile, even with the main CrossIron Mills megamall at Balzac now open, work continues on the next phase of its development. “The second phase will be our Entertainment neighbourhood,” says John Scott, vice-president of development with Ivanhoe Cambridge. “It’ll be roughly 200,000 square feet and will be connected at the central court area, and will be the final piece of the CrossIron Mills centre in terms of the main enclosed centre.” SilverCity is planning a seven-screen multiplex for the expansion, as well as a major entertainment amenity. Scott says the target opening date is July 2010. In addition, construction is expected to begin soon on CrossIron Common, an outdoor big box-style development immediately to the north of the mall and covering 140 acres. At least one major tenant has been signed, with a mid-summer 2010 opening planned, Scott says. An unknown as of press time is the fate of a long-planned horseracing track and casino next door to CrossIron Mills. Originally scheduled to open in 2007, the United Horsemen of Alberta have encountered funding snags for the track – in July it reported a $70-million funding short fall – but the UHA still hopes to offer some racing on the site by 2010, though it may take another year to fully open, assuming funding issues are resolved. LIFE 118 AirdrieLIFE | Fall 2009

Works | Regional News

Job

On The

I

Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison

Employees along for the ride as mall opens

t takes a lot of people to keep one of Western Canada’s largest shopping malls operating. From store clerks to maintenance staff, when the CrossIron Mills megamall at Balzac sent out its call for job applications last summer, it was flooded with resumes. And a sizable number of these CVs came from Airdrie. “We were looking for approximately 3,500 people to work at CrossIron Mills, in areas including retail, service providers, janitorial and security,” says general manager James Moller, whose staff organized a job fair in July ahead of the mall’s August opening. “We got lots of good resumes – people were getting hired on the spot. And there were a significant number of people coming from Airdrie and the surrounding area [including] places like Crossfield, Kathryn and Keoma. In my administration office of approximately 14 people, I’ve already hired four from Airdrie.” Moller says the appeal of CrossIron Mills for Airdrie labour is its close proximity to the city. Instead of going into Calgary to find work in retail, Moller says, CrossIron Mills has provided a closer-to-home option. Airdrie’s business community is greeting the arrival of this major employer with“cautious optimism”, says Kent Rupert, economic development team leader with the City of Airdrie. “From a regional perspective, the type of draw it will be in the North Calgary region is going to be huge,” he says. “And there’s going to be a lot of spinoffs for Airdrie businesses.” This isn’t the first time Airdrie has experienced the arrival of major retailers carrying Help Wanted signs. “We found that when we opened the super centres [WalMart and Superstore] and they needed a number of employees, they were able to get them all here in Airdrie,” Rupert says.

“If we were a stagnant community, to have a project like that on our borders would certainly hurt us, transferring retail jobs from Airdrie. But our community continues to grow – this year over 11 per cent [population growth] … the long-term employment impact will be minimal for the community.” And those who are employed at the mall will still spend much of their hard-earned paycheques at local businesses, Rupert notes. If there is a concern for Rupert, it involves the ongoing logistics of getting thousands of employees to and from the mall each day. Since mid-July, mall owners have footed part of the bill for a seven-day-a-week employee shuttle service between the mall and Airdrie, as well as pick-up points in northwest and northeast Calgary, at a cost of $1.50 per one-way trip. “We’re expecting hundreds of people to ride it every day,” says Moller, adding the question of How do I get there? was one often heard during the hiring fair. “As far as I know, there hasn’t been [another retail development] that has done a shuttle service of this magnitude.” Rupert says Airdrie’s young demographic places the city in a good position to support local retail, as well as the megamall. “I think we’ll be able to support both,” he says. And anyway, “a lot of people think the mall is actually in Airdrie.” Opening a mall in the midst of a bad recession is a risk – though one developer Ivanhoe Cambridge took with CrossIron’s older sibling, Vaughn Mills in Toronto, which also opened under an economic cloud. But for those hoping to enjoy long-term employment at the mall, Moller is optimistic. “You make a sizable commitment like this, and you’re in it for the next 40 to 50 years,” he says. “You have good years and bad years – but you have to think long term.” LIFE


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