AirdrieLIFE spring 2009
youR liFe. youR magaZine
GREEN is the new
Mr. Richards goes to
Ottawa get a glimpse inside Blake’s new life as Airdrie’s man in parliament
how residents, builders, businesses and City hall are greening Airdrie and why it should matter to you
Red, white and
secrets from an Italian kitchen
EntEr to our home renovation contest!
Bonus FEAturE plan your wedding without leaving Airdrie
Proud Media Supporter of the Airdrie Centennial 2009
vol. 5 | no. 2
liFestyle | commUnitY | homeS | citY | WorKS
May 31, 2009
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Columns & Regular Features
That’sLIFE—Stacey takes a hard look at her recycling efforts
FitLIFE—Joan gets the low down on boot camps
LIFETimes—Ellen takes a trip down memory lane
That’s amore! Share the love of cooking in the Monna’s kitchen
Bringing home puppy
Spring flings and other activities you need to know about
Meet music maker Sharon Matheson
Get inspired by artist Cheryl Bakke Martin
Our MP in Ottawa—what Blake Richards’ life is like now
ARTS—why our society needs art and how ARTS
On the cover: Wild Rose MP Blake Richards shares his experiences in Ottawa beginning on page 39. Photographed for AirdrieLIFE by Kristy Reimer
is going to make it happen
Ageless and enthused—meet three active athletes
Rallying for a good cause—The Relay for Life is coming to Airdrie
Rural Roots—the Morisons on the farm
Great finds for you new digs
Going with the flow—The Williamstown project protects nose Creek
The real truth on real estate—what’s happening here
Styling dentists—tour the Mcdermid family home
Pick your next dream home on the park
Building Green—how one builder is meeting the new standards
Condo buyers on the edge
envision Airdrie—the people have spoken
Talking Trash with Environmental Services
100 years and planning
Enhancing East Lake
What the Environmental Advisory Board wants you to know
AirdrieLIFE.com youR liFe. youR magaZine. online
Airdrie Economic development—nOW is the time
BizPal—a new resource for local business
check back often!
Space: the final frontier?
dickson Crossing is LEEding the way
Responsibility = profitability for these local firms
The business of recycling
Meet the Probus club
Fortis goes green
ContEsts Win one of the three centennial books share in $1000 worth of home renovation gift certificates Plus watch for draws for monthly gift baskets and much more –
learn more about choosing a pet Discover secrets for stocking an italian kitchen View the talent of local artists in our airdrieliFe online art gallery Join our online book club Research your new neighbourhood with our exclusive Community Profiles get more environmental/recycling advice anD so muCH moRe ... BeCause We all neeD a little moRe liFe!
Our team is going green – or trying their best to! Meet our contributors of this issue and see what their recycling efforts are. And a special welcome to our newest members of the LIFE team – Anne Beaty and Jenna McMurray. Anne Beaty, writer After graduating from Mount Royal College’s journalism program in 1994, Anne Beaty spent 14 years with the Airdrie Echo, 10 as reporter/photographer and four as editor. Along the way, she also completed a BA in political science at the University of Calgary and began a master’s program at the U of C’s Centre for Military and Strategic Studies. An Airdrie resident for 13 years, she is currently freelancing while finishing her master’s thesis. “Although I do not lead an ultra-green lifestyle, I do recycle a fair amount (i.e. paper products, plastics) and I am big on reusing.” Sergei Belski, photographer “I’m recycling everything, using everything electronically to be pretty much paper free in my business. Just doing little things like that.”
Stacey Carefoot, writer, columnist “My number one effort to be green is trying to find a way to recycle with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. As you will read in my column Green with Envy, recycling is something I do, not necessarily something I like to do.” Elizabeth Hak, writer, photographer “I recycle like a crazy woman – tin cans, milk cartons, scraps of paper, clothing, furniture. I have a system that works for me which makes it really easy to keep stuff out of the landfill. My recycling station in the kitchen is for cans and bottles. Cardboard, big or small, gets put into a box in my garage to be taken to the depot. Any clothes or furniture I don’t want are either given to friends or donated. I’ve made recycling simple, which means it actually gets done!” Alex Frazer-Harrison, writer “I live across the street from a recycling drop-off point for paper, milk jugs, etc., so I try to make use of them whenever I can.”
Ellen Kelly, writer, columnist “I use recyclable shopping bags – down with plastic!”
For further details, contact us at: (403) 980-9525 Ravenswood (Airdrie) Showhome: 2699 Ravenslea Gardens
Jenna McMurray, writer Jenna was born in Calgary and raised on an acreage just west of the city. Since she was a little girl, she’s loved to write, which led her to pursue a degree in journalism. She dabbled in television before she began working full time in print and photography. She’s won a number of writing and photography awards. “I’m trying hard to cut my carbon footprint in a number of ways. My latest green practice is using containers rather than plastic bags for food. I am also keen on recycling all paper and avoid printing anything unnecessary.” Kristy Reimer, photographer “Shooting digitally means there are less harmful chemicals to dispose of since there is no longer film to process!”
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EDITOR & PUBLISHER
Editor’s Note It’s still snowing as I sit and write this – and given our wacky Alberta weather it may still be once you are reading it. What a winter we have survived: ridiculous lows, both in temperature and stocks; doom and gloom preached everywhere. The media overrun by
Joan Bell, Sergei Belski, Stacey Carefoot, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Elizabeth Hak, Ellen Kelly, Kristy Reimer, Tara Richards
Chicken Littles. So should we spend our time moping right here in this magazine? Hell no. AirdrieLIFE is about life. About doing. About being. And about shar-
ing the stories that impact us positively, whether it’s a developer taking
extra care to preserve a wildlife area, a company taking a chance on providing a new service to reduce our carbon footprint, a community
Print Jeff Cummings
Video Rob Ing Productions
coming together to celebrate a vision of our collective future, or the bravery of a young cancer patient trying to help raise awareness for a
Teldon Print Media
cure right here in town.
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.
Soon the snow will melt, and the grass will turn green. It always does, recession or no recession. So let’s take a moment to celebrate life in Airdrie with an Italian cooking lesson, discover how you can plan your
Additional copies are available at Airdrie City Hall, 400 Main Street, Airdrie AB T4B 3B4.
whole wedding right here, stand in awe of athletes over the age of seventy, get your creative mojo flowing with the local arts scene, start
Get more LIFE at www.airdrielife.com
planning those renos on your current home (WIN $$$ toward your renovation – see page 98 for details) or make plans for that new home
How to reach us Editorial firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising email@example.com Web Inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org
you’ve had your eye on – it’s a buyer’s market! Our underlying theme this issue is talking about the environment and how we – as individuals, a community or corporation – can and are
AirdrieLIFE is published quarterly by Frog Inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie Economic Development Department.
making a difference. We walk the talk right here. You’ll notice a logo at the bottom left of this page for FSC. It means AirdrieLIFE is printed on paper that is Forest Steward Council certified as we use only paper from mixed sources of well-managed forests and recycled wood or fibre. This is one of the reasons we were recognized for our environmental efforts as a finalist for the Eco Edge Award in 2008 – something of which we
Economic Development Leona Esau, 403.948.8844 Communications Tara Richards, 403.948.8800
VOLUME 5, NUMBER 2
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 email@example.com
are all very proud. We are very proud of the stories in this issue, too: they inspire us, entertain us and educate us. We hope you get more out of LIFE. That’s what we’re here for.
Sherry Shaw-Froggatt, Editor & Publisher
City of Airdrie AMbassador Award
Eco Edge Award
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 13
Real Estate Central
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LIFEstyle Italian Cooking | 16
Jewellery Art | 25
WeddingLIFE | 27 Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE
“Buon cibo, Lifestyles | Food
bellissima compagnia” (enjoy the food, beautiful company)
Sal and Anna Maria Monna share recipes, memories and laughter in their kitchen Story by Anne Beaty Photos by Kristy Reimer
Food is our common ground, a universal experience.
hat quotation says it all for Airdrie’s Sal and Anna Maria Monna. Bringing together people and fine food is an art the couple has been perfecting for more than 25 years, the past five with their Airdrie restaurant, Bella Italia. After 23 years of running six different restaurant and deli facilities in Calgary, the Monnas opened Bella five years ago, much to the surprise of friends and family. “Everybody thought I was crazy,” Sal says. Despite its rather out-of-the-way location on the east side, the restaurant flourished and attracted clientele from near and far, many of whom became regulars. However, the long busy days began to take their toll, especially on Anna Maria, whose responsibilities as chef kept her on her feet for many hours every day. It was a difficult decision, but the couple de16 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
– James Beard
cided to sell the restaurant last year. Italian food aficionados can take heart, though: the Monnas have plans for a new venture in Airdrie – a deli, with catering services. This new business, Sal says, will fill a need in Airdrie and it is his and Anna Maria’s way of giving back to the community that has given them so much. “That will be something different for Airdrie,” Sal says.“I want to give the people of Airdrie thanks.” At home, the Monnas’ enthusiasm for all things culinary is also evident, even though they have had to adjust to a smaller kitchen since moving to Airdrie from a Calgary area acreage two years ago. While Anna Maria rules the roost in the kitchen, Sal is equally adept and enjoys letting his imagination run free. Both are pleased when they can pass along their expertise and Sal even
wants to run a course on wines, with participants creating a four-course meal and learning how to match the food with appropriate wines. “Maybe once a week we’re going to do that,” he says. Sal and Anna Maria have come a long way since they left Italy 33 years ago. They had no idea that they would become culinary and business experts when they came to Canada in 1976. Two years previously, after a stint working in Germany, Sal, a bricklayer, followed in the footsteps of his two brothers and came to Alberta, while fiancée Anna Maria remained back in Italy. Sal returned for their wedding in the small village just outside of Naples where the two of them grew up, then they packed their bags to head across the Atlantic for good. The first years were challenging for Anna
Maria, who didn’t speak any English. While Sal worked, she stayed at home cooking and taking care of the home, unable even to go shopping at first because of the language difficulties. “It was very hard,” she says. Gradually, though, the Monnas settled into their new life and in 1981, a back injury Sal suffered while he was building a restaurant was the catalyst to start the couple on a brand new path. It was Anna Maria who suggested opening their own restaurant and since Sal loved his work as a bricklayer, he designed and built the first facility. Even though they had no experience in the business world, Sal’s exuberance and people skills and Anna Maria’s expertise in the kitchen proved a winning combination. “When we started in the restaurant business, we started with nothing,” Sal says.“With experience, we learned.” For Anna Maria, who had never worked as a professional chef, stepping into a restaurant kitchen could have been daunting, but after the first chef they hired didn’t work out she threw herself into the job wholeheartedly. Growing up in a large family, cooking was something she had been doing almost since she could walk. “Everybody has to cook in Italy,” she says. “We kind of grew up in the kitchen. You’re always involved.” As a child of a poor family himself, Sal’s young experience was similar. “I learned the hard way how to … make something out of nothing,” he says, adding that he remembers dandelions being a regular part of the family’s menu. Throughout the 1980s, the Monnas
honed their respective skills and drew on their own experience in the face of adversity. When the economy went south early in the decade, the restaurant was sometimes empty by 8 p.m. At that point, Sal decided that entertainment would draw a crowd and he and a couple of friends began a singing act. That strategy worked and the restaurant ended up staying open until the wee hours of the morning. “It cost me a lot of money, because all the drinks were free,” he laughs. From those humble beginnings, the Monnas’ restaurant business has boomed, so much so that their facilities have even been listed among the top 10 in Calgary. Sal and Anna Maria have always tried to encourage an appreciation for the leisurely approach to fine dining and to that end, they have insisted on only the best, cooking from scratch with nary a microwave oven in sight and ensuring the facility is clean as a whistle. “You treat a restaurant like it’s your home,” says Anna Maria. While their love of what they do has played an essential role, Sal also attributes their success to their business ethics: be honest and treat people with respect. “The education our parents gave us works today,” he says. “I am very lucky. I never left an enemy behind me.” For now, the Monnas are excited about their latest venture and they are eager to see the response from their community. “I hope this one will be the last one. I think I’m getting too old to keep going around opening up restaurants,” Sal says. However, he adds: “If you love this busiLIFE ness, you can never retire.”
From the Monna Kitchen Spaghetti Carbonara 250 grams spaghetti 100 grams guangile or pancetta, cubed 125 ml white wine (or cooking water from pasta) 2 eggs (1 per plate) ¼ onion, finely chopped 30 ml (or to taste) romano and parmesan cheese, grated and mixed salt and pepper 250 ml whipping cream Sauté guangile and onion until nice and brown. Add white wine and let sit. In a bowl, beat eggs, cheese, salt and pepper and cream. Cook spaghetti. Remove pasta from cooking water and put into frying pan with guangile and onion and mix. Pour egg mixture over and mix. Serve immediately. Serves two.
More LIFE online
Get Anna Maria’s recipe for asparagus soup and her list of essentials for the perfect Italian kitchen at airdrielife.com
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 17
LIFEstyle | Column
That’sLIFE By Stacey Carefoot
Green with Envy W
e live in a city filled with countless environmentally friendly folks and where recycling is a way of life. Airdrie has had a two-garbage-bag-per-week limit long before the two-bag limit was cool and we have the luxury of a state-of-the-art recycling depot. The City supports residents with literature on the importance of living green and encourages us to conserve energy in countless ways. Despite all of this, I have a confession to make. I’m a very bad recycler. Now, before you start your letter writing campaign, it’s not that I don’t recycle; it’s that I’m bad at it, and I don’t like it. I don’t like the additional pressure of swishing, squishing and sorting. I don’t like the clutter it causes in my pantry and garage. I don’t like going to the depot only to find I have chosen the wrong day and it’s closed.
In the beginning, learning just how big my household’s carbon footprint actually is simply added to my already escalating anxiety. Regardless, I stuck with it and began taking part in the challenge, recording my green acts on a daily basis and learning new things about what we can do to improve our impact on the environment. Old light bulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescents, the kids are learning to embrace litterless lunches and I’m opting to wear a wool sweater all day to keep the thermostat set at the recommended 18 degrees Celsius. These baby steps towards a greener earth are simple compared to the seemingly insurmountable task of organizing my newspapers, tin cans and plastics for recycling. Over time, I’m sure I’ll discover a way to find pleasure in my efforts; who knows, maybe it will even become my own form of meditation.
What bothers me more than anything Perhaps dropping off the recycling will someday serve as I suppose is how simple everyone else therapy for me and others who find themselves in the same situation – and maybe if I keep it up I might even catch makes it look. myself with a smile on my face on the way to the depot.
Whether it’s the neighbour (you know who you are) with the smile on her face as she loads up her blue bins or the guy at the bottle depot who wishes me a good day, I just can’t believe that there is no one else on earth who is a begrudging recycler like me. Either out of desperation or boredom I have begun a quest to learn to find pleasure in my recycling efforts.
If you need motivation or more information on the One Million Acts of Green campaign, go to www.onemilLIFE lionactsofgreen.com.
My first stop: the One Million Acts of Green competition between the cities of Airdrie and Okotoks. Signing up for the challenge just might provide me with the inspiration and motivation that I needed. Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 19
Love LIFEstyle | pets
The addition of a new puppy to your family can either leave you feeling like you’re in hound heaven ... or lead to doggie disaster
By STACEy CAREFOOT
It could be the popularity of the hit movie Marley and Me or maybe it’s that Airdrionians aren’t able to resist those soulful puppy dog eyes and wagging tails. Whatever the reason, many of you are in the market for a new canine member of the family. Adding a puppy to your mix can cause tremendous upheaval if you haven’t done your homework. MAKE It A FAMILy dECIsIon
The purchase or adoption of a puppy has to be a family decision, according to local dog expert Simone Allen. “Buying a puppy for the kids or one family member promising to do all the work, or having an if it doesn’t work out we’ll get rid of it attitude, are big red flags,” says Allen, who has been training dogs for nearly 20 years. All members of the family must be in agreement and onboard. Puppies are high maintenance and require a huge amount of teamwork to care for. “Everyone has to be prepared to invest in the daily care of this new family member,” says Allen.“Training time, play time and schmoozing – day in and day out, in bad weather or nice, whether it’s convenient or not, until your dog’s last day,” says Allen on the level of commitment that must be met prior to adding a dog to your life.
purchases or adoptions that can be quite common. Deciding what breed will fit with your family is perhaps the most important step in this process. “Sometimes the description of the breed and living with the breed can be worlds apart,” says Allen, who suggests contacting individual breed clubs or the Canadian Kennel Club for more information on particular dog breeds. “For a long time dogs have been bred to serve some purpose, whether it’s to look after the livestock, guard, hunt, track, fight or to simply be a companion, and it’s in a family’s best interest to figure out what that role was,” warns Allen. thE nEW ArrIvAL
New puppies are usually ready to enter the home at around eight weeks. It’s important for everyone to remember that the puppy has just left its mom and siblings and the only environment it has known. “Puppies come from a rather structured society where they know the language and their place in the pecking order,” says Allen. Ensure that you have a structured routine that includes regular potty breaks, play time and training. Being prepared to spend a lot of time with a puppy in the beginning will ensure a solid relationship with a dog in the end.
Once the decision has been made to welcome a dog into the household, it’s a good idea to discuss the details. Breed, sex, age, etc. are all things that will help eliminate the impulse 20 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
AirdrieliFe Fall/Winter 2008
YOUR LIFE. YOUR MAGAZINE
LEARn ABOUT dIFFEREnT BREEdS. OF OUR PET COvER COnTEST.
Pet oF the YeAR
Sporting breeds were bred to work hand-inhand with a hunter, for hours a day in the field, therefore stamina, intelligence and a built-in desire to please are key. But these same smart dogs can turn into lunatics if not given the
MorE LIFE onLInE
SEE ThE WInnER
Bella is airdrie’s
QuICK FACts ABout dog BrEEds hAvE A WIsh LIst
exercise and training needed to blow off that energy. No longer a joy to have, these guys can become destructive and spin out of control. The terrier group is smart, tenacious, independent and tough as nails. Built to ‘go to ground’ (enter the ground after their quarry, referring to their hunting origins), if these dogs don’t land in a home that is disciplined and has an owner that is just as determined with their training, they will tunnel their way to freedom or worse. Working/herding breeds are brave, intelligent and have a strong work ethic. They need a job. Their owners have to be willing to spend time exercising and training in abundance. Without an outlet, they will herd your children or cats and can become aggressive or neurotic. Hounds, toy breeds, guardian breeds: all have their breed-specific traits. The family needs to research their breed choice and then take it to the streets. Crossbred dogs will display characteristics of the breeds that make up their gene pool. These traits may be more diluted, but nonetheless will still play a role in their behaviour. LIFE
how an Airdrie family found a rescued pup from Mexico and fell in love.
GEt moRE out oF LIFE! New features and columns
yOU CAn STILL Family
GET yOUR OWn
All in the Meet three families who have grown with us
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LIFEstyle | CommunIty | HomES | CIty | WoRKS
Vol. 5 | No. 1 Display until Feb. 28, 2009
FEATURInG yOUR PET And dOnATE $10 TO ThE AIRdRIE hUMAnE SOCIETy
LIFEstyle | events
What’s Up Airdrie?
Here’s a look at some of the events shaping up this spring. For more details go to airdrielife.com
Tour de Airdrie
12 Bert Church Live Theatre presents the Eagles Tribute Band Hotel California * 21 It’s down home country-toe-tapping fun with the Prairie Mountain Fiddlers at the Bert Church Live Theatre.* 28 Turn off your lights at 8:30 p.m. Earth Hour is a symbolic event that encourages people around the world to switch off their lights for one hour to support action on climate change! Everyone can participate, it is as simple as flicking off a switch! Before you leave work on Friday, make sure your computer and all non-essential lights are turned off. At home turn off your lights, hang out by candlelight or go for a walk.
By ELIzABETh hAK
The third week in April can be a lovely time of year in Airdrie for a road race. However, participants in last year’s Tour de Airdrie experienced the unpredictable Alberta spring weather with a bit of snow. “We had a blizzard,” laughs Airdrie’s city manager, George Keen. But runners are very hardy, adds Keen, with well over 100 athletes showing up. Attendance was down from 400-plus in 2007 but considering the conditions, it was a wonderful turnout. In conjunction with the Airdrie Rotary Club and McKee Homes as well as many other local businesses, the 4th Annual Tour de Airdrie will take to the streets starting at Genesis Place at 10 a.m. on April 19, 2009. With 5 km, 10 km and 21 km events, there is a distance to suit all skill levels. “The race appeals to both the recreational runner and the committed runner,” says Keen, who hopes to see anywhere from 500 to 750 athletes this year.
3 Bert Church Live Theatre presents Ten Lost Years adapted from the novel by Barry Broadfoot, Ten Lost Years brings to life the stories of an entire generation of Canadians who lived their formative years during the Great Depression* 22 The City of Airdrie is hosting its annual Volunteers of the Year Awards on April 22, 2009. To commemorate Airdrie’s past 100 years as a volunteer driven community, the event will feature a historical theme. 23 The final performance of the Bert Church Live Theatre season brings one of Canada’s most original and entertaining bands. The Plaid Tongued Devils have played with such Canuck greats as Blue Rodeo, Great Big Sea and the Skydiggers.
Pets, babies in strollers, friends and families can all join in. Racers under 12 are free. For the competitive runners, “chip timing” will be introduced this year for more accurate finishing times. Most importantly, the money raised from entry fees and donations, more than $50,000 to date, has been used to help furnish three residences for families who are transitioning out of emergency shelters. Family violence affects everyone in a community. The Tour de Airdrie and the Rotary Club are helping to minimize that impact. For MorE InForMAtIon,
go to www.tourdeairdrie.com
25 & 26 Get ready for the 32nd annual hockey rink of mini donuts, magic acts and landscape company displays—or as it’s really known – the 32nd annual Airdrie Home & Garden Fair. Organized by the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, the fair attracts more than 10,000 visitors to over 200 exhibitors. It’s your chance to mingle with the community while meeting Airdrie and area businesses from cell phone providers to hot tub retailers. Area non-profits and clubs have a presence so you can learn more about their place in the community. All at the Airdrie Twin Arenas.
1 The 55 Plus Games bring more than 1,000 athletes to town (July 23-26) but plenty of fundraising needs to be done ahead of time – including the online silent auction which wraps up – Hurry and find a good deal at www.auctionsalacarte.com/airdrie55games/ 2 The Airdrie Over 50 Club and the Airdrie Horticultural Society are hosting a Centennial Tea at the Town & Country Centre with tea and strawberries. Everyone is welcome. 23 Airdrie hosts its first ever Relay for Life, a 12- hour tribute celebration of survival and a tribute to those who have been touched by cancer. See page 49 for more on this event.
5 Fore a good time and a good cause register for the 55 Plus Games Golf Tournament at Woodside Golf Couse, swing your clubs and support Airdrie’s hosting role for the provincewide Games.
*All performances at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for all Bert Church Live Theatre performances are available by calling the theatre at phone number, 403-948-8824, or at the two Airdrie ticket outlets—Music Centre Canada and Page and Turners Bookstore.
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 21
Forever In Blue Jeans, Babe A history of denim
Our love affair with denim started with those daring fashion renegades, the Genoese sailors who wore the “Bleu de Genes”. Nothing said “chic” in the 1500’s like that perfect fitting pair of jeans that could be worn to swab the decks or shimmy a mast, and talk about versatility! They could be worn wet or dry, pantlegs rolled up or rolled down, and the best part of all? Laundering them was as simple as towing them in a giant net behind the ship. Aaahh…for the good ole’ days… Well, fast forward a couple hundred years and our beloved blue jeans got a makeover. (Every good fashion craze does need to be updated now and again, after all.) Mr. Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis (who never did manage to get his name on the bum of any pair of pants), joined forces in the 1870’s to create the copper-riveted denim pants that all great jeans of today derive from. Let us all take a moment to honour the dear Mr. Strauss and the darling Mr. Davis… Denim jean pants, as they were known in Levi’s day, started out as the garb of the worker the miner, the farmer, the railroad worker, the factory worker. Sturdy and hard-wearing, they couldn’t exactly have been called sexy, but they did their job and did it well. In the 1950’s, denim became a symbol of non-conformity worn by teens and young adults when rebel stars such as Marlon Brando, James Dean and Elvis wore their jeans with just the right mix of sex appeal and rugged disregard of social convention (which saw jeans banned from schools and many places of business). A fashion star was born. The ensuing decades of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (who could ever forget our love affair with stone-washed denim?) saw jeans become a wardrobe basic. Designer denim was dreamed into reality and jeans became forever entrenched in our hearts and closets. Today’s denim is truly a wardrobe staple. In styles ranging from casual to elegant, our jeans are inspired works of art. With dozens of top fashion designers with a passion for denim, our jeans have become sophisticated, innovative, fashionfocused masterpieces. S’instyle carries a wide range of denim to fit every body and every budget. Our custom denim fittings are legendary for finding the right jean for every woman walking into our boutique. And while you may not find the 16th century Genoese sailor look and fit, you will find the perfect pair for your lifestyle. After all, “the right pair of jeans should be devastatingly sexy and lavishly comfortable” (motto of Hudson Jeans). So pop in and see our collection of: 7 for all Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Rock & Republic, Joe Bush Hollywood Creations, !It Jeans, Hudson Jeans, AG Adriano Goldschmied, Guess, Laguna Beach Jean Co., William Rast, Parasuco, Silver Jeans, and Miss Me (to name just a few). Visit our Popular Website
Free Shipping! - Canada & USA 22 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009 403.945.0388 207, 960 Yankee Valley Blvd, Airdrie AB
Lifestyle | Health
FitLIFE with Joan Bell
Which boot camp is right for you? Everywhere you look today in the world of fitness, you see boot camps, and Airdrie is no exception. During the course of my research, I came across four different companies offering boot camp programs in Airdrie
Boot camps are moderate to intense cardio workouts based on exercises similar to those employed by the military. If you sign up for a boot camp you can expect to endure strength training, drills, callisthenics, obstacle courses, circuit training, jogging and agility training. Most boot camp programs also incorporate a nutrition component. The benefits of boot camps are numerous and include weight loss, increased muscle mass, lost inches, toning, improvement in overall fitness level as well as increased energy and endurance. Brandy Douglas, a two-time local boot camp participant, sums it up like this: “I have been trying so hard to find something to motivate [me] into health and wellness and to lose weight, and nothing had worked … until this! “It is such a treat and has benefited me mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.” Most participants experience an overall sense of well being, feeling healthier and stronger. A good boot camp program will not only motivate you to exercise, but also to eat healthy. The biggest impact most participants note from attending boot camp is an increased level of self confidence. Trish Hutton, another boot camp participant, says, “This has had a huge impact on my health and my self confidence. I have lost weight and trimmed inches off my thighs already…and we are only halfway through! There is no threat, you do not have to be fit to start; you just have to want to change!” In addition to the Ladies Get Fit! Boot Camp at Airdrie Yoga Studio, Bikini Boot Camp, Survivor Boot Camp, and Sculptures Personal Training all offer boot camp programs. Genesis Place also offers moderate to intense weekly workout programs such as Fitt Chix, Movers and Shakers, Xtreme Fit, and Yummy Mommy Boot Camp (check out the In the City guide for more details). Nicole Smith offers a Mom and Baby Stroller Boot Camp and can be reached at 403-875-3136 for more information about her program. So how do you decide which boot camp is right for you? Check out www.airdrielife. com for a comparison of boot camp programs on such attributes as class size and frequency, program length, cost and required fitness levels.
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 23
Lifestyle | Music
Sharon Matheson Gets Groovy Our series on local musicians focuses on British-born but Airdrie-loving Sharon Matheson story by Elizabeth Hak | photo by Deborah Pellettieri After performing with bands like The Bo Jackson Group, Argyle Socks and
45 RPM (formerly known as Honey & Hills), it’s easy to envisage Sharon Matheson as a charismatic performer. Born in England, Matheson credits many British bands for her inspiration while still developing her own distinctive style. She has performed all over the world since becoming a professional performer in 1973. After meeting the incomparable Al Barrett, entertainer extraordinaire, on a number of occasions, they teamed up in 2002. With Barrett, Matheson has found a musical mentor who loves performing on stage as much as she does. What’s your most famous jingle? I’ve done lots of them but I’m best known for Meet Me at the Pat. It’s a jingle I did about 20 years ago for The Patricia Hotel in Saskatoon. Everyone knows that jingle as it is still being played after all these years. Have you ever wanted to be in a Broadway show? I’ve always wanted to act. It’s still on my list of things to do. I would really love to be one of the cats in CATS. What’s the strangest thing that happened to you in Japan? While I was there working, I went into a night club on my night off. I’m quite tall. All heads turned as I walked in. Everyone was impressed with my makeup and thought I was a guy in drag! I must have looked like an Amazon. It was so funny. What is your favourite instrument? My vocal chords. I know them inside and out. I know what they can do and what they can’t do. I’m very comfortable with them. Where in the world would you love to perform? London, England. I have so many relatives there. No matter what venue I played in London, they would all come and cheer me on. Which was your favourite decade? The 2000s. I’m in the best place I’ve ever been musically. I love the kind of venues The Al Barrett Band is playing and I love the people I play with. It’s a wonderful time to be a musician. Dead or alive, which group would you like to perform with most? The Beatles. They have influenced every genre of music. I grew up with them. They have just imprinted on my life so much. Which place do you consider ‘home’? Twenty or more years ago, I would have said it was England. Now it’s Canada. Especially Alberta and Airdrie. Airdrie feels like home. I love driving and seeing the mountains. I am a city girl but I get enough of what I need playing gigs in Calgary. Airdrie just fits. I have many wonderful friends that LIFE live here. Airdrie gives me everything I need.
LIFEstyle| Artist Profile
Renaissance Woman Cheryl Bakke Martin finds her soul in her art
irdrie painter, sculptor and jewellery artist Cheryl Bakke Martin’s favourite quote, from Michelangelo – I saw an angel in the stone and carved to set it free – expresses her philosophy. “Isn’t that what our creativity is? It’s in there ... it just takes time to find it,” she says. Martin, who has lived in Airdrie for 13 years, is originally from Saskatoon where she grew up making art in a creative household. Her father, who is her mentor and greatest influence, taught her to cut and polish stones at an early age. She made her first pair of earrings when she was three, and at 10, took a silver-smithing course with her dad. She says, “I think every one of my friends had a silver ring that I made.” Today she makes jewellery and wall sculptures, paints and has recently added collage to her work. She teaches in her home studio of-
Story by Ellen Kelly | Photos by Kristy Reimer
fering courses in a variety of mediums to small groups of students. Martin believes art helps with reflection on what’s important and what brings joy to one’s life. “Creativity requires shutting out all of the nonsense that comes from the left brain. My workshops are designed to unplug people from their regular lives and get lost in the creative process.” About her own process, Martin says it’s hard for her to do just one thing. “I like combining the various things that I do into one.” Sometimes, what she does on paper two-dimensionally ends up in other works – in wall sculptures or in jewellery forms. “They overlap and one inspires the other.” Martin has been invited to attend the Emma Lake International Collaboration (a gathering of 100 artists, sponsored by the Saskatchewan Crafts Council) three times, and is affiliated with the Night of Artists in
Alberta. She paints weekly with her painting group, the Painted Ladies. Martin is working toward becoming a fulltime artist but currently spends some time as a corporate speaker lecturing on Emotional Intelligence. She is passionate about improving the workplace environment. When asked what her art means to her, Martin replies, “It’s my sanity. If I wasn’t creating art, I would be so empty ... I can’t not LIFE create and stay whole.”
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 25
LIFESTyLE | books
InTROdUCInG AIRdRIELIFE’S OnLInE BOOK CLUB
Look around your local library or any book store and you have to think – so many books, so little time! Unless you have something specific in mind, the choices are unlimited, so how do you narrow it down? One way readers are discovering good books, as well as interesting conversation and a sense of connection, is to join a book club, either in person or online. Clubs provide motivation to read books that you might not have considered otherwise and the opportunity to share your impressions with other readers. not everyone can commit to regular meetings so AirdrieLIFE is adding an online book club to its growing community and we’re looking for members. We’ll make some suggestions to get started, but it’s your book club, readers. visit the book club online at airdrielife.com to join. Tell us a bit about yourself, comment on a good book you’ve read or would like to read, or recommend a book as a future book club selection. Go to the website to see what we’re reading this spring. Get involved and have your name entered in the draw for a cash prize to buy your next book. One lucky participant’s name will be drawn from the reviews and recommendations we receive. See full details online at airdrielife.com
Smile, and feel your best.
New patients welcome, call 403-912-9378 to book your appointment. #1 - 620 1st Avenue NW, Airdrie www.blunstondentalgroup.com Restorative • Cosmetic • Neuromuscular (TMJ) • Visit us online to learn more.
Dr. Thayne Blunston, LVI Fellow
Be your best.
8/27/08 12:36:19 PM
Wedding LIFE Bridal Cover 2009
“I Do” SAYING
WeddingLIFE Cover: A Cinderella story – Stacey models a stunning strapless tulle ball gown by Justin Alexander, with a silk bodice encrusted with crystals and glass beads. The full tulle skirt has scattered beads to match. Embrace Bridal This page: Embrace’s Flower Girl Princess Dress and Justin Alexander’s full, crushed taffeta skirt over beaded tulle extends into a chapel train. The strapless taffeta pleated bodice has hand-beaded trim at the neckline and beaded buttons to match. Embrace Bridal
From top clockwise: Jaquelin Bridals – Private Collection; Jeanine and Ali model matte taffeta A-line dresses that come in three different styles; halter (not shown), sweetheart with straps and strapless tube. All are gathered at bodice and waist for added elegance. Embrace Bridal Satin bridal shoes, Embrace Bridal Oversize fun jewel toned rings from Pharmasave Delicate crystal necklace from Pharmasave’s jewelry collection
28 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Begin Right at Home thanks to a creative and varied group of businesses and services to make your wedding day perfect
Story by JENNA McMURRAY | Photos by Kristy Reimer
t is the day women fantasize about from the time they are little girls playing dress up. A hall decked out in exuberant flowers proclaiming true love, the most beautiful and exquisite gown they will ever wear, and the man of their dreams waiting to take a vow... It used to be difficult to create those kinds of fantasies in the little town that was Airdrie, but now it’s possible to make wedding dreams come true without ever stepping foot outside the city limits. Homegrown weddings are becoming increasingly popular as the local bridal industry welcomes more and more services to its list of vendors. “The wedding industry’s been growing lots, especially in the last 10 years,” says Stacy Zimmer-Otteson, event coordinator for the Welcome Wagon’s Airdrie Bridal Showcases. “You can get everything right here in Airdrie, you just have to look a little.” As a wedding planner, Zimmer-Otteson says she gets about 35 requests from couples to help orchestrate their wedding of a lifetime each year. And with the first Bridal Showcase of 2009 on March 8 and a second coming up in September, Zimmer-Otteson says Airdrie residents will have a chance to see that the resources required to plan nearly any wedding are right at their fingertips. “We may not have 50 florists, but the ones we have are good quality and that’s a good thing because sometimes too many choices
can be overwhelming, especially to a bride who doesn’t know what she wants,” says Zimmer-Otteson of the small, but sound, variety of services. That said, “you can definitely go from low-end (products and services) to high-end here; there’s enough competition for that,” she adds. Sure enough, flower shops, dressmakers, photographers, hairdressers and caterers have started blooming in Airdrie’s business district, a trend that’s encouraged the demand for the services to flourish. “My business definitely has the potential to grow here – I like to keep it local,” says Kristy Reimer, owner of Kristy Reimer photography. Though Reimer is used to extending her services to Calgarians as well, she’s hoping Airdrie’s growing number of brides and grooms will help her develop an even broader local customer base. Renae Gibson, owner of Sheer Fusion Lingerie, says she’s noticed her wedding-related customer base has been climbing steadily since she opened her store in 2005. Gibson saw approximately 150 customers seeking wedding merchandise last year and expects that number to increase again in 2009. “The wedding season is growing more and more; we’ve noticed it get busier and busier and we’re very excited about that,” says Gibson.
Because a bride without bling is like a wedding cake without icing.
Captivating crystals, gorgeous gemstones and perfect pearls in necklaces, rings, earrings, hair combs and tiaras. For the bride, bridesmaid and everyone else on the invitation list! Your Live Well Pharmacist is there to help
209 Centre Avenue West Airdrie 403-948-0010 Open Mon-Fri 9-9 Sat 9-6 Sun 11-5 www.thestoreupstairs.com
Created in Italian Silk Duchess with layers of tulle overskirt and bodice, this classic-style gown, modelled by Chelsea-laine, has a fitted bodice with a natural waistline and softly gathered full skirt. The luxurious features of this gown are the 1,000 Swarovski crystals detailing the waist and scattered over the gown. Couture Gown Studio. Paris Hilton ankle band heels and Kathy Van Zeeland satchel purse, both from S’in Style
The most recent numbers from Statistics Canada show Airdrie’s population has spiked over the last decade, growing by about 1,700 people per year between 2001 and 2006. With a bigger population, the city has become big enough to sustain many of its own businesses and that’s what originally drew Luymo Nguyen to move to Airdrie to open a dry cleaning company. But after she looked around her, Nguyen realized there was a niche for bridal retailers and in February of 2008,
she debuted Airdrie’s very first bridal boutique, Embrace Bridal and Formal Fashions. “I realized there was nothing in Airdrie for bridal shops and knowing that people don’t want to go into Calgary if they don’t have to made the perfect opportunity,” says Nguyen. She said rather than feeling concern over the growing divorce rate, the number of second and third marriages she is seeing these days encourages her. Despite its growth, Airdrie has man-
aged to keep its small town atmosphere, which generates an interest in keeping weddings local. “There’s a sense of community that Airdrie is trying to maintain as it grows and it’s doing a good job,” says Tracey WardKerr, owner of Couture Gown Studio. WardKerr attributes the growth in the wedding industry to business owners connecting, networking and making room for each other. “I really like that Airdrie has a strong artisan vibe,” she adds. And though several business owners in the industry are crossing their fingers for more wedding venues to open up as the next big step, Zimmer-Otteson says places like Airdrie Town and Country Centre are getting the job done for the time being. “You really could do the wedding anywhere you want though,” she says, noting brides and grooms aren’t limited to what would be considered standard locations. Reimer can speak to that as well, saying a lot of her clients want their wedding photos shot in Airdrie’s beautiful rural settings rather than somewhere plain and ordinary. The Welcome Wagon Bridal Showcases demonstrate just how extensive the industry has become, offering everything from local caterers to marriage officiants. With the average wedding racking up a $30,000 tab and welcoming about 150 guests, it’s hard to say the industry is anything but big these days. Fortunately for brides in Airdrie, there truly are the resources to go as big as they want. “Weddings are so different now than they were even 10 years ago,” says Zimmer-Otteson. “Brides don’t want their wedding to be cookie cutter so the sky’s the limit.” LIFE
Left: (l to r)Jeanine models a Belsoie sweetheart neckline matte taffeta dress, Sarah wears a strapless twisted band empire waist A-line dress in iridescent taffeta and Ali is modelling a Belsoie tiffany chiffon dress with V-neck and gathered bodice and waist. Embrace Bridal. Accessories Pharmasave Above: Stacey is elegant in a V- neck Sincerity sheath with fishtail lace . The back features sheer lace detail and buttons that stretch to the end of the beaded and lace sweep train. Dress and tiara Embrace Bridal. Above right: Jewel encrusted sandals for any member of the wedding party. Embrace Bridal Right: Vanessa is all glamour in a satin halter key-hole dress with a ruched bodice and waist and sweep train. Embrace Bridal
Say I DO with the help of these local experts on everything from brilliant smiles to blushing bouquets and, of course, THE dress. When it comes right down to it you only need to leave Airdrie for the honeymoon! Advertorial Nearly everyone’s best feature on the happiest day of their lives is their smile. Cusp Dental, a full-service dental hygiene clinic, offers any bride and groom that registers for a full new patient appointment a complimentary whitening. “When everyone looks at you, they see your smile; it just completes you,” says Leona Le Lievre, RDH. “You want to look your best and have that sparkling smile for the pictures.” Cusp also offers a European laser whitening that completes the entire process in just 40 minutes. For more information,
Sergei Belski isn’t big on getting couples to pose for him because it’s not as likelife. The owner of Sergei Belski Photography calls his style “unobtrusive” and strives to capture true stories with spontaneous moments and real emotions. “The images I capture will be their memories for life and that’s really great,” he says. For more information,
a goal weight before their wedding day. “Everyone wants to look good in their wedding dress,” says Kot. “But the motivation is half the battle.” Simply for Life offers three-, six- and 12-month nutritional programs working with consultants Kot calls “inspirational people.” For more information,
Danielle Kot is getting married in April and says she knows the stresses of planning a wedding while trying to stay healthy all too well. Kot, a nutritionist and owner of Simply for Life in Airdrie, says she can easily relate to her clients, many of whom are trying to reach
Brides and grooms most certainly don’t want the most important day of their lives to fade with time, but photographer Kristy Reimer knows how to make the memories last. Owner of Kristy Reimer Photography, Reimer is intent on making any wedding day picture-perfect.
The glamour of a bygone era has returned. You too can experience the kind of attention to detail that reflects your unforgettable style. Have the Couture Gown of your dreams. Space is limited for 2009 bookings. Call today. 403.912.4289 Calgary, AB Tracey WardKerr, Couturiere www.couturegownstudio.ca
Your Dream Gown Comes to Life.
“There aren’t many other companies offering really high-end albums that are really an heirloom piece,” says Reimer. “I want to illustrate the love between the couple.” Known for her dynamic uses of colour, lighting and setting, Reimer’s slogan is: “Alluring wedding imagery for contemporary couples in love.” For more information,
Flowers account for about 20 per cent of wedding budgets, so Summerhill Florist has a huge responsibility to make corsages, centrepieces, bouquets and arrangements look beautiful. The store is always on top of changing designs and offers one-on-one consultations to ensure the flowers reflect a bride’s dream wedding within the confines of her budget. Some flowers are seasonal, so manager Lynn Hughes advises brides to contact her florist six
Gentle Dental Hygiene Care For the Whole Family! Professional dental hygiene cleanings Digital radiology Advanced whitening techniques Valscope -cancer screening technology Leed (Environmentally friendly) office
Opening Spring 2009
Now Taking Appointmments! 403.912.CUSP (403.912.2877) www.cuspdentalcare.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Leona Le Lievre RDH Owner / Operator
105 - 3 Stonegate Center Airdrie Alberta, T4B 0N2 (West of Superstore)
WeddingLIFE months in advance to make sure the flowers she wants are available. For more information,
It takes months, even years, to plan the perfect wedding, but the staff at Mezzanine Spa and Mezzanine Hair Studio are responsible for putting on the final touches on the big day. The company offers brides all the icing on the cake, including manicures, pedicures, facials, lash and brow tinting, and, of course, makeup and hair styling. “There are a lot of stressed-out brides and we want them to be relaxed and focused, pampered and beautified for their big day,” says spa manager and esthetician Kendall Wallis. “Everyone is so happy on wedding days so it’s always nice when they’re happy with how they look.” Wallis says her key technique for makeup application is to ask what the client does on a normal day and then step it up a little bit so they stand out even more on their wedding day.
Only the dress needs to be white!
West Side: 205 - 304 Main Street
East Side: 805 East Lake Blvd.
For more information,
Brides! Elegant Lingerie Strapless bras Spanx bustiers garters & hosiery
206-304 Main Street Airdrie, AB
There’s a secret to making a wedding dress fit perfectly and Lynn Kehoe, owner of Cream Body and Bath, is willing to share it. “We encourage brides to bring their dresses in because they just don’t look right without the right undergarment,” says Kehoe, whose store specializes in lingerie, shapewear and homemade bath products. “Nobody knows what’s underneath, but that’s what makes the dress look so great.” Beyond wedding day (and night) fashions, the store offers brides a full line of athletic wear, sea salt skin detoxifiers and tub truffles for wedding favours. For more information,
It’s been just over a year since Airdrie’s very first bridal boutique officially opened its doors to the public and now, Embrace Bridal and Formal Fashions feels right at home. “The city is growing fast and there are more people getting married these days,” says Embrace owner Luymo Nguyen, whose store services many local bridal parties. Embrace carries a variety of wedding
wear for brides, their mothers, flower girls and bridesmaids, as well as a full line of prom and formal wear. “It’s the dress that counts; everything else follows,” says Nguyen. For more information,
For the most decadent weddings, brides can head to Pharmasave/The Store Upstairs, which supervisor Lynn Armstrong describes as “not your typical drug store.” The shop offers an abundance of wedding jewelry including necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, hair combs, tiaras and even pearls. “We have a beautiful selection of bridal jewelry,” says Armstrong, who travels to buying shows several times each year to bring in the trendiest items. Also available in The Store Upstairs are wedding accessories no bride should go without, including handbags, garters, guest books, cake and knife sets, and picture frames.
For more information,
For Bridal Couture designer Tracey WardKerr, “Creating Couture gowns is an art form!” As owner of Couture Gown Studio, Tracey creates gowns in her private design studio devoted exclusively to Bridal Couture. There, clients can have their vision turned into reality. “I always encourage clients to express who they really are. Think outside the box! Then leave the rest to me!” she says. A unique and extremely specialized addition to Airdrie’s bridal industry, the studio provides brides-to-be with the opportunity to walk down the aisle in “the most beautiful dress they will ever wear!” For more information,
Not everything needs to be white on your wedding day and Tan Lines makes sure of it. A new computerized system allows customers to use minutes from tanning packages at either of the two locations, which offer 16 tanning beds as well as spray-on tan.
Nutrition. Education. Lifestyle.
Start your new life together with nutrition habits that will keep you fit and healthy for life. Choose Simply For Life as your personal “food coach” to get the results you’re looking for.
Airdrie Clinic 403-948-4424 #302 Station Crossing 191 Edwards Way SW
For more information,
call 403-948-7213 (east) or 403-948-7213 (west)
WeddingLIFE Our Airdrie wedding experts: Gowns: Embrace Bridal and Couture Gown Studio Models: Stacey Labait, Riley Labait, Vanessa Day, Chelsea-laine Lyons, Chelsea Neale, Jeanine Froggatt, Ali Froggatt and Sarah Ferguson Flowers: Summerhill Florist Hair Styling: Andrew at Mezzanine Hair Studio Make-up: Make Me by Alli, www.makeme.ca Jewellery: Pharmasave, Embrace Bridal Furniture: Airdrie Home Furnishings More WeddingLIFE online
Left: Chelsea is a showstopper in her contemporary mermaid-style gown featuring a deep V-neckline, ruched bias-cut bodice of silk crepe and sheer silk organza skirt. Couture Gown Studio Above: Vanessa is ready for a beach wedding in a strapless A-line tea-length gown with Belsoie Tiffany chiffon and charmeuse layers.
945-1877 403 191 edwards way airdrie ab
101 191 edwards way airdrie ab
Community Blake Richards | 39
Ageless and Active | 47
Rural Roots | 52 Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE
Community | Political Life
Blake’s Totally Awesome
Our new MP begins his formal foray into political life and shares his experiences with writer Anne Beaty by Anne Beaty
Blake Richards at his swearing in ceremony Photo courtesy House of Commons Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008:
“As I write this, I am sitting in the Ottawa Airport awaiting a flight home, which has been delayed. This is but one small part of the travel troubles I have experienced on my first trip to Ottawa.” – from the diary of Wild Rose member of Parliament (MP) Blake Richards
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 39
Community | Political Life
Blake, Tara and Quinn in Ottawa Photo courtesy House of Commons
Blake Richards’ first trip to Canada’s
capitol city as MP began Oct. 27 with an inadvertent cancellation of his plane tickets to Toronto and then on to Ottawa by the House of Commons travel agency. After purchasing new tickets at Calgary International Airport, he arrived in Ottawa only to discover that he wasn’t booked into the hotel he expected and the place he ended up was, in his words,“the seediest dive of a hotel I have ever stayed in.” Such was the Airdrie resident’s introduction to his new job representing the people of Wild Rose. Perhaps a good sense of humour and an appreciation for the absurd, as well as the ability to think on one’s feet, are essential elements of the makeup of Canada’s MPs. If so, Richards is perfect for the job. “I’m a pretty easygoing person,” he says. And since surmounting obstacles is part of political life, Richards is relishing the challenges. “I’m doing a job that very few people have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do,” he says.“I’m really enjoying it.” The rest of Richards’ initiation was not nearly as difficult as his travel travails. His first 40 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
couple of weeks entailed all the basics, including setting up his office (in the East Block, one floor above the historic office of Sir John A. MacDonald), meeting with the House leader and attending orientation sessions, which he says offered good networking opportunities. As well, he was learning what to pack and what to wear, along with simply finding his way around the Hill. While there is no handbook for the job as MP, Richards has been able to absorb, adapt and fit into his new duties without much trouble. “It’s a learning process on the job,” he says. Prior to his election, Richards spent seven years as constituency assistant with retired Wild Rose MP Myron Thompson, experience that gave him at least an inkling of what to expect, even if he didn’t spend much time in Ottawa. Now, though, he is appreciating even more the demands of the job of MP. “It’s a way different experience being on the other side of the desk,” he says. Nonetheless, nothing really unexpected in terms of his duties as MP has arisen and although he initially expected to be somewhat overwhelmed, he has managed to take things in stride.
“Probably the biggest surprise is there haven’t really been any surprises,” he says. As a member of Parliament, Richards is in Ottawa for 25 weeks of the year, coming home on weekends; the rest of the time is spent in his own riding. A typical week in the capitol begins when he flies from Calgary to Ottawa Sunday night or, if lucky, Monday morning. In his office on Parliament Hill at 8 - 9 a.m., he is kept busy throughout the day with everything from returning calls to constituents and duties in the House of Commons to national caucus meetings and researching various issues. He is currently sitting on two committees near and dear to his heart – agriculture and public safety. “There’s always lots of work to do,” he says. “You’re not out of your office until 9 - 10 p.m., even later. That’s great – that’s the way I like it.” Back in Wild Rose country, Richards spends his time attending a wide variety of functions, visiting municipalities, meeting with service groups and generally getting to know his constituents and hearing about their issues. “It actually reminds me quite a lot of my job in real estate,” he says, adding that because
the Wild Rose riding is so huge, every minute of his time in Alberta is extremely valuable. And multitasking is something with which Richards is very familiar: he continued his successful real estate career while working as Thompson’s assistant; he has volunteered in several capacities, including as hockey coach and with his church; and he has sat on various boards. That multifaceted background is serving him in good stead in his new role. “In politics, there’s no such thing as ‘ordinary,’” he says. Despite the fact that his responsibilities take up much of his time – it’s almost a 24-7 job – Richards has enjoyed unexpected perks. His son, Quinn, who is in Grade 7, has been able to accompany him on several occasions as he has toured Wild Rose. “I … like hanging out with my dad when we go to events together in his riding,” Quinn says. “This year we went to the Festival of Lights in Airdrie, some rodeos and much more.” On the home front, Quinn and his mother, Tara, a full-time employee with the City of Airdrie, have also been adjusting to the lifestyle change. “It’s a different routine now,” Tara says, adding that she is now responsible for all the general duties around home, such as taking out the garbage and ensuring Quinn gets to all his extracurricular activities.“It’s been interesting, definitely. Of course, we miss [Richards].” Nonetheless, Tara and Quinn are thrilled about Richards’ new role. When they traveled to Ottawa in November to see him sworn in, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not only to celebrate with the new MP, but also to get a true sense of Canada – past, present and future.
“It was pretty cool seeing the House of Commons. I got to sit in the speaker’s chair and the prime minister’s chair,” Quinn says. “I can’t wait to go there and watch my dad in the House, speaking. I’m really proud of my dad.” Tara, too, was impressed by the nation’s capital. “It has a lot of charm,” she says. “[Parliament Hill] is so much about Canada’s history. It’s where we started as a nation.” Tara also attended a tea at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s residence, where she enjoyed an opportunity to rub shoulders with Harper’s wife, Laureen Teskey. “She’s just a total normal person; there’s no pomp or circumstance to her,” Tara says. The highlight was seeing Richards in the speaker’s chair in the House of Commons. “That was the coolest point for me,” she says. Being able to witness the House of Commons in action and getting a behind-the-scenes understanding and appreciation of how the country runs has made a huge difference to the Richards family and even Quinn has begun taking a real interest in Canadian politics. “He does read the paper in the morning,” Tara says, adding that Quinn also asks his father questions about his job and what is happening in Ottawa and around Wild Rose. “That’s been neat for me,” Richards says. Even though it is still unexpected when people recognize him on the street, Richards has adjusted to being the ‘face of government’. And with his family’s whole-hearted support and interest, the MP is excited about his job and how he can make a difference to his constituents and to his country. “Now my signature actually means someLIFE thing to people,” he says.
New Kid on the Block:
Impressions from Life on the Hill Nov. 7 - With his wife Tara and son Quinn in attendance, Airdrie’s Blake Richards is officially sworn in as Wild Rose MP: “It was a very proud moment for us all.” • Nov. 13 - At his first national caucus meeting in Winnipeg, Richards gives his introductory speech: “I raised the eyebrows of a few of our senators with my comments on Senate reform, as they approached me afterwards to explain that they really do work very hard.” • Nov. 18 - Richards officially takes his seat in Parliament for first time and takes part in the vote for speaker, although he is uncertain of the ability of the re-elected speaker to effectively control the House and ensure that behaviour in the Commons will improve: “I’ll be doing my part to model decorum.” • Nov. 27 - The Wild Rose MP delivers his maiden speech in the House of Commons: “I spent quite a bit of time preparing that speech – yes, I do write my own speeches.” • Dec. 4 - After having just begun to settle into his new job, Richards is thrown for a loop, when opposition parties threaten to form a coalition and topple Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government: “What a week! We went about the week as usual … all the while not knowing if we would be on the opposition benches, or even into another election, by the end of the week.” • Dec. 9 - 10 - Richards is in Ottawa for two days to tie up loose ends before Christmas and experiences travel frustrations on the way home due to a transit strike in the capitol and an extended delay at the airport: “Over the last two days, I spent over 15 hours on planes or in an airport (thank God for my Blackberry and laptop!).” •
Blake Richards, Wild Rose MP Ottawa office contact information: Mail: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ont., K1A 0A6 Phone: 613-996-5152 Fax: 613-947-4601 E-mail: Richards.B@parl.gc.ca
Photo courtesy Sergei Belski
Constituency office contact information: Mail: 16, 620 First Ave. NW, Airdrie, Alta., T4B 2R3 Phone: 403-948-5103 Fax: 403-948-0879
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 41
Genesis Breezes AD
Life is a Breeze
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Residents enjoy walking paths along the canals among mature landscaping and plenty of green space. Close to schools, golfing and shopping, the Breeze is the consummate choice for living in Airdrie. The land developer and builder is an award winning company called Genesis, well known as one of Calgary’s largest, most-experienced and lowest cost quality builders. “Because we are both the land developer and the builder, we achieve significant savings which we pass on to our home buyers. Additionally we have 17 years of experience and are financially strong, ensuring buyers can be confident we will be there for them for years to come,” says Corey O’Neil, Genesis Marketing & Sales coordinator. With spacious three-bedroom townhomes or one, two or three-bedroom apartment-style condominiums to choose from, The Breeze offers a wide range of new home options. One bedroom condominiums are the perfect choice for those just starting out on their own. For those who want to downsize, the two bedroom units offer plenty of room for entertaining and living. For busy families, the three bedroom condominiums have it all – spacious bedrooms and an open living room/kitchen concept which creates great family synergy.
Secure heated underground parking, a six-appliance package and designer lighting complete the package. The stunning brick and wood facades of the townhomes are refined yet welcoming. Inside, spacious nine feet ceilings, four-inch baseboards, threeinch door decorative casings and chrome hardware complete the cozy yet upscale design that potential clients love. “They’re definitely surprised,” says O’Neil. “It’s a unique design that’s feels very open with 1611 square feet per unit and double-car garage with a large balcony above.” Multi-level living ensures a private nook for everyone but the open concept encourages lively entertaining. The best of both worlds! The Breeze show suite is now open in Airdrie, visit www.CondosInAirdrie.com to learn more.
Twilight by Michelle Wiebe - acrylic on canvas
Community | Arts
Artistic License The Airdrie Regional Arts Society paints a positive future for the role of art in the community by Ellen Kelly
e want to bring ARTS to the community and the community to the ARTS. The motto of the Airdrie Regional Arts Society (ARTS) conveys big goals for the fledgling society, and they’ve made a great start. The Society, which includes Airdrie and the surrounding areas from Madden to Irricana, Balzac to Crossfield, held its inaugural meeting in October 2007 and was incorporated as a society in February 2008. They are currently awaiting status as a charitable organization. In 2007, the City of Airdrie, Community Development, approached Jane Romaneshko and Ingrid Vincent and suggested that with the growth in Airdrie, the time was right for an administrative arts organization to meet the needs of the many artists and art lovers in the community. The society embraces visual arts, drama, dance, music and creative writing but is an umbrella organization offering support to artists and arts groups rather than focusing on the creation of art. As the organization evolves, ARTS president Greg McRitchie emphasizes, “We are just touching on the beginning. We spent the last year doing paperwork and getting a feel for [the organization], getting the website up and running and defining our roles.” The number one priority is to conduct a membership drive focusing on the various arts groups and have them represented on the website.“I envision the website as a place where some44 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Cash by Dan Morgan - acrylic on canvas
one new to Airdrie can go to find out about the arts in Airdrie,” says McRitchie. The website will include a broad range of artistic interests in Airdrie (complete with links to sites, activities, registration forms, etc.). Society members are in the process of meeting with these groups to explain the organization’s vision and membership advantages. Another goal is to get people together and be immersed in art. Eventually, ARTS would like to sponsor speakers and workshops for artists in the five interest fields. Also in the works is a ‘studio stroll’ involving as many artists as possible. And ARTS has big plans for the future. Public interest indicates a need for an arts centre, a permanent building that would house a theatre, art gallery, studio space, classrooms – a place where people can go to experience art of all kinds under one roof. The Society is adamant that Airdrie is ready for such a centre and is supported in this vision by community members and local government. In the enVision Airdrie survey conducted last fall, public interest in the arts was very high and when asked what residents would like to see in Airdrie, arts and culture ratings were double what was expected. McRitchie
After the Ballet by Stewart McLeish - photography
says, “This comes from the fact that we’re impoverished. There is an arts community here but we are not fostering it.” ARTS sees an arts centre as being a hub of the community where everyone is welcome. McRitchie is quick to explain that art is not elitist but for everybody.“Expression is art. Human intentional expression. Everyone can produce art,” he says.
Art is integral to
a well-balanced and
Anneli Waller, ARTS director, says,“People shouldn’t be intimidated by art. That’s why this Society was created – to link with the community.” The Society will continue to broaden its membership base and possibly look to sponsorship in the future. Also planned for the future is a bid to host the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
Art Awards. The Awards are granted to a community through a bidding process and in conjunction with Community Development, ARTS hopes to bring the event to Airdrie in 2009. ARTS plans ongoing involvement with the Empty Bowls project, Art in the Park and the Art Walk in front of City Hall on Canada Day. This year the Society plans to participate in Alberta Arts Day from Sept. 18 to 20. Asked what the biggest obstacle to promoting art in Airdrie is, both McRitchie and Waller say,“Location, space for art!” About the importance of art in the community, McRitchie says, “Art is integral to a well-balanced and healthy society ... I think it’s very important and I think we’re lacking. That was my impetus to get involved. I see a need and I have a passion for the issue.” Waller adds, “I am a really big believer in keeping everything in Airdrie. I go to galleries, events and festivals that go on everywhere and I want to do it here. I think that is one of the only things missing from having a complete community ... Keeping it in the community is huge.” LIFE See more ART online
Go to airdrielife.com and see a complete gallery of works of local artists
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 45
Community | Active
Ready for action (l to r) Don Doal, Mildred Miller and Gene Szulczyk, all Alberta 55 Plus Games participants
Story by Ellen Kelly | Photos by Sergei Belski
ith an eye to the Airdrie 55 Plus Summer Games from July 23 to 26, we realize that the older members of our community aren’t twiddling their thumbs. Games hopefuls are preparing for their preliminary competitions, while others are striving to be the best they can be in their chosen activities. Their skill, competitive spirit, camaraderie and sense of humour shine through as they talk about their challenges and successes. We should all be blessed with such inspiring enthusiasm. Don Doal
Don Doal, an Airdrie resident for the past 25 years, wants to qualify to play darts in the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games, especially this year because it’s here at home. He has a collection of medals started at his first 55 Plus Games in Grand Prairie in 1986. He’s been an active participant ever since. “I go every time, whether I qualify or not, but I’ve qualified most years. I compete when I can,” says Doel, who, at 87, plays darts in the 70+ age group. He finds the competition is getting harder but he holds his own. Doal practices at home and plays in various competitions. He plays in an inter-Legion league locally and once won a trip to England at a provincial championship. He has also competed at 46 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Airdrie’s elder statesmen (and women) prove body and mind never cease to be up to the challenge when medals, honour or simple camaraderie are on the line the Canada 55 Plus Games, most recently winning a gold and two silver medals in Portage la Prairie, Man. in 2006 and a bronze last year in Dieppe, NB. Asked what the Games mean to him, he says,“I like the competition and I like meeting people. I know quite a few people who come to the Games. It’s a good time.” Also an active bowler, Doal plays in a local seniors’ league once a week and has competed successfully at the Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games where bowling is an event. Mildred Miller
Mildred Miller, an Airdrie-area resident for the past 17 years, has competed at the 55 Plus Summer Games approximately five times and says it has always been a great experience. She fondly remembers playing “crib” in Didsbury in 1999. She was asked to fill in and came home with the gold medal. “I got in through the back door,” she laughs. She and her partner also won bronze at Lacombe in 1994. She plans to compete at zone competitions for a spot at this year’s games in Airdrie. Miller, who writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry, has also competed in the creative writing event and will try again this year. Her interest in writing has led her to edit and compile six community history books for areas stretching from Red Deer to Olds. Her short stories and non-fiction have been published in the Alberta Council on Aging newsletter. She has also competed in the visual arts and crafts category, noting that the winning entries are “just fantastic.” Until recently, she was the membership director for Zone 2 (which stretches from Oyen to Banff and Didsbury to High River) and she is ready to help with zone qualifying competitions being held this spring in Airdrie.
When asked why she thinks the Games are important, she says, “because it keeps us so interested in each other and what we can do ourselves.” She appreciates the volunteer work that goes into the Games each time and says the 55 Plus Games organization is tremendous. Gene Szulczyk
Airdrie resident and table tennis player Gene Szulczyk will be in San Francisco this summer playing at the US National Games, having qualified in singles, doubles and mixed doubles events in preliminary competitions in Washington state, Las Vegas and St. George, Utah. He will be travelling with several members of his club, CUSTTA (Calgary United Sports Table Tennis Association). In addition to playing at the club three times a week, he’s a member of its Board of Directors. Szulczyk started playing table tennis when he was 12 but “went farming” in 1972 and didn’t play again for 30 years. Then, in 2002, he played in a little tournament at a hotel in Mexico and won the competition and a bottle of champagne. He’s been playing ever since. Table tennis is a 55 Plus Winter Games event, and Szulczyk has competed and won gold consistently since 2002. At the 2004 Canada 55 Plus Games in Whitehorse, he won four gold and two silver medals in six events. He admits he did“pretty good.” He has won the Canadian championship in the 65+ age group twice. Szulczyk, who also swims five days a week, plays against all ages at the club, where he still ranks in the top 20 players.“That’s the fun part, when you can still beat the young guys,” he says. “Kicking their butt makes LIFE it worthwhile.
From July 22 to 26, 2009, Grey Power will take over as Airdrie hosts the Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games. During April, May and June, 1,100 participants will qualify through zone competition in such events as pool, athletics, bocce, contract bridge, cribbage, cycling, darts, disc golf, floor curling, golf, horseshoes, military whist, slow pitch, swimming, tennis, creative writing, and visual arts and crafts. Participants must be 55 years of age as of Dec. 31, 2009 and hold a valid membership in the Alberta 55 Plus Association. Participants represent one of eight zones in the province. The Alberta 55 Plus Games evolved from the Alberta Senior games which began in 1980 in Camrose. Held biannually, the games are funded by the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks & Wildlife Foundation, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, the Alberta 55 Plus Association and the City of Airdrie as well as sponsorships and donations. Events will be held at various venues throughout the city (with disc golf and pool being played in Calgary) and are free for spectators. The Airdrie 2009 55 Plus Summer Games Society is asking for volunteers to help with each activity group (scorekeepers, timekeepers) and judges for various events, as well as for food service to move dishes, set out food, clean up, etc. Billets are also needed. RV sites will also be available. “We’re really excited to host the games,” says Anneli Waller, office manager for the Society. “It’s going to be exciting to see the participants come and visit our city and have a good time.” Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 47
Community | Column
LIFEtimes by Ellen Kelly
Touching Home A
bout this time last year, my husband and I received a letter from cousins – his – in Saskatchewan. It seems, they wrote, the only time some of us see each other is at funerals. What about a party – a family reunion – in July? Can you come?
Nedelec family on the farm, circa 1925. Kelly family archives
Now this is a fairly large family. In 1909, grandfather Nedelec homesteaded near Paradise Hill, in west central Saskatchewan, where he and grandmother raised a family of eight children. All those children are now gone, but cousins abound and they’re almost all geezers our age, or at least members of the 50+ crowd. And of course, we have children and grandchildren. Everyone was invited but how many would come? It was a long drive to spend a weekend with people who, quite honestly, we didn’t know well. Among the cousins, there were good childhood memories of families visiting back and forth, but life happens and families move on, with careers to pursue and children to raise. We were hesitant. 48 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Still, there was a strong need to connect. The cousins were getting older; they’d lost parents, siblings, children. Loss makes folks feel vulnerable, draws them back to their roots; the herd gathers’ round. And gather around they did. Representatives from all eight “parents” were there. They came from as far away as California, Vancouver and Toronto and the nearby town of St. Walburg swelled by approximately 100 friendly faces. Activities were planned – golf, fun for the kids at a nearby lake, a tour of the old farm-site where it all began – but mostly, there was conversation. Non-stop visiting. While the younger generations got to know each other for the first time, the years fell away for the first cousins. “I remember staying at your house.” “No one made flapper pie like your mom.” “Remember when your brother fell out the upstairs window?” Remember the laughter, remember the tears, remember ... In this tribe of people with various backgrounds and diverse interests, the bond was almost visible. Fortunately and thanks to the generosity of the cousins who stayed close to home, there was somewhere to return to. The sense of place added to the feeling of belonging. In our world of high-tech communication, we can contact each other, but can we keep in TOUCH? A smile, a kiss, a handshake, a hug, a playful nudge – physical connections worth nurturing – made the weekend memorable. We left with out glasses refilled, not realizing we had been running on empty. Airdrie’s Centennial this year provides a wonderful opportunity to welcome family and friends back home, to nurture roots and to reconnect. What a great time it would be for a LIFE family reunion!
Community | Caring
for a Relay
The Relay for Life comes to Airdrie Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison and Elizabeth Hak | Photos by Kristy Reimer
ancer affects people of all ages and lifestyles. It doesn’t matter if you live in the biggest city or the smallest town. This year, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser expands into Airdrie for the first time. The stories of those impacted by cancer – and the money raised through this event – are many and diverse.
Getting together to promote the Relay for Life (l to r) Jennifer Pirzek, Darren Black and Trey Elkins.
Darren Black, a real estate appraiser, was watching TV six years ago when he noticed a black spot obscuring the vision in his left eye. “It was a tumour,” recalls Black, who was 34 at the time. “And they had to remove my eye.” Today, Black works with the Canadian Cancer Society and its Cancer Connection program, which links survivors with those who have been recently diagnosed. Black says this is the sort of program funds raised by Relay for Life go to support. “When I was diagnosed, they put me on to a survivor and she sat down and talked to me,” says Black. “I said to myself, if I could ever do that myself, I would, because it helped me immensely. “The one thing that seems to reassure people more than anything is to just show them you’re still here.” Black stays physically active, working out five days a week, though he still needs to go in every six months for testing and blood work. Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 49
Community | Caring
The Airdrie Relay for Life is a celebration of survival and a tribute to those who have been touched by cancer. Over the course of one overnight event, teams of 10 take turns running, walking or ambling around a track as they raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. In 2008, close to 500 communities across Canada participated. In Alberta and the Northwest Territories alone, almost 13,000 participants raised more than $5 million. The
Celebrate. Remember. Fight back. Survivors are invited to walk the first lap to celebrate their courage in the face of cancer. After sunset, luminaries are placed around the track in remembrance of those who have lost their battles with cancer; the luminaries can be purchased at the event for $5. One way to participate is to become a team captain and recruit 10 friends and/or family. Other ways are to join a team or volunteer your time. Organizers are also looking for corporate sponsors and teams. Airdrie’s first Relay for Life event is May 23 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at Bert Church High School.
For more information, call the Canadian
Cancer Society at 403-205-3966, e-mail email@example.com, or visit www.cancer.ca/relay
50 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
“I’ve grown accustomed to having only one eye,” he says. “I pull a 36-foot fifth wheel and I have a Class 3 licence; you don’t feel you’re limited in any way.” Cancer has no minimum age. Trey Elkins, 15, recently underwent surgery on his left leg for bone cancer. There was always the risk of amputation, but the surgery was a success, much to Elkins’ relief. Elkins says he first thought the lump on his leg was a bruise from playing football, until he got the diagnosis. “I was in shock,” he says.“I never thought it could happen to me. I was one of the healthiest kids.” After undergoing 17 hours of surgery in January, Elkins faces months of physiotherapy and has been told to avoid contact sports for the next four to eight years. That ended his dreams of playing football, but Elkins says he’s thankful he was able to keep his leg. You don’t have to be a patient to feel the insidious touch of cancer. Just ask Jennifer Pirzek. “I lost a grandfather to cancer,” says Pirzek, 16. “I never knew him.” That was part of the impetus for her to participate in the Calgary Relay for Life last year. The push came from a co-worker at Tim Hortons who suggested they enter. “It was on a whim,” says Pirzek. “We had no idea what we were getting into, but it was really fun.” Lighting a luminary in remembrance of those lost to cancer is a trademark of the Relay. Pirzek lit one for her grandfather, which was a special experience for her. “There were definitely a lot of tears,” she says. When the idea for an Airdrie Relay for Life was proposed, Pirzek’s name came up because of her involvement with Calgary’s event. The committee wanted her to be the youth co-ordinator.
“I jumped at the opportunity,” says Pirzek, who is no stranger to volunteering. She and her family help with the Festival of Lights in Airdrie each winter. Pirzek really admires the dedication of the committee. A lot of work has already been accomplished, with more to come as the event approaches. “They really value having the youths’ involvement,” says Pirzek, whose job on the committee is to recruit as many teens as she can. At the Calgary event, she was surprised at the lack of younger teams. “There were some, but not as many as there could have been,” says Pirzek. She’s hoping to increase the number of youth teams by talking to school administrators and councils and as many students as she can. Right now, word of mouth is proving to be the most effective promotional tool. “We saw many of our Calgary participants coming in from Airdrie, so it seemed like a good place to expand to,” says Jennifer Robertson, revenue development co-ordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society Alberta/NWT. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first Relay for Life hosted by the American Cancer Society; the first Canadian Relay for Life was held in 1999. “About half the proceeds go toward research and the other half fund information or support programs like Cancer Connection,” says Robertson. Black says one of his jobs at the Relay is to help arrange corporate sponsorship. Companies interested in sponsorships can call him at 403-912-1614. To sign up for the Relay, call 403-205LIFE 3966 or visit www.cancer.ca/relay. Editor’s Note: Trey deserves a lot of credit for making it to this photo shoot. While Darren and Jennifer have both been affected by cancer, Trey is in the middle of dealing with the disease. He had been released from the hospital only days before this photo shoot after having 17 hours of surgery for bone cancer in his femur. He returned to chemo treatments the following Sunday. Trey hopes his involvement in this story encourages a lot of his friends and classmates at George McDougall High School to form their own relay teams – so the challenge is on. Trey, you are a brave young man and an inspiration to all of us.
Community | Rural Roots
heritage farm Cheryl Morison has only to step out of her house and she’s on the job
AirdrieLIFE is pleased to introduce a new regular feature on rural families in the area. Meet our first rural family: Rod and Cheryl Morison
etting families together usually requires careful planning to accommodate long drives, flights and places to stay. For Cheryl Morison, it just takes a phone call. The Morisons – Cheryl and Rod (her husband of 18 years) and their two sons, Harley, 16, and Carter, 13 – live about 10 kilometres west of Airdrie on a heritage farm and within 50 kilometres of brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles and an array of cousins. “We don’t need to have family reunions,” laughs Cheryl. “We see each other all the time.” Rod’s grandfather farmed what is now Rod and Cheryl’s feedlot and crop operation.
52 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Story and photos by Elizabeth Hak
On close to four sections of land, the Morisons are busy in the field from April to October and with the cattle from October to May. Crops and livestock are cyclical, says Cheryl, so unless you diversify, you’re in trouble. This strategy helped them get through the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in 2003. Even so, those were rough times. While the government ultimately provided financial aid, it was a long time coming. “We didn’t get any money for three years,” says Cheryl. Having friends and family close by as a support system is gratifying, she says, but when it comes to farming, you’re on your own. “Agriculture is a business where you are
responsible for yourself,” explains Cheryl. “If you don’t do the right thing, you lose. No one is going to hold your hand.” And yet, they wouldn’t want to do anything else. Cheryl completed a Livestock Production diploma from Olds College after high school. Rod stayed on the farm and worked. “Rod loves it,” says Cheryl, smiling. “It’s all he’s wanted to do since he was 12 years old.” Their farming and business skills complement each other. Rod is an investment and marketing guru. As soon as the Internet was available at the farm, Rod was online looking at the stocks and futures. He looked for seminars he could attend to keep up-to-speed with innovations and new products. Cheryl says
Because shopping should be fun!
that whenever Rod needed to know something to improve the farm or solve a problem, he just went out and found the answers. Cheryl is much more modest about her contribution to the farm. Driving Carter to school, getting things done around the house and a multitude of other activities keeps Cheryl on her toes. One job she would love to pass off to someone is the accounting. “I can’t find anyone to take my place,” says Cheryl, laughing. With “just do it” pragmatism, she has learned on the fly to get the books done with the help of accounting software. The past year was really busy for the Morisons and finding workers for the farm has been a struggle. “Number one, it’s expensive,” says Cheryl. “Number two, it’s hard to find people who know what they’re doing.” A truck driver may know trucks but not cattle, explains Cheryl. Likewise, someone who can ride a horse may not know anything about machinery. The work is physically demanding and the hours are long. You have to really like the job in order to stick with it. When time permits, Cheryl and Rod take time to get away. Over Christmas, they spent some time in Phoenix, Ariz. with Harley and Carter. When Rod isn’t busy with the farm, he golfs. Hoping to get Cheryl involved with the sport, Rod taught her to golf
on their honeymoon. “I like going but it’s not something I make a point of doing,” says Cheryl. “I’m a really bad golfer but I like being out there when it’s quiet.” Cheryl would like to spend more time on creative pastimes like carpentry, drawing and painting. A severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome side-lined her for about six months last year. It was so bad that she couldn’t even hold a coffee cup. “I was always really independent. To have that taken away was awful,” says Cheryl. “It’s a hard thing when you have always done things with your hands and then suddenly, you can’t.” Surgery in November took care of the problem and she is just now getting back to full strength. For now, the Morisons’ farm is doing well so wondering what’s next isn’t something they dwell on. Still, if they weren’t farming, they would definitely need to keep busy. For Rod, he would need to be in agriculture, probably doing stocks and futures. “He just has a mind for it,” says Cheryl, adding that Rod has tons of energy and couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. “I would do something that is artistic and creative,” muses Cheryl. “Probably something that wouldn’t make any money.” So they’ll stay where they are and enjoy the rural life – a short distance from family, close to everything they need and remote enough to LIFE savour their little piece of heaven.
Agriculture is a “business where you are responsible for yourself
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Homes planning Williamstown | 63
show homes | 74
Condo savvy | 82 Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE
Building in three great Airdrie communities:
hOMES | Interior design
DRESSED Today’s window covering options suit every taste and need
hether you are covering your windows with the latest in trend-setting treatments or using flags to keep the light out, what you cover your windows with can say a lot about who you are. We’ve contacted one of Airdrie’s leading interior design specialists, Marlene Weaver, owner of Interiors by Marlene Ltd., to help us lift the curtain on what’s going on in the world of window coverings.
By STACEy CAREFOOT
classy casual setting. For those who are looking for an elegant option, Weaver suggests Silhouettes or Viennas. Roman shades are a great option for those wanting the softness of a fabric but the versatility of a blind. Woven wood blinds from the 1970s have been reinvented and are now being manufactured in bamboo and exotic grasses.
“There are so many factors to take into consideration,” says Weaver, noting that considerations such as what direction your undressed window faces, privacy requirements, and sun and heat protection should be at the forefront of your decision-making process. If consulting a professional isn’t in your timeline or budget, consider online advice or a visit to the public library. It’s always better to do a little research than be stuck with an end result you’re not happy with.
WhAt not to do
According to Weaver, hard window coverings are a favourite in today’s market. “Draperies and fabric still play a part in the window covering world but generally only as accents,” says Weaver. Blinds give homeowners the needed versatility. “Because blinds offer privacy, heat and light control there is really no need to cover the entire window with drapery, with the exception of sliding patio doors,” adds Weaver, who admits there is still not a great selection of window coverings for patio doors. As is the case in many of today’s home decorating trends, less is more. “People simply don’t have the time or the desire today to care for three or four layers on their windows,” says Weaver. Airdrie residents are looking for up-to-date blinds that will do the work for them. The sky’s the limit when it comes to choice. “California Shutters are very popular and very impressive,” says Weaver, adding that this window covering choice works well in a
One-inch aluminum blinds are an absolute no-no, according to Weaver. “There are some really great two-inch blind products on the market today including real wood, faux wood and vinyl,” says Weaver when cautioning against the popular aluminum product which conducts heat and cold into rooms rather than stopping it. The days of blinds on the windows and then sheer-on-sheer drapery over top that are basically gone; however, Weaver cautions that sheers and fabrics still have a place. “Today’s sheers are used when that very light, airy feeling is desired,” she says, noting that drapery is frequently being added to windows with existing blinds for esthetics, adding much-needed colour and texture. Whether updating your entire home or simply one window, the sky is the limit when it comes to today’s window covering options. Remember: less is more and one small change may be all that’s required to transform your LIFE house into a home.
WhErE to stArt
Weaver advises people who are just starting the process of dressing their windows to consult a professional.
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 57
Homes | Shopping
The perfect resting place for your jewelry or precious keepsakes, this hand-painted antique jewelry chest from Where on Earth Did You Get That? has plenty of room for your
Spice up your living space with this pecan or bamboo engineered
gems, trinkets and mementoes
hardwood flooring from Airdrie Flooring
Nature inspired home decor from the solid and sturdy oak to the delicate works of glass. Bring home a piece today from these local Airdrie stores
A timeless and comfy classic,
this solid oak mission-
you can stick with one theme or mix and match your favourite chairs around a dining room table. Shown
style rocker can be
here, an oriental- patterned seat cushion
found at Old Hippy Fine
brightens up this contemporary high-
back dining chair
Add accent and function to any room with this Arts and Crafts style round side table. With hundreds of items in-store and the ability to meet special orders Hippy Fine Home Furnishings definitely has something for everyone
58 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
At Old Hippy Fine Home Furnishings
Need a conversation piece for your living room? This gorgeous Victorian doll pram will do the trick. Find it and other interesting items at Where on Earth Did You Get That?
Every garden needs a focal point. This beautiful butterfly from Blue Grass Nursery is sure to bring any yard or garden to life Bring a touch of the southwest into your home with this lovely wooden vase from Airdrie Home Furnishings
Treat yourself to flowers and liven up any room when you put them in this exquisite hand-painted glass vase from Airdrie Home Furnishings
Just because your space may be small doesn’t mean it can’t be classy. This solid maple dining set is from Airdrie Home Furnishings
MukLuk Magpies Stained Glass Emporium has recently opened its doors and will be holding workshops and classes in the art of stained glass as well as selling a wide variety of stained glass items, including these three unique pieces. This framed art glass (top)will liven up any wall while the two stained glass dishes below would make the perfect gift. Buy two
because you’ll want to keep one for yourself
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 59
60 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Sarah Belcher Assoc. Broker
For all your real estate needs, call Sarah for friendly professional service
Rocky View www.sarahbelcher.com
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HOMES | Developer Profile A duck meanders along Nose Creek, the focus of Vesta Propertiesâ€™ environmental reserve plans Photo courtesy Vesta Properties
Growing with the Flow
Vesta Properties allows the natural corridor of Nose Creek to define Airdrieâ€™s newest community by Alex Frazer-Harrison Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 63
Homes | Developer Profile
Rhonda Deaville-Erb, parks planner; Shelly McIntosh, city community planner and Chris Elkey, development manager for Vesta Properties discuss the plans to reduce the impact of Williamstown on Nose Creek Photo by Sergei Belski
o some, Nose Creek might seem like a minor waterway, with nowhere near the impact of the Bow River as it winds its way through Airdrie. But in fact it provides habitat for fish and birds, acts in some places as a wildlife corridor and provides welcome greenspace in a fastgrowing urban area. That’s why when Vesta Properties Ltd. began planning its newest neighbourhood in north Airdrie, Williamstown, accommodating Nose Creek became a top priority. Williamstown is the first community of its type to truly embrace Nose Creek as a major feature, establishing approximately 45 acres – about 28 per cent of the 160-acre development – as environmental reserve surrounding the creek and its floodway. “We think we’re a traiblazer,” says Chris Elkey, development manager for Vesta. “This is really the first of its kind in Airdrie. The old practice would have been to straighten the creek out and put a buffer of six metres from the bank and build the rest.” Instead, Vesta is working to protect the creek, which crosses under 8th Street from another development to the east and
64 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
then winds through Williamstown towards the north. When an area is designated environmental reserve, or ER, “it essentially remains in its natural state,” explains Elkey. “We do plan to put some pathways in there, and a couple of [pedestrian] bridge crossings, but we’re minimizing the amount of development we do in there.” Not developing homes too close to the creek also has a practical purpose; in Williamstown, the creek is surrounded by a floodway. “When we had heavy rains [last] spring, we confirmed those boundaries … flood waters stayed within the ER,” says Elkey, noting planned residential development is elevated four to five metres above the floodway. Elkey says the process of preparing Williamstown for development involved doing a biophysical impact assessment of the area. “We inventoried plant species, animal species and natural ecosystems,” he says.“All along, we worked with the City to make sure what we were doing in there … was appropriate.” The City of Airdrie recognizes the importance of Nose Creek and has signed on to the Nose Creek Watershed Partnership, which promotes the stewardship of the creek.
“Our intent with new development is to preserve the creek’s natural flow and alignment,” says Rhonda Deaville-Erb of Parks Planning. “There are some challenging areas for this within the inner city. In some cases, it’s about restoring it using riparian planting … the introduction of more natural vegetation that is going to allow for preservation of the ecosystem and building a buffer zone.” One of the main Nose Creek-related projects undertaken by the City is Nose Creek Park off Main Street. “There was a watermain break, so some bioengineering measures were taken to stabilize the bank, and there is some native planting occurring,” says Deaville-Erb. “In a lot of the central Nose Creek Park area, we try to maintain the natural planning, while at the same time we’re challenged that in the floodway there’s not a lot of trees, so we’ve introduced trees in those areas to provide more of a buffer and to provide more shade and more interest.” The City was a founding partner in the Nose Creek Watershed Partnership when it formed in 1998. “There were issues with downstream water quality, and because of that, the Partnership was formed to address the cumulative effects of commercial, industrial and residential development and agriculture, and decrease pressure on the watershed,” explains Partnership co-ordinator Erin McMahon. “If you drive on Highway 2 you can see [the creek] has become highly channelized; there’s not a lot of native vegetation left. It’s in a terrible place for a creek … it has no room to meander.” Other issues faced by the creek include invasive (non-native) plant species and grasses poking their proverbial noses in, and problems with erosion and silt settlement, McMahon says. Urban storm water runoff is another concern. “Most storm water is not treated; in newer developments there’s some treatment, but in older neighbourhoods it just goes straight into the creek,” says McMahon, adding the water runs off rooftops and roadways, collecting chemicals and other contaminants along the way. “It contributes to downgraded water quality.”
... approximately 45 acres – about 28 per cent – of the 160-acre development [will be] environmental reserve Increased setbacks allow for better treatment of this water, says Deaville-Erb. The City of Airdrie has adopted the Partnership’s 2007 Nose Creek Watershed Water Management Plan as one of its planning tools.“That’s enabled the planning and engineering departments to work with developers in implementing the recommendations in the Water Management Plan,” says McMahon. These recommendations include protection of natural features such as banks and escarpments from erosion and other factors; protection of riparian plantlife; water quality protection; integrated storm water management; and other water-conservation and mitigation/compensation/restoration objectives. Both McMahon and Deaville-Erb say Williamstown is an example of how developers, the City and groups like the Partnership can work together to come up with a development plan that addresses both the practical needs of business, while protecting natural areas within Airdrie. Ongoing commercial and industrial development south of Yankee Valley Road presents further challenges to maintaining Nose Creek. Already, efforts have been made to minimize the impact on the creek. “We’re constantly working with developers to ensure the alignment remains the same Aerial view of Nose Creek as it winds through the Williamstown area Photo courtesy Vesta Properties
and, if not exactly the same, any retrofit done is done to enhance it rather than degrade it,” says Deaville-Erb. “As it goes further [south], it’s a challenge to balance between the commercial areas, any kind of development around the creek. But the same guidelines apply with regards to setback and trying to preserve alignment of the creek.” But, she says, the lay of the land is different in Sierra Springs and areas south than in Williamstown; for example, the floodway is much smaller. Meanwhile, construction of the first homes in Williamstown were, at press time, scheduled to begin earlier this year, and Elkey says the theme of sustainability carries on into the layout of the community, with increased density requiring less of a footprint. “Typically in a city you’ll have a ratio of 70 per cent single family, 30 per cent multifamily,” he says. “We’ve gone to 40 per cent single family and 60 per cent multi-family, and within those multi-family sites we’re providing a variety of different [housing] types … and more affordable housing.” Defining the ER will be part of Phase 1, Elkey says, adding one of Vesta’s goals is to work with the City on community education initiatives related to the natural area. “We’re piloting a program [to install] interpretative signage,” he says.“We’ll have seven of them at the entrances to the park, talking about the environmental [and] historical themes, some of the wildlife, and the importance of the creek and the floodway area. We’re trying to educate people why this is a different kind of park.” Elkey says the lessons learned from Williamstown will be valuable in planning future LIFE developments. For more information on the Nose Creek Watershed
Partnership, and to view its Water Management Plan, visit www.nosecreekpartnership.com
Annual Clean Up Nose Creek is a waterway that runs through two major urban areas, and it needs help to maintain as much of its natural form as possible. That’s why Trout Unlimited Canada established the Nose Creek Rehabilitation Project, which since 2006 has been involved in efforts to mitigate and repair some of the effects we have had on the creek. “It’s an on-the-ground stewardship program, a partnership between Trout Unlimited Canada and the Nose Creek Watershed Partnership,” says program co-ordinator Erin McMahon. “It’s volunteer-based and provides stewardship activities including clean-up events, bioengineering, weed control, planting native vegetation and willow staking.” Among local projects spearheaded by the program include an upcoming effort to install a waddle fence along the creek. The program has also worked with Petro-Canada employees who in 2007 and 2008 came out to Airdrie as part of their corporate Day of Caring to do rehabilitation work on the creek. The project will be hosting its annual Nose Creek Clean-Up Event on June 6, which will see volunteers come out to pick up garbage, pull weeds and do plantings along the creek in Airdrie. “We’ll have a biologist from Trout Unlimited come out and do an electrofishing demo, which doesn’t hurt the fish – we net them and then identify them,” says McMahon. “That’s for the kids, but everyone enjoys it.” Funding for the project has come from Petro-Canada, Unilever Evergreen and the Calgary Foundation. McMahon says the door is always open for schools, community groups and others who want to organize Nose Creek-related rehabilitation events. “We’re always looking for volunteer groups, businesses,” she says. “We want to promote our programs in the community. We can work with any age of kids, retired people, businesses; we can tailor an activity and get the message out there.” For more information on the Nose Creek
Rehabilitation Project – and to volunteer – call 403-209-5180 or visit the Trout Unlimited Canada website at www.tucanada.org
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 65
Qualityto your lifestyle!
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• Immense and versatile bonus room • Generous flex room with opt. double french • Large master bedroom with ensuite and make-up counter • Spacious kitchen with island and eating bar • Kitchen, nook and family room combine to create a great room effect • Spacious 9ft ceilings on main floor • Optional 3rd garage bay
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Starting in the mid $270’s* Own your own single family home with no condo fees! • Spacious master bedroom complete with bay, walk-in closet, ensuite and optional balcony • 21/2 baths Generous L-shaped kitchen with island, eating bar and walk-in pantry • Attatched and detached garages available
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Homes | Real Estate
The real picture Airdrie real estate a rosier picture than most markets
The clock turned back on Airdrie’s real estate market in
2008 as MLS sales returned to 2005 levels, says a local realtor. But while some might see this as a downturn, it’s also easy to take a “glass half full” approach to these numbers. “If this were 2005, we would be talking about what a great market it is: consistent, growing, the trend pretty much upward … it’s a good thing, actually,” says Alan Tennant of Re/Max Rocky View. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, MLS sales in 2008 totalled 947, compared to 1,332 in 2007, which in turn was up 31 per cent from 2006. “It helps ground us a bit after what we went through in 2006 and 2007, which were so exceptional,” says Tennant. For Airdrie’s market, while “doom and gloomers” predicted a messy crash as the bubble burst, Tennant says, “that isn’t what happened. It was a pretty gentle landing.” And despite the drop in sales, the average annual sale price in Airdrie actually went up slightly to $353,540 in 2008, compared to $345,723 in 2007. Tennant says Airdrie is well-positioned to weather the storm: “For a healthy real estate market, you want low interest rates and access to
by Alex Frazer-Harrison
mortgage money; after that, you need a growing community, more people moving in than moving out, and job stability. We certainly have that in spades.” Tennant says one of Airdrie’s strengths is that “every type of residence is available in Airdrie. Everything from mansions to starter homes without basements.” While housing prices corrected in 2008, “I don’t think the correction was as severe in Airdrie as it was in areas of Calgary,” says Brian Balson, sales manager with Vesta Properties Ltd., which last year launched On the Park, the final phase of single-family homes in Luxstone. “People are still coming to Airdrie because of the amenities, the closeness of the city, the new CrossIron Mills shopping centre in Balzac, and because most people find the value in Airdrie,” Balson says. “What’s difficult for a lot of people is we tend to focus on how much prices have come down from the peak, as opposed to the stillconsiderable growth in equity people have from buying homes in 2005-2006.” Tennant says 2009 is “a good time to buy for many reasons, not the least of which is the potential for prices to swing up. And it’s a good LIFE time to sell because you’re in a fairly stable environment.” Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 69
Homes | Style
70 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Neil and Vicky McDermid put family first when planning their new home in Cooper’s Crossing. Built by McKee Homes, the house is as Vicky describes; “comfortable, practical and usable but with a bit of an edge.” The three kids, Abby, Carter and Emelia have room to roam and play while there are quiet enclaves for grownups. These images give you feel for the flavour of their home from the craftsman style finishes to the whimsical decor of the children’s rooms. Two-way fireplaces, granite countertops, coffered ceilings, walnut floors, all these touches make the McDermid home warm and inviting. No wonder everyone is smiling.
The house of smiles Where do two busy dentists with three kids and one on the way go to unwind? Home.
Photos by Kristy Reimer
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 71
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hOMES | show homes
ON THE PARK 4
74 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Welcome to on the park, a distinctive collection of contemporary homes featuring 68 prominent lots nestled in the heart of Luxstone Park Estates. designed to accommodate the many lifestyles of modern families, On the Park offers a diverse selection of exceptional home designs. These estate homes range from stylish, classic traditional designs to those highlighted by a great room.
Three quality builders are creating estate homes and here is just a peak at the stunning attention to detail each show home offers. douglas homes: 1) The bright airy great room, 2) the spacious master bedroom, 3) the well-appointed kitchen with extensive counter space and warm cabinetry create a dream kitchen. vesta homes: 4) The kitchen features rich maple espresso-colored cabinets, black pearl granite countertops and a maple cappuccino hardwood floor. 5) A large window showing off the large yard has a boxed-out window to capture more light in the great room. 6) double windows give the master bedroom extra light, enhancing the spaciousness. talisman homes: 7) The ensuite boast his and hers vanities. 8) Built-in maple shelves bookend the fireplace of the main floor family room. 9) An oversized island and stunning granite countertops highlight an extremely spacious and functional kitchen.
Vestaâ€™s newest community is right on the money for choices, style, amenities and of course location ... on the park! 7
HOMES | Community Profiles
Where in Airdrie do you want to live?
If you’ve made the wise choice to live in Airdrie, the next question is where? West side or east side? By the school or close to shopping? Close to work or close to the park? We’ve made it all very easy for you with our AirdrieLIFE exclusive Community Profiles online. Find an easy-to-use comparison chart, get in-depth information and images of the neighbourhoods, find a REALTOR who is a community expert and find out the average sale prices of single-family homes and condos. Go to airdrielife.com/homes and get started. Every quarter airdrielife.com features an update on the MLS® sales activity in each of Airdrie’s communities compiled by Airdrie REALTOR Alan Tennant. “In Calgary in 2008 there was a 27% drop in the number of single family homes sales on the MLS® and a 6% decrease in the average sale price. Meanwhile in good old Airdrie prices actually went up slightly with a 2% overall gain and the number of sales were down 29%,” says Tennant. “All the grave predictions of a chaotic market once the bubble burst never came to be. Instead what we experienced was a gradual correction in the market that was accelerated somewhat in the last quarter of the year by the stock market upheaval and political uncertainty in Ottawa. As 2008 came to a close listing inventory had settled back to about 300 listings, the same level as a year ago after peaking at an all-time high of 529 listings in June.”
Rocky View Real Estate • Real Estate (Central) GET MORE LIFE ONLINE SEE THE FULL REPORT AND DETAILED MARKET INFOR-
MATION IN OUR EXCLUSIVE COMMUNITY PROFILES AT AIRDRIELIFE.COM
Airdrie Show Home Map and Guide Airdrie has more than 30 show homes. Use this handy reference map to help you find the show home parades and show suites featured in this issue. Visit www.airdrielife.com/homes for more information and links to all advertised builders and developers.
RAILWAY AVE SW
HARMONY IN THE CANALS
Single Family Homes: 1
Bayside West – Swiatek Homes, Majestic Homes, Evolution Homes, Reliant Homes, Mainstreet Homes, Vanity Homes, New Look Homes, Generations Developments
Canals North – Elite Homes, Reliant Homes, Majestic Homes, Evolution Homes, Reid Built Homes, Generations Developments
Cooper’s Crossing – Beattie Homes, Homes By Avi, McKee Homes, Trillium Developments King’s Heights – Loreck Homes, McKee Homes, Reid Built Homes, Shane Homes
On the Park – Talisman, Vesta, Douglas Homes
Prairie Springs – Beattie Homes, Centrex, Lorek, McKee, Gallery Homes, Prominent Homes, Talisman Homes, Jager Homes
Ravenswood – (coming soon) Broadview, NuVista, McKee, Sterling
Reunion – Excel, Jayman Master Built, McKee Homes, Sabal, Innovations By Jayman
Williamstown – (coming soon)
GENERATIONS BREEZES 11
ON THE PARK
RAVENSWOOD KING’S HEIGHTS
Multi Family Projects: 10
Harmony in the Canals
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 77
n e e grREID BUILT
HOMES | Builder Focus
Building green is not just a program – it’s the foundation of Reid Built Homes’ commitment to responsible home building
Reid Built’s new multi-family project, Synergy, is using Built Green components TM
story and photo by Elizabeth Hak
y using products and practices to minimize pollution and maximize energy efficiency, Reid Built Homes enhances indoor air quality and reduces water and natural resource usage. The company was certified Built GreenTM in 2008. With over 27 years of experience, Reid Built Homes is one of Alberta’s most experienced builders. Providing excellent quality homes at affordable prices has been their hallmark. Using eco-friendly techniques and materials, the company is dedicated not only to reducing pollution but to incorporating energy efficiency into its homes so clients can save both money and the environment. Built GreenTM is an industry-driven program which strives to lessen the impact home building has on the environment. With different achievement levels – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – both home builders and home buyers can choose their desired participation tier.
“We’re about building a more airtight home,” says Brittany Seward, sales and marketing coordinator with Reid Built Homes for the past two years. Fewer drafts and better ventilation improve stability of temperature and humidity within a home. A tightly-sealed home is important for energy efficiency but without adequate ventilation, air quality can suffer. Built GreenTM homes give special attention to exceptional ventilation to improve air quality. The four areas of environmental concern on which the Built GreenTM program focuses are indoor air quality, resource use, energy efficiency and overall environmental impact. By using as much local material as possible, transportation costs are reduced and the regional economy benefits. Water, a precious resource, is used most effectively in a Built GreenTM home with low-flow or dual-flush toilets, aerators on faucets and Energy Star washing machines and dishwashers. “A lot of people are educated about the
program,” says Seward, adding their customers want to know how to save money on their mortgage and utilities. Long-term savings are important to them. In the southeast corner of Airdrie, Reid Built Homes is building 52 units in Synergy, in King’s Heights. With high-efficiency furnaces, pressure-balanced faucets and Energy Star lighting packages, home owners will experience budget relief immediately. Complete with six energy-efficient stainless steel appliances, these are truly “move in and LIFE live” homes.
Did you know? One drop each second from a leaking tap wastes 27 litres of water per day, 10,000 litres of water per year or 111 full bath tubs. More LIFE Online for simple tips on greener
living go online at airdrielife.com
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 79
homes | Gardens
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With warmer weather around the corner, Airdrie gardeners are keen to return to their yards, in spades.
While it may not be time to start planting just yet, local experts say there is still plenty to be done for those eager to get their hands dirty.
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Springing into action
“End of April is usually a safe bet to get in your garden and start prepping for spring,” says Brent Park, sales manager with Blue Grass Nursery. A general garden clean-up is the place to start. “Now is the time to cut back any grasses and perennial stalks left over from the winter,” says Ruth Gibbons, head gardener at Frog Hollow Garden Center. This applies to gardeners who like to leave their plants intact over winter to trap moisture, says Gibbons, a practice she recommends. Pruning trees and shrubs is on the agenda as well this time of year, with the exception of spring-flowering varieties such as lilacs, maples and elms, cautions Gibbons. “It’s also time to wage early war on weeds,” she adds. Prep your soil
There are various soil additives on the market, but both Park and Gibbons recommend compost as an environmentally-friendly option. Mixing compost with existing dirt will work nutrients into the soil. Spread two or three inches on the soil surface, then work it into the top 12 inches with a spade, fork or garden rake, Park advises. Manure, sawdust or straw are other options, says Park, but he cautions against using anything too fresh as it could compete with your plants for nitrogen in the soil. Gibbons also cautions spring gardeners to be careful when digging up their soil, so as not to disturb or damage plant roots. It’s best not to work on soil that is too wet, adds Park, or it will dry in large clumps.“Airdrie has a high water table, so the soil tends to be really moist in the spring and fall.”
Make a plan
If you’re planting a new garden, or simply adding a few new plants this year, now is the time to pay attention to how the sun hits different areas of your yard. This will help you determine which spots are best suited to certain plants, says Gibbons. Adventurous gardeners can find success growing plant species rated for warmer climes if they plant in more sheltered areas of their yard. That said, with the drastic temperature changes and drying winds so common in our region, gardening can still be a feat for even the greenest of thumbs. “One of the newest trends is planting and growing native plants in your garden,” says Park. “These plants are as the word implies – native to Alberta – and therefore require less maintenance to grow,” he says. “They’re also a great choice for the motivationally-challenged gardener.” Xeriscaping – creating a water-efficient garden design – is another big trend, Park says. He adds this can include grading your garden to help direct water to the plants that need it most.
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More LIFE Online for a list of hardy plants
suited to Airdrie’s growing conditions go to airdrielife.com
Gone with the
Time to assess how your trees, shrubs and plants fared after a challenging winter. The key to success generally lies in moisture. When? ... and how much? are common questions this time of year. Ruth Gibbons of Frog Hollow Garden Centre suggests watering if there hasn’t been sufficient snow coverage over winter, or there’s been an overly warm period when trees and shrubs may have come out of dormancy. “Just don’t get water happy,” says Blue Grass Nursery’s Brent Park. “The key is to monitor the soil consistency. If the soil is dry and crumbly, water is likely needed. If it’s moist enough to clump
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together and form a ball, it’s best to hold off.” “It’s best to add water at the root,” adds Gibbons. “Adding moisture to your trees’ needles doesn’t do a whole lot.” In fact, watering needles shortly before a cold snap could cause them to freeze and break off, she says. Hosing your trees down in late spring though, to wash away any debris and bugs, is a good idea, Gibbons says.
2903 Kingsview Blvd
Homes | Condo Market
Terra Fuchko is excited to move to her new home at The Edge
Choosing Wisely Buyers choose location and give this project an edge
Story By Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Kristy Reimer
he recession might be taking a bite out of housing markets, but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of those looking forward to moving into their first Airdrie condos. Terra Fuchko, for example, is looking forward to making the “big leap” out of Calgary this spring and taking possession of her condo at The Edge, a new development located near the Genesis Place recreation centre. “They say I should be moved in by the end of June … I’m so excited,” she says. She signed the papers back in December 2007 and she’s had to wait for Phase 1 of the building to be completed. Fuchko says a number of factors entered into her decision to relocate to Airdrie. “One being the price point, of course,” she says. “That made it a little easier for me as a first-time homebuyer to get into the market
82 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
and get my foot in the door. “And in general the lifestyle. I was really looking for a small-town feel, but keeping the amenities and convenience of being so close to Calgary.” She was also attracted to the idea of buying into brand-new construction, where she’d have some say in colour and design, rather than choosing an already built condo. Fuchko says she didn’t mind the wait to get in. “It gave me a good timeline … time to save for my downpayment,” she says. Airdrie condominium developments such as The Edge have been attracting“a wide spectrum” of buyers, says Ron Knight, president of Renascence Developments Corp., the company behind The Edge. “We were targeting first-time home buyers, and with the style of the building, we thought The Edge would attract people in their 20s or early 30s,” he says.“But we’re find-
ing out other people who are downsizing love the location and everything about it.” Phase 1 of The Edge has 71 suites and Knight says construction is expected to finish in May. Construction of the second building, slated to have 119 units, is dependent on sales activity, Knight says, adding The Edge is in a good position to “react pretty quickly” when things recover. “[The Edge] is our first project in Airdrie and we think it’s a fantastic place,” says Knight, adding his company has been “looking at a couple of the sites” for possible future development here. Realtor Alan Tennant with Re/Max Rocky View says the current market will likely see “some shortages of certain listings and in some cases oversupply. We do have some oversupply in town houses and condo apartments in Airdrie, but we were under-supplied LIFE for a long time.”
HOMES | Ask an Expert
Insights for Navigating the
by Sherry Jenkins
2009 mortgage landscape
We ask mortgage broker Sherry Jenkins about mortgage strategies for 2009 On the heels of 2008’s credit market crunch, housing price declines and drops in housing starts, Canadians may be uncertain about what 2009’s housing market may bring. Even with turbulent financial times it is important for people with mortgages, or applying for a mortgage, to understand that good options are still out there.
Variable mortgages offer savings As of January 2009, a competitive variable-rate mortgage can be obtained at prime rate of 3.00 per cent plus 0.8 per cent (a rate of 3.80 per cent). In January 2008, the competitive rate for a new variable-rate mortgage was prime (6.00 per cent) minus 0.75 per cent (5.25 per cent). On a $200,000 mortgage with a traditional 25-year amortization, that rate difference means an advantage of $161.37 for each monthly payment, adding up to $1,936.44 in annual savings.
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Fixed-rate pricing on downward trend Pricing for fixed-rate mortgages is higher than it normally would be, as lenders are accounting for higher perceived risk in the financial services industry. The spread between a five-year Government of Canada Bond (1.00 per cent) and a competitive fixed-rate mortgage (4.49 per cent) is now 3.49 per cent – which is much higher than what we have seen. The pricing trend for fixed-rate mortgages has been downward, which is good news for consumers.
Getting the best of both worlds The good news is that variable-rate mortgages have conversion privileges that allow borrowers to lock into a fixed-rate mortgage when they’re ready. There are also options that allow you to have part fixed term, part variable, and part line of credit. Working with an expert can help you make sense of the options available and find the best mortgage for you. Sherry Jenkins is a mortgage broker with Mortgage Intelligence. Phone: 403-804-3694 or e-mail sherry@ lendingteam.ca.
Donna Aaskow office: 948-6595 • cell: 816-4176 Donna.email@example.com
Proudly supporting ti our community! it !
City enVision Airdrie | 86 Talking Trash | 89
Centennial News | 92 Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE
CITy | envision airdrie
Grows THE VISION
enVision Airdrie gains momentum
STORy By ELLEn KELLy | PhOTOS COURTESy ThE CITy OF AIRdRIE
irdrie’s Sustainability Plan has been evolving since 2007 and as this long-term process continues, the City looks forward to continuing to work closely with community members. In 2008, the Citizens’ Advisory Group gathered feedback and assessed the information-gathering process to determine how best to approach the community to gain knowledge which would make the visioning process unique to Airdrie. The last community vision was done approximately 10 years ago. The current initiative requires making the vision for the city relevant to where Airdrie is today and where it will be in the future. The information gathered through community input “forms the foundation in terms of how we move forward,” says 86 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Tanis Houck, sustainability coordinator for the City of Airdrie. However, it hasn’t all been work. On Nov. 15, 2008, a celebration was held at City Hall to celebrate the visioning process and to honour those citizens who worked hard to move the plan forward. Over 140 residents joined in the celebration. Grade six students from four classes at Muriel Clayton Middle School, Ralph McCall School and Our Lady Queen of Peace School participated by providing verbal feedback. Their innovative artwork was displayed in City Hall. The festivities included an information fair highlighting local businesses and not-forprofit groups that are already involved and profiled initiatives like fair trade and organic food as they relate to sustainability. Entertainment included performances by Bell’arte
Strings, local professional violinist Steven Lubiarz and local singer Jessica Ridley. “We had people who came out and stayed because they were engaged in conversation with other community members, the Citizens’ Advisory Group, the Sustainability Committee and Council members. It is really critical for people to have that opportunity,” says Houck. Bibiana Cala, a newcomer to both Canada and Airdrie, attended the November celebration and plans to stay involved. She says, “The networking that took place was very important both for the businesses and the citizens. But mostly, I was very impressed with the engagement of the City of Airdrie with sustainability.” An anthropologist with a Masters Degree in Sustainable Tourism Management, Cala has witnessed the negative impact when
It was a full house at City Hall (page 86) with all interests and ages represented for the enVision celebration. Above: Citizens Advisory Group for enVision Airdrie member Pat Cashion discusses the community vision statement
sustainability is overlooked and says that balance among all aspects of the initiative is very important in a fast-growing city like Airdrie. During the first quarter of 2009, the Citizens’ Advisory Group has been reviewing data to determine which initial strategy to implement. A pilot task force will focus on one specific strategy area selected by the CAG. Eventually task forces will tackle each strategy area, but for now, one area will be chosen and assessed to see how the task force can be most effective. Fourteen potential strategy areas are identified by the Alberta Urban Municipal Association (including affordability and housing, arts/culture/heritage, built environment, economic development, energy, food, governance and partnerships, health and social, learning, materials and solid waste, natural areas, recreation and leisure, transportation and water) and will guide the Airdrie task forces in developing an Airdrie-specific approach. The City supports a Sustainability Com-
mittee consisting of City of Airdrie staff members. The group looks at internal processes and provides input in determining how the City can be one of many effective partners in the sustainability plan.
We are trying to
learn from other
examples ... but we’re looking for a ‘made in Airdrie’ plan
“We need community partners and we recognize that there are community groups … who have expertise in different areas who
are already doing a lot of things around sustainability,” says Houck. “We’re really looking at developing partnerships.” A good example of sustainability in action is Whistler, B.C. According to Houck, Whistler is seven or eight years ahead of Airdrie and has been very successful at forming task forces and building partnerships within the community. Whistler also has a very strong monitoring and evaluation process in place. Closer to home, Olds has a sustainability plan and Cochrane is also in the planning process. The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association is a strong resource. “We are trying to learn from other examples,” says Houck,“but we’re looking for a ‘made in Airdrie’ plan.” Also in the works is a speaker series with guest speakers addressing the pillars of sustainability (environment, economic, social, cultural and governance). Watch for topics LIFE and dates to be announced. Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 87
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CITY | Environmental Services
Airdrie residents are on the recycling bandwagon thanks to the help of Airdrie’s Environmental Services story and photos by Elizabeth Hak
Airdrie’s Environmental Services (ES)
takes countless items: newspapers, cardboard, oil, computers, the kitchen sink. The kitchen sink? “Any metal that fits through the openings and is less than four feet long can go in the metal bin,” says Angela Brightwell, the environmental coordinator at ES for the past two years. Airdrie is a leader in waste recycling and judging by the constant flow of vehicles into the ES Recycling Depot, the residents are definitely onboard. In 1992, the City implemented a user-pay garbage system. Garbage bag limits were introduced and an extensive recycling depot was opened. With constant input from the community, new initiatives are implemented each year. In 2004, milk cartons became an acceptable recyclable material. In 2006, certain plas-
tics were added to the list. If it can be recycled, ES is trying to find a way to do it. Yard waste such as grass clippings and leaves (but not pumpkins) can be dropped off at ES to be added to an outdoor composting pile. “We screen it and then it is used in public areas,” says Brightwell, adding that the compost must be deemed Grade A before it can be used. If the resulting rich compost can’t all be used for city parks, it’s sold to Airdrie residents for use in their yards. Stewardship programs that turn cell phones into supplies for the food bank and computer parts into money are initiatives that help people in need and the environment. To get the most bang for their recycling buck, residents should only bring items to the depot which ES can recycle or re-use. It takes time to sort and separate items.
“The separation of materials and then disposal is relayed back into the cost of the recycling depot and, therefore, to the residents of Airdrie,” Brightwell says. All residents have a bi-monthly envirofee on their utility bill which covers recycling, composting and household hazardous waste collection. If material brought to the depot can be sold, it is. “The depot could never be completely subsidized through material markets but it at least helps to sustain the programs,” says Brightwell, who has seen the value of recyclables decrease. But even if the recycled products are given away, Airdrie is still ahead of the game. Regular waste from garbage collection, and whatever can’t be recycled or re-used, is sent to Calgary’s landfill. “Even if we sell it to the market and they don’t have a good rate, we don’t have to pay Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 89
CITY | Environmental Services
Members of the Environmental Services team, (l to r): Jeff Richards, Angela Wright, Rob Gerke, Kathleen Muretti and Terry Parks
a tipping fee at Calgary for $75 per metric tonne,” Brightwell says. And those rates are set to rise to $95 per metric tonne by 2011. Implementing a two-unit garbage limit for households was one way to keep the costs down. “We limit the garbage bags to help facilitate people to recycle,” says Brightwell, adding that extra bags can be placed at the curb – at a cost. Some households may occasionally have more than two units of garbage so over-limit tags at $2 per ticket may be purchased. However, there may still only be a maximum of five units of garbage per week. In a 2006 Airdrie survey, 61 per cent of residents wanted curbside organic recycling and 60 per cent wanted curbside blue-boxtype recycling – but there was a caveat. They didn’t want to pay a substantial amount for the convenience. While organic composting would help reduce waste going to the landfill, it would cost a lot of money. “You have to look at what the residents want, and balance that with what provides value at a reasonable cost,” says Brightwell regarding choices of projects. “You have to listen to what the community wants and right now, blue-box-type items are a priority to them.” 90 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
Environmental stewardship starts at home. ES gets homeowners started by offering both composters and rain barrels for sale. Composting at home is a lot easier than you might think, says Brightwell. Any compost pile needs nitrogen, which is food waste, and carbon, which is leaves or grass. “Think of your composter as a vegetarian,” says Brightwell. Adding meat and dairy to the mix will just attract bugs and other creatures. If you are really diligent at turning the compost once or twice a week and have it in a nice sunny location, you will have compost in a couple of months. If you just want to leave it, it will be ready in the spring. Rain barrels can save homeowners a lot of money and help the environment. “When you use a rain barrel, you are using a natural [water] source that is good for your lawn and garden,” adds Brightwell. “You’re also not using potable water that has to be filtered and cleaned and shipped from Calgary.” For a full list of what items are accepted at the ES Depot, and hours of operation, pick up a copy of Airdrie’s Recycling and Waste Guide LIFE next time you’re there.
Five Things You Didn’t Know about Environmental Services • The Environmental Services building was constructed using straw bales specifically manufactured for construction • Cell phones dropped off at the depot are collected, broken down and sold, with all of the proceeds going to the Food Bank • Don’t throw out your old books! A shed at the depot houses a book exchange. Bring some old books and take home a few new favourites • You can buy rain barrels at the depot so you can use rain water in your garden • Pumpkins aren’t accepted at the depot. They are considered food waste rather than garden waste and can be com posted in backyard composters
More LIFE Online learn 10 ways to reduce For more information,
your environmental footprint at
Proud to be a partner in your commitment to the Airdrie Community. New Residents & New Mothers Susie Spurgeon 403-829-1773 New Businesses Shira Bejoo 403-945-9971 Brides-to-Be Stacy Zimmer-Otteson 403-980-2025
City | Centennial
Because making the medicine go down shouldn’t be as painful as the illness.
Excitement mounts as plans that were at the drawing board stage a year ago are now being realized. Each committee is busy ensuring that the best Centennial possible will happen this year by Ellen Kelly
Read our Q&A to see what’s new with:
Ask our Pharmacists about avoring your child’s medicine. Your Live Well Pharmacist is there to help
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Kim Harris and Robbie White, Events Committee Sharon Bilben, Historical Committee Michelle Carre Marketing, Merchandising and Sponsorship What planning is happening right now? Kim/Robbie: Homecoming (Sept. 10 - 13) is our main focus. We want to add more members to our committee. Volunteer recruitment for Homecoming is a huge task (100 - 150 volunteers will be needed). We’re looking at how to approach recruitment. Sharon: We’re preparing to launch the book Airdrie 1909 to 2009: Celebrating 100 Years of History, Community and Opportunity (author Anna Rebus) in March. The DVD, compiled by Rob Ing, is being sponsored and distributed by Fortis. Plaques are being prepared to be placed at historic places of interest in Airdrie. The Nose Creek Historical Society will place one at Airdrie Middle School. Michelle: Merchandise is now available. Water bottles, key chains and pins have been on sale since January. Tee shirts, hats, golf shirts, posters and postcards will be available later AL:
this spring. All are high quality collectible items – great gifts. Items, including the book, are sold at City Hall, Genesis Centre and Nose Creek Valley Museum. The Committee and Airdrie Registry produced a centennial theme calendar which was distributed to Airdrie homes. What actions are being taken at this time? Kim/Robbie: We are putting our committee members on task forces according to their interests. We are planning orientations for our volunteers. We’re asking organizations to put a “centennial spin” on their planned activities. We want to encourage everyone to participate. Sharon: Educational kits which include the book, the DVD and notes and pictures from Anna Rebus’s file are being assembled and will be presented to the library and the City. AL:
opportunity community prid pioneer spirit opportunity community pride Airdrie 1909-2009 pride opportunity spirit pioneer spirit pride opportunity opportunity pioneer spirit community pride
Schools have shown an interest and we’re looking for ways to put a kit in each school in Airdrie. michelle: At the end of February a timeline brochure including significant events and historical moments was mailed to residents. The past year has been about preparing and getting sponsors. We’re now enjoying the Centennial Year. What upcoming events are happening now? Kim/robbie: We’ve prepared a list of events that will be happening throughout the year. The Centennial Book Launch, author signing and silent auction for the first copy will be held at the library. Watch local media for the exact date and time. The centennial song “Airdrie Home to Me” by Ron Simon was unveiled at the centennial kick off and can be heard on the City of Airdrie website. CDs are available to groups. Interested individuals will be able to download it from the website, www.airdrie.ca. ShAron: We’ve been really busy for the past year, but now our projects are coming together and our work is winding down. michelle: Watch for updates on centennial activities in local newspapers and listen to the Range (106.1 FM). The Centennial has a Facebook page. Join the group “Airdrie Centennial”. Al:
Celebrating 100 years of history, community and opportunity
WIn A BIT OF hISTORy! Blacksmith shops
Airdrie says farewell to train service
Forging the future
What are the urgent needs of the committee at this time? Kim/robbie: We need volunteers. Potential volunteers can visit the city of Airdrie website (www.airdrie.ca), click on centennial, and then click on volunteer opportunities. Fill out the form and e-mail/fax it back to us or drop it off at City Hall. Robbie says, “Take something you ordinarily do and put a centennial spin on it. That’s where we can help.” Kim adds, “Come down and volunteer – you’re going to meet a whole bunch of good people. No experience necessary.” There are still opportunities to get involved with planning. michelle: Involvement through sponsorship is LIFE always welcome.
All aboard no more
MorE LIFE onLInE KEEP UP-TO-dATE WITh
WWI AND THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC
WORLD WAR II
The war away, the struggle at home
Keeping the home fires burning, again
ith a sense of adventure in their hearts, Airdrie and area residents signed up for duty in the armed services. Dozens of local men (and a few women) headed overseas to unfamiliar lands to fight against a little-known enemy.
s Airdrie settled into village routine, two major events on the world stage would have a significant impact on daily life. World War I was declared in 1914. Several dozen young men from Airdrie and district signed up for service.37 The same traits that had drawn these men to pioneer life—courage, grit and resilience—drew them into service. Most of these local servicemen returned home, but a few did not, including William Jones, Alexander MacArthur, Bernard Tyas and Earl Weeger.38 Their sacrifice deeply impacted the small community.
oer, T. FLETT, and Horsesh of Blacksmith e to the public Begs to announc that he has now district that shop and Airdrie and blacksmith all work opened his to execute he is prepared at reasonable prices. and promptly
Just as the war ended in 1918, the world faced a new danger: the Spanish Influenza epidemic. During 1918 and 1919, the flu epidemic spread across the world, killing millions. This global disaster did not leave Airdrie untouched. To minimize exposure, village council proposed strict shopping hours. Gatherings were restricted to very small groups. Caution necessitated the temporary closure of the church. Despite these measures, the flu spread throughout the village and district. The local doctor, Dr. Edwards, could not possibly attend to all the sick himself. At the height of the outbreak, the Old Hotel became a makeshift hospital with emergency supplies provided by the Red Cross. During this crisis, the entire village came together with their usual degree of determination. Many people pitched in by making meals, cleaning rooms, doing laundry and helping with the sick. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Dr. Edwards, the nursing skills of Margaret Kinniburgh and the help of countless village members, only four Airdrie residents died from the flu. They are buried in the Airdrie Cemetery.39
FLETT’S BLACKSMITH SHOP, AIRDRIE, ALBERTA. CA. 1910–1913
Glenbow Archives NA-2466-1
News The Airdrie 1908 August 20,
42 | Part One: Pioneer Spirit
52 | Part One: Pioneer Spirit
Airdrie residents were encouraged to do what they could for the war effort. The ladies of the local Red Cross Society would meet once a week to do piece quilting. With knitting needles in hand, school children made socks and caps for soldiers. As a result of supplying produce and machinery to the war effort, farming and industry began to recover from the effects of the depression. As more men headed overseas, fewer were available to work the land. Farmers began to buy threshing machines and other equipment to take the place of diminished hired help. Machines helped increase production at a time when every bit of food made a difference. On the home front, rations became the order of the day. The government sent out ration coupons for items such as flour, sugar, coffee, butter and even gasoline. If you didn’t have a coupon, you simply had to go without. Women relied on their ingenuity in the kitchen to cook and bake dishes without basic ingredients. ORMA AND ALBERT CLAYTON, 1942
Airdrie was built on the railway line. The first trains had steam locomotives, which took advantage of Airdrie’s non-alkali creek water. Replaced by diesel locomotives, the last steam train rolled through Airdrie in 1955.89 By the late 1960s, the self-contained passenger Dayliner was making the trip between Calgary and Edmonton. While a convenient way to travel, people expressed concerns. Many observed that the Dayliner’s high traveling speed created real danger for motorists, especially at level crossings. Accidents were not uncommon and a number of deaths occurred.90 With better roads and increased car travel, use of the Dayliner began to wane. On September 5, 1985, the Dayliner had its last run.91 With renewed talk of a high-speed rail link between Calgary and Edmonton in the 21st century, it would seem that the Dayliner may have been slightly ahead of its time!
Families eagerly awaited the return of their young heroes. While many did return home safely, Airdrie lost several local boys. These included Albert Clayton, William Hegy, Frederick Larsen, John McNeil, Angus Ramsay, Armand Sabourin and Reuben Seefried.60 At the end of the war, some soldiers returned to their home towns with a new wife. Local soldiers and their war brides included Allan and Kitty Clayton, Clarence and Wilma Larsen, and Ian and Vivienne Weir.
66 | Part One: Pioneer Spirit
88 | Part One: Pioneer Spirit
Airdrie Centennial Book “Celebrating 100 years of history, community and opportunity” AUThOR, AnnA M. REBUS
AirdrieLIFE is giving away three copies of this hot-off-the-press and soon-to-be-treasured keepsake of our city’s 100th birthday. Go online today and register for your chance to win a bit of history! airdrielife.com
CEnTEnnIAL EvEnTS AT AIRdRIELIFE.COM
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 93
CITy | Improvements
East Lake Enhancement Project aims to improve form and function of popular park STORy By TARA RIChARdS | PhOTO COURTESy ThE CITy OF AIRdRIE
he City of Airdrie has recently begun the East Lake Enhancement Project. The changes include improving the stormwater quality and beautifying the park area. “We completed a study in 2005 to provide us options to enhance the water quality and recreational opportunities for the surrounding park,” says Lorne Stevens, public works and engineering manager with the City of Airdrie.“The enhancements will reduce weed growth and bank erosion and improve water circulation.” East Lake currently functions as a stormwater storage facility, a water feature for pathway users and the adjacent community, and a home for wildlife. The enhancement project is scheduled to be completed in two phases, with phase one currently underway. This phase involves the dredging and re-grading of the lake including construction of deep marshes, improving forebays and planting shoreline marsh benches to improve stormwater quality. These im-
94 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
provements will significantly improve lake circulation. “The enhancements will result in improved lake circulation, reduced suspended sediments, reduced nutrient run-off and reduced shoreline erosion, and will have a positive impact on East Lake water quality, as well to outflows to Nose Creek,” says Stevens. Following completion of the reconstruction of East Lake, phase two will be initiated. This will involve a significant landscaping facelift at East Lake Park. Beginning this summer, the park area will be enhanced with a naturalized shoreline edge using native wetland, upland plant species and riparian habitat. The new changes will provide enhanced wildlife viewing (birds) and interpretive signage. The park area will feature new shrubs near the shoreline and additional trees in the park, as well as a pathway upgrade. Funding for the project was from the New Deal for Cities and Communities (NDCC) Federal grant in March 2008, with the estimated cost of the project at approximately $1 million.
the City of Airdrie is also completing other upgrades to the East Lake park area, including: •
Preparation and construction of a new out-
door running track. This project is underway and will improve the surface area of the track. The project also makes way for the expansion of Genesis Place (Phase 2), which includes two indoor soccer fields and a running track. •
Construction in 2009 of new tennis courts
on the north side of East Lake Park, between the existing soccer fields. (The tennis court site was purchased from the City of Airdrie and the Rocky view School division by a developer planning a multi-tenant condominium project on this site. Construction on this site has begun.) •
Removal of one of the two ball diamonds,
to accommodate expansion of Genesis Place and the outdoor track. This field is being reconstructed along with three additional ball fields at Chinook Winds Ball Park.
Airdrie Centennial Events 2009 March, 2009 - Centennial Book Released This commemorative book can be purchased at City Hall, Genesis Place, Page & Turners Bookstore, and Nose Creek Valley Museum. May 2, 2009 - Centennial Tea @ the Town & Country Centre The Airdrie Over 50 Club and the Airdrie Horticultural Society are hosting a social with tea and strawberries. Everyone is welcome. July 1, 2009 - Canada Day Parade The 2009 Canada Day Parade will feature a Centennial Theme. Come out and enjoy a day of fun (circa 1909). July 22, 2009 - Canadian Snowbirds perform Airdrie’s first air show at the Airdrie AirPark. July 23 - 26, 2009 - Alberta 55 Plus Summer Games September 10, 2009 - Centennial Celebration @ City Hall Birthday celebrations and unveiling of Centennial Legacy Art Project. September 11, 2009 - ‘Future’ Day School events and celebrations, school musical showcase, and Battle of the Bands. September 12, 2009 - ‘Past’ Day @ Town & Country Centre Old Time Fair, live entertainment, BBQ (Nose Creek Park), street dance/barn dance. September 13, 2009 - ‘Present’ Day @ Nose Creek Park Farmer’s Market and Artisan Showcase.
For more information on centennial events, visit
What can the Aidrie Edge Gymnastics Club do for you?
Media, website, name and hosting opportunities Title Sponsorship Program Sponsorships for: • Trampoline & Tumbling • Artistic • Recreation
Ladder to Success Donors Friends of the Airdrie Edge Visit our website for more info www.airdrieedge.com Or call Bernie Moen at 403-948-6878
Your Airdrie Wal-Mart is now a
2881 Main Street S.W,. Airdrie, Alberta T4B-3G5 (403) 945-1295
CITY | Environmental Advisory Board
Stewardship A grassroots committee with a focus on the environment grows into an advisory board helping Airdrionians make a difference by Elizabeth Hak
or the past few years, environmental concerns have dominated our daily lives. The call to increase recycling, reduce consumption and, in general, just take better care of where we live has been persistent. But for 18 years, Airdrie has been at the forefront of environmental stewardship by taking a proactive approach. In 1991, the Airdrie Recycling Committee was formed, later to be known as the Airdrie Environmental Advisory Board (EAB). “The EAB is one of the council boards that we invite citizens to be a part of,” says Alderman Glenda Alexander who is in her second year as Chair of the EAB. Following an interview process, five citizens at large are chosen and appointed by city council. Add to that two members of council and two city employees for a total of nine members whose job it is to find in-
novative ways to help Airdrie become greener. EAB members are appointed annually. The EAB is responsible for providing council with advice on environmental programs with the goal of reducing solid waste and developing environmental policies, procedures and educational programs. It also reviews any initiatives that could be of benefit to Airdrie’s environmental health. Many initiatives arise due to necessity. Organic material like grass and leaves make up approximately 13 per cent of residential waste. By allowing the clippings to stay on the lawn, valuable nutrients remain but also unnecessary waste doesn’t go into the landfill. Knowing that yard waste would still be generated, EAB implemented a large-scale composting program. Yard waste can be dropped off at the Recycling Depot to be converted into rich compost for sale to residents.
While other municipalities debate the pros and cons of bag limits, Airdrie implemented a two unit limit in 1998. Having opened an extensive recycling depot in 1992 and expanding the hours in 1998, this initiative was given the tools to succeed. As concern for natural resources increased, the EAB addressed the issue of water-gulping toilets and finding a way to get residents to replace them with more efficient versions. In 2005, a toilet rebate pilot project was started to replace older toilets with lowflow or dual-flush units. Over the years, the EAB has led the way with an EcoCentre for used oil, filters and containers, starting a plastics recycling plan, and accepting electronics for second-party recycling rather than having them end up in the landfill. The ultimate objective of the EAB is to Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 97
CITY | Environmental Advisory Board
Cathy Falcione, AMP Mortgage Specialist
Airdrie, Cochrane & Surrounding Areas
tel 403-703-1358 fax 403-547-1358
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reduce the amount of waste making its way to the landfill. While attending a sustainability conference in Ottawa last year, Alexander came away with a key environmental attitude. “Look at ways of closing the loop,” explains Alexander. She suggests people find ways in their lives to use things that can be recycled or reused. Plastic shopping bags, for example, don’t need to be used, says Alexander. Cloth bags do the job and can be reused. Proposals to the EAB to promote environmental responsibility are welcome but they aren’t necessarily implemented. Alexander recalls a young woman coming forward to propose an anti-idling program. While Alexander admits excessive idling is unnecessary, implementing the program was not realistic. Other issues such as bylaw changes and punitive fines had to be considered. “We have to look at these things logistically to see if they can work, ” says Alexander. The EAB prefers to encourage environmentalism in a positive way. Instead of giving people tickets, give them recognition. Like David Bailey. Bailey, a 76-year-old Airdrie resident, walks every day. While walking near his home, he started picking up garbage along the way. Bailey started noticing other areas where garbage was lying around and changed his walking route to pick up that garbage. He was cleaning up Airdrie all by himself. “If each person in Airdrie does one thing, we are making 36,000 changes towards sustainability,” says Alexander, adding that Bailey recently received a certificate of recognition from the EAB for his efforts. The EAB meets at the Environmental Services Education Centre on the first Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. Airdrie residents are encouraged to come out and voice their opinions and give suggestions for keeping Airdrie on the leading LIFE edge of environmental initiatives.
Your Library has more than just books... We have lots of those. 3 million, in fact. We also have programs and resources for everyone—from Pre-School Literacy programs to Senior’s Computer Classes. Pop into your Library to find out more, or visit www.airdriepubliclibrary.ca.
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works Spaces & Places | 104
LEEDing the way | 107 Recycling Rewards | 112 Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE
WORKS | Economic Development
The City of Airdrie of Airdrie Economic Development from left: Leona Esau, Sara Chamberlain and Kent Rupert review their new marketing tools
Just do it NOW! Airdrie Economic Development launches a new strategy Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Kristy Reimer They say the best way to generate business is to network, network, network.
And that is exactly what the City of Airdrie’s Economic Development department is doing by launching Airdrie NOW!, a strategy aimed at promoting the city as a place to invest, develop and build. “With the way the economy’s been going, we want to make sure we’re focused and strategic in what [businesses] we attract to Airdrie,” says Economic Development team leader Kent Rupert. Although 2008, despite the downturn, was considered a successful year for Airdrie in terms of business and economic development, this isn’t the time to rest on one’s laurels. “This next year we’ll have a number of different projects as we implement Airdrie NOW!, a business investment profile and campaign mass-mailout,” says Rupert. The City has prepared a detailed profile on what makes Airdrie a great place to live, work and invest. From details on industries already in place here, to nuts-and-bolts information about civic amenities, transportation and market accessibility, the Airdrie 102 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
NOW! booklet aims to illustrate Airdrie as a place that is ready to grow as it reaches its centennial. “We’ll be targeting three specific sectors: transportation and logistics, professional services, and advanced manufacturing, as well as an emerging sector, environmental industries,” says Rupert. “The [Airdrie NOW!] business investment profile is a snapshot of what Airdrie is all about. It talks about the key advantages of why these sectors need to be in Airdrie.” Rupert says the current economic situation makes this a perfect time for the City to come out with such a detailed promotion. “If [businesses] are going to move, they want to make sure it’s the right move and they want to have the information,” he says. Airdrie Economic Development is also giving its website a facelift to tie in with the Airdrie NOW! campaign, and Rupert says with new services such as BizPaL, along with plans to embrace Web 2.0 interactivity, it’s not just prospective investors from out of town that will benefit. “We’re hoping we’ll become a source for local businesses ... looking for information
that is concise and clear,” says Rupert. Airdrie NOW! leads into Economic Development’s next major strategy, which is a business retention and expansion program. “It’s about going out and reconnecting with our businesses and seeing how they’re doing and creating that conversation,” says Rupert.“The main part of the strategy is we’re looking at a business visitation program, [visiting] anywhere from five to 10 per cent of all Airdrie businesses in Year One and building continually on that.” Rupert says the program will allow the City to keep up with the needs of local businesses. For example, he says, “if someone’s looking for employees, we can help them connect with employment agencies or foreign worker programs.” An online streaming video service (dubbed Airdrie NOW! TV) is another idea on the drawing board, which could be used to broadcast economic development training sessions. “I think we have to really embrace techLIFE nology,” says Rupert. For more information about Airdrie NOW!
and other Economic Development initiatives, visit www.airdrienow.ca
WORKS | Economic Development
Self Help for
BizPaL service designed to be one-stop shop
by Alex Frazer-Harrison
usinesses are chomping at the bit to get into Airdrie, and a service launched late last year is helping these companies navigate the maze of permits, licences and applications needed to set up shop. BizPaL is a free online service developed by the federal government, which is gradually being adopted by municipalities nationwide. Airdrie was only the second Alberta municipality to roll out the system; since its launch last fall, cities such as Calgary have followed suit. The idea of BizPaL is to provide businesses with a one-stop reference to all the licenses, permits and fees that are required from all three levels of government. Based on answers to questions covering everything from renovation plans to whether an elevator will be installed, or whether the business will require vehicles, etc., the applicant is presented with a list of the required applications, licenses, fees, contact information and estimated wait times. “This is one-stop shopping for businesses,” says Mayor Linda Bruce, noting the service will be of benefit to the many
home-based businesses that are launched in the city each year. “I think it will be tremendously helpful.” When people start a business, they spend so much effort on developing business plans and obtaining financing, “they’ll come in and not realize they need building permits, licenses…that’s always near the back end,” says Economic Development team leader Kent Rupert. “Not only will [BizPaL] save them time – they would have to go to the feds, province, [City] and explain their plans three times – this allows them to do everything at once. It allows them to find out how much it’ll cost to establish their business.” Although BizPaL can be used by any size business, it’s particularly helpful for those who don’t have staff dedicated to handling the paperwork, says Colleen Kinley of Business Licensing. “I think this will cut down on a lot of misunderstandings,” she says.“There are so many businesses out there, I don’t know all the permits, either, and sometimes it leads to another question. This way they can look up some of the questions themselves and come [to the City] with more information.”
BizPaL does not replace face-to-face communication with City departments; it only enhances the service, says Cynthia Rowan of Building Inspections and Permits. “We still need that one-to-one conversation,” she says. “Most people are so overwhelmed because there are so many steps … if we can get on the same page [quickly], there are no misunderstandings.” Adds Rupert, noting the City averaged more than 50 new business licenses per month in 2008, “This is just another toolbox for our customers.” During BizPaL’s first full month of operation in Airdrie (November 2008), the site received just under 300 visits, 84 per cent from Alberta, 13 per cent from other provinces and three per cent international. According to the City, the industries most frequently queried (based upon NAICS classification) were: other legal services; computer systems design and related; janitorial services (except window cleaning); offices of all other health practitioners; bookkeeping, payroll, and related services; unisex hair salons; and LIFE flooring contractors. For more information on BizPaL, visit www.airdrie.ca
Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 103
WORKS | Industrial Development
Building it or filling it, two of Airdrie’s newest industrial businesses both plan to grow, because of space Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photos by Sergei Belski
rom building a new generation of relocateable modular structures to distributing goods for one of Canada’s biggest retailers, Airdrie’s industrial sector is booming. In the past few months, both Costco Wholesale and Modus Structures Inc. have opened vast new facilities, employing many Airdrionians and helping put the city on the map as an employment hub. “Whenever one of these larger employers come in, they offer quality jobs … it gives opportunities to Airdrie residents to work in Airdrie, so they have less commute time and more time for their families,” says Kent Rupert, economic development team leader for the City of Airdrie. “There’s definitely an economic spinoff when you bring in, say, 150 employees to Airdrie, as opposed to them commuting to elsewhere in the region. And there are greater spinoffs when, some-
104 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
On page 104, the sheer magnitude of the Costco distribution centre square footage is evident. This page, Modus management from left, Mitz Simonelli, John Verhagen and Joe Dotto
times, their suppliers or companies that support that industry come into the area as well.” It might be a bit early to tell if Costco’s newly built, 260,000-square-foot distribution centre in Highland Park Industrial, or the 143,000-square-foot former furniture factory converted by Modus for constructing its line of relocateable structures, will indeed attract spinoff business interest. But both Airdrie newcomers are generating plenty of excitement on their own. “We were looking for a good, centralized location; land costs were a concern, and highway access was a concern because of the amount of truck traffic we generate,” Costco depot manager Max Lupton says of the decision to locate the facility in Airdrie. Lupton’s office overlooks a vast distribution floor where, during a single shift every day, thousands of palettes of products are offloaded from supply trucks, sorted and placed aboard trucks headed for Costco stores across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The so-called “dry side” (which handles primarily non-perishables) is big enough a Zamboni-like vehicle is used to keep the floor clean. Walk through a door and you’re inside the “chill operation” – a 130,000-square-foot fridge. “The beauty of this place is we see it fill up and empty each day,” says Lupton. The first truckload of goods arrived on Oct. 20; most goods are received, sorted and sent on their way in 60 to 90 minutes, though Lupton expects this to eventually drop to 40.
Costco currently employs just over 100 people at the plant (not counting contracted drivers). “We attracted a lot of people out of Airdrie,” says Lupton. “We had successful job fairs and found the skills we were looking for locally.” Lupton himself transferred from the Chicago area: “I had the opportunity to come out here and I jumped at it … the people of Airdrie have been very welcoming and very friendly.” Not far away, the Modus plant recently began constructing its next-generation modular buildings. Established in 2004 and based in Crossfield, with another plant in Swift Current, Sask., and a design office in Kitchener, Ont., Modus expanded its operations to Airdrie this past winter to take advantage of the availability of property, its proximity to the Crossfield head office and the local workforce, says president and CEO John Verhagen. “We knew Airdrie pretty well, and it wasn’t a big issue from a people perspective,” he says. “We knew we’d find everything we needed here.” About 280 people work company-wide, and Verhagen expects to see more added in the future, including in Airdrie. “We expect to add a considerable amount of people in Airdrie as we grow to perhaps 400 people,” he says. “This is an opportunity… to access the local market and bring good people to the team and grow from there.” Located off East Lake Road, the Modus plant builds complete units from the frame up, which are transported to their new home in one piece.
“Typical units of this type are a maximum 12 feet wide, but the technology of our product allows for them to be up to 24 feet wide and to be moved in one piece,” says Mitz Simonelli, vice-president of Finance & Administration. “They are truly relocateable, and that’s what appeals to [clients such as] school boards.” Modus’ projects have included accommodation structures for oil and gas companies, telecom units for Bell, structures for Alberta SuperNet and relocateable classrooms for schools, including École Francophone D’Airdrie. But terms such as “trailer” and “portable” are never used to describe Modus’ product. “The word ‘trailer’ is a misnomer,” says Joe Dotto, vice-president of Production & Procurement. “Modular is the true name of what we build, because it’s of a higher standard. “One key element of our operation is we do everything in the plant instead of on site …allowing us to monitor quality control, better organize our trades and our workers, and it’s a controlled environment out of the elements.” Adds Verhagen:“I guess we’re the Cadillac of the industry.” Dotto says while traditional outdoor construction is often subject to downtime, “we’re open five days a week, 12 months of the year. Weather doesn’t matter.” Verhagen says his aim is for Modus to be a good neighbour in Airdrie, a feeling echoed LIFE by Costco’s Lupton. Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 105
Works | Winners
We Print, Ship & More! Your Complete Business Services Centre Colour & B/W Copies Digital Printing Shipping Services Business Stationery
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Mailbox Rentals Packaging Supplies And so much more! The UPS Store® 203-304 Main St Airdrie, Alberta T4B 3C3 T: 1 403.316.6245 F: 1 403.316.3291 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamming it up after accepting the Winning Edge Award. Clockwise from left: Conlan Wiebe, Corey Wine, Scott Piro and Lisa Wine
Sign of success Sign Concepts has the Winning Edge Story by Elizabeth Hak | Photo by Kristy Reimer Driving around Airdrie, colourful
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
Discover benefits, activities, events and membership directory on our website:
Phone: 403-948-4412 • Fax: 403-948-3141 email@example.com 212 Main Street North • P.O. Box 3661 Airdrie, AB T4B 2B8
signs draw your attention to a new housing development, a coffee shop or an upcoming sale. Chances are most were made by Sign Concepts. Since 2000, the family-owned-andoperated business has thrived in Airdrie through hard work, business savvy and always putting the customer first. Corey Wine is the creative genius behind Sign Concepts while his wife, Lisa, is a networking and marketing magnate. “We take pride in quality signage and excellent customer service,” says Lisa. While many sign companies contract out some parts of an order, Sign Concepts is a full-service business as the designer, fabricator and installer. Vesta Homes came to Corey last year to create signage for their new show homes in Luxstone. It was a diverse, complicated job that required every bit of Corey’s skill and knowledge to complete. “We pulled it all off effortlessly,” says
Corey.“Every time I pass through Luxstone, I get a great sense of pride in each sign and graphic I see.” Completing the job on time and with complete satisfaction is a Sign Concepts trademark and a key to their success. “Referrals are a big part of our business,” admits Lisa, adding she thinks of their customers as friends. “We get to deal with a lot of new businesses. We get to watch them grow. We get to take pride in that.” Last year, Sign Concepts won both the Winning Edge and Family Friendly Business awards during Small Business Week. With their commitment to quality work and a genuine desire to see their customers succeed, the awards are well-deserved. LIFE
LEED ing the way
WORKS | Retail Development
Dickson Trail Crossing is one of the first LEED silver-certified developments in Canada
Matt Fraleigh, leasing manager for First Capital Asset Management Inc., on the site of Dickson Trail Crossing Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photos Sergei Belski
ne of Airdrie’s newest shopping centres is breaking new ground in environmental sustainability. Dickson Trail Crossing, located at Main Street and Veterans Boulevard, is one of the first developments of its kind in Canada to be LEED silver-certified, a measure of its environmental friendliness. “LEED certification is a way of monitoring and tracking your sustainable initiatives – it’s a way of measuring how sustainable your building is,” explains Peter Atkinson, intern architect with Cohos Evamy. “We use LEED as a measuring stick to tell us how we’re doing in the performance of the building – energy systems, water usage – and it allows us to delve into where the [construction] materials
we’re using are coming from. “We took a hard look at our energy system and … made sure it’s as efficient as it should be,” Atkinson adds. “We found room in our initial design to create more efficiencies, adding some insulation, using mechanical air-handling units that are more efficient … it’s reduced our energy consumption and has a direct relationship to the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere.” For example,“A lot of things go into [the exterior construction], such as paint with reduced toxicity, reduced water consumption throughout the site and designated green energy,” says Matt Fraleigh, leasing manager, Western Canada, with First Capital Asset Management Inc. “A lot more goes into the planning of the site, of the building. LEED certification is something
First Capital as a company is implementing in all its new projects. “It does bring up significant challenges, primarily from the planning standpoint. As we continue to get experience in LEED, and it’s still relatively new, we’re probably one of the first companies in the retail sector to really implement this.” Other shopping centres have “redeveloped bits and pieces” to LEED certification, but Dickson Trail Crossing is “probably one of the first to be certified from stem to stern,” says Brent Sawchyn, president of Level Developments Corp., venture partner in the development. Sawchyn says incorporating green-building practices – commonly seen in corporate and industrial construction, public buildings, Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 107
LEED? Established in the United States in 1998, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, or LEED, was created as a thirdparty-certified rating system for environmentally friendly building construction.
Above: Artist’s interpretation of the completed Dickson Trail Crossing. Below right: construction nears completion
With the growth of interest in eco-friendly and sustainable building practices in the 1990s, the U.S. Green Building Council created LEED in an attempt to come up
schools and residential developments – is primed to become the way of the future for commercial/retail construction, too. “I’d bet a lot of the green-building practices we’re putting in place now will soon be embodied in the uniform building code,” he says. “Things like using low-odour sealants and solvents, and the type of heating and mechanical systems you install.” Sawchyn says having LEED certification may also become a selling point when it comes to attracting prospective tenants. “I think the impetus to use all-green practices are driven by the developer and the municipality at this stage,” he says. “Residential consumers may pay more interest to having a green building … our retail tenants are only beginning to recognize it … and they’re picking up the challenge.” Adds Fraleigh, “We think it’s something tenants and consumers will be demanding in the future. We always hear about green technology, so it’s something we decided to embrace.” Tenants in Dickson Trail include a Rexall drugstore, Starbucks, Quizno’s Subs, Little Caesars pizza, Pet Planet and Brewsters restaurant, along with other businesses and services. Fraleigh says a sustainable development has the potential to pay off for tenants in the long term.“The real advantage of this kind of construction is not the upfront costs, but the long-term operating costs,” he says. “When you reduce water consumption, it not only translates well for the environment, but there’s a cost saving. When you reduce electricity 108 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
consumption, there are savings as well and that benefits everyone.” Fraleigh says while the extra planning that goes into building to LEED specifications is a challenge, it’s also important to make sure the costs involved don’t affect the development’s ability to be competitive from the tenants’ point of view. “Tenants, particularly the smaller tenants, are typically cost-conscious and are certainly onside to support green technology, but they’re often not in a position to pay a premium for that in their rates,” Fraleigh adds. “So as long as we can remain competitive, which we are, in terms of rates to comparable properties in the area, it’s certainly something most tenants get excited about.” Atkinson says the LEED certification applies mainly to the development’s infrastructure, and it’s up to the individual tenants whether to follow LEED guidelines. “We have a handbook we give to the tenants, so if they don’t decide to pursue LEED [certified] interiors, they can recognize best building practices … and sustainable building, and incorporate that into the way they develop their spaces.” First Capital is also spearheading the redevelopment of Tower Lane Mall, which, Fraleigh says, will result in the shopping centre being “de-malled” and turned into stores with individual access. Although the conversion of the mall won’t fall under LEED certification (Fraleigh says it’s very difficult to add LEED after the fact), he says LEED principles can be applied to some of the new pad construction LIFE planned for the site.
with an international set of standards. It is currently in use in more than two dozen countries, and in Canada the Canada Green Building Council is overseeing the LEED Canada Initiative. There are currently four levels of LEED certification, allotted via a points system that looks at aspects of a development including location, water and energy efficiency, construction materials and indoor environmental quality. Depending on the number of points, a development could be ranked Certified, Silver (such as Dickson Trail Crossing in Airdrie), Gold and Platinum. For information about LEED Canada, visit the Canada Green Building Council website at www.cagbc.org.
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Environmental Responsibility WORKS | Local Success
Alan Dodd (left) and Jon Boyle with some of the equipment that takes them out in the field to do their job
Cantest Solutions Inc. and Rangeland Conservation Services reduce environmental footprints while growing their own bottom lines story by Alex Frazer-Harrison photos by Sergei Belski
110 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
irdrie is home to two companies that help industry be as environmentally responsible as possible. Cantest Solutions Inc. provides testing services to the oil and gas industry, using state-of-the-art technology to detect the most minute leaks on tanks and systems. And Rangeland Conservation Service Ltd. helps industries plan pipeline routes, watercourse crossings, agricultural development and wellsites with the utmost care for the environment. The professionals who work at Cantest have a nickname for their office: The Puzzle Factory. “We investigate mysterious situations,” says general sales manager Marcus Cormier, noting the company’s initials are CSI. And just like those TV detectives, Cantest uses state-of-the-art equipment to solve mysteries: the location of often-tiny leaks in fuel storage tanks and lines, and identifying prob-
lems before they occur. “Precision testing is a key area … we’re involved in [testing] petroleum storage tanks, systems, lines, above-ground storage tanks in the upstream sector … we’re probably doing 85 per cent of precision testing in Western Canada,” says Cormier, listing off many top oil and gas companies as Cantest clients. When you’re dealing with tanks built to hold anywhere from 40,000 litres up to more than 100,000, specialized equipment is needed to test the tank’s integrity and detect leaks. “Steel tanks tend to corrode with ground water; fibreglass tanks can have flaws in them, as well,” says oilfield services manager Lee Krause, noting that in 1995, when Cantest put out its first Tank Bulletin report, 33 per cent of the tanks evaluated by Cantest“had issues, not just leaking. We’ve got that number down to six per cent.” About 17 people in the Airdrie office
= Economic Viability co-ordinate a team of 30 testing units across Canada, who utilize technology licensed exclusively by Cantest. A tiny leak may not be easily detectable within the threshold of some gauges, but it could translate to hundreds of litres of fuel leaking into the ground each year from one tank alone, Cormier says. “Environment Canada suspects easily a quarter-million tanks could be problematic,” says Cormier. “The role is shifting now to not just precision testing of tanks and lines, but preventative maintenance inspection of that equipment to make sure it’s functioning properly. “I think Cantest has played a major role over the years in helping build awareness … allowing people to see things that weren’t visible to them before.” This has included Cantest taking part in legislative reviews and continually seeking out the latest, most accurate testing equipment. For example, says Cormier, Cantest helped develop the world’s first electronic closed-loop calibration system for retail and cardlock fuel pumps, making sure if consumers pay $20 for
Mike Cormier and Lee Krause of Cantest
gas, they get $20 worth of gas. Meanwhile, when oil and gas companies start planning their pipeline routes, or the agriculture industry needs an environmental assessment, Airdrie-based Rangeland Conservation Service (RCS) is there to answer the call. “When we started RCS in 1996, it was a one-man band and his dog,” says senior environmental planner and principal Jon Boyle, whose wife, Kristen, is the company’s administrator. RCS’s staff of 12 includes people with wildlife biology, botany, range management, and environmental planning and inspecting backgrounds. They service the oil and gas and agricultural sectors, providing environmental planning, biophysical assessments, environmental inspection, horizontal directional drilling plans, and conducting vegetation and range resource inventories. “A big feature for us is [evaluating] watercourse crossings,” says Boyle.“When companies need a pipeline from a new well, they call us and ask, can you come up with a location for us?”
By conducting examinations of the area between the well and the destination (such as a main pipeline), Boyle’s staff puts together detailed reports listing suggested routes, and mitigation strategies. “Sometimes a five-kilometre pipeline has more issues than an 80-kilometre project,” says Boyle. And it’s not just pipelines; RCS also does similar feasibility and right-of-way studies for telecommunication lines and access roads, among other land uses that includes site selection for wellsites and facilities. “Companies are now recognizing the value in this kind of planning from an environmental sustainability perspective. Companies want to do the right thing. We’re low cost for huge success for them as a company,” says Boyle. RCS maintains a small fleet of ATVs, trucks, a snowmobile and even a Zodiac, which allows Boyle’s team to access many remote areas. “We also do a lot of helicopter work,” he says. But it’s also behind the word processor where RCS provides another service – helping companies make sure all the necessary regulatory applications are in order. “Our work doesn’t stop with the submission of the report,” says Boyle. RCS’s environmental inspectors can often be found on-site conducting inspections during project construction, helping clients ensure they adhere to regulations. “We’re fortunate to have awesome clients who come back as repeat customers … and who let us think out of the box,” says Boyle. He says he and his wife enjoy having Airdrie as a home base and, while they do hope to grow their company, “we don’t want to grow more than a mom and pop shop.” LIFE Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 111
Works | Business Focus
From a busy family-run curbside recycling business to the bone-crushing machinery for steel waste, Airdrie is supporting businesses that stake their claim on environmental consciousness Story By Alex Frazer-Harrison Photos by Sergei Belski
Damien Pearson and sons sort recyclables for customers 112 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
family that recycles together stays together. The Pearson family took that notion one step further by launching their own curbside recycling business in Airdrie. When Damien and Laurie Pearson moved to Airdrie from the West Coast, they realized there was an unfulfilled need in this city for such a service. “When we moved from the West Coast, where there’s curbside recycling everywhere, and asked what day is garbage pickup and what day is recycling, people looked at us as if we had seven heads,” says Laurie. In 2005, the Pearsons launched Ready Recycling, and they can be seen every Friday driving their bin-loaded cargo trailer from client to client, picking up recyclables. “When we first started, we said if we had
Left: Jim Crossen of Rainbow Salvage oversees the recycling of scrap metal. Right: the Pearsons make recycling a family business
10 customers we’d keep going,” says Laurie. “Now we have 75 customers, and 50 on a waiting list.” Fortunately, the Pearsons have a quality team helping them out – their eight kids, all ages 10 and under. “They’re learning a lot in terms of recycling – each thing we collect and what they’ll turn it into,” says Laurie. “They understand how they process stuff at the [Recycling] Depot. It’s a wonderful business, and it also teaches the children how to budget finances.” Ready is willing to pick up most items that can be recycled, from cardboard and pizza boxes, to tin cans. “It depends on each family’s personal needs, and what they [use] more of,” says Laurie, adding some clients report decreasing the amount of trash sent to the landfill from three bags a week to as little as one small bag. Demand is growing, but Laurie says she’s content to keep the company a family business serving Airdrionians. Airdrie has become a true hub for recycling, says Darrell Belyk, corporate safety manager for Tri-Venture Group, which owns
Airdrie-based Rainbow Salvage & Demolition Ltd. Rainbow recycles scrap metal, and is one of several east-side businesses dedicated to recycling, including Vitreous Glass (glass products) and eCycle (electronics). Rainbow employs 37 at its Airdrie site. “It’s becoming a hub outside of Calgary, and that’s a good thing,” Belyk says. Rainbow is currently the only place in Airdrie that buys scrap metal, he says. From stainless steel to copper, unneeded metals are collected and prepared at Rainbow and shipped off to domestic and international buyers, reducing landfill load by thousands of tonnes. “Before the recycling phase, a lot of people just threw their steel, their copper in the garbage,” says Belyk. Today, he says, scrap-metal recyclers are like “above-ground mines,” since the metals are bought and sold like other commodities. “It’s on the TSE … copper is on the high end … it can range from 95 cents to $1.30 a pound,” he says. The material is brought in by customers, and also collected through bins placed at local businesses.
But the global economic slowdown has touched the market for re-selling recycled materials like scrap metals. “China and the US are big purchasers of scrap metals, and if they’re not buying, the price goes down,” says Belyk. He says it could be another six months before the market picks up speed again.“With this downward motion there always has to be upward motion,” he says. This same slowdown has impacted the market for recycled cardboard, which is collected locally by Airdrie Waste Management Inc. “China was the biggest market for cardboard, and they’re not taking as much as they used to, so the resale for cardboard has pretty much disappeared,” says company partner Don Currie. But recessions don’t obscure the growing importance of recycling. “You hear about Calgary landfills going through a crisis with only about 50 years left [of room],” says Currie.“But you see on TV, in some of the larger cities, garbage doesn’t go to the landfill anymore; everything’s recycled. I think eventually it’ll go that way – everything LIFE will be recycled.” Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 113
WORKS | Probus
Airdrie’s retired community keeps tabs on business Story by Alex Frazer-Harrison | Photo by Sergei Belski
There are over 55 ways for you to support the Alberta 55 Plus Games.
ONLINE AUCTION CLOSES MAY 1 Make a bid on tons of fabulous prizes and support the Games. Go to www.airdrie55games.com and get in on the action.
ot every businessperson who retires wants to spend their days on the golf course. Many want to stay actively involved in not only their community, but in the business world, too. That’s where Airdrie’s branch of the Probus Club fills a need. “Probus is for [business and professional] people who have retired and want to keep up with the business world, and stay in contact with other businesspeople,” says Patricia Harriman, a retired accounting manager who was elected president of the local club last December. “We meet once a month and discuss different ideas.” More than 4,000 Probus Club branches are located around the world, with more than 300,000 members. Past-president Bob Harriman, Patricia’s husband, got the idea to start a local Probus Club when he moved to Airdrie three years ago. “There wasn’t anything like this here, and I thought it was a club the community would have a need for,” he says. “A big difference between Probus and service clubs is they have an attendance requirement and do a lot of fundraising. Probus has none of that, and the cost is minimal.” Right now, Airdrie’s club is still young and has a little over 20 members. Guest speakers at the club’s luncheons have included former Premier Ralph Klein. “He spoke to us the day before he retired,” says Bob.“We’ve had excellent presentations from a good cross-section of the community.” The City of Airdrie has been among the presenters, and Economic Development Team leader Kent Rupert says having a Probus Club here “is an advantage to residents and to the business community.” Patricia Harriman says Probus has attracted a varied group of members, ranging from former schoolteachers to a retired hypnotist. Members range in age from “early retirement” to their 80s. “People don’t have to have owned their own business to be a member,” she says. “It’s about getting together and making friends and keeping people interested.” For more information on Airdrie’s Probus Club, which meets monthly in the Coop meeting room, call 403-945-0663 or visit LIFE www.probus.org/canada.htm.
In the summer issue of
Available June 8 Lifestyle Day trips around Airdrie. Grill of my dreams – how to buy a BBQ and cook the best steak EVER. How to love your dog and your yard at the same time
Community Amazing volunteers! 55 Plus Games - your comprehensive guide to the events and athletes A week in the life of Airdrie’s RCMP
City Why should you join a City of Airdrie Advisory Board? Chinook Winds – what plans are blowing in the wind?
Homes Gardenmania Sheds 101 New show homes
Works Businesses that roll up their sleeves and make a difference Profiting from recreational pursuits Economic impact of agriculture
Plus our regular columns and features, contests and so much more, because everyone needs more out of LIFE
Works | Regional Business
of Corporate Culture
Winning an Eco-Edge Award rewards FortisAlberta’s initiatives by Alex Frazer-Harrison
The main lobby of FortisAlberta’s Airdrie Complex Photo courtesy FortisAlberta
It’s not always easy being green, but
for the staff of FortisAlberta Inc.’s new Airdrie complex, it’s a way of life. Indeed, the winner of the City of Airdrie’s 2008 Eco-Edge Award has made green initiatives a part of its very mission statement. “Every time we look at doing something, we look at what are the right things to do 116 AirdrieLIFE | Spring 2009
from a corporate perspective … that takes care of our customers and the environment,” says director, facilities Don Hughes.“For a lot of people within Fortis, it has become instinctive that we work this way. We speak about it at every opportunity.” So when the electricity distributor decided to build a new centre in Airdrie for its op-
erations and contact centre – making a commitment to move almost 300 FortisAlberta employees here when it opened last year – the company wanted to make sure it “walked the talk” of Fortis’ green philosophy. “For example, with the Airdrie building, we looked at putting recycled asphalt down in the yard, and we tested it to make sure it
Four other companies were named as finalists for the City of Airdrie’s 2008
was asbestos-free,” says Hughes. “We have a 94,000-litre cistern that collects runoff [rain] water from the roof, so we can use it for irrigation. And when we laid out the landscaping, we did a mix of maintenance-free [plantings] and plants indigenous to the area.” Although Fortis chose not to seek LEED certification on the project, Hughes says,“we shadowed the LEED program. The roof is 100-per cent recyclable, because we see the building as recyclable, and want to reduce waste [when floors are added].” Located in the Kingsview Business Park overlooking the QE II Highway, the Fortis office has a metal-clad exterior, all the better to recycle in the future, Hughes says. Other initiatives in the construction include using all-recycled carpeting, an energy efficient lighting system that dims when needed, and a zoned mechanical system that powers down areas not in use. Fortis has also installed an innovative shade and shelf system for dealing with natural lighting. “The shades on the outside stop sunlight from going straight into the building ... the shelves [inside] reflect natural light, so the building uses less [artificial] light,” explains Hughes. That “new-home smell” everyone loves when they move into a brand-new place isn’t always the best for the working environment, so Fortis worked to allow the paints, carpets and other features to offgas before employees starting claiming their offices, Hughes says. The development of FortisAlberta’s green-friendly Airdrie office is one of several environmental initiatives the company is undertaking around Airdrie and across the province, says corporate communications manager Jennifer MacGowan. “We’re implementing new automated meters in our service territory,” she says. “Currently, our meter readers have to manually read them every second month; once we have the automated ones in place … there will be a decreased CO2-emission imprint by us not having to travel around as much in the service territory. And we’re recycling all the old meters, so they won’t go to the landfill.” Fortis has also entered into a partnership with the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre to integrate bird-protection equipment into its power line system, in hopes of reducing damage to eagles, ospreys, owls and other birds. “We’re putting in protection equipment where birds come in contact with our power lines, and we’re looking every year at improving that equipment,” says MacGowan. In some cases, it’s as simple as erecting poles with nesting platforms to encourage birds to use them rather than the power lines. But it’s not just a matter of making sure a building is environmentally sustainable, or helping ospreys 200 km away from damaging themselves on power lines. Ecofriendliness is a part of the corporate culture at FortisAlberta’s Airdrie office. “We recycle our printers, computers … you have to be cognizant of what you’re doing and do what’s right,” says Hughes. “As a company, Fortis likes to make sure we’re well-engaged. We’re a larger company and we do things on a different scale, but when we were [presented the Eco-Edge Award], we saw there are some impressive people in the Airdrie community … facing the same challenges we are.” Hughes says, while FortisAlberta has had an office in Airdrie for 25 years, the new building, and the new faces that came with it, have been embraced by the community. “We worked with the mayor and City managers to put this together and they were 100-per cent behind us in bringing a larger volume of our employees into their community,” he says. “And now we have a number of people from Airdrie who are employed here, and a number of employees have moved to Airdrie. It’s been a winLIFE win for everyone.”
Eco-Edge Award: Five Star Communications, a 12-year veteran of Airdrie’s business community, expanded its Going Green Campaign by embracing electronic billing, buying recycled paper, recycling ink cartridges, reusing shipping boxes and encouraging employee car pooling. For every phone Five Star recycles, 50 per cent benefits the R.J. Hawley School Library and 50 per cent benefits the TELUS Plant a Tree Campaign. LOGical Creations Ltd., a local furniture manufacturer and past Eco-Edge Award recipient, has adopted a zero-waste policy and has made environmental sustainability a core tenet of its business. It harvests only already-dead trees for its building materials, with leftover logs provided to the community as firewood. All shavings and sawdust generated is composted, no machinery is used in drying the logs, and whenever possible the company uses manual labour to saw and harvest the logs. LOGical created Treecycle, which collects Christmas trees in exchange for donations to the Airdrie Food Bank. The Urban Treehouse Playcentres Inc. exercises purchasing choices to help improve its environmental sustainability, such as using recycled carpet, installing a high-energy efficiency dishwasher and using chemical-free cleaning products. Items such as egg cartons, toilet paper rolls and plastic containers are reused for crafts and storage. Urban Treehouse estimates it has reduced its waste by two thirds. Frog Inc., publisher of AirdrieLIFE, Cochrane Connects and Chinook Golfer, has taken the work-from-home idea to a whole new level. Instead of taking up office space, with employees having to drive to work each day, the writers, photographers, editors and others involved in putting AirdrieLIFE and other publications out all work from home. A good 95 per cent of Frog Inc.’s business is done via technology like phone and e-mail, and advertising clients can send their ads in electronically instead of utilizing a courier, allowing them to reduce their own carbon emissions. Frog Inc. is also one of the few Alberta publishers to use FSC-certified paper, meaning it comes from sustainable, forestfriendly sources. Spring 2009 | AirdrieLIFE 117
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