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Spring 2016

6th Annual AMAZING






Amazing Artist

Heroines of the Gridiron & Rink Your Chocolate Craving SatisямБed!

! G W N I O ELL N -S E R P URBAN LIFE AND VILLAGE CHARM! The moment you enter Midtown you will experience the village charm that brings family and friendships home. Midtown embraces your lifestyle on all levels with an appreciation for smart designs that come alive with our broad range of home styles. Our philosophy of creating remarkable residential




architectural integrity and craftsmanship enhance our desire to build connections between you and your community.

Luxstone Landing



Queen Elizabeth Highway



8th Street SW

Downtown Airdrie

Main St r e

Railway Gate SW


Yankee Valley Blvd. SW



Smart designs that come alive and create remarkable residential opportunities defined by unique architectural styles.

Street Towns| Duplexes | Single Family Homes Commercial site with convenient amenities

A NEW EXPERIENCE IN AIRDRIE LIVING! This thoughtfully designed community will offer residents a first impression of an urban oasis that is artfully poised on over 90 acres in the heart of Airdrie. Midtown provides a rare sense of openness in the midst of a city. With plentiful outdoor conveniences interwoven amongst inspiring new homes you’ll find the perfect backdrop to have it all.

nearby shops, restaurants & schools convenient city transit

central pond, promenade and pedestrian bridge

manicured and naturalized trails

Street Towns • Duplexes

Street Towns • Duplexes

Single Family






Dedicated builder group committed to product excellence |









STREET TOWNS INCLUDE: ∙ Fenced backyard ∙ Front and rear landscaping ∙ Finished patio ∙ Legal fees


5 Unique Home Styles Ranging in Size from 1360 - 1548 sq. ft.




∙ Granite countertops





∙ 9 foot main floor ceilings ∙ Tile flooring ∙ Energy efficient specifications ∙ Modern architectural style ∙ Legal fees included

7 Unique Home Styles Ranging in Size from 1372 - 1594 sq. ft.






Ranging in size from 1767 - 2595 sq. ft.

9 Showhomes Opening Spring 2016! Street Towns Showhome Address (opening June 2016): 381, 385, 389 & 393 Midtown Gate SW, Airdrie Duplex Showhome Address (opening April 2016): 130, 138 & 142 Midtown Blvd SW, Airdrie Single Family Showhome Address (opening April 2016): 604 & 608 Midtown Place SW, Airdrie

Sales Centre Now Open: Corner of 8th Street SW and Railway Gate SW, Airdrie Hours of Operation: Mon - Thurs: 2:00 - 8:00 pm | Sat, Sun & Hol: Noon - 5:00 pm For more information contact Satwinder: Ph: 403-536-2319 Email: *Pricing is subject to change without notice. All renderings are artists concept only.

We’re not just Building Homes ... We’re Creating Lasting Value DUPLEX HOMES LANED






FEATURES INCLUDE: ∙ Stylish exterior elevations with front veranda facing the central pond ∙ 9’ main floor ceilings ∙ Stainless steel appliances ∙ Oversized windows ∙ High efficient furnace and hot water tank SHOWHOMES: Fairview

Total: 1640 sq. ft.


Total: 1755 sq. ft.

3 Unique Home Styles Ranging in Size from 1540 - 1755 sq. ft.







FEATURES INCLUDE: ∙ Front double attached garage ∙ Legal fees included ∙ Stainless steel appliances ∙ Oversized windows SHOWHOMES: Lynden II

Total: 1454 sq. ft.

McKinley II

Total: 1544 sq. ft.

2 Unique Home Styles Ranging in Size from 1454 - 1544 sq. ft.

4 SHOWHOMES OPENING MAY 2016! Hours of Operation: Mon - Thurs: 2:00 - 8:00 pm Sat, Sun & Hol: Noon - 5:00 pm

Sales Centre Now Open: 437 Midtown Parkway SW, Airdrie

*Pricing is subject to change without notice. All renderings are artists concept only.

For more information contact: Carmen De Luca Ph: 587-360-0332 Email:

Now Selling! Showhomes Opening Spring 2016! STREET TOWNS STARTING FROM THE LOW





FEATURES INCLUDE: ∙ 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths or dual masters ∙ Open concept main floor ∙ Second floor laundry ∙ Functional and flexible floor plans

Unique Home Styles Ranging in Size from 1280 - 1380 sq. ft.


∙ 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths ∙ Master retreat with ensuite






and walk-in closet ∙ Chef inspired kitchens ∙ Open floor plans


Unique Home Styles Ranging in Size from 1524 - 1650 sq. ft.






FEATURES INCLUDE: ∙ 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths ∙ Master retreat with spa inspired ensuite and walk-in closet ∙ Gourmet island kitchens ∙ Second floor bonus room


Unique Home Styles Ranging in Size from 1650 - 1990 sq. ft.

2 Showhomes Opening March 2016! Duplex Showhome Address and Sales Centre Location: Opening March 2016 140 Midtown Court SW, Airdrie

Sales Centre Now Open

Visit us at our Hillcrest Sales Centre

101 Hillcrest Drive SW, Airdrie Hours of Operation: Mon - Thurs: 2:00 - 8:00 pm | Sat, Sun & Hol: Noon - 5:00 pm For more information contact Cody Nixon: Ph: 403-980-7228 Email: *Pricing is subject to change without notice. All renderings are artists concept only.


provide you with a sense of connectedness to the

Here, a short stroll to downtown will lead you to

environment, to the city, as well as to each other.

an array of retail, dining and entertainment

Your premier address is neighbor to abundant

opportunities. This close proximity along with the

open space, top-notch schools, recreational

surrounding established neighbourhoods will

choices and provides easy access to city transit.


Airdrie City Centre 5


Single Family Detached

Condominium Site

Street Towns



Central Pond

Park Front Homes

Parks, Manicured and Naturalized Trails









8 COMMERCIAL SITE Gas Bar, Liquor Store and

∙ 10,000 sq. ft. of retail stores

Downtown Airdrie Main St r e

Railway Gate SW



8th Street SW

Touchless Car Wash

∙ Tim Hortons

Luxstone Landing



Queen Elizabeth Highway

∙ Co-Op Convenience Store,


MIDTOWN IN AIRDRIE AMENITIES 1 pond & pedestrian bridge

6 convenient city transit within Airdrie and to Calgary

2 promenade & sitting area

7 nearby shops, restaurants, schools and recreation

3 manicured & naturalized trails

8 commercial site

4 diverse parks & greenspaces

9 condominium site

5 walking distance to downtown

Yankee Valley Blvd. SW

Safe. Durable. Beautiful. Nothing is more important than your loved ones, and no purchase is more important than the home you buy for them. Lifestyle Homes has been synonymous with luxury, craftsmanship and leading edge techniques for almost two decades. Exclusively building in Cooper’s Crossing, Lifestyle Homes continues to set the bar for excellence and affordability. Visit our Showhome today to see the Lifestyle difference.

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Spring 2016


Spring 2016



“Your smile is

special. Trust it to a specialist - your orthodontist.

An orthodontist specializes in the art and science of dental alignment and smile enhancement.

Airdrie’s only full-time certified orthodontist

Dr. Mo Korayem DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)

Certified Specialist in Orthodontics

group publisher eDitor Copy eDitor Design mAnAger Contributors

ADVertising sAles

sherry shaw-froggatt Anne beaty Vanessa peterelli Kim Williams seline badel-Wong, Anne beaty, melanie beingessner, sergei belski, Amanda benner, sara Chamberlain, Alex frazer-harrison, shannon hutchinson, ellen Kelly, Kurtis Kristianson, lori Kuffner, britton ledingham, Jeff macKinnon, brent park, Carl patzel, Vanessa peterelli, Kim purvis, Kristy reimer, Kent rupert, sherry shaw-froggatt, shilo storey sherry shaw-froggatt, sharie tanner


mitchell press

Distribution mAnAger

sharie tanner

ContACt us

editorial Advertising

Where to finD us

airdrielife is delivered to all homes in Airdrie and surrounding areas. if you do not receive an issue please contact airdrielife is also available at more than 100 locations around the city. you can also find airdrielife in every showhome in the city and at more than 100 locations in Calgary. airdrielife is published quarterly by frog media inc. with the co-operation of the City of Airdrie economic Development Department.

Volume 13, number 1

issn 1916-355X

Contents copyright 2016 by frog media inc. may not be reproduced without permission. the publisher does not assume any responsibility for the contents of any advertisement, and all representations of warranties made in such advertising are those of the advertiser and not of the publisher.

eDitoriAl poliCy

airdrielife editorial is not for sale. editorial is completely independent from advertising, and no special editorial consideration or commitment of any kind can form any part of the advertising agreement. All editorial inquiries must be directed toward the editor. A copy of frog media inc. Writers’ guidelines can be downloaded from the editorial page on our website. airdrielife does not accept unsolicited submissions. freelance writers and photographers interested in assignments are asked to send an inquiry, with samples from at least three published magazine articles, to

Spring 2016




note from the publisher

’ve hijacked the editor’s note for this, our 13th, spring issue because i wanted the chance to say thank you to the 37 women who graciously accepted their nominations for the sixth annual Amazing Airdrie Women Awards (AAW).

When you read their stories you will understand why they are amazing, but what you don’t know is how moved i was in meeting each and every one of them during our photo shoot. i got to laugh, cry and hug with these wonderful ladies. if you have followed our AAW stories since 2011 you will notice a first this year – we did not announce the Amazing Courage recipient in advance. this is because we were overwhelmed with nominations in this category. And each woman has an incredible story of courage to share, so we want your input. once you’ve read the stories in all categories (Amazing heart, Amazing promise, Amazing leadership, Amazing Determination and Amazing Courage) and checked out the awesome photos by Kristy reimer (starting on page 89) please go online to and cast your votes by April 1. fifty per cent of the decision is based on your vote and the balance is based on the votes of our editorial team, past recipients and sponsors. speaking of sponsors i have to thank our sponsors for their commitment to this program. pharmasave, the store upstairs, bmo Kingsview market, mcKee homes, pureform radiology and hassett & reid all came back yet again to support this event, which wraps up at a wonderful luncheon may 6 when we announce the 2016 recipients. it’s an empowering day for everyone. We will laugh, we will cry and we will hug copiously. this event sells out each year so be sure to get your tickets early! outside of AAW, this issue is bursting at the seams with more incredible women, tackling nontraditional sports, careers and artistic dreams. this issue is all about women, but relax, boys – our summer issue we turn over to you. Watch for our Men We Admire feature – always a pleasure to produce. before i go, i need to thank the amazing women who bring this magazine to life. Kim Williams has been our designer since day one; Anne beaty and Vanessa peterelli (editor and copy editor, respectively) have kept our t’s crossed and i’s dotted (and they probably rewrote this entire sentence to make it sound better). sharie tanner is a distribution goddess, keeping our magazine racks well stocked all over this great city. And a special shout out to our exceptional freelance team of women and men whose photographs and words bring every story to life. i am surrounded by amazing people. i love my job. sherry shaw-froggatt publisher



Spring 2016

Spring 2016



16 on the Cover

Artist Erin Brekke Conn moves mountains




coluMnS & regular featureS 26 events 32 parentlife with vanessa peterelli 34 healthylife with Melanie Beingessner 58 lifestyles with kim purvis 62 gardenlife with Brent park 64 homelife with Shilo Storey 68 Businesslife with kent rupert 88 lifetimes with ellen kelly

Slice of life 16

Point of view – Artist is on a mission


Poetic notes – Music comes from the heart


Sweet success – Chocolate goes with everything


Mayor’s night – Event showcases Airdrie arts


new look – Makeover enhances positive outlook

hoMe life



Spring 2016


From the top – neighbourhood welcomes all


Architectural distinction – Estate villas impress


Kitchen trends – it’s the heart of the home


On the town – Showhomes offer ideas


Windsong Community Skating Rink


• •

From our very first day, Mattamy has been committed to building homes

4 Bedrooms 3.5 Baths Fully developed basement

and communities that address the hopes and needs of every one of our homeowners. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with you, to


really listen to you, in order to make your home and community life as

907 Windsong Drive Airdrie, Alberta

fulfilling as it can be.


That’s why we eagerly walk you through the construction of your home. Have our Design Studio help you make your home your very own. And


even after all construction is complete, continue to play a part in the vibrancy of every Mattamy community. We want you to feel welcome at home. Every day.



Prices, specifications, promotions, terms and conditions subject to change without notice.

REGISTER FOR OUR UPCOMING COMMUNITY OF THE GATES AT HILLCREST AIRDRIE • Available for purchase this Spring • Front-attached garage Townhomes • Walkout lots available • Lots backing on to an Environmental Reserve

Spring 2016




70 Work life 70

Wide-ranging – Airdrie company evolves


Trail-blazer – Vet’s business expands


Close to home – Families embrace organic lifestyle


Starting smart – Program earns accolades


Life lessons – Horses help people heal

local life 82

Cultural map – Project engages community


Advocacy – Volunteers lend support


Where there’s hope – Community helps family


Playing hard – Elite athletes take on the world


Celebration of life – Each one is incredible

#morelife online Read our online exclusives:



Spring 2016


• • •

Ride of the Mustangs Love the skin you’re in Get ready for spring in the garden

slice of life

w h at t o s e e , d o , e at, l i s t e n t o a n d M o r e

20 Sharing a gift • 22 Choco-delights • 30 Celebrating arts

Slice of life artiSt

“My art means everything to me. Besides my husband and family, it’s the biggest thing.”



Spring 2016

to the point

stoRy by ELLEn KELLy | photos by KRisty REiMER

Artist uses pointillism in breAthtAKing WAys “My art means everything to me,”

says Airdrie artist Erin Brekke Conn. “Besides my husband and family, it’s the biggest thing.” Conn, who says she always drew as a child and fondly remembers watching her grandmother paint, didn’t create her first painting until she was 20 and needed a handmade item for a Christmas gift exchange. She has no formal artistic training but has a diploma of interior decorating and design. “It’s funny the way my art has evolved,” Conn says. “When I first started being an interior designer I did mostly earth tones because I knew that was what would blend in.” While painting for showhomes, she decided to place a piece in a store in Calgary and her painting sold the first day. Taking this as a sign, she hasn’t looked back and for the past eight years has been a full-time artist. Conn’s favourite medium is acrylics.“I used to do a lot of mixed media using glass, etc. and I’d finish it with a glaze, but I stopped doing that once I had children because it’s very toxic.” Her style and technique have also changed. Her colourful and intricate paintings are now dramatic and steeped in colourful detail. She almost exclusively uses a technique called pointillism, the practice of ap-

plying small dots of colour to a surface so that from a distance they blend together. Pointillism, Conn says, was a natural choice.“I look back at my art, even when I was a child – I was always doing dots. It felt natural to me,” she says. Conn is also an artist on a mission. She is currently completing a series of eight to 10 paintings entitled Wake Up, It’s a Sunny Day focusing on autism. The mountain motif was chosen because her family loves the mountains, but it also represents the challenging road those on the autism spectrum face and acknowledges that they, too, can move mountains. Beautifully blended into the paintings are words meant to inform and educate about the cause near to Conn’s heart. She blogs about her personal experience with autism hoping it might help other mothers. She wants to promote the finished series in April, possibly at a gallery or specific event, donating a portion of the proceeds to Autism Speaks. Conn says that she has no mentors. Painting is a relaxing, almost meditative experience for her, with inspiration coming mainly from her children. She wants her art to make people happy. She loves pop art (Andy Warhol) and is inspired by Canadian artists Amy Dryer, Dana Irving and Kimberly Kiel. Her paintings are showing exclusively at Latitude Gallery in Calgary until next January. She loves painting animals and is especially drawn to moose and deer. Adding faces to mountains is on her list of projects. Her art has appeared on the September 2015 Airdrie bus pass, she has been selected to add art to a bus bench (Art in Motion) and four switching cubicles in Airdrie display her work (FortisAlberta artwraps). Conn was a contributor to the 2015 AIRdirondack Art Project and she was recently honoured by being asked to provide the original piece of art presented to the celebrated artists at the Mayor’s Night of the Arts this past January. Mostly, though, Conn works on commission. “It’s word of mouth. People tell me what they like. Sometimes they want me to see their space. Interior decorating experience helps with that,” she says. Conn, who moved to Airdrie a year-and-a-half ago after several years in Calgary, is impressed by how ‘artsy’ her new community is.“There are so many things going on. It’s a supportive and welcoming community. I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life,” she says. In the future she hopes to display her art outside Canada, possibly in Europe, and will continue to support autism awareness.“I want my art to give back and help people,” she says. The artist’s philosophy? “Do what you love. Even if you’re not making a million dollars, as long as you’re doing what you love you feel fulfilled,” she says. – Read Conn’s blog about her personal experience with autism at Spring 2016



Slice of life faShion

Spring 2016 2


1. Frank Lyman Top 2. Bella Amore Top 3. Hot Rocks Necklace 4. Charlie Jade Pants 5. Wolfcircus Necklace 6. Graduation Wish Jar 7. Assorted Lamb’s Soapworks Soap 8. Royal Elfreda Tea Cup 3 piece set 9. Bugatchi Dress Shirt 10. Aerin Rose One Piece 11. Karma Athletics Top 12. Saxx Platinum Boxers


13. Assorted Vases

For gift ideas, videos and more, visit our website!

209 Centre Ave SW, Airdrie 403.948.0010



The Store Upstairs is bursting with spring ideas for your wardrobe and home! From chic cocktail dresses, breezy tops, to one-of-a kind jewelry, our women’s fashion department is your one-stop spring fashion store. For the guys we’ve brought in gorgeous shirts and cool denim. Our giftware and home decor department has plenty of fresh ideas too.



7 8




12 11

For new product announcements & deals follow:

Gizelle & her Guitar

Slice of life MuSician


stoRy by ALEx FRAzER-hARRison | photo by sERGEi bELsKi

izelle de Guzman has been writing poetry for as long as she can remember, and it wasn’t long after she started that she began putting her words to music. The 17-year-old singer has since used her gift as a way to help other youths deal with such issues as mental health and bullying, and her skills led her to become a finalist in the 2015 SLAM on AIR performance competition. “I guess I started writing poems when I was in kindergarten, and I came from a very musical family and I started putting tunes to my poems,” says de Guzman, whose family came to Canada from the Philippines and settled in Alberta in 2011. “I still struggle with [the music] sometimes … I play with a piano, sometimes with a guitar.” Like the best singer-songwriters, de Guzman’s compositions come from the heart and from experience. A mental health ambassador, she has used music to express her feelings after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2013 and at one point, she says, spent time in hospital. “I wrote so many songs about that … to give hope to people,” says the young woman who has also worked with kids who have been bullied. “I really struggled for a long time and I felt I would be a good ambassador because I learned so many things in there. It makes me feel better to be able to help others.”

20 |

Spring Spring 2016 2016

“I guess I started writing poems when I was in kindergarten … I came from a very musical family and I started putting tunes to my poems” At first, de Guzman says, she didn’t take the music as seriously when it came to performing, tending to just do covers. “I was scared and I didn’t want people to know how I feel,” she says.“When I got out of the hospital, I got to be more open to people and singing my own songs … letting people know they’re not alone.” After signing up for her first SLAM on AIR competition in 2014, de Guzman admits she didn’t take the first contest too seriously. “Then, in 2015, I decided to take it seriously and I got in,” she says. Last year, she performed her own versions of Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles and Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, as well as her own composition, A Farewell Song ( Joy). “Some people told me they cried because of [my] song,” says de Guzman, who lists English singer Ed Sheeran as one of her influences. SLAM on AIR is a contest judged by a panel of three and run by SLAM in Airdrie, a group that offers performance and networking opportunities for singersongwriters. SLAM in Airdrie past-president Jay Stoudt says that everyone was impressed by de Guzman. “I think it was her age and the quality of the lyrics and melody of her songs stood her apart,” Stoudt says. “I was really surprised at the amount of talented singersongwriters there are in Airdrie, and there’s not a lot of venues for them to perform in and that’s what SLAM is all about.” For inFormation about slAm and the next slAm on Air, visit

SEE WHAT'S NEW at Airdrie Eyecare this spring. 102 2nd Ave NE • 403.912.0999 Spring 2016



Slice of life food

Chocolate Cravings

stoRy by ALEx FRAzER-hARRison | photos by KRisty REiMER

“I think chocolate is more important than ever. [It] makes people feel happy, better, when they try something sweet.�

anna Paola Stroppiana shows off her culinary creations.



Spring 2016


ith all the doom and gloom in the headlines, unpredictable weather and stress at work, it’s nice to know one thing never changes. Chocolate is still an escape – and it’s probably more important than ever. Just ask Anna Paola Stroppiana. Originally from Brazil, Stroppiana lived for many years in Italy (her father is from Italy and her mother from Brazil). After working in family business, as well as pasta and chocolate shops in Italy, she came to Airdrie in 2013 and before long started planning to open her own chocolate shop. Brigadeiro Luxury Chocolate opened on Railway Avenue in August 2015 in Copperstone Village. In the back room of her combination chocolate shop and café, Stroppiana makes all her chocolates on-site. “I think chocolate is more important than ever,” she says. “Chocolate makes people feel happy, better, when they try something sweet. It’s always good to receive some kind of chocolate, eat chocolate or share it.” Stroppiana likes to have fun with her designs. You won’t find many uniform squares here. Instead, one tray has chocolate spoons – she does them in several different flavours – while another has little cars made of chocolate. And then there are the chocolate shoes. Perfect for adorning wedding reception centrepieces, the shoes are moulded by Stroppiana and covered with edible ‘paint’ in a variety of colours. “I always make fresh chocolate [and] the chocolate keeps longer,” she says, adding that how much work goes into a particular type of chocolate can vary. For example, brigadeiros can take four hours to make. What are brigadeiros and why did Stroppiana name her shop after them? Spring 2016



Slice of life food

#morelife online


a box of gourmet chocolates from Brigadeiro Luxury Chocolates! Enter at

brigadeiro brazilian Chocolate truffles ingredientS 2 cans (14 oz each) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated) 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts 1/3 cup chopped sliced almonds 1/3 cup shredded coconut 1/3 cup chocolate candy sprinkles 1/3 cup coloured candy sprinkles directionS Grease large shallow pan or platter with butter. In four-quart, nonstick heavy saucepan, heat condensed milk, cocoa and 2 tbsp butter to boiling, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring con-



Spring 2016

stantly, until mixture is thick and shiny and starts to pull away from bottom and side of saucepan when pan is tilted. Pour mixture into a shallow pan; cool completely (refrigerate to firm up faster). Place remaining ingredients in separate small bowls. Use teaspoon or melon baller to scoop truffle mixture, then use greased hands to shape into oneinch to 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll each ball in pistachios, almonds, coconut or sprinkles. Place in mini paper baking cups. Total prep time should be about 45 minutes. Store tightly covered at room temperature up to three days, or in the refrigerator up to one week. Makes 40 servings. – Recipe by Anna Paola Stroppiana, owner, Brigadeiro Luxury Chocolate

“Brigadeiro is a scrumptious bite-sized Brazilian chocolate sweet and is our favourite treat,” Stroppiana explains on a poster called “What is Brigadeiro?” that she has framed in the shop. Brigadeiros, she writes, are condensed milk-based and traditionally served as chocolatey balls with chocolate sprinkles offered with a variety of flavours and toppings, and the high-quality chocolate she uses makes them a gourmet treat. “I have brigadeiros with pistachios, Brazilian guava, Brazilian passion fruit and Brazilian coconut, and more flavours … they can be made with all kinds of flavours and exotic fruits,” Stroppiana says, adding that customers often drop by to experiment with different flavours of these and other chocolates. One pairing that always mixes well with different chocolates is coffee and related drinks. When Stroppiana started out, looking at business ideas for both Calgary and Airdrie, she wanted something different, and she recognized that “in Calgary, they have so many chocolate shops, but they are just chocolate shops or they’re just coffee shops. Airdrie has so many good coffee shops, but nobody has chocolate.” Stroppiana offers Italian coffee, espresso, Italian cappuccino, hot chocolate and other drinks and says she often helps customers pair the best chocolate with their drink. “Espresso always goes with some dark chocolate,” she says. “Cappuccino goes well with dark also or sometimes with fruits, coconut, pistachio, and it’s good with Brazilian guava.” Stroppiana’s favourite part of working with chocolate is that magic moment when the work is almost done and all that’s left is the final decorating or finalizing. “You can see it’s almost done and you can say, I like it, what I do,” she says. Stroppiana says that Airdrie is a great place to sell chocolates with an international flavour, because of the city’s own diversity. “So many people come to Airdrie from different countries and from different places here in Canada,” she says. life

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The MAN Issue Meet men we admire & guys with cool jobs!.

Available everywhere May 30

Booking deadline May 1, 2016 Contact





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Spring 2016



Slice of life eventS

mArCh Comes in liKe A lion GENERAL DENTISTS

Partn Famil

ers in

y Den






marcH 5 KirBY SeWell Band Bert church theatre Kirby Sewell was born to sing. The Big Blues shouter, who stands 6-6, belts out his tunes like the great soul singers of the past. Reaching out with modern interpretations, the five-piece band tells melodic heart-pulling stories that come from the depths of an old soul, while breathing new musical life into a genre. The band’s arrangements are amped up, invigorating and play against the grain. An electrifying Canadian Blues Rock experience. Admission is $24. 7:30 p.m.

marcH 19 LUNCH AT ALLEN’S Bert church theatre This is no ordinary songwriters circle. Lunch at Allen’s is an extraordinary musical revue starring internationally renowned singers/songwriters Murray McLaughlan, Cindy Church, Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas who appear on stage as one, swap stories and perform each other’s songs. Lunch at Allen’s will leave you feeling as if you’ve experienced something special with an intimate evening of music and good-natured humour. Admission is $32.95. 7:30 p.m.

marcH 11 aUtHor SerieS: nancY Bell (young adult), JUde Pittman (mystery), Victoria cHatHam (historical romance) airdrie Public library Meet the authors, and enjoy a live performance by Nose Creek Players. Kevin Wallace, Air 106.1, hosts. 7-8:30 p.m.

aPril 1 HarrY Potter daY airdrie Public library Come celebrate all things magical! Enjoy an afternoon of crafts, games, food and wizardry. Celebrate Fred and George Weasley’s 38th birthday along with some April Fool’s Day jokes and pranks. 2-4 p.m.

marcH 12 SHamrocK SHimmY FUndraiSer town and country centre All proceeds support Airdrie Food Bank. Cocktails at 7 p.m.; dinner and dance to follow. Entertainment; silent and live auctions. Tickets available at Airdrie Food Bank or by calling 403-948-0063. marcH 13 calgarY oPera: THE MAGIC FLUTE Bert church theatre Mozart’s whimsical opera comes to life as Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist ensemble performs The Magic Flute. This fantastical journey through a mythical world is an ideal 45-minute introduction to opera for young audiences in a fully staged production with piano accompaniment. Admission is $16. 2:30 p.m. marcH 17 aPl HigH ScHool art recePtion airdrie Public library Celebrating the Visual Perception art exhibit, which runs March and April, APL’s annual art event will highlight the artwork of students from the community. Live music from the GMHS Sax Quartet; refreshments. Drop-in. 7-8 p.m.



Spring 2016

aPril 2 Prairie moUntain FiddlerS Bert church theatre Back by popular demand! This will be a foot-stomping, toe-tapping afternoon full of good old-time fiddle music. This group plays for the people and for the love of the music. Just good old-fashioned fun! Admission is $16. 2:30 p.m. aPril 6-8 SixtH annUal ride oF tHe mUStangS george mcdougall High School All money raised through this fundraising event, organized by George McDougall High School students and staff, is donated to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation to help kids who are fighting cancer. Prior to the event, teams of students collect pledges to take part in the 48-hour stationary bike relay, which in the past five years has raised more than $535,000. See story at

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Slice of life eventS

aPril 8 liSa BroKoP: THE PATSY CLINE PROJECT Bert church theatre In addition to featuring many of the hits that she has recorded and performed over the past 20 years, Lisa Brokop will transport the audience back to the heyday of country music with her presentation of Patsy Cline classics. Buoyed by supporting multi-media imagery, Brokop will take the audience on an incredible musical journey featuring some of Cline’s most memorable songs. Admission is $26. 7:30 p.m.

aPril 20-30 FiFtH annUal airdrie rotarY FeStiVal oF PerForming artS Bert church theatre; grace Baptist church The festival promotes the appreciation of music and speech arts and encourages amateur performers and students to participate and perform in a positive, non-competitive environment. The disciplines of piano, voice, musical theatre, choir, strings, speech and band are offered. Daily schedule available online. Free and open to the public. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

aPril 16 daVid mYleS Bert church theatre Somewhere on the spectrum between James Taylor and Justin Timberlake, David Myles has truly forged his own path by embracing modern and vintage pop, folk and soul music. His accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2013, Myles co-hosted the East Coast Music Awards show, an honour preceded by multiple wins, including Songwriter of the Year in 2012. Admission is $29.75. 7:30 p.m.

aPril 22 aUtHor SerieS: lYndon Penner airdrie Public library Meet the author of The Chinook Short Season Yard and discover how to make the most of your gardening efforts. Enjoy entertainment from Blue Grass Nursery. Rob Jamieson, Right Thing Media, hosts. 7-8:30 p.m.

aPril 17 dUFFleBag tHeatre: THREE MUSKETEERS Bert church theatre Since 1992, DuffleBag Theatre has been celebrated at festivals and schools. Actors retell the original adaptations of select fairy tales and Shakespearean classics with humour and a twist. Before your eyes, audience members join in on the action. This unpredictable performance is a hilarious experience for all ages where the dream of living a fairy tale comes true! Admission is $16. 2:30 p.m.

aPril 23-24 airdrie Home & liFeStYle SHoW genesis Place An excellent way to connect with your community and explore home and lifestyle solutions. With more than 200 exhibitors, the show offers something for everyone. Be sure not to miss the Art Market (free admission) hosted by Airdrie Regional Arts Society, located in the main gymnasium at Genesis Place. Show admission is $5; children 12 and under enter free with adult. Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

aPril 29 FamilY nigHt airdrie Public library Bring the whole family and enjoy an evening of giant games, builder board castles, crafts, Lego, Wii, story times, snacks, refreshments and more. 5-8 p.m. maY 27-28 HAPHAZARDLY EVER AFTER Bert church theatre Presented by Nose Creek Players. Tons of magical fun awaits in this original, one-of-a-kind fractured fairy tale farce! A kind king and queen have trouble in their royal family – four obnoxious, bratty, adult children who do not live up to their royal titles. The king and queen try everything to bring happiness and harmony to their family – they hire a royal therapist, bring in royal teachers and even attempt to marry off their children, all to no avail. Here’s hoping the Fairy Godmother can help! 7 p.m. maY 28 FiFtH annUal BoYS and girlS clUB race For KidS Boys and Girls Clubs from across Canada participate in this national event, raising funds for children and youth programs and services. This is an urban adventure race offering adults a chance to return to the best adventures of childhood, all while raising funds for kids to receive the support needed to realize their true potential. Teams of four will compete in a series of 10 challenging checkpoints in a race to the finish line. Checkpoints are designed to focus the mind and challenge the body in fun and zany ways. Post-event celebration and awards ceremony for participants. Registration opens 11 a.m.; start time 1 p.m.

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Spring 2016

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Spring 2016



Slice of life celeBrationS stoRy by shERRy shAw-FRoGGAtt | photos by AMAnDA bEnnER

A Night for the Arts

Brad Fleischer (left) and christian Hudson (centre) jam with Storm band members Brandon alberts on drums and ryan Fleischer on bass.

he second annual TD Airdrie Mayor’s Night of the Arts was a resounding success if gauged by the growing attendance and interest in the awards program. The event to celebrate the vibrant arts and culture community is managed by the Creative Airdrie Society with the support of Airdrie Public Library, SLAM in Airdrie, Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts, Airdrie Regional ARTS Society and Nose Creek Players. Bert Church Theatre buzzed with live performances between the award presentations that culminated with a rousing performance from 2016 Emerging Artist recipient Christian Hudson and 2015 Emerging Artist recipient Brad Fleischer and his Storm bandmates. An enthusiastic crowd of more than 200 stayed after the awards show for a dessert reception and no one was more enthusiastic than Mayor Peter Brown. “The Mayor’s Night for the Arts is truly a showcase for Airdrie talent. It is a great opportunity to recognize individual artists in various artistic mediums,” Brown says. Creative Airdrie spokesperson Erika Holter says that CAS is thrilled the evening successfully brought the community together to celebrate and recognize the tremendous artistic talent “right in our own backyard.” The winners were equally humbled and grateful for the recognition. “I’m lucky to have the friends I have, the parents I have, and I am very lucky to live in Airdrie,” says Hudson, winner of the ACAD Emerging Artist award, in his off-the-cuff speech. (Hudson was on the cover of the winter 2015 issue of airdrielife.) Pat Cashion, founder of Vitreous Glass, says that receiving the Patron of the Arts Award was a great thrill, but he is even more thrilled that such an event is taking place and succeeding. “As a company we have supported the arts because we believe they are integral to attractiveness and sustainability of Airdrie,” Cashion says. “The Mayor’s Night plays an important role – it showcases the hard work of many




Spring 2016


artists and arts groups, and allows the entire city to learn about the depth of our arts community.” The FortisAlberta Professional Artist award recipient, Michelle Wiebe, says that the biggest impact this award has had on her is that she truly realizes just how far the arts community has come in the 10 years she has lived in Airdrie. “To have everyone from all disciplines come together to share at the Mayor’s Night of the Arts was an amazing encouragement,” Wiebe says. Qualico Youth Artist recipient Talia Beckie gave the most eloquent speech. “Winning this award has definitely made me feel more confident about myself and about my violin playing,” 15-year-old Beckie says. “I was honoured just being nominated, so winning this award has left me a little stunned! It has made me realize that I want to pay (or play!) it forward to the community by continuing to promote the arts here in Airdrie. There is so much talent here in Airdrie and I am grateful that there are people out there who are working to keep the arts alive.” Samreen Junaid, the deserving recipient of the Vitreous Champion of the Arts award, was moved beyond words. “I am overwhelmed … it feels simply fantastic to be conferred this prestigious honour,” Junaid says. “Winning the award has given me a renewed sense of pride in the service I provide, and showed me again that love and effort cannot go unnoticed in this city.”



From left: mayor Peter Brown; miss teen airdrie mackenzie murphy; Vitreous champion of the arts Samreen Junaid; and darcy Forbes, Vitreous glass plant manager

1 Nominations for the 2017 awards will be open in the coming months. For more details, visit 1. From left: mayor Peter Brown; miss teen airdrie mackenzie murphy; Qualico Youth artist talia Beckie; and claudio Palumbo, VP community development, Qualico communities

3. From left: mayor Peter Brown; miss teen airdrie mackenzie murphy; acad emerging artist christian Hudson; and dr. daniel doz, president and ceo of acad

2. From left: mayor Peter Brown; miss teen airdrie mackenzie murphy; Fortisalberta Professional artist michelle Wiebe; and allison Beaudry, stakeholder relations manager at Fortisalberta inc.

4. From left: mayor Peter Brown; miss teen airdrie mackenzie murphy; Patron of the arts recipient Vitreous glass, accepted by Vitreous plant manager darcy Forbes; and derrick cresswell-clough, td Bank

Alberta College of Art & Design was a new sponsor this year and ACAD President Daniel Doz says that events like these are vital. “Recognizing the critical role that arts and culture play in building healthy communities, it is essential that we celebrate through events such as the Airdrie Mayor’s Night of the Arts the amazing creativity that our artists constantly exhibit. These artists play a fundamental role for our communities which is to question today (and of course ourselves) so that we can build a better and stronger future.” life Spring 2016



Slice of life coluMn


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Kids and mom share life lessons

’m a structure-inclined mom with two independent, free-spirited children who have a zest for life that I am doing my best each and every day to nurture and not squelch. I am continually in awe of the amazing moms (and dads) featured on the pages of airdrielife. Parents who juggle

demanding jobs, volunteer commitments, school and extracurricular sport schedules and more with seeming ease. Me? I identify wholly with the mom in my Grade 3 daughter’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and movies. The lovingly uptight woman who doles out“Mom Bucks” for good behaviour, struggles to balance her family’s calendar, embarrasses

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Spring 2016

her children with her erratic dance moves and, ironically enough, writes a parenting column for a local publication although her children do not always behave exactly as she’d like. What that mom, and this mom, must come to terms with is that despite our misguided attempts to … guide, our children are not automatons. They have their own ideas about pretty much everything. This mom’s day begins with the challenge of keeping the kids’ focus on dressing, eating breakfast and getting ready for school rather than on starting a variety of OTHER activities for which no one has time (while I madly blurt gems such as: This is not the time for Lego! You won’t have time for breakfast if you don’t start eating! What happened to the library books we put in your backpack before bed? Your lunch won’t fit if you stuff all those Beanie Boos in there! And the ever-desperate: Why are you taking your snow pants off NOW??!! The bus is HERE!!!) It ends with an often-lengthy bedtime ritual that includes giggling, arguing and sometimes fighting (me or each other) through tooth-brushing, room tidying (I’ve all but given up on this one), PJ matching and bedtime reading selections. Thankfully, what I’m able to hold onto at the end of each day (when I finally collapse from mental and physical exhaustion) is that my kids do seem truly happy. They still want to kiss and “huggle” their mom at bedtime; they still let me pick out their clothes for school (even though

my daughter rarely ends up wearing what I select); they’ll gladly take my hand; they proudly point me out to friends when I volunteer at school; they can’t wait to visit me at work; and their faces still light up when I pass them their water bottles (and share my encouragement) at soccer practice. I also take some guilty pleasure in imagining they will, one day, be parenting children just like them. As I’m sure my own mom comforted herself once upon a time. Shortly after our daughter was born, a friend commented in passing (or so we thought at the time): “Two Dobermans don’t produce a dachshund.” Breed-trait wisdom aside (we are longtime dog owners, and know all too well that a dog’s mental, um, tenacity is completely unrelated to its physical stature), point taken. My kids are strong-willed. They want to understand why they’re doing something before they do it. They can be set in their ways. They have high expectations. Their parents? Yes, we are all of those things. But these same relentless, demanding children also have intelligence and a creative spirit that – while making them unpredictable at times – allow them to accomplish some wonderful things of which any mom or dad would be incredibly proud. In truth, my kids are amazing. I only hope that they’ll remember me one day as having had some amazing moments myself. life

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Spring 2016



Slice of life coluMn

Women: make your health a



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Spring 2016


omen are amazing. We are. We create life; we provide connectedness, comfort and family well-being. Significant life stress usually starts with pregnancy – we carry our babies inside us and we give up our nutritional needs for those of the baby. We endure sleepless nights, the physical demands of breastfeeding, carrying and caring for our babies. We deal with the terrible twos, preschool and transition to school life. The stresses of puberty rock our homes. Our aging parents need us to care for them, and usually our needs come last. If we choose to work outside the home, we juggle job demands, traffic stress, difficult bosses and the needs of our clients. We fight traffic on the way home to cook and care for our families, and if there is stress at home, well, we deal with that, too. There is a cost to being a woman: our bodies don’t handle the negative effects of stress as easily as do men’s. Women don’t typically have heart attacks; we develop such health conditions as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome which are VERY hard to cure … especially when life stress is the reason they occur in the first place. Here are my top three suggestions for ways to decrease your life stress and improve your life: Reserve time for fun. Reserve one hour a week just for you and choose to have fun. Fun reduces stress in your life. Go for coffee with a friend, read a great book at a coffee shop, take a class or have a massage. Book it on your calendar and make yourself a priority. Get outside for 30 minutes a day. We need sunshine to make Vitamin D. Fresh air clears our lungs and our minds. Walking, gardening or having fun with our kids gets our bodies moving and our hearts pumping and

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Ever After

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Bert Church Theatre May 27 6:30 pm May 28 2:30 pm & 6:30 pm

Tickets available at the door and online at by Jeff Fluharty directed by Robin McKittrick Produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service Inc., Englewood Colorado

creates all kinds of endorphins which enhance our mood and decrease stress. Turn off your electronics and reconnect with yourself and your family. Screen time is robbing us of our lives, and electromagnetic radiation causes physical stress in our bodies. Our phones, iPads, televisions, computer screens and PlayStations can actually create stress and lead to electronic addition. Why don’t you just put down your phone, turn off your TV and do an activity that brings you joy instead? Women’s stress is a very real concern for ourselves and our community. It is time that, as women, we give ourselves permission to simply enjoy getting the most out of the life that we have. Our stress levels will decrease by making our needs a priority, not the last on a long list to take care of. If your health is a concern to you, please see your family caregiver, whether it is your medical doctor, chiropractor or naturopath. We serve to help you live a healthy, happy, active life and we are here to help if you need it. life – Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a chiropractor and owner of Blessingways Family Wellness Spring 2016





Spring 2016

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Slice of life Makeover

CArrie’s Conquest


stoRy by sELinA bADEL-wonG | photos by KRisty REiMER


Spring 2016


ooking around Waves Coffee House I spot Carrie Newman right away. She’s the woman who, despite having recently been through chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to fight breast cancer, sits with a beaming smile on her face and emits a positive outlook on life. Carrie is the latest airdrielife makeover contestant, and a perfect one at that. If ever there was a woman who deserved a little lift, it is she. Carrie’s life, quite simply, in the last few years has been one challenge after another. A single mother, she’s fought breast cancer while caring for her son. One of the most important things I was reminded of through this makeover is that when you are struggling to survive an illness, it takes over your life. Having lost my own mother to cancer 10 years ago, I remember that feeling, albeit as her supporter not the sick one. Simply making it through a day is the goal and short-term thinking becomes the norm. It’s a day-to-day struggle to make appointments, be treated and follow doctors’ orders with one goal in mind – getting better. Carrie knows that routine all too well. Now, after being cleared officially and newly labeled a cancer survivor, she’s getting back to living her life and following her dreams. Although she looks at cancer and prefers to think of what it has given her – a chance to spend more time with her son, seeing his first day of school when she’d normally be working – this makeover now gives Carrie something for her and some fresh ideas on her look. With a crisp, manageable haircut and caramel highlights from Wendy at The Hair Lounge, we head over to The Store Upstairs to start outfitting Carrie.

“Carrie’s life, quite simply, in the last few years has been one challenge after another” As with many women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, the after-care portion often takes a backseat to getting back on one’s feet. “There are still a lot of followup appointments, scans, checkups, therapy, even after treatment or surgery,” Carrie says.“Looking your best sometimes just isn’t on your radar.” Carrie had been dealing with a change in her breast sizes since having surgery and remembers being told somewhere along the way about mastectomy bra inserts. “You’re so overwhelmed, those kinds of details just don’t stick with you,” she says. Many of her shirts just didn’t fit right in the chest area so she stopped wearing them. And now with a lymphedema sleeve to stop her arm from swelling, her tops must accommodate that, too, and not make it hard to adjust throughout the day. The first order of business was getting Carrie fit for a mastectomy insert. Amanda at The Store Upstairs can take one look and know what you need to look great. She did that for Carrie and it eliminated any irregularities in cup sizes. As a personal stylist, the new insert gave me more possibilities in terms of tops that Carrie could wear, including sweaters and button-downs which she had previously avoided. As a result, I looked for comfortable tops that would suit Carrie’s figure but still allow for wearing her sleeve. My first pick was a black-and-white knit tunic with a leather fringe detail down the sleeves. It resembles a poncho, a big trend this year, and was exquisite on Carrie, especially when paired with black svelte leggings that had a leather side detail. Next came a teal-coloured sweater with an interesting wrap detail over the chest and lace detail on the back. The arms of the sweater moved easily over the lymphedema sleeve and it had a beautiful long bodice that added shape to the torso and drew the eye vertically instead of horizontally. I paired this top with a brightly coloured clutch to add flair and texture to the outfit. Carrie also liked the flowing nature of the patterned kimono and jade-coloured, soft cotton T-shirt with silk cuff detail that I picked. This combination could be worn with her own denim and new black suede booties, also from The Store Upstairs. I layered several Spring 2016



Slice of life Makeover

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Friday, May 6, 2016 11:30 a.m. The Woods, Airdrie gold-toned necklaces and added a fringe bag to complete Carrie’s youthful, vibrant day look. Finally, with spring in the air, I thought it might be fun to have a party dress. Carrie told me that it had been a long time since she’d worn a dress. But with the help of Amber from The Store Upstairs, we found a ’50s-style concept dress and cardigan sweater with bright polka dot patterned material and cherry blossoms. Although it is not Carrie’s everyday look, it definitely pushed her out of her comfort zone – usually black, she says – and would be ideal for a special event. It also gave her a chance to dress up and twirl her skirt for a bit. On the day of the photo shoot, Carrie looked both healthy and radiant. With makeup done by Jamie Lee at The Hair Lounge, her warm eyes were emphasized with brown tones in the crease and a beautiful shimmer on her lids. Jamie Lee also applied wispy false lashes for fullness and used warm pink and brown tones on Carrie’s cheeks and lips to complete her overall look. Wendy then styled Carrie’s hair with full curls. At the photo shoot with Kristy of Kristy Reimer Photography, Carrie kicked up her heels, literally! She had fun and never lost that smile. Playing around with the clothing and accessories we all found plenty of reasons to be happy, and appreciate this moment and experience. It was wonderful to meet someone who has conquered cancer and continues to thrive. May this makeover be more fuel for you, Carrie. life – Seline Badel-Wong is a personal stylist at



Spring 2016




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Spring 2016

weddingLIFE AiRDRiE’s wEDDinG ExpERts hAvE ADvicE FoR you!

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What’s the secret to an awesome wedding photo? the secret to an amazing wedding photo starts with a creative, versatile and experienced photographer who can portray emotion and passion between two people who love each other, combined with amazing colour and quality. the photo must be captivating and almost fairytale-like, and speak to you about a story of love. Charlene Codio, Codio Photography How do I manage the stress and my diet? planning a wedding is fun, exciting and hectic! Wanting to lose weight before the big day can add pressure to your planning. At u Weight loss we have a plan ready for you. you will receive healthy recipes that you can make with food from the grocery store; and you will have access to high-quality supplements that will curb your cravings, reduce stress and ensure optimal health. most importantly, you will have an accountability partner in our certified health coaches, who will celebrate your successes, encourage you in difficult moments and help you reach your goal! Michelle Carre, U Weight Loss

What are some of the latest trends in cakes? there are several fun trends today. 1) Cakes with fresh flowers – not only elegant looking, flowers add so much extra detail and ambience to the final design. 2) naked cakes were popular last year and i think will come into play as well this year as some brides are getting away from having the full fondant detail to create a more rustic look, and they do have a sort of elegance to them if executed properly. 3) Cakes that draw from events leading to the wedding will feature details from the proposal, where they first met or their favourite things. 4) ruffles. most brides love the soft and delicate look that ruffles have on cakes and it can also be an inspiration to incorporating design elements from the bride’s dress onto the cake. Gbubemi Edomwonyi, Bubebakes

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Our events planner will work with you to make your special day extraordinary. We also cater offsite weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and corporate parties.

I don’t want my wedding reception in a hall. What are my options? booking our restaurant for your wedding (parties of 70 maximum) is a great way to have everything managed smoothly and tastefully for your special day. our event planner can work with you on a menu plan and a wine list and provide top-notch service, work with your decor theme and turn what we think is Airdrie’s first-class restaurant into a first-class wedding day for you. We even have a patio that overlooks the water – nothing like it in Airdrie. Umesh Singh, Peppercorns How can I create a wedding bouquet that lasts as a keepsake? there is an emerging trend toward creating a bouquet which can be handed down to other members in the family, and by using synthetic flowers and adding heirloom jewelry, this bouquet then becomes a keepsake. in addition to silk or handmade satin flowers, brides are including brooches, strands of pearls and mini-photo frames containing pictures of loved ones in their bouquet. the colours and variety of looks for the bouquets – as well as matching boutonnieres and corsages – is endless and can be enjoyed long after the special day is over. BerylAnne Hodgins, Where Memories Are Made

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home life

i d e a s a n d a dv i c e f o r yo u r h o M e , i n s i d e a n d o u t

52 Nature-inspired • 54 Creative originality • 60 Showing off

hoMe life developer profile

Top of The hill by JEFF MAcKinnon


he community of Hillcrest was inspired by nature and complements its surroundings, and its popularity is proof that new owners are seeing the benefits. “It has been very well received in Airdrie because of its extensive landscaping and gorgeous entry feature, in addition to its upscale architecture that gives the community an estate feel,” says Susan Henderson, senior development manager for Apex, Hillcrest’s developer. Visitors are greeted to the highest point in Airdrie by an impressive stone tower and gatehouse, a classy welcome to the 58.4 hectares of pathways and parks interspersed throughout the community. Helping make Hillcrest a popular choice is that it offers both the serenity that comes with a small city and access to all that Airdrie offers, and the convenience of easy access to Highway 2 and the big city of Calgary.



Spring 2016

Apex is working with three builders – Excel Homes, Shane Homes and Trico Homes – to offer both single family front-drive garage residences and townhomes. Hillcrest is the peak of natural and active living, Henderson says, with cross-country skiing in the winter powder, plus leisurely biking through the community’s extensive trails in the summer. It’s also easy to access Woodside Golf Club, Genesis Place, Nose Creek Park, Chinook Winds Park and the skating and hockey found at the Plainsmen and Ron Ebbesen arenas, along with the shops at CrossIron Mills. “Hillcrest is designed for families and offers something for everyone and every season,” Henderson says. With Hillcrest now offering townhomes by Excel in Phase 7, homeowners can now get into the community with two- and-three bedroom plans ranging in size from 1,350 square feet to 1,625 sq. ft. from the low

“hillcrest is designed for families and offers something for everyone and every season”




113 1st St. NW


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$300,000s with no condo fees. All three respected builders continue to offer front-drive garage homes starting from the $450,000s. Hillcrest is easy to find. When heading north from Calgary on Hwy 2, turn west at the Balzac exit at Hwy 566, then turn north (right) on Range Road 11 (which turns into Eighth Street in Airdrie). Hillcrest is the first development on the east (right) side of Eighth Street just inside the city limits. life SHoWHome HoUrS are monday to thursday, 2-8 p.m.; weekends and holidays, noon to 5 p.m.


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villas with a view

hoMe life Builder profile

by JEFF MAcKinnon

“we blend imagination with creative originality to design distinctly beautiful architectural spaces”


ugusta Fine Homes has brought luxury estate villas to Cooper’s Crossing, continuing a vision started by Mike Plumton the founder of parent company NuVista Homes, almost three decades ago. Two showhomes – the Venturi and the Jacklin – are open at 202 Cooper’s Cove, giving buyers the chance to custom build an attached bungalow villa that offers both Hilltop Park and water views from the mid-$800,000s in Airdrie’s most-sought-after community.



Spring 2016


“We believe we are uniquely qualified to build your home,” says area sales manager Dennis Fitzpatrick.“We blend imagination with creative originality to design distinctly beautiful architectural spaces. We emphasize design philosophy and adhere to its core principles while working directly with customers to reflect their personal style.” The Venturi is 1,614 square feet on the main with 1,283 sq. ft. of lower development, while the Jacklin offers 1,523 sq. ft. on the main and 1,033 sq. ft. of lower development. Among the standard features offered with the estate villas are enlarged garages, exposed aggregate driveways, Emercor rim joists, maintenance-free exterior components, limited lifetime roofing materials, triple-pane Sun Stop (two-coating) argon gas-filled windows and extra attic insulation. The homes also feature knock-down ceilings, coffered ceiling treatments and nine-foot foundations for optimum lower level development. There are hot water recirculation systems for immediate hot water at fixtures, fireplaces, flex rooms, mudrooms, conveniently placed laundry rooms and larger bedrooms. “We also add Duradek and aluminum railings with available outdoor fireplace,” Fitzpatrick says. “Also, acrylic stucco or fiber cement exterior siding, 10-foot ceilings on the main floor, eight-foot interior doors on three ball-bearing hinges, luxurious master en suites [and] bright open dream kitchens with tall cabinets.” Cooper’s Crossing has been voted Airdrie’s community of the year for three years running. It has 120 hectares of playgrounds, trails and parkland with plans underway to build Cooper’s Town Promenade shopping centre. The villa showhomes are open Monday through Thursday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, noon to 5 p.m.; or by appointment any time. life – Augusta Fine Homes is part of the NuVista Homes family, which was started by Mike Plumton in 1998. The Augusta Fine Homes custom home division which was added in 2007.


Purchases Refinances Debt Consolidation Rate Comparison

Sherry Jenkins Mortgage Consultant

P 403.804.3694 F 1.866.899.6813 E 133 1st St. NW Airdrie

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hoMe life deSign choiceS

Eat-in kitchens and entertaining spaces are top features in Crystal Creek’s new showhomes, according to Jennifer Sinclaire of Crystal Creek Homes. The builder’s Berkshire showhome in Cooper’s Crossing showcases a light and open kitchen with a custom hood canopy and built-in appliances. The expansive island, complete with quartz tabletop, keeps modern lifestyles in mind, making it easy to transition from homework to dinner in this family-centred space.

KitChens thAt sizzle What’s cooking in kitchens in 2016? style! here’s a peek at what some of our builders are showcasing in their showhomes

Crystal Creek’s Cameron showhome in The Canals of Airdrie offers loads of storage in an open kitchen and dining room concept perfect for entertaining. The two-level quartz-topped island is ideal for staying connected and getting guests involved.



Spring 2016

“Full-height cabinetry is a popular trend in the market as it maximizes storage space and improves the esthetic of the kitchen by making good use of uninteresting space,” says Larra Caldie of Mattamy Homes. “Stacking cabinetry with glass doors allows the homeowner to display decorative items and incorporate accent colours into the kitchen.”

According to Shane Homes, neutral kitchens are a big trend. The builder’s Orion II showhome in King’s Heights features lacquerpainted ivory cabinets and a grey colour scheme. The use of bold and bright accent colours along with the oversized lighting transitions this kitchen from traditional to contemporary. Shane’s Tofino II kitchen in Hillcrest hits the mark on a variety of trends for 2016. Here, a creative use of tile frames the chimney hood fan and is continued through to the ‘wet-bar’ style hutch, giving this kitchen a contemporary look and feel. The dark cabinets paired with the lighter wide-plank hardwood floor and soft grey walls add to the striking appeal of the overall design.

Spring 2016



hoMe life coluMn

the AmAzing WomAn CAVe


with KiM puRvis




he men have taken over the garage AND the basement and let’s face it, it’s a good thing they have that place to go sometimes, but let’s find us a little spot! We know we’re supposed to take a break from all the nose wiping, macaroni cooking, sports taxiing and calendar traffic controlling to ‘take care of ourselves’ … but who has room on the calendar to fit that in? Let’s find a reprieve right inside our homes. It’s all ready to go when you find yourself with 10 minutes to yourself or even, GASP, an hour of time to fill. cozy reading corner Transform an unused corner with a big comfy chair and a blanket laid over the arm. Add a side table with a lamp and a cute little flower arrangement. If there’s room, a small bookcase tucked behind the table will complete the space and provide easy access to your favourite books – perfect for a quiet afternoon read and a cup of tea. creative cloSet Turn that junk closet into a desk space for your sudden burst of creativity. Organize all your markers, glue, fabrics and stencils so that when the mood strikes, you have a little craft station. Pin up inspiration pictures of future projects you’d like to tackle.



Spring 2016

haMMock in the yard Create an outdoor space so you can enjoy the beautiful fresh air in the summertime and those occasional days in January when you actually consider leaving the house without a jacket! Solar lights create a beautiful ambience for those quiet evenings. Flowers always make a space cheery. fitneSS Spot Whether you have an elliptical machine or a yoga mat and some weights, you can make this space chic. A small bookcase with bottled water and towels will keep everything tidy and looking attractive, too. Inspiring artwork defines the space but it’s also much nicer than the typical sad little space in which we try to motivate ourselves. Creating any space is as much about planning the details of function as it is about making it stylish and inviting. Beauty and function are equally necessary to create a space in which you want to be. Spend the time to add your own special touches. Each of these spots will be discovered and loved by the rest of your family, but at least you’ll have a little spot for you to keep on keeping on. It takes effort to be AMAZING! life – Decorator Kim Purvis, owner of Aurora Decor, is pursuing her lifelong passion of creating beautiful home spaces

get Covered


Patio covers are an ingenious way to extend our summer season. Here, Ira Hanson-Ralph, of Big Sky Patios, explains why they are also a great investment in your home. aFFordaBle Home reno WitH HigH retUrn One of the most affordable and non-invasive home improvement projects you can make, patio covers have an immediate and long-term return on investment, offering immediate protection from the elements and increased property value down the road. in toUgH economic timeS, tUrn YoUr Yard into an enViaBle Vacation deStination For a fraction of the cost of a one-time vacation, a patio cover turns your backyard into a year-round oasis for years to come. Grab a glass of wine and watch the sun set from your outdoor family room, entertain and cook for guests in your outdoor kitchen or watch the kids and pets splash in the kiddie pool while protected from harmful UV rays. Outdoor curtains can be easily hung for additional privacy or flowers added for ambience. extend Patio SeaSon WitH an aFFordaBle Patio coVer The benefits of a patio cover extend throughout the year. Patio season can


start as early as May and extend into late October, especially with the help of a small portable space heater. Fire up the barbecue in winter without having to shovel away the snow! In particularly windy areas, a glass windwall or screen wall can easily be added, transforming the covered area into an even cozier retreat. During the hot summer months, a cover reduces the amount of heat directly entering the home and provides an 8-10 C temperature drop underneath. BUilding For alBerta’S UniQUe climate Patio covers come in many styles and options, but not all are recommended for Alberta’s unique climate. Where steel, vinyl or wood will rust, crack or rot over time, powder-coated aluminum offers excellent durability, is lightweight but strong and is virtually maintenance free. Dust and dirt can easily be sprayed off with a hose or wiped away with damp soapy cloth. The popular cloth-covered shelters available at big box stores are not capable of handling the UV rays of Alberta’s year-round sunny skies or the snow loads of Canadian winters. Cloth covers and umbrellas fade, stain and tear easily, and are often sent airborne by surprise prairie wind gusts. Only aluminum patio covers are uniquely suited for Alberta’s unpredictable weather – sunny one minute, followed by wind, hail or snow the next. maKe tHe moSt oF YoUr moneY and time Invest in your most valuable asset – your home. A patio cover adds outdoor living space and creates a memorable home vacation option that can be enjoyed all year round.

We know our market. We know our business.

committing myself to

Health You do so much for so many, now is the time to take care of yourself. U Are Ready.

Call us today. 587.360.4404


Melina LOST


LBS| 403.948.1411

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Spring 2016



hoMe life ShoWhoMeS

gateway to Williamstown gateway is a collection of two- and three-bedroom, three-storey townhomes. enjoy

thoughtful floor plans with tandem or side-by-side double garages. some plans feature flex rooms to accommodate multiple functions, such as a guest room, office or hobby space. open-concept, main floor living spaces are anchored by galley kitchens for convenient entertaining, or choose a traditional end-kitchen layout. large windows at the front and rear flood the homes with natural light while balconies extended off the living space maximize usable area on the main floor. thoughtful touches upstairs include bedroom-level laundry and linen closets, his-and-her ensuite vanities and walk-in closets. stylish colour palettes ready for your personal touches complete the impressive look. find gateway on Williamstown Close nW in the community of Williamstown.



Spring 2016

Spring 2016



Reinvigorate our outdoor spaces

hoMe life coluMn


with bREnt pARK


“There are so many innovative and unique options for the avid weekend warrior gardener to tackle”


s spring arrives and we emerge from our winter hibernation and isolation, we must turn our attention to reinvigorating our outdoor landscapes. Building and maintaining an attractive and eye-catching yard should involve more than the standard aeration, power rake and debris cleanup. There are so many innovative and unique options for the avid weekend warrior gardener to tackle. Here are the top three landscaping trends to watch for this year: Sedum sod is coming to our market in late July and is an excellent low-input, low-maintenance substitution for traditional sod. Ideal for small, urban yards, sedum – a succulent perennial – requires less water and fertilization than typical sod, and provides a unique esthetic to the curb appeal of your home. It’s also a great way to make your neighbours envious. Edible gardens will become a focus for many as the preference for locally grown, organic vegetables continues to expand. This so called ‘foodie-centric growing’ ensures that you have a constant supply of fresh herbs and vegetables at your fingertips. There is no closer farm than your own backyard! Pollinator-friendly gardens will continue to be the rage as increased urbanization limits the options such insects as bees have to do their all-important work. Pollinators are vital to sustainability as three-quarters of the foods we eat – fruits, nuts, vegetables and herbs – need pollinators to reproduce. In fact, having a pollinator party in your backyard could more than double the yield of edibles in your garden. A true win-win! The biggest and most important trend to implement this season is to have fun! Share the connection with nature we can curate through gardening with your family, friends and neighbours. Experiment and try new things – maybe you’ll discover the next big trend for 2017! life – Brent Park is president of Liquid Amber Landscape Management Ltd.



Spring 2016

We are brand storytellers. You have a story to tell.

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Shilo Storey REALTOR®



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hoMe life coluMn




with shiLo stoREy

WE SUPPLY & INSTALL: Patio Covers • Screen Rooms Decks and Fences • Aluminum Railings • Glass Privacy Walls Vinyl Decking






ooking at the real estate market today, it doesn’t look a whole lot different from a year ago. With interest rates still low and inventory sitting at just over a four-month supply, buyers have some great opportunities. Now is a good chance to make the move up into a bigger property, get into the market as a first-time home buyer or purchase an investment property. People are asking, “Who is buying in this market?” Quite simply, buyers are driving our market right now, at all price points, but for very similar reasons. These people have been waiting for the opportunity or have the ability to see past the doom and gloom out there, or want to capitalize on the equity in their current home/investments or savings. They realize it is all relative to sell and buy in the same market, so they are taking advantage of good rates and good opportunities. Everyone’s situation is different, which is why it is so important to speak with your accountant, lender, financial advisor and, of course, your favourite Realtor, to see if what you are trying to accomplish is feasible today. In Airdrie our listing inventory is up 10 per cent from the first quarter of 2015, but so are the sales. Sales were up 3.13 per cent over the previous year. The average price in 2015 was up 0.8 per cent over 2014, and the benchmark price was up 2.55 per cent. What can sellers expect when looking at selling? Buyers will be taking their time and really weighing out their options. So sellers will need to take their time, too, and put their best foot forward to ensure their home is put on the market in the best light, at a good price. Utilizing a home stager can definitely help and these professionals will even use most of your own things to stage your home, so costs will be minimal. What can we expect as we go into the second quarter of 2016? Let’s keep an eye on some economic drivers, such as the government’s budget, commodity prices and the effects on vacancy rates and unemployment levels. The first six months of 2016 will be very similar to the last part of 2015 – slow and steady. Speculation was that things would be worse than they have been in the real estate market, so don’t believe all you hear. – Shilo Storey, Re/Max First



Spring 2016

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What you do in your home is your business, finding you one is mine!


Midtown featuring Shane Homes Coopers Crossing featuring McKee Homes, Vesta Homes, Lifestyle Homes

King’s Heights featuring Shane Homes

Hillcrest featuring Shane Homes

Creekside Village by the Carlisle Group

builders and developers adver�sed in this issue.



Spring 2016

work life

Meet the Movers, shakers and business Makers

70 Eco-awareness • 74 Taking root • 78 From the heart

Work life coluMn

now is the time for



With kent rupert

“While we are currently in a fragile time in Alberta history, we have to recognize the many opportunities that are, or can be, spurred from this downturn�



Spring 2016


ast year saw several changes to the Canadian and Albertan landscapes. With new political leadership, continually decreasing oil prices and a plummeting Canadian dollar, not to mention a spike in unemployment rates and a substantial increase in user numbers at food banks and within other social programming, it is easy to see that Alberta is in a bit of a funk. We continue to hear about job losses, downsizing companies, closures – and it is expected that 2016 will be just as challenging. With no clear timeline on when this downturn might end, this is an opportune time to look at ways we can do things differently. Whether through our business practices or our consumer habits and household practices, we can find creative ways to reduce costs. This is also the time to begin exploring innovative practices and technologies, as well as diversification opportunities. With the slowdown, industries can focus on researching and developing cost-effective practices that will allow them to be less affected by unstable global oil prices into the future. Investment in alternative energies, creative and green industries and other non-traditional industries may result in a more diversified, stable overall economy. Although many businesses are suffering due to the economy, there are some aspects of the economy that have seen encouraging change and growth. As of October 2015, Albertan business bankruptcies had decreased by 50 per cent year-over-year. Alberta has also seen a half per cent year-over-year growth in new business incorporations, as well as positive growth in select industries. Alberta saw a 10.3 per cent increase in farm cash receipts year-over-year, suggesting encouraging revenues in the agriculture industry. Alberta and the Calgary region can also expect significant increases in the tourism industry due in part to the low Canadian dollar. Hovering around 70 cents, the dollar value is attractive to incoming international visitors. While we are currently in a fragile time in Alberta history, we have to recognize the many opportunities that are, or can be, spurred from this downturn. This might be the time to start your own business, register for training in a skill that you have always wanted to learn or change career paths entirely. In 2015 more than 350 entrepreneurs started up new ventures in Airdrie. With so many resources and training opportunities available for local entrepreneurs, the sky is the limit! Over the next year, Airdrie Economic Development will continue to talk to the local business community to gauge the effects of the current economic climate on their ability to do business, and to get a sense of their needs and challenges. We will continue to explore opportunities for new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs that will assist in growing their markets. We know Airdrie is a great place to do business and we want to keep it that way. In the end, it will take a combination of diversification, working together, supporting our local businesses and taking advantage of growing industries to get us through the current market conditions. We look forward to seeing the opportunities come to life in Airdrie. life

Show us

Amazing financial help is close at hand.

your bliss!

The Kingsview Market Branch salutes the inspiring achievements of this year’s Amazing Women in Airdrie nominees. Our BMO team is pretty amazing too, and are happy to help with mortgages, home financing solutions, and lending options. Join the conversation on Facebook with airdrielife and Blessingways Family Wellness and you could win a massage gift card! Post a photo of yourself enjoying a little me time (reading airdrielife and sipping a latte?)

For more information, please contact Leyla or Margaret. Leyla Riazi, Branch Manager 587-775-2026

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Inquire about immediate occupancies at: 403.571.8426 Spring 2016



Work life airdrie advantage after 20 years, Kristen and Jon Boyle’s company, rangeland conservation, is still evolving.

Company succeeds by diversifying stoRy by ALEx FRAzER-hARRison photo by sERGEi bELsKi


or 20 years, Airdrie-based Rangeland Conservation Service Ltd. has helped oil and gas companies, municipalities and others keep track of the ever-changing world of environmental policies and regulations. And, despite the economic downturn, the company is as busy as ever. “Rangeland is an environmental and geotechnical planning company,” explains Jon Boyle, principal and senior environmental planner, who with his wife, Kristen, launched Rangeland in 1996.“When a client comes to us with a project, we determine what the regulatory needs are, and we do the appropriate required environmental surveys, we prepare environmental plans, documents and regulatory applications, and we take it to the construction phase and provide assistance and support with putting things together.” Boyle’s team has grown to cover fisheries biology, rangeland ecology, botanical and wetland specialties, environmental inspections and geotechnical engineering – all with the goal of helping companies build and maintain projects with minimal environmental impact. What few services aren’t available in-house, such as archeology, are sub-consulted out. For example, Boyle says, if an oil and gas company is planning to build a pipeline that passes over a water course, Rangeland will examine whether a planned method for the crossing is feasible, and suggest alternatives if it’s not. “There’s a lot more [environmental] awareness,” he says. “A lot more companies want to do not only what is required of them to do from the



Spring 2016

regulations, but also be good environmental stewards and corporate citizens; to do what’s right.” Besides O&G, Rangeland also works with municipalities in environmental planning. This is something that has evolved over time, says Boyle. “Now we have an entire division developing environmental plans for these groups,” he says. “We’ve worked with the City of Airdrie on greenspace inventory of what there is from a plant community perspective … [and] we’ve done numerous bioengineering projects for the City of Calgary on flood mitigation, [as well as] green-rooftop projects.” Although the economy is in a downturn, oil and gas companies are still turning to Rangeland for environmental studies as part of maintaining existing infrastructure. For example, Boyle says, a client recently discovered that an existing pipeline crossing a river was not deep enough, so Rangeland did surveys and regulatory work on the best way to build a new pipeline and remove the old one. “And there are still new things going on,” Boyle adds.“From a planning perspective, there are huge advantages to [oil and gas] hiring companies like us to do environmental planning, scouting new projects, siting new well sites … get that done now while commodity prices are lower, so when things turn around they’ll be 10 steps ahead. Instead of trying to find people when it’s very busy, they’ll be ready to rock and roll.” Although Rangeland offers its services across Alberta and into Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C., Boyle is content to keep it based here in Airdrie. “Twenty-two years ago, when we were getting after Rangeland, my wife and I were looking for a family community to live in,” he says.“We’re

#morelife online

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and learn more about Rangeland Conservation Service Ltd.

a $75 gift basket of Sage Creek products Enter at


both small-town people and we focused on Airdrie because it was the best fit for our personal lives. We’re a relatively young company, both in terms of our firm and our staff, and a number of [staff members] were also attracted to Airdrie.” Being in Airdrie allows Rangeland to promote a life-work balance for its employees. For example, Boyle says, they get discounted memberships at Genesis Place. “We try to promote that, yes, work is important, but we also try to stress that the individuals who work for us are also important,” he says. Rangeland also supports the local economy as much as possible. “I believe in having all our own equipment here, so we have to maintain that equipment,” says Boyle. “We buy our trucks locally, we maintain our trucks locally, we purchase our ATVs locally … and now probably at least half our staff has moved from Calgary [to Airdrie]. I can’t think of a better place to h ave a firm. “And the advantage of being a smalltown company, we’re competing with larger firms in Calgary, but we don’t necessarily have the overhead those firms downtown have,” he adds. “We have grassroots folks who are professionals, but we have a very competitive price. We’re always looking at ways to make our work more efficient and come in faster, but still maintain excellent quality at a reasonable price that you may not see in a 1,600-person company.” Boyle gives a lot of credit for Rangeland’s success to Kristen, who is also the company’s administrator and safety co-ordinator. “She and I have two wonderful children, ages 13 and 18, and I give her huge support in having a lead role with the company, and helping me keep track with the business,” he says. life

Empower! 2016 W IN March 19, 2016 9 am - 4 pm

Hampton Inn & Suites 52 East Lake Ave NE, Airdrie $85 members $95 non members

A full day of inspiring speakers with lunch, Featuring: Suze Casey networking & Darlene Hull Carolyn Zimmerman Cheryl Bishop and more! wine & cheese


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Book online at Save $10 Spring 2016



Work life SucceSS Story

JUSt For Kix PHotograPHY

“You learn to be more observant with the pet, and gentler, and they’re in their own environment, so they’re more relaxed”

Award-winning vet by ALEx FRAzER-hARRison

A ‘where-is-she-now’ look at a previous airdrielife profile


r. Wendy McClelland has come a long way since she and her husband advertised her new mobile veterinarian business by distributing 1,000 flyers door-to-door in Airdrie. From those humble beginnings back in March 2009, McClelland – who graced the cover of the fall 2010 airdrielife issue – has grown her business to include a new head office and surgery in Calgary and affiliates doing veterinary house calls from Medicine Hat to Edmonton. Last November, she received the ATB Small Business of the Year Award at the RBC Canadian Women Trailblazer Awards.



Spring 2016

“I was coming off maternity leave with my second child, and the thought of going back to the 9-to-5 was stressful,” recalls McClelland, who decided to adopt a house-call approach to vet services. Instead of bringing your dogs or cats to an often-hectic clinic, the vet comes to your pet’s familiar surroundings. The idea caught on and she began recruiting other women who likewise wanted to balance their veterinarian careers with being mothers. “When I started, I assumed it would be about convenience [for clients],” says McClelland. “But the overwhelming reason they call is because it’s less stressful for their pet.

fall 2010

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Vets Pets Wendy an D the ir

McClelland and others share advice and their best friends



reAsons To live Her e



OLD is New

How one man’s vision is changing Airdrie’s downtown

On GOLDeN pond Gorgeous photos inside



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URBAN Visionaries What it takes to plan a city this


sPICe in the kitchen Hot flavours

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“You learn to be more observant with the pet, and gentler, and they’re in their own environment, so they’re more relaxed,” she adds.“I get to spend more time with them and talk to the client while their pet is sniffing my bags and getting used to me.” Vets To Go now has 20 staff members, and while McClelland herself is no longer based in Airdrie, she has mobile veterinarian Dr. Kristi Jacobson taking care of clients here. McClelland also has staff in Okotoks, Red Deer, Cochrane, Medicine Hat and Edmonton and hopes to expand into B.C., but she still makes sure to spend time in the field each week. “I still love house calls and the connection with clients and their pets,” she says. “I feel like I have the best job in the world and I get to practise veterinary medicine in a different way. “It really enhances the client bond,” adds the doctor, “and I enjoyed creating this team of people who want to elevate quality of life for pets and their own quality of life, too.” McClelland’s advice for entrepreneurs: “Get help before you think you can afford it and before you think you need it. I wish I’d gotten [a receptionist] earlier … when I did, it exponentially grew my business. “And don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” she adds. life



CIM-6168-A01F AD1 AIRDRIE LIFE Spring ADS.indd 1

Spring 2016

2/8/16 11:42 AM |


Work life agriculture nancy Hewlett (left) and Shannon Willoughby are going back to their roots.

Mother Hens

Two area women turn to organic farming and sow a successful business


stoRy by JEFF MAcKinnon | photos by cARL pAtzEL

gang of friendly turkeys roamed free at Sage Creek Permaculture for a spell last fall. Like dogs, they’d wander up to arriving vehicles to greet visitors. Eventually, when they were nice and plump and butchered, the turkeys went home with some of the folks who came to visit. The turkeys were very healthy, drug-free and (obviously) free-range, just like all the other animals at Sage Creek. The farm’s proprietors, Nancy Hewlett and Shannon Willoughby, figure that’s why they were so sociable. “Everyone who’s grown up on a farm will say: ‘Watch out! Those toms will come after you,’” Willoughby says.“But they didn’t. Even the hens and roosters really get to know you. We’re nice to them so they’re nice to us.”



Spring 2016


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t on

a $75 gift basket of Sage Creek products Enter at



The Hewlett and Willoughby families are living a 100-per-cent organic lifestyle on their property just north of Airdrie on Dickson Stevenson Trail and they are keen to help other area families do the same. If one of their vehicles contains beef, chicken or eggs, it’s because it’s a delivery heading to Airdrie, not being brought home from a grocery store, and they are hoping to add pork to their stock this summer. “The farm supports us now for food,” Hewlett says.“We are almost grocery-store-free except for vegetables and we’re putting in a large greenhouse. Then we will be getting into fermenting and canning. “We are basically going back to the old-school ways that our grandparents used to live [by],” she adds.“It’s by no means new and it’s not our motto. We stole it from Mother Nature.” Hewlett and Willoughby were both raised on farms and are sisters-in-law – Willoughby is married to Hewlett’s brother, Jason. The two started Sage Creek just over a year ago and are awaiting approval on their application to become a certified organic operation. They were also awaiting word in January on an application to participate in Airdrie Farmers Market. So far, the Willoughbys and Hewletts have been conducting business based on word of mouth and they have a Facebook page and a website. “The response has been pretty overwhelming,” says Willoughby. “We went in the (Airdrie) Women’s Show in September and that was an eyeopener of just how much interest there is. There’s not enough of this going on and people are becoming more aware of things, especially meat, where meat comes from.” Sage Creek Permaculture took root eight years ago in Moose Jaw when Jason Willoughby became ill and required heart surgery. When he mended he decided he wanted to go back to his roots and started practising

“We are basically going back to the old-school ways that our grandparents used to live [by]” permaculture on a small scale in the backyard. The Willoughbys moved to Airdrie a year ago to join the Hewletts on the 148-acre property – the farm was attractive to them because it was not being used at the time they were looking to buy and they were told it had been free of chemicals for at least eight years – and moved a modular home to a spot not far from Nose Creek, which runs through the land. “( Jason) had an awakening as to what was really important and ever since then he has wanted to get back to his roots and move to a farm,” Shannon says.“He always wanted to farm, but he didn’t want to farm as his dad had farmed, conventional farming. “Chad and Jason work full time off the farm,” she adds.“Jason helped us put the system in place and (Nancy) and I are really the ones working the farm.” A statement found on their website explains their ideology: “At Sage Creek Permaculture we view the farm as a whole entity. Each animal and system working harmoniously together to provide a self-sustaining, healthy, healing place, for us to organically grow nutrient-dense food while healing the land at the same time.” “We are farm-to-table so if you buy from us we are able to keep our prices a lot more reasonable,” Shannon says.“When I talk to Nutter’s (Bulk & Natural Foods) there was one grass-fed company that they were selling meat for and they said they were going to stop carrying it because it’s just so expensive that it’s not moving off the shelves.” A novelty is that Sage Creek Permaculture has an open-door policy and visitors are welcome to look around the property to see where their food is coming from. While the gang of happy turkeys is an attraction for the fall, an old camper that houses hens is the summer’s must-see. It’s towed around the property so hens can be exposed to fresh grass. “It’s our very own ‘henmobile,’” Hewlett says. life Spring 2016



Work life SucceSS

Get back to your true nature through mindfulness, nature based and equine facilitated exploration, growth and healing Life Coaching Therapy for Individuals, Couples, Youth & Families Personal Growth Retreats Executive Leadership Training Youth Empowerment Programs Community Connection Events Drum Circles No horse experience necessary! All sessions are done from the ground (no riding).

by sARA chAMbERLAin


takes off, in and out of Airdrie


Meagan Saum 403.807.0759



Spring 2016

hen SMARTstart was launched in Airdrie two years ago, organizers were confident the program would catch the attention of local entrepreneurs. What they didn’t expect was the interest they’d draw from the rest of Alberta. Since 2014, 32 people have completed the program which provides entrepreneurship development training in the form of online courses, in-person workshops and mentorship. “We had great success with the first two intakes of the program,” says Jodie Eckert, with the SMARTstart organizing committee. “We heard very early on from our participants that SMARTstart was hitting the mark. What took us by surprise was the attention we got from outside Airdrie.” Last April, SMARTstart organizer Leona Esau, along with Eckert, was invited to make a presentation about the program at the Economic Developers Alberta conference. “Economic developers were literally lined up to ask us questions after our presentation,” says Eckert. At the same conference, SMARTstart went home with two awards of excellence, including the 2015 Alex Metcalfe Award which recognizes Alberta’s best Community Economic Development project. Later in 2015, SMARTstart received another award. The program was recognized by the Community Futures Network of Alberta with an Excellence and Innovation Award. Program organizers continue to receive inquiries from people across Alberta interested in implementing the program in their own communities. “It’s just remarkable how this program has taken off,” says Lorna Hunt, organizing committee member and executive director of Airdrie Chamber of Commerce. “Being recognized with awards makes us very

proud of the hard work we’ve put into developing the program and seeing it grow. But what makes me even more proud is to hear how positively people are talking about SMARTstart around Airdrie.” Christine McLeod, owner of Tri Fit Training, is one of those people. McLeod and her business partner, Tracy Winger, completed the SMARTstart program in 2015. “SMARTstart helped us to think bigger,” says McLeod. “We opened our business to have a place to do what we love. With the help of SMARTstart, we are now building Tri Fit Training to be a successful business in Airdrie. We are so grateful to have been part of such a forward-thinking program.” McLeod and Winger are two of 12 participants representing nine different businesses that completed the program last year. SMARTstart is now in year three, and the next cohort of business people and entrepreneurs with an idea have just begun the program. “The interest in SMARTstart for 2016 was tremendous,” says Hunt. “It’s exciting to see the wide variety of businesses and business ideas that are represented in this year’s program. “It’s going to be another fantastic year for SMARTstart,” she adds. life – Sara Chamberlain is economic development officer with the City of Airdrie

SMartstart is designed and delivered by the airdrie Business resource partnership, which includes airdrie chamber of commerce, city of airdrie economic development and community futures centre West. it is funded through generous contributions from the business community, including title sponsors astoria asset Management and BMo Bank of Montreal, and media sponsor airdrielife. to learn more, visit



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Work life hEALinG BuSineSS

Connect & Communicate Horses are the best teachers



Spring 2016

stoRy by LoRi KuFFnER photo by KuRtis KRistiAnson


wenty minutes from Airdrie, off the beaten path and secluded in trees, is Silver Valley Ranch. These vast 160 acres are operated by Meagan and Kyle Saum and their three young children. The ranch is Meagan’s haven. It is where she grew up and where her love for horses took root. With her herd, 14 in all, Meagan offers nature-based life coaching with horses as a way to find your way back and reconnect. As soon as you drive onto the property, the healing begins. Many people experience emotion here; some tear up, others cry, but there is certainly an energy that takes place the moment you arrive. Meagan is “a horse whisperer,” someone who has adapted a natural style of horsemanship and rapport with horses. Her horses, which come complete with offices, have come to her in various ways to help her do her work, she says. “Horses are sentient beings,” she says.“As preyed-upon animals in nature they can instantly read your emotions and intentions. They are our ‘truth detectors.’ “When given the opportunity, horses can help people of all ages, in all areas of life,” she adds.“They can help connect us back to our true self, heal stress, trauma, loss and other forms of mental, emotional and physical illness.”

Morgan was the first horse Meagan bought herself. After she brought him home, she heard that Morgan had hospitalized multiple people. “People said he had a mean streak,” says Meagan,“but he was just misunderstood. He never once showed himself like that to me.” Instead, Morgan became her rock, her calm and her awakening. Often when she rode him or was around him, feelings of sadness and grief surfaced. Analyzing those feelings, she realized they were unresolved issues from her childhood. She had never learned to deal with losing her father. As she learned to move through her issues and heal, Meagan began to understand the magic of horses. “They will mirror your emotions,” she says. “They are the ultimate observer. Horses can teach us how to be in the present moment, heightening our awareness and creating a safe environment for our inner blocks, fears and emotions to surface. “This self-discovery helps us understand why we do what we do,” she adds. To help me understand, Meagan brought in Roy, a handsome palomino, for me to work with. Within minutes, I experienced a block I didn’t realize existed. Meagan coaxed me through it – What does it look like? What does it feel like? It looked like a small black cloud

“When given the opportunity, horses can help people of all ages, in all areas of life” Meagan knows this because she has experienced it and has watched her clients experience it, too. She is not just a horse lover; she is also professionally trained in many areas. She is an equine-facilitated wellness coach, a certified personal and professional life coach, an addiction recovery coach and sits on the board of directors for the National Association for Equine Facilitated Wellness. Regardless of everything she has learned, Meagan claims that her best teachers are the horses themselves. By learning the way they communicate, she says horses helped her understand herself and others. At 18 months Meagan suffered from leukemia. After three years of intensive treatments, she went into remission. She has been cancer free since. When she was nine, her father, a firefighter, died on duty. This traumatic experience led to deep grief, despair, confusion and loneliness. Meagan didn’t realize the depth of it, she says, “because you don’t understand the emotion; you push it aside.” As she grew up, those feelings translated into insecurity and low self-esteem. Then Morgan, a 15-year-old thoroughbred, intervened.

caught in my heart. Instantly I knew what it was. Did I let it go? I’m not sure. What I do know is that I now feel calmer and lighter. “Most people live in their head,” says Meagan. “That creates doubt. Horses help us get out of our head and into our heart so we can move forward, be more compassionate and understanding with ourselves and others. Horses can help us connect to our senses the way we used to be before the busyness, emotions and stresses of life happened that are unnatural to basic survival.” Today Silver Valley Ranch offers a variety of coaching and healing techniques. Other professionals work at the ranch, as well. Meagan especially enjoys working with women and girls who are going through transitions, anxiety and struggles and do not know why. Summing it all up, Meagan says: “This ranch is about the learning and healing potential humans have with horses. This is not about riding horses or even liking horses, it is what humans can benefit from learning to get back to our nature and become more like a horse!” life Spring 2016



KATHY Anderson




403.266.7154 direct



Spring 2016

local life

a c l o s e r l o o k at yo u r c o M M u n i t y

82 Expanding horizons • 84 Possibilities • 89 Absolutely amazing

local life cityLiFE

CulTurAl MApping stoRy by ALEx FRAzER-hARRison

Airdrie is an evolving city of 60,000. That’s a lot of diversity; a lot of people seeking ways to expand their horizons through culture. But what exactly is available here? What cultural amenities do we really have? Where are we lacking? The City of Airdrie is undertaking a cultural mapping process that will serve as a database of all the assets in this community that are deemed to be cultural, from the obvious, such as Bert Church Theatre, to perhaps less-obvious examples of culture, such as heritage properties or school facilities. “The purpose for all of this is to really see what is actually here,” says Daniel Fortier, community developer with the City. Work on compiling the information for the map began last summer. “The great thing about a [cultural] map,” Fortier says, “is it’s not just a piece of paper or something digital … it’s the information behind it. Behind one little ‘dot’ can be a floor plan, website, contact info, the economic impact of that point or historic information. “So what are the places that are special to you in this city, and what are the places that have historic meaning? It starts the conversation around who we are and … what do we have that we value,” he adds. The City completed its survey by the end of 2015, which Fortier says covers categories including performing arts, publishing and radio, cultural organizations – such as Creative Airdrie – and attractions and festivals“that are part of the cultural vibrancy of a city.” Culture, he says, is defined as encompassing the arts, contemporary cultures and heritage. “Those were the three elements we were plotting,” he says, noting that “contemporary culture” incorporates anything ethno-cultural-related, such as groups like Welcoming Airdrie Committee. A key word in the exercise is “place-making,” Fortier says. “It’s about creating pride of place through the development of where you live. There are a couple of drivers – the esthetics of a place and how it looks and feels. Things like public art contribute to that.” Inclusiveness and openness is also a major part.“How do you connect with your neighbour?” says Fortier. “The cultural map is a tool to aid in those things.” The Airdrie project was inspired in part by a similar cultural mapping initiative Fortier was involved in with the City of Saskatoon back in 2007.



Spring 2016

“That one was crazy,” he says. “There were multiple stakeholders in terms of the arts board, University of Saskatchewan, the City and tourism. But what ended up happening was this incredibly rich map they could use.” Saskatoon’s experience shows some of the potential benefits of cultural mapping.“You can physically see the results of the work that’s been done,” Fortier says.“(Saskatoon has) got a cultural governance body and … there’s been a redevelopment of the [south] downtown area with a national art gallery, a new professional theatre and along the riverbank there [are] spray parks and amphitheatres and a farmers market and they took one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the city and turned it around. “Firsthand, I’ve seen the power of that kind of process,” he adds. For Airdrie, Fortier describes cultural mapping as “a communityengagement tool.” Exactly how it will be rolled out for the public and stakeholders to use has yet to be determined, he says, but adds that the potential exists for it to be a valuable tool in many directions. For example, businesses might be able to use the information for attracting clients or employees to Airdrie. “It also allows us to identify and respond to things going on within the community,” Fortier says. “And by identifying all the assets and understanding what’s really there, we can plan … to strengthen, grow and develop those assets.” The City, he adds, is looking at a cultural development framework. The mapping serves as part of what is ultimately the road to a municipal or community cultural plan. “The point is the City will be able to integrate culture into its planning process, while at the same time working with the community to develop culture within the community,” he says. Cultural mapping also has the potential to aid in such things as helping newcomers to Airdrie – and to Canada – find their footing, and Fortier cites Syrian refugees as an example. “If you’re looking at it from an ethno-cultural perspective and something like the Syrian refugee crisis comes up … it becomes a different conversation,” he says. “It’s about breaking down silos, not only between the City, business and cultural community, but within the cultural community itself. It’s about collaboration.” At press time, the City was planning to hold public consultation in February as to how best to make the map information available to the public and stakeholder groups, and Fortier says that there will be further discussions down the line. life


local life ADvocAtEs

Be Still by Veronica Funk


ometimes we take our library for granted, not realizing that volunteers help to make it more than just a place for books. Advocates for Airdrie Public Library (APL), established in 2012, is an outreach group that focuses on creating awareness and raising funds for the library’s projects and programs. The Advocates try not to duplicate existing initiatives but do enhance activities, such as the Canada Day barbecue, by having a raffle in conjunction with an event. A mandate of the group is to work toward the new library. The group has several active members and is governed by a board of directors. The annual membership fee of $5 includes voting privileges. Meetings are held at the library on the third Thursday of each month, 7-8:30 p.m. Volunteers who help with preplanned activities are also welcome. “We are looking for more members,” says Advocates member Bibiana Cala, “because our fundraisers are getting bigger and bigger, but also it’s good to have different people so we have more different ideas.” Members – who come from all walks of life and various cultures and have ranged from young mothers to retired individuals – share a common love for and interest in the library. “It would be nice to have youth involved,” says Cala. The group has sponsored and volunteered at Family Nights, has put on the Words Worth Wearing fundraising campaign for the past two years and would eventually like to participate in casinos as a way of raising funds. (The Advocates are a registered society and can access Alberta gaming funds whereas the library cannot.) Marilyne Aalhus, APL fund development and marketing co-ordinator, participates in brainstorming sessions, bringing the library’s needs to the group which then decides which initiatives to pursue, but, she says, “The Advocates operate at arm’s length from the library. It’s up to them to direct themselves.” Aalhus values her work with the group. “Becoming an Advocate gives you the opportunity to give back but also gives you input on what you want to see in your library,” she says. Cala, who is originally from Columbia, volunteered, then became a library employee, and is now volunteering again. “The library made a huge impact in my family when we moved to Canada, she says. “I am also very thankful.” life Spring 2016



local life chALLEnGEs Shanna leavitt and daughters addison (left) and Kadence Foley enjoy a day outside.

Addison & Kadence stoRy by ALEx FRAzER-hARRison | photo by shAnnon hutchinson

SiSterS deal with rare diSeaSe, a community rallieS behind them



Spring 2016


wo little Airdrie girls have had to add two very grown-up words to their vocabulary: Friedreich’s ataxia, or FA. FA is a rare, usually inherited disease that damages the nervous system, causes problems with mobility and can trigger other issues including potentially life-shortening heart conditions. Most children who get FA eventually end up needing a wheelchair, and there is currently no cure. Shanna Leavitt, the girls’ mom, says that she’d never heard of FA until her youngest daughter, Addison Foley, began falling and showing other mobility issues. A battery of tests initially suggested developmental co-ordination disorder.“But when we started to notice a lot of regression with her gait, balance … the neurologist said she did not have DCD,” says Leavitt. The doctor then did a blood test for FA. “I remember reading up on FA and saying, no, this isn’t us; the odds are one in 50,000 and it had to come from a gene from Mom and a gene from Dad … no one on either side had anything even related to it,” says Leavitt. Then she began noticing her eldest daughter, Kadence Foley, was also showing some of the same symptoms. In spring 2015, the diagnosis was confirmed: both Addison, now nine, and Kadence, now 11, had FA, as well as a heart condition associated with it, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. “So my mindframe was, OK, how do we make this work for us?” says Leavitt, a single mom who works as a dental hygienist. “With Addison, she’s struggling more with getting around and using a wheelchair more to get around. But the reality is, I can’t keep carrying her up and down the stairs – I’m not much bigger than (the girls) are!” And that’s the challenge Leavitt faces. Looking to a future when both her girls will need mobility assistance, she realized her two-storey home in Fairways wouldn’t work.“A bungalow would be good for two little girls who are on the move all the time, regardless of what is keeping them from getting around,” she says.“Whether it be a walker or a wheelchair, I just want them to have that comfort.”

“This is where I cry … people’s hearts are so big and so giving” Michelle Carre and her husband and local realtor, Matt, learned about Leavitt through their Airdrie Angel program, which provides a hand up for Airdrians going through difficult times. “What Shanna needed was way more than what our program can provide,” says Michelle. “We got a letter from Shanna’s sister, saying she needed to buy a new house. So I deferred to Matt … and he worked with Shanna to find a house.” Leavitt admits her heart wasn’t really into the house search at first, seeing as she had to balance a job with taking care of Kadence’s and Addison’s changing needs: “That’s when my emotions set in – how can I do this, how can I make a home and carry another mortgage and renovate it?” Staying in a familiar neighbourhood was a priority, Leavitt says, so she and Matt found a 1,870-square-foot three-bedroom bungalow in Woodside, not far from the family’s current home. Fortunately, Michelle says, a family friend bought the new home, which will allow adaptations to be completed before Leavitt and her daughters move in (at which point the old home will be sold and Leavitt will take over the payments). The home needs extensive work to future-proof it for when the girls’ needs change. For example, doorways and hallways need to be widened for wheelchairs, the bathroom needs to be made accessible and a ramp needs to be installed, says their mother. A GoFundMe campaign, I’m Possible, is collecting donations to help cover the costs of the renovation – some of which, it is hoped, will be covered by grants. According to Michelle, several people have already stepped forward to help cover some of the costs, and “a number of tradespeople have reached out to us,” she adds. The hope, Michelle says, is also to provide Leavitt with “a cushion” to help cover added costs she may encounter as her daughters grow and their needs change. A local hair salon, hairBenders, also held a fundraiser for the family last fall. “This is where I cry … people’s hearts are so big and so giving,” says Leavitt.“I think for me, I’m dealing with the bigger picture of a disease and to have something that makes my kids smile. That’s all I want. We can’t fix what’s happened to them, but what can we do to make life great while we’re all here?” At the same time, she hopes to raise awareness of FA, and how it impacts children like Kadence and Addison. And with that, Leavitt gets ready to take her girls for one of their favourite activities: swimming. They also enjoy horseback riding. Ultimately, the two are concentrating on just being kids, with the hope that someday a cure for FA may be found. life For more inFormation about the girls’ story, fA and to donate, visit Spring 2016



local life ATHLETES

Young women tackle the traditional men’s world


PHoto BY Britton ledingHam

by bRitton LEDinGhAM

the stereotypes


or Airdrie’s Hannah Hudson and Codie Cross – who were classmates at Muriel Clayton Middle School before they began high school – playing hard is a part of life. The two strikingly similar 17-year-old girls, both 5-3 tall and about 120 pounds, excel at the sports of their desire.

Hannah Hudson Hannah Hudson began playing organized football with the George McDougall High School Mustangs in Grade 11, but she wasn’t a stranger to the sport, having played with her brothers at home. Hudson earned a starting role as wide receiver with the team last season. “I had to continue and work for the spot because there were others working to get starting roles,” she says of her time with the Rocky View Sports Association team. For the teen, football has helped her develop friendships with people she otherwise may have never talked to, and deepened her relationship with her brothers Hunter, her twin, and Christian. (Christian has



Spring 2016

reached local fame since winning the Calgary Stampede Talent Search last summer, and Hannah played part of last season with Hunter, before he dropped the sport to focus more on his studies.) Hannah started three games last fall and saw playing time in all games. Mustangs coach Chris Glass affirmed that she earned the role and overcame sexism, maintaining a positive attitude. “She has never asked to be treated different. She’s one of our Mustangs and that’s the be all and end all of it,” says the coach, noting that she made key blocks for Mustangs’ running back Jordan Baldwin on a couple of his touchdowns. Glass notes Hannah is the third female player he has coached in 17 years, and she has been the most successful. She will continue playing football this spring with the Calgary Rage in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. Glass helped open the door for Hannah by inviting his friend and Rage head of recruitment Esther Hong to a practice last year. “I wanted Hannah to see that it’s not just a novelty, but she should be working towards a goal if she wants it,” says Glass.

Hannah Hudson

“i know lots of kids talk about the path. There’s only a few [who] understand what it takes”

JameS emerY/HocKeY canada imageS

codie cross

Hong, a 35-year-old receiver for the Rage, is happy to have Hannah play with her team, which started training on a more regular basis in February for the regular season to start in May, with home games at Shouldice Park. According to Hong, Hannah’s youth and experience in the game will benefit her. “She’s definitely the future for the Rage,” says Hong, adding that many of the women on the team, including herself, come into the roster without previous experience. Looking within, Hannah has discovered plenty about herself in the last two years of taking to the field in a sport dominated by her male peers. “I found out that I’m more determined than I thought I was,” she says.“I just realize that I can overcome a lot of fear, intimidation, that I didn’t know I could.”

Codie Cross Codie Cross is a defenceman with the Warner Hockey School Warriors, who led the north division of the Junior Women’s Hockey League as of late January. Hockey may traditionally be considered a male-dominated sport, but Cross is witness to the changing times. “I haven’t really faced what maybe girls had say like five, 10 years ago,” she says, adding that she has heard from Olympians a decade her senior that the sport wasn’t as developed when they were in their teens.“More talented girls are growing the game.” Cross started the sport with co-ed teams, but has been playing elite hockey with female teams since she was 12 years old. Her path took her to Calgary’s Edge School for Athletes for Grades

9-10, and to Warner, southeast of Lethbridge, for the past two seasons. Last November, she signed a full-ride, five-year scholarship with the highly ranked Northeastern University Huskies in Boston, Mass., to play in the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Among her achievements, in January 2016 Cross won silver with Team Canada’s U18 team at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Under-18 Women’s World Championship in St. Catharines, Ont. She hopes to climb the ladder with Team Canada, all the way to the Olympics, which has been possible since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1998. According to Cross, her father, Tony Cross, always instilled in her that hockey is important to commit to, but schooling is primary, and she has dreams of pursuing hockey all the way to the recently formed four-team National Women’s Hockey League – following a degree in business. Tony says that he identified the competitive edge in his daughter, the middle of three children, at about four years old while she was racking up goals playing Timbits soccer and to this day Codie puts in the extra effort, in practices and games, that it takes to pursue the elite hockey dream. “It’s the path that she wanted to go down,” Tony says. “I know lots of kids talk about the path. There are only a few [who] understand what it takes.” Seeing a league develop that pays its athletes, albeit a fraction of what their NHL counterparts make, is a positive for Cross, who has had her fair share of sacrifices pursuing her dream. “For me the travelling part is a lot more than what the guys would face, but that’s what I have to give,” says the elite athlete, who has lived away from home for much of the last four years. life Spring 2016



local life coLuMn

The Tipping Point


with ELLEn KELLy



e are dining out – brunch/lunch/dinner at a café/diner/upscale restaurant. Mostly this is a pleasant experience but sometimes – thankfully not often – it makes me feel like chopped liver. Picture this. Our server approaches the table, comments on the weather, asks my husband how his day is going and asks what he would like to drink, then turns to me and says, “What would you like?” while staring over my left shoulder. During the meal, she asks my husband how his meal is, checks to see if he needs more coffee, and away she goes. “What about me?” I think as I stare into my half-empty coffee cup. When my coffee is gone, I place the cup a bit closer to the edge of the table. “For Pete’s sake,” I say to my husband, “Drink your coffee so she’ll come with a refill.” This usually works although on a couple of occasions, the server has come back with coffee for him and walked away. We progress through the “Is there anything else I can get for you?” stage with more pleasant chit-chat, not with me, and she places the bill on the table. Is it the assumption that the gentleman is going to pay the bill? Surprise, I have the debit card and you’re out of luck, honey. Harsh? I don’t think so. When tipping, I never know how much to leave, even after our usually good experiences. A tip, in my understanding, is for good service. I usually tip by percentage – 15 per cent regardless, more for excellent service. I almost always leave a gratuity but if the service has been terrible, condescending or rude (see above) I don’t feel obligated. The thing I struggle with, though, is the uneven playing field in restaurant service. Simply put, 20 per cent of $25 is a lot less than 20 per cent of $150 and very often, the person serving brunch or a clubhouse sandwich in a diner works just as hard and is often more pleasant than the snooty waiter that can pour drinks from three feet away and carries a whisk broom to tidy up my space. I am also expected to tip on the whole bill. “Why am I tipping on the GST?” I wonder, knowing that the restaurateur isn’t going to take that into consideration, therefore if I don’t, the server’s tip is five per cent smaller. So we will continue to tip as we see appropriate while wondering if the guy at the Calgary Tower would be impressed with $5 and ponder the pleasure the server at the diner would feel after receiving $30. life



Spring 2016

,2016 Amazing Airdrie Women local life in AWE

stoRy by JEnniFER bRiGDEn | photos by KRisty REiMER FAshions pRoviDED by thE stoRE upstAiRs

Welcome to the sixth annual celebration of Airdrie’s amazing women! This is our favourite editorial piece of the year and we are proud to have created an event that inspires so many. Your role is to read about each extraordinary woman and then cast your vote online at before April 1. Your vote counts for 50 per cent of the final decision. (Our sponsors, editorial team and previous recipients account for the other 50 per cent.) We will announce the recipients of each award at our Amazing Airdrie Women Luncheon May 6. Tickets are available at Special thanks go to our amazing sponsors Pharmasave, The Store Upstairs, BMO Kingsview Market, Airdrie Women in Business, Hassett & Reid, McKee Homes and Pureform Radiology.



tracy lindsey


teresa Spring 2016



local life in AWE

Brooke Monkman, amazing courage

Brooke Monkman knows a lot about strength in the face of adversity: she lost her husband, Dean, last February after three decades of marriage. Monkman spent 13 months at his side while he underwent treatment for Stage 4 lung cancer. She provided 24-hour care for her husband and didn’t miss an appointment or treatment. She was with him when he passed away and held his hand as he took his last breath. “The death of my husband, Dean, rocked my world and still continues to today. He was my soulmate, my best friend, my rock, and when he got sick it was the worst experience of my life,” she says. Brooke’s daughter, Ashley Monkman, is in awe of her mother’s strength and values. “My mother remains the most positive, faithful, encouraging and dignified woman I know despite enduring the hardest battle of her life,” Ashley says.“She never once complained … there was always a smile on her face and her heart was always open.” Brooke credits her deep faith and family in helping her get through this difficult loss. “I found the courage because God placed it in me,” she explains. ”I just needed to call upon it and to wake up each morning and say, ‘Thank you, God, for giving me 31 years with Dean.’”

CHARLETT HEDMAN, amazing courage

Charlett Hedman is the proud matriarch of a loving family and has a job she loves – co-ordinator of seniors outreach for Community Links. But as fate would have it, at age 60, Hedman was diagnosed with sleep apnea and breast cancer – both at the same time. “It was a large wake-up call,” she says. Faced with two daunting health concerns Hedman chose to focus on her inner self, realigning her mind and body. Luckily, treatment for her sleep apnea meant rest and, in her words, the ability to sleep – really sleep – for the first time in years.

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Christina Sackett Toews, amazing courage

Christina Sackett Toews was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) four years ago. Later that same year, her son, Myles, began to struggle with his mental and emotional health issues, as well as addiction. “I dedicated all of my time to get him the help he needed … as any mother would,” Sackett Toews says. Her son’s depression had gone undiagnosed until his early teen years. “Myles was placed in a residential program for his mental health and addictions just after his 16th birthday,” she explains.“However, he succumbed to his illnesses at the age of 17.” Today, Sackett Toews works to make a difference for other struggling youths and their families. “After Myles passed away, I decided that I could either let the grief and devastation of losing a child take over my life, or I can make something positive come out of this.”


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The breast cancer treatment, however, proved more difficult. “The cancer medical process has been, at times, stressful, with many appointments, surgery, chemo and complications that put me in the hospital for five weeks, plus radiation, fatigue, brain fog and other unexpected bumps in the road,” she says. Hedman remained strong and positive throughout the process and focused on herself and her recovery. She found joy in the support she received from her family and friends, welcoming the love and kindness sent her way throughout her treatment. Her remarkable outlook did not go unnoticed.“Charlett is always looking for the lesson in the adversity of life,” says Caerol Pulsifer.“She is courageous; she has the true grit and a beautiful soul.”


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To honour what would have been Myles’ 18th birthday, she held a barbecue and raised nearly $16,000 for Hull Services with the help of friends and family. She and a friend are in the early stages of starting a non-profit to help provide music lessons, including to high-risk youngsters. Sackett Toews is inspired to be a great role model for her other son, Jayden. She receives treatments for her MS and feels fortunate to have her symptoms under control. “Christina has always been a caring, selfless lady,” says Pamela Fleischer.“You will never hear her complain about having no feeling in her legs and you never knew if she [had] lost her eyesight for days; she doesn’t tell you if her skin hurts. She just keeps going.”

and made decisions based on what would give me the most time with my kids.” Barre urges women to know their bodies and be advocates for their health. She remains thankful for all she has, including her very life. “I’m grateful,” she says. “I’m so incredibly lucky that I get to see my children grow up, be with my husband and have jobs where I am needed. It’s such a gift.”

Teresa Philips, amazing courage

Danielle Toovey’s best friend died in a tragic car accident this past year. “Losing Rachelle was the most heartbreaking, world-crushing thing I’ve ever had to go through,” says Toovey.“Rachelle and I did everything together – she was more family than my friend. She was my person, she knew everything about me.” The two women were close and supported each other through difficult challenges including experiences with bullying. While in high school, Toovey was bullied so aggressively, she switched to an online school. “Although it caused my life to be very different – like having social anxiety and selfconfidence issues – my bullying has shown me that everyone is different and should be loved and treated with respect,” she says. Toovey earned praise and admiration from those who know her and is a source of inspiration for her friend, Mackenzie Murphy. “Danielle has fought back with her struggles, and overcome the pain of loss at the age of just 18. She has shown me and so many others how to continue on and live for those who aren’t able to live anymore,” says Murphy. Toovey is taking life day by day. She works with her mother at their day home where together they take care of six children, and she remains positive and moves forward.

Teresa Philips is bursting with energy and enthusiasm. As a group fitness instructor, she makes exercise exciting and energizing for her students. “Teaching fitness classes has been my passion for almost 30 years,” she says.“I’m not sure what I would do without it now.” Philips was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring and had a lumpectomy in May 2015. After six weeks of recovery time post surgery, she went through six rounds of chemotherapy – one round every three weeks.“It took five to seven days to deal with the side effects [of the chemo] and two weeks to recover and strengthen my body to do it all over again,” she remembers Phillips worked hard to stay healthy throughout her treatment and recovery, finding motivation in fitness and teaching. “Students kept telling me I was inspiring … and for me to go through chemo and still be on stage working out and teaching made them want to work that much harder,” she says.“But the real truth is they were inspiring me.” A proud mother of two teenage boys, Philips is open about her cancer and wants to spark a dialogue. She eschews hats and a wig, so people will ask questions and give her the opportunity to speak to them about cancer. Her friends and family are in awe of her incredible outlook and strength. “The way she deals with life – even through a cancer diagnosis – has been nothing short of amazing. She continues to remain upbeat, energetic and full of life,” says Jane LeBlanc.

Heather Clarke, amazing courage

KIERA GOSSE, amazing determination

Danielle Toovey, amazing courage

When Heather Clarke was faced with a tough decision she acted quickly. With a long history of breast cancer in her family, Clarke underwent testing to determine if she inherited the so-called breast cancer gene mutation. “The results were inconclusive but my mom and four of her sisters, as well as their mother, all had and survived breast cancer,” she says. After talking it over with her husband and two teenagers, Clarke decided to have a preventative double mastectomy. “We chose as a family. I want to be around for my kids,” she says. She had surgery – the mastectomy and reconstruction together – on Nov. 7, 2014. Since then she’s had complications resulting in eight more surgeries, approximately 30 hours of surgery in total. But, ever positive, the experience has made Clarke appreciate the people in her life all the more. “It’s not how I would have chosen it, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way,” she says, adding that she has made peace with her decision and everything that has followed. Clarke’s friends and family are in awe of her strength. “She has met each challenge with grace and a strength that I can’t even begin to imagine,” says friend Lucero Proudlock. “I am lucky to know her and I know that she will continue to inspire others with her tenacity and courage.”

Natalie Barre, amazing courage

“Natalie Barre is pure love and positivity. She shares her faith, courage, strength and hope with everyone she meets,” says Rose Hudson. A married mother of two, Barre works as both teacher’s aide and health-care aide and feels fortunate to help people at the beginning and end of their lives. Barre was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 31 years old. She underwent a mastectomy on the affected breast followed by chemo and radiation, only to be told she had cancer in her other breast and needed to start the process again.“It’s been eight years of ongoing challenges,” she says. Barre remained optimistic through it all and approached her treatment with a zealous determination. According to her, she was motivated to survive for the sake of her family. “I have two beautiful children who need a mother, and a husband who married me for the rest of our lives – not just until I was 31,” she says.“I focused on moving forward

Kiera Gosse embodies the kind of passionate athleticism expected from someone who lists “racing in triathlons” as a hobby. Gosse is an accomplished fitness trainer and runs a training and triathlon coaching business, as well as a mobile fashion and sportswear boutique called KSL Actionwear. When she’s not hard at work, she busies herself with friends, family and community – helping out where needed. Her family, she explains, endured a life-changing event last year and it altered the direction of their lives. “My husband lost his best friend, who happened to be my best friend’s husband,” she says. The experience, according to Gosse, had a huge impact.“[It] opened my eyes to others around me and helped to change my perception,” she says.“Now, life is rewarding by [our] living outside our bubble and helping others.” She and her husband are focused on setting an example for their children and doing good works in the community. As a family, they support many causes, but cancerrelated fundraisers are particularly important and serve as their primary focus. Those who know Gosse are impressed by her commitment and have watched her love for her family, her work and her charity remain steadfast, day after day. “Everything she does, she does it with passion, determination, heart, enthusiasm and she never expects anything in return,” says Jessica Girard. “She wants to help people in need and she loves doing it.”

. Spring 2016 2016 Spring



local life in AWE

Lori Connolly, amazing determination

Motherhood is Lori Connolly’s top priority and her son is one lucky young man. “Being a mother, without a doubt, is everything to me,” Connolly says. “I hoped and prayed for a child of my own and was granted the most precious gift.” A single parent to her nine-year-old boy, Connolly balances her busy job as human resources manager at North Rocky View Community Links with the needs of her son. “Lori devotes all her time and energy into her son, making decisions that will provide him with the best opportunities possible,” says Joelene Potter. Parenthood, says Connolly, takes an enormous amount of work and commitment, especially when it’s a one-parent show, and she focuses on building a good life for her child. “Being a mother involves daily sacrifices and selflessness for the betterment of my son, to give him the best opportunities I possibly can,” she says. “This drives me every day, and seeing my son happy and content brings so much happiness to my world.” Among other lessons, Connolly teaches her son to live with honesty and integrity, and that unconditional kindness and compassion for others is a precious gift. “I show my son daily that he has the potential to do anything he puts his mind to,” says the loving mother, “and that having courage and determination will get him through anything.”

Tyler Baptist, amazing determination

Tyler Baptist is a jack of all trades – wife, mother, world traveller, marketing guru, business leader and, now, real estate agent. Baptist graduated from the University of Lethbridge Calgary Campus in 2005 and embarked on an eight-month adventure that took her to 15 countries around the globe. Afterward, she came back to Calgary and took a job with Qualico Communities. Nine years later, she continues to inspire. “Tyler is amazingly determined in everything she does,” says Qualico Communities co-worker Susan Miller.“She sees what she wants and goes after it.” Baptist, who lives in Airdrie with her husband and daughter (No. 2 is on the way), worked her way up to the position of sales and marketing manager, and even earned her real estate license in 2012. Her husband is co-owner of a renovation business, Fat Boys Renovations. Long term, the two would like to merge their skills and love of real estate and begin buying and renovating properties for resale or rental. Baptist loves her career and is passionate about her job and the real estate business. “I love being there to guide my clients through the process of buying and selling homes,” she says. “My favourite moment is when a client moves into a new home: I hand them the keys and I get to see that look of joy in their eyes.”

SYLVIA SCHULTZ, amazing determination

Sylvia Schultz is an inspiring young woman who endured the worst experience of her life and went on to launch a successful business shortly thereafter. “My mom was killed in a car accident ... a couple of years ago,” Schultz says. “My mother was the most important person to me in the entire world. Her tenacity, giving heart and selflessness made you feel, even if you didn’t know her, like you were in the presence of someone amazing.” Although Schultz had been a sponsored athlete, she was no longer interested in pursuing that future after losing her mother. Instead, she purchased Jet Wash Auto Spa in Airdrie and never looked back. For support and advice, she joined the Think Airdrie Networking group and met many local business owners who helped her along this new path. “They coached me, stood alongside me, offered assistance and showed me how to be a pillar of the community,” Schultz says. She is grateful for the support she’s received and is deeply proud of her business, crediting her mother as its inspiration. “Jet Wash is a direct reflection of the love I feel for her,” she says. Schultz’s friends are very impressed with what she’s accomplished and know firsthand how much work she has undertaken. “Anyone who talks to her for 10 minutes will understand what a big heart she has and how she is making an impact on our community,” says Ashley Veenstra.



Spring 2016

Betina Fillion, amazing heart

A 33-year-old mother of three, Betina Fillion, along with husband John Langenau, has endured every parent’s nightmare: life-threateningly sick children. In April 2012, son Easton fell ill with invasive group A streptococcal sepsis. “For 16 days I stayed by his side in the hospital … it was pure relief when he turned the corner and started to get better,” Fillion says. One week after Easton was discharged, daughter Payton was diagnosed with invasive group A streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. Doctors said they had one chance to save Payton’s life, and put her on a heart and lung bypass machine called ECLS. Fillion stayed by her side and after six days Payton made it off life support and began a long recovery, beating what had been 50-50 odds. “Looking back, I wonder where I got the strength to keep going. We took it one moment at a time and got through it as a family,” Fillion says Upon learning the ECLS program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital was donorfunded, Fillion began volunteering on behalf of the hospital foundation. Today, she speaks at fundraisers and events to raise money and awareness. Langenau is in awe of his wife. “Betina’s an amazing, strong woman who held our family together,” he says.“She believes we could never repay for our children’s lives and wants to pay forward our good fortune to as many as she can.”

Caroline Filip-Muyser, amazing heart

Caroline Filip-Muyser is one tough cookie. In March 2010, Filip-Muyser developed flu-like symptoms, but they just kept getting worse.“My husband remembers me telling him,‘I think my head is swollen,’” she says.“I don’t remember a lot of what happened in the next seven to 10 days.” Her husband took her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with encephalitis – a virus that attacks the brain, causing swelling and killing brain tissue. She spent a total of 32 days on an IV and required extensive rehabilitation. “The brain is very pliable and – with a lot of hard work – I have managed to make a full recovery,” she says. Prior to her illness, Filip-Muyser worked at Bethany Airdrie care centre as a personal care aide and then a recreation therapist assistant. But she’d also been a hair stylist on the side and was able to take over the hair salon at the Bethany once she was back on her feet. “The most rewarding part of owning the salon is having a continued relationship with the residents,” she says.“A lot of them see the salon as a hub of visiting and fun.” The 44-year-old has been married to the “man of her dreams” for 25 years and is the proud mother of two daughters. To the delight of their mother, both young women visit Filip-Muyser at the salon, where they admire her rapport with the customers. “I truly think her heart is so big that it makes Bethany Care a better place,” says daughter Angel.

Diane Gibeau, amazing heart

“Leaving your child in the care of another person has to be one of the hardest things to do in life,” says Alanna Bryant.“Diane Gibeau has, for 20-some years, loved and cared for her day home children like they were her own.” After having her second child 24 years ago, Gibeau decided to leave her executive secretary position to stay home and start her own business.“I had discovered as a teenager … that I loved working with children, so I decided to open my home to other people’s children,” she says.“The joy these little ones bring me is incredible.” Currently, she takes care of preschool-aged children and loves watching them grow up and learn new things. “The little ones in my care are like an extension of my family and I have been truly blessed that the parents in my day home treat me like a family friend – or grandma,” she says. Gibeau is an active volunteer and has helped out with Airdrie BMX and the Airdrie Festival of Lights. She has also been a Girl Guide leader for many years and volunteers once a month at the Brenda Strafford Centre and at Abbey Dale House in Calgary. She is an Usui and Karuna Reiki practitioner and teacher, a talent she shares where needed. “Every year a group of other Reiki practitioners and myself volunteer at the Airdrie Relay for Life, providing complementary introductory energy healing treatments to the relay participants,” Gibeau says.

Gayla Worden, amazing heart

Gayla Worden has dedicated her life to teaching and her passion for the job is palpable. Worden had already been teaching for seven years when she transferred in September 1985 – 30 years ago – to R.J. Hawkey School, where she still works today as a music teacher.“My love of working with and meeting new people, young and old, drew me into teaching,” she says. Worden is a staunch advocate for the arts in education and considers herself lucky to work at R.J. Hawkey, where the music program has been well supported by colleagues, parents and the administration. “For me,” she says, “music is the voice of the soul and for many students the music room provides a safe place to relax and learn the universal language of music. It gives them the freedom to express themselves, [to] work with others and to be creative.” With help from parents and other teachers, Worden produces five musicals a year and leads two choirs. Additionally, she has held an executive position with the Fine Arts Council of the Alberta Teacher’s Association for years and has chaired many conferences around the province. “She should be recognized for her love, dedication and commitment to the R.J. Hawkey drama and music programs, as well as her love for the students and her zest for life,” says parent Jacqui Jepson.


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Spring 2016



local life in AWE

KATHY RITCHER, amazing heart

Kathy Ritcher wears her heart on her sleeve. She is the manager of executive and administrative services for Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie (BGCA) – a cause in which she believes deeply. “The most rewarding part of my job is being part of such an amazing organization that cares for the children and youth in our community,” she says. Ritcher is proud to watch the children and youth who frequent the club’s services grow up. “It is very fulfilling knowing that in some aspect you are an influence in their lives. I love what BGCA stands for; it truly is a good place to be,” she says. Ritcher loves to volunteer and helps out in the community – including at BGCA events – whenever she can, along with the rest of her family. She has been married to husband Stephan for six years and together they have a busy, blended family complete with three teenagers. Her father also lives with them, as does her niece, Courtney Varga. Ritcher’s passion for the community and dedication to her family and her work do not go unnoticed by her loved ones. “She spends her days at the BGCA … and she spends her nights coming home and taking care of her family. She never has any time for herself,” says Varga. “Her heart is filled with love for the community of Airdrie.”




Kristin Brown, amazing heart

Kristin Brown is a registered dietician working at Simply for Life, a nutrition education and weight loss clinic in Airdrie. Brown, who grew up in a small Nova Scotia town called Antigonish, studied nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University. In her youth she was a competitive highland dancer and her experience with dance inspired her love of fitness and healthy living. Today, she is a much-loved nutritionist who takes pride in the relationships she builds through her work. “It is so incredibly rewarding to watch my clients reach their weight and health-related goals,” she says. Brown is passionate about her job and her insights, dedication and commitment do not go unnoticed. “Her clients are not just clients; they are her personal charges. She loves each one with such compassion that her clients continue to come to see her for encouragement and love,” says Shanna Cline, a client and co-worker. Brown brings an infectious energy to her day-to-day tasks and has seen firsthand how a positive attitude can help her clients overcome the difficult task of changing lifestyle and eating habits for the better. “I see [more than] 100 people each and every week and I always want them to leave feeling encouraged and excited about the week ahead,” she says.





Spring 2016

Linsey Jay, amazing heart

“Linsey is always willing to go beyond to help others and never asks for anything in return or even expects any of the credit that she deserves,” says her husband, Jeff Jay.“She always puts others’ needs before her own.” Born and raised in Airdrie, Linsey Jay is now a stay-at-home mom to four children and two stepchildren. She runs a day home and volunteers extensively. “I keep very busy … as a volunteer mom at my kids’ school. I am a treasurer for my sons’ hockey team and have been on the Fuzzy Pickles Playschool board for three years,” Linsey says, adding that she attended Fuzzy Pickles Playschool herself 30 years ago and is thrilled to be involved today on behalf of her own children. The busy mom is also very involved in Airdrie’s Japanese exchange program and has taken two students to Japan for two weeks for each of the last three summers. “Giving back to the community is very important to me. I believe volunteering strengthens your community and makes it a better place to live,” she says. Family means a lot to Linsey. Her parents and sister all live in Airdrie and they remain close-knit and supportive of one another. Her own parenting style, she says, is inspired by her own wonderful upbringing.“It’s important [to me] to raise my children the same, with values and honesty,” she says.

Lisa Lysak, amazing heart

Lisa Lysak’s career has deeply personal roots. A registered nurse, Lysak was inspired to join the medical field after her oldest son, Jacob, was born with a benign tumour on his leg. With no clear treatment plan available, she and her husband decided to leave the tumour alone and over time it began to shrink. Meanwhile, Lysak had a second son and immersed herself in learning more about her eldest boy’s tumour.“I wanted to educate myself about it and because of that I decided to become a unit clerk,” she says. The young mother was struggling with postpartum depression and, at the urging of her husband, made a plan for her future. “I realized I wanted to work in ICU as a nurse one day and decided to go back to school when my youngest son was in the first grade – that was my goal,” she says. And that’s exactly what Lysak did. “The impact of dealing with such a traumatizing event has given her strength and resolve,” says husband Steve Lysak.“She has the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met.” Lisa started the nursing program at Mount Royal University right on schedule. She continued to work, study and raise her sons all at once. At the behest of the other students, she even shared her story with the crowd at their graduation – a huge honour. But best of all, on Dec. 21, 2011, the Lysak family learned that Jacob’s tumour had completely vanished.

Lisa Silva, amazing heart

Lisa Silva has worked at Blue Grass Nursery, Sod & Garden Centre for a remarkable 15 years. Today, Silva is the marketing and call centre manager and, in addition to planning the yearly marketing and advertising strategy and budget, oversees the company’s charitable endeavours. “Lisa … has worked so hard over the years as the lead on our annual fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital, Pumpkin Fest,” says her boss, Sherri Slater. “She is an amazing woman for all her efforts to raise funds for local and worthwhile charities.” The Pumpkin Festival is a family-friendly event with such activities as pumpkin carving, photo booths and an exciting giant pumpkin smash. Last October, three pumpkins ranging from 400 to 1,100 pounds were dropped from more than 120 feet – a sight to see. Silva has been involved since the event’s inception in 2004 when she planned the then small fundraiser for the first time. Last year’s event was the most successful to date, raising $39,820. “In the 11 years I have been involved with Pumpkin Festival, we have donated $4,000 to STARS Air Ambulance and $195,000 to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation,” she says. “I work really hard and Pumpkin Fest is my opportunity to see our community come together.”

MELANIE LACROIX, amazing heart

Cat and dog owners in Airdrie are in good hands, thanks to The Cat Next Door. Owned by Melanie Lacroix and her partner, Cheryl Lindberg, the business offers professional, certified pet sitting and pet first aid certificate classes, among other services. “We are also called upon to assess behavioural issues within a household with feline issues,” explains Larcroix. “Understanding what an animal is trying to communicate to you can sometimes be difficult to understand or recognize.” Larcroix is an active member of the local community of pet owners and is passionate about animals, wearing her heart on her sleeve. “I am very involved in helping locate lost animals and in educating [residents] about pet safety and responsible pet ownership,” she says. The help she offers pet owners in moments of need truly comes from her heart and is driven by her own love of animals. “I don’t rush out in the middle of the night for a hurt or lost animal for the recognition, but because I truly want to ensure their safe return home,” she says. Lacroix’s partner is her No. 1 fan. “Melanie has the kindest heart of anyone I know, and her best shining moments are when she is helping people and animals,” says Lindberg. In addition to a successful business, the two also have two young sons and – ever the animal lovers – 11 cats, two dogs, fish and crested geckos.

Michelle Bates, amazing heart

Michelle Bates is a truly inspiring woman. Bates and her family moved to Airdrie in fall 2009 and, soon after, son Lane got a cold. Faced with the choice of waking him up, travelling to a different community with 24-7 urgent care and waiting for hours to see a doctor, she and her husband decided to let him sleep – he didn’t even have a fever. “Lane woke up in the night and very quickly we knew something was wrong,” she says. “He suddenly passed away on Oct. 26, 2009.” Thirteen months after Lane died, her youngest daughter, Alyssa, woke up sick and Bates and her husband soon found themselves driving through a terrible snowstorm to Didsbury. “We were lucky to have gotten there and back safely. between my grief, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and being so scared for my girls’ lives … I was on the verge of losing it,” she says. “Then I thought, ‘Why don’t we have 24-7 health care in Airdrie?’” Bates met with then-MLA Rob Anderson and Mayor Peter Brown and founded the Airdrie Health Foundation – a fundraising entity of Airdrie Health Services (AHS). The organization raises money to enhance the facility and community, and is pushing for adequate, around-the-clock health care. So far, more than $200,000 has been raised. “No one wants urgent care open 24 hours a day as much as I do,” Bates says. “The Airdrie Health Foundation is working with AHS and other stakeholders to make that possible.” Bates has earned plenty of admirers for her advocacy on behalf of the community. “She is a woman who has taken the greatest of tragedies and turned it into change for all in our community,” says Shelley Bitz.“Through her pain and suffering, she has chosen to make a difference to other families.”

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local life in AWE

Tracy Osborne, amazing heart

Tracy Osborne has called Airdrie home for 54 years now. Osborne grew up on her grandparents’ farm south of the city back when the population was around 1,000 people. A portion of the land she was raised on, in fact, was recently dedicated “Osborne Park” in memoriam of her grandparents’ contributions to the community. “My grandfather taught me to give without remembering and receive without forgetting,” she says. Today, she is a stay-at-home, single mom to 13-year-old daughter Kara. Osbourne lost her older brother when she was a teenager and the experience had a profound impact on her life. She is grateful for every day, and for her own and her daughter’s health. “We both have two arms and two legs, and a healthy heart that beats. We have a roof over our heads,” she says. To give back, Osborne volunteers when possible. She works with the Calgary chapter of Les Marmitons, providing a white table service to the homeless. The volunteers serve a chef-prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Calgary Drop-In Centre.“She’s a good soul [who] makes a difference in so many lives. Airdrie is lucky to have such a giving and caring person in their community,” says Christine Franco. Osborne’s hobby of choice is acting and she’s a familiar face on local stages. “I have done a few performances with what was formerly known as Airdrie Little Theater and was just in a short film, Father Robin Hood, directed by our local Mitchell George,” she says.

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Spring 2016

Ashley Veenstra, amazing leadership

Ashley Veenstra has been changing lives as a personal trainer for nearly 10 years. After leaving an oil and gas position in Calgary, Veenstra decided to channel her energy and passion into a job that would keep her busy and on her feet.“I want to make a difference in people’s lives and show women you can be fit and strong with muscles, and still have a feminine side,” she says. Veenstra helps her clients set goals and be honest with themselves about changes they’ll need to undertake. A trainer, she says, is there to motivate each and every client differently, to meet their exact needs. “The hardest step is the first – walking in the gym doors and starting day one,” she says. Veenstra has completed eight fitness shows in her career, the first just one year after delivering her son. She took part in her first World Beauty Fitness and Fashion competition last August in Las Vegas, fulfilling a personal goal she set four years prior. “She had such zest for life I was instantly drawn to her and had to keep her in my life,” says Sylvia Schultz.“Her drive and passion is something to admire.” Veenstra finds inspiration in her clients’ dedication and successes, but her biggest is a bit more personal – her six-year-old son, Kayden. “He has been my No. 1 motivation,” she says.“Being a single mother and raising him by myself has helped me to stay driven and positive above all else.”



CHARITY HUTCHINSON, amazing leadership

“Charity Hutchinson is the most amazing, strong and determined woman I’ve ever known; a woman who displays unyielding courage, endless compassion, and unbreakable spirit,” says her husband, Josh Hutchinson. The Hutchinsons have two little boys, both of whom have autism. Josh works up north and, as a result, Charity takes on a great deal of extra responsibility – working from home, overseeing the children and managing their house with a cheerful ease. Charity is a coach with Beach Bodies – an at-home workout and fitness program.“I love that it’s online because I can help anyone, anywhere,” she says. Ultimately, she wants to be a life coach and is well on her way. She also runs monthly organization and budgeting groups on Facebook for local moms in Airdrie. Her workshops are designed for ease of use, perfect for busy mothers.“Moms can do them when it’s convenient and don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time – they can pop in and out,” Charity says. Her online mentoring is inspired by her own journey. Over the years, she learned these same skills herself and now uses the wisdom of her experiences to help others. Her sons, she says, are her inspiration to dream big, and her motivation to succeed. “I didn’t want them to sacrifice anything because they’re autistic, or because of our finances. I want them to have the best shot in life,” Charity says,“and also see their mom going after what she wants.”



Deanna Hunter, amazing leadership

Deanna Hunter is the owner of Ridgegate Consulting, an HR consulting practice based in Airdrie. This savvy businesswoman had spent 20 years working for others and was inspired to start her own business two years ago when her then-job was eliminated during a restructuring. After a summer travelling, she realized she didn’t miss the corporate life and created her own job. As a consultant, Hunter focuses on small businesses that need solid management and human resources advice to support their growth and success. “The goals I set for my first year – the litmus test to whether this was a viable business or not – were all met by the time I celebrated my first anniversary,” she says. Among other successes, Hunter lent her expertise to a provincial advisory council, took part in a speakers panel at a Canada’s Top 100 Employers conference and provided insight to Mount Royal University on the redevelopment of its business school curriculum. “Her ability to lead people towards positive collaboration demonstrates her leadership ability and success,” says Michelle Wagner, Hunter’s employee. Hunter also volunteers with Creative Airdrie Society and currently holds the position of board chair.“As part of the board of directors leading this small but mighty little society, I get to advance the arts, and creativity in general, in Airdrie,” she says.

leona kiera


Spring 2016



local life in AWE

Juanita Mulder, amazing leadership

Juanita Mulder owns and operates two businesses – FABFitness and a day home. The 47-year old mother of two was inspired to start her fitness business in 2007 after her personal weight loss journey helped her discover a love of fitness and healthy living. Inspired to continue, Mulder got her fitness instructor’s certificate from the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association and thus was born FABFitness. “Teaching fitness classes is my stress reliever,” she says. “I love to inspire other ladies to be healthy and fit.” Mulder teaches a variety of women-only, small group fitness classes in the evenings and she takes pride in creating a close-knit and relaxed atmosphere her clients appreciate. “I love fitness for what it can do for you – not only [does it make] you look better, but it makes you feel better,” she says. “It’s great when a client comes to me all excited about an accomplishment they have reached.” Mulder is looking ahead and planning to earn her health and wellness coaching certification, so she can offer a wider range of services and expand FABFitness. “She has such a passion for fitness and her determination to run a fun and affordable workout business is inspiring,” says Stephanie Hogewoning. “Juanita has a way of motivating you to be the best you can be.”

LEONA ESAU, amazing leadership

“When Leona is passionate about something, great things happen,” says colleague Sara Chamberlain.“She is a problem-solver and carries out this skill with great kindness, tact and diplomacy.” Truer words have never been spoken. Leona Esau works for the City of Airdrie as the intergovernmental liaison – a brand new position for the City. Prior to this role, she spent eight years in economic development with the City and spearheaded SMARTstart – a training program designed to provide real-world business skills for new or potential entrepreneurs. Through lessons and mentorship, the program offers much of the advice necessary to setting up a successful business. “There are certain things that help people succeed – proper training and knowledge are two of them,” Esau says. “We knew there was a gap in the resources [available for] people in Airdrie looking to start a business, or who were new to business.” Esau and her team wanted something accessible and specific to Airdrie with the added benefit of one-on-one mentorship, and that’s exactly what they built.“We’ve been fortunate to have a whole team of thoughtful, energetic, knowledgeable business owners step up to take part in the program,” she says. The program gives new entrepreneurs the confidence, skills and access to resources they need to succeed. Esau, who has left SMARTstart in the capable hands of a colleague, is excited to see how the program and its participants will continue to grow. “I believe everyone can do great things,” she says. “Sometimes you just need a little bit of support, encouragement and access to the right resources. That’s my philosophy.”

natalie g.





Spring 2016


Lynn Kehoe, amazing leadership

As the owner of Cream Body & Bath, Lynn Kehoe is a leader in the local beauty business. “Her job is to make women feel beautiful about themselves in her shop and [with] the products she sells, and she does so with grace and kindness,” says Suzy Rounce. While living in Saskatoon, Kehoe and a friend decided to start a small business and built a 12-foot sales stand with displays for their product of choice – coloured sea salt. “We went to the Farmers Market each Saturday and sold empty bottles customers could fill with whatever sea salts they wanted,” says Kehoe.“After they bought the bottle, they could come back and refill it for a discounted price.” Then, through much trial and error, Kehoe came up with a variety of recipes for soaps, lotions and other products to add to their line. Eventually, she relocated to Airdrie and took over the business on her own with considerable success. In time, the business outgrew her home and she opened Cream Body & Bath in downtown Airdrie where she sells bath products and lingerie. Ten years later, the entrepreneur and mother of two has a well-established business and supplies several hotels and spas in Western Canada with products. Not one to rest on her laurels, she’s always looking ahead. “My goals every year are to make each one better than the last, both personally and professionally,” Kehoe says.”

Michelle Wagner, amazing leadership

Michelle Wagner is a loyal volunteer, among many other things. Wagner started working at TransCanada Pipelines in 2008 and today she is the public awareness program manager. Be it at work or in her community, giving back is a huge part of her life.“It only takes one person to make a difference for someone else, whether through a formal volunteer role or a simple act of kindness,” she says. Wagner believes that volunteering is a powerful tool to provide new opportunities for people to improve themselves and their lives. A stepmother to three youngsters, she hopes her good works set a positive example for her family and friends. “She is a strong influence in the lives of most everyone she meets,” says David Belle. Among other volunteer responsibilities, she sits on two boards of directors: Creative Airdrie Society and the Airdrie and District Victims Assistance Society. She works hard to give others the opportunity to cultivate their creativity, learn new things and receive guidance when needed. “Knowledge, education and exposure to new things are a key to success and equip us to be happier and healthier in our day-to-day lives,” Wagner says. And for her, volunteering changes her life over and over again. “Volunteering keeps me humble,” she says, “and allows me to experience life through so many different sets of eyes”

NATALIE GIBSON, amazing leadership

Natalie Gibson boasts a mile-long resume with more than 20 years of experience, a stint on municipal council and an impressive list of successfully completed projects. “She truly is an amazing woman leader from Airdrie,” says Leann Hackman-Carty. Gibson is president of InnoVisions & Associates, an international economic development and marketing consultancy firm based in Airdrie. A smart and savvy woman, she was inspired to start her own company after serving as an elected official and working with the Chamber of Commerce in Drayton Valley. “I discovered that many businesses did not know how and where to looks for business resources,” she says. “And often, elected officials do not know how to develop policies and programs that support business growth and sustainability.” Today, Gibson helms a successful company with clients and projects across the country. She also lends her expertise to non-profit organizations and donates business planning resources to community residents and organizations. “As a rule, I volunteer or donate professional services to one organization, or entrepreneur, each month and continue to support them for up to one year,” she says

Sarika Mehta, amazing leadership

Sarika Mehta was destined to run her own business. Mehta was born and raised in New Delhi, India, and her father was a successful businessman and textile manufacturer. After she got married 10 years ago, she moved to Australia and then Canada with her husband. Today, they live in Airdrie with their seven-year-old son, have a second child on the way and Mehta is the proud owner of a makeup and image consulting business. “I would say business is in my blood,” says the experienced businesswoman who owned and operated a 24-hour convenience store in Australia.“I tried doing some [other] jobs; however, my heart was always searching for something I could do on my own.” According to Mehta, she started her image consultant business to help women overcome obstacles and achieve their life goals. She works closely with local photographers and creates style looks for models, brides and everyone in between. “She offers amazing services, but it never stops there: she always wants to make sure you are really happy, and goes out of her way to make you feel loved,” says April Douglas. Mehta gives back to charity where possible, supporting Airdrie Food Bank and causes in her home country, among others. “I feel blessed … and thank God for giving me this much so I can share,” she says.

Sherry Jenkins, amazing leadership

Sherry Jenkins owns her own business and, ultimately, determines her own success. A long-time entrepreneur, Jenkins owned two businesses with partners prior to hanging up her own shingle as an independent mortgage consultant 14 years ago. “I wanted something of my own,” she says of the We Mortgage team with Axiom Mortgage Solutions. Her business, which offers an array of residential mortgage products and services, is located in Airdrie – her home city for nearly all of her life. “She is an amazing friend, businesswoman, mentor and leader,” says Jacqui Jepson. “Sherry runs her business under values which I feel are key: she cares about her clients first, not just about her business.” Currently, Jenkins is – as she puts it – stretching outside her comfort zone and putting together a plan to build on her existing business location. When not hard at work, the busy mother of two enjoys spending time with her family and watching her children grow and start their own lives. She’s also an avid volunteer supporting several causes near and dear to her heart in the community. “I believe we are given many things in life,” she says,“and the ability to share our talents and resources is the least we can do.”

Tammy Block, amazing leadership

Tammy Block knows a lot about work-life balance. This enterprising woman has a full-time job, a husband and three children, and last year she co-founded PUSH Cycling Studio in Airdrie with her childhood best friend, Janine Hartsook. “In Grade 11, we took an entrepreneurship class and wanted to open a gym,” Block says. Twelve years later over a glass of wine, the pair decided to make their dream come true and launch Airdrie’s first indoor cycling studio. They opened their doors on Jan. 29, 2015. Both women continue to work full-time jobs and oversee the gym. Luckily, Block is a graphic designer and artist by trade, so she handles the marketing, website design, advertising and social media for PUSH. “I am very passionate about health – mental health and fitness,” she says. “This year Janine and I want to grow the PUSH community of riders and help influence and motivate others to reach their health and fitness goals.” Her exceptional entrepreneurial attitude has not gone unnoticed. “Tammy shows true leadership at her business and has cultivated an environment that is both welcoming and vibrant. She inspires those around her to always be their best,” says Carley Toye. Block is putting together a Team Push for the Ride to Conquer Cancer this summer and hopes to fundraise for a good cause. Teamwork is important to both founders and the spirit of working together motivates the PUSH philosophy. “We push our limits together in a safe and unique environment,” says Block. “You’re not alone. We all ride together.”

Spring 2016



LocaL Life in awe

Abigail Kube, amazing promise

Abigail Kube is a young artist in the making. Already, Kube is a member of the public art committee and has displayed her art at the Bert Business Showcase. “She has tremendous focus on what she wants out of life,” says her father, Dale Kube. The teen is currently enrolled at Bert Church High School, with plans to attend Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) after graduation to build her skills as an artist. “I’m a self-taught artist and I work in many mediums and styles,” Abigail says. “I have always been fascinated with the characters and stories in animated films and video games and I want to specialize in creating concept art and character designs.” Abigail credits the positive impact stories and characters have had on her as her inspiration and hopes to create the same experience for other people one day.“There is a lot of joy in knowing other people enjoy what you’re creating,” she says. She has already thrown herself into the art community of Airdrie and believes that giving back – in one way or another – is important. She took on the role with the public art committee as a way to get involved in her community through art. “I believe art should not be limited to galleries,” she says.“Art should be as present as possible in daily life.”

Madison Warne, amazing promise

Madison Warne is a 17-year-old student in Grade 12 at Bert Church High School. The oldest of three siblings, Warne is a voracious reader who loves photography, image manipulation and graphic design. Last year, she competed at Skills Alberta in Edmonton in the graphic design category, where she finished fourth.

Miranda Schmidt, amazing promise

Teenager Miranda Schmidt is an award-winning piano player. The Grade 12 student at Bert Church High School won the Qualico Youth Artist Award last year for her participation in music, specifically piano.“I study piano and I am working towards completing my Grade 10 piano certification from the Royal Conservatory of Music – my last exam is in April,” Schmidt says. Along with her normal piano lessons, Schmidt studies music theory, harmony and history. She teaches piano to beginner students and has taken part in the Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts for the past four years, last year at the provincial level. A smart, talented and driven young woman, Schmidt began playing piano when she was only four years old. “I believe music can have a positive impact on people,” she says, “and I love the fact that I can give others the opportunity to experience it.” The teen is also a committed volunteer who helps at Airdrie Urgent Care and her church. After graduation, Schmidt is planning to pursue a career in medicine – she wants to be a doctor. “Miranda is an amazing young woman who is academically disciplined,” says Bert Church teacher Jennifer Williams. “She is a perfect example of what is great about students in Airdrie, and a promise for our future.” life


madison heather


“Not one to put herself in the limelight, Madison is one of those incredibly hardworking people who just gets it done and works exceedingly hard for the entire team,” says Warne’s teacher, Tracey Sweetapple. Warne is always one of the first students to join a new project or group at school and has done everything from creating props for drama productions to editing photos and videos to sewing hundreds of poppies for a Remembrance Day tribute project. “I get the most enjoyment out of seeing a small spark of imagination turn into something concrete,” she says.“I love the way people pull together, so that all of the contributions have a substantial impact.” Warne plans to move to Calgary after high school to enrol in post-secondary. “I’m still deciding on what path to take,” she says.“There are so many interesting programs.”


Spring 2016

Profile for airdrielife magazine

airdrielife spring 2016  

the spring issue is jam packed with stories on incredible women in our community

airdrielife spring 2016  

the spring issue is jam packed with stories on incredible women in our community